16/03/2014 Sunday Politics East Midlands


Marie Ashby with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Andrew Neil looks ahead to the budget and speaks to UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

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Morning folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. George Osborne's fifth


Budget will offer more tax relief for the lower paid but not for


middle income earners being thrust into the 40p tax bracket. That's our


top story. Ed Balls says millions of people


aren't feeling any benefit from the recovery. We'll discuss the economy


with big political beasts from Labour, the Conservatives, and the


Lib Dems. Now that Ed Miliband has effectively ruled out an in/out EU


referendum, how does UKIP deal with Tory claims that a vote for UKIP


means no chance The Education Secretary says our


schools are letting children down and fancy a seat in the House of


Lords? We will be hearing from the of cycling. The three areas of


London getting a cash boost to try something different.


And with me as always our top political panel - Nick Watt, Helen


Lewis and Janan Ganesh. They'll be tweeting their thoughts using the


hashtag #bbcsp throughout the programme. So, just three months


after his last major financial statement, George Osborne will be at


the despatch box again on Wednesday, delivering his 2014 Budget. The


Chancellor has already previewed his own speech, pledging to build what


he calls a "resilient economy". The message I will give in the Budget is


the economic plan is working but the job is far from done. We need to


build resilient economy which means addressing the long-term weaknesses


in Britain that we don't export enough, invest enough, build enough,


make enough. Those are the things I will address because we want Britain


to earn its way in the world. George Osborne's opposite number, Ed Balls,


has also been talking ahead of the Budget. He says not everyone is


feeling the benefit of the economic recovery, and again attacked the


Government's decision to reduce the top rate of tax from 50 to 45%.


George Osborne is only ever tough when he's having a go at the week


and the voiceless. Labour is willing to face up to people on the highest


incomes and say, I'm sorry, justifying a big tax cut at this


time is not fair. We will take away the winter allowance from the richer


pensioners, and I think that's the right thing to do. George Osborne


might agree, but he's not allowed to say so. That was the Chancellor and


the shadow chancellor. Janan, it seems like we are in a race against


time. No one argues that the recovery is not under way, in fact


it looks quite strong after a long wait, but will it feed through to


the living standards of ordinary people in time for the May election?


They only have 14 months to do it. The big economic variable is


business investment. Even during the downturn, businesses hoarded a lot


of cash. The question is, are they confident enough to release that


into investment and wages? Taking on new people, giving them higher pay


settlements. That could make the difference and the country will feel


more prosperous and this time next year. But come to think of it, it


strikes me, that how anticipated it is, it's the least talked about


Budget for many years. I think that is because the economy has settled


down a bit, but also because people have got used to the idea that there


is no such thing as a giveaway. Anything that is a tax cut will be


taken away as a tax rise or spending cut. That's true during the good


times but during fiscal consolidation, it's avoidable. --


unavoidable. There is a plus and minus for the Conservatives here.


49% of people think the government is on roughly the right course, but


only 16% think that their financial circumstances will improve this


year. It will be a tough one for the Labour Party to respond to. I agree


with Janan. Everyone seems bored with the run-up to the Budget. The


front page of the Sunday Times was about fox hunting, the front page of


the Sunday Telegraph was about EU renegotiation. Maybe we are saying


this because there have not been many leaks. We have got used to


them, and most of the George Osborne chat on Twitter was about how long


his tie was. Freakishly long. I wouldn't dare to speculate why.


Anything we should read into that? I don't know. For a long while there


was no recovery, then it was it is a weak recovery, and now, all right,


it's strong but not reaching everyone in the country. That is


where we are in the debate. That's right, and the Conservative MPs are


so anxious and they are making George Osborne announcing the rays


in the personal allowance will go up, saying it might go up to 10,750


from next year, and Conservative MPs say that that's OK but we need to


think about the middle voters. People are saying the economy is


recovering but no one is feeling it in their pocket. These are people


snagged in at a 40p tax rate. The Tories are saying these are our


people and we have to get to them. He has given the Lib Dems more than


they could have hoped for on raising the threshold. Why is he not saying


we have done a bit for you, now we have to look after our people and


get some of these people out of that 40% bracket? Partly because the Lib


Dems have asked for it so insistently behind-the-scenes.


Somebody from the Treasury this week told me that these debates behind


the scenes between the Lib Dems and Tories are incredibly tenacious and


get more so every year. The Lib Dems have been insistent about going


further on the threshold. The second reason is that the Tories think the


issue can work for them in the next election. They can take the credit.


If they enthusiastically going to ?12,000 and make it a manifesto


pledge, they can claim ownership of the policy. The Liberal Democrats


want to take it to 12,500, which means you are getting into minimum


wage territory. It's incredibly expensive and the Tories are saying


that maybe you would be looking at the 40p rate. The Tories have played


as well. There have been authorised briefings about the 40p rate, and


Cameron and Osborne have said that their priority was helping the


lowest paid which is a useful statement to make and it appeals to


the UKIP voters who are the blue-collar workers. And we are


right, the economy will determine the next election? You assume so. It


was ever that is. It didn't in 1992 or 1987. It did in 1992.


