17/11/2013 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


17/11/2013

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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics.

:00:36.:00:40.

Downing Street announces an inquiry into allegations of hardball

:00:41.:00:42.

Downing Street announces an inquiry and intimidation by unions in

:00:43.:00:46.

industrial disputes. That's our top story.

:00:47.:00:50.

Thousands dead. Hundreds of thousands without homes. Millions

:00:51.:00:54.

affected. What is Britain doing to help the Philippines in the wake of

:00:55.:00:57.

Typhoon Haiyan? We'll ask International Development Secretary

:00:58.:01:01.

Justine Greening. Winter is coming and so, it seems,

:01:02.:01:04.

is another crisis in England's hospitals. I'll be asking the Shadow

:01:05.:01:08.

And coming up here, should the to

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And coming up here, should the Assembly have the power to alter the

:01:12.:01:15.

levels of income tax and stamp duty? We'll examine NI21's big ideas and

:01:16.:01:19.

the SDLP's demand for the return of the Civic Forum. Join

:01:20.:01:20.

fatalities on the capital's streets, and renewed calls to get lorries off

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the roads in peak hours. With me, the best and brightest

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political panel that money can buy. Janan Ganesh, Nick Watt and this

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week, Zoe Williams, who'll be tweeting their thoughts throughout

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the programme. The Government has announced a

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review to investigate what the Prime Minister has called "industrial

:01:48.:01:50.

intimidation" by trade union activists. Bruce Carr QC will chair

:01:51.:02:02.

a panel to examine allegations of the kind of tactics that came to

:02:03.:02:05.

light during the Grangemouth dispute, when the Unite union took

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their protests - replete with a giant rat - outside the family homes

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of the firms' bosses. Earlier this morning the Cabinet office minister,

:02:15.:02:19.

Francis Maude spoke to the BBC and this is what he had to say. To look

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at whether the law currently works and see if it is ineffective in

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preventing the kind of intimidatory activity that was alleged to have

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taken place around range mouth during the previous disputes --

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Grangemouth. We make no presumptions at the beginning of this. I do think

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it is a responsible thing for the government to establish what

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happened and really do a proper review into whether the law is

:02:52.:02:55.

adequate to meet the needs. That was Francis Maude. This is a purely

:02:56.:03:02.

political move, isn't it? Unite did this a couple of times, it is hardly

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happening all over the country but the government want to say, we are

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prepared to investigate Unite properly, Labour isn't. This seemed

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a lot worse when I thought it was a real rat. I thought it was a giant

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dead rat. I am not sure if you know much about rats but real rats are

:03:24.:03:26.

not this big, even the ones in London. The thing is, obviously it

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is naked politics but I think it is more intelligent than it looks. They

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are trying to taint Miliband as a week union puppet and that doesn't

:03:39.:03:44.

really wash. They hammer away with it and it might wash for some

:03:45.:03:49.

people. But it really castrates Miliband in the important issues he

:03:50.:03:53.

has to tackle. Zero hours, living wage, all of those things in which

:03:54.:03:57.

he needs to be in concert with the unions, and to use their expertise.

:03:58.:04:03.

He is making them absolutely toxic to go anywhere near. It keeps the

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Unite story alive, have to kill -- particularly since Mr Miller band is

:04:17.:04:19.

under pressure to reopen the investigation into what Unite are up

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to -- Mr Miliband. They are frustrated, not only at the BBC but

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the media generally at what they think is a lack of coverage. I see

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the political rationale from that respect. There is a risk. There are

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union members who either vote Tory or are open to the idea of voting

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Tory. All Lib Dem. If the party comes across as too zealous in as --

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its antipathy, there is an electoral consequence. Ed Miliband has been

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careful to keep a distance. Yes, they depend on vast amounts of

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money. When Len McCluskey had a real go at the Blairites, Ed Miliband was

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straight out there with a very strong statement. Essentially Len

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McCluskey wanted Blairites in the shadow cabinet sacked and Ed

