01/12/2013 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


01/12/2013

Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper and Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron.


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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. George Osborne

:00:36.:00:45.

announces a ?50 cut to annual household energy bills. We'll talk

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to Lib Dem president Tim Farron ahead of the Chancellor's mini

:00:50.:00:52.

budget this week. Net immigration is up for the first

:00:53.:00:56.

time in two years. Labour and the Tories say they want to bring it

:00:57.:01:01.

down, but how? Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper joins us for the

:01:02.:01:10.

Sunday Interview. The harder you shake the pack, the easier it will

:01:11.:01:12.

be for some cornflakes to get to the be for some cornflakes to get to the

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top. The Mayor of London says inequality and greed are essential

:01:18.:01:18.

to spur economic activity. Schools Minister David Laws says

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standards need to accepts the housing situation in the

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capital is now a crisis. Another week, another strategy? Can this one

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deliver? And with me throughout today's

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programme, well, we've shaken the packet and look who's risen to the

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top. Or did we open it at the bottom? Helen Lewis, Janan Ganesh

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and Sam Coates. All three will be tweeting throughout the programme

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using the hashtag #bbcsp. So, after weeks in which Ed Miliband's promise

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to freeze energy prices has set the Westminster agenda, the Coalition

:02:09.:02:11.

Government is finally coming up with its answer. This morning the

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Chancellor George Osborne explained how he plans to cut household energy

:02:14.:02:16.

bills by an average of fifty quid. What we're going to do is roll back

:02:17.:02:20.

the levees that are placed by government on people's electricity

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bills. This will mean that for the average bill payer, they will have

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?50 of those electricity and gas bills. That will help families. We

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are doing it in the way that government can do it. We are

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controlling the cost that families incurred because of government

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policies. We are doing it in a way that will not damage the environment

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or reduce our commitment to dealing with climate change. We will not

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produce commit men to helping low-income families with the cost of

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living. Janan, we are finally seeing the coalition begin to play its hand

:02:59.:03:02.

in response to the Ed Miliband freeze? They have been trying to

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respond for almost ten weeks and older responses have been quite

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fiddly. We are going to take a bit of tax year, put it onto general

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taxation, have a conversation with the energy companies, engineered a

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rebate of some kind, this is not very vivid. The advantage of the

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idea that they have announced overnight is that it is clear and it

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has a nice round figure attached to it, ?50. The chief of staff of

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President Obama, he said, if you are explaining, you're losing. The

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genius of this idea is that it does not require explanation. He would

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not drawn this morning on what agreement he had with the energy

:03:49.:03:52.

companies, and whether this would fall through to the bottom of the

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bill, but the way he spoke, saying, I am not going to pre-empt what the

:03:57.:04:00.

energy companies say, that suggests he has something up his sleeve. Yes,

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I thought so. The energy companies have made this so badly for so long.

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It would be awful if he announced this and the energy companies said,

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we are going to keep this money for ourselves. I do not think he is that

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stupid. The energy companies have an incentive to go along with this

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don't they? My worry is that I am not sure how much it will be within

:04:28.:04:31.

the opinion polls. I think people might expect this now, it is not a

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new thing, it is not an exciting thing. Say in the markets, they may

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have priced the ten already. If by Thursday of this week, he is able to

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say, I have a ?50 cut coming to your bill. The energy companies have

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guaranteed that this will fall through onto your energy bill, and

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they have indicated to me that they themselves will not put up energy

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prices through 2014, has he shot the Ed Miliband Fox? I think he has a

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couple of challenges. It is still very hard. This is an answer for the

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next 12 months but did is no chance announced that Labour will stop

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saying they are going to freeze prices in the next Parliament. He

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will say, I have not just frozen them, I have done that as well and I

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have cut them. When people look at their energy bills, they are going

:05:28.:05:32.

up by more than ?50. This is a reduction in the amount that they

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are going up overall. Year on 0 will be for George Osborne. He will

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have to come up with something this time next year. The detail in the

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Sunday papers reveals that George Osborne is trying to get the energy

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companies to put on bills that 50 has been knocked off your bill

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because of a reduction by the government. He is trying to get the

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energy companies to do his political bidding for him. It will be

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interesting to see if they go along with that, because then we will know

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how cross the arm with Ed Miliband. Let's get another perspective.

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Joining me now from Kendal in the Lake District is the president of

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the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. Good

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morning. Let me ask you this, the coalition is rowing back on green

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taxes, I do comfortable with that or is it something else you will rebel

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against? I am very comfortable with the fact we are protecting for the

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money is going. I am open to where the money comes from. The notion

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that we should stop insulating the homes of elderly people or stop

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investing in British manufacturing in terms of green industry, that is

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something that I resolutely oppose, but I am pleased that the funding

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will be made available for all that. You cannot ignore the fact that for

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a whole range of reasons, mostly down to the actions of the energy

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companies, you have prices that are shooting up and affecting lots of

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people, making life hard. You cannot ignore that. If we fund the

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installation of homes for older people and others, if we protect

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British manufacturing jobs, and raise the money through general

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taxation, I am comfortable with that. It is not clear that is going

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to happen. It looks like the eco-scheme, whereby the energy

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companies pay for the installation of those on below-average incomes,

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they will spin that out over four years, not two years, and one

:07:44.:07:48.

estimate is that that will cost 10,000 jobs. You're always boasting

:07:49.:07:53.

about your commitment to green jobs, how do square that? I do not believe

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that. The roll-out will be longer. The number of houses reached will be

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greater and that is a good thing. My take is that it will not affect the

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number of jobs. People talk about green levies. There has been

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disparaging language about that sort of thing. There are 2 million people

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in this country in the lowest income families and they get ?230 off their

:08:25.:08:32.

energy bills because of what isn't -- because of what is disparaging

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the refer to as green stuff, shall we call it. There will be more

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properties covered. We both know that your party is being pushed into

:08:44.:08:48.

this by the Tories. You would not be doing this off your own bad. You are

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in coalition with people who have jettisoned their green Prudential

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is? -- credentials. You have made my point quite well. David Cameron s

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panicked response to this over the last few months was to ditch all the

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green stuff. It has been a job to make sure that we hold him to his

:09:16.:09:19.

pledges and the green cord of this government. That is why we are not

:09:20.:09:23.

scrapping the investment, we are making sure it is funded from

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general taxation. I am talking to you from Kendal. Lots of people

:09:32.:09:36.

struggle to pay their energy bills. But all these things pale into

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insignificance compared to the threat of climate change and we must

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hold the Prime Minister to account on this issue. Argue reconciled to

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the idea that as long as you're in coalition with the Tories you will

:09:49.:09:54.

never get a mansion tax? I am not reconciled to it. We are trying to

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give off other tax cut to the lowest income people. What about the

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mansion tax? That would be potentially paid for by another view

:10:06.:10:10.

source of finance. That would be that the wealthy... We know that is

:10:11.:10:14.

what you want, but you're not going to get that? We will keep fighting

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for it. It is extremely important. We can show where we will get the

:10:21.:10:30.

money from. I know that is the adamant. That is not what I asked

:10:31.:10:35.

