16/03/2014 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Andrew Neil looks ahead to the budget and speaks to UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

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Morning folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. George Osborne's fifth


Budget will offer more tax relief for the lower paid but not for


middle income earners being thrust into the 40p tax bracket. That's our


Ed Balls says millions of people top story.


Ed Balls says millions of people aren't feeling any benefit from the


recovery. We'll discuss the economy with big political beasts from


Labour, the Conservatives, and the with big political beasts from


Lib Dems. Now that Ed Miliband has effectively ruled out an in/out EU


referendum, how does UKIP deal with Tory claims that a vote for UKIP


In the North East and Cumbrha. means no chance


In the North East and Cumbrha. Labour and the unions changds are


coming but are members convhnced? And tackling youth unemploylent `


the County Durham scheme getting young people


of cycling. The three areas of London getting a cash boost to try


something different. And with me as always our top


political panel - Nick Watt, Helen Lewis and Janan Ganesh. They'll be


tweeting their thoughts using the hashtag #bbcsp throughout the


programme. So, just three months after his last major financial


statement, George Osborne will be at the despatch box again on Wednesday,


delivering his 2014 Budget. The Chancellor has already previewed his


own speech, pledging to build what he calls a "resilient economy". The


message I will give in the Budget is the economic plan is working but the


job is far from done. We need to build resilient economy which means


addressing the long-term weaknesses in Britain that we don't export


enough, invest enough, build enough, make enough. Those are the things I


will address because we want Britain to earn its way in the world. George


Osborne's opposite number, Ed Balls, has also been talking ahead of the


Budget. He says not everyone is feeling the benefit of the economic


recovery, and again attacked the Government's decision to reduce the


top rate of tax from 50 to 45%. George Osborne is only ever tough


when he's having a go at the week and the voiceless. Labour is willing


to face up to people on the highest incomes and say, I'm sorry,


justifying a big tax cut at this time is not fair. We will take away


the winter allowance from the richer pensioners, and I think that's the


right thing to do. George Osborne might agree, but he's not allowed to


say so. That was the Chancellor and the shadow chancellor. Janan, it


seems like we are in a race against time. No one argues that the


recovery is not under way, in fact it looks quite strong after a long


wait, but will it feed through to the living standards of ordinary


people in time for the May election? They only have 14 months to do it.


The big economic variable is business investment. Even during the


downturn, businesses hoarded a lot of cash. The question is, are they


confident enough to release that into investment and wages? Taking on


new people, giving them higher pay settlements. That could make the


difference and the country will feel more prosperous and this time next


year. But come to think of it, it strikes me, that how anticipated it


is, it's the least talked about Budget for many years. I think that


is because the economy has settled down a bit, but also because people


have got used to the idea that there is no such thing as a giveaway.


Anything that is a tax cut will be taken away as a tax rise or spending


cut. That's true during the good times but during fiscal


consolidation, it's avoidable. - unavoidable. There is a plus and


minus for the Conservatives here. 49% of people think the government


is on roughly the right course, but only 16% think that their financial


circumstances will improve this year. It will be a tough one for the


Labour Party to respond to. I agree with Janan. Everyone seems bored


with the run-up to the Budget. The front page of the Sunday Times was


about fox hunting, the front page of the Sunday Telegraph was about EU


renegotiation. Maybe we are saying this because there have not been


many leaks. We have got used to them, and most of the George Osborne


chat on Twitter was about how long his tie was. Freakishly long. I


wouldn't dare to speculate why. Anything we should read into that? I


don't know. For a long while there was no recovery, then it was it is a


weak recovery, and now, all right, it's strong but not reaching


everyone in the country. That is where we are in the debate. That's


right, and the Conservative MPs are so anxious and they are making


George Osborne announcing the rays in the personal allowance will go


up, saying it might go up to 10 750 from next year, and Conservative MPs


say that that's OK but we need to think about the middle voters.


People are saying the economy is recovering but no one is feeling it


in their pocket. These are people snagged in at a 40p tax rate. The


Tories are saying these are our people and we have to get to them.


He has given the Lib Dems more than they could have hoped for on raising


the threshold. Why is he not saying we have done a bit for you, now we


have to look after our people and get some of these people out of that


40% bracket? Partly because the Lib Dems have asked for it so


insistently behind-the-scenes. Somebody from the Treasury this week


told me that these debates behind the scenes between the Lib Dems and


Tories are incredibly tenacious and get more so every year. The Lib Dems


have been insistent about going further on the threshold. The second


reason is that the Tories think the issue can work for them in the next


election. They can take the credit. If they enthusiastically going to


?12,000 and make it a manifesto pledge, they can claim ownership of


the policy. The Liberal Democrats want to take it to 12,500, which


means you are getting into minimum wage territory. It's incredibly


expensive and the Tories are saying that maybe you would be looking at


the 40p rate. The Tories have played as well. There have been authorised


briefings about the 40p rate, and Cameron and Osborne have said that


their priority was helping the lowest paid which is a useful


statement to make and it appeals to the UKIP voters who are the


blue-collar workers. And we are right, the economy will determine


the next election? You assume so. It was ever that is. It didn't in 992


or 1987. It did in 1992. Ed Miliband's announcement last week


that a Labour government would not hold a referendum on Europe unless


there's another transfer of powers from Britain to Brussels has


certainly clarified matters. UKIP say it just shows the mainstream


parties can't be trusted. The Conservatives think it means UKIP


voters might now flock back to them as the only realistic chance of


securing a referendum. Giles Dilnot reports.


When it comes to Europe and Britain's relation to it, the


question is whether the answer is answered by a question. To be in or


not to be in, that is the question, and our politicians have seemed less


interested in question itself but whether they want to let us answer


it. Labour clarified their position last week. There will be no transfer


of powers without an in out referendum, without a clear choice


as to whether Britain will stay in the EU. That seems yes to a


referendum, but hold on. I believe it is unlikely that this lock will


be used in the next Parliament. So that's a no. The Conservatives say


yes to asking, in 2017, if re-elected, but haven't always. In


2011, 81 Tory MPs defied the PM by voting for a referendum on EU


membership: the largest rebellion against a Tory prime minister over


Europe. Prompted by a petition from over 100,000 members of the public.


