26/01/2014 Sunday Politics East


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Morning folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics.


Ed Balls has gone socialist and fiscal Conservative in one speech.


He promises to balance the biggest bit of the budget. And to bring back


the 50p top tax rate. Political masterstroke, or a return to old


Labour? If you go to work by public


transport, chances are the price of your ticket has just gone up -


again. We'll speak to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin. He's


our Sunday Interview. And it's been another wet week


across much of the UK, but what s the outlook according to this man?


This morning.This morning. Held in recent years by party veterans like


Here in the east, what is a fair day's pay? Cancels campaign for a


living wage. And with me - as always - the


political panel so fresh-faced, entertaining and downright popular


they make Justin Bieber look like a boring old has-been just desperate


to get your attention. Nick Watt, Helen Lewis and Janan Ganesh, and


they'll be tweeting quicker than a yellow Lamborghini racing down Miami


Beach. Being political nerds, they have no idea what I'm talking about.


Ed Balls sprung a surprise on us all yesterday. We kinda thought Labour


would head for the election with a return to the 50p top rate of tax.


But we didn't think he'd do it now. He did! The polls say it's popular,


Labour activists now have a spring in their step. The Tories say it's a


return to the bad old days of the '70s, and bosses now think Labour is


anti-business. Here's the Shadow Chancellor speaking earlier this


morning. I was part of a Government which did very many things to open


up markets, to make the Bank of England independent, to work closely


with business, but the reality is we are in very difficult circumstances


and because if I'm honest you, George Osborne's failure in the last


few years, those difficult circumstances will last into the


next Parliament. Business people have said to me they want to get the


deficit down, of course they do But to cut the top rate... It is foolish


and feeds resentment I want to do the opposite and say look,


pro-business, pro investment, pro market, but pro fairness. Let's get


this deficit down in a fairway and make the reforms to make our economy


work for the long term. What are the political implications of Labour now


in favour of a 50%, in practise 352% top rate of tax? One of the


political implications I don't think exist is that they'll win new


voters. I'm not sure many people out there would think, I would love to


vote for Ed Miliband but I'm not sure if he wants to tax rich people


enough. It will con Dale their existing vote but I don't think it


is the kind of, in the 1990s we talked about triangulation, moving


beyond your core vote, I don't think it is a policy like that. If there


has been a policy like that this year, this month, it has been the


Tories' move on minimum wage. I thought Labour would come back with


their own version, a centre-right policy, and instead they have done


this. I think we talk about the 35% strategy that Labour supposed will


have, I think it is a policy in that direction rather than the thing Tony


Blair or Gordon Brown would have done. Where he was not clear is on


how much it would raise. We know the sum in the grand scheme of things


isn't much, the bedroom tax was about sending a message. What we are


going to see is George Osborne and Ed Balls lock as they try to push


the other one into saying things that are unpopular. The Tories,


the other one into saying things ?150,000 a year, that's exactly


the other one into saying things where Ed Balls want them to be. All


the other one into saying things three main parties have roughly the


same plan, to run a current budget surplus by the end of the next


Parliament. George Osborne said ?12 billion of welfare cuts, hasn't said


how he is going to do it. Ed Balls is giving an idea that he is going


to restore this 50 persons rate The contribution of that will be


deminimus. It is not much, but what does it say about your values.


Because it is that package, it is cleverer than people think. Where


the challenge is is the question that Peter Mandelson posed at the


last election, which is can the Labour Party win a general election


if it doesn't have business on its side? That's the big challenge and


that's the question looking difficult for them this morning


Does it matter if Labour has business on its side. I thought the


most fascinating thing about this announcement is it came from the guy


mindful of business support, Ed Balls. When in opposition and when a


Minister and as a shadow as a result, he's been far more conscious


than Ed Miliband about the need not to alienate the CB Bill. In the


run-up of an election. This is a measure of Ed Miliband's strength in


the Labour Party, that his view of things can prevail so easily over a


guy who for the last 15 years has taken a different view. Eight out of


ten businesses according to the CBI don't want us to leave business


Business is in a bit of a cleft stick. Ed Miliband would like to see


businesses squealing, and Ed Balls is clearly not so comfortable on


that one. There's a difference on that. Mind you, they were squealing


this morning from Davos. They probably had hangovers as well. The


other thing they would say is this is not like Ed Balls thinks that 50p


is the optimal rate forever, it what go eventually. Isn't that what


politicians said when income tax was introduced? Yeah, in '97 Labour


regarded 40 persons as the rate where it would stay.


