24/11/2013 Sunday Politics East Midlands


Andrew Neil and John Hess present the latest political stories, with Conservative chairman Grant Shapps and a look at Ed Miliband's choices for Desert Island Discs.

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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics.


Labour's been hit hard by scandals at the Co-op. Ed Miliband says the


Tories are mudslinging. We'll speak to Conservative Chairman Grant


Shapps. Five years on from the financial


crisis, and we're still talking about banks in trouble. Why haven't


the regulators got the message? We'll ask the man who runs the


City's new financial watchdog. And he used to have a windmill on


his roof and talked about giving hugs to hoodies and huskies. These


days, not so much. Has the plan to make the


In the East Midlands: Campaigners want more help for people dying from


illness caused by warned that benefit falls will be to


homelessness and population ships. What is the evidence?


And as always, the political panel that reaches the parts other shows


can only dream of. Janan Ganesh Helen Lewis and Nick Watt. They ll


be tweeting faster than England loses wickets to Australia. Yes


they're really that fast. First, some big news overnight from


Geneva, where Iran has agreed to curb some of its nuclear activities


in return for the partial easing of sanctions. Iran will pause the


enrichment of uranium to weapons grade and America will free up some


funds for Iran to spend. May be up to $10 billion. A more comprehensive


deal is supposed to be done in six months. Here's what President Obama


had to say about this interim agreement. We have pursued intensive


diplomacy, bilaterally with the Iranians, and together with our


partners, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China,


as well as the European Union. Today, that diplomacy opened up a


new path towards a world that is more secure, a future in which we


can verify that Iraq and's nuclear programme is peaceful, and that it


cannot build a nuclear weapon. President Obama spoke from the White


House last night. Now the difficulty begins. This is meant to lead to a


full-scale agreement which will effectively end all sanctions, and


end Iran's ability to have a bomb. The early signs are pretty good The


Iranian currency strengthened overnight, which is exactly what the


Iranians wanted. Inflation in Iraq is 40%, so they need a stronger


currency. -- information in Iran. France has played a blinder. It was


there intransigence that led to this. Otherwise, I think the West


would have led to a much softer deal. The question now becomes


implementation. Here, everything hinges on two questions. First, who


is Hassan Rouhani? Is he the Iranians Gorbachev, a serious


reformer, or he's here much more tactical and cynical figure? Or


within Iran, how powerful is he There are military men and


intelligence officials within Iran who may stymie the process. The


Western media concentrate on the fact that Mr Netanyahu and the


Israelis are not happy about this. They don't often mention that the


Arab Gulf states are also very apprehensive about this deal. I read


this morning that the enemies of Qatar and Kuwait went to Saudi king.


-- the MAs row. That is the key thing to watch in the next couple of


weeks. There was a response from Saudi Arabia, but it came from the


Prime Minister of Israel, who said this was a historic mistake. The


United States said there would be no enrichment of uranium to weapons


grade. In the last few minutes, the Iranian Foreign Minister has tweeted


to say that there is an inalienable right -- right to enrich. The key


thing is the most important thing that President Obama said in his


inaugural speech. He reached out to Iran. It failed under President


McKenna jab. Under President Rouhani, there seems to be progress.


There is potentially now what he talked about in that first inaugural


address potentially coming through. In the end, the key issue - and we


don't know the answer - is the supreme leader, not the president.


Will the supreme leader agreed to Iran giving up its ability to create


nuclear weapons? This is the huge ambiguity. Ayatollah Khamenei


authorise the position that President Rouhani took to Geneva.


That doesn't mean he will sign off on every bit of implementation over


the next six months. Even when President Ahmadinejad was president,


he wasn't really President. We in the West have to resort to a kind of


Iranians version of the study of the Kremlin, to work out what is going


on. And the problem the president faces is that if there is any


sign... He can unlock these funds by executive order at the moment, but


if he needs any more, he has to go to Congress. Both the Democrat and


the Republican side have huge scepticism about this. And he has


very low credibility now. There s already been angry noises coming


from quite a lot of senators. It was quite strange to see that photo of


John Kerry hugging Cathy Ashton as if they had survived a ship great


together. John Kerry is clearly feeling very happy. We will keep an


eye on this. It is a fascinating development.


More lurid details about the personal life of the Co-op Bank s


disgraced former chairman, the Reverend Paul Flowers. The links


between Labour, the bank and the wider Co-op movement have caused big


problems for Ed Miliband this week, and the Conservatives have been


revelling in it. But do the Tory allegations - Ed Miliband calls them


"smears" - stack up? Party Chairman Grant Shapps joins us from Hatfield.


