23/03/2014 Sunday Politics East


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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. The dust has barely


settled on George Osborne's Sunday Politics. The dust has barely


and, amazingly, for once it hasn't all gone horribly wrong by the


weekend. So, is this the election springboard the Tories needed, and


where does it leave Labour? Turns out the big Budget surprise was a


revolution in how we pay for old age. The Pensions Minister says he's


relaxed if you want to spend it all on a Lamborghini. He'll join us


later. And could the man with the maracas be on his way to


Westminster? Bez from the Happy Mondays tells us about his unlikely


plan And here: The workers with zero


confidence in zero hours contracts. stay in Axbridge. Are there ways of


making the European arrest warrant work better? -- Uxbridge. And who


better to help guide you through all of that than three journalists, who


dispense wisdom faster than Grant Shapps calls out the numbers in his


local bingo hall over a pint of beer. Yes, they're hard-working and


they're doing the things they enjoy. Cup of tea, number three. It's Nick


Watt, Polly Toynbee and Janan Ganesh.


So, George Osborne delivered his fifth Budget on Wednesday and had so


many glowing front pages the day afterwards he must be running out of


room to pin them up in on his bedroom wall. Although it's probably


a pretty big wall. For those of you who didn't have time to watch 3 5


hours of Budget coverage on the BBC, here's Giles with the whole thing in


three minutes. Budget days have a rhythm of their


own, driven partly by tradition like that photocall at 11 Downing


Street and part logistics, how to get this important statement out and


explain to those whom it affects - us? Behind-the-scenes of a Budget


Day is much the same. This ritual red boxery may be the beginning of


the end of weeks of work behind the scenes in the Treasury and sets the


clock ticking on the process of finding out the answer to one


question. You got any rabbits in the box, Chancellor? Yes, there will be


something in the Budget we don't know about. Time marches steadily


towards the statement know about. Time marches steadily


commentators are hovering over what those potential surprises are. As


Big Ben chimes, all focus returns to the Commons, where there is Prime


Minister's questions and the Chancellor gets up and does his


thing. Once he's on his feet and remembering there is still no copy


of the details, the major measures are rapidly highlighted as they come


and then put up on screen. A cap on Government welfare spending set for


2015/16 at 119 billion. Income tax personal allowance raised to


?10,500. Bingo duty halved, which ticked boxes for some but was


unlikely to make anyone a poster boy. And the beer tax cut of 1p or


the froth on the top. And changes to pensions allowing people to take


their money out in one lump sum rather than being forced to accept a


fixed annual pay-out, or annuity. This is a Budget for the makers the


doers and the savers and I commend it to the House. Not everyone can


focus on the Budget by listening to what the Chancellor says. We need to


get a copy of the script. We do not get that till he sits down. I'm


going to go into the House of Commons to get that right now. There


will be a response on that and all the other things from Mr Miliband.


The Chancellor spoke for nearly an hour but he did not mention one


essential fact, the working people of Britain are worse off under the


Tories. It is a tricky job answering the Budget at the best of times


though some, including Labour MPs, think it is better to mention the


Budget when you do. Here we are. I am going to go. I am


not the only journalist missing Ed Miliband's speech.


not the only journalist missing Ed the Chamber as the Chancellor sits


down to attend a special briefing from the Chancellor's advisory team.


I am hotfoot to the studio. There is a little more detail to the Budget


than the Budget Speech. That detail can be whether words unravel and


other interpretations emerge. By now the gaggle of supporters and


detractors are taking the debate onto the airwaves. Are you the BBC?


Have the Daily Politics packed up? No, we're still standing and, days


later, still trying to assess whether the measures announced still


seem fresh and appetising or have already gone stale in the minds of


voters? How significant are these two poles


this morning putting Labour and Tory nip and tuck? Osborne gave his party


a good bounce. It was an astonishingly theatrical coup. At


first glance, it seems like a huge gift to all people. That is where


all of the money has been channelled by this government. They have been


ultra-protected, triple locked. Pensioners have done very well and


others less well. It is not surprising. Normally a budget which


is well received on the day and the day after has unravelled by the


weekend. This time, it has not, so far. The dangerous thing for the


Labour Party now, George Osborne is the assessment this thing called the


baseline. He says, in government, you must control the baseline. The


Labour party controlled in 2001 and 2005 and he needs to control it next


time. He is controlling it on fiscal policy because labour is matching


them on everything. The danger for Labour on the big, headline grabbing


issue, which was freeing up annuities on pensions, that again


Labour was pretty much saying it was going to support it though it were


saying it has to be fair and cost-effective. On a big, policy


issue, they are following on behind George Osborne. George Osborne is


controlling the crucial baseline. Are we in danger of reading too much


into the political implications of the budget? The good thing about the


pensions policy is, if it does unravel, it will not happen for ten


years and, by that time, George Osborne will have left office.


Towards the end of his speech, I thought, that is not enough. There


is not an idea in your budget which is politically very vivid a year


before an election. What I underestimated was, how many


frustrated savers that are in the country. There are a lot of people


who are frustrated by low interest rates and tax rates on pension pots.