It's been a bad week for the Lib Dems. Again. Actually, it's been one


of the worst weeks yet for Nick Clegg and his party in recent


memory, as they've gone from talking confidently about their role in


Government to facing a storm of criticism over claims of


inappropriate sexual behaviour by a Lib Dem peer, Chris Rennard, and a


Lib Dem MP, Mike Hancock. Here's Giles with the story of the week. A


challenge to Nick Clegg's authority as he face as growing row over the


Liberal Democrat... I want everyone to be treated with respect by the


Liberal Democrats. We are expecting him to show moral leadership on our


behalf. A good man has been publicly destroyed by the media with the


apparent support of Nick Clegg. I would like Nick Clegg to show


leadership and say, this has got to stop. When Nick Clegg woke up on


Monday morning he knew he was in trouble, staring down the barrel of


a stand justify with Lord Rennard over allegations that the peer had


inappropriately touched a number of women. Chris Rennard thought he was


cleared. Nick Clegg wanted more I said if he doesn't apologise, he


should withdraw from the House of Lords. If he does that today, what


do you do then? I hope he doesn t. I think no apology, no whip. 2014 was


starting badly for the Liberal Democrats. Chris Rennard refused to


apologise, saying you can't say sorry for something you haven't


done. The and he was leaning towards legal action. Butch us friends


better defending Pym and publicly. This is a good, decent man, who has


been punished by the party, with the leadership of the party that seems


to be showing scant regard for due process. But his accusers felt very


differently. It is untenable for the Lib Dems to have a credible voice on


qualities and women's issues in the future if Lord Rennard was allowed


to be back on the Lib Dem benches in the House of Lords. Therein lay the


problem that exposed the weaknesses the House of Lords. Therein lay the


of the Lib Dem leaders. The party's the House of Lords. Therein lay the


internal structures have all the simplicity of a circuit diagram for


a supercomputer, exposing the complexity of who runs the Liberal


Democrats? The simple question that arose of that was can the leader of


the Lib Dems remove a Lib Dem peer? The simple answer is no. The Lib Dem


whips in the Lords could do it but if enough Lib Dem peers disagreed,


they could overrule it. Some long-stand ng friends of roar


Rennard think he is either the innocent victim of a media


witch-hunt or at the least due process has been ridden over rough


shot by the leadership. Nobody ever did spot Lord Rennard as he didn't


turn up to the Lords, will citing ill health. But issued a statement


that ruled out an apology. He refused to do so and refused to


comply with the outcome of that report, so there was no alternative


but for the party to suspend his membership today. On Wednesday Nick


Clegg met Lib Dem peers, not for a crunch decision, but to discuss the


extraordinary prospect of legal action against the party by the man


long credited with building its success. The situation was making


the party look like a joke. One Tory MP said to one of my colleagues this


morning, the funny thing about the Liberal Democrats, you managed to


create a whole sex scandal without any sex. And we can laugh at


ourselves but actually it is rather serious. And it got more serious,


when an MP who had resigned the Lib Dem whip last year was expanded from


the party over a report into allegations of serious and unwelcome


sexual behaviour towards a constituent. All of this leaves the


Lib Dems desperately wishing these sagas had been dealt with long ago


and would now go away. Nick Clegg ended the week still party leader.


Lord Rennard, once one of their most powerful players, ended the week,


for now, no longer even in it. Giles on the Lib Dems' disastrous


week. Now, as you doubtless already know, on Tuesday Lib Dem MPs will


vote to choose a new deputy leader. You didn't know that? You do now.


The job of Nick Clegg's number two is to speak with a genuine Lib Dem


voice, untainted by the demands of coalition Government. At this point


in the show we had expected to speak to all three candidates for the


post, held in recent years by party veterans like Vince Cable and Simon


Hughes. We thought it being quite a significant week for the party, they


might have something to say. And here they are. Well that's their


pictures. For various reasons, all three are now unavailable. Malcolm


Bruce, he's reckoned to be the outsider. His office said he had a


"family commitment". Gordon Birtwistle, the Burnley MP, was


booked to appear but then told us, "I was at an event last night with


Lorely Burt" - she's one of the candidates - "and she told me it was


off". And Lorely Burt herself, seen by many as the red hot favourite,


told us: "Because of the Rennard thing we don't want to put ourselves


in a position where we have to answer difficult questions." How


refreshingly honest. Helen, how bad politically is all this for the Lib


Dems? What I think is the tragic irony of the Lib Dems is they've


been revealed as being too democratic. In the same way that


their party conference embarrassed Nick Clegg by voting sings that he


signed up to, and now everything has to be run past various


sub-committees first. Is it democratic or chaotic? It is


Byzantine. Mike Hancock was voluntarily suspended, and this week


he was properly suspended. It was new information into the public


domain that forced that. I'm already hearing Labour and Conservative


Party musing that if it is a long Parliament, we will form a minority


Government. It is a disaster for them. Voters like parties that


reflect and are interested this their concerns. Parties that are


self obsessed turn them off. The their concerns. Parties that are


third party, if they carry on like this, they'll be the fifth party in


the European elections, so they have got to draw a line under this. They


do that, if they do, through mediation. As I understand it, Chris


Rennard,s who has go devoted his entire life to the Liberal


Democrats, and previously the Liberal Party, is keen to draw a


line under this. He is up for mediation but he needs to know that


the women that he has clearly invaded their personal space, that


there wouldn't be a possible legal a action from them. The it is very


difficult to see how you could resolve that. Except he is


threatening through his friends these famous friends, to spill all


the beans about all the party's sex secrets. Isn't the danger for the


Lib Dems, this haunts them through to the European elections, where


they'll get thumped in the European elections? They'll get destroyed in


the European elections, which keeps it salient as a story over the


summer. And it has implications for Nick Clegg's leadership. He's done a


good job until now, perhaps better than David Cameron, of exercising


authority over his party. He had a good conference in September.