Welcome to the programme. When it comes to the Co-op, what are you


accusing Labour of knowing and when? I think the simple thing to say here


is that the Co-op is an important bank. They have obviously got into


difficulty with Reverend flowers, and our primary concern is making


sure that that is properly investigated, and that we understand


what happened at the bank and how somebody like Paul Flowers could


have ended up thing appointed chairman. You wrote to edge Miliband


on Tuesday and asked him what he knew and when. -- you wrote to Ed


Miliband. But by Prime Minister s Questions on Wednesday, David


Cameron claims that you knew that Labour knew about his past all


along. What is the evidence for that? We found out by Wednesday that


he had been a Labour councillor Reverend Flowers, and had been made


to stand down. Certainly, Labour knew about that, but somehow didn't


seem to think that that made him less appropriate to be the chairman


of the Co-op bank. There was no evidence that Mr Miliband or Mr


Balls knew about that. I ask you again, what are you accusing the


Labour leadership of knowing? We know now that he stood down for very


inappropriate images on his computer, apparently. You are


telling me that they didn't know. I am not sure that is clear at all. I


have heard conflicting reports. There is a much bigger argument


about what they knew and when. There was a much bigger issue here. This


morning, Ed Miliband has said that they don't have to answer these


questions and that these smears This is ludicrous. These are


important questions about an important bank, how it ended up


getting into this position, and how a disastrous Britannia -- Italia


deal happen. -- Britannia deal happened. And we need to know how


the bank came off the rails. To be accused of smears for asking the


questions is ridiculous. I am just trying to find out what you are


accusing Labour of. You saying that the Labour leadership knew about the


drug-taking? Sorry, there was some noise here. I don't know what was


known and when. We do know that Labour, the party, certainly knew


about these very difficult circumstances in which he resigned


as a councillor. I think that the Labour Party knew about it. We knew


that Bradford did, but not London. Are you saying that Ed Miliband knew


about the inappropriate material on the Reverend's laptop? It is


certainly the case that Labour knew about it. But did Mr Miliband know


about it, and his predilection for rent boys? He will need to answer


those questions. It is quite proper to ask those questions. Surely,


asking a perfectly legitimate set of questions, not just about that but


about how we have ended up in a situation where this bank has made


loans to Labour for millions of pounds, that bank and the Unite


bank, who is connected to it. And how they made a ?50,000 donation to


Ed Balls' office. Ed Balls says that was nothing to do with Reverend


Flowers, and yet Reverend Flowers said that he personally signed that


off. Lots of questions to answer. David Cameron has already answered


them on Wednesday. He said that you now know that Labour knew about his


past all along. You have not been able to present evidence that


involve Mr Miliband or Mr Balls in that. So until you get that, surely


you should apologise? Hang on. He said that Labour knew about this,


and they did, because he stood down as a councillor. If Ed Miliband


didn't know about that, then why not? This was quite a serious thing


that happened. The wider point is about why it is that when you ask


perfectly legitimate questions about this bank, about the Britannia deal,


and about the background of Mr flowers, why is the response, it is


all smears? There are questions about how Labour failed to deal with


the deficit and how it hasn't done anything to support the welfare


changes, but there is nothing about that. Let us -- lets: To the wider


picture of the Co-operative Bank. Labour wanted the Co-op to take over


the Britannia Building Society, and it was a disaster. Do you accept


that? The government of the day has to be a part of these discussions


for regulatory reason. The government in 2009 - Ed Balls was


very pleased... But you supported that decision. There was a later


deal, potentially, for the Co-op to buy those Lloyds branches. There was


a proper process and it didn't go through just recently. If there had


been a proper process back in 2 09, would the Britannia deal have gone


through? First, you accept that the Tories were in favour of the


Britannia take over. Then your Chancellor Osborne went out of his


way to facilitate the purchase of the Lloyds branches, even though you


had no idea that the Co-op had the management expertise to become a


super medium. Correct? The difference is that that deal didn't


go through. There was a proper process that took place. Let's look


at the process. There was long indications as far back as January


2012 that the Co-op, as a direct result of the Britannia take over


which you will party supported, was unfit to acquire the Lloyds


branches. By January 2012, the Chancellor and the Treasury ignored


the warnings. Wide? In 2009, there was political pressure for the


Britannia to be brought together. Based on the information available,


this was supported, but that process ended up with a very, very


problematic takeover of the Britannia. Wind forward to this


year, and when the same types of issues were being looked at for the


purchase of the Lloyds deal, the proper process was followed, this


time with us in government, and that purchase didn't go through. It is


important that the proper process is followed, and when it was, it


transpired that the deal wasn't going to be done. But it was the


Treasury and the Chancellor who were the cheerleaders for the acquisition


of the Lloyds branches. But there was a warning that the Co-op did not


have enough capital on its balance sheet to make those acquisitions,


but instead of heeding those warnings, your people went to


Brussels to lobby for the requirements to be relaxed - why on


earth did you do that? Our Chancellor went to argue for all of


Rajesh banking, not specifically for the Co-op. He was arguing for the


mutuals to be given a special ruling. The idea was to make sure


that every bank in Britain could have a better deal, particularly the


mutuals, as you say. That is a proper thing for the Chancellor to


be doing. We could go round in circles here, but in the end, there


was not a takeover of the Lloyds branches, that is because we


followed a proper process. Had that same rigorous process been followed


in 2009, the legitimate question to ask is whether the Co-op would have


been -- would have taken over the Britannia. That is a proper question


to ask. It is no good to have the leader of the opposition say, as


soon as you ask any of these questions about anything where there


is a problem for them, they come back with, oh, this is all smears.


There are questions to ask about what the Labour government did, the


debt and the deficit they left the country with, the way they stopped


work from paying in this country. The big question your government has


two answer is, why, by July 201 , when it was clear there was a black


hole in the Co-op's balance sheet, your government re-confirmed the


Co-op as the preferred bidder for Lloyds - why would you do that?


