20/10/2013 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With communities secretary Eric Pickles and deputy first minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 20/10/2013. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Good morning and welcome to The Sunday Politics. Alex Salmond says a


vote for Scottish independence would be an act of national self belief.


His deputy joins us live from the SNP conference in Perth. Is


Whitehall meddling too much in modern affairs? The Communities


Whitehall meddling too much in Secretary, Eric Pickles, joins me


for The Sunday Interview. Senior coppers will be answering questions


this Thousands more jobs will be lost in


the region's town halls. How long can the cuts go on?


And claims high`interest credit is leaving families drowning in debt.


All of that to come. And the Home Office minister sacked by Nick


Clegg, who says his party is like a wonky shopping trolley, which keeps


veering off to the left. He will join us live at noon. With me to


unpack all of this, Nick Watt, Helen Lewis and Iain Martin. They will be


tweeting throughout the programme, using hashtag #bbcsp. It is the last


day of the Scottish national party conference in Perth. We have


discovered that Alex Salmond has been on the same diet as Beyonce.


The SNP leader compared his attempts to lose weight with the campaign for


independence - lots achieved so far, 20 more to do. In a moment, I will


be joined by the deputy leader of the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon. First


they report on the independence campaign. September 18 2014, the


date of destiny for Scotland, the day when these campaigners hope its


people will decide to vote yes for independence. In a recent poll, only


14% said they knew enough to vote either way. That is unlikely to


change any time soon. I think the Scottish people will be going to the


polls next year still not knowing an awful lot of stuff which is


important, because the outcome, in terms of taxation, debt, exactly


what will happen to the allocation of assets between the two countries,


will come about as a result of negotiation between a Scottish


government and the UK Government. That is not stuff which will be


known year. At the moment, polls suggest Scotland will decide to


remain within the UK. A recent survey found that 44% of those


questioned planned to vote no, 5% yes. But interestingly, the


undecideds were at 31%, suggesting that Alex Salmond's task might be


tough but not impossible. There are a number of reasons which make a


vanilla campaign a good idea. It does not put off cautious voters, it


allows for people to imagine their own version of what independence


will be like, and crucially, it allows for the yes campaign to take


advantage of any mistakes by the no campaign. In other words, the yes


campaign are not out there with big ideas, they are just waiting for the


no campaign to trip up. What we do know is that whatever happens next


September, Scotland will be getting more power. From 2016, a separate


income tax regime will come into force, giving the Scottish


Parliament control over billions of pounds of revenue. What we do not


know yet is how the alternative would pan out. There are issues


which would be raised by independence, issues about how the


national debt is allocated, what the currency will look like, how an


independent Scotland would balance the books, because it would have a


bigger job to do, even down the Whitehall government has to do.


Those are really big issues, which a Scottish government would have to


face, on top of whatever negotiation it had to have with the UK


Government. The Scottish government's White Paper on


independence, two to be published within weeks, should fill in some of


the banks. But how Scotland votes in September may yet be determined by


what it feels rather than what it knows. And joining me from Perth is


Scotland's Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. Nicola Sturgeon, we