Absolutely, and now the Lib Dems have looked like a party without a


leader or a leadership structure. Part of that is down to the chaotic


or Byzantine organisational structure of the party. Part of it


is Nick Clegg's failure to assert himself and impose himself over


events. Is it Byzantine or Byzantine. It is labyrinthine. You


don't get these words on the Today programme. The cost of living has


been back on the agenda this week as Labour and the Tories argue over


whether the value of money in your pocket is going up or down. Well


there's one cost which has been racing ahead of inflation and that's


the amount you have to pay to travel by train, by bus and by air. Rail


commuters have been hard hit over the last four years, with the cost


of the average season ticket going up by 18% since January 2010, while


wages have gone up by just 3.6% over the same period. It means some rail


users are paying high prices with commuters from Kent shelling out


more than ?5,000 per year from the beginning of this month just to get


to work in London. It doesn't compare well with our European


counterparts. In the UK the average rail user spends 14% of their


average income on trains. It is just 1.5% in Italy. Regulated fares like


season tickets went up 3.1% at the beginning of this month, and with


ministers keen to make passengers fought more of the bills, there are


more fare rises coming down the track. And Patrick McLoughlin joins


me now for the Sunday Interview Welcome. You claim to be in the


party of hard-working people, so why is it that since you came to power


rail commuters have seen the cost of their average season ticket going up


in money terms by over 18% while their pay has gone up in money terms


by less than four? I would point out that this is the first year in ten


years that we have not had an above inflation increase on fares. The


Government accepts we have got to do as much as we can to help the


passengers. A big inflation increase since 2010. This is the first year


in ten years that it has not been above RPI, but we are also investing


huge amounts of money into the railways, building new trains for


the East Coast Main Line and the great Western. We are spending 500


million at Birmingham station, this is all increasing capacity, so we


are seeing investments. Over the next five years Network Rail will


invest over ?38 billion in the network structure. We also have an


expensive railway and it is ordinary people paying for it. A season


ticket from Woking in Surrey, commuter belt land in London, let's


look at the figures. This is a distance of over 25 miles, it cost


over ?3000 per year. We have picked similar distances to international


cities. The British commuter is being ripped


off. The British commuter is seeing record levels of investment in our


railways. The investment has to be paid for. We are investing huge


amounts of money and I don't know whether the figures you have got


here... I'm sure they are likewise, as you have managed to do... White


-- ten times more than the Italian equivalent. We have seen


transformational changes in our railway services and we need to


carry on investing. We were paying these prices even before you started


investing. We have always paid a lot more to commute in this country than


our European equivalents. I'm not quite sure I want to take on Italy


is a great example. You would if you were a commuter. You


is a great example. You would if you the other rates of taxation has to


be paid as well. Isn't it the case they are making profits out of these


figures and using them to subsidise cheaper fares back in their


homeland? The overall profit margin train companies make is 3%, a


reasonable amount, and we have seen a revolution as far as the railway


industry is concerned. a revolution as far as the railway


20 years we have seen passenger journeys going from 750 million to


1.5 billion. That is a massive revolution in rail. Let me look


1.5 billion. That is a massive spokesperson for the German


government, the Ministry of transport.


They are charging huge fares in Britain to take that money back to


subsidise fares in Germany. What do you say to that? We are seeing


British companies winning contracts in Germany. The National Express are


winning contracts to the railways. What about the ordinary commuter?


They are paying through the nose so German commuters can travel more


cheaply. We are still subsidising the railways in this country, but


overall we want to reduce the subsidy we are giving. We are still


seeing growth in our railways and I want to see more people using them.


Why do you increase rail fares at the higher RPI measure than the


lower CPI measurement? That is what has always been done, and we have


stopped. This is the first time in ten years that we have not raised


the rail figures above RPI. You still link fares to RPI. You use the


lower CPI figure when it suits you, to keep pension payments down for


example, but the higher one when it comes to increasing rail fares. We


are still putting a huge subsidy into the rail industry, there is


still a huge amount of money going from the taxpayer to support the


rail industry. I am not asking you about that, I am asking you


rail industry. I am not asking you link the figures to the higher RPI


vesture Mark if we are going to pay for the levels of investment, so all


the new trains being built at Newton Aycliffe for the East Coast Main


Line and the great Western, ?3. billion of investment, new rolling


stock coming online, then yes, we have to pay for it, and it is a


question of the taxpayer paying for it all the -- or the passenger.


You have capped parking fines until the next election, rail commuters we


have seen the cost of their ticket has gone up by nearly 20%, you are


the party of the drivers, not the passengers, aren't you?


We are trying to help everybody who has been struggling. I think we are


setting out long-term plans for our railways, investing heavily in them


and it is getting that balance right. But you have done more for


the driver than you have for the user of public transport. I don t


accept that. They are paying the same petrol prices as 2011. This is


the first time in ten years that there has not been an RPI plus


rise. We are investing record amounts. Bus fares are also rising,


4.2% in real terms in 2010, at a time when real take-home pay has


been falling. This hits commuters particularly workers who use buses


on low incomes, another cost of living squeeze. I was with


Stagecoach in Manchester on Friday, and I saw a bus company investing in


new buses. Last week First ordered new buses. Part of your hard-working


families you are always on about, they are the ones going to work


early in the morning, and yet you are making them pay more for their


buses in real terms than they did before. They would be happier if


they could travel more cheaply. It is about getting investment in


services, it has to be paid for Why not run the old buses for five more


years? Because then there is more pollution in the atmosphere, modern


buses have lower emissions, and we are still giving huge support


overall to the bus industry and that is very important because I fully


accept that the number of people, yes, use the train but a lot of


people use buses as well. High-speed two, it has been delayed because 877


pages of key evidence from your department were left on a computer


memory stick, part of the submission to environmental consultation. Your


department's economic case is now widely regarded as a joke, now you


do this. Is your department fit for purpose? Yes, and as far as what


happened with the memory stick, it is an acceptable and shouldn't have


happened, and therefore we have extended the time. There has been an


extension in the time for people to make representation, the bill for


this goes through Parliament in a different way to a normal bill. It


is vital HS2 provides what we want. different way to a normal bill. It


What I am very pleased about is different way to a normal bill. It


the paving bill was passed by Parliament just a few months ago,


there was overwhelming support, and I kept reading there was going to be


70 people voting against it, in the end 30 people voted against it and


there was a good majority in the House of Commons. So can you give a


guarantee that this legislation will get onto the statute books? I will


do all I can. I cannot tell you the exact Parliamentary time scale. The


bill will have started its progress through the House of Commons by


2015, and it may well have concluded. The new chairman of HS2


said he can bring the cost of the line substantially under the budget,


do you agree with that? The figure is ?42 billion with a large


contingency, and David Higgins, as chairman of HS2, is looking at the


whole cast and seeing if there are ways in which it can be built


faster. At the moment across London we are building Crossrail, ?14.


billion investment. There was a report last week saying what an


excellent job has been done. Crossrail started under Labour.


