08/12/2013 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate.

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The morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. First, some Sunday


morning cheer, if you are an MP, that is. You are set to get an 11%


pay rise. The Chancellor has gone from zero to hero for some, who


credit him for turning the economy around. We will be taking a fine


tooth comb to his Autumn Statement. Should this man get a pay rise?


Complete denial about the central Should this man get a pay rise?


facts... And 11% pay rise for Ed Balls? He was certainly working hard


facts... And 11% pay rise for Ed to be heard last Thursday. We will


be reviewing his performance. What to be heard last Thursday. We will


about this man? We will be joined by In the north`east: Help for the high


It was just like a wall In In the north`east: Help for the high


Street. But is it enough? And had on the capital, its politics and


those who met him. With me, three scruffy eternal


students. They would celebrate if they achieved a C+. But they are all


we could afford and there will be no pay rise for them. They will be


glued to an electronic device throughout the programme and if we


are lucky they might stop there internet shopping and tweet


something intelligent. But don't hold your breath. Janan Ganesh,


Helen Lewis and Nick Watt. Last week, storms were battering Britain,


the East Coast was hit by the worst tidal surge in more than a century,


thousands of people had to be evacuated and Nelson Mandela died.


The downed the news agenda was the small matter of George Osborne's


Autumn Statement. His giveaways, his takeaways and his first opportunity


to announce some economic cheer. It might be winter outside, but in


the studios it is awesome. Autumn Statement time. -- autumn. This is a


moment of TV history. Normally when the Chancellor delivers these


statements, he has to say the economy is actually a lot worse than


statements, he has to say the everyone predicted. This time, he


can stand up and say the economy is better than everybody predicted. A


lot better. Britain is currently growing faster


than any other major advanced economy. Faster than France, which


is contracting, faster than Germany, faster even than America. At this


Autumn Statement last year, there were repeated predictions that


borrowing would go up. Instead, borrowing is down, and down


significantly more than forecast. But George Osborne said the good


numbers still mean more tough decisions. We will not give up in


giving in our country's debts. We will not spend the money from lower


borrowing. We will not squander the harder and games of the British


people. -- hard earned gains. In other news, further cuts to


government departments. The state pension age will increase in the


2040s, affecting people in their 40s now. There were some goodies, like


discounted business rates for small businesses, free school meals for


infants, favoured by the Lib Dems, and those marriage tax breaks below


that by the Tories. But, as with all big fiscal events, it takes a while


for the details to sink in. The marriage tax allowance is a


long-standing commitment that he could not abandon. It does help


those families were only one goes out to work. It does not go to


higher out to work. It does not go to


think. Perhaps it does, I can't remember. It makes me feel guilty, I


am taking them very seriously, but... Shall I give you them? There


is the Autumn Statement. Have that, a free gift from the Sunday


Politics. Is there no limit to the generosity of the BBC?


In the meantime, Twitter was awash with unflattering pictures of a


red-faced Ed Balls giving his response. Some pictures were more


than flattering than others. Is Ed Balls OK? Should we be worrying


about him? He looks very stressed. There is nothing to worry about in


terms of Ed balls and his analysis. He and Ed Miliband have been setting


the pace in terms of the focus on the living standards crisis. It was


very telling that there was not a mention of living standards last


time, we got 12 mentions this time. Never mind what he was saying, by


now everybody has a copy of the all-important paperwork. Time to


hand over to number cruncher extraordinaire Paul Johnson from the


Institute for Fiscal Studies. Of course it means that things are


significantly better this year and next than we thought they would be


just nine months ago. That has got to be good news. But it is also


worth looking at the growth figures a few years out. They have been


revised down a little bit. The reason is, the view of the office of


budget response ability is that the long run has not really changed very


much. We are getting a bit more growth now, but their view is that


it is at the cost of a little bit of the growth we will expect in the


years after the next general election. As the day draws to a


close, the one place there has definitely been no growth is the


graphics budget of my colleague, Robert Preston. It's as good as it


gets these days, I don't think the viewers will mind. It's very Sunday


Politics, if I might say. That is very worrying.


Was this a watershed for George Osborne? Was it a watershed for Ed


Balls? We can all make the case that it is the wrong sort of recovery, a


consumer led recovery. People are spending money they don't have. At


the end of the day, it for George Osborne, it is growth, the first


time he has been able to talk about growth. It allows him to control the


baseline, the fiscal debate for the next generation. For Ed Balls,


nearly not a good performance. But don't write this man off. Judging by


Twitter, Iain Dale, no friend of it all is, said he did a good interview


this morning on a rival TV channel. I feel the fact that the Tories hate


Ed Balls so passionately is probably a good reason that they should hang


onto him, in that Labour sends his effectiveness. May be the Tories


hope that they hold on to him as well? A lot of people shouting at


someone and mocking their speech impediment, that is politics that


doesn't make me want to engage. The takeaway will be lots of people


thinking that none of these people are people they like. Who is the


main heckler on the Labour front bench West remarked I suppose he


can't cast any stones. It would be easier to sympathise with him, if it


were not that David Cameron went through a similar situation and John


Bercow did not step in to stop the wall of noise. It was guaranteed a


good happen to a Labour politician. It's painful to remove him because


he had a Parliamentary following and he will kick up a fuss. I think he's


much more pragmatic on issues like business than Ed Miliband. I'm told


he wasn't keen on the energy price freeze. The problem with Ed Balls,


to have the first words that you say, the Chancellor is in denial,


after he is presiding over growth, it means nobody is listening to you.