meet again! Hello, Andrew. Former leader of the SNP Gordon Wilson


said, if this referendum fails, it will fail on the basis that people


put their British identity ahead of their Scottish identity, so we have


got to attack on the British identity - what does he mean? Gordon


Wilson is a very respected, much loved former leader of the SNP. My


view is that I do not think the independence referendum is really


about identity. I am secure and proud of my Scottish identity, but


this is a decision about where power best lies. Do decision-making powers


best lie here in Scotland, with a government which is directly


accountable to the people of Scotland, or does it best lie in


Westminster, with governments which, very often, people in Scotland do


not vote for? That is the issue at the heart of the campaign. Let me


just clarify, you do not agree with him, that you need to go on the


attack with regard to the British identity of Scottish people? No I


do not think we are required to attack British identity. It is


absolutely compatible for somebody to feel a sense of British identity


but still support Scottish independence, because Scottish


independence is about a transfer of power. It is about good government,


accountable government, ensuring that decisions are taking here in


Scotland, by people who have got the biggest stake in getting those


decisions right. I represent a constituency in the south side of


Glasgow, and if you speak to many people in my constituency, if you


ask them their national identity, many of them would say Irish,


Pakistani, Indian, Polish, and many of them will vote yes next year


because they understand the issue at stake, which is the issue of where


decisions are best taken. It looks like you are changing tack ex-, you


have realised the softly softly approach, of saying that actually,


nothing much will change, we will still have the Queen, the currency,


and all the rest of it, is moving over towards voting for a left-wing


future for Scotland... Well, I know that what we are doing is pointing


out is pointing out the choice between two futures. If we vote yes,


we take our own future into our own hands. We make sure that for ever


after, we have governments which will be in demented policies which


we have voted for. If we do not become independent, then we continue


to run the risk of having governments not only that we do not


vote for, but often, that Scotland rejects. We are seeing the


dismantling of our system of social security. There are politicians in


all of the UK parties who are itching to cut Scotland's share of


spending. So Scotland faces a choice of two futures, and it is right to


point out the positive consequences of voting yes, but also the


consequences of voting no. But you are promising to reverse benefit


cuts and increase the minimum wage. You would renationalise the Royal


Mail, though how you would do that nobody knows. You are promising to


cut energy bills. These are the kind of promises that parties make in a


general election campaign, not in a once in 300 years extra stench or


choice. Is the future of Scotland really going to be decided on the


size of the minimum wage? -- existential choice. A yes vote would


be about bringing decision-making powers home, but we are also setting


out some of the things an SNP government would do, if elected A


decision on what the first government of an independent


Scotland would be would not be taken in the referendum, that decision


would be taken in the 2016 election. And all of the parties will put


forward their offers to the electorate. We are setting out some


of the things which we think it is important to be prioritised. These


are things which have a lot of support in Scotland. We see the pain


being felt by people because of the rising cost of energy bills, there


is widespread opposition to some of the welfare cuts. So, we are setting


out the options which are open to Scotland, but only open to Scotland


if we have the powers of independence. Given that you seem to


be promising aid permanent socialist near Varna, if Scotland is


independent, if you are right of centre in Scotland, and I understand


that is a minority pursuit where you are, but it would be a big mistake


to vote for independence, in that case, wouldn't it? No, because the


whole point of independence is that people get the country they want,


and the government a vote for. So, right of centre people should not


vote for independence? No, because people who are of that political


persuasion in Scotland get the opportunity to vote for parties


which represent that persuasion and if they can persuade a majority to


vote likewise, then they will get a government which reflects that. That


is the essence of independence. Right now, we have a Westminster


government which most people in Scotland rejected at the last


general election. That is hardly democratic. It is right and proper


that the SNP, as the current government, points out the


opportunities that would be opening up. Can I just clarify one thing,


when we spoke on The Daily Politics earlier last week, you made it clear


to me that Alex Salmond, we know he wants to debate with David Cameron,


but you made it clear to me that he would debate with Alistair Darling


as well, and Mr Carmichael... He made it clear yesterday. Well, he


said to the BBC this morning that he would only debate with these people


after he had had a debate with Mr Cameron, so who is right? I was


making the point last week, and Alex Salmond was making it yesterday and


this morning - let's have that agreement by David Cameron to come


and debate with Alex Salmond, and then Alex Salmond, just like me


will debate with allcomers. So if he does not get the David Cameron


debate, then he will not do the others, is that right? Let's focus


on is wading David Cameron to do the right thing. So, in other words he


will not debate, yes or no? Members of the SNP government... We know


that, but what about Alex Salmond? He said yesterday, we will debate


with all sorts of people, including the people you have spoken about,


but David Cameron should not be let off the hook just putting aside the


independence issue, energy prices are now even playing into the SNP,


so every political party has to do something about energy prices. Yes,


it is clearly it is interesting is the difference between the SNP and


the Labour approach. Ed Miliband electrified the party conference


season when he said he would freeze energy prices for 20 months,


seemingly having an amazing control over the energy market, where we


know that essentially what pushes prices up the wholesale prices on


world market. What Nicola Sturgeon is talking about is actually saying,


this amount is added to your bills for green levies, and we are going


to take them off your bills and they will be paid out of general taxation


in an independent Scotland. That is a credible government, making a


credible case, very different to what Labour is saying, although


playing to the same agenda. So, Labour has got a populist policy,


the SNP has also got a populist policy, the one group of people that


do not have a decent response to this is the coalition? Exactly. What


the SNP also have is a magic money pot, so that speech yesterday, you


are right, it was very left wing, social democratic, but there was


none of the icing like Labour has been talking about, with fiscal


responsibility. I think that is the difference between the two. We know


what the Tories would really like to do, all of these green levies which


were put on our bills in the good times, when they were going to be


the greenest party ever, the Tories would like to say, let's just wipe


out some of them, put the rest on to some general government spending,


but they have a problem, which is in the Department of Energy and Climate


Change. Not only that, they really are stuck now. But there is


something in the free schools debate this morning, the parties are now


determined to send a message to their potential voters at the next


election, that they are trying to fight their coalition partners. Do


not expected any change in coalition policy or free schools policy before


the election, but we can expect to hear the parties try to pretend that


they are taking on their coalition partners. Mr Clegg has said, we


would put this free schools policy into our manifesto, so is it not


possible that the Tories will say, if you give us an overall majority,


we will cut your electricity bill because we will get rid of these


green levies? I think that is entirely possible. The Tories know


that they are stuck on this, they do not have a response to Ed Miliband.


How much should ministers in Whitehall medal in local decisions


across England? In opposition, David Cameron said he wanted a fundamental


shift of power from Whitehall to local people. He said, when one size


fits all solution is... Eric Pickles described it as "an


historic shift of power". But the Communitites and Local Government


Secretary can't stop meddling. In the past few months Mr Pickles has


tried to ban councils from using CCTV cameras and "spy cars" to fine


motorists... Told councils how to act quicker to shut down illegal


travellers' sites... Criticised councils who want to raise council


tax... Insisted councils release land to residents hoping to build


their own property... And stated new homes should have a special built in


bin storage section. It seems not a week goes by without a policy


announcement from the hyper active Mr Pickles. So is the government


still committed to localism, or is it all about centralism now?


And Communities Secretary Eric Pickles joins me now for the Sunday


Interview. Welcome. Nice to be here. You said


in July you were going to give town halls the power to wreak their local


magic. So why issue diktats from Westminster? It is not about giving


power to local councils, it is going beyond that to local people. If


local councils refuse to open up their books, we have to go straight


to local people. You have attacked councillors using so-called spy


cameras to enforce parking rules. Why is that your business? Because


there is an injustice taking place. You cannot use fines to raise money


and that is plainly happening. If you get yourself a ticket from a


CCTV, it could be days or weeks before that lands on your doorstep


and you have virtually no possibility to be able to defend


yourself. But just leave it to people to vote out the council then.


We are trying to enforce the law and it clearly states that you cannot


use parking fines in order to fund general rate. So why are you not


taking them to court if they are breaking the law? There have been a


number of court cases taken by local residents. I am there to stand by


local residents. Your even trying to micromanage, allowing motorist s to


park for 15 minutes in local high street. Why is that your business?