Ed Miliband's announcement last week that a Labour government would not


hold a referendum on Europe unless there's another transfer of powers


from Britain to Brussels has certainly clarified matters. UKIP


say it just shows the mainstream parties can't be trusted. The


Conservatives think it means UKIP voters might now flock back to them


as the only realistic chance of securing a referendum. Giles Dilnot


reports. When it comes to Europe and


Britain's relation to it, the question is whether the answer is


answered by a question. To be in or not to be in, that is the question,


and our politicians have seemed less interested in question itself but


whether they want to let us answer it. Labour clarified their position


last week. There will be no transfer of powers without an in out


referendum, without a clear choice as to whether Britain will stay in


the EU. That seems yes to a referendum, but hold on. I believe


it is unlikely that this lock will be used in the next Parliament. So


that's a no. The Conservatives say yes to asking, in 2017, if


re-elected, but haven't always. In 2011, 81 Tory MPs defied the PM by


voting for a referendum on EU membership: the largest rebellion


against a Tory prime minister over Europe. Prompted by a petition from


over 100,000 members of the public. The wrong question at the wrong time


said the Foreign Secretary of a coalition Government including


selfie-conciously-pro European Lib Dems, who had a referendum pledge in


their 2010 manifesto, but only in certain circumstances. So we have


the newspapers, and the public meeting leaflets. UKIP have always


wanted the question put regardless. But Labour's new position may change


things and The Conservatives think so. I think it does, because, you


know, we are saying very clearly, like UKIP, we want a referendum, but


only a Conservative government can deliver it because most suffer


largest would say it is possible in the first past the post system to


have a UKIP government -- sophologists. And then it's easy for


as to say that if a UKIP vote lets in a Conservative government, then


they won't hold a referendum. UKIP seem undaunted by the clarifications


of the other parties, campaigning like the rest but with a "tell it


how it is, just saying what you're thinking, we aren't like them"


attitude. They seem more worried about us and what we want, and I


don't see that in the other parties. In parts of the UK, like South


Essex, it's a message they think is working. They are taking the voters


for granted again and people have had enough. People are angry, they


see people saying they will get a vote on the European Union, but then


it just comes down the road. They were quick to capitalise on the


announcements, saying only the Conservatives will give you say, so


does it change things? Not really. We have been talking about a


referendum and having a debate on the European Union for years, and


the other parties are playing catch up. They have a trust issue. Nobody


trusts them on the European Union and that is why people come to us.


Who the average UKIP voter is, or how they voted before is


complicated, and what dent they might make on Conservative and


Labour votes in 2015 is trickier still, but someone's been crunching


the numbers anyway. We reckon it is between 25 and 30% of the electorate


broadly share the UKIP motivation, so to top out at that level would be


difficult. That's an awful lot of voters, but it's not the majority,


and this is the reason why the main parties can't afford to just openly


appealed to the UKIP electorate too hard because the elections are won


and lost amongst the other 70%, the middle-class, the graduate, the


younger, ethnic minorities. An appeal to the values of UKIP voters


will alienate some of the other groups, and they are arguably more


significant in winning the election. Whatever, the numbers UKIPers seem


doggedly determined to dig away at any support the other parties have


previously enjoyed. Giles Dilnot reporting. UKIP's


leader, Nigel Farage, joins me now for the Sunday Interview.


Nigel Farage, welcome back. Good morning. So the Labour Party has


shot a fox. If Ed Miliband is the next by Minister, there will not be


a referendum customer there's a long way between now and the next


election, and Conservative party jobs and changes. We had a cast-iron


guarantee of a referendum from camera, then he three line whip


people to vote against it, and now they are for it. What the Labour


Party has done is open up a huge blank to us, and that is what we


will go for in the European elections this coming year in May. I


think there is a very strong chance that Labour will match the


Conservative pledge by the next general election. There may be, but


at the moment he has ruled it out, and if he does not change his mind


and goes into the election with the policy as it is, the only chance of


a referendum is a Tory government. If you think the Tories will form a


majority, which I think is unlikely. Remember, two thirds of our voters


would never vote Conservative anyway. There is still this line of


questioning that assumes UKIP voters are middle-class Tories. We have


some voters like that, but most of them are coming to us from Labour,


some from the Lib Dems and a lot of nonvoters. But it come the election


you failed to change Mr Miliband's line, I repeat, the only chance of a


referendum, if you want a referendum, if that is what matters,


and the polls suggest it doesn't matter to that many people, but if


that is what matters, the only way you can get one is to vote


Conservative. No, because you have a situation in key marginals,


especially where all three parties are getting a good share, where we


will see, and this depends a lot on the local elections and the European


elections, there are target constituencies where UKIP has a


reasonably good chance of winning a seat, and that will change the


agenda. Every vote for UKIP makes a Tory government less likely. Arab


voters are not Tory. Only a third of the UKIP boat comes from the


Conservative party -- our voters are not Tory. -- the UKIP vote. It was


mentioned earlier, about blue-collar voters. We pick up far more Labour


Party and nonvoters than conservatives. On the balance of


what the effect of the UKIP boat is, the Tories should worry about


us, they should worry about the fact they have lost faith with their own


electorate. Even if there is a minority Ed Miliband government, it


means no referendum. Labour and the Liberal Democrats are now at one on


the matter. The next election is in a few weeks time, the European


elections. What happens in those elections will likely change the


party stands and position on a referendum. The fact that Ed


Miliband has said this means, for us, our big target on the 22nd of


May will be the Labour voters in the Midlands and northern cities, and if


we do hammer into that boat and we are able to beat Labour on the day,


there's a good chance of their policy changing. One poll this


morning suggests Labour is close to you at 28, the Conservatives down at


21, the Lib Dems down at eight. You are taking votes from the


Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. We are certainly taking


votes from the Lib Dems but that is comparing the poll with one year ago


when I don't think most people knew what the question really was. You


seem to be in an impossible position because the better you do in a


general election, the less chance there will be a referendum by 2020.


No, look at the numbers. Only a third of our voters are


Conservatives. When we have polled voters that have come to us, we


asked them if there was no UKIP candidate who would you vote for,


less than one in five said Conservative. Less than one in five


UKIP voters would be tempted to vote Conservative under any circumstances


so the arithmetic does not suggest we are the Conservative problem, it


suggests we are hurting all of the parties and the reason the Tories


are in trouble is because they have lost their traditional base. Why do


you think Nick Clegg is debating Europe? I think they are in


trouble, at 8% they could be wiped out, they could go from 12 to


nothing and I think it is a chance for Nick Clegg to raise their


profile. They are fringe party with respect to this contest so I see why


he wants to do it. One of our big criticisms is that we have not been


able to have a full debate on national television on the


alternatives of the European Union so I am looking forward to it. How


are you preparing? I think you can be over scripted with these things.


Are you not doing mock debates? No, I am checking my facts and figures


and making sure that I can show the British people that in terms of


jobs, we would be far better off not being within the European Union, not


being within its rule book, not suffering from some of the green


taxes they are putting on the manufacturing industry. The idea


that 3 million jobs are at risk, I want to show why that is nonsense.