Actually it was Cecil Parkinson in the 1990 party conference. You may


get HS2 cheaper if you didn't pay people so much, why is the


nonexecutive chairman of HS2 on ?600,000? And the new chief


executive on ?750,000. These are very big projects and we need to


attract the best people become so we are going for the best engineers in


the world to engineer this project. It is a large salary, there is no


question about it, but I'm rather It is a large salary, there is no


pleased that engineers rather than bankers can be seen to get big


rewards for delivering what will be very important pieces of national


infrastructure. I didn't have time to ask you about your passenger duty


so perhaps another time. We are about to speak to Nigel Mills and


all of these MPs on your side who are rebelling against the


Government, how would you handle them? We have got to listen to what


our colleagues are talking about and try to respond it. Would you take


them for a long walk off a short pier? I'm sure I would have many


conversations with them. An immigration bill to tack the


immigration into the UK. When limits on migration from Bulgaria and


Romania were lifted this year there were warnings of a large influx of


migrant workerses from the two new European countries. So far it's been


more of a dribble than a flood. Who can forget Labour MP Keith Vaz


greeting a handful of arrivals at Luton Airport. But it is early days


and it is one of the reasons the Government's introduced a new


Immigration Bill. The Prime Minister is facing rebellion from


backbenchers who want tougher action on immigration from abroad. Nigel


Mills would reimpose restrictions on how many Romanians and Bulgarians


can come here. Joining me is Nigel Mills, Conservative MP behind the


amendment and Labour MP Diane Abbott. Welcome. Nigel Mills, there


hasn't been an influx of Romanians and Bulgarians. Why do you want to


restore these, kick these transitional controls way forward to


2019? I don't think any of us were expecting a rush on January 1st


Andrew. I think we were talking about a range of 250,000 to 350 000


people over five years. That's obviously a large amount of people,


especially when you think net migration to the UK was well in


excess of the Government's target of tens of thousands last year. The


real concern is that it would be ever increasing our population,


attracting lots of low-skilled, low-wage people, which keeps our


people out of work and wages down. Did you accept that if you were to


accept this, it would be in breach of the Treaty of Rome, the founding


principle of the European Union We were trying to keep the restrictions


that Bulgaria and Romania accepted for their first seven years of EU


membership, on the basis that when we signed the treaty we weren't


aware that we would have a huge and catastrophic recession we are still


recovering from. But you would be in breach of the law, correct? The UK


Parliament has a right to say we signed this deal before the terrible


recession, and we need a bit longer in our national interest. It is


worth noting that Bulgaria and Romania haven't met all their


accession requirements. The Bulgarian requirement passed a


law... So if they break the law it is alright for us to break the law?


Is we should be focusing on trying to get 2. 4 million of our own in


work, and 1 million people not in work... Let me bring in Diane


Abbott. Will you vote for this amendment and why? It is in breach


of the treaty. While I deplore MPs that try to cause trouble, these MPs


have been particularly mindless because what they want to do


wouldn't be legal. However, it is a Tory internal brief, if I might say


so. Maybe you can cause trouble by voting for it. No, that would be


going too far. Underlying it is a real antagonism for David Cameron.


They have had to hold off on this bill until January. It was supposed


to be debating before Christmas As we speak they've not cut a deal so


it could be pretty grus om. Nigel Mills, what do you say to that I


think there is a recognition that there is a problem with the amount


of migration from EU countries that we need to tackle. We could try to


achieve an annual cap perhaps, longer limits on when countries get


free movement. I think the debate is moving in the right direction, but I


think those people who are trapped out of work and desperately looking


for work want something to be done now and not wait a few more years


while we have more assessments Andrews. People are worried about


the level of immigration. They I it is too high. That's the consensus in


the country. We spoke to to migration centre in Hackney and they


said they are struggling to cope with the number of people using


their services. These are people with problems with the law. In the


past years EU migrants put in more to the economy in taxation than they


take out in benefits. When it comes to free movement, which is agitating


Nige em, that horse has bolted. We signed a treaty. There is nothing


people like Nigel Mills can do, unless they want to rip their party


apart, God forbid. Will you go as far as to rip your party apart,


Nigel Mills? Are you going to take this all the way? Would you rather


see this bill go down than your amendment not be accepted? This is a


very important bill. I think we all want to see measures on the statute


book, so the last thing we want to see is this bill go down. We do need


to set out clearly that we have real concerns about the level of EU


migration and something needs to be done. Would you rather have the bill


without your amendment or no bill at all? I am hoping we can have the


bill with the amendment. I know that, but if you can't? Is that will


depend on what the Labour Party decide to do. They are talking


tougher on immigration but will they take action on it? Your party has


been talking tough on immigration but I will be surprised if an Ed


Miliband Labour Party would vote for egg in direct cameravention of the


Treaty of Rome. It would make no sense. Nigel Mills is wishing for


the impossible. If I was a Tory I would be wringing high hands. He


hasn't ruled out crashing the bill. That's incredible. Where will this


end, Nigel Mills? We'll end with a vote on Thursday. There's a lot of


amendments people can use to show their concern about migration. We


want limited and proportionate action, and that's what I am


proposing. I want to see the bill on the statute book, I want the


restrictions on people who shouldn't be here getting bank accounts and


driving licences. I don't want to crash this bill but there's more


measures we need in it. Nigel Mills thank you. You are going to be -


popping up I think on the Sunday Politics East Midlands. Diane


Abbott, thank you as well. We're in for more heavy rain and


high winds across the UK today. You may remember that one UKIP


councillor - he's since been suspended - caused controversy last


weekend by blaming the recent flooding on the legalisation of gay


marriage. Why didn't I think of that? So who better than this man to


bring you the unofficial forecast. I'll be bringing you the late least


UKIP weather from your area. You're watching Sunday Politics


Also coming up in just over 20 minutes, I'll be looking at the week


ahead with our political panel. Hello, and welcome to the part of


the programme just for us here in the East. I'm Etholle George. Coming


up: Fighting for his political life, South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo's struggle


for re`selection. How much do you need to get by? The


councils increasing wages for full time workers who aren't earning


enough to live on. Some days I have to go to my dad's and have dinner at


there. I can't afford heating sometimes, it is so expensive.