you. Ed Balls and Labour run in favour of a mansion tax, have you

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talked to them about it? The honest answer is I have not. It is

:10:42.:10:45.

interesting that they have come round to supporting our policy

:10:46.:10:53.

having rejected it in power. So if Labour was the largest party in

:10:54.:10:57.

parliament but not in power, you would have no problem agreeing with

:10:58.:11:03.

a mansion tax as part of the deal? If the arithmetic falls in that way

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and that is the will of the British people, fear taxes on those who are

:11:08.:11:12.

wealthiest, stuff that is fear, which includes wealth taxes, in

:11:13.:11:17.

order to fund more reductions for those people on lowest incomes, that

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is the sort of thing that we might reach agreement on. You voted with

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Labour on the spare room subsidy. Again, that would be job done in any

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future coalition talks with Labour, correct? I take the view that the

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spare room subsidy, whilst entirely fail in principle, in practice it

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has caused immense hardship. I want to see that changed. There are many

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people in government to share my view on that. So does Labour. The

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problem was largely caused Labour because they oversaw an increase in

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housing costs both 3.5 times while they were in power. The government

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was forced into a position to tidy up an appalling mess that Labour

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left. You voted with Labour against it, and also, you want... No, I

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voted with the party conference Let's not dance on the head of the

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ten. Maybe they voted with me. - on the head of a pin. You are also in

:12:34.:12:39.

favour of a 50% top rate of income tax, so you and Labour are that one

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there as well? No, I take the view that the top rate of income tax is a

:12:47.:12:51.

fluid thing. All taxation levels are temporary. Nick Clegg said that when

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the 50p rate came down to 45, that was a rather foolish price tag

:12:59.:13:02.

George Osborne asked for in return for as increasing the threshold and

:13:03.:13:07.

letting several million people out of paying income tax at the bottom.

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So you agree with Labour? In favour of rising the tax to 50p. I take the

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view that we should keep our minds open on that. It is not the income

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tax level that bothers me, it is whether the wealthy pay their fresh

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air. If that can be done through other taxes, then that is something

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that I am happy with. -- their fair share. Given your position on the

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top rate of tax, on the spare room subsidy, how does the prospect of

:13:46.:13:48.

another five years of coalition with the Tories strike you? The answer

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is, you react with whatever you have about you to what the electorate

:13:57.:14:01.

hand you. Whatever happens after the next election, you have got to

:14:02.:14:07.

respect the will of the people. Yes, but how do you feel about it? We

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know about this, I am asking for your feeling. Does your heart left

:14:13.:14:18.

or does your heart fall at the prospect of another five years with

:14:19.:14:22.

the Tories? My heart would always follow the prospect of anything

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other than a majority of Liberal Democrat government. Your heart must

:14:27.:14:32.

be permanently in your shoes then. Something like that, but when all is

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said and done, we accept the will of the electorate. When you stand for

:14:37.:14:41.

election, you have got to put up with what the electorate say. I have

:14:42.:14:46.

not found coalition as difficult as you might suggest. It is about

:14:47.:14:50.

people who have to disagree and agree to differ. You work with

:14:51.:14:56.

people in your daily life that you disagree with. It is what grown ups

:14:57.:15:01.

do. A lot of people in your party think that your positioning yourself

:15:02.:15:05.

to be the left-wing candidate in a post-Nick Clegg leadership contest.

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They think it is blatant manoeuvring. One senior figure says,

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this is about you. Which bit of the sanctimonious, treacherous little

:15:28.:15:30.

man is there not to like? What can I see in response to that. My job is

:15:31.:15:36.

to promote the Liberal Democrats. I have to do my best to consider what

:15:37.:15:43.

I'd defend to be right. By and large, my position as an MP in the

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Lake District, but also as the president of the party, is to

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reflect the will of people outside the Westminster village. That is the

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important thing to do. Thank you for joining us. David Cameron has said

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he wants to get it down to the tens of thousands, Ed Miliband has

:16:07.:16:09.

admitted New Labour "got it wrong", and Nick Clegg wants to be

:16:10.:16:13.

"zero-tolerant towards abuse". Yes, immigration is back on the political

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agenda, with figures released earlier this week showing that net

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migration is on the rise for the first time in two years. And that's

:16:20.:16:22.

not the only reason politicians are talking about it again.

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The issue of immigration has come into sharp focus because of concerns

:16:27.:16:30.

about the number of remaining ins and Bulgarians that can come to the

:16:31.:16:36.

UK next year. EU citizenship grants the right to free movement within

:16:37.:16:42.

the EU. But when Bulgaria and Romania joined in 2007, the

:16:43.:16:46.

government took up its right to apply temporary restrictions on

:16:47.:16:47.

movement. They must be lifted apply temporary restrictions on

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end of this year. According to the 2011 census, about one eyed 1

:16:58.:16:58.

million of the population in England and Wales is made up of people from

:16:59.:17:05.

countries who joined the EU in 004. The government has played down

:17:06.:17:09.

expectations that the skill of migration could be repeated. This

:17:10.:17:14.

week David Cameron announced new restrictions on the ability of EU

:17:15.:17:20.

migrants to claim benefits. That was two, send a message. That prompted

:17:21.:17:24.

criticism is that the UK risks being seen as a nasty country. Yvette

:17:25.:17:33.

Cooper joins me now for the Sunday interview. Welcome to the Sunday

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Politics, Yvette Cooper. You criticised the coalition for not

:17:40.:17:44.

acting sooner on immigration from Romania and Bulgaria but the

:17:45.:17:47.

timetable for the unrestricted arrival in January was agreed under

:17:48.:17:52.

Labour many years ago, and given the battle that you had with the Polish

:17:53.:17:55.

and the Hungarians, what preparations did you make in power?

:17:56.:17:59.

We think that we should learn from some of the things that happened

:18:00.:18:06.

with migration. It would have been better to have transitional controls

:18:07.:18:08.

in place and look at the impact of what happened. But what preparations

:18:09.:18:14.

did you make in power? We set out a series of measures that the

:18:15.:18:16.

Government still had time to bring in. It is important that this should

:18:17.:18:23.

be a calm and measured debate. There was time to bring in measures around

:18:24.:18:27.

benefit restrictions, for example, and looking at the impact on the

:18:28.:18:32.

labour market, to make sure you do not have exploitation of cheap

:18:33.:18:36.

migrant Labour which is bad for everyone. I know that but I have

:18:37.:18:40.

asked you before and I am asking again, what did you do? We got

:18:41.:18:45.

things wrong in Government. I understand that I am not arguing.

:18:46.:18:50.

You are criticising them not preparing, a legitimate criticism,

:18:51.:18:56.

but what did you do in power? Well, I did think we did enough. Did you

:18:57.:19:03.

do anything? We signed the agency workers directive but too slowly. We

:19:04.:19:10.

needed measures like that. We did support things like the social

:19:11.:19:13.

chapter and the minimum wage, but I have said before that we did not do

:19:14.:19:17.

enough and that is why we recommended the measures in March. I

:19:18.:19:22.

understand that is what you did in opposition and I take that. I put

:19:23.:19:27.

the general point to you that given your failure to introduce controls

:19:28.:19:31.

on the countries that joined in 2004, alone among the major EU

:19:32.:19:36.

economies we did that, should we not keep an embarrassed silence on these

:19:37.:19:41.

matters? You have no credibility. I think you have got to talk about

:19:42.:19:44.

immigration. One of the things we did not do in Government was

:19:45.:19:47.

discussed immigration and the concerns people have and the

:19:48.:19:55.

long-term benefits that we know have come from people who have come to

:19:56.:19:57.