Who do you think is playing you in their mock debates? They probably


went to the pub and found someone! We will see. You have promised to do


whatever it takes to fund your European election campaign, how much


has been given so far? Just give it a few weeks and you will see what


Paul is planning to do. He has made a substantial investment in the


campaign already. How much? I'm not answering that for now. We are well


on our way to a properly funded campaign and our big target will be


the big cities and the working vote in those communities. Your deputy


chairman Neil Hamilton is another former Tory, he says so far we


haven't seen the colour of his money. Exactly two weeks ago, and


things have changed since then. Mr Sykes has written a cheque since


then? Yes. This morning's papers saying you will be asking MEPs to


contribute ?50,000 each, is that true? Over the next five years, yes.


Not for the European campaign. So lack of money will not be an excuse.


We will have a properly funded campaign. How we raise the kind of


money needed to fund the general election afterwards is another


question. What is UKIP's policy on paying family members? We don't


encourage it and I didn't employ any family member for years. My wife


ended up doing the job and paid for the first seven years of my job. She


is paid now? Until May, then she comes off the payroll am which


leaves me with a huge problem. In 2004 you said, UKIP MEPs will not


employ wives and there will be no exceptions. An exception was made


because I became leader of the National party as well as a leader


of the group in European Parliament. Things do change in


life, and you can criticise me for whatever you like, but I cannot be


criticised for not having a big enough workload. No, but you didn't


employ your wife when you had told others not to do it your party.


Nobody else in my party has a big job in Europe and the UK. We made


the exception for this because of very unusual circumstances. It also


looks like there was a monetary calculation. Listen to this clip


from a BBC documentary in 2000. It is a good job. I worked it out


because so much of what you get is after tax that if you used the


secretarial allowances to pay your wife on top of the other games you


can play, I reckon this job in Stirling term is over a quarter of


?1 million a year. That is what you would need to earn working for


Goldman Sachs or someone like that. I agree with that. More importantly


the way you really make money in the European Parliament is being their


five days a week, because you sign in every day, you get 300 euros


every day, and that is how people maxed out. The criticism of me is


that I am not there enough so whatever good or bad I have done in


the European Parliament, financial gain has not been one of the


benefits. There have been allegations of you also employing a


former mistress on the same European Parliamentary allowance, you deny


that? I am very upset with the BBC coverage of this. The ten o'clock


news run this as a story without explaining that that allegation was


made using Parliamentary privilege by somebody on bail facing serious


fraud charges. I thought that was pretty poor. You have a chance to do


that and you deny you have employed a former mistress? Yes, but if you


look at many of the things said over the last week, I think it is


becoming pretty clear to voters that the establishment are becoming


terrified of UKIP and they will use anything they can find to do us down


in public. Is an MEP employs his wife and his former mistress, that


would be resigning matter, wouldn't it? Yes, particularly if the


assumption was that money was being taped for work but was not being


done. Who do you think is behind these stories? It is all about


negative, it is all about attacks, but I don't think it is actually


going to work because so much of what has been said in the last week


is nonsense. A reputable daily newspaper said I shouldn't be


trusted because I had stored six times for the Conservative party, I


have never even stored in a local council election. I think if you


keep kicking an underdog, it will make the British people rally around


us. Is it the Conservatives? Yes, and the idea that all of our voters


are retired colonels is simply not true. We get some voters from the


Labour side as well. Would you consider standing in a Labour seat


if you are so sure you are getting Labour votes? Yes, but the key for


UKIP is that it has to be marginal. Just for your own future, if you


fail to win a single soul -- single seat in the general election, if Ed


Miliband fails to win an outright majority, will you stand down as


UKIP leader? I would think within about 12 hours, yes. I will have


failed, I got into politics not because I wanted a career in


politics, far from it. I did it because I don't think this European


entanglement is right for our country. I think a lot of people


have woken up to the idea we have lost control of our borders and now


is the moment for UKIP to achieve what it set out to do. Will UKIP


continue without you if you stand down? Of course it will. I know that


everyone says it is a one-man band but it is far from that. We have had


some painful moments, getting rid of old UKIP, new UKIP is more


professional, less angry and it is going places. Nigel Farage, thank


you for being with us. So, what else should we be looking


out for in Wednesday's Budget statement? We've compiled a Sunday


Politics guide to the Chancellor's likely announcements.


Eyes down everyone, it's time for a bit of budget bingo. Let's see what


we will get from the man who lives at legs 11. Despite some good news


on the economy, George Osborne says that this will be a Budget of hard


truths with more pain ahead in order to get the public finances back


under control. But many in the Conservative party, including the


former chancellor Norman Lamont, want Mr Osborne to help the middle


classes by doing something about the 4.4 million people who fall into the


40% bracket. Around one million more people pay tax at that rate compared


to 2010 because the higher tax threshold hasn't increased in line


with inflation. Mr Osborne has indicated he might tackle the issue


in the next Conservative manifesto, but for now he is focused on helping


the low paid. It's likely we will see another increase in the amount


you can earn before being taxed, perhaps up another ?500 to ?10,500.


The Chancellor is going to flesh out the details of a tax break for


childcare payments, and there could be cries of 'house' with the promise


of more help for the building industry. The Help To Buy scheme


will be extended to 2020 and there could be the go-ahead for the first


Garden City in 40 years. Finally, bingo regulars could be celebrating


a full house with a possible cut in bingo tax.