And they were told they would get jobs when their Remploy factory


closed. We see how the promises panned out. I spend my day looking


in shop windows looking for jobs, going online and looking for jobs.


But first, let's meet our guests, Iain Stewart, the Conservative MP


for Milton Keynes South, and the Lib Dem Mayor of Bedford, Dave Hodgson.


Let's start with the war of words that's broken out this week between


Suffolk MP Tim Yeo and members of his local party. They have been


explaining why they decided to drop him as their candidate for 2015. In


the early stages when it was a new constituency, he was a good local


connect it MP. There was the odd scandal which was glossed over and


moved ahead with because generally he did a good job. Recently we have


seen little of him in the village or elsewhere and the criticisms comes


to me from other party members that they just don't see him, they don't


see him connected with what is going on in the constituency. The MP, who


has demanded a ballot of members, is fighting back. I look forward to the


results eagerly. AM happy to be judged on my record of what I have


done in Suffolk and Westminster for the Conservative Party and I am


confident that if people look to my record they will reach the verdict I


hope it will reach to reselect me. The ballot papers went out this


week. Iain Stewart, it is not an ideal situation. Tim is a revalued


and senior colleague. He brings a huge and mode of experience to


Parliament, especially in the climate change is sector. That said,


it makes the party look disunited, doesn't it? We have a democratic


structure in the party. All MPs have to go through a reselection


procedure and it is up to the Association to decide if they will


be adopted as a member or not. I had to go through it. I cannot comment


on what is happening in that constituency some distance from mind


that we all have to do it. Is there a way around these rows? The same


thing could happen in the Lib Dems, couldn't it? When I was reselected,


it is a ballot of all members. Members if they cannot make it or


offered a postal ballot, so that the party's position. Should the rules


be changed to avoid this kind of confrontation? No, I think it is


right. All MPs or candidates are adopted by their local association,


so they can be adopted by them. We have a structure that a sitting


member who wants to be re`. Did, first there is a vote of the


executive of the local association to adopt or not, but then sitting


members have a right of appeal. Who would you give the last word to? The


party members, and I think it is right for them to have the say.


Thank you for the moment. Now, how much is enough to live on?


While George Osborne has now changed his tune to back an increase for the


minimum wage next year, some of our councils are determined to pay the


higher "living" wage to help their low`paid workers get by. For workers


from Bedford Council, the change can't come soon enough. Deborah


McGurran reports. I can't afford to get my teeth done. I can't get my


eyes tested. I pay council tax and rolls up and that's why I have to do


the Ares I can. Mike has been a car park attendant for two years. He


earned ?7 55 and are for a 40 hour week. With a take`home pay at around


?300, he doesn't consider it a living wage. Do you feel your living


hand to mouth? Some days I have to go to my dad's and have dinner


there. I cannot afford heating sometimes, I have to quilt covers


over my bed to keep warm at night. It is very hard. Soon all this is


set to change because his employer, Bedford Council, is to introduce a


living wage. It will mean an extra ?40 a week, welcome news for Mike.