The wrong question at the wrong time said the Foreign Secretary of a


coalition Government including selfie-conciously-pro European Lib


Dems, who had a referendum pledge in their 2010 manifesto, but only in


certain circumstances. So we have the newspapers, and the public


meeting leaflets. UKIP have always wanted the question put regardless.


But Labour's new position may change things and The Conservatives think


so. I think it does, because, you know, we are saying very clearly,


like UKIP, we want a referendum but only a Conservative government can


deliver it because most suffer largest would say it is possible in


the first past the post system to have a UKIP government --


sophologists. And then it's easy for as to say that if a UKIP vote lets


in a Conservative government, then they won't hold a referendum. UKIP


seem undaunted by the clarifications of the other parties, campaigning


like the rest but with a "tell it how it is, just saying what you re


thinking, we aren't like them" attitude. They seem more worried


about us and what we want, and I don't see that in the other parties.


In parts of the UK, like South Essex, it's a message they think is


working. They are taking the voters for granted again and people have


had enough. People are angry, they see people saying they will get a


vote on the European Union, but then it just comes down the road. They


were quick to capitalise on the announcements, saying only the


Conservatives will give you say so does it change things? Not really.


We have been talking about a referendum and having a debate on


the European Union for years, and the other parties are playing catch


up. They have a trust issue. Nobody trusts them on the European Union


and that is why people come to us. Who the average UKIP voter is, or


how they voted before is complicated, and what dent they


might make on Conservative and Labour votes in 2015 is trickier


still, but someone's been crunching the numbers anyway. We reckon it is


between 25 and 30% of the electorate broadly share the UKIP motivation,


so to top out at that level would be difficult. That's an awful lot of


voters, but it's not the majority, and this is the reason why the main


parties can't afford to just openly appealed to the UKIP electorate too


hard because the elections are won and lost amongst the other 70%, the


middle-class, the graduate, the younger, ethnic minorities. An


appeal to the values of UKIP voters will alienate some of the other


groups, and they are arguably more significant in winning the election.


Whatever, the numbers UKIPers seem doggedly determined to dig away at


any support the other parties have previously enjoyed.


Giles Dilnot reporting. UKIP's leader, Nigel Farage, joins me now


for the Sunday Interview. Nigel Farage, welcome back. Good


morning. So the Labour Party has shot a fox. If Ed Miliband is the


next by Minister, there will not be a referendum customer there's a long


way between now and the next election, and Conservative party


jobs and changes. We had a cast iron guarantee of a referendum from


camera, then he three line whip people to vote against it, and now


they are for it. What the Labour Party has done is open up a huge


blank to us, and that is what we will go for in the European


elections this coming year in May. I think there is a very strong chance


that Labour will match the Conservative pledge by the next


general election. There may be, but at the moment he has ruled it out,


and if he does not change his mind and goes into the election with the


policy as it is, the only chance of a referendum is a Tory government.


If you think the Tories will form a majority, which I think is unlikely.


Remember, two thirds of our voters would never vote Conservative


anyway. There is still this line of questioning that assumes UKIP voters


are middle-class Tories. We have some voters like that, but most of


them are coming to us from Labour, some from the Lib Dems and a lot of


nonvoters. But it come the election you failed to change Mr Miliband's


line, I repeat, the only chance of a referendum, if you want a


referendum, if that is what matters, and the polls suggest it doesn't


matter to that many people, but if that is what matters, the only way


you can get one is to vote Conservative. No, because you have a


situation in key marginals, especially where all three parties


are getting a good share, where we will see, and this depends a lot on


the local elections and the European elections, there are target


constituencies where UKIP has a reasonably good chance of winning a


seat, and that will change the agenda. Every vote for UKIP makes a


Tory government less likely. Arab voters are not Tory. Only a third of


the UKIP boat comes from the Conservative party -- our voters are


not Tory. -- the UKIP vote. It was mentioned earlier, about blue-collar


voters. We pick up far more Labour Party and nonvoters than


conservatives. On the balance of what the effect of the UKIP boat


is, the Tories should worry about us, they should worry about the fact


they have lost faith with their own electorate. Even if there is a


minority Ed Miliband government it means no referendum. Labour and the


Liberal Democrats are now at one on the matter. The next election is in


a few weeks time, the European elections. What happens in those


elections will likely change the party stands and position on a


referendum. The fact that Ed Miliband has said this means, for


us, our big target on the 22nd of May will be the Labour voters in the


Midlands and northern cities, and if we do hammer into that boat and we


are able to beat Labour on the day, there's a good chance of their


policy changing. One poll this morning suggests Labour is close to


you at 28, the Conservatives down at 21, the Lib Dems down at eight. You


are taking votes from the Conservatives and the Liberal


Democrats. We are certainly taking votes from the Lib Dems but that is


comparing the poll with one year ago when I don't think most people knew


what the question really was. You seem to be in an impossible position


because the better you do in a general election, the less chance


there will be a referendum by 2 20. No, look at the numbers. Only a


third of our voters are Conservatives. When we have polled


voters that have come to us, we asked them if there was no UKIP


candidate who would you vote for, less than one in five said


Conservative. Less than one in five UKIP voters would be tempted to vote


Conservative under any circumstances so the arithmetic does not suggest


we are the Conservative problem it suggests we are hurting all of the


parties and the reason the Tories are in trouble is because they have


lost their traditional base. Why do you think Nick Clegg is debating


Europe? I think they are in trouble, at 8% they could be wiped


out, they could go from 12 to nothing and I think it is a chance


for Nick Clegg to raise their profile. They are fringe party with


respect to this contest so I see why he wants to do it. One of our big


criticisms is that we have not been able to have a full debate on


national television on the alternatives of the European Union


so I am looking forward to it. How are you preparing? I think you can


be over scripted with these things. Are you not doing mock debates? No,


I am checking my facts and figures and making sure that I can show the


British people that in terms of jobs, we would be far better off not


being within the European Union not being within its rule book, not


suffering from some of the green taxes they are putting on the


manufacturing industry. The idea that 3 million jobs are at risk I


want to show why that is nonsense. Who do you think is playing you in


their mock debates? They probably went to the pub and found someone!