Who would replace him? Certainly not Alistair Darling, the side of the


referendum and even afterwards. Ed Balls did get a roasting in the


press and on Twitter. He seemed to disappear from public view following


the Autumn Statement. But a little bird tells me he managed one


interview this morning before he went off to an all-important piano


recital this afternoon. Watch out, Jools Holland, he could be after


your job. How bad was Jools Holland, he could be after


performance on Thursday? Here is the Shadow Chancellor in action. The


Chancellor is incomplete denial about the central facts that are


defining this government in office. He used to say he would balance the


books in 2015. Now he wants us to congratulate him for saying he will


do it in 2019, Mr Speaker. With this government, it is clearly not just


the badgers that move the goalposts. No mention of the universal credit


in the statement. IDS, in deep shambles, Mr Speaker. Chris Leslie


is the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury. He is Ed Balls's deputy,


in other words. Why do more and more of your Labour colleagues think that


your boss is below the water line? I'm not sure I accept the premise of


your suggestion. I don't think my colleagues believe that George


Osborne has a superior argument. I think Ed Balls will certainly trying


his best, loud and clear, to make the case there is a cost of living


crisis in this country and the Chancellor doesn't understand this.


That was essentially the heat of the debate on the Autumn Statement day.


One leading Labour MPs said to me that Ed Balls is always looking


back, fixated with the rear-view mirror, that was the exact quote. A


Labour MP told Sky News, Labour has a strong


Labour MP told Sky News, Labour has unfortunately it was not made well


in the chamber today. Quoting the Daily Mail, this is two poor


performances. A quote that I can't use because it uses too many four


letter words. Baroness Armstrong, speaking at Progress, a former


Labour Cabinet minister, we are not sufficiently concerned about public


spending, how we would pay for what we are talking about. Quite a


battering? There were two sets of quotes you were giving. The couple


were about the strategy for tackling public expenditure. I think it's


fair that we talk about that. The rest were pretty unattributed,


nameless sources. You have never given and of the record briefing? We


have conversations off camera, but I don't think you have a wealth of


evidence to say that somehow Ed Balls's arguments were wrong. He was


making the point that, ultimately, it is a government that does not


have its finger on the pulse about what most of your viewers are


concerned about, that wages are being squeezed and prices are


getting higher and higher. You have had time to study the Autumn


Statement. What part of it does Labour disagree with? It is a very


big question. I think the overall strategy the Autumn Statement is


setting out does not deal with the fundamental problems in the economy.


What measures do you disagree with? A lot of it is the absence of


measures we would have put in if we were doing the Autumn Statement. If


you are going to deal with the cost of living crisis, you have got to


get productivity levels up in our society. One of the best ways of


doing that is on infrastructure. We believe in bringing forward 's


investment and housing, getting some of the fundamentals right in our


economy. By planting, the business lending we have to do. We have seen


a lamentable failing. There are big structural reforms that we need.


Ultimately, the public are concerned about the cost of living crisis.


That has got to be childcare help, a 10p starting rate of tax. Above


all, and energy price freeze, which still this government are refusing


to do. On Friday, you told me you supported the principle of a welfare


cap. But you change bling claim the Chancellor's cap included pensions.


You have now seen the figures, and it does not include pensions,


correct? We do want a welfare cap. The government have said they are


going to put more detail on this in the March budget. But it does not


include pensions? We think they have a short term approach to the welfare


cap. They put in some pension benefits. The state pension is not


in the short-term benefits. The state pension is not


we believe, a triple lock is a good idea. In the longer term, if you are


talking about structural welfare issues, you do have to think about


pensions because they have to be sustainable if we are living


longer. I think that is about the careful management. Let me show you


what Ed Balls said on this programme at the start of the summer. As for


pensioners, I think this is a real question. George Osborne is going to


announce his cap in two weeks time. I don't know if he will exclude


pension spending or including. Our plan is to include it. Pension


spending would be included in the welfare cap? That is our plan,


exactly what I just said. Over the long-term, if you have a serious


welfare cap structural welfare issues, over 20, 30, 40 year


period, you can't say that we will not work and pensions as part of


that. Pensions would be part of the Labour cap? In the longer term. What


is the longer term? If you win 2015? We want to stick with the triple


lock on the pension, that is the Government approach to their


short-term welfare cap. In the longer term, for example, on the


winter fuel allowance, we should not necessarily be... There are lots of


benefits... I understand that, I am talking about the basic state


pension, is that part of your welfare cap or not? In a 20, 30, 40


year frame... Even you will not be around in government, then. You are


writing me off already. You have to focus on welfare changes, pensions


have to be affordable as part of that. It's dangerous to say, well,


if you are going to have a serious welfare cap, we should not look at


pensions cost. It would be irresponsible. Will pensions be part


of the cap from 2015 until 2020 if Labour is in power? In our long-term


cap we have to make sure... I'm talking about 2015-16. We haven't


seen the proposition the Government has put before us.