I'm trying to ensure that local authorities understand the


importance of the town centre. If you look at all opinion polls, right


now there is a five-minute leeway but there are many cases of people


being jumped on by parking officials for quite trivial things. It is


about saying, surely I can go and get a pint of milk. But a party that


dines out on localism, that is a matter for local people, not the men


in Whitehall. I have to be on the side of local people. That person


who wants to go and get a pint of milk. Ultimately it is a matter for


them. It is a matter for the council. But a little bit of


criticism is not a bad thing. You have now declared war on the wheelie


bin and suggested that new homes should have built in storage


sections. You just cannot help meddling! I suppose that is


possible. You are a meddler! I am in charge of building regulations and


planning. So I may have some responsibility there. Another one,


interfering in local planning decisions. A couple of places, you


ruled in favour of developers. They want to build over 200 houses


against the wishes of the parish and district councils. The local MP said


the Secretary of State's decision runs roughshod over any concept of


localism. Now I have to be a blushing violet because of course


this is still potentially subject to judicial review. I have to act


properly. And Apple went is entitled to justice. -- an applicant. A local


authority has a duty to ensure that is adequate housing for people in


their area. This was not a decision that I took as a personal decision,


it was on the advice of an inspector. But you contradict what


David Cameron himself said in 2 12, he spoke about a vision where we


give communities much more say and local control. People in villages


fear big housing estates being plonked from above. You have just


done exactly that. After a proper quasi judicial enquiry. What we have


is planning framework which local people can decide where it goes But


they cannot say, nothing here. They have to have a five-year housing


supply. Previous to this government decided exactly where houses would


go, now local people can take the lead. Anna Silbury said because of


the way your department rules, local authorities now have no alternative


but to agree development on green belt land. I do not accept that I


think around Nottingham there are particular problems with regards to


the green belt. The matter has been referred back.


the green belt. The matter has been want to see development on the green


belt but on Brownfield site. We want to see underused land. But you have


to remember why we have the green belt. Not


to remember why we have the green nice, it is their to prevent


conurbations bumping into one another. Your


conurbations bumping into one is vocal about the need to deal


what he calls the historic under provision of housing. Shelter says


we need 250,000 new homes per year. provision of housing. Shelter says


Houston statistics are getting there, but nowhere near that. -


housing. You cannot there, but nowhere near that. -


localism agenda as well as meeting housing demand. I do not accept


that. We inherited a position where the lowest level of building since


the 1920s was in place. But it has steadily improved. It does take a


while. You cannot have a localism agenda where people call the shots


on housing as well as meeting the housing demand. People have a duty


to ensure that future generations have somewhere to live. You cannot


pull up the drawbridge. There is nothing incompatible between that


and localism. Because someone has to be the voice of those people who are


going to live there and to make sure there is the proper amount. Plans


now exist for more than 150,000 homes to be built on protected land,


including the green belt. That will mean riding over local concerns


Each application will be taken on its own merits. To suggest that


there is an assault on the green belt is as far from the truth as you


can imagine. Should Andrew Mitchell get his job back if the years


exonerated? I would be honoured to sit with Andrew Mitchell in the


Cabinet. I have always believed his version. But it is a matter for the


Prime Minister who he has in government. He would have no problem


in seeing him back in Cabinet? Absolutely not. Your mother answered


Vulcan junior minister Nick balls said about the Royal Charter for the


press, there's nothing we have done that troubles me as much as this. Is


that your view? It is not. I accept the compromise agreement put


together. If the press want to have an additional protection that the


Royal Charter offers, then they can move into the system. But if they


want to continue independently that is acceptable to me. But you


previously echoed Thomas Jefferson, you said for a free society to


operate the river of a free press has to flow without restriction


That is what I said at the time We had to find a compromise. And that


seems to me to be a better compromise. Let me just show you


this little montage of pictures that we have. I could not be happier


Then you are in the Desert and there you are in San Francisco. Then you


are in the casino. That is my personal favourite. These students


took a cardboard cutout of you and took it round the world with them.


Did you ever think you would become a student icon? I always felt


secretly that that might happen one day. But it came earlier in my


career than I thought! Why would they do that? I think they thought I


could do with a bit of an airing! I went to Norfolk earlier, but that


looks better. Thank you. On Wednesday senior police folk


including chief constables, will be questioned by MPs about what's


become known as Plebgate. That's the incident in Downing Street last year


which led to the resignation of the government chief whip Andrew


Mitchell. Last week the Independent Police Complaints Commission


questioned the "honesty and integrity" of police officers who


met Mr Mitchell following the row. So do scandals like this affect


public trust in the police? Here's Adam Fleming.