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Miliband was keen to distance himself or for that is why it is not

:05:29.:05:33.

quite sticking. Another story in the Sunday papers this morning, the Mail

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on Sunday got hold of some e-mails. When I saw the headline I thought it

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was a huge cache of e-mails, it turns out to be a couple. They peel

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away the cover on the relationship between Ed Miliband and Ed Balls,

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with some of Ed Miliband's cohorts describing what Mr balls is trying

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with some of Ed Miliband's cohorts to do as a nightmare. How bad are

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the relations? They are pretty bad and these e-mails confirm the

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biggest open signal in Westminster, which is that relations are pretty

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tense, -- open secret. That Ed Miliband doesn't feel that Ed Balls

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is acknowledging the economy has grown that Labour needs to admit to

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past mistakes. The sort of great open signal is confirmed. On a scale

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of 1-10, assuming that Blair-Brown was ten. I think it is between six

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and seven. They occupy this joint suite of offices that George Cameron

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and -- David Cameron and George Osborne had. It is not just on the

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economy that there were tensions, there were clearly tensions

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economy that there were tensions, HS2, Ed Balls put a huge question

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over it at his conference. There will be more tensions when it comes

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to the third runway because my information is that Mr balls wants

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to do it and Ed Miliband almost resigned over it when he was in

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government. I don't think Ed Miliband is thinking very

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politically because he has tried live without Ed Balls and that is

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not tenable either. -- life without. He has defined a way of making it

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work. That is where Tony Blair had the edge on any modern politician.

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He didn't want to make Ed Balls his Shadow Chancellor, he had to.

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Somebody said to him, if you make Ed Balls Shadow Chancellor, that will

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be the last decision you take as leader of the Labour Party. Is it as

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bad? I was surprised at how tame the e-mails were. At the FT it is

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compulsory, one French word per sentence! To call him a nightmare,

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compared to what they are willing to say in briefings, conversations,

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bits of frustrations they express verbally come what is documented in

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the e-mails is actually pretty light. It has been a grim week for

:08:10.:08:15.

the people of the Philippines as they count the cost of the

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devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan. HMS Daring has just arrived

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near the worst hit areas - part of Britain's contribution to bring aid

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to the country. It has been one of the worst natural

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disasters in the history of the Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan hit the

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country nine days ago, leaving devastation in its wake. The numbers

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involved are shocking. The official death toll is over 3600 people, with

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many thousands more unaccounted for. More than half a million people have

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lost their homes and the UN estimates 11 million have been

:08:51.:08:54.

affected. David Cameron announced on Friday that the UK government is to

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give an extra ?30 million in aid, taking the total British figure ?250

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million. An RAF Sea 17 aircraft landed yesterday with equipment to

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help aid workers get too hard to reach areas. HMS Illustrious is on

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its way and due to arrive next weekend. The British public have

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once again dipped into their pockets and given generously. They have

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given more than ?30 million to the Disasters Emergency Committee.

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The International Development Secretary, Justine Greening, joins

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The International Development me now for the Sunday Interview.

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Good morning, Secretary of State. How much of the ?50 million that the

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government has allocated has got through so far? All of it has landed

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on the ground now. HMS Daring has turned up, that will be able to

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start getting help out to some of those more outlying islands that

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have been hard to reach. We have seen Save the Children and Oxfam

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really being able to get aid out on the ground. We have a plane taking

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off today that will not read just carrying out more equipment to help

:10:02.:10:05.

clear the roads but will also have their staff on board, too. We have

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?50 million of aid actually on the ground? We instantly chartered

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flights directly from Dubai where we have preprepared human Terry and

:10:18.:10:24.

supplies, and started humanity work -- humanitarian supplies.

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A lot of it has now arrived. I think we have done a huge amount so far.

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We have gone beyond just providing humanitarian supplies, to getting

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the Royal Air Force involved. They have helped us to get equipment out

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there quickly. We have HMS Illustrious sailing over there now.