You claim people of ?1600 worse off under the coalition. That is true


when you compare to pay and prices. Can you confirm that calculation


does not include the ?700 tax cut from raising the income tax


threshold, huge savings on mortgages because of low interest or the


freezing of council tax? It doesn't include the tax and benefit


changes. If you do want to look at those, last year, the ISS said they


could be making people worse off. It might not include those factors. The


VAT increase, tax credit cuts, child benefit cuts, they all add up. My


understanding is that the ISS figures have said people are ?891


worse off if you look at the tax and benefit changes since 2010. You have


to look at wages and prices. The ISS confirmed our approach was broadly


the right way of assessing what is happening. The Chancellor was


saying, real household disposable incomes are rising. He is completely


out of touch. Can you sum up the macro economic policy for Labour?


Invest in the future, make sure we have the right approach for the


long-term politicking. Tackle the cost of living crisis people are


facing. Now, let's talk to the Financial


Secretary to the Treasury, Sajid Javid.


Discovery, underpinned by rising house prices, increasing personal


debt, do you accept that is unsustainable?


I accept the OBE are also said the reason why this country is facing


more these challenges -- OBR. That is because we went through a


Labour recession, the worst we have seen in 100 years. But do you accept


that a recovery underpinned by these things I have just read out isn't


sustainable? We set out a long-term plan for recovery, and again this


week. We have shown with the tough decisions we have made already, the


country can enjoy a recovery. There are still a lot of difficult


decisions. The biggest risk are Labour's plans. The March


projections work at for those -- for both business investment and


exports. Suddenly it is expected to rise 5% next year, a 10% turnaround


in investment. How is it credible? I have been in business before


politics. Any business person listening will know, when you have


gone through a recession, the deepest in 100 years, it will hit


investment, profits, you can't make plans again until you have


confidence in the economy. That is what this country is seeing now


under this government. This is an assumption made independently. The


fall in business investment is because of the recession. The


forecast increases, 5% next year, and so on, it is based on the


independent forecast. Based on fact. If you look at the investment plans


of companies, this week, the Chancellor went to JCB, Jaguar Land


Rover has plans to create more jobs, these investment plans are


coming through now because of the confidence generated by this


government, such as the cut in corporation tax which Labour would


increase. Are the export forecasts more credible? The 15 years, our


share of world trade decline. Suddenly starting next year, it


stops falling. That's not credible. I worked in finance the 20 years. I


have yet to find any forecast which is fully right. Under Labour, we


would have forecasts made by Gordon Brown who would announce he would


hit all his targets. Now we have an independent system.


Do you accept, if exports or business investment do not pick up,


then a purely consumer led recovery is not sustainable? We need more


than a consumer led recovery. We need consumer investment to go up.


On Xbox, it is noticeable that experts are primarily down because


the markets we trade with, the eurozone markets, are depressed.


Many have just come out of recession. Or they are still in


recession. If you look at exports to non-EU countries, they are up 30%.


120% to China. 100% to Russia. Will you keep the triple lock for


the state pension beyond 2015? Yes, long term. That's why it is not part


of our welfare cap. Chris Leslie cannot answer that question. It is


straightforward. House prices are now rising ten


times faster than average earnings. That's not good. House prices are


rising, partly reflecting recovery. Ten times faster than average


earnings, how can people afford to buy homes if it carries on? What you


would hope, this is the evidence, if you look at the plans of the month


companies, they are planning new homes which will mean that, as this


demand spurs that investment, more homes will come about. We need to


give people the means to buy those homes. We have introduced the help


to buy scheme. I accept the OBR says it will start rising again but as


household debt rises again Petr Cech reduces, -- as household debt


reduces, we need to make sure there are checks in place. Wages have not


been rising in real terms for quite some time. Over the next five years,


even as the economy grows, by about 15% according the OBR to the OBR --


but people will not benefit. These hard-working families will not share


in the recovery. What is the best way to help those families? The


government doesn't set wages. What we can do is influence the overall


economy. We don't have a magic lever. Wages have been stagnating


for five years. When will people get a proper salary? The best way for


wage growth is a growing economy, more jobs. We have more people


employed in Britain today than at any time in our history. The biggest


risk to recovery is if we let Labour into the Treasury with more spending


and more debt. Which got us into this trouble. By whatever measure


you care to choose, would people be better off come the 20 15th election


than they were in 2010? Yes, they will be. Look at jobs. Already more


people employed than at any other time in history. Will they be better


off? The best way for anyone to raise their living standards is


access to a growing job market. But will they be better off? I believe


people will be. Compared to 2010. Yes. In terms of take-home pay. This


is a credible measure. Now, what do you think the Education


Secretary, Michael Gove, was like at school? Hard-working? Hand always


up? Top of the class? Well, if he wasn't passionate about education


then, he is now. In fact, since he took office, it seems he hasn't


stopped working very hard indeed. When the coalition came to power,


Michael Gove evoked Mao, saying they were on a long march to reform


education. Just like Mao, they faced a baby boom, so pledged ?5 billion


for new school places. They extended Labour's academy programme. There's


now about 3,000 in England. But then, they marched even further,


creating free schools run by parents, funded by taxpayers. 174


have opened so far. The schools admission code was changed, to give


parents more choice. And a pupil premium was introduced,


currently, an extra ?900 funding for each disadvantaged child.