It's a story of politics, the police, and CCTV. No, not Andrew


Mitchell, but an MP's researcher called Alex Bryce and his partner


Iain Feis. It started on a summer night in


2011. They'd been in Parliament After a few words with a police


officer, Ian was wrestled to the ground. Alex came to have a look and


the same thing happened to him. Both were arrested and charged. These


pictures emerged on day one of their trial. A trial that was halted


because the police version of events just didn't match the footage. A lot


of people with incidence like this which we experienced, people think


there is no smoke without fire. So when we said we did nothing wrong,


people would think police just would not do that. There is always that


underlying view that some people have. I think that has been


challenged and people who know us believe that. This year the Met


apologised and paid compensation. And it's led to an unlikely sort of


friendship. When the truth came out about the Andrew Mitchell story I


actually sent him an e-mail to congratulate him about the truth


coming out. He did send a reply acknowledging that. So where are we


with THAT saga? Remember last September? Andrew Mitchell had a row


with police at the gates of Downing Street about his bike. He lost his


job as chief whip after accusations he called the officers plebs. That,


he's always denied. This week the police watchdog the IPCC suggested


that three officers may have lied about a meeting with him at the


height of the scandal. Add that to the charge sheet of cases that


haven't exactly flattered the police. Like the revelation of a


cover up over Hillsborough. The prosecution of an officer from the


Met over the death of Ian Tomlinson during protests in 2009. Along with


news that undercover officers were told to smear the family of Stephen


Lawrence. During Thursday's protest by teachers in Westminster the


police operation was really, really relaxed. And recent scandals have


done nothing to affect society's view of the boys and girls in blue -


or should I say hi-vis. About 6 % of the public say they trust the


police. And that's not budged since pollsters started measuring it 0


years ago. Of course, in Britain, crime is


down, so the perception might be that the police is doing a good


job. And the rank-and-file recently seamed pretty chipper at this awards


ceremony. Is it a good time to be a police officer? It is a good time.


Despite all of the headlines? Still a good time. But speak to officers


privately, and they say Plebgate is affecting how the public see them.


Some of them also think politicians, the Tories especially,


are enjoying that a little too much. Adam Fleming reporting there. Going


head-to-head on this issue of trust in the police, a Sunday Mirror


columnist and Peter Kirkham, former chief inspector. Peter Kirkham, let


me come to you first. Plebgate, the cover-ups over John Charles De


menace, the death of Ian Tomlinson, the industrial deception over


Hillsborough, why is the culture of deceit so prevalent in the police? I


do not agree there is a cultural deceit. These are all individual


incidents which raise individual issues. I would suggest that your


short headline summarising each of them has taken the most negative


view of it. How can you be positive about the police's behaviour over


Hillsborough? It remains to be seen with the inquiry but we are probably


talking about a handful of senior officers, dealing with the


paperwork. Well over 100 testimonies being doctored by the police. Well,


those testimonies were true to start with, so the officers have told the


truth, and they have been changed for some reason. By the police. By


the police all lawyers we have got this thing that the police conflates


everything. There are 43 forces there is ACPO, there is the College


Of Policing... People say it was a handful of police officers, it


wasn't, it was six senior police officers who were alleged to have


doctored 106 D4 statements. Even today we are hearing that more than


1000 officers are yet to be spoken to about Hillsborough. -- 164. Do we


pretend that Hillsborough, and some of these examples, are the exception


rather than the rule? What is the evidence that this is now prevalent


in our police? I think there is a lot of evidence, and Plebgate is


probably the thing which has clinched it. The public want to


know, how deep does this girl? The audacity of a group of policemen who


think they can set up a Cabinet minister. Five of those who were


arrested and bailed still have not been charged. One of those officers


actually wrote an e-mail pretending to be a member of the public. I do


not see what the problem is in prosecuting them for that. Taking


Plebgate, there are loads of different bits of that incident


There is the officers on duty in Downing Street, the issue of who


leaked the story to the Sun, there are the officers who claim to have


been there who would appear not to have been there, and then we have


got the West Midlands meeting issue, which has sort of been


resolved this week. There has been misconduct. But at a lower level.


But it is the audacity of an organisation which thinks it can


take on an elected minister and destroy him for their own political


purposes, at a time when the Government are cutting please pay,


when they are freezing their pensions and reducing their numbers.


It looks very much to all of us the public, that the police are at war


with the government, and they are going to do anything they can to


discredit the Government. The police would have every reason to be at war


with the Government, because there if there is a crisis of trust.. But


it looks like they fitted up a Cabinet minister. That remains to be


seen, it is being investigated. We know that those Birmingham officers,


they totally misrepresented to, if not lied outright, about what was


said. Again, that is a misrepresentation of what happened.


If you actually go and look at what is said, it is plain from the


context, they were saying, he has told us nothing new. But he had in


the transcript, it said he hadn t. He would not admit he had used the


word pleb. He apologised profusely, he said it would never happen again,


he said many things that he had not said before. I agree, which is


presumably... Thereon many police forces in this country, they have


one of the toughest jobs in the land, they end up getting involved


in almost anything which happens in society, and there are obviously a


number of difficult examples, but what is the evidence that it is out


of hand, other than just several bad apples? This bad apples argument, we


have some amazing police people thank God, but it is because of


those that we have to root out the bad ones, the ones that are possibly


standing, the ones who are being standing, the ones who are being


not seem to be any process to deal not seem to be any process to deal


with these people. The trouble with not seem to be any process to deal


a rotten apple is that it spreads. not seem to be any process to deal


It is not fair on the good cops to be tainted by this, and I think the


police force, as an institution .. For all of us, we have to respect


the police. There is a problem, is there not? People do worry that if


you can fit up a Cabinet minister, you can fit up anybody... . I would


disagree that anybody has proved that anybody has been fitted up We


are yet to hear what happened at the gates of Downing Street. But what we


do know about the gates of Downing Street is that we were told by the


do know about the gates of Downing police officers that passers-by had


heard this incredible row, where Mitchell's file went was bullied.


That is not true... . They did not use those words, actually. All


right, but it is clear that the Police Federation jumped on this as


a politically motivated campaign... I have always said that politics


should be kept out of policing. The federation, they cannot go on


strike, but this was to covertly political, so I criticise them for


that. Do we need a better way of monitoring the police? We need a


more competent and properly resourced Independent police


commission. But if you look at those Bravery Awards, every police


officer, every year, who acts with bravery... That is the police force


we want to believe in. That is the police force you have got. We will


leave it there. Coming up in just over 20 minutes, I will be speaking


to former Lib Minister Jeremy Browne. And in The


local part of the show, for the North East and Cumbria.