We will see. You have promised to do whatever it takes to fund your


European election campaign, how much has been given so far? Just give it


a few weeks and you will see what Paul is planning to do. He has made


a substantial investment in the campaign already. How much? I'm not


answering that for now. We are well on our way to a properly funded


campaign and our big target will be the big cities and the working vote


in those communities. Your deputy chairman Neil Hamilton is another


former Tory, he says so far we haven't seen the colour of his


money. Exactly two weeks ago, and things have changed since then. Mr


Sykes has written a cheque since then? Yes. This morning's papers


saying you will be asking MEPs to contribute ?50,000 each, is that


true? Over the next five years, yes. Not for the European campaign. So


lack of money will not be an excuse. We will have a properly funded


campaign. How we raise the kind of money needed to fund the general


election afterwards is another question. What is UKIP's policy on


paying family members? We don't encourage it and I didn't employ any


family member for years. My wife ended up doing the job and paid for


the first seven years of my job She is paid now? Until May, then she


comes off the payroll am which leaves me with a huge problem. In


2004 you said, UKIP MEPs will not employ wives and there will be no


exceptions. An exception was made because I became leader of the


National party as well as a leader of the group in European


Parliament. Things do change in life, and you can criticise me for


whatever you like, but I cannot be criticised for not having a big


enough workload. No, but you didn't employ your wife when you had told


others not to do it your party. Nobody else in my party has a big


job in Europe and the UK. We made the exception for this because of


very unusual circumstances. It also looks like there was a monetary


calculation. Listen to this clip from a BBC documentary in 2000. It


is a good job. I worked it out because so much of what you get is


after tax that if you used the secretarial allowances to pay your


wife on top of the other games you can play, I reckon this job in


Stirling term is over a quarter of ?1 million a year. That is what you


would need to earn working for Goldman Sachs or someone like that.


I agree with that. More importantly the way you really make money in the


European Parliament is being their five days a week, because you sign


in every day, you get 300 euros every day, and that is how people


maxed out. The criticism of me is that I am not there enough so


whatever good or bad I have done in the European Parliament, financial


gain has not been one of the benefits. There have been


allegations of you also employing a former mistress on the same European


Parliamentary allowance, you deny that? I am very upset with the BBC


coverage of this. The ten o'clock news run this as a story without


explaining that that allegation was made using Parliamentary privilege


by somebody on bail facing serious fraud charges. I thought that was


pretty poor. You have a chance to do that and you deny you have employed


a former mistress? Yes, but if you look at many of the things said over


the last week, I think it is becoming pretty clear to voters that


the establishment are becoming terrified of UKIP and they will use


anything they can find to do us down in public. Is an MEP employs his


wife and his former mistress, that would be resigning matter, wouldn't


it? Yes, particularly if the assumption was that money was being


taped for work but was not being done. Who do you think is behind


these stories? It is all about negative, it is all about attacks,


but I don't think it is actually going to work because so much of


what has been said in the last week is nonsense. A reputable daily


newspaper said I shouldn't be trusted because I had stored six


times for the Conservative party, I have never even stored in a local


council election. I think if you keep kicking an underdog, it will


make the British people rally around us. Is it the Conservatives? Yes,


and the idea that all of our voters are retired colonels is simply not


true. We get some voters from the Labour side as well. Would you


consider standing in a Labour seat if you are so sure you are getting


Labour votes? Yes, but the key for UKIP is that it has to be marginal.


Just for your own future, if you fail to win a single soul -- single


seat in the general election, if Ed Miliband fails to win an outright


majority, will you stand down as UKIP leader? I would think within


about 12 hours, yes. I will have failed, I got into politics not


because I wanted a career in politics, far from it. I did it


because I don't think this European entanglement is right for our


country. I think a lot of people have woken up to the idea we have


lost control of our borders and now is the moment for UKIP to achieve


what it set out to do. Will UKIP continue without you if you stand


down? Of course it will. I know that everyone says it is a one-man band


but it is far from that. We have had some painful moments, getting rid of


old UKIP, new UKIP is more professional, less angry and it is


going places. Nigel Farage, thank you for being with us.