Britain over many generations contributing to Britain and having a

:19:58.:20:00.

big impact. I think we recognise that there are things that we did

:20:01.:20:03.

wrong, but it would be irresponsible for us not to join the debate and

:20:04.:20:07.

suggest sensible, practical measures that you can introduce now to

:20:08.:20:12.

address the concerns that people have, but also make sure that the

:20:13.:20:17.

system is fair and managed. Immigration is important to Britain

:20:18.:20:19.

but it does have to be controlled and managed in the right way. Let's

:20:20.:20:24.

remind ourselves of your record on immigration. The chart you did not

:20:25.:20:29.

consult when in power. This is total net migration per year under Labour.

:20:30.:20:34.

2.2 million of net rise in migration, more than the population

:20:35.:20:41.

of Birmingham, you proud of that? -- twice the population. Are you proud

:20:42.:20:49.

of that or apologising for it? We set the pace of immigration was too

:20:50.:20:52.

fat and the level was too high and it is right to bring migration down.

:20:53.:20:58.

So you think that was wrong? Overruled have been huge benefits

:20:59.:21:04.

from people that have come to Britain and built our biggest

:21:05.:21:09.

businesses. -- overall. They have become Olympic medal winners. But

:21:10.:21:13.

because the pace was too fast, that has had an impact. That was because

:21:14.:21:17.

of the lack of transitional controls from Eastern Europe and it is why we

:21:18.:21:21.

should learn from that and have sensible measures in place now, as

:21:22.:21:25.

part of what has got to be a calm debate. These are net migration

:21:26.:21:31.

figures. They don't often show the full figure. These are the

:21:32.:21:36.

immigration figures coming in. What that chart shows is that in terms of

:21:37.:21:40.

the gross number coming into this country, from the year 2000, it was

:21:41.:21:47.

half a million a year under Labour. Rising to 600,000 by the time you

:21:48.:21:52.

were out of power. A lot of people coming into these crowded islands,

:21:53.:21:56.

particularly since most of them come to London and the South East. Was

:21:57.:22:01.

that intentional? Was that out of control? Is that what you are now

:22:02.:22:06.

apologising for? What we said was that the Government got the figures

:22:07.:22:11.

wrong on the migration from Eastern Europe. If you remember particularly

:22:12.:22:15.

there was the issue of what happened with not having transitional

:22:16.:22:20.

controls in place. The Government didn't expect the number of people

:22:21.:22:24.

coming to the country to be the way it was. And so obviously mistakes

:22:25.:22:29.

were made. We have recognised that. We have also got to recognise that

:22:30.:22:33.

this is something that has happened in countries all over the world We

:22:34.:22:38.

travel and trade far more than ever. We have an increasingly globalised

:22:39.:22:41.

economy. Other European countries have been affected in the same way,

:22:42.:22:45.

and America, and other developing countries affected in the same way

:22:46.:22:50.

by the scale of migration. I am trying to work out whether the

:22:51.:22:55.

numbers were intentional or if you lost control. The key thing that we

:22:56.:22:59.

have said many times and I have already said it to you many times,

:23:00.:23:03.

Andrew, that we should have a transitional controls in place on

:23:04.:23:06.

Eastern Europe. I think that would have had an impact on them level of

:23:07.:23:12.

migration. We also should have brought in the points -based system

:23:13.:23:15.

earlier. We did bring that in towards the end and it did restrict

:23:16.:23:19.

the level of low skilled migration because there are different kinds of

:23:20.:23:22.

migration. University students coming to Britain brings in billions

:23:23.:23:26.

of pounds of investment. On the other hand, low skilled migration

:23:27.:23:30.

can have a serious impact on the jobs market, pay levels and so on at

:23:31.:23:37.

the low skilled end of the labour market. We have to distinguish

:23:38.:23:40.

between different kinds of migration. You keep trying to excuse

:23:41.:23:44.

the figures by talking about the lack of transitional controls. Can

:23:45.:23:48.

we skip the chart I was going to go to? The next one. Under Labour, this

:23:49.:23:53.

is the source of where migrants came from. The main source was not the

:23:54.:23:59.

accession countries or the remainder of Europe. Overwhelmingly they were

:24:00.:24:05.

from the African Commonwealth, and the Indian subcontinent.

:24:06.:24:08.

Overwhelmingly, these numbers are nothing to do with transitional

:24:09.:24:12.

controls. You can control that immigration entirely because they

:24:13.:24:16.

are not part of the EU. Was that a mistake? First of all, the big

:24:17.:24:21.

increase was in the accession groups. Not according to the chart.

:24:22.:24:27.

In terms of the increase, the changes that happened. Secondly in

:24:28.:24:31.

answer to the question that you just asked me, we should also have

:24:32.:24:34.

introduced the points -based system at an earlier stage. Thirdly there

:24:35.:24:39.

has been a big increase in the number of university students coming

:24:40.:24:42.

to Britain and they have brought billions of pounds of investment. At

:24:43.:24:46.

the moment the Government is not distinguishing, it is just using the

:24:47.:24:50.

figure of net migration. And that is starting to go up again, as you said

:24:51.:24:54.

in the introduction, but the problem is that it treats all kinds of

:24:55.:24:58.

migration is aimed. It does not address illegal immigration, which

:24:59.:25:03.

is a problem, but it treats university graduates coming to

:25:04.:25:07.

Britain in the same way as low skilled workers. If Labour get back

:25:08.:25:12.

into power, is it your ambition to bring down immigration? We have

:25:13.:25:16.

already said it is too high and we would support measures to bring it

:25:17.:25:21.

down. You would bring it down? There is something called student visas,

:25:22.:25:25.

which is not included in the figures, and it does not include

:25:26.:25:30.

university graduates, and it is a figure that has increased

:25:31.:25:40.

substantially in recent years. They come for short-term study but they

:25:41.:25:43.

do not even have to prove that they come for a college course. They do

:25:44.:25:46.

not even have to have a place to come. Those visas should be

:25:47.:25:48.

restricted to prevent abuse of the system and that is in line with a

:25:49.:25:50.

recommendation from the Inspectorate and that is the kind of practical

:25:51.:25:53.

thing that we could do. Can you give us a ballpark figure of how much

:25:54.:25:58.

immigration would fall? You have seen the mess that Theresa May has

:25:59.:26:03.

got into with her figures. She made a target that it is clear to me that

:26:04.:26:07.

she will not meet. I think that is right. She will not meet it. Can you

:26:08.:26:29.

give as a ballpark figure by which we can judge you? If she had been

:26:30.:26:33.

more sensible and taken more time to listen to experts and decide what

:26:34.:26:35.

measures should be targeted, then she would not be in this mess. You

:26:36.:26:38.

cannot give me a figure? She has chosen net migration. She has set a

:26:39.:26:40.

target, without ifs and buts. I think it is important not to have a

:26:41.:26:43.

massive gap between the rhetoric and reality. Not to make promises on

:26:44.:26:45.

numbers which are not responsible. OK, you won't give me a figure.