42 quid a week, that would be nice. Here in Bedford Borough there are


plans to introduce a living wage for all staff, more than 200 lower paid


council workers will receive ?7 65 and are instead of the minimum wage


of ?6 31. That means those on a minimum wage earning only ?12,000 a


year would receive a boost of ?14,000, with the introduction of


the living wage. The increase will help reduce the risk for working


people to supplement their wages with benefits. A lot of people on


minimum wage are getting working benefits, so when they go on to the


living wage, they get more money in their pockets from working. I think


that is very positive. Funding for the Council's 216 lowest paid staff


will be met through back office and efficiency savings. When we did the


sums in terms of what it would cost, we were pleasantly surprised that it


could be much larger and it seemed like the right thing to do. When you


look at the right `` the type of savings we are having to make, to


give people the correct weight they can live on. The council hopes firms


in Bedford will follow their lead. I think any businessman of any worth


wants to pay his staff a good weight `` a good wage for a quality of


life, and when many of the small businesses, in the retail sector


particularly, when you consider the number of hours dear putting in,


they are barely making minimum wage. A full`time job for a fair day's pay


will mean a good deal for Mike, and for him and others like him, the


April start date cannot come soon enough. Workers in Cambridgeshire


are not so lucky, though. Joining us now is the Conservative leader of


the County Council, Martin Curtis. It's not happening in Cambridge. Why


not? First we respect the fact that local government is what it is,


local, and different councils have to make decisions that are right for


them. For us implementing the living wage would cost 800 thousand pounds


a year, and if we did that well having to make ?38 million of


savings it would increase the number of redundancies. The fact that


figure is so large would seem to point out there are too many people


working for you who are not being paid enough. We are a big


organisation. A number of our employees are people working in the


catering sector or cleaning sector, where traditionally they have been


there were wage. Our drive as a County Council is to push forward on


our economy. That will mean reducing inflation, sorry, reducing


unemployment, and creating some of that demand for employment. We think


wages overall will increase in Cambridgeshire, including reducing


the number of people on minimum wage, so we would prefer to do what


we're trying to do, to raise overall standards and overall wages in the


county. FA council can't afford to pay a living wage, what hope is


there for other employers? There is hope, but other organisations are


not in that situation we are in. We have one of the biggest savings


targets across the country over the next 45 years, and so we're in a


situation where if we add another ?800,000 to the bill, it means less


jobs. We prefer to drive the economy forward. What is different now,


because the Conservatives are getting a better control on


immigration, we don't have immigration being used as a tool to


keep wages down which the Labour government did, so we will have less


people in Cambridge paid the minimum wage. We saw in the film how hard it


was poor people. Dave Hodgson can do it in Bedford, so why not in


Cambridge? I suspect the implications for Bedford are much


smaller than they are in Cambridgeshire, so that is one


issue. One thing that is important is what the Conservatives are doing


to drive up the minimum wage, putting representation to increase


the minimum wage. I think that is the right thing to do. Let's find


out how they are doing it in Bedford. There are just over 200


people who would be entitled to delivering wage, and we thought


76,000 was right. It depends how many people you have working for


you. I do having to make cuts elsewhere? There would be an irony


if you were making people redundant some work to give other people more


money. We are having to make people redundant, we have doubled in my


time on a much smaller council, but in terms of what they are delivering


for us and the commitment they are making to Bedford Borough, it is


important we recognise that. Overall this means a number of people would


be claiming other benefits. Iain Stewart, Labour authorities are


doing this as well, Ipswich, Harlow, Stevenage, Norwich, who are also


paying the living wage. Why don't more Tory authorities do the same,


because that could reduce the benefit Bill? Based on the


discussion now, each local authority is laid different situation. In my


own authority, Milton Keynes, the majority of employees are already


above the minimum wage, so each area has to decide for itself. From a


central government perspective, and this is what the coalition has


delivered, by raising virginal allowance by a significant amount of


money, you give the maximum benefit to people on the lowest wages. Those


figures have come up just this week and the Tories say there is more


take`home pay but people have now than previously, so perhaps you have


jumped the gun. The number of staff in Milton Keynes and above the


minimum wage, but we had a significant number of beanie that


living wage and that is important to recognise they need to be able to


afford to heat their homes. So you haven't jumped the gun because wages


are on the up anyway? No. The figures we saw released last week do


not take account of all things. There were figures until April 2013


giving things improving but a people have not seen an increase. George


Osborne says he is calling for a significant rise in the minimum


wage, and I quote, to "make sure that we have a recovery for all and


that work pays". So will you be pushing for a living wage in Milton


Keynes? The most important thing is with the minimum wage, set by the


low pay commission, to be set at a level where it is a sickly minimum


wage but not such a high level that it starts costing jobs. What


happened since 2008, the real terms value of the wage has slipped back.


Now the recovery is starting to take hold, I think it is appropriate to


look at an above inflation increase. I am sympathetic to that but if you


want to go above the minimum wage that has to be in addition for each


local area to take account of all the local circumstances. What might


be appropriate in Bedford may not be as appropriate in Cambridge. Martin


Curtis, are you persuaded by your cancer, a recovery for all?


Absolutely. Our big drive in Cambridge is about an economic


recovery and driving our economy forward `` Chancellor. Cambridge has


already played a major part in leading the country out of recession


and the city deal around the Cambridge area will benefit our


whole time `` or whole county. We know it will increase demand for


work and wages. Thank you for joining us.


Now, you might remember that last summer, after years of uncertainty,


the Remploy factory for disabled workers in Norwich closed for good.


The government said that it was an opportunity to support Remploy


factory employees into new work. Maria Veronese reports on whether


that dream of new jobs has come true. Harvey has been searching for


work since the factory closed in Norwich. He worked in the cardboard


packaging factory as a forklift driver. Of the 26 disabled


employees, who worked on the factory floor, only one has phoned part`time


cleaning work. Just six of the 24 ad men and sales that have both jobs. I


spent my day living in Chop windows for jobs, going online to find


jobs. I e`mail firms but no one seems to be interested. Like Harvey,


Susan is still jobless. She has autism and says employers aren't


interested in taking her on. I do to think when I worked there that I


would be there until I was retired, but when it was under threat in


2011, I could see it happen and now it has happened. My worst fears are


realised. They said they would get jobs for the disabled people. How we


got jobs? No. What of those promises? This is what the


government said in 2012. The important thing is for anyone


affected by this little here is to make sure the budget we are using to


support more disabled people is a chance to support more Remploy


employees into new work. I have heard that the money provided to


help support those workers into new jobs is in some cases being used to


pay contracting companies and organisations to provide them with


mentoring and skills support. It is not necessarily achieving anything


in terms of new work. The Gideon representing Remploy's former


employees believes money is the basis for the decision to close the


site. We think Remploy is valued at ?54 million. If you reported that


across factories have closed, it is in the significant money owned by


DWP. Anyone hiring just want to take on the best. What do you think your


chances are now? Unless there are employees `` employers who want to


give disabled people a fair chance, they could do worse than give us a


chance. We asked the Minister for Disabled


People, Mike Penning, to speak to us about the government scheme to find


former Remploy workers jobs. Unfortunately he wasn't available


but we have this statement from the Department for Work and Pensions.


The government was aiming for jobs for 70% of former Remploy workers.


The government was aiming for jobs for Even the best figure for Norwich


comes in at 14% which is nowhere near. The scheme is not working, is


it? If you look at figures nationally, that target has been


achieved. I understand the Norwich closure happened many `` later than


many others and the package of support runs for 18 months, so it is


premature to judge the success or failure of the scheme. One of the


very particle schemes that have been put in place is called Access to


work. If there is a small business that could take a disabled person on


and they would have to make some adjustments to the work station or


whatever it is, the small business would not have to meet the cost.