So, what else should we be looking out for in Wednesday's Budget


statement? We've compiled a Sunday Politics guide to the Chancellor's


likely announcements. Eyes down everyone, it's time for a


bit of budget bingo. Let's see what we will get from the man who lives


at legs 11. Despite some good news on the economy, George Osborne says


that this will be a Budget of hard truths with more pain ahead in order


to get the public finances back under control. But many in the


Conservative party, including the former chancellor Norman Lamont


want Mr Osborne to help the middle classes by doing something about the


4.4 million people who fall into the 40% bracket. Around one million more


people pay tax at that rate compared to 2010 because the higher tax


threshold hasn't increased in line with inflation. Mr Osborne has


indicated he might tackle the issue in the next Conservative manifesto,


but for now he is focused on helping the low paid. It's likely we will


see another increase in the amount you can earn before being taxed


perhaps up another ?500 to ?10, 00. The Chancellor is going to flesh out


the details of a tax break for childcare payments, and there could


be cries of 'house' with the promise of more help for the building


industry. The Help To Buy scheme will be extended to 2020 and there


could be the go-ahead for the first Garden City in 40 years. Finally,


bingo regulars could be celebrating a full house with a possible cut in


bingo tax. And I've been joined in the studio


by the former Conservative chancellor Norman Lamont, in Salford


by the former Labour Cabinet minister Hazel Blears, and in


Aberdeen by the Lib Dem deputy leader, Malcolm Bruce. Let me come


to Norman Lamont first, you and another former Tory Chancellor,


Nigel Lawson, have called in the fall in the threshold for the rate


at which the 40p clicks in. I would have preferred an adjustment in the


Budget but I agree with what you are saying, it sounds like the


Chancellor will not do that. My main point is that you cannot go on


forever and forever increasing the personal allowance and not


increasing the 40% tax threshold because you are driving more and


more people into that band. It is an expensive policy because in order to


keep the number of people not paying tax constant, you have to keep


adjusting it each year. When this was introduced by Nigel Lawson, it


applied to one in 20 people, the 40% rate, it now applies to one in six


people. By next year, there will be 6 million people paying base. Why do


you think your Tory colleagues seem happy to go along with the Lib Dems


and target whatever money there is for tax cuts rather -- on the lower


paid rather than the middle incomes? They are not helping the lowest


paid. If you wanted to really help the lowest paid people you would


raise the threshold for national insurance contributions, which is


around ?6,000. Is it the Lib Dems stopping any rise in the 40p


threshold? We are concentrating on raising the lower threshold because


we believe that is the way to help those on lower incomes. Whilst they


haven't benefited as much as the lower paid they have participated


and I think people understand right now, if you were going to prioritise


the high earners, when we are still trying to help those on lower and


middle incomes who haven't enjoyed great pay increases but have got the


benefit of these tax increases, that is why we would like to do it for


the minimum wage level. But the poorest will not benefit at all The


poorest 16% already don't pay tax. Why don't you increase the threshold


at which National Insurance starts? You only have two earned ?5,500


before you start to pay it. You ve got to remember that the raising of


the threshold to ?10,000 or more was something the Tories said we could


not afford. Why are you continuing to do it? If you want to help the


working poor, the way would be to take the lowest out of national


insurance. The view we take is they are benefiting, and have benefited


from, the raising of the tax threshold. You now have to earn


?10,000, we hope eventually 12, 00, and that means only people on very


low wages. If you opt out of national insurance, you're saying to


people that you make no contribution to the welfare system, so there is a


general principle that people should participate and paying, and also


claim when they need something out. We thought raising the threshold was


simple and effective at a time of economic austerity and the right way


to deliver a helpful support to welcoming people. -- working people.


With the Labour Party continue to raise the threshold, or do they


think there is a case that there are too many people being dragged into


the 40p tax bracket? If Norman Lamont thinks this is the right time


to benefit people who are reasonably well off rather than those who are


struggling to make ends meet, then genuinely, I say it respectfully, I


don't think he's living in the world the rest of us are. Most working


people have seen their wages effectively reduced by about ?1 00


because they have been frozen, so the right thing is to help people on


modest incomes. I also understand that if the 40% threshold went up,


the people who would benefit the most, as ever, are the people who


are really well off, not the people in the middle. The Conservatives


have already reduced the 50p tax on people over ?150,000 a year, and we


have to concentrate on the people going out to work, doing their best


to bring their children up and have a decent life and need a bit of


help. I think raising the threshold is a good thing. We would bring back


the 10p tax, which we should never have abolished, and do things with


regard to childcare. At the moment, childcare costs the average family


as much as their mortgage, for goodness sake. We would give 25


hours free childcare for youngsters over three and four years old. That


would be a massive boost the working families. We are talking about


nurses, tube drivers, warrant officers in the army. There are many


people who are not well off but have been squeezed in the way everybody


has been squeezed and they are finding it continuing. I am stunned


by Malcolm's argument where everybody should pay something so


you should not take people out of national insurance, but the


principle doesn't apply to income tax. You can stand that argument on


its head and apply it to income tax. Most people don't see a difference


between income tax and national insurance, it's the same thing to


most people. It is true that it isn't really an insurance fund and


there is an argument from merging both of them. But we have


concentrated on a simple tax proposition. Norman is ignoring the


fact the people on the 40% rate have benefited by the raising of the


personal allowance. To say they have been squeezed is unfair. The


calculation is that an ordinary taxpayer will be ?700 better off at


the current threshold, and about ?500 better off at the higher rate.


It is misleading to say the better off we'll be paying more. I agree


with Hazel, if you go to the 40 rate, it's the higher earners who


benefit the most, and we won't do that when the economy is not where


it was before the crash. How much will the lower paid be better off if


you reintroduce the 10p rate? will the lower paid be better off if


Significantly better off. I don t have the figure myself, but they'd


be significantly better off and the Budget should be a mixture of


measures to help people who work hard. That is why I think the


childcare issue has to be addressed. ?100 a week of the people


with childcare payments. It is a massive issue. We want the job is


with childcare payments. It is a guaranteed to get young people back


discussion about that, and we have discussion about that, and we have


nearly 1 million people who have been out of work for six months or


more, and as a country we need to do something to help that. 350,000


full-time students, so it is a misleading figure. It is not a


million including full-time students. All parties do this. It


sounds to me, Malcolm Bruce, you have more in common with the Labour


Party than you do with the Conservatives. You want an annual


levy on houses over ?2 million, so does Labour. A lot of your members


want to scrap the so-called bedroom tax and so does labour. You think


want to scrap the so-called bedroom every teacher should have a teaching


qualification, and so does Labour. Your policy on the EU referendum is


the same. Let me go on. And you want to scrap the winter fuel allowance


for wealthy pensioners. We want to make sure we get the public finances


in order and we have grave reservations about the Labour Party


promises. But they followed your reservations about the Labour Party


spending plans in the first year. The point we are making is we can


make a fairer society and stronger economy if you keep the public


finances moving towards balance We don't think the Labour Party will


take a stand that track. It is interesting that the Labour Party


want to introduce the 10p rate that Gordon Brown abolished. We consider


that before we can -- committed to the 0% rate -- we considered that.


It makes a complicated system difficult and we think it's better


doing it that way. As a fiscal conservative, why are you talking


about any tax cuts when the deficit is over ?100 billion, and


effectively, anything you propose today can only be financed by more


borrowing. I totally agree with you. I said that this week. I thought the


main thing is to get the deficit main thing is to get the deficit


down. My argument is is that you have an adjustment in tax rates it


should be shared between the allowances and the higher rate, but


I don't think that the progress on the deficit is something we can give


up on. This is still a very long way to go. We're only halfway through.


Hazel, does it make sense to borrow for tax cuts? I am reluctant to do


this, but I agree with both Norman and Malcolm. Malcolm Bruce wants to


borrow for tax cuts. We absolutely need to get the deficit down and get


finances on a strong footing. But we also have to think about having some


spending in the system that in the longer run saves us money. We all


know we need to build new homes I don't think it's necessarily the


right priority to give people in London mortgage relief in terms of


?600,000. We have to get the balance right. Sometimes it is right to


spend to save. I'm afraid we have run out of time. There will be


plenty more discussion in the lead up to the Budget on Wednesday.


It's just gone 11:35am. You're watching the Sunday Politics. We say


goodbye to viewers in Scotland who watching the Sunday Politics. We say


leave us now for Sunday Politics Scotland. Coming up here in 20


minutes, Frances O'Grady, the General Secretary of the TUC, joins


Hello and a very warm welcole to the bit of Sunday Politics lovingly made


right here in Cumbria and the North East. This week the region still has


some of the highest youth unemployment figures in Britain


We're hearing from the County Durham factory now totally devoted to


getting young people back to work and asking if it could offer the


answer. And Labour had its regional conference this weekend as the party


shakes up its union links. But are Labour's rank and file convhnced?


With me to chew all that ovdr, the Labour MP for Sedgefield, Phil


Wilson and the Conservative group leader in Northumberland, Pdter


Jackson. Welcome to you both. But first tributes have been paid to


the veteran left winger, former Cabinet minister, and polithcal


legend, Tony Benn, who died at the end of last week, aged 88. The


former MP was a regular Spe`ker at the Durham Miners' Gala and in 006


he spoke of the changes he'd seen at the event.


When I first came 44 years `go there were 126 pits in the Durham


coalfield. Now, of course, they ve closed all the pits. But thd


traditions go on. You see the whole of human life, you see kids playing,


you see disabled miners. It an amazing event. For me, when I come,


it recharges my batteries. H love it.


Tony Benn speaking eight ye`rs ago. Phil Wilson, people have talked


about their respect, even their love for Tony Benn. Let's face it when


the Labour Party was not thd one you or your predecessor, his Labour


Party, sorry was not one yot or your predecessor, Tony Blair,


particularly wanted. In fact, both of you tried to move the party away


from that. How should we thhnk of him? He was a man who had rdally


deep convictions. He saw hilself as a traditional socialist. He saw


himself as a man of principle and I don't think you can take th`t away


from him. You don't necessarily have to agree with him to accept that.


When you look back at his hhstory, I think he first got elected hn 1 50.


He was involved in politics for over 50 years. I remember the first time


I ever saw him at a Durham Liners Gala, back in the 1970s. Yot listen


to what he had to say and hd always had something interesting to say. He


always said it in a very interesting way as well. He was a towerhng


figure in the Labour movement. That doesn't mean to say you havd to


agree with everything he sahd but you can't take it away from him that


he was a towering figure in the Labour movement.


Peter Jackson, quite few Conservatives have talked about


their respect for Tony Benn, even though they were political opponents


of his. Why do you think th`t is? I think it's because he was a man of


ideas and politics is all about ideas and whether they challenge the


way that you think at the moment, or not. It all adds to it. Most


politicians tend to follow the crowd too much these days, I feel. They


don't bring in ideas from the outside. That's why we respdct him.


He wasn't afraid to stand up for what he thought. Can Labour learn


anything from that, then? In some ways you can see him as a political


failure but could they learn anything from his connection with


the public, I suppose? I thhnk what he reminds me of, as well, hs what


John Prescott once said abott traditional principles in a modern


setting. I think what Tony Benn offered was those tradition`l


principles and what we had to do was provide him with a modern sdtting,


which I don't think perhaps he did. But what Tony Blair did and Gordon


Brown did and everybody elsd was create that environment that we did


have a modern setting for traditional principles. OK, we'll


have to leave it there. Now it's one of the region's biggest


economic challenges ahead of this week's Budget. How do we get young


people off the dole and into work? The North East has the highdst youth


unemployment figures outsidd London with a quarter of 16 to 24`xear`olds


in the region out of work. While the Coalition has its Work Programme and


Labour its Jobs Guarantee, one County Durham charity reckons it's


found a great way to get yotng people into work.


Meet Bill Marley. For 30 ye`rs he has worked in manufacturing. This


factory is a little different. He bought these premises in Peterlee to


fulfil a mission. After spending time working with deprived xoung


people, he realised he wantdd to spend the rest of his working life


helping others get a job. I saw so many people on Jobcentre Plts that


had thrown the towel in, basically. They were stuck in the benefits


system. Unable to get out. They didn't have the confidence


themselves. I wanted to show these youngsters, and their parents, that


there is another life out there But the Employability Trust is not a


fantasy workplace. The young people work on contracts for the lhkes of


B and WH Smith for a minilum of eight weeks. Many do it voltntarily


and no pay. Knowing they ard getting invaluable experience. I don't want


to sit back and be on benefhts. I do actually want to get out thdre, get


a job. I need something to do each day. Everyone needs experience but


how do you get experience? There is no where to get it from. Th`t's what


this place offers. They havd the experience to go to other places and


get a job. I was applying for about 20 jobs each day and getting


nowhere. When the Jobcentre sent us here, I was over the moon. H was


going somewhere in my life. It is delivering. After 20 people sent


from the Jobcentre so far, 07 have found full`time work. Melissa is one


success stories. She has moved on from the factory to a placelent at


this electronics firm, her life transformed.


I don't want to ever go on the dole. I want to always be in work. To be


able to have the money in mx pocket and not have to rely on othdr people


to give us money, or rely on me mam to provide for us. I can brhng the


money in myself and do what I want with my money and not have to ask


other people for it. Obviously I'm getting through my driving lessons,


my driving test and getting myself a car. I've got the freedom now. This


is not a government funded project. It's not part of any scheme. In fact


it's different from the initiative the Coalition and Labour have


designed. Under the governmdnt existing youth contract, employees


are offered up to ?2,275 to take on young person that has been on the


dole more than six months. They have never been into a factory.


Industry the giving these gtys for free. However, more than 50,000


under 25 is still the polithcians should take a Well with me hs Bill


Marley, the man who set up that charity in Peterlee.