Coming up: The easy credit that it's claimed is pushing tens of thousands


of people into ever`deeper debt. The Government is urged to take action `


but are loan companies providing a valuable service in difficult times?


My guests this week: the Labour MP for Bishop Auckland, Helen Goodman,


and the North East Conservative Euro`MP, Martin Callanan.


Now, it's been a week of bad news from our biggest councils, with more


cuts to services and potentially thousands of job losses on the way.


Durham revealed last week that the cuts it has to make by 2017 have


risen to ?108 million. On Tuesday, Gateshead warned just


over 400 jobs could go over the next two years as it tries to find ?45


million. The next day, Middlesbrough Council revealed up to 1500 jobs


were at risk, almost half of the remaining workforce. It needs to


find ?67 million over three years. The week ended with the news that


Cumbria County Council is also up against it, looking for savings of


?80 million over the next three years, with 600 jobs at risk.


The next few months will see those councils consulting with local


people over which services to cut. In Gateshead, everything from


leisure centres to support for the Baltic art gallery and Sage arts


centre is under review. Council leader Mick Henry says the Local


Government Secretary needs to realise the pressures councils are


facing. My message to Eric Pickles is I


would rather he spent less time making what I call one`liners,


having a go at local Government. He is the Secretary of State for Local


Government. He says he is in favour of localism but he seems to have a


pop at me and other people whenever he gets a chance. I would ask him,


next time he goes in the Cabinet and offers up more savings for his


department, that he should think about asking for maybe less savings


so that the people of Gateshead and elsewhere don't actually have their


quality of life reduced. Martin Callan, I note you have said


these cuts are caused by having to repay the debt of the last


Government but local Government macro has taken a digger shared than


other areas. How can you keep doing this queue Mac we are only going


back to spending levels that they had five or six years ago. But we


have two reduced the deficit inherited by Labour. Local


government has to take its share of the cuts. What is interested is that


the survey that the BBC did that show people 's belief in the quality


of service is actually increasing. They think the services are getting


better, which you would not think listening to make Henry. The problem


is they have still got half of these cuts to go. Durham told me they were


given one figure in the spring and Eric Pickles gave another one in the


summer, which meant 120 million extra pounds in savings. You cannot


plan for that. The Government tries to take into account views...


Councils are just an easy target queue Mac all governments spending


apart from the health service are subject to savings and reductions in


spending. They have to do things more efficiently. The Labour Party


left is with all these debts. Despite the cuts so far all councils


have carried on delivering services, body art library and


leisure centre most things remain open. Is it that bad? The cuts


account to ?4 in every ?10 from central Government and as we have


seen that is hundreds of millions. Also, the cuts are very unfair. So


for example, in Durham, the cuts amount to ?275 per household but in


Windsor, only ?87, and... Jerome was spending much more in the first


place. Durham is more deprived and has higher needs. There is a real


question about whether those services which they are obliged by


law, such as children's services, such as looking after people, they


will still be able to do. What would you have cut instead, though, in


order to save these councils? The point I'm making is that if the cuts


been distributed more fairly, then the north`east could have had...


Southern councils will have struggled more. But we would have


had ?94 million more to spend and we have greater need up here. Labour


Party policy is just to borrow more money. Labour Party policy is that


we stick with the overall totals. That does not mean that we would not


redistribute within existing budgets. That is our policy. Martin


Callanan, some people say that was going to be able to afford to do in


the next few years is looked after older people and social services. Of


course not. Helen has just contradicted the council leader we


saw earlier. We should ask the question, which councils are going


to gain and which are going to lose queue Mac it is easy to sit here in


the North and say North councils will gain. The reality is, they have


accepted the overall level of spending. ?NEWLINE Now, pay`day


loans from the likes of Wonga have made plenty of headlines recently.


But they're just the tip of the credit iceberg. Many more people use


"doorstep lenders" like Provident Financial. Then there's Brighthouse


and similar businesses which offer everything from TVs to sofas on hire


purchase. They all offer a service to those short of cash ` but it


comes at a high price. Well, this week, charities and consumer groups


launched a campaign to highlight what they describe as bad products


and bad practices, which can leave families drowning in debt. I met


Eleanor Eamens from Northumberland. She took up a high`interest loan but


soon found she couldn't repay it. I started off with a ?100 loan from


them and it was basically ?50 interest but at the time it was


manageable. It was near Christmas I had decided to take it out. Then,


basically, I was nearly paying that off and then I was offered another


loan from them. At the end I think it was roughly six loans from them


at the same time and at the end it was ?4000. Obviously, I feel they


were irresponsible because I do not think the checks were in place to


protect people. I say to a lot of people I take responsibility for


what I did. I chose to borrow and somebody did not make me borrow the


money. But when you are on a low income and you need that money, it


is so tempting and they did not ever look on if you had other debts to


pay. They did not look into what your whole income is and what you


have got to pay out. So they did not have a clue whether you could afford


it. Eleanor Eamens from Northumberland.