An overhaul of the national curriculum provoked criticism.


Chairman Gove mocked detractors as "bad academia".


Chairman Gove mocked detractors as didn't quite go to plan. Although


GCSEs got harder, plans to replace A-levels had to be abandoned.


Ultimately, the true test of these reforms will be what happens in the


classroom. The person in charge of making sure those classrooms are up


to scratch in England is the Chief Inspector Of Schools, head of


Ofsted, Michael Wilshaw, who joins me now.


Over the past 15 years, we have doubled spending on schools even


allowing for inflation. By international standards, we are


stagnating, why? I said last year that mediocrity had settled into the


system. Too many children were coasting in schools, which is why we


changed the grading structure, we removed that awful word,


satisfactory. Saying that good is now the only acceptable standard and


schools had a limited time in which to get to that. We are seeing


gradually, it is difficult to say this in the week we have had the


OECD report. Things have gradually improved. I will come onto that in a


minute. Explain this. International comparisons show us flat-lining or


even falling in some subjects, including science. For 20 years, our


domestic exam results just got better and better. Was this a piece


of fiction fed to us by the educational establishment, was there


a cover-up? There is no question there has grade inflation. I speak


as an ex-headteacher who saw that in examinations. Perceptual state is


actually doing something about that. Most good heads will say that is


about time. We have to be credible. Do politicians and educationalists


conspire in this grade inflation? It might suit politicians to say things


are going up every year. As a head, I knew a lot of the exams youngsters


were sitting were not up to scratch. The latest OECD study places us 36th


for maths, 23rd reading, slipping down to 21st in science. Yet,


Ofsted, your organisation, designates 80% of schools as good or


outstanding. That's another fiction. This year, we have. If we see this


level of progress, it has been a remarkable progress over the last


years since we changed our grading structure, then... In a year,


absolutely. We have better teachers coming into our school system.


Better leaders. Better schools. The big challenge for our country is


making sure that progress is maintained which will eventually


translate into better outcomes. These figures are pretty much


up-to-date. Are you saying within a year 80% of the schools are good


enough? All of the schools we upgraded have had better grades in


enough? All of the schools we GCSE and grade 2. We have to make


sure that is maintained. The Government has based its reforms on


similar reforms in Sweden. In opposition they were endlessly going


to Stockholm to find out how it was done. Swedish schools are doing even


worse than ours in the tables. Why are we copying failure? The


secretary of state believes, and I actually believe, as somebody who


has come from an academy model, that if you hand power and resources, you


hand autonomy to the people on the ground, to the people in the


classroom, in the corridors, in the playgrounds, things work. If you


allow the great monoliths that used to have responsibility for education


in the past to take control again, you will see a reverse in standards.


You have got to actually empower those people that make the


difference. That is why autonomy and freedom is important. We spent a lot


of money moving what were local authority schools to become


academies and new free school czar being set up as well. When the


academies are pretty much the same level of autonomy, the free school


is maybe a little bit more, the evidence we have had so far is that


they don't really perform any better than local authority schools?


Indeed, Encore GCSE subjects, they might even be doing worse? These are


early days. We will say more about this on weapons they when we produce


the annual report. The sponsored academies that took over the worst


schools in the country, academies that took over the worst


difficult circumstances, in academies that took over the worst


much better now. What about GCSE? They are doing GCSE equivalents, the


lass academic subjects question my cull OK, but they are doing better


than previous schools. If you look at the top performing nations in the


world, they focus on the quality of teaching. The best graduates coming


to education. They professionally develop them. They make sure they


spot the brightest talents and get them into positions as soon as


possible. We have got to do the same if we are going to catch up with


those jurisdictions. This isn't just a British problem. It seems to be a


European problem. The East Asian countries now dominate the top of


the tables. What's the most important lesson we should learn


from East Asia? Attitudes to work. We need to make sure that we invest


in good teachers, good leaders. We have to make sure that students have


the right attitudes to work. It's no good getting good people into the


classroom and then seeing them part of teaching by bad behaviour,


disaffected youngsters and poor leadership. We see young teachers


doing well for a time and then being put off teaching and leaving from


that sort of culture in our schools. Are you a cheerleader for government


education policy rather than independent inspectors? I am


independent, Ofsted is independent inspectors? I am


things on standards. The Association of teachers and lecturers say you


are an arm of government. The NUT has called for your resignation.


Another wants to abolish or Inspectorate. Have you become a


pariah amongst teaching unions? If we are challenging schools to become


better, that is our job, we will carry on doing that. I am not going


to preside over the status quo. We will challenge the system to do


better, we will challenge schools and colleges to do better. We will


think they are going wrong. Many think they are going wrong. Many


people in the education establishment think your primary


purpose is to do the Government's bidding by shepherding schools into


becoming academies. Not true at all. You are a big supporter of


academies? Yes, I believe the people that do the business in schools are


the people that are free to do what is necessary to raise standards. I


am a big supporter of autonomy in the school system. But where we see


academies Vale, where we see free schools fail, we will say so. The


study does not find much evidence that competition and choice raise


standards, but it does go with you and say that strong school


leadership, coupled with autonomy, can make a difference. Can somebody


with no experience in education be in charge of a school? A lot of hot


air has been expounded in charge of a school? A lot of hot


of whether teachers should be qualified or not. If qualified


teacher status was the gold standard, why is it that one in


three teachers, one in three lessons that will observe are not good


enough. Taught by qualified teachers. I've not yet met a


headteacher that has not appointed by qualified staff when they cannot


get qualified teachers. Their job is to make sure they get accredited as


soon as possible and come up to scratch in the classroom. Do you


support the use of unqualified scratch in the classroom. Do you


teachers? I do. I have done it. If I scratch in the classroom. Do you


could not get a maths, physics or modern languages teacher and I


thought somebody straight from university, without qualified


thought somebody straight from teachers start this, that they could


communicate well with youngsters, I would get that person into the


classroom and get them accredited if they delivered the goods. If we are


going to allow schools to have more autonomy and not be accountable to


local authorities, free schools academies, don't you have to do...


New entrants will be coming into the market, the educational marketplace.


Do you not have to act more quickly when it is clear, and there has been


examined recently, where it is clearly going badly wrong and


children's education at risk? Absolutely. I made a point to the


something I will talk more about something I will talk more about


over the coming year. We need to be in school is much more often. If a


school fails at the moment, or underperforms, goes into this new


category, underperforms, goes into this new


stay with that institution improves. Sometimes we don't see a


school for five or seven years. That is wrong. My argument is that Ofsted


school for five or seven years. That should pay a much greater part in


monitoring the performance of schools between those inspections.


Are you enjoying it? It is a tough job. Are you enjoying it? This is a


tough job, but I enjoy it. Sometimes.


You are watching Sunday Politics. Coming up in just over 20 minutes,


Diane Abbott will be joining us. Welcome to your local politics show.


The Chancellor helps struggling high street shops, and relief for


motorists and real travellers. But will that offset pressure on


household budgets? In the studio, Conservative MP Robert Goodwill. And


Labour MP for Sunderland Central, Julie Elliott. We start with


reaction to the death of Nelson Mandela.


We knew he would not live for ever. But when it happens, how will the


world because this? `` greet. Then we see pictures from solar Africa,


singing and dancing. A celebration of a life that has given us a


picture of what a true human being could be life. `` like. Thank God we


had this gentleman for the years since his release. We give thanks.


In the end, for him, pain is no mirror. `` more. What impact did


Nelson Mandela have on your decision to become politically active? Some


of the first things I ever got involved in politically where the


antiracism campaigns. He showed real leadership. One of those figures


that you look up to and think, yes, politics is worth getting involved


in. Presumably that is true of many of


your colleagues? Yes. Cross`party. He showed that you


can reach across political divides. Much larger ones than we have in


this country. He faced an extraordinary situation


in his life. Today's politicians face more mundane matters, can they


learn from the way he dealt with rings?


Having been treated so badly, having been in prison, he became the


president of his country and then concentrated on building bridges,


not fostering further conflict. We saw in Northern Ireland how that


type of attitude delivered long`term use. In other countries, schools are


being settled. `` scores. Chris Mullin was Minister for


Africa. He has recalled when he met South African president.


It was wonderfully uplifting occasion. He was pulling my leg


about me being a representative of the British Empire! He had a nice


sense of humour although they need serious points. `` he made. We


talked about the AIDS crisis which remains very big in Africa. The


situation in Zimbabwe. The Queen. Who's he got on very well with. He


was often put through to Buckingham Palace directly. Elizabeth, how are


you? It is Nelson the! Did you get the impression, this was a different


type of leader? What marks am apart from other heads


of state I have met is that he served 27 years in prison and


emerged talking peace and reconciliation. Love of 1's enemies


and so forth. And then he oversaw the transition from the apartheid


regime, a brutal apartheid regime, to democracy and save Africa. `` in


South Africa. Then he stood down after one term as president. And in


Africa there is a great history of liberationists turning into


presidents for life. There is a great example in Zimbabwe. So that


made Nelson Mandela stand head and shoulders above not just other


African statesman but around the world.


What will his legacy be? To have overseen the transition from


the uniquely brutal apartheid regime to democracy. Nobody could have had


that. If we had sat here 25 years ago `` nobody could have protect


that, and been told there would be a peaceful transition, people would


have been very sceptical. He irradiated Goodwill and dignity. He


was a great political figure of our lifetime and possibly the most


respected man on the planet. To the Autumn statement. The


Chancellor made clear that forecasts for economic growth are up whilst


unemployment is falling. But is it being felt in Eagles pockets ahead


of Christmas? `` people's. This butcher can carve out a living at


this market but you would like business to be better.


It is much quieter than last year. Not the same foot fall. But don't


have the spending money any more. Electricity and gas is just too


expensive really. It would be nice of the government did something


about that. Shoppers do not feel better off than


last Christmas. We are certainly not better off. It is optimistic to say


things are getting better. Prices are going up but wages are not. My


pension is the same but prices are going up. The same as everybody


else. Broke. Until people here feel it in the pocket, they will not


believe there is real growth. Personal circumstances are not


improving. Concern is not confined to Carlisle of course. But people


here mattered more than most, politically. The Conservative MP


holds one of the most marginal constituencies in the country. There


were people feel and vote could decide who runs the economy after


2015. `` the way that. Scarcely surprising then that the Chancellor


should drop the name of the city into the Autumn statement. The local


MP is a leash. `` bullish. There is confidence things are getting


better. Job creation, unemployment, back to levels last seen in 2008.


