12/02/2012 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


12/02/2012

Andrew Neil and Tara Mills with the latest political news, interviews and debate including cabinet minister Eric Pickles on the government's NHS bill.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 12/02/2012. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

Coming up in Northern Ireland: Billions are pumped into the

:01:24.:01:28.

banking system yet businesses here struggle to get a penny. So is the

:01:28.:01:38.
:01:38.:01:38.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1699 seconds

:01:38.:29:57.

game weighted against the smaller Hello and welcome to Sunday

:29:57.:30:01.

Politics in Northern Ireland. And it's all about the money today.

:30:01.:30:03.

As the Welfare Reform Bill makes its stormy way through Westminster,

:30:03.:30:06.

it is estimated the changes will drain hundreds of millions a year

:30:06.:30:11.

from the local economy. How can we afford it? I will be talking to

:30:11.:30:16.

Finance Minister Sammy Wilson in a moment.

:30:16.:30:19.

And they say they are lending, but are the banks really playing the

:30:19.:30:25.

game with smaller firms? Bearing in mind the Times Newenden with

:30:25.:30:31.

�20,000 in cash to put into an account and we have a turn down. --

:30:31.:30:36.

betimes that we went in. But first, with me for the next 20

:30:37.:30:39.

minutes, Ulster Unionist MLA Joanne Dobson and Sinn Fein councillor Jim

:30:39.:30:47.

McVeigh. What is your party's solution to

:30:47.:30:53.

what is going on with the dissident? It is very worrying this

:30:53.:31:00.

rise in a dissident threat. I had a rise last weekend -- I hadn't issue

:31:00.:31:04.

last weekend when a police officer went in to protect children and was

:31:04.:31:09.

set upon by a gang of the facts. It is important that everyone appear

:31:09.:31:12.

to the rule of law. They should look out for the neighbours and

:31:12.:31:15.

make sure the work with the police so that we can can find this to the

:31:15.:31:24.

history books. Jim make the, you had public discussions him on the

:31:24.:31:30.

dissident threat. How did that go? That went reasonably well. We had

:31:30.:31:38.

an exchange of views, followed by a play. First and foremost, it is a

:31:38.:31:43.

tragedy for the family. If this thoroughly depressing. These groups

:31:43.:31:47.

have no credibility they have no support and her communities and no

:31:47.:31:54.

strategy. At the time when Donegal is looking for to an exciting year,

:31:54.:31:57.

building the economy and creating jobs, these people try to drive

:31:57.:32:03.

away investors, opposed the efforts of the community in the city.

:32:03.:32:13.
:32:13.:32:15.

is the solution? They'd do not have support. People within the

:32:15.:32:21.

community are talking to these people, confronting these people.

:32:21.:32:24.

Sinn Fein representatives are doing this on as a continuous basis.

:32:25.:32:30.

Trying to engage with them, persuade them that their strategy

:32:30.:32:35.

is pointless, futile, counter- productive, it is destroying the

:32:35.:32:39.

communities they claim to represent. We're trying to do that on a daily

:32:39.:32:42.

basis and we will have to keep doing that, confronting them,

:32:42.:32:49.

arguing with them and trying to make it as difficult as possible to

:32:50.:32:55.

operate. The Unionists need to talk to dissident republicans --

:32:55.:33:03.

Republicans? Be done a contribute anything. A deeper doubt such a

:33:03.:33:07.

negative image of Northern Ireland. We need to basically come down into

:33:07.:33:11.

the history books and get Northern Ireland moving forward. But should

:33:11.:33:15.

that involve talks with Unionism? think it is important that we keep

:33:15.:33:20.

moving forward. Now, the banks are rarely out of

:33:20.:33:23.

the news these days, but behind the headlines businesses say they are

:33:23.:33:29.

struggling to get loans from our financial institutions. To discuss

:33:29.:33:36.

that and more, I'm joined by the Finance Minister, Sammy Wilson. How

:33:36.:33:40.

is our economy going to talk -- cope with the �600 million less

:33:40.:33:44.

each year? First of all, that is not the case. That is the lie that

:33:44.:33:50.

has been put around. By 2017, we'll have welfare spending in Northern

:33:51.:33:55.

Ireland Corporate from �5 billion this year to �6 billion. The rise

:33:55.:34:01.

will not be as big as it would have been without welfare reform, but...

:34:01.:34:06.

What is the point of it then, if it will not save money? There are two

:34:06.:34:10.

points, first of all to focus of the welfare payments on those who

:34:10.:34:14.

most need it. Secondly, it is to encourage people to get back into

:34:14.:34:20.

work by making work pay. There will be, as a result of some of the ways

:34:20.:34:24.

in which money is targeted, they will be some losers and there will

:34:24.:34:29.

be some groups that gain. This actually fit in with the

:34:29.:34:33.