Well, the companies who provide loans say they're offering a service


to people who need money quickly. Julio Martino is from The Mint ` a


Newcastle`based credit firm. It is important that businesses do


not charge ridiculous interest rates, but we do have to charge an


interest rate through which we make money. We are not a bank or a


building society or a huge financial organisation, so we cannot charge


APR similar to a credit card. We are essentially lending to people who


cannot get credit cards, cannot get credit from a bank. They need to get


credit elsewhere and there are companies like myself who are


willing to take a slightly greater risk in some circumstances to lend


to these people who do need credit. Well Durham University has been


working with families on Teesside who have got into debt, in an effort


to find out about the scale of the problem. Professor Sarah Banks


directed the study and she's with me now. How typical was the experience


of Eleanor that we saw there, in the families in Teeside queue `` in


Teeside? Very typical. People were struggling to get by, taking out new


loans to repay the interest on the existing loans. A third of our


families had some kind of mental health problems. Many had other


severe crises and problems, so it was exacerbating an already


stressful life. Does this tell us anything we couldn't have guessed or


knew already, that these loans are aimed at people on low incomes and


if they do not manage them properly they get into Robbins? I think we


knew that but this shows graphically what it does to people's lives. The


longer people have the loans the more difficult it is to get free as


they would wish. We are studying how people get into debt but also asking


people if they wanted a mental to help them sort out their finances,


to break away from the high cost credit and to consider using


low`cost alternatives like credit unions. What should policymakers do


about this? It is a big thing to suddenly expect the credit unions to


take up the millions of pounds of loans that go through these


companies. It will be quite a long process. There is a credit union


modernisation process but it will take quite a long time for credit


unions to compete with the likes of Wonga. It has been shown in other


countries, particularly in some states in the USA that a can be put


on the total cost of credit. It can be 10% of the total amount borrowed.


There can be restrictions on the rollovers on the financing and still


you find that payday loan companies can still operate. They have less


defaults on their loans and are still able to make some kind of


profit. So I think he put like the guy from The Mint could still


operate but people like Eleanor would not be preyed upon and would


not have to take out too many loans that they are not able to repay.


Labour have set out what they would do this week. Tellers. It has two


parts. It has controlling the existing payday lenders by putting a


cap on the overall cost of credit and then it has got a positive part


which is putting a levy on them and recycling ?30 million to support


credit unions `` ?13 million. So it is control and support for all times


tips and I think that is reasonable. We will come back to that. Martin


Callanan, this is more than the Government is offering. A few


reforms, basically? Not at all. We are spending three times as much on


credit unions. The overall approach I agree with. We are setting up the


National Conduct Authority which will have the power to the overall


cost of credit, reduce rollovers and promote responsible advertising and


lending. That this is not a new problem in the north`east. We have


had problems with loans for many years. These people deny they are


loan sharks. They are operating legally. Are these companies we are


talking about issuing a valid business model, or exploiting poor


and vulnerable people? I do not think they are exploiting people.


People need to have the information given, with responsible advertising.


The products need to be promoted fashionably and responsibly to them.


I am not in favour of banning them, because they do provide a valuable


service. Would you prefer to force these companies out of business


queue `` out of business? What Martin has just said is wrong. It


was Archbishop Welby who forced the change in law on the Government and


the Government have not yet said they will leak use the law to make


that. We would do that. Labour had 13 years in power when they did


nothing about this. As a matter of fact, there are twice as many people


going to payday lenders now than they were five years ago. The


industry has doubled. The scale of it is completely new. Cut to the


chase on your policy. To develop credit unions. Given how much


business there is, you were never going to be able to replace these


companies with Reddit unions. It is unrealistic. I agree that credit


unions cannot be the whole answer and we do need the banks to be more


responsible. I was very disappointed when HSBC closed a branch in my


constituency and would not support the local credit union. I also think


we need to look at the behaviour of the big banks. Martin, we accept


that a lot of the people taking these loans are doing it because the


banks do not want to know and something about that has to change


as well? If you do not have a regular income the banks are not


interested in lending to you and that is why we have a problem in the


north`east. It is very hard. You cannot force banks... Banks got


themselves into a lot of trouble with irresponsible lending. It is


not right for politicians to intervene and force them into more


responsible lending. It is different parts of the market. The banks are


interested in eager loans, the businesses to householders, etc.


Well, they are not even doing that! The banks cannot win because they


are being forced to build up their balances... That is probably a


discussion for another day. Bad for pupils and bad for parents `


that was the view of Education Minister David Laws on this week's


teachers' strike which disrupted hundreds of schools across Cumbria


and the North East. He said plans to introduce performance`related pay


and adjust pensions would not change. Teachers, though, are


determined to fight on. Luke Walton met two on the education front line


with very different views about this week's strike and the issues behind


it. My name is Elizabeth Thompson and


I'm taking strike action today due to the constant erosion of teachers


past might pay conditions. It is not a decision I have taken lightly and


I hope we can get parental support acres with `` because what we want


to do is achieve the best education for young people. My name is Graeme


Murray and I disagree with the strike because we should not


interfere with our students pass Mac education. Two teachers, two


opposing views on the strike. At this union rally in Durham the talk


was of a two`year pay freeze and intolerable work load. So it's life


in the classroom really getting worse? There is constant paperwork


to prove you are doing your job properly, rather than leaving you


alone to do your job opening. Long hours. Michael Gove said recently he


wants to get rid of teachers who leave school at 3:05pm. I do not


know any teachers who are not there until 5pm or 6pm and we bring work


home as well. Because we do have things like the holidays, we do use


a lot of those holidays to get work done. I speak for myself and the


start of the school here in general. But you do have the flexibility of


perhaps when you would do that work at times and when you wouldn't, when


you can have some downtime. So the perks far outweigh negatives. At the


core of the dispute, Government plans for more formers related pay


and to overhaul pensions. Ministers say talented teachers would be


better rewarded and the system made more affordable but again, the


profession's opinion is divided. The schools are being driven towards


making profit, especially in academies, so they will try to save


many white Lovering teachers past might pay. Regarding the pensions,


the pensions we are paying more every month towards our pension. New


teachers now have two work until they are 68 years old and will get


less at the end of it. Who wants to be teaching at 68 years old?