The basics are in place. The city centre looks in reasonable health


despite the odd S. `` blemish. The key is when people feel confident


enough and have got jobs to spend money with. So job creation is the


biggest sign of success in the economy. Not whether you are


spending money. That will come as a result of job creation. Hopefully


this time around will be less credit cards and more cash. Come Christmas


2014 it could crucial. If the problem fades, it could be a cracker


for the Conservatives. If not, 2015 good EA happy New Year for Labour.


`` could be a. The labour charges that people are


not feeling the benefit because of the cost of living. `` the Labour


charge is that. We have been living beyond our means. Britain is to pay


its way in the world... What does that have to do with rising bills


and wages not going up. Economic growth should ineffectively would.


`` should benefit everybody. We have made allowances. The price of fuel


is 20p per litre or less than it would have had Labour plans gone


through. We have reduced energy bills by switching subsidies away


from the energy providers back to the Exchequer. And we have managed


to freeze council tax in many parts of the country. It doubled and of


labour. `` under. Cuts to business rates will help small countries ``


companies, the government is doing something to help. It is doing a


little, but not enough. I must challenge Robert assertion that fuel


bills are being cut. They are higher than last winter. 3p in every litre


since the government given to power. Not the magical figures that keep


the imported. `` being quoted. You have identified a cost`of`living


bobble but you don't have a solution. You cannot control prices.


We could sort out the energy market and make costs transparent. We have


promises on youth unemployment, to try to get people back into work.


But actually you do not have any more answers than the coalition.


They are at least lifting people out of tax and freezing council tax. We


are saying that if they had not put VAT... But you cannot tackle the


crisis anymore than the Conservatives Liberal Democrats.


There is still incredibly high unemployment. High youth


unemployment. The government done nothing to tackle it. We need to get


people back into real jobs. A massive surge in part`time


employment. Zero hours employment. People cannot plan or budget. The


government are simply not doing anything to tackle those things. We


held about creations of jobs but if those on low paid as evil contract,


people will not feel any better. `` low paid or zero contract. JCB


announced this weekend a big employment rights. We are seeing


proper jobs in engineering and manufacturing. But they are still at


low paid or zero hours. Some people like that, it fits in with their


lifestyle. But we're getting back to proper jobs in manufacturing. Nissan


are producing a car every 30 seconds in Sunderland. Weird again making


things as a country. `` we are again. What more can you do?


Anything that can be done to help, we do not argue against that. But


some of the proposals are not coming in for a couple of years. Action is


not being taken now to get young people back into work. We want them


back into work now. Then they have the money to spend in the economy. I


don't think Labour has explained properly how employers will suddenly


be able to give young people jobs. It is being funded by a tax on


bankers bonuses. But this is something down`the`line, in the


future. We welcome anything that will help, but we need action now.


There simply isn't anything happening at the moment to help


people back into proper jobs. Yes, Nissan is a tremendous example, but


we also lost jobs with in power. `` npower. So there have been losses as


well as good news stories. Not enough now. Cuts in national


insurance contributions are real incentives to get the bill employed.


`` people. We can see how consistently wrong Ed Balls has been


about everything. Remember plan B? They tried it in France. It is


bitterly not working. Let's not give the keys back to the people who


crashed the car last time. should it cost to call the local


council? Some are using premium rate phone lines. With that story and the


rest of the week's news, he is 60 seconds.


Granted Davey has confirmed Northumberland council will change


its policy after criticism of union rate contact numbers. `` premium. We


will have ten local numbers. We are hoping to introduce a mobile number.


So that people with pay`as`you`go contracts can make cheaper phone


calls. There are plans in Cumbria to withdraw subsidies from loss`making


bus routes to save ?2 million every year. At a local MP warned that some


rural residents will be left out. And the exhibition of the


Lindisfarne Gospels in Durham brought more than ?8 million of


benefits to the region, attracting 100,000 people from 58 countries.


Bosses now, and it is not as Cumbria, other local authorities are


cutting back subsidies. `` buses. Can you explain why some rural


people will no longer be able to get a bus out of the village? 45% of the


failures come from subsidy. `` fares. That is because of a ground


which is like a fuel subsidy. In addition, we have pensioners


concessionary fare schemes. The problem is that this is a dead hand


way of subsidising. It does not encourage environmentally friendly


vehicles. It concentrates on city centres and not frugal areas. ``


ruble. `` Rowell. The reality is that services are being cut which


will affect the country certainly able with a poorer service. At the


moment this is a blanket subsidy from services. That may mean a


service that is running well does not media subsidy subsidies getting


one. Whereas a ruler and service is being cut.


This could be late for people that have lost their bosses. Local


authorities are having a very difficult time. Having to make cuts


for the reasons we just lead to. We have ruled the subsidies into the


general and that councils get. In some cases, North Yorks Company at


decided to cut services that are underused or bad sometimes weekend


and evening services. Robert says councils across the North have to


make difficult choices. There is a lot of money going in. They should


think more intelligently about this. The cuts are quite dramatic and


having impact across the piece. But in rural areas the service is


absolutely crucial. How did people get to work? There should be some


form of protection control. You would like less money spent


subsidising buses in Oregon areas? `` urban. That doesn't happen


because in the cities there are more people, they are used more often.