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Why has that taken so long? It was based in the Gulf and is not going

:10:53.:10:55.

to get there until two weeks after the storm first hit and that is the

:10:56.:10:59.

one ship we have with lots of helicopters. The first decision we

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took was to make sure we could get the fastest vessel out there that

:11:04.:11:09.

was able to help HMS Daring. HMS Illustrious was just finishing an

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exercise and planning to start to head back towards the UK. We have

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exercise and planning to start to said to not do that, and diverted

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it. Shouldn't it have happened more quickly? We took the decisions as

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fast as we were able to, you can't just turn a big warship around like

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the HMS Illustrious. We made sure we took those decisions and that is

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while it will be taking over from HMS Daring come and that is why HMS

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Daring is ready there. It will be able to provide key support and

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expertise that has not been there so far. The US Navy is doing the heavy

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lifting here. The US Navy had the USS Washington, there is an aircraft

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carrier, 80 planes, 5000 personnel and they have the fleet, they are

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doing the real work. We obviously helping but the Americans are taking

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the lead. It is a big international effort. Countries like the US and

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the UK, that have a broader ability to support that goes

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the UK, that have a broader ability call humanitarian supplies -- have

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made sure we have brought our logistics knowledge, we have sent

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out our naval vessels. It shows we are working across government to

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respond to this crisis. Why does only just over 4% of your aid budget

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go on emergency disaster and response? A lot depends on what

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crises hit in any given year. We have done a huge amount, responding

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to the crisis in Syria, the conflict there and the fact we have 2 million

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refugees who have fled the country. We are part of an international

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effort in supporting them. Shouldn't we beginning more money to that

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rather than some of the other programmes where it is harder to see

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the results question of if we were to give more money to the refugees,

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it would be a visible result. We could see an improvement in the

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lives of children, men and women. What we need to do is alongside that

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is stop those situations from happening in the first place. A lot

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of our development spend is helping countries to stay stable. Look at

:13:21.:13:23.

some of the work we are doing in Somalia, much more sensible. Not

:13:24.:13:28.

just from an immigration but there is a threat perspective. There is a

:13:29.:13:34.

lot of terrorism coming from Somalia. You only have to look at

:13:35.:13:39.

Kenya recently to see that. Which is why you talk about what we do with

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the rest of the spend. It is why it is responsible to work with the

:13:45.:13:48.

government of Somalia. Should we give more, bigger part of the budget

:13:49.:13:55.

to disaster relief or not? I think we get it about right, we have to be

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flexible and we are. This Philippine relief is on top of the work in

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Syria. Where can you show me a correlation between us giving aid to

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some failed nation, or nearly failed nation, and that cutting down on

:14:10.:14:15.

terrorism? If you look at the work we have done in Pakistan, a huge

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amount of work. Some of it short-term. It is written by

:14:19.:14:25.

terrorism. That is -- ridden by terrorism. That is not going to fix

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it self in a sense. Look at the work that we do in investing in

:14:33.:14:41.

education. The things that little girls like Malala talk about as

:14:42.:14:49.

being absolutely key. We are ramping up our aid to Pakistan, it will be

:14:50.:14:54.

close to half ?1 billion by the time of the election. Why should British

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taxpayers be giving half ?1 billion to a country where only 0.5% of

:15:01.:15:07.

people in Pakistan pay income tax, and 70% of their own MPs don't pay

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income tax. It is a good point and that is why we have been working

:15:17.:15:21.

with their tax revenue authority to help them increase that and push

:15:22.:15:30.

forward the tax reform. You are right, and I have setup a team that

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will go out and work with many of these countries so they can raise

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their own revenues. You really think you will raise the amount of tax by

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sending out the British HRM see? How many troops I we sending out to

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protect them? They don't need troops. We make sure that we have a

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duty of care alongside our staff, but we have to respond to any crisis

:16:08.:16:18.

like the Philippines, and alongside other countries we have two work

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alongside them so that they can reinvest in their own public

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services. If they can create their own taxes, will we stop paying aid?