Performance related pay is in principle a good thing because it is


good to reward achievement, success, and I do not think it is good to


reward underachievement. If there is underachievement you look into it


and see if there is something we can do to help the individuals who have


underachieved. But in terms of the pension scheme also, teachers pass


Mac pension schemes are renowned for being very good. They are still very


good. Things have changed slightly but if you look at it, the package


itself is a very attractive one. Martin Callanan, is the strike right


or wrong? It is wrong. They should be in the classroom educating


pupils. It is inconvenient for students and parents. Helen? It is


very regrettable and we see here people disagreeing so it is


obviously a very hard decision for these teachers to make. Do you have


sympathy with that decision? I do because we should think of education


as an investment in the future and I think well rewarded teachers benefit


our pupils. Is some blame laid at the Government 's door because of


the changes to terms and conditions? This is giving head


teachers the power to pay good teachers more, in performance


related pay. There are reforms to the pension system but teachers will


still have a much better pension than probably everybody in the


private sector. Three quarters of parents in a poll I have seen think


it is a good idea to pay the best teachers the most money. Are they


right? There is a good case for performance related pay but there is


a problem with regional pay, which the Government have also good on the


agenda, which means teachers in our area would be paid less. And I can


understand why the teachers are concerned about the pensions,


because, obviously, if you have committed your life to doing


something and suddenly you find your pension arrangements being changed,


you have sunk your life into this and you do not have much left...


Welcome to the real world, isn't it? Lots of people in the private and


public sector have had to accept that there tension cannot be as


valuable as it was because we have an ageing population and cannot


afford it. Everybody also knows that the level of pay and pensions have


to be looked at together. If you compare the pay of teachers and the


pay of doctors, you can see that the teachers have got a reasonable point


here. Martin Gove wants to attract the best people into teaching.


Making them work until 68, cutting their pensions, that is not the best


way, is it? I think it is still an attractive proposition for new


graduates. Teachers are relatively well`paid compared to the private


sector. The best ones, who put in the extra others, can be paid more.


What if you are paying teachers less in North Tyneside band Norfolk, for


example? Is that acceptable? It probably is. It is a cheaper cost of


living. I am in favour of giving schools and head teachers the


flexibility. Thank you very much. Now, what else has been going on in


the wonderful world of politics? Here's a few of the stories making


the news ` all in 60 Seconds. The Government has been asked to


take control of children's services in Cumbria after it was named as one


of the worst 20 authorities for child protection in England.


Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron said children's lives were at


stake. Where to bury nuclear waste? It's


the question that never seems to get an answer. In January, Cumbria


County Council voted to withdraw from the search for a site, but


Copeland Borough Council still wants to be considered. This week,


councils met to discuss their response to the Government's latest


consultation. Labour peer Lord Adonis has


officially opened a contraversial new academy school. It was opposed


by his own party's councillors in North Tyneside. The former education


minister opened the King's Priory in Tyneland. It is excellent that


King's Priory has become an academy, bringing the best of private


education into the state system with no fees.


Meanwhile, teams of Ofsted inspectors spent the week at 17


schools in Northumberland. They want to find out why attainment for


children eligible for free school meals is falling below other parts


of the country. And that's about it from us. Next


week, we'll have a special report looking at what businesses ` and MPs


` in the region think of High Speed two. In the meantime, there's more


about the problems of debt on my blog ` just go to


bbc.co.uk/richardmoss. Or you can always join the conversation on


Twitter. For now it's back to Andrew for the rest of the


which links in with this. Thank you to both of you for being my guests


today. Are the Lib Dems like a wonky


shopping trolley? Why is Nick Clegg kicking off over free schools? And


what about Boris and George's love bombing of China? All questions for


The Week Ahead. We are joined now by the former Home Office minister and


Liberal Democrat MP Jeremy Browne. Jeremy Browne, let me ask you this


key question - ??GAPNEXT who is in the ascendancy in your party, those


who would fear to the left, or those who would fear to the centre? The


point I was making in the interview that I gave to the times was that I


want us to be unambiguously and on up genetically -- and


unapologetically a Liberal party. I do not want us to be craving the


approval of columnists like Polly Toynbee. I do not want us to be a


pale imitation of the Labour Party. I think we should be proud and


unambiguously a authentic Liberal party. That is my ambition for the


party. If it is, as you put it, fearing to the left, then I think


that is a mistake, I think we should be on the liberal centre ground But


is it actually veering to the left, your party? I think there is a


danger when a party, or any organisation, feels that it is in a


difficult position, to look inwards, to look for reassuring


familiar policy positions. I do not want us to be the party which looks


inwards and speaks to the 9% of people who are minded to support us


already. I want us to look outwards and speak to the 91% of the


population, for whom I think we have got a good story to tell about the


contribution we have made to getting the deficit down, cutting crime


keeping interest rates low, and also, distinctive Liberal Democrat


policies for example on income tax and pupil premiums. If we look like


we are a party which is uneasy and ambivalent about our role in


government, people will not give us credit for the successes of the


government, and we will not be able to claim the authorship which we


should be able to claim for our policies excesses in government I


want us to be confident, outward looking, and authentically liberal.


If we are that, people real sense that and they will respond


positively. Does that not therefore make it rather strange that Nick


Craig should choose to distance himself from the coalition's schools


policy? Well, I support free schools, I think they are a liberal


policy. Education is a fascinating area, so let's explore it a bit We


have had two very significant and troubling reports in the last


fortnight, one from Alan Milburn, saying that social mobility has


stalled in this country, in other words, what your parents do is a


reliable guide to how you will get on in life and the other saying that


Britain lags behind our competitors, the other


industrialised countries, in terms of the educational attainment of


15-year-olds. Both of those are worrying. We have a scandalous


situation in this country where two thirds of children from


disadvantaged backgrounds are failing to get five Grade A to Grade


C. Some get none at all. If we were the world leaders in education, we


could have an interesting conversation about how we are able


to maintain that position, but we are not. Whether there are good


things one less good things which have happened in our schools over


the last 30-40 years, we really need to raise our game and stop letting


young people down who need a good quality education in order to


realise their full potential in life. It sounds like you do not


share Mr Clegg's designations? I think there are two big dangers for


us as a party. I do not think we should be instinctively statist and


I do not think either we should be instinctively in favour of the


status quo. I want us to have a restless, radical, energetic,


liberal reforming instinct, which is about putting more power and


responsible at the end opportunity in the hands of individual people.