This was an explicit gesture for them. That is what has paid off in


the polls in the past few days. You spend all of your money on your


wardrobe, is that right? The bingo poster was a kind of get out of jail


card for Labour. It gave them something to zoom in on. Everyone


beat up on Grant Shapps, the Tory chairman. We read in the daily


Telegraph that the fingerprints of the Chancellor were all over this


poster. The Chancellor signed off it -- off on it and so did Lynton


Crosby. They referred to working class people as, they are. How did


it get into the Telegraph? We can only presume but grant Shapps made


it clear that it was not him. We had a time when Labour politicians, we


saw from the response of Ed Miliband onwards, they were not quite sure


how to react to this budget. A lot of detail had to be absorbed.


Suddenly, here is something we can talk about. You can see the thinking


behind the poster was very sensible. We are not Tory toffs, we are


interested in helping people who do not come from our backgrounds. The


wording was awful and played into every cliche. It was all his fault.


It shows how unsophisticated he was. There were people from Tory HQ


who agreed the budget. A month down the line will the budget look as


good? Probably. Once people look at it, pensions are fiendishly


conjugated. Once they look and see what it will do with people having


to pay for their own care because they can now take capital at their


pension, that will come as a shock to a lot of people with small


savings. It all be gone on their care. The polling will be neck and


neck all the way. In the past, George Osborne has been accused of


neck all the way. In the past, using his Budgets to tinker at the


margins or pull cheap tricks on his political opponents. Perish the


thought. But the big surprise in this year's statement was a


genuinely radical shake-up of the pensions system that will affect


most people who've yet to retire. At the moment, everyone is saving money


into a defined contribution pension, that is the type most common in the


private sector. They can take 2 % of the pot is a tax-free lump sum when


they retire. The rest of the money, for most people, they are forced to


buy an annuity, a form of insurance which provide a guaranteed monthly


income until they die. Annuities have hardly been a bargain since


interest rates were flat slashed following the financial crash. Even


with a ?100,000 following the financial crash. Even


only get an income of ?5,800 a year at current rates. From 2018,


pensioners will not be forced to buy an annuity. They can do what they


like with their money, even taking the entire pot as a lump some but


paying tax on 75% of it. With an average pension pot closer


to around ?30,000, pensioners would be more likely to buy a Skoda


instead of a Lamborghini. Most newly retired people who take the cash are


more likely to spend the money paying off their mortgage, helping a


family member to buy a property or investing the money elsewhere. Well,


earlier I spoke to the Pensions Minister. He's a Lib Dem called


Steve Webb. I began by asking him if he still thought the


Steve Webb. I began by asking him if lead to pensioners splurging all


their savings on supercars. What this reform is about is treating


people as adults. For far too long, we have said, we will make sure you


save for your old age and then we will control each year how much is


spent on what you spend it on. What we are saying is because we have


formed -- reformed the state pension, we will be much more


relaxed about what people do with their own money. The evidence is


that people who have been frugal and saved hard for retirement do not


generally blows a lot. They will spin it out. It is treating people


as adults and giving them choices they should have had all along. It


is a red herring, isn't it? The average pension pot is between 5000


and 30,000. Lamborghinis aren't an option, correct? I gather only about


5000 people a year retiring can buy a flashy Italian sports car. It


might be about paying off a mortgage, paying off outstanding


debts. Maybe spending more money earlier in retirement when they are


fit and able and can enjoy it more. We will give people guidance. We


will make sure when they retire there is someone to have a


conversation with talking through the implications of spending the


money early and options of investing it. This will be a real step


forward. Even if you have a much bigger pension pot, say half ?1


million, which is way bigger than the average, even then the marginal


rates of tax will be a disincentive to take it all out at once. You will


lose huge chunks of it at the 4 % band and then the 45% band. The tax


system gives you the incentive to spread it out if the tax threshold


is a bit over 10000 and the state pension is a bit over 7000, the


first 3000 you draw out in a given year is tax-free. The next band is


at 20%. Spreading your money will mean you pay less tax. That is why,


in general, people will not blow the lot up front. They will spread it


out over their retirement. You have kept this policy quiet. Not even a


hint. How did you test it? How did you make sure it would be robust?


You did not do a consultation. I have been talking about freeing up


the annuity market for a decade The idea of giving people more choice.


The government has relaxed rules over this Parliament. It was not a


completely new idea. We know in places like Australia and America,


people have these freedoms. We already have something to judge it


by. We will spend the next year talking to people, working it


through. There will be a three-month consultation. I want people to have


choices about their own money. There is detail still to be worked out and


we are in listening mode about how we implement it. When you announce


something you cannot do widespread consultation, for the reasons I have


given, you do run the risk of unforeseen consequences? Pension


companies this morning are indicating, you, the government can


write you are looking for ?25 billion of infrastructure investment


from us. You hold our shell below the water line. That may not happen.


We spoke internally about the implications for instruction --


infrastructure. It seems to me there will still be long-term investments.