That would be taken by the government. Dave Hodgson, is it


realistic that these workers can get jobs in mainstream workplaces? We


heard in the film they don't feel they can compete. In Bedford we


don't have a Remploy factory. We want to get disabled people into


work and are working with disability groups to try to help some disabled


people get into employment, so we didn't have Remploy factories, and


in terms of individuals in Norwich, every individual who doesn't have a


job is a bad new story. We need to help them. They've effectively been


thrown on the scrap heap, haven't they? If you will forgive me, my


seat is not close to Norwich so I cannot comment on details there. We


did not have an Remploy factory in Milton Keynes but I can point to


some excellent organisations. There is a wonderful charity that takes on


people with disabilities and they get contracts with local employers


to make goods or various services and the people do that in a very


modern supported environment, so there is a lot of support there for


people with disabilities. Thank you. Eyes down for this week's political


round`up, when the MP for Harlow played caller for the bingo


industry. Here's Andrew Sinclair with 60Seconds.


In the south`east Cambridgeshire Conservative Association, the row


over the election won't go away. To members have not resigned. We have


ten to need to compound that by trying to justify the decision which


is not tenable. Harlow's Robert Halfon had do as Ingo calling but


he'd used Prime Minister's questions to raise another issue. Energy


companies are charging ?115 extra for people who don't pay by direct


debit. But the Environment Agency warned it may not be worth repairing


damaged sea defences. To reinstate those defences and then allow a


freshwater habitat to re`establish, or do we allow a hide that a tidal


habitat to re`establish? The new UK trade envoy, and they do look for


Bedford means at last be getting rid of their ugly town Hall.


Are you glad to see Bedford's town Hall go? Yes, we have a brand`new


publics or their and the new development. It is good news, and


the bus station is coming down on the same day. We understand much of


the material is being recycled. Yes, there has already been about ?100 of


stuff taken out to be recycled. Robert Halfon, apart from


campaigning to reduce bingo tax, is also, as we heard, pressing for


energy companies to stop penalising those who don't use direct debits.


It's not a fairer system at the moment. It has raised an important


issue. It is one thing for any company to offer people an incentive


to pave complaints or pay by direct debit. My gas company, if I pay my


bills straightaway I get a small discount from the next one. That is


fine but a good number of them seem to be levying severe penalties for


people who are not paying by direct debit and I think that is an


important issue we need to look into. We have to leave it there.


Iain Stewart and Dave Hodgson, thank you. That's all for now. You can


keep in touch via our website, where you will also find links to Deborah


McGurran's blog for all the latest political updates. We're back at the


same time political updates. We're back at the


constituency, very pleased. Andrew, back to you.


UKIP leader Nigel Farage is never far away from controversy, but this


week he's been outdoing himself He was hit over the head with a placard


by a protester in Kent, provoked outrage by saying women with


children are worth less to city firms, and said the ban on owning


handguns was 'crackers'. He also seemed less than sure of his party's


own policies when I interviewed him on the Daily Politics. And the story


that got everyone talking was the suggestion by a UKIP councillor that


flooding is linked to gay marriage. We'll talk about all of that in a


moment, but first, over to Nigel with the weather. Weather for all


areas of the British Isles but definitely not "Bongo Bongo Land."


You may have heard about a storm in a tea cup developed when you kip


councillor in Oxfordshire blamed the floods on the gay marriage Bill The


old party is focusing on the view of UKIP members like him, even though


he had said a sell yuj of things before when a Tory councillor. How


quickly things change depending on when the blouse. There are


occasional barmy views by people of all persuasions. In Whitby a Labour


councillor claimed of fathered a child with an extra terrorist ral,


and said his real mother was a foot green alien. And in Wales a


councillor thinking about heading off for the


slopes, there were flurries of embarrassment for the Tories after


Aidan Burly organised a Nazi skiing party in a resort.


Anyone heading to Brussels, perhaps on the gravy train, watch out for


hot air. In Britain temperatures are rising


ahead of the European elections in May. It could get stormy, so advise


light aircraft. Watch out for outbreaks of common sense, and no


chance of cyclonic fruit cakes. Back to you, Andrew, with the rest of the


Sunday Politics. Nick, if it was any other party that


had bon through the past week it would be in meltdown. And maybe it


is harming UKIP and maybe it isn't. What do you think? That just shows,


that great weather forecast, Prince Charles now has a rival to be an


excellent weather forecaster, as does the Duchess of Cornwall. It


shows why Nigel Farage is the fefr candidate to the European elections.


Our invitation to the British people to kick the establishment. The


establishment have spent five years that the European Parliament is a


waste of time, so who are you going to vote for? A Nigel Farage type of


person. What was important about your eadviceration of Nigel Farage


on Daily Politics is that when it came to the substance, they


flounder. But the point about that party is they may have the thinnest


set of policies, but people know what they stand for more than any


other parties - get out of Europe, a grammar school in every town. If any


other leading politician called for an end to the ban on handguns, at a


time when we've seen these appalling gun deaths in the United States now


almost one every week in some terrible siege in a school. It would


be a crisis. It seems to wash terrible siege in a school. It would


him. He's got congenital foot-and-mouthitis. Straight into


another wild nothing to do with why people might vote UKIP. I don't


think people are desperate to have handgun licences back in this


country. It is such an unusual phenomenon, UKIP, that if this was a


Tory or a Labour or a Lib Dem saying it, we've seen the damage done to


the Lib Dems on a much more serious manner, we would say this is


terminal. But maybe it adds to this image that we are not like the other


parties. I think that is it. We keep waiting for these scandals and


embarrassments to do damage to UKIP's poll ratings, but it's not


working. It is ultimately because if you are an antiestablishment party,


if you are an anti-system party the rules of the game which apply to the


establishment parties don't apply to you. And the more ramshackle and


embarrassing you are, the more authentic you seem. It what be take


something for them not to finish second in May. Do they spend the


following 12 months sinking in the poll snoos And George Osborne's


strategy is fame everything as Labour versus the Conservatives The


electorate will have their fun in May. Maybe the Tories will be beat


into third place but in thejection is that -- but in the general


election it is Labour versus the Tories. The Conservative Party will


run around, 46 letters to Graham Brady, a leadership contest. That


sort of scenario. UKIP, if it rules well in the European elections,


could cause big trouble for Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg couldn't it?