Well, look, the good thing is, we can discuss this until the cows come


home, but there is going to be a proper, full investigation, so we


will find out what happened, all the way back. So, we will be able to get


to the bottom of all of this. Grant Shapps, the only reason the Lloyds


deal did not go ahead was, despite the Treasury cheerleading, when


Lloyds began its due diligence, it found that there was indeed a huge


black hole in the balance sheet and that the Co-op was not fit to take


over its branches. That wasn't you, it wasn't the Government, it was not


the Chancellor, it was Lloyds. You were still cheerleading for the deal


to go ahead... Well, as I say, a proper process was followed, which


did not result in the purchase of the Lloyds branches. At that proper


process been followed with the purchase of the Britannia, under the


previous government... Which you supported. Yes, but it may well be


that under that previous deal, there was a excess political pressure


perhaps put on in order to create that merger, which proved so


disastrous. The Tories facilitated it, Grant Shapps, they allowed it to


go ahead. I have said, we are going to have a proper, independent


review. What I cannot understand is, when you announce a robber,


independent review, the response you get to these serious questions. The


response is, oh, this is a smear. It is crazy. We are trying to answer


the big questions for this country. We have done all of that, and we are


out of time. The Reverend Flowers' chairmanship of the Co-op bank was


approved by the regulator at the time, which no longer exists. It was


swept away by the coalition government in a supposed revolution


in regulation. But will its replacement, the Financial Conduct


Authority, be different? Adam has been to find out. Come with me for a


spin around the Square mile to find out how we regulate our financial


sector, which is almost five times bigger than the country's entire


annual income. First, let's pick up our guide, journalist Iain Martin,


who has just written a book about what went so wrong during the


financial crisis. The FSA was an agency which was established to


supervise the banks on a day-to day basis. The Bank of England was


supposed to have overall responsible at for this to Bolivia the financial


system and the Treasury was supposed to take an interest in all of these


things. The disaster was that it was not anyone's call responsibility, or


main day job, to stay alert as to whether or not the banking system as


a whole was being run in a safe manner. And so this April, a new


system was set up to police the City. Most of the responsibly delays


here, with the Bank of England, and its new Prudential Regulation


Authority. And the Financial Services Authority has been replaced


with the new Financial Conduct Authority. Can we go to the


financial conduct authority, please? Canary Wharf, thank you. Here, it is


all about whether the people in financial services are playing by


the rules, in particular, how they treat their customers. This place


has got new powers, like the ability to ban products it does not like, a


new mandate to promote competition in the market, the concept being,


more competition means a better market, plus the idea that a new


organisation rings a whole new culture. Although these are the old


offices of the FSA, so maybe not quite so new after all. It has also


inherited the case of the Co-op bank and its disgraced former chairman


the Reverend Paul Flowers. The SCA will be part of the investigation


into what happened, which will probably involve looking at its own


conduct. One member of the Parliamentary commission into


banking wonders whether the new regulator, and its new boss, are up


to it. I have always said, it is not the architecture which is the issue,


it is the powers that the regulator has, and today, it does not seem to


me as if there is any increase in that. And with the unfolding scandal


at the Co-op, it feels like the new architecture for regulating the City


is now facing its first big test. And the chief executive of the


Financial Conduct Authority, the SCA, Martin Wheatley, joins me now.


Welcome to The Sunday Politics. The failure of bank regulation was one


of the clearest lessons of the crash in 2008, and yet two years later, in


2010, Paul Flowers is allowed to become chairman of the Co-op - why


have we still not got the regulation right? We have made a lot of changes


since then. We have created a new regulator, as you know. At the time,


we still had a process which allowed somebody to be appointed to a bank


and they would go through a challenge, but in the case of Paul


Flowers, there was no need for an additional challenge when he was


appointed to chairman, because he was already on the board. But going


from being on the board to becoming chairman, that is a big jump, and he


only had one interview? That is why today, it would be different. But


the truth is, that was the system at the time, the system which the FSA


operated. He was challenged, we did challenge him, and we said, you do


not have the right experience, but at the time, we would not have


opposed the appointment. What we needed was additional representation


of the board of people who did have banking experience. You can say that


that was then and this is now, but up until April of this year, it was


still the plan for the Co-op, under Mr Flowers, and despite being


seriously wounded by the Britannia takeover, to take on 632 Lloyds


branches. That was the Co-op's plan. They needed to pass our test


as to whether we thought they were fit to do that, and frankly, they


never passed that test. It was not the regulator that stopped them It


was. We were constantly pushing back, saying, you have not got the


capital, you have no got the systems, and ultimately, they


withdrew, when they could not answer our questions. You were asking the


right questions, I accept that, but all of the time, the politicians on


all sides, they were pushing for it to happen, and I cannot find


anywhere where the regulator said, look, this is just not going to


happen. I cannot comment on what the politicians were doing, but I


continue what we were doing, which was constantly asking the Co-op


have you got the systems in place, have you got the people, have you


got the capital? And they didn't. But it only came to a head when


Lloyds started its own due diligence on the bank, and they discovered


that it was impossible for them to take over the branches, it was not


the regulator... In fairness, what we do is ask the questions, can you


do this deal? And we kept pushing back, and we never frankly got


delivered a business plan which we were happy to approve. Is the SCA


going to launch its own inquiry into what happened? -- the FCA. The


Chancellor has announced what will be a very broad inquiry. There are a


number of specifics which we will be able to look at, relating to events


over the last five years. Could there be a police investigation I


think the police have already announced an investigation. I am


talking about into the handling of the bank. It depends. There might


be, if there is grim low activity, which we do not know yet. You worked


at the FS eight, didn't you? I did. Some of those people who were signed


off on the speedy promotion of Mr Flowers, are they now working


there? Yes, we have some. I came to join the Financial Services


Authority, to lead it into the creation of the new body, the SCA.