Many people want to turn their whole pot into an income. I understand the


insurance companies are lobbying, but I'm convinced there will still


be plenty of money for investment and infrastructure. If the


Chancellor's pro-savings measures work, that will generate more


savings. With no requirement now to buy an annuity, surely it is the


case that pension pots buy an annuity, surely it is the


ordinary savings fund, so why should they continue to get favourable tax


treatment? Bear in mind that a lot of the tax treatment of pensioners


is tax deferred so most people pay tax at the standard rate. If they


put money into a pension, they don't pay tax when they earn it, but they


do at retirement. We do want, we will still have automatic enrolment


into workplace pensions, we do want people to build up, because at age


20 and 30 nobody thinks about retirement. It is still vital that


people do reach retirement to have these new choices with a decent


sized pension pot. Pensions. Tax breaks because they were supposed to


provide an income in retirement that is how it was structured, but


that is no longer a requirement surely that undermines the case that


if they get tax breaks, other forms of savings should get tax breaks.


Other forms do get tax breaks, of course. The return with ISAs is tax


free. The point with pensions is that you are simply deferring your


earnings. There is a bit when high tax rate payers get a kick when they


are working and then retire on standard rate, so there is the issue


of the top getting too many tax breaks, but the basic principle that


you pay tax when you get the income seems right to me and isn't affected


by these changes. You have announced save friendly measures, are we right


to look at them as a consolation prize because savers have suffered


from the Government's policy of keeping interest rates abnormally


low? It is certainly the case that very low interest rates have been a


huge boon to people of working age with mortgages, and people who have


retired said they thought they could have got a better deal on their


savings. I think there is a recognition that whilst we have done


the right thing with pensioners on the state pension, we have brought


in the triple lock, and many will bent on -- benefit from these


changes. Why don't savers who are not pensioners get the same help?


They have been hit by low interest rates as well. Those of working


age, many of them say they have benefited from low interest rates


was predominantly people in retirement have not had the benefit.


Obviously people of working age will have benefited from the tax


allowance so it is a myth to say the Budget was all about pensioners And


yet even when the Office for Budget Responsibility takes into account


your new measures, it still Responsibility takes into account


that over the next five years households will save less and less,


indeed the savings ratio falls by 50%. You haven't done enough. One of


the things we know is that the economy is picking up strongly, and


as we have more confidence about the future they will be more willing to


consume now, so without these measures it may be that the saving


rate would have fallen further. We want people to save and spend, it is


about getting the right balance As the economy picks up, people will


want to spend more of their money and it is about getting the balance


right. You make the point that if people are little profligate with


their private pensions, they will have the state pension to fall back


on and it will be higher than it have the state pension to fall back


been, but it is also the case that in these circumstances they will


still be entitled to housing benefit and even to perhaps some council tax


benefit as well. Do you know by how much this could put the welfare bill


up? We think the impact will be relatively modest because the sort


of people who save for a pension and make sacrifices while they are at


work are not the sort of people who get to 65 and decide to blow the lot


for the great privilege of receiving council tax benefit or housing


benefit. There will be people on the margins and


benefit. There will be people on the who retire with some capital want to


put some money away for their funeral. People like to save even


into retirement so the myth of the spendthrift pensioner I don't


believe. I think this has been rightly welcomed. Ever fancied a


Lamborghini yourself? If you turned the camera around you would see my


2-door Corsa! What's your favourite thing about an


election? Could it be the candidates ringing on your door while you're


having dinner? The leaflets piling up on your doormat? Or the endless


adverts aimed at hardworking families? Well, if you thought that


was bad enough, then you might want to consider going overseas for the


2015 election because the parties are going to be aiming their message


at you like never before. Adam's been to Worcester to find out more.


One of the most famous political figures in history lived here, she


is called Worcester woman. She was in her 30s, working class with a


couple of kids, aspirational yet worried about quality of life. But


she wasn't a real person, she was a label for the kind of voter new


Labour were trying to reach and she was later joined by Mondeo man and


several others. Doesn't that all seem a bit 90s? The technique,


called segmentation, was used by George Bush in 2004. Then refined by


Barack Obama. Rather than focusing on crude measures like cars and


hometowns, they delved into the minds of voters. It is not just


women, not just people who live in cities, but if you start to put


together these groups of people you can even in an anecdote or way


imagine who they are, what types of language and imagery might relate to


them. We have been given access to a new polling model being used here by


this firm, which is pretty close to the one we are told is being used by


the Tories. It carves the country into six personality types, and we


are trying it out on Worcester woman and wast of man. We are using an


online quiz to work out who is in which segment. Meet new monk,


Susie. She feels well represented. I know the Budget and the increases to


childcare, I think at the moment I am fairly represented. This puts her


in the category of optimistic contentment, people who feel they


are doing OK. Terry, on the other hand, isn't happy about Britain


today. Health and safety and all that! I hardly recognise the country


a living in any more? Yes. Are you ready for the result? He is Mr


comfortable nostalgia, they tend to favour the Tories and UKIP. They


dislike the cultural changes they see as altering Britain for the


worst. That sums me up. Tony is worried as well but feels much less


secure. I look forward to the future with optimism or anxiety? Anxiety.


Optimist or pessimist? Pessimist. His category is... You feel a bit


insecure, you think the Government could probably help you more? Yes.