As I say, we look at the education system, of course there are good


teachers and good outcomes in some schools and for some pupils,


overall, our performance in this country is not good enough, so the


status quo has not been a successful stop I am interested in how we can


innovate. -- has not been a success. Are the Tories wooing you? Well I


do not know if that is the right word, I have been reported, and I


have set myself, that the Conservatives have, if you like


made some advances or generous suggestions to me, but I am a


liberal, and I am a Liberal Democrat. I have been a member of


the Lib Dems since the party was founded, I joined when I was 18


years old. I have campaigned tirelessly for the Liberal Democrats


for my entire adult life, so I am not about to go and join another


political party. I would turn this on its head, let me put it like


this, I think there are quite a few liberals in the other political


parties, people like Alan Milburn, who wrote a report on social


mobility, people like Nick Bowles in the Conservative Party. Our


ambition, as Liberal Democrats, should be to attract liberals from


other political parties, and no political party, to the Lib Dems.


Just briefly, have you suggested that the Tories do not run a


candidate against you in the next election? I have not suggested


anything of the sort. The Conservatives have to make their own


decisions about which candidates they select, and I will take on


whoever is select it from each of the political parties. Thank you for


joining us. There is a danger not from Jeremy Browne, but from Mr


Clegg, in that, having been part of a coalition which has gone through


an enormous squeeze in living standards for three years, it did


not look like both was coming, it was being regarded overall as a


failure, but now, it may be turning the corner, so why would you then


start to disassociate yourself from the coalition's policies? Yes, the


danger for Nick Clegg is that he makes the Liberal Democrats looked


like visitors in a guesthouse, a guesthouse which is owned by the


Conservatives. As you say, they were there for the three difficult years,


and just at the moment when the economy seems to be coming right,


and we are getting some nice growth, they seek to distance themselves. It


is interesting that Jeremy Browne came out with the outrageously


disloyal statement that he supported free schools statement. That is a


disloyal Liberal Democrat view, but on Thursday, of course, the Liberal


Democrat party was in favour of free schools, because in that statement


about the Al-Madinah school, David Laws made a passionate defence about


what Nick Clegg is now criticising, which is having on qualified


teachers. If things are now coming right, the big risk for the Liberal


Democrats always was that they would not get the credit anyway. Well if


they diss associate themselves like this, they definitely will not get


the credit. It depends which voters their opinion poll ratings are dire,


he spoke about 9%, and sometimes it is less than that. So, where are


they going to get those voters from? They have not got those


anti-Iraq war voters. Is it not Mission impossible, getting Labour


voters test surely the left of the Lib Dem vote is peeling off towards


labour, not away from Labour? I wonder to what extent, and this


might be speculation, this might be organised and arranged, that Cameron


and Clegg both understand that they have groups of voters that they need


to get, so they need to send messages out to different groups, it


looks like a bit of a setup to me. Boris in China, along with boy


George - let's have a look... Who, according to JK Rowling, was Harry


Potter's first girlfriend? That s right, and she is Chinese overseas


student, is that not right at Hogwarts? Actually, we are not sure


it is right, she is actually from Scotland. It is not only London


which has a diverse society. Putting that to one side, we are inviting


the Chinese into finance our power stations, to run big banks in the


cities, we are giving out more visas to them, are we right to embrace the


Dragon? What worries me about the power stations then, it is 30% of


investment, and it reminds me a lot of PFI, the idea that you do not


want a huge investment on your balance sheet, but if somebody bails


out halfway through, we cannot stop with a half finished power station.


It is EDF, the French company, which will actually build it, and we will


be guaranteeing the debt for them. It is extraordinary that there has


been so little adverse comment after George Osborne and Boris's trip to


China, and is it now really the UK Government policy, to sell Britain


to the Chinese? There was a debate in government about this, as they


were getting ready for the trip and there will be at some point in the


next six months be a David Cameron trip to China. He has had to wait


three years because they were annoyed about him meeting the Dalai


llama. There were some people in the Foreign Office who were saying,


fine, but tread carefully. George Osborne's view is absolutely not,


get in there, I do not care about any of these problems, get stuck


in. I think he is storing up five years since the financial crisis,


Chinese banks are being given a special, light touch regulatory


regime. What could possibly go wrong?! There is lots to see. Energy


prices have continued to dominate this week. We have got the EDF deal,


whereby we are going to be giving them twice the market rate for their


energy. But for the coalition, all eyes are on the GDP figures. The


expectation and hope is that the recovery will be stronger than the


figures have suggested so far, on which basis it can influence the


result of the next general election. The chief economist at the


Bank of England was saying on Twitter last week that the Bank of


England may now bring forward the assessment when it says, maybe we


are going to have to change monetary policy, if unemployment goes below


7%. And we know what that means interest rates. The Bank of England


on Twitter! That is it for today. The Daily Politics is back tomorrow


on BBC Two. I will be back with prime Minster 's questions on


Wednesday, and of course, we will be back at 11 o'clock on BBC One next




Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With communities secretary Eric Pickles and deputy first minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon.

Download Subtitles