We had people who were challenging and they did the job. There was not


a requirement to approve the role as chairman. There was not even a


requirement to interview at that stage. What we did do was to require


that he was interviewed, and that the Co-op should get additional


experience. One of the people from the old organisation, who signed up


on the promotion of Mr Flowers to become chairman is now a


nonexecutive director of the Co op, so how does that work? Welcome he


was a senior adviser to our organisation, one of the people who


made the challenges, and who said, you need more experience on your


board. Subsequently he then went and joined the board. Surely that should


not be allowed, the regulator and the regulated should not be like


that. Well clearly, you need protection, but we have got to get


good people in, and frankly, we want the industry to have good people in


the industry, so there will be some movement between the regulator and


industry. We all wonder whether you have the power or even the


confidence to stand up if you look at all of the really bad bank


decisions recently, politicians were behind them. It was Gordon Brown who


pushed the disastrous merger of Lloyds and RBS. It was Alex Salmond


who egged on RBS to buy the world. All three main parties wanted the


Co-op to buy Britannia, even though they did not know the debt it would


inherit, and all three wanted the Co-op to buy the Lloyds branches -


how do you as a regulator stand up to that little concert party? Well,


that political pressure exists, our job at the end of the day is to do a


relatively technical job and say, does it stack up? And it didn't and


we made that point time and time again to the Co-op board. They did


not have a business case that we could approve. The bodies on left


and right -- the politicians on left and right gave the Co-op special


support. They may have done, but that was not you have made a warning


about these payday lenders, but I think what most people would like to


see is a limit put on the interest they can charge over a period of


time - will you do that? We have got a whole set of powers for payday


lenders. We will bring in some changes from April next year, and we


will bring in further changes as we see necessary. Will you put a limit


on the interest they can charge That is something we can study. You


do not sound too keen on it? Well, there are a lot of changes we need


to make. One change is limiting rollovers, limiting the use of


continuous payment authorities. Simply jumping to one trigger would


be a mistake. Finally, an issue which I think is becoming a growing


concern, because the Government is thinking of subsidising them, 9 %


mortgages are back - should we not be worried about that? I think we


should if the market has the same experiences that we had back in 2007


- oh wait. We are bringing a comprehensive package in under our


mortgage market review, which will change how people lend and will put


affordability back at the heart of lending decisions. -- 2007-08. You


have not had your first big challenge yet, have you? We have


many challenges. It was once called the battle of the


mods and the rockers - the fight between David Cameron-style


modernisers and old-style traditional Tories for the direction


and soul of the Conservative Party. But have the mods given up on


changing the brand? When David Cameron took over in 2005, he


promoted himself as a new Tory leader. He said that hoodies need


more love. He was talking about something called the big society. He


told his party conference that it was time to that sunshine win the


day. There was new emphasis on the environment, and an eye-catching


trip to a Norwegian glacier to see first-hand, supposedly, the effects


of global warming. This week, party modernise and Nick bone has said


that the party is still seen as an old-fashioned monolith and hasn t


done enough to improve its appeal. The Tories have put some reforms


into practice, such as gay marriage, but they have put more into welfare


reform band compassionate conservatism. David Cameron wants


talked about leading the greenest government ever. Downing Street says


that the quote in the Son is not recognised, get rid of the green


crap. At this point in the programme we were expecting to hear from the


Energy and Climate Change Minister, Greg Barker. Unfortunately, he has


pulled out, with Downing Street saying it's for ""family reasons"".


Make of that what you will. However, we won't be deterred. We're still


doing the story, and we're joined by our very own mod and rocker - David


Skelton of the think-tank Renewal, and Conservative MP Peter Bone.


Welcome to you both. I'm glad your family is allowed you to come? David


Skelton, getting rid of all the green crap, or words to that effect,


that David Cameron has been saying. It is just a sign that Tory


modernisation has been quietly buried. I do think that's right


Modernisation is about reaching out to the voters, and the work to do


that is now more relevant than ever. We got the biggest swing since 931,


and the thing is we need to do more to reach out to voters in the North.


We need to reach out to non-white voters, and show that the concerns


of modern Britain and the concerns of ordinary people is something that


we share. And what way will racking up electricity bills with green


levies get you more votes in the North of England? We have to look at


ways to reduce energy bills. The renewable energy directive doesn't


do anything to help cut our emissions, but does decrease energy


bills by ?45 a year. We should renegotiate that. That is a part of


modernisation and doing what ordinarily people want. And old


dinosaurs like you are just holding this modernisation process back I


am very appreciative of covering on this programme. The Tory party has


been reforming itself for more than 150 years. This idea of modern eyes


a is just some invention. We are changing all the time. I'm nice and


cuddly! So you are happy that the party made gay marriage almost a


kind of symbol of its modernisation? Fine Mac the gay marriage was a free


vote. David Cameron was recorded as a rebel there because more Tories


voted against his position than ever before. It was said that this was a


split between the old and young but it actually was a split between


those who were religious and nonreligious. It is a


misinterpretation of what happened. Is a modernisation in retreat? I


think modernisation is an invention. Seven years ago, in my


part of the world, we got three councillors elected, two were 8 and


one was 21. A few months ago, a 25-year-old was chosen to fight


Corby for the Conservative Party. He came from a comprehensive School. He


was one of the youngest. The Tory party is moving on. So you found


three young people? Hang on a minute. You can't get away with


that. Three in one batch. Does modernisation exist? Modernisation


is about watering our appeal and sharing our values are relevant to


voters who haven't really thought about voting for us for decades now.