The big point about this, David Cameron said this is not a political


party but a pressure group. This is the way to look at UKIP, and the way


it is used by people in the right of the party, who say we have to do


this. I like the policy of painting the trains in their old liveries. It


would be like my old train set. I like the bigger passports.


Pre-GNER... And London and Midland. I used to be a train spotter.


Gordon Birtwhistle has been on the phone. Good to know you are watching


but pity you are not here. He wanted to clarify he had constituency


commitments to prevent him coming on the show to talk about becoming


leader of the party, but he didn't dispute anything we said on the


show. Yesterday, Ed Balls said that


housing investment will be a central priority for the next Labour


Government. It's a big issue, as the lack of new homes pushes up the the


price of owning or renting. Well, tomorrow the Tories will announce


what they say is the most ambitious programme of affordable


housebuilding for 20 years. The Government sees housing as a really


important part of the economy. That's why we are announcing a 23


billion package for 165,000 new affordable homes. So individual


builders, councils, housing associations can bid for that money.


Phase one, which we are halfway through at the moment, we've built


170,000 houses. 99,000 already coming out of the ground, so we ve


made real progress on that. So, 165,000 new, affordable homes. It is


a lot. Let me add three more words. Over three years. It is not such a


lot. It is not, and Labour's commitment is 200,000 homes a year


and even that isn't enough. The problem here is that the vest


interest is with people who already have homes. They have a vote in the


system through the planning regulations. In London there is a


gap in the hedge through Richmond Park through which you should be


able to see St Paul's Cathedral That's why you cannot build homes


able to see St Paul's Cathedral where you want them. I don't think


we want to build homes over Richmond Park. He wasn't saying that. That's


dies an Tyne -- that's Byzantine. You've got to deal with supply,


which is why Labour is talking about 200,000 a year, and what George


Osborne has done with supply is helping with demand. We know the


Help to Buy Scheme is pretty dangerous, and Mark Carney is keen


to put the break on that. If you are to deal with supply, you have to do


radical things. Chris Huhne talked about on brownfield sites you can


tax people who are holding the land as if the development has taken


place. Then if you are really going to deal with it you have to talk


about the greenfield sites, and you have to deal with the garden cities


argument, which is too much for the Tories. All the parties seem to


agree building new houses is a political winner. I hope that they


are right. I'm not sure they are. The housing market is the example of


what economists call the insider in-outsider problem. People who are


already homeowners have no rational incentive to vote for more housing


stock. Even if you leave aside the Conservative arable objections, if


you are a homeowner there is an interest to stick with the planning


promise that we have. So then we are stuck between a rock and a hard


place. Not only are we growing at the moment but our population is


growing. I've seen projects that in quite quickly we will overtake


Germany and become the largest populated country in Europe. If


that's the case we've got to build homes. We have. If you look at Tower


Hamlets in London, the population is r ging higher than the number of


dwelling. Classically the theory's been young people are most affected


by this and they don't vote much. But when their parents have young


Johnny stuck at home at 37, that's an electoral issue. That's why the


garden cities project is interesting, because they finance


themselves. You zone it for development, it is worth ?2 million


an acre and then you can build on it. But who is going to want the


greenfield sites gone. And how quickly can we build garden cities


today? Some were started before the Town and Country Planning Act. I've


read stats about the way Chinese and Japanese are building houses and


they were slower than that. Here's a thought, sticking on the housing


theme. Ed Miliband came up with the energy freeze, a populist


interventionist move. Then the use it or lose it to land developers.


Then breaking up the banks. Now the 50p tax rate. How much would you put


on Labour coming up for rent controls? That's already a big


split. They are split already on it. They have. In London it is a popular


policy. It might not play well in the rest of the country. I would say


50-50 on that. I think Labour supporting rent controls like the


Tories having a go at welfare. The policy may be individually popular


but it sends an impression about the party which might be less attract


active. It confirms underlying suspicions that vote these guys into


power and suddenly they are tampering with the private economy.


The memories of the '70s when Governments tried and failed to do


that. It is riskier than a superficial reading of the polls


would suggest. One to watch? I think they are looking at it. That was the


key message of the Ed Balls speech on housing, is looking at supply and


how you get to that 200,000 figure a year, which is substantially more


than what Kris Hopkins is talking about. What we didn't get to talk


about, remember we had Michael Wilshaw on, the Chief Inspector of


Schools. We all consumed was Mr Gove's man, the Education


Secretary's man. Now according to the Sunday Times he is spitting


blood about the way Mr Gove and his office are speaking about him behind


the scenes. We've checked the quotes and he stands by them, so I think


we'll have to have and he stands by them, so I think


Ofsted back on the programme. If you are watching, we're here. All that


to the Lib Dems who didn't come on today.


That's all for today. Thanks to all my guests. The Daily Politics is


back on Monday at midday on BBC Two, and I'll be here again next week.


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


Britain, with 120,000 soldiers is now at war with Germany


This would be the first truly modern war.


and resolve of entire populations against each other.


A war that would turn the country upside down.


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