And I've been joined in the studio by the former Conservative


chancellor Norman Lamont, in Salford by the former Labour Cabinet


minister Hazel Blears, and in Aberdeen by the Lib Dem deputy


leader, Malcolm Bruce. Let me come to Norman Lamont first, you and


another former Tory Chancellor, Nigel Lawson, have called in the


fall in the threshold for the rate at which the 40p clicks in. I would


have preferred an adjustment in the Budget but I agree with what you are


saying, it sounds like the Chancellor will not do that. My main


point is that you cannot go on forever and forever increasing the


personal allowance and not increasing the 40% tax threshold


because you are driving more and more people into that band. It is an


expensive policy because in order to keep the number of people not paying


tax constant, you have to keep adjusting it each year. When this


was introduced by Nigel Lawson, it applied to one in 20 people, the 40%


rate, it now applies to one in six people. By next year, there will be


6 million people paying base. Why do you think your Tory colleagues seem


happy to go along with the Lib Dems and target whatever money there is


for tax cuts rather -- on the lower paid rather than the middle incomes?


They are not helping the lowest paid. If you wanted to really help


the lowest paid people you would raise the threshold for national


insurance contributions, which is around ?6,000. Is it the Lib Dems


stopping any rise in the 40p threshold? We are concentrating on


raising the lower threshold because we believe that is the way to help


those on lower incomes. Whilst they haven't benefited as much as the


lower paid they have participated and I think people understand right


now, if you were going to prioritise the high earners, when we are still


trying to help those on lower and middle incomes who haven't enjoyed


great pay increases but have got the benefit of these tax increases, that


is why we would like to do it for the minimum wage level. But the


poorest will not benefit at all. The poorest 16% already don't pay tax.


Why don't you increase the threshold at which National Insurance starts?


You only have two earned ?5,500 before you start to pay it. You've


got to remember that the raising of the threshold to ?10,000 or more was


something the Tories said we could not afford. Why are you continuing


to do it? If you want to help the working poor, the way would be to


take the lowest out of national insurance. The view we take is they


are benefiting, and have benefited from, the raising of the tax


threshold. You now have to earn ?10,000, we hope eventually 12,500,


and that means only people on very low wages. If you opt out of


national insurance, you're saying to people that you make no contribution


to the welfare system, so there is a general principle that people should


participate and paying, and also claim when they need something out.


We thought raising the threshold was simple and effective at a time of


economic austerity and the right way to deliver a helpful support to


welcoming people. -- working people. With the Labour Party continue to


raise the threshold, or do they think there is a case that there are


too many people being dragged into the 40p tax bracket? If Norman


Lamont thinks this is the right time to benefit people who are reasonably


well off rather than those who are struggling to make ends meet, then


genuinely, I say it respectfully, I don't think he's living in the world


the rest of us are. Most working people have seen their wages


effectively reduced by about ?1600 because they have been frozen, so


the right thing is to help people on modest incomes. I also understand


that if the 40% threshold went up, the people who would benefit the


most, as ever, are the people who are really well off, not the people


in the middle. The Conservatives have already reduced the 50p tax on


people over ?150,000 a year, and we have to concentrate on the people


going out to work, doing their best to bring their children up and have


a decent life and need a bit of help. I think raising the threshold


is a good thing. We would bring back the 10p tax, which we should never


have abolished, and do things with regard to childcare. At the moment,


childcare costs the average family as much as their mortgage, for


goodness sake. We would give 25 hours free childcare for youngsters


over three and four years old. That would be a massive boost the working


families. We are talking about nurses, tube drivers, warrant


officers in the army. There are many people who are not well off but have


been squeezed in the way everybody has been squeezed and they are


finding it continuing. I am stunned by Malcolm's argument where


everybody should pay something so you should not take people out of


national insurance, but the principle doesn't apply to income


tax. You can stand that argument on its head and apply it to income tax.


Most people don't see a difference between income tax and national


insurance, it's the same thing to most people. It is true that it


isn't really an insurance fund and there is an argument from merging


both of them. But we have concentrated on a simple tax


proposition. Norman is ignoring the fact the people on the 40% rate have


benefited by the raising of the personal allowance. To say they have


been squeezed is unfair. The calculation is that an ordinary


taxpayer will be ?700 better off at the current threshold, and about


?500 better off at the higher rate. It is misleading to say the better


off we'll be paying more. I agree with Hazel, if you go to the 40%


rate, it's the higher earners who benefit the most, and we won't do


that when the economy is not where it was before the crash. How much


will the lower paid be better off if you reintroduce the 10p rate?


Significantly better off. I don't have the figure myself, but they'd


be significantly better off and the Budget should be a mixture of


measures to help people who work hard. That is why I think the


childcare issue has to be addressed. ?100 a week of the people


with childcare payments. It is a massive issue. We want the job is


guaranteed to get young people back into work. There's been hardly any


discussion about that, and we have nearly 1 million people who have


been out of work for six months or more, and as a country we need to do


something to help that. 350,000 full-time students, so it is a


misleading figure. It is not a million including full-time


students. All parties do this. It sounds to me, Malcolm Bruce, you


have more in common with the Labour Party than you do with the


Conservatives. You want an annual levy on houses over ?2 million, so


does Labour. A lot of your members want to scrap the so-called bedroom


tax and so does labour. You think every teacher should have a teaching


qualification, and so does Labour. Your policy on the EU referendum is


the same. Let me go on. And you want to scrap the winter fuel allowance


for wealthy pensioners. We want to make sure we get the public finances


in order and we have grave reservations about the Labour Party


promises. But they followed your spending plans in the first year.


The point we are making is we can make a fairer society and stronger


economy if you keep the public finances moving towards balance. We


don't think the Labour Party will take a stand that track. It is


interesting that the Labour Party want to introduce the 10p rate that


Gordon Brown abolished. We consider that before we can -- committed to


the 0% rate -- we considered that. It makes a complicated system


difficult and we think it's better doing it that way. As a fiscal


conservative, why are you talking about any tax cuts when the deficit


is over ?100 billion, and effectively, anything you propose


today can only be financed by more borrowing. I totally agree with you.