:26:46.:26:50.

Fine. Moving on to crime. 10,00 front line police jobs have gone

:26:51.:26:55.

since 2010 but crime continues to fall. 7% down last year alone. When

:26:56.:26:59.

you told the Labour conference that you do not cut crime by cutting the

:27:00.:27:05.

police, you were wrong. I think the Government is being very complacent

:27:06.:27:07.

about what is happening to crime. Crime patterns are changing. There

:27:08.:27:12.

has been an exponential increase, and that is in the words of the

:27:13.:27:18.

police, in online crime. We have also seen, for example, domestic

:27:19.:27:26.

violence going up, but prosecutions dropping dramatically. There is a

:27:27.:27:30.

serious impact as a result of not having 10,000 police in place. You

:27:31.:27:35.

have talked about the exponential increase in online and economic

:27:36.:27:38.

crime. If those are the big growth areas, why have bobbies on the beat?

:27:39.:27:45.

That would make no difference. It is about an approach to policing that

:27:46.:27:48.

has been incredibly successful over many years, which Labour introduced,

:27:49.:27:52.

which is neighbourhood policing in the community is working hard with

:27:53.:27:56.

communities to prevent crime. People like to see bobbies on the beat but

:27:57.:28:00.

have you got any evidence that it leads to a reduction in crime?

:28:01.:28:05.

Interestingly, the Lords Stevens commission that we set up, they have

:28:06.:28:09.

reported this week and it has been the equivalent of a Royal

:28:10.:28:12.

commission, looking at the number of people involved in it. Their strong

:28:13.:28:18.

recommendation was that this is about preventing crime but also

:28:19.:28:21.

respectful law and order, working with communities, and so they

:28:22.:28:24.

strongly took the view with all of their expertise and the 30 different

:28:25.:28:28.

universities that they have involved with it, that on the basis of all

:28:29.:28:31.

that analysis, the right thing was to keep bobbies on the beat and not

:28:32.:28:37.

push them cars. Instinctively you would think it was true. More

:28:38.:28:42.

visible policing, less crime. But in all the criminology work, I cannot

:28:43.:28:47.

find the evidence. There is competing work about why there has

:28:48.:28:51.

been a 20 year drop in overall crime and everybody has different opinions

:28:52.:28:55.

on why that has happened. The point about neighbourhood policing is that

:28:56.:28:58.

it is broader than crime-fighting. It is about prevention and community

:28:59.:29:05.

safety. Improving the well-being of communities as well. Will you keep

:29:06.:29:10.

the elected Police Commissioners? Big sigh! What the report said was

:29:11.:29:15.

that the system is flawed. We raised concern about this at the beginning.

:29:16.:29:21.

You will remember at the elections, Theresa May's flagship policy, at

:29:22.:29:27.

the elections they cost ?100 million and there was 15% turnout. You have

:29:28.:29:31.

to have a system of accountability at the police. Three options were

:29:32.:29:37.

presented, all of which are forms. So you have to have reform. It is

:29:38.:29:42.

not whether to have reformed, it is which of those options is the best

:29:43.:29:52.

way to do it. The commission set out a series of options, and I thought

:29:53.:29:58.

that the preferable approach would be collaboration and voluntary

:29:59.:30:02.

mergers. We know they won't volunteer. There have been some

:30:03.:30:07.

collaboration is taking place. I think the issues with police and

:30:08.:30:11.

crime commissioners have fragmented things and made it harder to get

:30:12.:30:15.

collaboration between police forces. Everybody is asking this

:30:16.:30:19.

question, just before you go. What is it like living with a nightmare?

:30:20.:30:27.

Who does all the cooking, so I can't complain! Says Miliband people are

:30:28.:30:36.

wrong, he is a dream cook? He is! In a speech this week, Boris Johnson

:30:37.:30:39.

praised greed and envy as essential for economic progress, and that has

:30:40.:30:43.

got tongues wagging. What is the Mayor of London up to? What is his

:30:44.:30:48.

game plan? Does he even have a game plan and does he know if he has one?

:30:49.:30:58.

Flash photography coming up. Boris. In many ways I can leave it there.

:30:59.:31:02.

You'd know who I meant. And if you didn't, the unruly mop of blonde

:31:03.:31:14.

hair would tell you, the language. Ping-pong was invented on the dining

:31:15.:31:16.

tables of England. Somehow pulling off the ridiculous to the sublime.

:31:17.:31:34.

It is going to go zoink off the scale! But often having to speed

:31:35.:31:37.

away from the whiff-whaff of scandal. Boris, are you going to

:31:38.:31:41.

save your manage? There's always been a question about

:31:42.:31:45.

him and his as role as mayor and another prized position, as hinted

:31:46.:31:48.

to the Tory faithful this year at conference, discussing former French

:31:49.:31:54.

Prime Minister Alan Juppe. -- Alain Juppe. He told me he was going to be

:31:55.:32:02.

the mayor of Bordeaux. I think he may have been mayor well he was

:32:03.:32:07.

Prime Minister, it is the kind of thing they do in funds -- AvD in

:32:08.:32:13.

France. It is a good idea, if you ask me. But is it a joke? He is much

:32:14.:32:22.

more ambitious. Boris wants to be Prime Minister more than anything

:32:23.:32:26.

else. Perhaps more than he wants to be made of London. The ball came

:32:27.:32:34.

loose from the back of the scrum. Of course it would give great thing to

:32:35.:32:39.

have a crack at, but it is not going to happen. He might be right. First,

:32:40.:32:44.

the Conservatives have a leader another Old Etonian, Oxford,

:32:45.:32:47.

Bullingdon chap and he has the job Boris might like a crack at. What do

:32:48.:32:54.

you do with a problem like Boris? It is one of the great paradoxes of

:32:55.:32:58.

Tory politics that for Boris Johnson to succeed, David Cameron must feel.

:32:59.:33:04.

Boris needs David Cameron to lose so that he can stand a chance of

:33:05.:33:08.

becoming loser. -- becoming leader. And disloyalty is punished by

:33:09.:33:11.

Conservatives. Boris knows the man who brought down Margaret Thatcher.

:33:12.:33:13.

Michael Heseltine, who Boris replaced as MP for Henley, never got

:33:14.:33:20.

her job. In 1986, she took on the member for Henley, always a risky

:33:21.:33:30.

venture. And why might he make such a jibe, because he's won two more

:33:31.:33:34.

elections than the PM. Conservatives like a winner. Boris, against Robert

:33:35.:33:43.

expectations, has won the Mayor of London job twice. -- public. He

:33:44.:33:53.

might've built a following with the grassroots but he's on shakier

:33:54.:33:56.

ground with many Tory MPs, who see him as a selfish clown, unfit for

:33:57.:34:04.

high office. And besides, he's not the only one with king-sized

:34:05.:34:06.

ambition, and Boris and George are not close, however much they may

:34:07.:34:13.

profess unity. There is probably some Chinese expression for a

:34:14.:34:19.

complete and perfect harmony. Ying and yang. But in plain black and

:34:20.:34:23.

white, if Boris has a plan, it's one he can't instigate, and if David

:34:24.:34:27.

Cameron is PM in 2016, it may not be implementable. He'd need a seat and

:34:28.:34:32.

it wouldn't be plain sailing if he did make a leadership bid. My

:34:33.:34:38.

leadership chances, I think I may have told you before, or about as

:34:39.:34:43.

good as my chances of ying reincarnated as a baked bean. Which

:34:44.:34:48.

is probably quite high. So if the job you want with Brown-esque desire

:34:49.:34:51.

is potentially never to be yours what do you do? He is, of course, an

:34:52.:35:00.

American citizen by birth. He was born in New York public hospital,

:35:01.:35:04.

and so he is qualified to be President of the United States. And

:35:05.:35:09.

you don't need an IQ over 16 to find that the tiniest bit scary.

:35:10.:35:15.

Giles Dilnot reporting. Helen Lewis, Janan Ganesh and Sam Coates are

:35:16.:35:21.

here. Is there a plan for Boris and if so, what is it? I think the plan

:35:22.:35:27.

is for him to say what he thinks the Tory activist base wants to hear

:35:28.:35:31.

just now. He knows that in 18 months time they can disown it. I think he

:35:32.:35:37.

is wrong, the way the speech has played has a limited number of

:35:38.:35:43.

people. He has cross-party appeal. He has now reconfirmed to people

:35:44.:35:46.

that the Tories are the nasty party and they have been pretending to be

:35:47.:35:53.

modernised. Is it not the truth that he needs David Cameron to lose the

:35:54.:35:57.

2015 election to become leader in this decade? It is very interesting

:35:58.:36:04.

watching his fortunes wax and wane. It always seems to happen in inverse

:36:05.:36:08.

proportion to how well David Cameron is doing in front of his own party.

:36:09.:36:13.

There is no small element of strategy about what we are doing

:36:14.:36:17.

here. The problem with Boris is that he's popular with the country, but

:36:18.:36:22.

hard-core supporters. This was an hard-core supporters. This was an

:36:23.:36:29.

appeal to the grassroots this week. He is not the only potential

:36:30.:36:30.

candidate. If we were in some kind candidate. If we were in some kind

:36:31.:36:38.

of circumstance where Boris was a runner to replace Mr Cameron, who

:36:39.:36:43.

with the other front the? I think it will skip a generation. The recent

:36:44.:36:52.

intake was ideological assertive. I do not buy the idea that it will be

:36:53.:36:57.

Jeremy Hunt against Michael Gove. I then, that generation will be

:36:58.:37:05.

tainted by being in government. It is interesting, what is he trying to

:37:06.:37:12.

pull? He is ideological. He does not believe in many things, but he

:37:13.:37:15.

believes in a few things quite deeply, and one is the idea of

:37:16.:37:20.

competition, both in business and academic selection. He has never

:37:21.:37:24.

been squeamish about expressing that. We do make mistakes sometimes,

:37:25.:37:34.

assuming he is entirely political. Look at all the Northern voters who

:37:35.:37:37.

will not vote for the Tories even though they are socially or economic

:37:38.:37:40.

will not vote for the Tories even the Conservatives. I do not think he

:37:41.:37:47.

helps. Who in the Tories would help? That is a tough question. To

:37:48.:37:54.

reason me has also been speaking to the hard right. -- Theresa May. I

:37:55.:38:03.

have been out with him at night It is like dining with a film star

:38:04.:38:06.

People are queueing up to speak to him. Educational selection is one of

:38:07.:38:13.

the few areas that he can offer He has gone liberal on immigration as

:38:14.:38:15.

are made of London would have to. Good morning. Coming up this week,

:38:16.:38:44.

the schools Minister David Laws says attainment among poor people in

:38:45.:38:50.

North East schools is unacceptable. We have an exclusive interview. With

:38:51.:39:01.

me to discuss education issues are...

:39:02.:39:08.

First, the loss of NPower jobs in Sunderland. With energy bills rising

:39:09.:39:14.

and Labour promising a price freeze, the job losses come at a politically

:39:15.:39:22.

sensitive time. James Wharton who represents four the `` Thornaby has

:39:23.:39:34.

been warning politicians not to score points at this time. We have

:39:35.:39:40.

seen a lot of politicians making quite cheap populist points to try

:39:41.:39:44.

to win over easy votes about energy prices and electricity companies.

:39:45.:39:52.

The reality is that full `` that will impact on jobs, share prices.

:39:53.:40:00.

These are not easy issues to resolve.

:40:01.:40:08.

Let's talk to our politicians here. James Wharton says you are playing

:40:09.:40:14.

politics. It is ironic that the Prime Minister has decided to come

:40:15.:40:21.

round to Labour point of view in asking the energy companies to

:40:22.:40:31.

freeze bills. I do not think we can call it a cheap point any more.

:40:32.:40:37.

People have high bills to pay, and they need as much help as they can

:40:38.:40:43.

get. If we did not have privatised energy companies in the first place,

:40:44.:40:48.

it would be easier to make the changes.

:40:49.:40:51.

Labour is not going to scrap the privatisation of these businesses

:40:52.:40:56.

however? That is right, but we have published a green paper that looks

:40:57.:41:02.

at all of the different ways that we can fix the market during the 20

:41:03.:41:09.

month period when bills would be frozen. I am going to stop you

:41:10.:41:18.

there. Labour was right to point out these job losses in the north`east

:41:19.:41:23.

say something about these companies. You cannot fix the energy

:41:24.:41:34.

market. That is the real problem. If we are going to do something about

:41:35.:41:40.

energy prices, we need to do something significant. I think the

:41:41.:41:45.

best opportunity is something like fracking. Since fighting came into

:41:46.:41:50.

the United States, energy prices have fallen by about 20%. That sort

:41:51.:42:00.

of thing can make a real difference. Some people like the idea fracking,

:42:01.:42:06.

some people it. I do not want to debate that. But these jobs and the

:42:07.:42:11.

behaviour of the company, is the behaviour of NPower indicative of

:42:12.:42:16.

their behaviour to customers as well? Ethic it says and points out

:42:17.:42:25.

that in the north`east we are dependent on too small a of large

:42:26.:42:29.

employers. Some in the private sector is, some public. `` I think

:42:30.:42:41.

it says. But there are lots of new private sector jobs being created.

:42:42.:42:51.

Automotive jobs, renewable jobs. The Conservatives are right that there

:42:52.:42:57.

is a bit of jeopardy here. If you mess with the markets, you hit

:42:58.:43:03.

companies like NPower. I do not think it is a fair claim to make. In

:43:04.:43:12.

the run`up to 1997 when Labour were proposing to have a tax on the

:43:13.:43:16.

profits of utility companies, the Tory government at that time said it

:43:17.:43:21.

would be a disaster, the energy companies will respond badly, but

:43:22.:43:26.

those things it did not happen. We were able to carry that out. It did

:43:27.:43:34.

not have a negative effect. We do need a supply of good jobs in small

:43:35.:43:41.

businesses in the North East. That is something I am passionate about.

:43:42.:43:48.

But the position on quayside, we have seen closures of key

:43:49.:43:56.

employers. `` Teesside. This week saw a prison in the North

:43:57.:44:18.

East taken over by a private company.

:44:19.:44:21.

In the Northumberland countryside, a landmark for over 40 years. Each MP

:44:22.:44:24.

Northumberland. `` `` HMP Northumberland. Sodexho has

:44:25.:44:54.

taken over the running of this prison. They want to cut jobs. They

:44:55.:45:03.

are talking about the redundancy of front`line prison staff, prison

:45:04.:45:08.

officers, principal officers, who will go away from the supervision of

:45:09.:45:13.

prisoners on the ground. There could be a riot , anything. This woman has

:45:14.:45:25.

lived near the prison for 12 years, she is worried about the future. How

:45:26.:45:32.

will they were staff managed to control these prisoners? There could

:45:33.:45:48.

be an escape. Sodexho did not want to be interviewed, but said...

:45:49.:46:04.

If we can bring in new ideas, bring in benefits, that is fine, but that

:46:05.:46:13.

must be on the basis that there are enough officers to ensure its

:46:14.:46:24.

safety. Prison takeovers are something new

:46:25.:46:35.

and there is a `` there is apprehension here.

:46:36.:46:43.

Are people right to be worried? I do not think they need to be worried.

:46:44.:46:49.

We are used to having public services provided by people in the

:46:50.:46:54.

public sector. GPs, dentists, they are all private. As long as things

:46:55.:46:59.

are controlled and regulated in the proper manner, this could deliver

:47:00.:47:03.

better services for less and that sounds like something that is worth

:47:04.:47:06.

looking at. If this saves money for the

:47:07.:47:10.

taxpayer, is more efficient, it is good news? It is putting profit

:47:11.:47:16.

ahead of public safety. It is all very well for Sodexho Justice saying

:47:17.:47:23.

it will be safe and secure, but we have seen the new prison at oak`wood

:47:24.:47:44.

receiving an appalling report the inspectorate.

:47:45.:47:50.

The last Labour government ended up with private prisons. We have not

:47:51.:47:57.

got off lenders roaming the streets. `` off `` offenders. Serco is under

:47:58.:48:16.

investigation by the fraud squad for potential criminal activity. This is

:48:17.:48:22.

the sort of thing we are dealing with.

:48:23.:48:28.

Is this just about the dogma of privatisation? I do not think so.

:48:29.:48:34.

The last Labour government pursued privatisation. There are lots of

:48:35.:48:38.

examples where there are superb public services provided by public

:48:39.:48:45.

servant `` private companies. Neither one nor the other is

:48:46.:48:53.

dogmatically right. Public services provided by public employees is not

:48:54.:48:59.

necessarily always the late thing either. `` always the right thing

:49:00.:49:08.

either. The prison Governors Association have told me that

:49:09.:49:17.

prisons in the public sector now are operating on a benchmarked system

:49:18.:49:21.

now. Every year, schools and colleges in

:49:22.:49:27.

our region seem to celebrate better results. But secondary schools in

:49:28.:49:34.

our region are below average compared to similar schools and

:49:35.:49:43.

other region. `` in other regions. Is it time for radical action?

:49:44.:49:54.

These pupils in Durban speak French. Results here at this community

:49:55.:49:59.

School are on the up. But in other parts of the North East and Cumbria,

:50:00.:50:05.

it is a less positive picture. There are big issues for the North East,

:50:06.:50:10.

we still have a long way to travel in terms of matching the performance

:50:11.:50:16.

of other regions. This goes inspectorate, Ofsted,

:50:17.:50:19.

shares those concerns. It says... As the North East and Cumbria aims

:50:20.:50:53.

to improve education, one area they are looking at very closely is

:50:54.:50:59.

London and schools like this one. Here in the capital, results are

:51:00.:51:04.

gone from being among the worst in the country to among the best. Some

:51:05.:51:09.

put that down to a scheme called London challenge. London challenge

:51:10.:51:13.

is about school to school support and offering challenges to head

:51:14.:51:20.

teachers. You could be directed to schools in London where the

:51:21.:51:24.

expertise lay so you could improve your school's potential. It was very

:51:25.:51:29.

ambitious, saying there is nothing we cannot do? Absolutely. Those lead

:51:30.:51:37.

advisers questioned those headteachers and those schools have

:51:38.:51:42.

improved. The London challenge ran for eight years and saw the biggest

:51:43.:51:49.

improvement among pupils from hard up families. No teachers in the

:51:50.:51:53.

North East are campaigning for a similar approach here. It is

:51:54.:51:58.

important that they have coordination so that schools can

:51:59.:52:03.

work together. The expertise is here already. You would like to see extra

:52:04.:52:16.

money from the government to help with this? I think it will need

:52:17.:52:22.

extra money if it is going to be effective. We do not need huge sums

:52:23.:52:34.

of money. But we do need some additional funding if we are going

:52:35.:52:39.

to buy that time that we need for people to work together effectively.

:52:40.:52:43.

But with Ofsted demanding rapid improvement, that time to improve

:52:44.:52:48.

may be in short supply. We spoke to the schools Minister

:52:49.:52:56.

David Laws. It does worry me that some parts of the country have a

:52:57.:53:01.

lower proportion of good and outstanding schools. We want all

:53:02.:53:06.

parents to be able to access a good or outstanding school and where

:53:07.:53:11.

there is a shortfall in this, we need to take action. Ofsted has gone

:53:12.:53:20.

into Northumberland because it is so worried. If it finds the council is

:53:21.:53:26.

at fault, would you take action? If we find that our local authority is

:53:27.:53:32.

failing in its duties, we will take action. We would expect to make a

:53:33.:53:41.

judgement about whether a particular authority is capable of improving,

:53:42.:53:45.

whether it has a strong plan for improving. One wider concern is the

:53:46.:53:58.

attainment, or lack of attainment, by three school meal pupils. `` free

:53:59.:54:12.

school meals. The premium that we have Britain has only been for a few

:54:13.:54:20.

years. `` that we have put in. We are expecting a massive improvement

:54:21.:54:24.

in the performance of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. In

:54:25.:54:36.

many parts of the North East, attainment by disadvantaged young

:54:37.:54:40.

people is just not good enough. It is unacceptable to us.

:54:41.:54:52.