Into line and were it has been put out to consultation and are still


moving forward. `` in time and we are. `` Tyne Wear. That is


something I particularly keen on. What is the answer for councils? The


problem... The problem that councils face is that they have a number of


responsibilities which are statutory. Education, social


services, financing pensioners concessionary schemes. So it does


mean that the discretionary amount that is left is under pressure. 45%


of the money going into the gearbox is government subsidy. `` farebox.


We need corporation with a bus companies. This is confrontation. It


is not. It is about regulating the service and moderating profits. The


companies are making very high profits. We would be happy with the


London model. Equality contract of sorts, it works very well. The other


big story of the week, the floods which have caused damage and


disruption to communities across the North. Homes were evacuated after


the Tees burst its banks. One of the worst affected areas was Whitby.


Parts of the town centre were underwater. The harbour area was


plunged into darkness. Power supplies failed. Are you satisfied


that the way this was handled? We are very pleased that the Met Office


and environment agency alerted the ball very well. There was no loss of


life. The emergency services were exemplary. Even when the power went


off they were able to help people. But they will be a long`term problem


with the number of businesses affected. But in Scarborough and


Whitby. Over the weekend I have been visiting a number that have been


affected. I will make sure, as an MP, that if they have problems with


insurance of compensation, that I can intercede. We keep hearing about


these extreme weather events. Do we have to Jaaskelainen and bail them?


`` do we have to just grin and bear it? The problem would have been


worse had investment not when Anne. But we are not King Canute. This was


an exceptionally high tide. A number of factors meant it was particularly


high. A number of properties that could not defend the did get water


damage and there would be a clean`up operation.


That is all from us. It is getting close to Christmas. You will never


get your presents wrapped and to give but if we are there to distract


you so you're taking a break. We will be back


Tomorrow, the House of Commons will pay its tributes to Nelson Mandela.


Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father.


The first thing I ever did that involved an issue or policy, or


politics, was protest against apartheid.


I think his greatest legacy, to South Africa and to the world, is


the emphasis which he has always put on the need for a conciliation, on


the importance of human rights. He also made us understand that we can


change the world. We can change the world by changing attitudes, by


changing perceptions. For this reason, I would like to pay him


tribute as a great human being, who raised the standard of humanity.


Thank you for the gift of Madiba. Thank you for what he has enabled us


to know we can become. We are joined now by the Labour MP


Diane Abbott. You met Mr Mandela not one after he was released from


prison in 1990. He went as an election observer for the first one


person, one-vote in South Africa. I would guess, of all the people you


met in your life, you must have been the most impressive and biggest


influence? He was extraordinary. He had just come out of prison, 28


years in reason. He had seen a lot of his colleagues tortured, blown up


and killed. He was entirely without bitterness. That is what came


across. That was key to his achievement, to achieve a peaceful


transition. Everybody thought that if you have black majority rule, you


might have a bloodbath. It's down to Nelson Mandela but didn't happen. I


remember FW de Klerk saying that Mandela was the key to getting a


peaceful transition. Absolutely the key, an amazing man. London was one


of the centres, people talked about it as being the other centre of the


anti-apartheid struggle. That anti-apartheid struggle in London,


it had an effect on black politics in Britain? Oh, yes. If you were


black and politically active at the time, the apartheid struggle, the


struggle against white supremacy in South Africa, was very important.


Whatever your colour, the anti-apartheid struggle,


Whatever your colour, the campaign. We have the 50th


anniversary of Kennedy's assassination. Mr Mandela's death.