I said that this week. I thought the best thing would have no Budget. The


main thing is to get the deficit down. My argument is is that you


have an adjustment in tax rates it should be shared between the


allowances and the higher rate, but I don't think that the progress on


the deficit is something we can give up on. This is still a very long way


to go. We're only halfway through. Hazel, does it make sense to borrow


for tax cuts? I am reluctant to do this, but I agree with both Norman


and Malcolm. Malcolm Bruce wants to borrow for tax cuts. We absolutely


need to get the deficit down and get finances on a strong footing. But we


also have to think about having some spending in the system that in the


longer run saves us money. We all know we need to build new homes. I


don't think it's necessarily the right priority to give people in


London mortgage relief in terms of ?600,000. We have to get the balance


right. Sometimes it is right to spend to save. I'm afraid we have


run out of time. There will be plenty more discussion in the lead


up to the Budget on Wednesday. It's just gone 11:35am. You're


watching the Sunday Politics. We say goodbye to viewers in Scotland who


leave us now for Sunday Politics Scotland. Coming up here in 20


minutes, Frances O'Grady, the General Secretary of the TUC, joins


us discuss In the East Midlands ` the Education


Secretary says many of our schools are letting children down. We need


to raise the level of ambition. But as a new academy school prepares


to open, there's a row over how it's finding new pupils. If children are


being poached from other secondary schools, that has enormous


implications for the schools' budget and for their forward planning and


resourcing and for all the children that don't go.


And fancy a seat in the House of Lords? We meet the Baroness who's


talent spotting for East Midlanders to take their place on those famous


red benches. Hello, I'm Marie Ashby. My guests


this week ` the Conservative MP for Sherwood, Mark Spencer, and Labour's


Derby North MP, Chris Williamson. First, it's been a big story


everywhere ` the death of a political figure who played an


important role here in the East Midlands. Tony Benn was the MP for


Chesterfield for 17 years. His death was announced on Friday. Chris, a


big loss to your party, particularly those of you to the left? Well, yes,


in my view, Tony Benn was the best Leader of the Labour Party they


never had. Had he had the opportunity to become the Prime


Minister, I think our country would be a very different place to what we


are living through today. I remember campaigning for him in the 1984


by`election after he lost his seat in Bristol, I threw a sicky for a


week so I could go up and campaign. You bunked off college to help him


out? I did. What was he really like? He was a true gentleman in the


truest sense of the word. He always made you feel included and special.


He was a great inspiration to me and a great inspiration to millions of


people. Mark, what do you make of his legacy? He was a great orator


and the one thing ` today you see a lot of people like weather vanes `


Tony Benn never moved. He stuck fast to his principles. Did you meet him?


No. He shaped my political thinking. I didn't agree with him on most of


the topics. He had the ability to change the way that you thinked.


What sort of mark has he left on the Labour scene in Derbyshire? A huge


mark. We will probably never see his like again. The way he chronicled


the political process in this country will be invaluable to


historians looking back on the post`war political period and he is


a great loss and somebody who will be remembered very fondly by both


sides of the political spectrum. Thank you.


Well, from a political giant of the past to one very much of the


present. The Education Secretary Michael Gove has been visiting


schools in the region. Education's a hugely controversial issue with the


problems at the Al Madinah School in Derby and a blitz by Ofsted on


Nottingham Schools. Our Political Editor John Hess asked Mr Gove


what's going wrong. We need to change leadership. We needed to make


sure we've got the right leadership teams, the right head teachers in


place and we need to raise the level of ambition for children in the


city. What are you doing to turn around those failing schools? You


need the right head teachers and the right support leading individual


departments, maths and English in particular. You also need to have a


higher level of ambition. One of the problems that we've had in the past


is that there's been an assumption that children in Nottingham can't


succeed on the same basis or at the same level as children in leafier


suburbs or in wealthier parts of the country. That's wrong. There are


children in some schools that are achieving brilliantly and we needed


to make sure that we get more children from Nottingham, ambitious


to go on to university or integrate apprenticeships. Half of those


secondary schools in special measures are academies. Academies


are supposed to be the saviour of underperforming inner city schools?


Yes, academies only work if you have the right leddership. `` Leadership.


We are determined to ensure whether schools are local authority schools


or academies, they are held to account. We know there are some


academies that have been underperforming and lots of local


authority schools that have been underperforming across the country.


The real test is how quickly can we turn schools round that are failing?


And if, for any reason, the leadership of an academy is not


being challenged effectively, then we will step in. You mention


accountability, but isn't it time for our Local Education Authorities


to have that role as scrutiny again? There's a role that local


authorities do have to play and they need to be more ambitious. One of


the things I have been impressed by is that there are some local


authorities like Northumberland that are introducing additional measures


to ensure that schools don't just meet national targets, but exceed


them. I think part of the problem in Nottingham is that people haven't


been ambitious enough and I think the question for Nottingham Local


Authority is not to try to second guess what happens on the ground in


schools when it comes to the management and allocation of


resources, the thing to do is to set an ambitious target for how many


children should be getting good GCSEs and going on to to college. Or


on to apprenticeships. Michael Gove laying it on the line. A lack of


ambition in communities and in schools, is he right? We need to


support those pupils and we need to get them from education into careers


so they've got that aspiration to thrive and to strive forward and why


can't you come from Nottinghamshire and go on to be a doctor, or an


astronaut? Is that what it is about, Chris, lack of ambition? I'm all for


giving people opportunities. We are living through this very difficult


austere time with the economy flatlining and that is down to


Mark's party in large measure. In terms of these academies, what we


are seeing with the present Government is pursuing an


ideological agenda, in spite of the evidence to the contrary. As a


consequence of going down the Academy route, we have seen a


massive increase in unqualified teachers in our schools ` we need to


tackle that. I don't like this new agenda that is being pursued. You


can see that determination to push this through, to get the job done?


He is passionate. Against all odds? As a Government, that is our


responsibility, to make sure those kids get those opportunities and get


the education that we ought to be providing. You can almost hear the


teachers shouting at the telly? We have looked at some of the things


that can be achieved. If you get great headmasters and a teaching


team which is working together, you can really achieve great things.