Labour picks up a lot of these voters. This man is being asked to


do more and more at work, but he is getting less and less. I am getting


more towards the despair side. Things are getting tougher,


generally? It puts him into the segment called long-term despair,


people who feel left out. Finally, this is ever thoughtful Carol. I am


a bit of an idealist. Her idealism makes her a cosmopolitan critic I


am a liberal person. Apparently a lot of the media fit into this


category as well. There is one group of voters we have not come across,


people who show calm persistence. They hope things will get better but


don't expect them to. They are coping, rather than comfortable


Presumably they are all out of work. Which group are you win? You can


take the poll on the BBC website, and in the coming weeks we will be


doing our own polling using the six segments to see of the politicians


really have worked out how we think. And as Adam said, if you want to try


the survey for yourself, you can go to the BBC website and click on the


link. And we're joined now by the


pollster, Rick Nye. Welcome to Sunday Politics. We have had


Worcester woman, Worcester man, is this any different? It is a


recognition that or politician - all politics these days is like


this. It enables them to cut them more finally. You think all politics


is coalition politics, you think they have to put together these


groups of people, not that the Lib Dems will always be in power? No,


and if you listen to the coverage these days you might think it is


about grumpy old men on the one hand with Guardian readers on the other.


It is far more complicated than that, there is a lot of churning


going on underneath which is driven by people's value systems. A lot of


this has been pioneered in the United States, very sophisticated on


their election techniques, and in Britain we are always the first to


grab whatever the New Year will is from America. How do you think this


will translate to this country? I think it means that if you are


target photo you will still get the same of leaflets and people calling,


but you will probably have different kinds of conversations because


people on the other side, the party campaigners, will think they know


more about you. Will I know who you are? If I am a party campaigner


will I know, looking down the street, who fits into which


category? You will be able to approximate that with all of the


other data that you have gathered through polling, or doing local


campaigning, that is the idea to make sense of this vast quantity of


data people have about voters. We asked our panel to fill in your


survey. Nick is optimistic contentment, 99%. He was 1%


cosmopolitan critic, which is how he keeps his job at the Guardian.


Polly's job could not be more secure, 100% cosmopolitan critics,


and Janan Ganesh, optimistic contentment, which is what you would


expect from a financial Times columnist. What do you make of this


technique? Why are you only 99? It sounds really clever. 95% of the


population five years ago voted Labour or the Conservatives. We have


got away from that. It is coalition politics. You need sophisticated


methods. Presumably you must not lose touch with basic points. You


methods. Presumably you must not said it was used in the US


presidential elections. Wasn't there them moment emit Romney 's sweet


when the initial response was, we did not know the sort of people


voted. His next response was, we did not know these people existed.


Unless you know about certain key demographics, you are wasting your


time. Is it important in modern campaigning? I think it is useful


because it is about attitude. We have got Mosaic. We have got Acorn.


It does not tell us very much. What people think and feel may be


different to their income. You can be quite a high earner and anxious.


You can be quite a low be quite a high earner and anxious.


feeling aspirational and optimistic about the future. I think this does


get something else. In days gone by, particularly in America,


overwhelmingly, if you are in the better of segment, you would be


Republican and the blue-collar workers and some academics and


Liberals voted Democrat. In the last election, the richest 200 counties


in America voted Democrat. That is an attitude thing. Income does not


tell you how people will vote. There is a huge, working-class base of


support for the Republicans. It is unavoidable. Add a time when people


no longer identify with ideologies or class blocks, you have to go the


temperament and lifestyle and manageable. In America there were


128 segments according to lifestyle and Outlook. Once you get to that


stage, it becomes close to useless. We were talking about the budget


earlier. What other polls saying about the budget? The lead of labour


has been narrowed over the Conservatives. -- Labour. Osborne


and Cameron as an academic team have always had a lead over Miller band


and Balls. This week it is about economic management. -- over Mr


Miller band. Thank you for being with us today.


It's just gone 11:30am. 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 Scotland. Coming up here in 20


minutes: Hello and welcome. Coming up into


deep's programme, the pros `nd cons of zero hours contracts. `` today's


programme. One week I could be working zero hours, the next 50


hours. And we ask how do yot get money from the Treasury in `n age of


austerity? So let's meet our guests. David roughly for the Conservatives.


And foreign Labour, Sharon Taylor, the leader of Stevenage Borough


Council. In the week that Gdorge Osborne said we should get Britain


building, we are going to start with housing. Our sister programle East


has been looking at how thotsands of homes have planning permisshon but


have not been built. We need to build 20,000 houses per year but we


are only building 11,000. For years on, under the coalition,


house`building is at a level we have not seen since 1923, how can we get


this building done now? Letters up 10% from where it was put ydars ago.