Who is to blame for that, is it the schools, the local authorities? We

:54:53.:54:56.

understand why it is difficult for those schools. Often those

:54:57.:55:01.

youngsters are not getting the right support in the home environment. But

:55:02.:55:06.

the experience of London shows that even when youngsters playing into

:55:07.:55:10.

the school environment fireman `` bring into the school environment a

:55:11.:55:21.

lot of problems, the school can do a lot about that. Here in London, we

:55:22.:55:26.

have had a revolution in the performance of disadvantaged

:55:27.:55:30.

youngsters with many of them doing just as well as those from more

:55:31.:55:37.

normal backgrounds. That is the type of improvement they expect to see

:55:38.:55:41.

throughout the country. Michael Gove has talked about a culture of

:55:42.:55:48.

defeatism, do you think that is the problem? I am not going to comment

:55:49.:55:55.

on every school or part of the North East, because I know that there are

:55:56.:56:01.

lots of schools with real aspiration and passion, but sometimes there can

:56:02.:56:05.

be communities with a tradition of economic decline and households

:56:06.:56:12.

where nobody has gone into higher education and sometimes teachers in

:56:13.:56:17.

those areas tell me they have great difficulty in getting aspirations at

:56:18.:56:22.

the right level. Parents and schools need to work together with the

:56:23.:56:31.

government. There are good schools in the

:56:32.:56:35.

north`east, but there appears be a problem, what is to blame? There are

:56:36.:56:47.

good schools, but it is a problem. We have lots of unemployed young

:56:48.:56:51.

people and yet we have skills shortages. Unless we do something

:56:52.:56:55.

about it, we will find those jobs are taken by workers from abroad.

:56:56.:57:03.

What can we do about it? We need a schools challenge in the North East,

:57:04.:57:08.

that was recommended by the recent review. But without the money

:57:09.:57:12.

available to London. There is enough money in the system. The sums of

:57:13.:57:17.

money that are required are available. It has to be the very top

:57:18.:57:27.

of the agenda and all of us have to be involved. This is needs to be

:57:28.:57:32.

involved with local schools. Acting as mentors, guiding the curriculum,

:57:33.:57:39.

giving apprenticeships. It is hard to avoid the conclusion

:57:40.:57:43.

that our council 's shoulder the blame here? `` that our councils. It

:57:44.:57:58.

is very rich of David Laws to point the finger. It is ironic that the

:57:59.:58:03.

London challenge was set up by a Labour government. In the North

:58:04.:58:08.

East, there are some areas that do not perform as well as other areas,

:58:09.:58:13.

but on balance, we do better than our neighbours in Yorkshire and the

:58:14.:58:24.

Humber. In your area of Stockton, 24% of pupils on free school

:58:25.:58:38.

meals... It is not acceptable to point the finger at councils. David

:58:39.:58:45.

Laws is talking about children arriving at school ill`prepared. Yet

:58:46.:58:57.

we have seen cuts to sure start. Underinvestment in school supports

:58:58.:59:00.

services. The educational maintenance allowance scrapped. The

:59:01.:59:06.

connection service has been devastated. And 500 fewer teachers

:59:07.:59:18.

in North East schools. None of those things are exclusive to the North

:59:19.:59:28.

East. But it is worse here. What they should is where there is a

:59:29.:59:34.

focus, there are solutions and improvements that can be put into

:59:35.:59:40.

place. At the end of the day, we have to take local responsibility.

:59:41.:59:49.

Local authorities who have that responsibility have to take the lead

:59:50.:59:54.

for driving the North East schools challenge. That is what they must

:59:55.:59:58.

do. There are some political issues but

:59:59.:00:14.

will always arose passions. `` arouse.

:00:15.:00:20.

Cumbria County Council is planning to cut all subsidies for buses.

:00:21.:00:28.

Added 70 services are likely to disappear. `` aren't 70 services.

:00:29.:00:43.

Does the Minister think it is right that a London`based company wants to

:00:44.:00:52.

place two wind turbines bigger than the London eye in our region?

:00:53.:01:08.

The issue of apprenticeships was debated. They have only been at work

:01:09.:01:14.

for a year, but now a review commissioned by Labour says police

:01:15.:01:20.

and crying commissioners should be abolished. `` Police and

:01:21.:01:24.

and crying commissioners should be picked out. People thought

:01:25.:01:25.

touching on eugenics and things like that. That is all we have time for.

:01:26.:01:41.

Thank you. What rabbit has George Osborne got up his sleeve? And

:01:42.:01:47.

what's David Cameron up to in China? All questions for The Week Ahead. To

:01:48.:01:54.

help the panel led, we are joined by Kwasi Kwarteng, Tory MP. Welcome to

:01:55.:02:02.

the Sunday Politics. Why has the government been unable to move the

:02:03.:02:06.

agenda and to the broad economic recovery, and allowed the agenda to

:02:07.:02:10.

stay on Labour's ground of energy prices and living standards? Energy

:02:11.:02:15.

has been a big issue over the last few months but the autumn state and

:02:16.:02:19.

will be a wonderful opportunity to readdress where we are fighting the

:02:20.:02:23.

ground, the good economic news that we delivered. If you look at where

:02:24.:02:29.

Labour were earlier this year, people were saying they would they 5

:02:30.:02:33.

million people unemployed. They were saying that there should be a plan

:02:34.:02:43.

B. He is not in the Labour Party? Elements of the left were suggesting

:02:44.:02:47.

it. Peter Hain told me it would be up to 3 million people. Danny

:02:48.:02:52.

Blanchflower said it would be 5 million people. So we have got to

:02:53.:02:57.

get the economy back to the centre of the debate? Yes, the game we were

:02:58.:03:03.

playing was about the economy. That was the central fighting ground of

:03:04.:03:06.

the political debate. We were winning that battle. Labour have

:03:07.:03:11.

cleverly shifted it onto the cost of living. It is essential that the

:03:12.:03:16.

government, that George, talks about the economy. That has been its great

:03:17.:03:27.

success. I do not think this has been a week of admitting that Labour

:03:28.:03:30.

was right, plain cigarettes packaging, other issues. If you look

:03:31.:03:37.

at the big picture, where we are with the economy, we have the

:03:38.:03:43.

fastest growing economy in the G-7. Despite Labour's predictions, none

:03:44.:03:47.

of this has happened, none of the triple dip has happened. The British

:03:48.:03:53.

economy is on a good fitting. That is a good story for the government

:03:54.:03:59.

to bat on. You say that people have stopped talking about the economic

:04:00.:04:02.

recovery, but it is worse than that, people have stopped talking about

:04:03.:04:08.

the deficit? As long as people were talking about the deficit, the

:04:09.:04:11.

Tories were trusted. But people have forgotten about it. This country

:04:12.:04:17.

still spends ?100 billion more than it raises. Yes, I am of the view

:04:18.:04:24.

that the deficit, the national debt, is the biggest question facing

:04:25.:04:29.

this generation of politicians. You are right to suggest that the

:04:30.:04:32.

Conservative Party was strong on this. That head, not deficit, is not

:04:33.:04:39.

going to come down in the foreseeable future? It is rising.

:04:40.:04:44.

This is a test that George Osborne is not going to pass. We know what

:04:45.:04:48.

is coming in the Autumn Statement, it is lots of giveaways, paying for

:04:49.:04:53.

free school meals, paying for fuel duty subsidies. We are still talking

:04:54.:04:58.

about the cost of living, not changing it actively wider economy.

:04:59.:05:04.

There might be extra money for growth but it is not clear what will

:05:05.:05:11.

happen to that. If it is time for giveaways, let's speak about Labour.

:05:12.:05:15.