Modernisation is about more than windmills and stuff, it is about


boosting the life chances of the poorest, it is about putting better


schools in poorer areas. It is also saying that modernisation and the


Tory party... When has the Tory party been against making poorer


people better off? Or against better schools? Do you think Mrs Thatcher


was a moderniser when she won all those elections? The problem we have


at the moment is that UKIP has grown-up. If we could get all of


those people who vote UKIP to vote for us, we would get 47% of the


vote. We don't need to worry about voters on the left. We need to worry


about the voters in the north, those people who haven't voted for us for


decades. Having an EU Referendum Bill is going to get people to


vote. We have to reach out to voters, but not by some sort of


London based in need. You have to broaden your base. I agree with you


on that. We have to broaden our appeal, but this back to the future


concept is not going to work. We need something that generally


appeals to low and middle-income voters, and something that shows we


genuinely care about the life chances of the poorest. Do you think


that the people who vote UKIP don't support those aspirations? We are


not doing enough to cut immigration. We don't have an EU Referendum Bill


stop we have to get the centre right to vote for us again. Do that, and


we have it. Tom Pursglove, the 5 euros, will be returned in Corby


because we cannot win an election there. -- the 25-year-old. Whether


you are moderniser or traditionalist, people, particularly


in the North, see you as a bunch of rich men. And rich southerners. You


are bunch of rich southerners. We need to do more to show that we are


building on lifting the poorest out of the tax. We need to build more


houses. There is a perception that the leadership at the moment is


rich, and public school educated. What we have to do is get more


people from state education into the top. You are going the other way at


the moment. That is a fair criticism. Modernisers also say


that. I went to a combo hedge of school as well. -- do a


comprehensive school. We need to show that we are standing up for low


income. Thank Q, both of you. You are watching the Sunday Politics.


Coming up in just under 20 minutes, Coming up in just under 20 minutes,


In the East Midlands, a fatal lung illness, but diagnosed five days too


early to qualify for compensation. It happened a long time ago. So what


matters what day they do the investigations?


And after a spate of good figures on jobs, housing and investment, we'll


be asking; are the good times back? Hello, I'm Jon Hess and my guests


today are the Conservative's prospective candidate for the Derby


North seat, Amanda Solloway who'll be hoping that the good times are


back and the Conservatives can take the credit. And a regular visitor,


Labour's Leicester South MP, Jon Ashworth. Who'll be out to prove it


would all be much better under Labour. Welcome to you both.


First, we've heard the claims, now we have the figures: the under


occupancy penalty or bedroom tax is one of the most controversial issues


in politics at the moment. And the National Housing Federation has just


released the figures for the impact it's having in the region. They show


that the most affected areas in the East Midlands are our big cities.


Nottingham has the highest number of families hit by the penalty with


5,288. In Leicester it's 3,402. And in Derby 2,303. Rutland is the least


affected with just 151 households. Overall, the National Housing


Federation calculated that 35,000 families in the East Midlands have


been affected, with an average loss in housing benefit of ?718 a year.


Giving a figure across the region of just over ?25million.


And, Jon Ashworth, you could say that's ?25 million of taxpayers'


money that's been saved. Not really because a lot of councils across the


region are building up huge arrears because lots of people cannot afford


to pay this tax. It is a cruel piece of legislation, hitting a lot of


honourable people, disabled people. A woman got in touch with me, she is


57 with grandkids, she has to go to food banks now because she cannot


pay yet and Labour would get rid of this. This issue is fast becoming


this government's poll tax. What we needed to do was something about it


and the fact is under the last government, housing benefit doubled.


You have in the house and opportunity of a family of five


people or two people. It makes sense to swap it so you have five people


in a house suitable. We have had to eats saying it was originally


considered by Labour but aimed at Private landlords. They would be


penalised for surplus rooms. The past Labour government has consulted


in different ways to make savings. If people are forced out of their


council properties and they are forced into the private sector, they


will pay more in housing benefits so the taxpayer will lose out. From my


point of view it is not crazy. My dad lives in a council house and my


auntie. Neither had to move because the policy is they can stay in their


own home because they are there. A new bill to give compensation to


people who've contracted fatal illnesses after working with


asbestos, is making its way through Parliament. The government say it's


a breakthrough. But campaigners in the East Midlands say it doesn't go


far enough. Chris Doidge has met a Derbyshire man suffering from


mesothelioma, an illness caused by working with asbestos which is


always fatal. He missed out on financial help, because he was


diagnosed FIVE days short of the cut off point.


When it was being installed in buildings or even used to make


loading, people were blase about asbestos. But with symptoms taking


many decades to appear, the consequences are now becoming very


clear and 40 insurers, very expensive. Last year the government


struck a deal with insurance companies creating a fund to support


victims of asbestos whose employers had disappeared or cannot prove they


were insured. But as part of the agreement, people whose mesothelioma


was diagnosed before last July and who cannot call upon a valid


insurance policy will receive nothing. Keith worked with asbestos


for just a few days more than 60 years ago. Fit, healthy and able to


take energetic holidays he was diagnosed last summer. Had you been


diagnosed five days later, you would have qualified. Yes, but I cannot


understand why there should be any cut`off date because this happened


to me. It happened 60 years ago so why should it make any difference


what date it was that they started doing investigations? This law firm


represents hundreds with mesothelioma and it thinks one in


five will miss out because of the scheme. Hapsburg 's of these East


Midlands industrial heritage, it says there are dozens who stand to


lose out. There is no reason why people before that date should be


excluded. I represent many sufferers who are not eligible for a payment


under this new scheme and that seems grossly unfair. What the insurance


industry and the government have developed is a carefully balanced


package which provides as much support as can be provided to those


people who are suffering with mesothelioma relative to the small


and medium enterprises who do not want to see their insurance premiums


increase. Campaigners say it is good news that the thousands who will be


diagnosed in the future will be compensated for the harm asbestos


did to them, but for those whose diagnosis came to soon, the lack of


financial support to them and their families as to their worry. Keep my


fingers crossed, I got away with it, I thought, but after 60 years, it is


quite a long time to wait for something to happen to you.