:16:29.:16:34.

We need to look at that but the new Pakistan Government has been very

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clear it is a priority and we will be helping them in pursuing that.

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Let me show you a picture. Who are these young women? I don't know, I'm

:16:48.:16:54.

sure you are about to tell me. They are the Ethiopian Spice Girls and

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I'm surprised you don't know because they have only managed to become so

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famous because your department has financed them to the tune of ?4

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million. All of the work we do with women on the ground, making sure

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they have a voice in their local communities, making sure they have

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some control over what happens to their own bodies in terms of

:17:23.:17:30.

tackling FGM, female genital mutilation... Did you know your

:17:31.:17:36.

department has spent ?4 million on the Ethiopian Spice Girls? Yes, I

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do, and we have to work with girls and show them there is a life ahead

:17:45.:17:48.

of them with opportunity and potential that goes beyond what many

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of them will experience, which includes early and forced marriage.

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It is part of the work we do with local communities to change

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attitudes everything you have just said is immeasurable, and they

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broadcast on a radio station that doesn't reach most of the country so

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it cannot have the impact. It only reaches 20 million people and the

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project has been condemned saying there were serious inefficiencies.

:18:27.:18:33.

That aid report was done a while ago now, and it was talking about the

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project when it first got going, and a lot of improvements have happened

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since. I would go back to the point that we are working in very

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difficult environments where we are trying to get longer term change on

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the ground and that means working directly with communities but also

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investing for the long-term, investing in some of these girls

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start changing attitudes in them and their communities. Why does the

:19:01.:19:06.

British taxpayers spend ?5 million on a Bangladesh version of Question

:19:07.:19:18.

Time? We work with the BBC to make sure we can get accountabilities...

:19:19.:19:24.

That is bigger then the BBC Question Time Normal -- budget. That includes

:19:25.:19:44.

the cost of David Dimbleby's tattoo! We are working to improve

:19:45.:19:51.

people's prospects but also we are working to improve their ability to

:19:52.:19:55.

hold their governments to account so that when they are not getting

:19:56.:19:58.

services on the ground, they have ways they can raise those concerns

:19:59.:20:02.

services on the ground, they have with the people who are there to

:20:03.:20:08.

deliver services for them. In your own personal view, should the next

:20:09.:20:12.

Conservative Government, if there is one, should you continue to ring

:20:13.:20:18.

fence spending on foreign aid? But it is critical that if we are going

:20:19.:20:23.

to spend 7.7% of our national income, we should make sure it is in

:20:24.:20:28.

our national interest and that means having a clear approach to

:20:29.:20:33.

humanitarian responses, in keeping the country safe, and a clearer

:20:34.:20:38.

approach on helping drive economic development and jobs so there is a

:20:39.:20:43.

long-term end of the dependency. Do you believe in an shrine in the

:20:44.:20:50.

percentage of our GDP that goes on foreign aid in law? Yes, and

:20:51.:20:54.

percentage of our GDP that goes on a coalition agreement. There have

:20:55.:21:01.

been a lot of agreements that you are sceptical about ring fencing. We

:21:02.:21:06.

are focused on shaking up the economy and improving our public

:21:07.:21:16.

finances. Why haven't you done that? At the end of the day we will be

:21:17.:21:25.

accountable but we are committed to doing that. You are running out of

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time, will you do it? I hope we can find the Parliamentary time, but

:21:33.:21:37.

even if we don't, we have acted as if that law is in place and we have

:21:38.:21:45.

already met 0.7% commitment. If you are British voter that doesn't

:21:46.:21:47.

already met 0.7% commitment. If you believe that we should enshrine that

:21:48.:21:53.

in by law, which means that with a growing economy foreign aid will

:21:54.:21:57.

rise by definition, and if you think we should be spending less money on

:21:58.:22:01.

the Ethiopian Spice Girls, for whom should you wrote in the next

:22:02.:22:09.