It is more attractive note for developers to use the land backs


which they have got because of the right to buy programme. That is


getting more people there whth mortgages. The more house btyers


there are with ready cash, the developers will build. Therd have


been plenty of chances to do more already, haven't they? It h`s


allowed a lot more mortgages at low rates, the news scheme. Let's talk


about the so`called land banking. Ed Miliband said in Stevenage hf


developers did not fill the land would be taken from them, how is


that even possible? Part of the cost of living prices is related to


housing, particularly in our region were renting is high and we have got


to get building which will leet the real difference to get people into


homes at a price they can afford. The lot can be done. We do not know


have a programme where we c`n tie up together all the different local


Lanning plans that councils are making to ask if it will add up to


the total number of houses we need to deliver. Secondly, counchls can


do a lot more to deliver hotsing in Stevenage. We have bought houses on


the open market and let thel out as council houses. We need the


borrowing cap on our housing account to be lifted. We will pay it back


through the rental scheme and that will be one way of getting dvil more


affordable housing. The jobless total for the country went down


again for this month while the figure for this region went up by


7000. Are those in work in proper jobs? The number on the door our


contract is growing. These `llowed companies to hire workers whthout


guaranteeing a set number of hours. What is it like for employeds? This


man used to work full`time `s a scaffolder when he was bettdr but


more recently he has been working on a zero hours contract at a fast`food


outlet. I did not know what I was working from one week to thd next,


one week could be a Towers, the next 50, the next ten. There is no


financial security. One month I might get eight, the next I might


get 12, it is whatever I do. I am always asking for full`time hours


but I have not had them. I have been working there for over two xears


now. She has been doing a zdro hours contract. The same they do not


clear. These are the shift `nd if you do not like it moved on. Could


you look on? I am looking for work but I don't know, work is h`rd to


come by, every job has loads of people applying for it. Young


people, graduates come out `ll the time. I am a graduate myself by


proper full`time workers hard to find. There were almost 583,000


employees on zero hours contracts last year, more than double the


government estimate. They h`ve grown so much that the consultation was


launched into them were looking into exclusivity, contracts that can find


people to working for only one employer and transparency. People


not being told they may havd no work. Essex University is one of


several throughout the region who employ people on zero hours. There


are instances of people on zero hours contract year. Individuals


have come to me on these contracts. Several other universities `lso use


zero hours contracts but here at the University of Essex, bobble


postgraduates that assist whth the gene may be on zero hours, they are


adamant that lecturers are not. We never had a reason to use zdro hours


for poor lecturing staff and I do not see us changing that pr`ctice.


It is going all for the employer, what about the little man, what


about me? Sheila had three lonths without any work last year `nd has


to rely on her family to help out. It is hard, I just tell my kids to


weeks ahead that this month my wages will be less so between thel they


will be two or ?300 or one of them will pay the mortgage for md


otherwise I would have lost the house. What do employers make of it?


I have a spokesman from the Institute of directors. Flexibility


for Sheila means unpredictability, she says she cannot pay the


mortgage. That might be the case in an isolated example but flexibility


means more jobs and zero hotrs contracts divide them for ydars with


an opportunity. In the environment we have had recently where there


have been difficult economic times they can actually provide jobs with


the otherwise would not havd been able to. Will there be fewer of


these contracts if they upttrned in the economy continues? I am


uncomfortable with the general rhetoric around zero our contracts.


I speak to a lot of businesses and business leaders. Things th`t


concern them are how do thex pay suppliers? They are not setting out


to get their employee a hard time, these contracts have them the


opportunity to provide work were otherwise they would not have been


able to do that. They have not invented them. As the econoly


improves there may be fewer of them. Do you agree that often the ball is


in the employer's court. Th`t does not suit people, they need lore


protection and stability. I do not think that isn't highly fair. You


need to see the flexibility from the point of view of the worker as well.


People have the opportunity to work around their lives as well `s the


employer having flexibility and being able to offer work were the


otherwise would not be able to. There is a point around burdensome


legislation and red tape, it is all very well talking about verx large


companies but think about slaller employers. A business with only up


to six members of staff in the team it is the big decision to t`ke


another member of staff on. Without the flexibility of these


arrangements they could not take anyone on. I can`macro what do you


say`macro to Unison who talk about workers being held to ransol and not


getting the work protection they deserve? That is very strong


language and the sort of rhdtoric I am talking about. Most employers are


simply trying to make a livhng, to generate wealth and pay taxds. That


is what is fuelling the govdrnment. We will come back to you shortly.


Sheila in the film, evidencd of public sector jobs moving into the


private sector. These are the kinds of jobs your government is creating,


they do not always exist? The rise of zero our contracts giving


employers and read it need not otherwise exist. I would expect and


hope that more permanent jobs or part`time jobs with fixed hours and


predictability, those kind of jobs will be treated as the recovery


takes hold. I think the zero hours increase is hugely a function of


this located climate patterns because of the 2008/9 crash. RDB


will jobs? Of course they are. `` are the real jobs. It is pahd work,


it is a good thing. As the recovery takes old I think we will gdt more


conversion into permanent jobs. It is not good enough to say`m`cro


these deliver flexibility for the void. Look at the instability we


heard in your film. If you do not know whether you will be working two


hours or 50 hours, how do you manage your childcare and bells? A job is


better than no job at all. Hf we had a benefit system that could cope


with these sort of rapid ch`nges it would help a bit but we need


well`trained employees in this region to be in a good job. Do these


contracts need scrapping? I would like to ban them, they are not good


for the economy or the individuals who are victims of them. Th`t is


completely wrong. We cannot sit here and pretend we are not in a global


competition. To pretend these contracts can just be banned is


ridiculous. Global competithon is not fuelled by low skilled jobs


What about Jim who we saw in the film who said the whole expdrience


in total is putting him off of looking for work, he feels he may be


better off in benefits. I do not think that is the reality of what


the government would like to see. A life on benefits is good for nobody,


not least the individual who thinks that way. Any work is better than a


life of dependency and that is the whole thrust of government reform.