I have never been a fan of giveaways. Fiscal prudence is what

:05:16.:05:23.

our watchword should be. Look at the headlines. Each time, the deficit

:05:24.:05:27.

figures, the debt figures, were always worse than predicted. This

:05:28.:05:33.

year it will be significantly better. I think that is significant.

:05:34.:05:39.

Any kind of recovery is probably better than no recovery at all. When

:05:40.:05:44.

you look at this recovery, it is basically a consumer spending boom.

:05:45.:05:50.

Consumer spending is up, business investment is way down compared with

:05:51.:05:57.

2008, and exports, despite a 20 devaluation, our flat. Let's get one

:05:58.:06:02.

thing straight, it is a recovery. Any recovery is better than no

:06:03.:06:09.

recovery. Now we can have a debate about, technical debate about the

:06:10.:06:14.

elements of the recovery. It is not technical, it is a fact. There is

:06:15.:06:20.

evidence that there is optimism in terms of what are thinking...

:06:21.:06:26.

Optimism? If I am optimistic about the economy, I am more likely to

:06:27.:06:31.

spend money and invest in business. So far you have not managed that?

:06:32.:06:37.

Exports have not done well either? Exports are not a big section of the

:06:38.:06:42.

British economy. But of course, they are important. But given where we

:06:43.:06:48.

were at the end of last year, no economist was saying that we would

:06:49.:06:53.

be in this robust position today. That is true, in terms of the

:06:54.:07:00.

overall recovery. Now the PM loves to "bang the drum abroad for British

:07:01.:07:04.

business" and he's off to China this evening with a plane-load of British

:07:05.:07:07.

business leaders. And it's not the first time. Take a look at this

:07:08.:07:38.

Well, you might not think exports unimportant, but clearly the Prime

:07:39.:08:03.

Minister and the Chancellor do. They are important, but they are not what

:08:04.:08:09.

is driving the growth at the moment. We used to talk about the need for

:08:10.:08:13.

export led recovery is, that is why the Prime Minister is going to

:08:14.:08:18.

China. Absolutely, and he's doing the right thing. Do we have any

:08:19.:08:23.

evidence that these tend of trips produce business? The main example

:08:24.:08:29.

so far is the right to trade the Chinese currency offshore. London

:08:30.:08:34.

has a kind of global primacy. London will be the offshore centre. Is that

:08:35.:08:40.

a good thing? I have no problem at all with this sort of policy. I do

:08:41.:08:44.

not think that Britain has been doing this enough compared with

:08:45.:08:48.

France and Germany in recent years. I am optimistic in the long term

:08:49.:08:54.

about this dish -- about British exports to China. China need machine

:08:55.:09:01.

tools and manufacturing products. In 20 years time, China will be buying

:09:02.:09:05.

professional groups, educational services, the things we excel at.

:09:06.:09:11.

All we need to do is consolidate our strengths, stand still and we will

:09:12.:09:16.

move forward. The worst thing we can do is reengineer the economy towards

:09:17.:09:19.

those services and away from something else. We have a lot of

:09:20.:09:26.

ground to make up, Helen? At one stage, it is no longer true, but at

:09:27.:09:31.

one stage you could say that we exported more to Ireland, a country

:09:32.:09:34.

of 4 million people, than we did to Russia, China, India, Brazil, all

:09:35.:09:43.

combined. I believe we form 1% of Chinese imports now. The problem is

:09:44.:09:49.

what you have to give up in exchange for that. It is a big problem for

:09:50.:09:55.

David Cameron's credibility that he has had to row back on his meeting

:09:56.:10:02.

with the Dalai llama. This trip we have been in the deep freeze with

:10:03.:10:06.

China for a couple of years. This trip has come at a high cost. We

:10:07.:10:11.

have had to open up the City of London to Chinese banks without much

:10:12.:10:15.

scrutiny, we have had to move the date of the Autumn Statement, and

:10:16.:10:19.

there is no mention of human rights. It is awkward to deal with that all

:10:20.:10:24.

in the name of getting up to where we were a few years ago. A month

:10:25.:10:32.

after strong anchor -- one month after Sri Lanka, where he apologised

:10:33.:10:35.

three human rights abuses, this is difficult to take. Do we have any

:10:36.:10:42.

idea what the Prime Minister hopes to do in China this time? I am not

:10:43.:10:46.

sure there is anything specific but when you go to these countries,

:10:47.:10:51.

certainly in the Middle East China, they complain, why has the Prime

:10:52.:10:55.

Minister not come to see us? That is very important. High-level

:10:56.:11:00.

delegations from other countries go to these places because the addict

:11:01.:11:05.

-- because they are important export markets. You might look at the Prime

:11:06.:11:17.

Minister playing cricket over there, and wonder, what is that for? I do

:11:18.:11:21.

not mind the Prime Minister Rajoy cricket. This is a high visibility

:11:22.:11:26.

mission, chose that politicians in Britain care. You are part of the

:11:27.:11:32.

free enterprise group. It had all sorts of things on it like tax cuts

:11:33.:11:36.

for those on middle incomes or above the 40% bracket, tax cuts worth 16

:11:37.:11:44.

billion. You will get none of that on Thursday, we are agreed? No. But

:11:45.:11:50.

he does have two budgets between now and the election and if the fiscal

:11:51.:11:57.

position is using a little bit, he may have more leeway than it looked

:11:58.:12:00.

like a couple of months ago. Yes, from a free enter prise point of

:12:01.:12:07.

view, we have looked at the tax cuts that should be looked at. The 4 p

:12:08.:12:12.

rate comes in at quite a low level for people who, in the south-east,

:12:13.:12:18.

do not feel particularly wealthy. They are spending a lot of money on

:12:19.:12:24.

commuting, energy bills. The Chancellor has been very open about

:12:25.:12:28.

championing this. He says that the 40p rate will kick in at a slightly

:12:29.:12:33.

higher rate. Labour had a bad summer and the opinion polls seem to be

:12:34.:12:38.

narrowing. Then they had a good hearty conference season. The best.

:12:39.:12:44.

Has the Labour lead solidified or increased the little, maybe up to

:12:45.:12:48.

eight points? If it is a good Autumn Statement, or the Tories start to

:12:49.:12:52.

narrow that lead by the end of the year? If they go into 2014 trailing

:12:53.:12:59.

by single digits, they cannot complain too much. That gives them

:13:00.:13:03.

18 months to chip away at Labour's lead. But do they do that chipping

:13:04.:13:09.

away by eight bidding Labour or do they let time take its course and

:13:10.:13:13.

let the economic recovery continue, maybe business investment joins

:13:14.:13:18.

consumer spending as a source of that recovery, and a year from now,

:13:19.:13:21.

household disposable income begins to rise? That is a better hope than

:13:22.:13:30.

engaging in a bidding war. Be assured, they will be highly

:13:31.:13:32.

political budgets. That's all for today. The Daily Politics is on BBC

:13:33.:13:36.

Two at midday all this week, except on Thursday when we'll start at

:13:37.:13:39.

10:45 to bring you live coverage and analysis of the Chancellor's Autumn

:13:40.:13:41.

Statement in a Daily Politics special for BBC Two and the BBC News

:13:42.:13:45.

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

:13:46.:13:48.

Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper and Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron.


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