Remember that Keith missed out on financial help, because he was


diagnosed FIVE days short of the cut off point. With me is Joanne Gordon,


who campaigns for asbestos victims in the East Midlands. Joanne, how


typical is a case like Keith's? We have a number of cases of people who


have died and cannot chase that insurer and will get nothing under


this new scheme. It is a terrible thing. People don't want it for


themselves, they want to provide for their families. They want to provide


compensation for their families. You must be pleased the government has


introduced some form of scheme? Yes, but it is not going far enough.


Amanda, do you think the deadline that caught out Keith was rather


arbitrary and a bit unfair? It is a horrible disease and I feel for


Keith and anyone who suffers. I welcome the fact that this is going


through and we are doing something about it. As it goes through, we


will see how it progresses. Is it to the credit of the coalition that


there has been some movement on this? I am pleased there has been


movement but what I would say is the consultation on this started under


the last government and there is a sense from the campaigners that the


government have caved in to the insurance industry, they have not


push them hard enough on this. You talk about the last Labour


government getting underway at a consultation process but it has


taken the coalition to get this off the ground? Stuff did happen under


Labour. They won a case in the High Court where a victim had to prove


which employer in their past caused the asbestos caused mesothelioma.


The insurance industry have been pushing back on this. That is key.


Won't this be seen as a victory for the powerful law `` lobbying


organisations? I hope it will be a victory for all asbestos sufferers.


Does it go far enough? Personally I would like to see this considered.


The Department of work and pensions says the scheme is a major


breakthrough. It says they are also paying dependence and to make sure


the scheme is affordable, they also had to take tough decisions. Which


means we cannot pay out to every dependent of every person who has


died. I do not think the cost is prohibitive. The insurance industry


have taken ?800 million in unpaid compensation so they can afford to


give something back to the victim is. We are asking for 100% of


average compensation and we are asking for at least it to be paid


back to February 2010 when the government took over the


consultation. They discussed it with the insurance industry exclusive


without victim representation. There will be some people who will think


if the insurance industry pick`up the entire tab for what is a


dreadful illness, it does mean premiums will go up. No. The


insurance industry have set a maximum at which they can pay and at


100% compensation they can pay that over ten years. Jon, this


legislation is still to come to the Commons and go through Parliament.


Is it the type of thing you would like to back? It will go to the


house of commons in two weeks time. If we thought we could get some


amendments down to deal with these different issues, we would support


it. If you start amending the bill it delays the whole process and


there are people out there who need something so that is something we


need to look at. Hopefully the government will listen to concerns


and take these on board. Amanda, it strikes me you would welcome that.


Absolutely. The other thing is we have been looking at the time. Time


is crucial in all of these things. Lots of good things hopefully going


through. If you have the chance to redraw the legislation, what would


be the key things you would want to see? A look at the timings on these.


With that be welcome to you? It certainly would. If we can take this


back to February 2010 and then the teams like Keith can get


compensation. Now, are the good times finally


ready to roll again? We've been used to years of bad news, but suddenly


this week, there's been a spate of more optimistic stories. On the


economy, the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce


has reported that orders are up and more firms are looking to take on


staff. Meanwhile, there's been an increase in new homes being built


and house prices are rising too, if only by just over one per cent.


Finally, there's been tens of millions of pounds of investment


announced this week in roads and buildings across the East Midlands.


Amanda, you are a business consultant. What message are you


getting for businesses now? An optimistic message. The opportunity


to set up businesses which is vital. I work in manufacturing, the


opportunity for apprenticeships, I am feeling very buoyed. Something is


going on out there. David Cameron and George Osborne think they have


sorted the economy out now. That is a bit presumptuous. If you look at


what is happening in the economy, wages have been growing at much less


a pace than prices throughout the whole of this government. People are


worse off by ?1600. Are we not now seeing the advantages of having a


five`year parliament because both the political and economic cycle are


starting to work in favour of this government and isn't that bad news


for Labour? I am interested in how people in Leicester and the East


Midlands are feeling and they are feeling worse off because of this


cost of living crisis. Gas and electricity bills rocketing, train


fares rocketing, these are the issues the government need to be


dealing with. That is the reality for many people who you hope will be


voting for you. I think we are doing a lot and this has only started the


process. But there are some really positive messages, the fact that


when I fill my car with petrol it costs me less. My daughter, recently


married, would not have been able to get a house and now there is an


opportunity for her to be able to do this. Really good messages out there


and I don't see this negativity. Labour's mantra in the early days of


the coalition was it was cutting too fast and too deep and isn't the


problem now that in all those marginal constituencies, the


electorate are likely to warm to this talk of economic revival more


than maybe Labour's message? Do you think people in Loughborough, Derby


field they are better off under this lot? Their bills rocketing, we will


freeze them. Childcare costs up 30% and prices are rising higher than


wages. You are worse off under David Cameron and George Osborne and I am


sure people know that. Let's find out some of those views because What


counts when it comes to the ballot box is whether people feel the


recovery's underway, and they're feeling the benefit.