Executive's strategy. A whole point is to get people back into work and

:34:33.:34:37.

indeed over the period of the next four years, through the Department

:34:37.:34:42.

of Employment and learning, we're hoping to target 114,000 people are

:34:42.:34:47.

who are currently on benefits to make them more ready for work and

:34:47.:34:51.

to try to get them into work and whole apparatus of government,

:34:51.:34:56.

whether it isn't contracts we get out, or in spending on departments,

:34:56.:35:01.

the work we do with businesses, the investment at the track, we want to

:35:01.:35:05.

get Northern Ireland working. We want to get the people working.

:35:05.:35:09.

where do these jobs come from? One in five people are unemployed and

:35:09.:35:13.

those figures are not changing any time soon, or the? Youth

:35:13.:35:17.

unemployment has actually fallen. It but only very slightly. It has

:35:17.:35:21.

fallen and that is the first thing. That is the result of a lot of the

:35:21.:35:25.

good work that has been done, especially through the Department

:35:25.:35:29.

of Employment and learning, trying to place young people into jobs.

:35:29.:35:33.

She we have greater fiscal powers then? You could make a difference

:35:33.:35:37.

in terms of how much money people have. We have a distinct situation

:35:37.:35:40.

in Northern Ireland, there are more people disabilities, mental health

:35:40.:35:46.

issues. The whole point of welfare reform and what is attached to it,

:35:46.:35:49.

is to try and work through the problems that those people have, to

:35:49.:35:54.

try and place those who can be placed and the -- placed in work to

:35:54.:35:57.

be placed in work. Those people need support and we need to get at

:35:57.:36:02.

them. Can you guarantee that? of the reason that parts of their

:36:02.:36:06.

welfare reform in Westminster was put forward that we voted against

:36:06.:36:09.

was that we believe that there were some vulnerable groups that were

:36:09.:36:13.

not being properly dealt with in the welfare reform proposals and of

:36:13.:36:17.

course the house of Lords agreed with that as well. As far as what

:36:17.:36:22.

can we do about those we were to place in work, we are already doing

:36:22.:36:27.

it. We have programmes for giving people training in a public

:36:27.:36:33.

contracts, we have a social clauses which will require those who take

:36:33.:36:43.
:36:43.:36:43.

on public work to take on long-term unemployed. I appreciate that, but

:36:43.:36:47.

can you guarantee that families will not be worse off, that people

:36:47.:36:49.

not have a situation where they have a lot less money coming into

:36:49.:36:54.

the house and their children may indeed suffer? The old problem of

:36:54.:36:57.

universal credit is to ensure that you do not have the kind of steps

:36:57.:37:06.

that you have at present, where you actually make work pay. But that is

:37:06.:37:09.

the aim that we have, that if someone moves from benefit into

:37:10.:37:16.

work, they should not have to pay a financial penalty. That is where

:37:16.:37:22.

the welfare reform proposals need honed a bit. We have been pushing

:37:22.:37:25.

with Westminster to make some changes and eventually they will

:37:25.:37:35.
:37:35.:37:53.

come here to Northern Ireland. BBC's Dragon's Den is entrepreneurs

:37:53.:37:57.

under pressure, but that is worth it to give them a chance with an

:37:57.:38:07.
:38:07.:38:08.

experienced business mentor. Here at the Northern Ireland

:38:08.:38:10.

Science Park in Belfast, small companies with big ideas are

:38:10.:38:14.

meeting investors with big money. We're the Dragons Den for Northern

:38:14.:38:24.
:38:24.:38:24.

Ireland. David funding to get into business. This is the world's first

:38:24.:38:28.

inflatable car seat for children. We had been at funding the this is

:38:28.:38:31.

what their own cash for, but now we're at the point where we need to

:38:31.:38:36.

look at the various funding options available to us.

:38:36.:38:41.

This woman needs funding -- this man needs funding to turn his award

:38:41.:38:51.
:38:51.:38:52.

winning play into a film. It can be very prudent and successful First

:38:52.:38:59.

investors -- for investors. Aaron Taylor's company develops software

:38:59.:39:02.

for the fast-growing computer gaming industry. He had no choice

:39:02.:39:07.

but to raise private investment. We've been in with two pretty well

:39:07.:39:10.

known banks in Northern Ireland and have been declined for bank

:39:10.:39:13.

accounts. Bearing in mind the times we have went in with �20,000 in

:39:13.:39:17.

cash to put into an account and were turned down. If they are going

:39:17.:39:20.

to judge start ups the same way they are going to be judging

:39:20.:39:23.

developed companies, then there is never going to be a benefit in that

:39:23.:39:28.

for small start ups that is really going to help them move forward.

:39:28.:39:33.

Northern Bank has just reported hefty pre- tax losses of more than

:39:33.:39:39.