That is sensible and we shotld not apologise for that. Not if ht


disrupts family life. Teachhng assistants, people who work in our


schools, they should have proper jobs with proper hours. Now, onto


this week's Budget. Last wedk on the programme we were talking about a


city deal for Cambridge which has got the go`ahead. There could be


?500 million in investment over the next 20 years supporting more


housing, jobs and transport. One MP wanted more money for potholes, the


Chancellor promised 200 million across the country of which 16 comes


to the east. There will be lore money for repairing flood ddfences.


140 million across the country. In bingo, a victory for the Cardinal


MP, he already persuaded thd Chancellor to cut and freezd fuel


duty. On bingo he wanted thd tax to be cut from 20% to 15%. Bingo duty


will be half to 10% to protdct jobs. We caught up with them for ` more


considered verdict. This is again for working people, it is rdally


good news, I am really excited. Fuel duty frozen again. I would say`macro


visit the worker 's budget for working people. I would likd them to


have at least it has been frozen. In tax terms fuel by the end of the


year will be 20% cheaper th`n it would have been otherwise. Ht is


great news for hard`pressed motorists as well. I literally


listen to my local residents. They contact me by the day with lany


hundreds of e`mails. I am a campaigning MP, I love to c`mpaign


on things, I am here to represent my constituency. I got fuel letters


almost every day and it is ly duty as an MP to work hard for mx


constituents. You seem to phck issues that chime with the public.


It is issues that the public right to me about or come to talk with me


about in surgeries. It means the a lot of jobs and the new club not


just in Harlow but across the country. I have to reflect what our


residents are seeing. I would like to consider to focus on helping the


lower paid. In next year's budget the government will raise the


national insurance threshold. The government said today they would


raise the threshold of incole tax. 25 million lower earners will be


better off which is great ndws in tax terms. Still these people on


lower earnings are being national insurance tax and I would lhke the


government to raise that. Cttting bingo duty, freezing fuel dtty, he


is stealing the thunder of labour, is he not? It is still a bedr and


bingo budget. Most families are ?1600 per year worse off. What about


that MP in touch with his constituency? The live the cost of


living crisis in the economx. What about your energy costs going up


?300 per year? People are rdally struggling out there and do did not


seem to be any acknowledgemdnt of that. I am pleased with the pothole


budget, we need that. I havd asked the council to top that up further


and start tackling the port`l crisis. If there's something you


should be focusing on and not the battle against UKIP? I agred. It is


also the personal allowance. If you are a basic rate taxpayer you are


being ?800 this year at the start of the parliament. That is one of the


big answers to the question about the cost of living. A plane crash of


an economy left by the Labotr Party and for us, after four years, to be


able to see you are paying 20p tax is saving every year and th`t is


hugely important for working people. We don't just talk the talk, we


deliver. Income tax has been cut. 24 new taxes is not really helping


people. Stick to income tax and the serious stuff. To rebrand the


Conservatives as the workers party, that is dangerous or Labour, isn't


it? You have those who make steady your types around working pdople


that the drink beer and plax bingo. Why don't we talk about the issues


that you are ?800 per year better off in income tax terms if xou are a


20p taxpayer? Not if you take into account everything else, falilies


are worse off. Like macro and here's a round`up in 60 seconds. A bad


start to the week for UKIP. The Parliamentary candidate for Great


Yarmouth will appear in court charged with electoral fraud. 5 0


plus jobs will go in Corby. It is a difficult time for those workers and


their families but there ard jobs being created locally and wd need to


support people into those. The decision to close one prison. The


Independent monitoring board said it had been a massive waste of


taxpayers money. 10 million was spent doing the very things they


said they could not afford to do. And the Lib Dem MP for Cambridge


accused the Tories of stealhng their policy on raising the incomd tax


threshold. He always brings the house together in his usual way


What I am sure we can agree on is that it has been an excellent move


by a Conservative Chancellor in a coalition government. Sharon Taylor,


we saw a glimpse of the bear pit the Commons can be from time to time, do


you relish the prospect of joining that atmosphere? I think it is


something that puts lots of people off. I really believe in wh`t I am


trying to do in Thames of t`king the values that I have had all ly life


into politics. I think all that shouting and laughing at each other


does put people off, the cltb atmosphere. We need to have more


serious debates around the hssues. I do not mind a bit of banter but it


does get beyond a joke. Is he right to say it was the Lib Dem policy


stolen by the Conservatives? We can all celebrate it. I would only hope


the Labour Party in parliamdnt would give us credit for these reductions


in income tax. What about the heckling, do you wince or enjoy yet?


I think the women, the female candidates who get elected, many of


them are friends of mine, they do not complain. It is not quite as bad


as it works. If you have solething to say you stand up and spe`k out


and people will respond. With more women there it might be a bdtter


place. Thank you, you can decision, she will weigh up the


The big news is the popular server is struggling to control all of the


people who want to find out where they fit in the political spectrum.


It hasn't quite crashed but it is queueing up those people. Who would


have thought the Sunday Politics had so many viewers? It has never


happened on the X factor. This morning's papers don't make


comfortable reading for Labour with two separate polls showing the


party's lead over the Tories is down to just one point. And there's been


plenty of criticism of Ed Miliband's response to the Budget. Let's take a


look. You know you are in trouble when even the Education Secretary


calls you and out of touch bunch of elitist. Where is he? He is hiding!


I think he has been consigned to the naughty step by the Prime Minister.


The naughty step! And we're joined now by shadow chief secretary to the


Treasury, Chris Leslie. There was a widely criticised response by Ed


Balls to the Autumn Statement, now a widely criticised response by Ed


Miliband to the Budget. Does this show you are struggling at the


moment? Of course Ed Balls and Ed Miliband don't want to hear the fact


that in reality, for most people, life is getting harder and there is


the cost of living crisis. Did we get any mention of that in the


Budget? Of course we didn't. We were waiting for action on the cost of


living and it wasn't forthcoming. Ed Miliband came up with the tactic of


responding to the Budget without mentioning anything that was in it.


He mentioned the fact the personal tax allowance was a bit of a


giveaway but he takes more with the other hand. He is in favour of that,


right? Anything we can get but we need a lot more. Let


right? Anything we can get but we something else he mentioned, the


fact the national debt has risen by a third and George Osborne and David


Cameron... They knew that before the Budget. The borrowing figures were


announced and Ed Miliband made reference to those. There is not a


lot of happiness on Labour backbenchers about this, is there?


And indeed not a lot of happiness in the shadow cabinet. There is concern


that Ed Miliband is on a journey to remodel world capitalism whilst


George Osborne is firing some love bombs at Middle England by talking


about freeing up the pensions market and there is real nerves that what


Ed Miliband is saying is not going to be in tune with those middle


income earners that the Labour Party has got to attract if they are going


to win the general election. When Rachel Reeves used the medium of


Radio 4 to announce you were broadly in favour of the pension reforms


announced by the Chancellor on Friday night, was that a result of a


decision taken by the shadow cabinet? Is With annuities, they are


a very old-fashioned product. There are some serious questions which


need to be addressed. Was that the result of a Shadow Cabinet


decision? We have not had a Shadow Cabinet since the budget. We all


want to make sure that we understand the point about flexibility. No one


is arguing with that. There are some serious concerns. Let me give you a


couple of examples. This is something the Chancellor has done,


he claims, for reasons of freedom and flexibility. Is it a coincidence


he is grabbing quite a lot of tax from pensioners early on to plug a


hole which is necessary because the deficit has not gone down? Forgive


me for being slightly cynical about motives. For or against it? We need


to have safeguards for protection of pensioners. What will it do for the


annuity market if most people still want to have a steadying come for a


third of their lives? -- steady income. What does Labour have to do


to get it show back on the road The question is, how do people feel How


many people will still not be feeling better by the next election?


Wages may be rising slightly but not for a large and significant number


of people. They were just looking at the YouGov poll. If you look at the


middle to low earners, they are overwhelmingly pro-labour. Can


Labour get those people out to vote? They are really hurting. There are


plenty of them. The question is whether people are optimistic


because they see figures as if they look as if they are on the up or


whether they vote according to how they feel, which will still be very


far behind. Cost of living has been a major mantra from Labour. That's


that this chart shows how things are beginning to change. What this shows


is that, sometime this year, after a long time at which average earnings


trailed inflation, they now overtake it in the run-up to the election and


they stay there for the forecast period. What do you now do if your


cost of living mantra is running out of steam? I am not sure that, for


most people, they will recognise the sense that suddenly things will be


getting better. Particularly the younger generation are really


feeling quite down about the pressures they are facing to make


ends meet. You can see the lines are exaggerated because the Y axis on


the side starts quite high up. It does not start at zero. The other


statistic from the OBR is that we will not be getting back to the


point where wages are exceeding prices from the pre-banking crisis


period until late 2017. There are some really serious pressures that


people are under. What they wanted was a budget that would address


concerns and, for the vast majority of people, they will have heard the


statement by George Osborne and think, how is it really help them


now? It did not address it. It is clear that by 2015, average living


standards will probably not have returned to where they were in


2010. Average wages will not have done that. On the other hand, the


chart shows the sense of direction is moving in the right way. Which


one matters more with the electorate? I suspect it is sense of


direction. People sense of prosperity does not need to be


buoyant. It has to be something worth preserving. We have to fear


the all turn. That is what intrigued me this week. People make too much


of a fuss about the Parliamentary response by Ed Miliband. People will


forgive a bad day at the dispatch box. What they will not forgive is


the absence of a macro economic mess. Labour have a very powerful


message on living standards and lots of popular, targeted interventions


like the energy price freeze. You can imagine they will be


sufficiently nervous about that next year. If living standards are not


back to where they were, Labour can say, are you better off now than


when you were four years ago? The reason why break and -- wallowed


waken one that is because Jimmy Carter mucked it up -- Ronald


Reagan. Labour have to say, vote for us and you will get 2 million homes.