There have been problems, Chris, in Derby schools and also this week,


two more Derby schools have been threatened with being forced into


becoming academies. It is worrying? There is this ideological agenda


that is being pursued by Michael Gove. We are seeing Michael Gove is


determined to force academies on communities when they are not


wanted. The truth is, we need to invest in our education system. We


need to give oversight to Local Education Authorities and we have to


sort out the economy. It is all very well Mark saying he is giving kids


opportunities ` opportunities for what? We need to create hundreds of


thousands of jobs for young people. Not these half`baked apprenticeships


which aren't worth the paper they are written on. Youth unemployment


is one of our biggest problems? We have managed to get hold of that.


The figures are coming down. Only half the schools... You scrapped the


Future Jobs... The Labour Party want to oppose... No, you have massive


cuts, mass youth unemployment. The Government scrapped the Future Jobs


Fund. Let's talk about academies again. Let's find out our next


report. Well, the growth of academy schools,


state`funded but independent of local authority control, is one big


area of contention. In Nottingham a planned new academy has angered


parents and teachers who accuse them of poaching children away from their


schools ` and it's being set up by two organisations which already


preside over failing schools in the city. Here's Jane Dodge.


The current uniform is high`vis jackets. In six months it will be


blazers and ties. The site of the old Dunkirk fire station is to


become Nottingham's latest purpose built academy. 100 students have


signed up so far. By 2017, Nottingham University Academy of


Science and Technology hopes to have 800. They'll start at the age of 14,


study from 8.30am to 5.00pm and take technical qualifications as well as


GCSEs. There is a real collaboration between education and employers and


a real enthusiasm and indeed the Academy is part of the Nottingham


City Council's growth plan because we want to make Nottingham the city


of science. The University of Nottingham and the Djanogly Learning


Trust are sponsoring the Academy. It is not their first. There is


Nottingham University Samworth Academy and Djanogly City Academy,


both were rated inadequate by Ofsted recently. It is hardly a ringing


endorsement for this one? It is about collaboration. You will find


that the city, despite the challenging Ofsted assessment, they


will take it forward, collaboratively between the local


authority schools and the academies and they will share good practice


and standards will rise. For this academy to succeed, it needs to


persuade parents it can offer a better education than other


secondary schools in the area. To get that message across, more than


2,500 letters have been sent to selected homes. Tactics deemed by


some to be unethical. As far as I understand it, that's contravening


the Data Protection Act. This is very intrusive and in terms of the


other secondary schools in our city, if I was the head of a secondary


school, I would be hopping mad and I would be very worried because if


children are being poached from other secondary schools, that has


enormous implications for the schools' budget and for their


forward planning and their resourcing and for all the children


that don't go. It is the role of local authorities that's incensed


the head teachers we have spoken to. It was Nottingham Futures which is


owned by the city and County Councils that sent the letters to


parents. We were giving information out of a new institution that is


opening in our city. We wouldn't give it any endorsement. What we


need to get on to is what opportunities there are going to be


here for encouraging young people to be prepared for the workplace. NUAST


wants to produce the next generation of world innovators. The clock is


ticking. Ofsted has warned improving performance in schools is one of the


region's greatest and most urgent challenges. Mark, you talked earlier


about the importance of young people finding careers. It sounds like this


school is exactly all about that? It is about vocational skills? What an


inspiration. One of the leading universities in the world, linking


up with a school to develop those young minds and find them careers in


the future. It is a real inspiration. Is that a change of


emphasis for you as a party, not university, get a vocational career


instead? We need to look at that. In my personal opinion, more people


have been going to university and not everybody warms to that academic


environment and I think some young people can go straight into a career


with vocational education and we need to recognise as employers that


those skills and qualifications are just as valuable. It was a big


Labour push to get more people go to university, now we are talking about


vocational skills? University education is vitally important. We


have also got to make sure that young people can have access to good


quality vocational skills, proper apprenticeships. We need to create


the jobs for young people to be able to use those skills when they leave


school and there is a real challenge to make sure we sort the economy


out, to generate those jobs. We need a Renaissance in our manufacturing


industry. We need a push in the construction industry, too. There is


a huge housing crisis. We have a major problem with fuel poverty.


Let's get back to schools and to education. Should Local Education


Authorities have more of a say? They have been pushed back a little bit


with the advent of academies? It comes down to the leadership in the


school. If you can make that funding direct to those head teachers, give


them the power and give them the ability to make decisions about


their school, they are in a better place to make those decisions. Why


are you shaking your head? It is unco`ordinated. It is fine when you


have a good head, but the very isolated become islands. I think you


need that that tee JIC `` strategic oversight. We have to get to grips


with this? We have. We have an ideological agenda being pursued by


Michael Gove. Ofsted are saying... They are pushing down the road


essentially of part privatisation of our secondary education. One of the


leading universities in the world combined with employers who are


working with those kids to give them the right qualifications and the


right training to give them a career in the future. Ofsted say this is a


priority. What are you doing to make sure it is? It is about making sure


the funding goes direct to those leaders in those communities, in


those schools and parents will vote with their feet. That is what


terrifies some of these people. Will we lose schools? This is crazy. This


is fantasy land. I'm sorry, Mark. We have a responsibility, surely, to


all our children, we have this unco`ordinated arrangement which is


being pushed by Mark and his party which will leave some kids behind


and enable others to excel. Now, how does a seat in the House of


Lords sound? A little far`fetched for most of us perhaps, but one of


our peers is planning to do some talent`spotting in the East


Midlands. Our region has the lowest representation of any in the House


of Lords. John Hess, or Lord Hess of Bridgford as he's known round here,


reports. The House of Lords has never claimed to truly represent the


people, that after all is a job of the directly`elected House of


Commons. But should our second law`making chamber be more


representative of the Nations and Regions of the UK and with only 2%


of working peers from the East Midlands, are we losing out and what


should be done about it? I'm about to meet this lady. She's one of the


handful of peers from the East Midlands. How are you? Lovely to


meet you. I do think we must not let the discussion go down the road of


we need to have a certain percentage of peers coming from particular


regions. What we do in the House is scrutinise legislation. Brought up


and ucated in Leicester, she was raised to the peerage eight years


ago. She is now a junior minister in the Department for Energy and


climate change. She's a Conservative. What we have in the


Midlands is that we ourselves are not very good at showcasing those


people that should really be nominated for the House. How would


you reform the House of Lords? If we do have people that we believe


rightly should come and sit in the House, from the Midlands, then I


think that we need to be able to talent spot ourselves. Do you think


that regional representation in this place matters? We have elected


members who if they are doing their jobs right, will be the voices for


those constituencies in those regions and I think our job in this


House is then to look at the legislation in the round to


scrutinise it in the round and to ensure that the concerns raised by


elected members are reflected in how that legislation is formulated. This


Baroness wants more voices from the East Midlands to be heard in the


Lords, but how to achieve that, she says, is the dilemma. It certainly


is. Those figures are quite stark. Of the 430 working peers, 2% are


from the East Midlands, does it matter, Mark? We need to be


represented in both chambers and I wasn't aware that we were so poorly


represented. We have some good Lords and Baronesses, but we need more.