�210 million. Business lending fell by 11%. The bank says this is

:39:39.:39:42.

partly because firms are more focused on paying off loans. In a

:39:42.:39:44.

recent report, the Department of Enterprise asked local small to

:39:44.:39:47.

medium sized companies, that's firms with up to 250 staff, about

:39:47.:39:49.

their experiences with banks. In 2007, 92% of companies successfully

:39:49.:39:57.

negotiated a bank loan. This dropped by a third in 2010. And for

:39:57.:40:00.

really small businesses, those with less than 10 employees, the success

:40:00.:40:05.

rate was halved, from 89% down to 45%. Banking analysts say that

:40:05.:40:08.

during the property boom in the last decade, businesses in Northern

:40:08.:40:11.

Ireland were far more likely than their counterparts in Great Britain

:40:11.:40:21.
:40:21.:40:21.

to take on cheap bank loans for property speculation. This means

:40:21.:40:24.

that some companies are left with toxic debts, even though their core

:40:24.:40:29.

business is sound. The idea is being floated in political and

:40:29.:40:32.

banking circles that a NAMA-style bad bank could be set up to remove

:40:32.:40:36.

these debts in the hope that this might free up bank lending once

:40:36.:40:44.

again. And and they will be opening the books, looking at what sort of

:40:44.:40:48.

debts the businesses have. If those debts can be offloaded elsewhere or

:40:48.:40:52.

can be constructed elsewhere to be paid off in a measured basis, then

:40:52.:40:57.

that is certainly something that could be attractive to a lender.

:40:57.:41:02.

have almost been made into a political football and be -- and

:41:02.:41:06.

used to be the bankers to death. But what can we do to drive this

:41:06.:41:16.
:41:16.:41:32.

Do we need one of those banks for Northern Ireland? I have discussed

:41:32.:41:36.

this with Mervyn King, who is the Governor of the Bank of England. It

:41:36.:41:39.

would have to be an initiative which would be done at a national

:41:39.:41:43.

level. However, the government itself has tried to find ways of

:41:44.:41:51.

easing banks through this with their vast quantity of the easing -

:41:51.:42:00.

- of the quantitative the easing. With no way of knowing if we're

:42:00.:42:04.

actually benefiting -- but we have no way of knowing if we're actually

:42:04.:42:08.

benefiting. There are no regional figures available. They could be

:42:08.:42:12.

lending loads of money in Yorkshire but nothing here. That is

:42:12.:42:15.

absolutely right. I have been pressing the government to give

:42:15.:42:19.

regional figures. The one thing that we do know what is that bank

:42:19.:42:26.

lending last year in Northern Ireland was about �60 billion -- �6

:42:26.:42:30.

billion and De deposits were �8 billion. We do not actually know

:42:30.:42:33.

what the net lending is, because firms are always repaying loans or

:42:33.:42:38.

being forced, even worse, to repay loans. Those kind of figures we do

:42:39.:42:43.

not have available. One of the problems in all of this is that

:42:43.:42:50.

there is a huge gap in our knowledge about what is happening.

:42:50.:42:54.

Banks make one claim and businesses make another claim. So, who is

:42:54.:42:58.

right? Because of the gap in knowledge about what is actually

:42:58.:43:03.

happening, we cannot be fully aware of what is happening. The one thing

:43:03.:43:07.

I am fairly sure of and the Executive is looking at ways of

:43:07.:43:09.

addressing this is that we're never getting that the time when the only

:43:09.:43:14.

source of money for presences is going to be back lending. And

:43:14.:43:18.

indeed, looking at the club that you showed there, we're going to

:43:18.:43:21.

have taught it equity funding, were people take a stake in some of

:43:22.:43:25.

these businesses, not necessarily a bad thing, because when they take a

:43:25.:43:29.

stake in it, they will bring some expertise into the building, into

:43:29.:43:36.

the business. Until could what sources we can get for the

:43:36.:43:40.

secretary funds. The difficulty for the business people taking the risk

:43:40.:43:44.

is that is not as same as a bank -- not the same as a bank. They could

:43:44.:43:50.

not get an overdraft to tide him over. In many cases, because of the

:43:50.:43:53.

venture's you're talking about, that is not the one that they need.

:43:53.:43:56.

The need to have any put into the business which carries some of the

:43:56.:44:01.

rest of the business. Don't forget, with a loan, all of the rest is

:44:01.:44:05.

carried by the distance itself. If somebody put equity funds in, they

:44:05.:44:10.

are making money available for all of which they could lose. For high

:44:10.:44:15.

risk businesses, equity funding is one way of trying to make money

:44:15.:44:19.

available and we have got to find new combinations. That means that

:44:19.:44:24.

we do have to first of all pitch the banks as to what they are doing

:44:24.:44:28.

for businesses. Don't forget, the need it and the long term and we

:44:28.:44:32.

need banks also. We need them to be providing their oil in the economy.