We hear a lot about people choosing to stay on benefits but you seem to


have found a group of peopld who want to get off them. Why do think


your approach is distinctivd, perhaps from what might be on offer


elsewhere? My approach at the Employability Trust, people who are


working with me, volunteered to come to work with me. No one has forced


them. They want a job. They want to take every advantage of comhng to


the Employability Trust. Will that give them the experience? It has. It


has demonstrated that we can give them the opportunity, open the doors


in industry because they have come through our doors over the last


eight weeks. If I was taking a devil's advocate view, you `re


working, as you say, with pdople who are keen. The challenge, I suppose,


is those people who are not that keen. What can you do for them?


You're right, the challenge is to understand, you would have two pots


of individuals. One, the guxs who come to us who are motivated and


want to change their lives, the others who are not motivated. We


need to understand. They nedd to understand the world of work. One of


the advantages if they come to work. This is why we buy into indtstry.


The general managers, the supervisors, the apprentices, even


the shop floor get those involved in selling the place of work and what


the benefits are. The type of cars that they will be able to afford,


the holidays they can go on to. They don't know because unfortun`tely in


my area, a generation of parents who have never ever worked. Who is


telling these youngsters? It is our job. You clearly don't belidve the


answer is just to send people to work? No, certainly not. As I said


on the clip, a recipe for dhsaster. If you imagine those individuals


going in on the first day, ht very frightening to the individu`ls. One


of the young guys at the Employability Trust, his synergy is,


it's like going into a swimling pool and jumping in the deep end. The


Employability Trust, we takd you into the shallow end then btild the


confidence up, allow you a period of time to swim to the deep end. Thank


you very much. Peter Jackson, one in four xoung


people in the north`east on the dole. You need as many ideas as you


can get. I gather that Bill Marley did go and see a minister. He didn't


get that much buy`in from it? We will have to do something about


that. At first I must say this is a shining light to all of us `nd a


wake`up call about what can be done to help young people. I think we


have to recognise there has been a fall in long`term youth unelployment


in the north`east. Some 3,000 people in the last three years. Thdre has


been some success countrywide. Not enough success? No, it is a very


serious problem. We are doing three things in particular as a


Conservative government at the moment. The first thing is the


apprenticeship scheme is behng rolled out and we have twicd as many


apprenticeships in this country as we had three years ago. In fact 1.5


million people, young peopld... I will have to hurry you. We're


talking about the youth contract already which is to subsidise.. It


has missed its target? It is having some success. The third thing is the


work programme. The young pdople who are unemployed for more than nine


months into the work progralme and they get individual things from


charities and private organisations, to get them hnto


work. The concern here is your jobs guarantee will land employers with a


whole bunch of people who don't really want to be there. Thdy are


under threat of benefit sanction. That is not a solution to youth


unemployment, is it? The nulber of young people that have been out of


work 12 months has doubled from 2010, from 20,000 to 50,000 now I


think what Bill's organisathon is doing is highly commendable but that


is a lot of people we have to get back into work. I think there


probably will have to be an element of compulsion. Bill has alrdady said


the people who come to him `re the people who want work. Our elployees


really going to want to takd on people who are only there under


sufferance? Probably it's something that we have to work on. We realised


this. You are making this jobs guarantee, you haven't got `n


employer signed up? At the loment we haven't. What we're doing at the


moment is setting up a commhssion of businesses to look at how wd will


implement this in 12 months time. It will be over the lifetime, the


lifetime of a Parliament. Wd have already got a scheme set up under


the Welsh assembly which is a Labour run assembly which ensures 80% of


the people who go on to the scheme end up with job. It has a lot going


for it. It is something that is working in Wales. It's got private


sector employers involved. H'm sure we can do it nationally arotnd the


UK. What young people to sax, they're guaranteed eight six month


job with an 80% chance of a job that is better than what yot are


offering? It is not `` it is another promise, they're not saying whether


is coming from. I Inc the rdcord of the last Labour government was


continually rising youth employment and we are tackling that as a


Conservative government with a small degree of success but we ard putting


a lot of effort in. The mondy question is what people havd


raised? The bankers bonus and tax relief on pensions for highdr tax


payers. What we are seeing hs the money from those two sources will go


on this scheme and nothing dlse As far as people saying about the last


Labour government, in 1997 there were 60,000 apprenticeships, by the


time we left there was 250,000. The ones you mention, the vast lajority


of people over 25. I think xou have to go along way before you can much


what the liver `` what the Labour government did. You cannot `rgue


Jones boom long`term youth `nd employment increased. Bill Laley,


are you convinced by what you have heard? Not a great deal of response


from a minister? Unfortunatdly not. We plod up on. We will get there


with or without support. It would make your job a lot easier? It


certainly would. Thank you very much.


Now delegates gathered for Labour's regional conference in Newton


Aycliffe this weekend, with plenty to chat about over coffee, or even


the beer and sandwiches if they re old school. This month partx members


across the country voted for a shake`up in Labour's union links,


something Ed Miliband calls the biggest change in his party for over


100 years. Feature Labour ldaders will be chosen by one member, one


vote. Scrapping a system whdre one third of the leadership votd.


Rank`and`file trade unions hs will not automatically come Labotr


members they will have to opt in to pay if you can feed and become an


affiliated supporter. There will be new spending limit. Designed to spot


some outspending others to win nominations. Those changes come at a


time of falling Labour membdrship. The party has lost 5000 members over


the last four years. They vhsited links go back to the part is very


beginning. We bid to beat three members in the region with different


views on those changes. My name is Martin Wright. I'm 4 ,


been a member of the Labour Party for probably about ten years. I live


in Gateshead. I'm a member of the Unite union. My feeling is kind of


mixed emotions, to be honest. I worry that the timing is potentially


dangerous and that's just lhke a personal view, I think. We `re just


over a year out from the General Election. But I do feel that


something has to change. I've described in the past the


relationship between the unhon movement and the party as bding like


parent and child relationshhp because the Labour Party was born


out of the trade union movelent It's like the child has grown up and


left home and is no longer listening to the parents. I don't think it'll


ever break, as in sever. I don't think we'll ever get divorcdd in


that respect. I'm Rachel Wright, I'm 32 and I live


in Newcastle. I've been a mdmber of the party on and off for about 4


years and I'm a member of the GMB union. I think any political party


to survive needs to reform. It needs to move with the times and with the


population. They are planning on capping the amount that can be spent


on somebody's selection process and also the time it takes to do the


selection. At the moment I think because there is no cap on ht,


somebody with personal funds can outspend somebody else and H think


that would probably put people off. It would certainly put myself off if


I got to the point where I decided I maybe wanted to run. I just wouldn't


have the money to compete whth somebody and putting a reasonable


cap on it actually opens up the selection process to people who at


the moment feel that they c`n't enter because of financial reasons.


I'm Daniel Maguire. I'm 33. I live in Newcastle`upon`Tyne. I'vd been a


member of the Labour for about 8 years. I'm also a member of Unite.


The difficulty is these reforms have gone through. Although they've been


watered down from what was originally proposed is they open the


door to a move towards breaking the link, the collective link bdtween


the trade unions and the Labour Party. That would really concern me


because the Labour Party is the trade unions. The two are


inseparable. I'm not one of these people that threatens to resign when


policy doesn't go the way that I want it to. But if the fund`mental


structure of the party, the fundamental nature of what we are


changes. Ie the link with the trade unions goes, then we are no longer


the Labour Party. It would be very difficult for me to continud as a


member of that party. You help draw up these changes. Was


there anything that needed fixing. At think what these proposals and


these reforms have done is `ctually maintained the link with thd trade


unions but also ensured that the link is no longer just with the


trade union but the trade unionists. It allows us to track more


individual trade unionists hnto the Labour party `` attract. We haven't


just done that, we've also opened it up as far as the leadership contest


is concerned, to registered supporters. It is a broad`b`sed


party we will achieve over the next few years. It will not happdn


overnight. David Phillips and Christopher Kelly who did the


independent reports of the opting in scheme will take five years to


implement. It is broadening the relationship we have. The fhrst time


we have those things with trade unionists. I guess you will be


cynical. Your membership is not booming? This is recognising the


problem of over Dominus of the unions in the Labour Party. `` over


dominance. Some unions response `` sponsor a lot of MPs. Critics would


say we know with unions are coming from, we do not know where the big


business dinners come from? The Conservative party has a widespread


of donors. We do not go to one or two, there are thousands. The


affiliation fees is made up of 3 levy made from millions of working


the ball. 36 funding of the Tory party comes from a handful of large


donors who are special access to the prime minister. The reason these


have got through it was not that consensus. The biggest nations we


get from the Labour Party is from its membership and not necessarily


the trade unions. What thesd proposals have done, and thdse


reforms, has opened up over party. It is now one member, one vote to


elect the leader of the Labour Party. It has affected the way that


the relationship with the trade unions will be going on. Thd link


will still be there. Peter Jackson, just to show the


Labour Party is more democr`tic than the Conservatives? It is ond member,


one vote in the Conservativd party for the leadership. I think


membership in all parties is a problem because people generally...


Apart from the UK Independence party? We're finding more informal


support. Now it's been quite a week, a gaggle


of senior politicians visithng us and one of our most high profile


politicians celebrating his 250th birthday, sort of. Here's M`rk


Denten, forever 21, with a look back at the week in 60 seconds.


MPs paid tribute to Bob Crow last year, died suddenly. Dave Anderson


said it is a sad loss. He w`s blunt, he was forthright, he had vhews He


was a caring guy. Nick Clegg was at Nissan aiming to attract 9000 new


jobs. Ministers announced ?00.6 million for Northumberland's schools


at no extra Cass for Middlesbrough. `` cash. To reason it waded into the


Scottish independence debatd. We are definitely better together. People


who live here will know how they find find easy to move across the


board into Scotland. If Scotland became separate that would be an


international border. And the milestone... Happy birthday. And


that's all from me for now. Remember you can keep up`to`date with the


helter skelter world of polhtics by following me on Twitter. And take a


look at my blog for more on youth unemployment. For now though it s


back to Andrew for the rest of the industrial action is a sign of


failure marked success. -- not success. Andrew, back to


Has George Osborne got a rabbit in his Budget hat? Will the Chancellor


find a way to help the squeezed middle? And how do Labour respond?