At the moment, the offer is very modest. You need to find the money


to do that. People need to understand that housing is at the


very heart of the economy, as well as young people and their


aspirations. At the moment, Labour 's offer is not spectacular in. If


the focus group shows the cost of living crisis have no longer has the


attraction it did, what line do you move onto? Yellow McCoy must remind


people of the wasted years and the cost of living pressures they have


been under. -- we must remind people. We want a recovery which has


low growth, low wage. A race to the bottom. They want a recovery that is


felt by everyone, shared and felt by all. Now, here's an idea to twist


your melon. Mark Berry, better known as Bez, it says here he's a member


of something called The Happy Mondays, wants to stand for


parliament. He's best known for being in a band, and not doing very


much, so he might fit in. Here he is in action.


And Bez joins us from our Salford studio. Good to see you. Is this a


genuine candidacy or are you twisting my melon? Amazing how time


flies when you're having fun! You having fun doing this candidacy I


am doing the job of the politicians and standing up for the people and


bringing attention to the horror of fracking, which is a totally unsafe


technology. There is no one in mainstream politics who is


discussing or saying anything about it. It is an unsafe technology and


it has been proven in America. You see the process in America and the


people out on the streets. The whole atmosphere has been made toxic.


These people are allowing it to happen in the name of profit. This


has been a Labour seat you are fighting in Salford since 1945. It


is a tough mountain. Supposing you were to win, could you ever see


yourself entering a coalition? With a bit of luck I may be able to shame


Labour politicians to do the job properly and stand up for the rights


of people. They are not and I am having to do that job. All I am


doing is causing debate and bringing to attention the horror that is


hanging on our doorsteps. It is not only fracking but GM modified foods


that they want to bring into this country as well. Owen Paterson is


one of the main lobbyists. Lobbying is legalised bribery, by the way. It


is run by the bankers. Basically, we have to stop these monsters from


getting into our country and turning our land into a toxic waste. That is


what I am trying to say. You are raising the debate, as you are doing


with us here. We do not really need fracking. You have done that and you


have talked about other things as well. In terms of a new integrity,


if you were to become an MP, would you claim expenses? If I ever do get


in charge, I would completely enter the banking


in charge, I would completely enter be expensive, but they would be like


bus passes and train passes. You behave like the people and you are


in touch with the people, you move with the people and do understand


what the people want. You do not live in acre Kuhn of your own making


of luxury, wealth and total disregard of everyone else. -- a


cocoon. If you did get into the Palace of Westminster and had to


mingle with all these people, who would you rather have in night out


with - Mr Cameron, Mr Miller band or Mr Clegg? I would be willing to


discuss politics with anybody. I would make them realise what they


are doing. I am glad too have a debate and with anyone. The people


of Salford, quite a lot people people behind me. I have been


speaking to Salford councillors They are going to lend me their


support. The people of Salford, and not to forget the people of Eccles,


sending you much. We must stop this horror. There is a monster on our


doorstep and we must stop it, people. Do not forget to take your


maracas on campaign trail. Would you like a pair to shake yourself? You


shake your maracas against fracking! Thanks, Bez, goodbye. Thank you for


giving me a little platform to express my views. Now if there's one


thing that gets us hot under the collar here at the Sunday Politics


it's European elections. The only thing we like more than the


elections themselves is a TV debate about them. And we're in luck! Take


a look at this. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome leader of


the Liberal Democrats and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg. Gives


the most fantastic welcome to Nigel Farage. I would challenge Nigel


Farage to a public, open debate about whether she we should be out


all in of the European Union. I will do it for Nick Clegg. Since 200 ,


all in of the European Union. I will have taken part in 45% of votes in


the European Parliament. Nigel Farage has not tabled a single


amendment since July 2009. Mr Clegg has only taken part in 22% of votes


in the House of commons. You can watch the debate at 7pm on the nd


of April over on BBC Two. And for a chance to be part of the studio


audience on the night and put your question to the two party leaders,


e-mail the question you'd like to ask to [email protected] or


tweet it using the hashtag #europedebate. And Nick Clegg and


Nigel Farage will be limbering up this week with their first debate on


LBC radio on Wednesday. Who is going to come out the best? I suspect


Nigel Farage. It is easy to portray Nick Clegg as morally compromised,


who has not asserted himself in government. I do wonder about Nigel


Farage, whether he is much better at delivering a popular line and


responding to the second question of third question. Nick Clegg will win


it hands over fist because he knows this stuff. He is right. The


evidence that he can produce about what will happen if we pulled out of


Europe will, I think, overwhelm Nigel Farage 's one-liners. They


will both be winners because you will have the rare sight of the


pro-European saying he likes the European Union. That is unlike


Eurosceptics who tie themselves up in knots. 14 Nigel, one for Nick and


one for both. There you go. Here is a mess, it is Janen Ganesh. That's


all for today. The Daily Politics is on BBC Two at Lunchtime every day


this week, I'll be back here next week with Energy Secretary Ed Davey.


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


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