:44:32.:44:39.

We need to look at different ways of financing. A 50 million loan

:44:39.:44:43.

guarantee fund has been introduced, which is designed to help us and

:44:43.:44:47.

says over it does lending difficulties. Jimmy Gray, your

:44:47.:44:57.
:44:57.:44:59.

party called this week for greater fiscal powers. -- Jim McVeigh.

:44:59.:45:04.

There's very little that the Executive can do to make the banks

:45:04.:45:08.

will listen the purse strings. We want to see fiscal powers to be

:45:08.:45:15.

devolved to this part of. At this particular time, companies need

:45:15.:45:25.
:45:25.:45:25.

more stimulus, investment. Just recently, Belfast City Council

:45:25.:45:32.

announced a 150 million capital investment programme. It has been

:45:32.:45:35.

criticised in the press for talking about money it does not actually

:45:35.:45:45.
:45:45.:45:45.

have yet if, in European funding that is not actually secure. Most

:45:45.:45:48.

commentators have said it is real money for real projects. A

:45:48.:45:53.

significant amount of air power is in -- growing in the economy. It is

:45:53.:45:58.

not just about back money. The banks did to step up their mark. It

:45:58.:46:01.

is a right that we feel at -- we find yourself in the crisis that we

:46:01.:46:05.

are because at one stage they were too free with the lending and yet

:46:05.:46:09.

they there is a danger -- a danger of strangling the recovery because

:46:09.:46:13.

they are being offered Royd restrictive. We need everybody to

:46:13.:46:18.

start thinking about how we invest and how we stimulate the economy.

:46:18.:46:20.

Create new businesses and particularly a social economy

:46:20.:46:30.

sector. Joanne Dobson, in terms of the Agriculture's -- sector -- the

:46:30.:46:35.

agriculture sector, some businesses think they are it is sheltered from

:46:35.:46:41.

did Lt. Agriculture and -- the agriculture industry is so

:46:41.:46:44.

important and vital for Northern Ireland, I think banks should be do

:46:44.:46:52.

more to support that. I'm thinking of foreign diversification schemes,

:46:53.:46:57.

building up businesses. We have been held back and we need to help

:46:57.:47:00.

them. The banks need to get in demand help him with their export

:47:00.:47:06.

markets as well. Representing a large rural constituency, I know

:47:06.:47:11.

that they are the lifeblood of up - - my constituency. My office is

:47:11.:47:15.

inundated daily with the the very concerned local businesses which

:47:15.:47:18.

are facing closure. I think banks and to do what they can to support

:47:18.:47:23.

those existing businesses which contribute so much to do rural

:47:23.:47:28.

towns. Also, you cut was very interesting with new young people

:47:28.:47:35.

trying to get time to get presences off the ground. In my constituency,

:47:35.:47:39.

we have a business park which is brilliant at incubating new

:47:39.:47:42.

businesses and I think that should be rolled out across Northern

:47:42.:47:52.
:47:52.:47:52.

Ireland. If you missed any of this week's political comings and goings,

:47:52.:47:57.

here's Martina Purdy with our snapshot in 60 seconds.

:47:57.:48:00.

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee was the first top of debate at Stormont.

:48:00.:48:04.

But what part will Sinn Fein play in the celebrations? Will it be a

:48:04.:48:13.

part it spoiled by it churlish, vindictive Republican Beatles. --

:48:13.:48:21.

vetoes. Golden handshakes for prison

:48:21.:48:24.

officers wishing to escape, but they are free to return?

:48:24.:48:27.

And what do you call it when the civil service goes ten times over

:48:27.:48:33.

budget on a project? If it walks like an overrun and quirks like an

:48:33.:48:39.

overrun, it is an overrun as far as the public is concerned.

:48:39.:48:42.

Speaking of farm animals, "Don't have a cow," say politicians who

:48:42.:48:46.

spent �70,000 on this art. Critics branded it a pile of Never mind.

:48:46.:48:55.

Alliance gets a gaelgoir, is the Finance Minister next? Op next will

:48:55.:49:05.
:49:05.:49:10.

have their Member For antrum at speaking Irish? -- Antrim. Will you

:49:10.:49:14.

be speaking Irish? I know that we're immune from it. I have no

:49:14.:49:18.

difficulty with people speaking Irish, if they want. But the low

:49:19.:49:22.

point of our politics is to communicate so if you're speaking

:49:22.:49:24.

in a language that people do not understand, you are not

:49:24.:49:27.

communicating. The other thing is that we need to pay for translators

:49:27.:49:31.

and I think it is a waste of money. But a lot of people do understand

:49:32.:49:36.

language that is being spoken. but the whole point of those

:49:36.:49:40.

debates is the substantial part of the member's speech is not an Irish.

:49:40.:49:46.

Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS