17/11/2013 Sunday Politics East Midlands


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.


Downing Street announces an inquiry into allegations of hardball tactics


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


story. Thousands dead. Hundreds of


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


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


International Development Secretary Justine Greening.


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


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


to In the East Midlands: The fight for


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


rural areas pay more council tax but get less money spent


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


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


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


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


the programme. The Government has announced a


review to investigate what the Prime Minister has called "industrial


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


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


light during the Grangemouth dispute, when the Unite union took


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


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


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


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


preventing the kind of intimidatory activity that was alleged to have


taken place around range mouth during the previous disputes --


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


it is a responsible thing for the government to establish what


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


under pressure to reopen the investigation into what Unite are up


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


straight out there with a very strong statement. Essentially Len


McCluskey wanted Blairites in the shadow cabinet sacked and Ed


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


bits of frustrations they express verbally come what is documented in


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


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


devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan. HMS Daring has just arrived


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


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


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


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


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


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


lost their homes and the UN estimates 11 million have been


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


The International Development Secretary, Justine Greening, joins


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


ground? We instantly chartered flights directly from Dubai where we


have preprepared human Terry and supplies, and started humanity work


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Illustrious was just finishing an exercise and planning to start to


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


their own bodies in terms of tackling FGM, female genital


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


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


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


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


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


local communities to change attitudes everything you have just


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


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


reaches 20 million people and the project has been condemned saying


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


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


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


that we are working in very difficult environments where we are


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


our national interest and that means having a clear approach to


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


accident and emergency. The College of Emergency Medicine have warned


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


dire prediction comes, expect a spring of political recriminations,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the weather, economic realities structural reforms, and changes to


the general health of the population, are all factors they


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


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


redouble our efforts this year because we expected to be a


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


used as a political football. Doctors and all health care


professionals are frustrated about the politics that surrounds the NHS


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


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


frustrating when there is a commentary that suggests the NHS


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


and their patients can survive the winter.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the Tory reforms and move commissioning to local authorities


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


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


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


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


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


that hospitals and health services cannot get on and make sensible


merger collaborations because of this nonsense now that the NHS is


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


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


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


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


Government because David Cameron scrapped the 48-hour guarantee that


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


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


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


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


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


traditional catchment area? I proposed that just before the last


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


current funding levels are unfair because essentially our residents


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


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


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


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


good for the East Midlands in general.


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


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


Garnier is the Conservative MP for Harborough in Leicestershire and


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


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


Thoresby pit in Nottinghamshire. The Chancellor went underground with the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the big six energy suppliers being more transparent in their pricing


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


wonderful but he cannot control world energy prices.


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


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


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


heavily involved to get funding switched from towns and cities to


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


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


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


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


campaign. The current funding levels are


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


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


geography and we have a growing elderly population, transport


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


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


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


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


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


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


problems and deprivation will become even worse.


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


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


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


problems thanks to the previous government and additional funding


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


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


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


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


to the autumn statement so all interest groups are lobbying the


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


difficulties of running an inner`city authority just as I


understand the difficulties of running a rural authority. The


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


out under this government. My understanding was that across local


government people feel they are struggling with extra pressures and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


not unsympathetic to the problems in rural areas. 0


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Leicestershire for some reason is the bottom are second bottom


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


has been visiting miners, maybe he will visit us.


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


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


Actor Ian Bartholomew playing Richard III at Nottingham Playhouse.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


rethink and reconsider their decision. I am in the marketing


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


old. Absolutely. We are not blind to that


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


reduce its expenditure because the economic picture is difficult


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


has fantastic culture and people understand that it adds value to


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


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


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


Playhouse. Thank you very much for coming in.


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


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


mail pouring through or letterboxes reached Downing Street this week


when the Derbyshire South MP, Conservative Heather Wheeler, met


the Prime Minister. Campaigners say people who fall for


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


Mail to stop delivering the letters. The Leicestershire and Rutland


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


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


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


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


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


60`odd percent of people know I do exist.


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


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


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


it would save money and avoid expenses scandals.


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


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


back to Andrew receiving it. We will return to this


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


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


Pritchard must have asked himself when his picture graced the front


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


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


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


referred himself to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner


who has now said there is insufficient evidence to


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


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


denied allegations that he used his Parliamentary contacts for financial


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


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


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


make of these allegations? He has referred himself to the


Parliamentary Commissioner for standards to clear his name and I


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


outside witness interests. The Telegraph need to say clearly


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


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


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


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


lobbying, or raising issues in Parliament, or setting up


Parliamentary groups, or going to ministers, writing to ministers


that would be completely inappropriate. I was approached by


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


within the rules for members of Parliament to have outside


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


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


a particular narrative. The narrative, unfortunately, of some


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


uncomfortable overlap between your political and business interests. I


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


You posted about your connections in Albania to getting a business


contract. You meet these people through these all Parliamentary


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


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


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


respected broadcaster. I am not going to prejudice my legal


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


unemployment has fallen again. On Friday the former Bullingdon boy


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


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


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


hard hat off for that. # Going underground.


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


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


explodes. # Make this boy shout, make this boy


scream. # Going underground.


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


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


Autumn Statement is becoming a more important part of the political


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


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


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


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


but cosmetically it could have apolitical impact. George Osborne is


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


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


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


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


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


or if you accept it will take another parliament again to


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


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


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


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


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


talking about raising the tax allowance threshold even further,


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


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


Clegg mentioned in his party conference. The significance of the


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


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


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


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


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


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


public. It is recognised that he was far too triumphalist


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the economy starts growing, ironically. We need to remind


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


Unless the politicians screw up Unless you have some idiot in


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


want to do that. When do you anticipate wages outstripping


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


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


are broader measures which no one seems willing to use.


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


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


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


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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