Both political parties need to address that. Does it matter, Chris?


I think it does. There has been an accusation levelled at policymakers


that it is London`centric. Nearly half of the peers come from Greater


London and the South East, it is little wonder that that is a


problem. I do think... 26% for London? 20`odd per cent for the


South East. So I do think it would help. I do think it is important


that they do have proper representation. Labour did make some


fundamental changes to the House of Lords and we had a commitment in the


last manifesto to have a referendum on having an elected Second Chamber.


Short of that happening, I think there does need to be something


done. One of the problems ` David Cameron has elevated 160 new peers


into the House of Lords. There is a real challenge there. OK. Tony Benn


said the House of Lords was the British Outer Mongolia for retired


politicians! Did he have a point? I think it's a useful chamber where


experience people can pass judgment and can contribute to legislation as


it passes through the House. I think we do need more representation from


the East Midlands so they understand East Midlands`type issues. How do we


get more people from the East Midlands? It is a matter for the


parties, if we are going to continue with this system of appointing


peers, but there is a challenge. The House of Lords has already got


several hundred more than there are seats in the House of Lords for them


to sit on. So, you know ` and it is very costly. Do we need it? I think


they can be enormously frustrating if you are a member of the House of


Commons. They do a really important role in scrutinising legislation as


it goes forward and without ` you can be a signpost without being a


weather vane. Maybe I should nominate Chris! How would you feel


about that, Chris? Going into the House of Lords? Yes. I don't think


it is likely. It is unlikely. Would you turn it down? I'm not a fan of


the Patronage that is afforded to party leaders at the moment...


Really? What about Lord Mark of Sherwood? I don't know. Friar Tuck,


maybe! Alan Fisher, the leader of NUPE, he said he would never take a


seat in the House of Lords, but he thought about taking the name of


Lord "Winter of Discontent"! Very good.


Now a round`up of other stories in the East Midlands in Sixty Seconds.


Two of our Labour MPs want a firmer commitment from their party on an EU


referendum. They believe Britain is better off in and want to allow


voters the chance to decide. A report on how much would be saved by


abolishing district councils cost almost ?50,000. The council leader


said the move would save ?30 million a year. It seems bus pass Elvis have


the Lib Dems all shook up. Does the Deputy Prime Minister think it was


his party support for the bedroom tax, the trebling of tuition fees,


unfair cuts to the poorest families, or the betrayal of the NHS which led


them to put bus pass Elvis ahead of the Liberal Democrats? Putting pus


bass `` bus pass Elvis aside... He told us he might stand as an MP.


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


Spencer and Chris Williamson. Next week, we'll be finding out what our


MEPs do for us in the East Midlands. We'll be in Brussels, home of the


European Parliament for a special programme. Find us on Facebook or


Twitter if you have a question for them. Now back to


industrial action is a sign of failure marked success. -- not


success. Andrew, back to you. Has George Osborne got a rabbit in


his Budget hat? Will the Chancellor find a way to help the squeezed


middle? And how do Labour respond? All questions for The Week Ahead.


And joining Helen, Janan and Nick to discuss the budget is the general


secretary of the Trades Union Congress Frances O'Grady. Welcome


back to the programme. I know the TUC has a submission, but if you


could pick one thing that you wanted the Chancellor to do above all, what


would it be? We want a budget for working people, which means we have


to crack the long-term problem of investment in the British economy.


Certainly I would like the Chancellor to merit that title they


want of the new workers party, and take action on living standards, but


if they're going to do that it's got to be about unlocking investment. In


the period where the economy has been flat-lining there has been


little business investment, but there are signs towards the end of


last year that it is beginning to pick up. But a long way to go. The


problem is we have key industries like construction and manufacturing


that are still smaller than they were before the recession. The


government itself, of course, has slashed its own capital investment


budget by half. There is plenty of good and important work that needs


to be done from building houses to improving the transport system, to


improving our schools. And the government really needs to pick up


that shovel and start investing in our economy to get the decent jobs


we need, the pay increases we need, and that in itself will help


stimulate demand. It was Alistair Darling who cut in 2011, and it's


interesting that Ed Balls in his plans for the next parliament would


run a current budget surplus by the end of the parliament as opposed to


George Osborne who would have an overall budget surplus. That gives


Ed Balls or -- more wriggle room to do what you talk about, but he is


reticent to talk about it. He does not want to say that he has an


opportunity to spend on investment because he fears if he says it he


will be attacked by the Conservatives for being


irresponsible. Why is business doing this? The recession was deeper than


any since the war and the recovery was slower than almost any since the


war. The lag, the time it takes to get over that is longer than anyone


expected. I read the same evidence as you towards the end of last year


pointing to money being released, and it depends what it is released


on, whether it is capital investment or bringing in people on higher


wages. The one surprise in the downturn is how well the employment


figures have done, but they have not invested in new capacity and they


are sitting on a lot of dosh. I looked at one set of figures that


said if you took the biggest company in Britain, they have about 715


billion pounds in corporate treasury -- the biggest companies. I think


it's reduced a little but they are sitting on a mountain in dash of


skills. Yes, but they're not investing in skills, wages, or


sustainable jobs. The new jobs we have seen created since 2010, the


vast majority of them have been in low paid industries, and they are


often zero hours, or insecure, or part-time. So it's not delivering a


recovery for ordinary working people. Government ministers, as you


know when you lobby them, they are anxious to make out that they know


the job is not done and the recovery has just begun, but the one bit they


are privately proud of, although they can't explain it, is how many


private-sector jobs have been created. A lot of unions have done


sensible deals with employers to protect jobs through this period,


but it's not sustainable. The average worker in Britain today is


now ?2000 a year worse off in real terms than they were. On a pay


against price comparison? It doesn't take into account tax cuts. The


raising of the personal allowance is far outweighed by the raising VAT.


Does the raising of the threshold which the Lib Dems are proud of and


the Tories are trying to trade credit for, does it matter to your


members? -- take credit for. It matters that it is eclipsed by the


cuts in benefits and know what is conned any more. We're going to hear


a lot about the raising of the allowance, but as long as the real


value of work, tax credits, things like that, people won't feel it in


their pocket, and they will find it harder and harder to look after


their family. When you look at the other things that could take over


from consumer spending which has driven the recovery, held by house


price rising in the south, it is exports and business investment, and


you look at the state of the Eurozone and the emerging markets


which are now in trouble, and the winter seems to have derailed the US


recovery. It won't be exports. Indeed, the Obie Eich does not think


that will contribute to growth until 2015 -- OBI. So the figures we


should be looking at our business investment. And also the deficit.


The deficit is 111 billion, and that is a problem, because we are not at


the end of the cutting process, there are huge cuts to be made. I


understand we are only a third of the way through. That will


definitely affect business confidence. It is clear that the


strategy has failed. Borrowing has gone up and it's not delivered


improved living standards and better quality jobs, so cutting out of the


recession is not going to work. The structural budget deficit was going


to be eliminated three weeks today under the original plan. They missed


target after target. Every economist has their own definition of that. I


think Mark Carney is right when he says that fundamentally the economy


is unbalanced and it is not sustainable, growth is not


sustainable. But if it clicked on, it would be more balanced. It is not


just north and south and manufacturing a way out with


services, but it is also between the rich and everybody else. What do you


make of the fact that there will effectively be another freezing


public sector pay, or at least no more than 1%? Not even that for


nurses and health workers. But they will get 3% progression pay. 70% of


nurses will not get any pay rise at all. They get no progression pay at


all. I think this is smack in the mouth. Smack in the mouth to


dedicated health care workers who will feel very, very discontented


about the decision. Danny Alexander, I saw him appealing to


health workers do not move to strike ballots and said they should talk to


their department. But about what? Is that real pay cut has been imposed,


what are workers left with? So do you expect as a result of yet more


tough controls on public sector pay that unrest is inevitable? I know


some unions will be consulting with their members, but ultimately it's


always members who decide what to do. It does seem to me insulting not


to at least be honest and say that we are cutting real pay of nurses,


health care workers, on the back of a ?3 billion reorganisation of the


NHS that nobody wanted and nobody voted for. Their long-term changes


taking place here that almost talks about -- there are long-term


changes. It is how lower percentage wages have become of GDP on how big


the percentage of profits is. It seems to me there is a strong case


for some kind of realignment there. The biggest event of my life, in


this world, is the entry of a couple of billion more people into the


labour supply. At the end of the Cold War, India and China plugged


into the global economy. If there is a greater supply of that factor of


production, logically you conclude that wages will fall or stagnate and


that has been the story in this country and America and large parts


of Western Europe in the last generation. What is not possible is


for governments to do much about it. They can ameliorate it at the


margins, but the idea that the government controls living


standards, which has become popular over the last six months, and the


Labour Party have in establishing that, and I don't think it's true.


George Osborne's options are astonishingly limited compared to


public expectations. If wages have reached a modern record low as


percentage of GDP, who is going to champion the wage earner? We have


lost Bob Crow, Tony Benn passed away, so who is the champion? The


trade union movement is the champion of ordinary workers. We need those


larger-than-life figures that we will mess. Have you got them yet? We


have a generation of workers coming through. One thing about the loss of


Bob Crow is that the whole union movement has responded strongly to


that, and we want to say that we are strong and united and here to stand


up for working people and we will fight as hard as Bob Crow did.


Whoever replaces Bob Crow or Tony Benn, we can be sure they will not


come from Eton because they all have jobs in the government. I want to


put up on the screen what even Michael Gove was saying about this


coterie of Old Etonian 's. He's right, is he not? He's


absolutely right. We have the idea of the manifesto being written by


five people from Eton and one from Saint Pauls. A remarkable example of


social mobility that George Osborne, who had the disadvantage of going to


Saint Pauls has made it into that inner circle. Here is the question,


what is Michael Gove up to? If you saw the response from George


Osborne, there was no slap down, and they know this is an area they are


weak on an David Cameron will not comment on it. If this had been a


Labour shadow minister making a similarly disloyal statement, they


might have been shot at dawn. But there is a real tolerance from


Michael Gove to go freelance which comes from George Osborne. It's


about highlighting educational reforms that he wants to turn every


school in to eat and so it won't happen in the future. But it's also


pointing out who did not go to Eton school and who would be the best


candidate to replace David Cameron as leader, George Osborne, and who


did go to Eton school, Boris Johnson. Michael Gove is on


manoeuvres to destroy Boris Johnson's chances of being leader.


It's a good job they don't have an election to worry about. Hold on. I


think they are out of touch with businesses as well as working


people. You ask about who is talking about wage earners. Businesses are.


They are worried that unless living standards rise again there will be


nobody there to buy anything. We are running out of time, but the TUC,


are enthusiastic about HS2? We supported. We think it's the kind of


infrastructure project that we need to invest in long-term. He could, if


we get it right, rebalance north and south and create good jobs along the


way -- it could. Thank you very much tool. I have to say that every week


-- thank you very much to you all. That's all for today. I'll be back


next Sunday at 11am, and Jo Coburn will be on BBC Two tomorrow at


midday with the Daily Politics. Remember if it's Sunday, it's the


Sunday Politics.


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