Des has been to Leicester and met people who were still waiting for


the turn up. I am in Leicester and it is the time


of year for Christmas cheer but is the recession still here? Everyone


has got rose tinted glasses on. I work in catering, in a cafe and


people come in and want the cheapest thing they can get because they do


not have the spare cash. House prices are going up and companies


are taking on more people. That is not necessarily a good thing. All


these youngsters want houses but they cannot get on the property


ladder. Bad as ever. Money is more tight. House prices are going up,


companies taking on a lot of people? Their roster a lot out of work. Are


you enjoying Christmas? Not really, it is too expensive. House prices


are going up and how do you expect people to afford them? Companies are


employing more people. There are not many employing that many people. You


are not guaranteed any hours so you are better on benefits.


Well, that was just a snapshot, but our team in Leicester told us they


couldn't find anyone who thought things were improving. When I look


at that it is not the case. People will find it a lot easier to get


deposits and start`up loans, they are available. I wonder at the


cross`section of people asked about this. After five years of economic


gloom, surely you would expect exports to improve, record books and


order books to be filling up again. Shouldn't the government take


credit? If manufacturing and exports are improving, I am pleased about


that but people in Leicester, I am not surprised what they were saying


because we know hard`pressed people are ?1600 worse off. They have to do


something about it. They have to freeze bills. This cost of living


thing is causing huge problems and we have a government doing nothing


about it. We had a president of the CBI saying in a speech in Leicester


saying any economic revival has to be shared and he was talking about


pay packets being boosted to help people cope with the slump. Our


manufacturers, our bosses going to be generous to boost pay packets? In


the manufacturing, if you start to prosper you will reward people. I am


a great believer that what we need to do is boost industry,


manufacturing and all the stuff we are doing are all helping towards


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


East Midlands this week ` in 60 seconds.


The battle over where to bury Richard III heads to the High Court


for a hearing in front of judges on whether he should be reinterred in


Leicester all your. The Conservative MEP Mike Larkin has


welcomed steps towards ending the Strasse board circus. The habit of


splitting the European Parliament sessions between Strasbourg and


Brussels. The European Parliament has voted to look at reforming the


system and the regions smell politicians have been joining in


with Movember. Growing a moustache to raise money for cancer research.


Alan Charles is not enjoying his own attempts. I am looking forward to


when I can shave it off again. Meanwhile, Mark Spencer is growing


one also but his moustache has been likened to that of a Mexican drug


lord. Having lost the City of Culture, Leicester needs to hold


onto Richard's bones. We are going to hold onto Richard the third. This


High Court thing, what a waste of time. He should stay in Leicester.


Movember, what do you think of these men, colleagues of yours? Mark


Spencer looked more like a refugee from the Village people! Probably


yes! I thought he looked rather dashing. Let's not forget what it is


all about, it is a serious message to give. Jon, are you tempted? Who


knows. When I was on paternity leave, a group a beard so maybe I


will grow a beard. Why just Movember? Exactly, all year round!


That's the Sunday Politics in the East Midlands, thanks to Amanda


Solloway and Jon Ashworth. Don't forget to catch


those people who want to cycle. We will be returning to this one. Thank


you. A little bit of history was made at


Prime Minister's Questions this week. A teensy tiny bit. It wasn't


David Cameron accusing one MP of taking "mind-altering substances" -


they're always accusing each other of doing that. No, it was the first


time a Prime Minister used a live tweet sent from someone watching the


session as ammunition at the dispatch box. Let's have a look We


have had some interesting interventions from front edges past


and present. I hope I can break records by explaining that a tweet


has just come in from Tony McNulty, the former Labour security


minister, saying that the public are desperate for a PM in waiting who


speaks for them, not a Leader of the Opposition in dodging in partisan


Westminster Village knock about So I would stay up with the tweets if


you want to get on the right side of this one! We are working on how the


Prime Minister managed to get that wheat in the first place. What did


you think when you saw it being read out? I was certainly watching the


Daily Politics. I almost fell off my chair! It was quite astonishing He


didn't answer the question - he didn't do that the whole time. But I


stand by what the tweets said. I have tweeted for a long time on


PMQs. Normally I am praising Ed Miliband to the hilt, but no one


announces that in Parliament! Because the Prime Minister picked up


on what you said, it unleashed some attacks on you from the Labour side.


It did, minor attacks from some very junior people. Most people were


supportive of what I said. They took issue with the notion of not doing


it until 12:30pm, when it wasn't available for the other side to use.


Instant history, and instantly forgettable, I would say. Do you


think you have started a bit of a trend? I hope not, because the


dumbing down of PMQs is already on its way. Most people tweet like mad


through PMQs! Is a measure of how post-modern we have become, we have


journalists tweeting about someone talking about a tweet. That is the


level of British politics. I am horrified by this development. The


whole of modern life has become about observing people -- people


observing themselves doing things. Do we know what happened? Somebody


is monitoring the tweets on behalf of the Prime Minister or the Tory


party. They see Tony's tweet. They then print it out and give it to


him? There was a suggestion that Michael Goves had spotted it, but


Craig Oliver from the BBC had this great sort of... Craig Oliver was


holding up his iPad to take pictures of the Prime Minister, which he then


tweeted, from the Prime Minister. People will now be tweeting in the


hope that they will be quoted by the Prime Minister, or the Leader of the


Opposition. I wasn't doing that I'm just talking about the monster you


have unleashed! I hope it dies a miserable death. I think Tony is a


good analysis -- a good analyst of PMQs on Twitter. Moving onto the


Co-op. You were a Co-op-backed MP, white you? I was a Co-op party


member. There are two issues here about the Co-op and the Labour


Party. All the new music suggests that the Co-op will now have to


start pulling back from lending or donating to the Labour Party, which,


at a time when Mr Miliband is going through changes that are going to


cut of the union funds, it seems quite dangerous. There are three


things going on. There's the relationship that the party has


politically with the Co-op party, there is the commercial relationship


you referred to, and then there is this enquiry into the comings and


goings of Flowers and everybody else. The Tories, at their peril,


will mix the three up. There's a lot of things going on with a bang.