All questions for The Week Ahead. And joining Helen, Janan and Nick to


discuss the budget is the general secretary of the Trades Union


Congress Frances O'Grady. Welcome back to the programme. I know the


TUC has a submission, but if you could pick one thing that you wanted


the Chancellor to do above all, what would it be? We want a budget for


working people, which means we have to crack the long-term problem of


investment in the British economy. Certainly I would like the


Chancellor to merit that title they want of the new workers party, and


take action on living standards but if they're going to do that it's got


to be about unlocking investment. In the period where the economy has


been flat-lining there has been little business investment, but


there are signs towards the end of last year that it is beginning to


pick up. But a long way to go. The problem is we have key industries


like construction and manufacturing that are still smaller than they


were before the recession. The government itself, of course, has


slashed its own capital investment budget by half. There is plenty of


good and important work that needs to be done from building houses to


improving the transport system, to improving our schools. And the


government really needs to pick up that shovel and start investing in


our economy to get the decent jobs we need, the pay increases we need,


and that in itself will help stimulate demand. It was Alistair


Darling who cut in 2011, and it s interesting that Ed Balls in his


plans for the next parliament would run a current budget surplus by the


end of the parliament as opposed to George Osborne who would have an


overall budget surplus. That gives Ed Balls or -- more wriggle room to


do what you talk about, but he is reticent to talk about it. He does


not want to say that he has an opportunity to spend on investment


because he fears if he says it he will be attacked by the


Conservatives for being irresponsible. Why is business doing


this? The recession was deeper than any since the war and the recovery


was slower than almost any since the war. The lag, the time it takes to


get over that is longer than anyone expected. I read the same evidence


as you towards the end of last year pointing to money being released,


and it depends what it is released on, whether it is capital investment


or bringing in people on higher wages. The one surprise in the


downturn is how well the employment figures have done, but they have not


invested in new capacity and they are sitting on a lot of dosh. I


looked at one set of figures that said if you took the biggest company


in Britain, they have about 715 billion pounds in corporate treasury


-- the biggest companies. I think it's reduced a little but they are


sitting on a mountain in dash of skills. Yes, but they're not


investing in skills, wages, or sustainable jobs. The new jobs we


have seen created since 2010, the vast majority of them have been in


low paid industries, and they are often zero hours, or insecure, or


part-time. So it's not delivering a recovery for ordinary working


people. Government ministers, as you know when you lobby them, they are


anxious to make out that they know the job is not done and the recovery


has just begun, but the one bit they are privately proud of, although


they can't explain it, is how many private-sector jobs have been


created. A lot of unions have done sensible deals with employers to


protect jobs through this period, but it's not sustainable. The


average worker in Britain today is now ?2000 a year worse off in real


terms than they were. On a pay against price comparison? It doesn't


take into account tax cuts. The raising of the personal allowance is


far outweighed by the raising VAT. Does the raising of the threshold


which the Lib Dems are proud of and the Tories are trying to trade


credit for, does it matter to your members? -- take credit for. It


matters that it is eclipsed by the cuts in benefits and know what is


conned any more. We're going to hear a lot about the raising of the


allowance, but as long as the real value of work, tax credits, things


like that, people won't feel it in their pocket, and they will find it


harder and harder to look after their family. When you look at the


other things that could take over from consumer spending which has


driven the recovery, held by house price rising in the south, it is


exports and business investment and you look at the state of the


Eurozone and the emerging markets which are now in trouble, and the


winter seems to have derailed the US recovery. It won't be exports.


Indeed, the Obie Eich does not think that will contribute to growth until


2015 -- OBI. So the figures we should be looking at our business


investment. And also the deficit. The deficit is 111 billion, and that


is a problem, because we are not at the end of the cutting process,


there are huge cuts to be made. I understand we are only a third of


the way through. That will definitely affect business


confidence. It is clear that the strategy has failed. Borrowing has


gone up and it's not delivered improved living standards and better


quality jobs, so cutting out of the recession is not going to work. The


structural budget deficit was going to be eliminated three weeks today


under the original plan. They missed target after target. Every economist


has their own definition of that. I think Mark Carney is right when he


says that fundamentally the economy is unbalanced and it is not


sustainable, growth is not sustainable. But if it clicked on,


it would be more balanced. It is not just north and south and


manufacturing a way out with services, but it is also between the


rich and everybody else. What do you make of the fact that there will


effectively be another freezing public sector pay, or at least no


more than 1%? Not even that for nurses and health workers. But they


will get 3% progression pay. 70 of nurses will not get any pay rise at


all. They get no progression pay at all. I think this is smack in the


mouth. Smack in the mouth to dedicated health care workers who


will feel very, very discontented about the decision. Danny


Alexander, I saw him appealing to health workers do not move to strike


ballots and said they should talk to their department. But about what? Is


that real pay cut has been imposed, what are workers left with? So do


you expect as a result of yet more tough controls on public sector pay


that unrest is inevitable? I know some unions will be consulting with


their members, but ultimately it's always members who decide what to


do. It does seem to me insulting not to at least be honest and say that


we are cutting real pay of nurses, health care workers, on the back of


a ?3 billion reorganisation of the NHS that nobody wanted and nobody


voted for. Their long-term changes taking place here that almost talks


about -- there are long-term changes. It is how lower percentage


wages have become of GDP on how big the percentage of profits is. It


seems to me there is a strong case for some kind of realignment there.


The biggest event of my life, in this world, is the entry of a couple


of billion more people into the labour supply. At the end of the


Cold War, India and China plugged into the global economy. If there is


a greater supply of that factor of production, logically you conclude


that wages will fall or stagnate and that has been the story in this


country and America and large parts of Western Europe in the last


generation. What is not possible is for governments to do much about


it. They can ameliorate it at the margins, but the idea that the


government controls living standards, which has become popular


over the last six months, and the Labour Party have in establishing


that, and I don't think it's true. George Osborne's options are


astonishingly limited compared to public expectations. If wages have


reached a modern record low as percentage of GDP, who is going to


champion the wage earner? We have lost Bob Crow, Tony Benn passed


away, so who is the champion? The trade union movement is the champion


of ordinary workers. We need those larger-than-life figures that we


will mess. Have you got them yet? We have a generation of workers coming


through. One thing about the loss of Bob Crow is that the whole union


movement has responded strongly to that, and we want to say that we are


strong and united and here to stand up for working people and we will


fight as hard as Bob Crow did. Whoever replaces Bob Crow or Tony


Benn, we can be sure they will not come from Eton because they all have


jobs in the government. I want to put up on the screen what even


Michael Gove was saying about this coterie of Old Etonian 's.


He's right, is he not? He's absolutely right. We have the idea


of the manifesto being written by five people from Eton and one from


Saint Pauls. A remarkable example of social mobility that George Osborne,


who had the disadvantage of going to Saint Pauls has made it into that


inner circle. Here is the question, what is Michael Gove up to? If you


saw the response from George Osborne, there was no slap down and


they know this is an area they are weak on an David Cameron will not


comment on it. If this had been a Labour shadow minister making a


similarly disloyal statement, they might have been shot at dawn. But


there is a real tolerance from Michael Gove to go freelance which


comes from George Osborne. It's about highlighting educational


reforms that he wants to turn every school in to eat and so it won't


happen in the future. But it's also pointing out who did not go to Eton


school and who would be the best candidate to replace David Cameron


as leader, George Osborne, and who did go to Eton school, Boris


Johnson. Michael Gove is on manoeuvres to destroy Boris


Johnson's chances of being leader. It's a good job they don't have an


election to worry about. Hold on. I think they are out of touch with


businesses as well as working people. You ask about who is talking


about wage earners. Businesses are. They are worried that unless living


standards rise again there will be nobody there to buy anything. We are


running out of time, but the TUC, are enthusiastic about HS2? We


supported. We think it's the kind of infrastructure project that we need


to invest in long-term. He could, if we get it right, rebalance north and


south and create good jobs along the way -- it could. Thank you very much


tool. I have to say that every week -- thank you very much to you all.


That's all for today. I'll be back next Sunday at 11am, and Jo Coburn


will be on BBC Two tomorrow at midday with the Daily Politics.


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


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