We are kind of running out of people that inspired us? I will never


forget where I was when I saw him come out of prison, hand-in-hand


with the women, I might add. If you have spent your whole teenage years


and 20 is boycotting, marching, picketing, to see him actually come


out was amazing. Do you think it was more exciting to meet you or the


Spice Girls? I think the Spice Girls. What did the Labour


backbenchers think about Ed Balls's performance after the Autumn


Statement? Luck, Ed Balls is a brilliant man, but I think even he


would say that it was not his best performance. But if you look at the


polls, the public liked the points he made. The backbenchers were


quiet, there was something wrong? I noticed that. It was like a wall of


sound, deliberately. They know that under pressure his stamina might


come back and it is difficult for him. That is what they were trying


to incite. I have had experience first hand, a look at all of these


anonymous and sometimes not anonymous quotes in the media. The


spinning has begun against him? This is the party of


spinning has begun against him? This matter what the Tories say, we can


say worse about each other. How could it be that two former aides to


Gordon Brown do not like each other? Far be it from me to say. If he


wanted to do it, and I'm not saying he does, is Mr Miliband ruthless


enough to get rid of Ed Balls? I mean, he got rid of you, he got rid


of his brother? One thing you should not do is under estimate Ed


Miliband's capacity for ruthlessness. If he feels it is the


right thing to do, he will do it. It's not just a matter of... Ed


Balls is a big, powerful personality. He's great to interview


because he is across his subject, you can have a really good argument


with him, a man that knows his brief, his facts. But it's not just


about the personality. There is a kind of sense that Labour needs to


look forwards more on economic policy. Of course, the standard of


living has been hugely successful for Labour. But it needs more than


that on economic policy? I think he has been one of the most effective


member 's Shadow Cabinet, and he's always associated with the Brown


years, where there is always an element about, you were the guys


that got it wrong. I think Ed Miliband will be very tempted to


replace him with Alistair Darling. The scenario goes like this,


Alistair Darling saves the union and then in September he saves the


Labour Party. Ultimately, I don't think he would do it. Talk about


shifting tectonic plates, think he would do it. Talk about


wouldn't it? But it is a step too far. Ed Balls would not be too


happy. It is not something you would want to do lightly. That sounds a


bit of a threat. Not from you. I can't see Ed Balls magnanimously


retreating and say, go on, Alistair Darling, take the job I have been


after all career. Where do you put him? Do you make him a middle


ranking business or welfare secretary? He wouldn't do that. If


you sack him, he would retreat to the backbenchers. He might take up


knitting and practices piano scales, or he might have a blood feud with


Ed Miliband. I don't know which could be. You look back to when he


was schools Secretary, you could feel he was constantly fuming. I


think he is better inside the tent, looking out, than the other way


around. The thing one Labour strategist said to me was that he is


too much looking into the rear-view mirror, when it comes to economic


policy. He needs to look ahead through the windscreen. That had


some resonance? He was at the centre of Labour's economic policy-making


from the mid-90s. So it's hard for him but he has to look forward.


There is an interesting comparison with 2009. Gordon Brown got in


trouble when he said the choice is between Labour investment and Tory


cuts. Everybody knew it was between Labour cuts and Tory cuts. In other


words, he was not acknowledging reality. With Ed Balls, OK, we can


say it is the wrong sort of recovery, but there is a recovery.


Does he not need to absorb that punch and say there is a recovery,


then people will listen to him? Possibly. We know that the


macroeconomics are looking better. We also know people are not


experiencing it as a recovery in living standards. No one, not even


Tories, really believe that David Cameron knows what it is like for


middle-income people to live normal lives. Living standards is


particularly powerful because of the composition of the government? Don't


go away. This time last year we ambushed our political panel with a


quiz. They didn't come out of it smelling of roses, but they did come


out rather smelly. Will the coalition still be in place


a year from now? Yes. Definitely. I say definitely as well. From now,


one year, will we know the date of the European referendum? Yes. No. I


say no as well. How much growth will there be? Less than 1%. Father


Christmas is less qualified than me, but I will go for one. I will go for


a quarter of that. 0.4%. Sorry, a third of that. I am with you, and


1%. We didn't do too badly. What will growth be next year? I will


remind you, the OBR has upgraded to 2.4%. Better stick with the OBR, got


it wrong last year. Well, they went down in March and then went back in


December. I'm going to go under and claim credit where it's higher. I'm


going to say 1%. Deliberately get it wrong. Given our record, if we say


there is going to be spectacular growth, does it mean we're going to


go into recession? There is incentive to be cautious. 2%. 2.4%,


because the housing market in London is rocketing. It would be closer to


3% and 2.4, mark my words. We'll Ed Balls be Shadow Chancellor by this


time next year? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes, I value my life. Will UKIP mean the


European elections, by which I mean have the highest percentage of the


vote? Yes. Second behind Labour. Second behind Labour. Will Alex


Salmond win the independence referendum? No, but it will be


closer than we think. No, unless they do something catastrophic like


let Cameron debate him. Too close to call. Controversial. How many


Romanians and Bulgarians will come to Britain in 2014? Far fewer than


anyone thinks. The entire population of Romania and Bulgaria, like Nigel


Farage thanks. I'll go with that, I'm confident.


Farage thanks. I'll go with that, your magazine. Not


Farage thanks. I'll go with that, but a lot here already will


normalise and be counted into figures. Too many for most


right-wing commentators. I think quite a few will come, but not the


kind of numbers that made such a huge difference. This time,


everybody is open. They do like to speak English, that is the reason


they want to come. We'll all three of you still be here by this time


next year? Yes. Would you recommend that? Yes, keep them. And he has


lovely boots. Shiny red boots. If you can keep affording me, I will be


here. I hope so, it sounds like you have a firing squad outside. I hope


so, maybe you will find some true talent. Very pragmatic, aren't they?


Let me put this to you, I think you will agree. The coalition will not


break now, this side of the election next year? There will not be... They


will not go their own ways by this time next year? Of next year, maybe


just after. Early 2015. This side of the election? What is the UKIP view?


I don't think there is an advantage to either of them. If the Lib Dems


pulled out, they would look like there were a lodger in the Tory


house of government. there were a lodger in the Tory


would suit the Lib Dems to break just before the election. I think


that is what Vince Cable wants to do. I don't think it is what Nick


Clegg would like to do. The Tories would love it. They would have all


of the toys to themselves. Yellow marker they would look like the


grown-ups. The problem for Vince Cable is that he's not the force


that used to be after his temper tantrum at the Conference.


I will be back with the Daily Politics next week. If Santer gives


you a diary in your stocking, pencil in Sunday the 20th of January, the


first Sunday Politics of 2014. Remember, if it is Sunday, it is the


Sunday Politics. Unless it is Christmas. And New Year.


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