Labour has some issues around funding generally, and they are


potentially exacerbated by the Co-op issue. The Labour Party gets soft


loans from the Co-op bank, and it gets donations. ?800,000 last year.


Ed Balls got about ?50,000 for his private office. You get the feeling,


given the state of the Co-operative Bank now, that that money could dry


up. We will see. There's lots of speculation in the papers today At


the core, the relationship between the Co-op party and the Labour Party


is a proud one, and a legitimate one. I don't think others always


understand that. Here is an even bigger issue. Is it not possible


that the Co-op bank will cease to exist in any meaningful way as a


Co-op bank? Is the bane out means it is 70% owned -- the bail out means


that it is 70% owned, or 35% going to a hedge fund, I think I read


Yes, there is a move from the mutualism of the Co-op. But don t


confuse the Co-op bank with the Co-op Group. Others have done that.


I haven't. Here's the rub. The soft loans that Labour gets. They got


?1.2 million from this. And 2.4 million. They are secured against


future union membership fees of the party. What is Mr Miliband doing? He


is trying to end that? You have this very difficult confluence of events,


which is, could these wonderful soft loans that Labour has had from the


Co-op, could they be going? And these union reforms, where Ed


Miliband is trying to create a link between individuals and donations to


the Labour Party... Clearly, there could be real financial difficulties


here. The government needs to be careful, because George Osborne


launched one of his classic blunderbuss operations this week,


which is that the Labour Party is to blame for Paul Flowers' private


life. No, it's not. And that all the problems, essentially... Look at


what George Osborne was doing in Europe. He was trying to change the


capital requirement rules that would make it easier for the Co-op to take


over Lloyd's. If there is to be a big investigation, George Osborne


needs to be careful of what he wishes for. This is another example


of the Westminster consensus. All of the Westminster parties were in


favour of the Britannia takeover. This is how the Co-op ended up with


all this toxic rubbish on its balance sheet. All the major parties


were in favour of going to get the Lloyds branches. The Tories tried to


outdo Labour in being more pro-Co-op. There was nobody in


Westminster saying, hold on, this doesn't work. It is like the


financial bubble all over again Everyone was in favour of that at


the time. I think there is no evidence so far that the storm is


cutting through to the average voter. If I were Ed Miliband, I


would let it die a natural death. I would not write to an editorial


column for a national newspaper on a Sunday. That keeps the issue alive,


and it makes him look oversensitive and much better at dishing it out


than taking it. I agree about that. The Labour press team tweeted this


week saying that it was a new low for the times. And this was


re-tweeted by Ed Miliband. It isn't a great press attitude. It is very


Moni. Bill Clinton went out there and fought and made the case. So did


Tony Blair. If you just say, they are being horrible to us, it looks


pathetic. And it will cut through on Osborne and the financial


dimensional is, not political. I shall tweet that later! While we


have been talking, Mr Miliband has been on Desert Island Discs. He


might still be on it. Let's have a listen to what he had to say.


# Take on me, take me on. # And threw it all, she offers me


protection. # A lot of love and affection.


# Whether I'm right or wrong #. # Je Ne Regrette Rien. #.


Obviously, that was the music that Ed Miliband chose. Who thought -


you would have thought he would choose Norman Lamont's theme tune!


He chose Jerusalem... He has no classical background at all. He had


no Beethoven, no Elgar. David Cameron had Mendelssohn. And Ernie,


the fastest Notman in the West. -- fastest milkman. Tony Blair chose


the theme tune to a movie. Tony Blair's list was chosen by young


staffers in his office. It absolutely was. Tony Blair's list


was chosen by staff. The Ed Miliband this was clearly chosen by himself,


because who would allow politician to go out there and say that they


like Aha. I am the same age as Ed Miliband, and of course he likes


Aha. That was the tumour was played in the 80s. Sweet Caroline. It is


Angels by Robbie Williams. I was 14-year-old girl when that came out.


I thought Angels was the staple of hen nights and chucking out time in


pubs. The really good thing about his list is that the Smiths to not


appear. The Smiths were all over David Cameron's list. The absolutely


miserable music of Morris he was not there. What was his luxury? And


Indian takeaway! Again, chosen for political reasons. I would agree


with the panel about Aha, but I would expect -- I would respect his


right to choose. Have you been on Desert Island Discs? I have. It took


me three weeks to choose the music. It was the most difficult decision


in my life. What was the most embarrassing thing you chose? I


didn't choose anything embarrassing. I chose Beethoven, Elgar, and some


proper modern jazz. Anything from the modern era? Pet Shop Boys.


That's all for today. The Daily Politics will be on BBC Two at


lunchtime every day next week, and we'll be back here on BBC One at


11am next week. My luxury, by the way, was a wind-up radio! Remember,


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


Andrew Neil and John Hess present the latest political stories, with Conservative chairman Grant Shapps and a look at Ed Miliband's choices for Desert Island Discs on Radio 4.

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