election? I think we have a very sensible approach. I don't know what

:22:10.:22:15.

the various party manifestoes... The only party who thinks we shouldn't

:22:16.:22:21.

be doing this is UKIP. I think you have to look at the response to both

:22:22.:22:31.

the Philippines crisis and Children In Need. Of all the steps we are

:22:32.:22:38.

taking to get the country back on track, it shows the British people

:22:39.:22:44.

will respond to need when they need it and it is one of the things that

:22:45.:22:52.

makes Britain's special. Thank you. "It's always winter but

:22:53.:22:55.

never Christmas" - that's how doctors describe life inside

:22:56.:22:57.

accident and emergency. The College of Emergency Medicine have warned

:22:58.:23:00.

that this year could bring the "worst crisis on record". If that

:23:01.:23:04.

dire prediction comes, expect a spring of political recriminations,

:23:05.:23:07.

but how prepared are the NHS in England? And what do they make of

:23:08.:23:11.

this autumnal speculation? Giles has been to Leeds to find out.

:23:12.:23:19.

This winter has already come to our hospitals. It had an official start

:23:20.:23:25.

date, November the 3rd. That is when weekly updates are delivered to the

:23:26.:23:33.

NHS's most senior planners, alerting them to any sudden changes in

:23:34.:23:39.

patient numbers coming in. Where do they numbers register most then

:23:40.:23:47.

A They are the barometer for what is going on everywhere else, and

:23:48.:23:51.

they are the pressure point, so if the system is beginning to struggle

:23:52.:23:56.

then it is in the A department that we see the problems. It is not

:23:57.:24:03.

that the problems are the A departments, but they are the place

:24:04.:24:09.

where it all comes together. Plans to tackle those problems start being

:24:10.:24:14.

drawn up in May and they look at trends, even taking notice of any

:24:15.:24:23.

flu epidemics in New Zealand. They also look at the amount of bets. But

:24:24.:24:33.

the weather, economic realities, structural reforms, and changes to

:24:34.:24:37.

the general health of the population, are all factors they

:24:38.:24:42.

have to consider. We get huge amounts of information through the

:24:43.:24:46.

winter in order to help the NHS be the best it can be, but we had to

:24:47.:24:51.

redouble our efforts this year because we expected to be a

:24:52.:24:56.

difficult winter. We know the NHS is stretched so we are working hard to

:24:57.:25:03.

be as good as we can be. That means they are looking at winter staffing

:25:04.:25:10.

levels, plans to ask for help from neighbouring hospitals, and

:25:11.:25:14.

dovetailing help with GP surgeries, and still having the ability to move

:25:15.:25:20.

up an extra gear, a rehearsed emergency plan if the NHS had to

:25:21.:25:26.

face a major disease pandemic. You spend any time in any of our

:25:27.:25:30.

hospitals and you realise the NHS knows that winter is coming and they

:25:31.:25:35.

are making plans, but you also get a palpable feeling amongst health

:25:36.:25:39.

workers across the entire system that they do get fed up of being

:25:40.:25:46.

used as a political football. Doctors and all health care

:25:47.:25:49.

professionals are frustrated about the politics that surrounds the NHS

:25:50.:25:55.

in health care. They go to work to treat patients as best as they can,

:25:56.:25:58.

and the political knock-about does not help anyone. I find it

:25:59.:26:05.

frustrating when there is a commentary that suggests the NHS

:26:06.:26:09.

does not planned, when it is surprised by winter, and wherever

:26:10.:26:16.

that comes from it is hard to take, knowing how much we do nationally

:26:17.:26:22.

and how much our hard working front line staff are doing. When the

:26:23.:26:31.

Coalition have recently tried to open up the NHS to be a more

:26:32.:26:36.

independent body, it is clear the NHS feel they have had an unhealthy

:26:37.:26:43.

dose of political wrangling between parties on policy. The NHS is not

:26:44.:26:48.

infallible or making any guarantees, but they seem confident that they

:26:49.:26:53.

and their patients can survive the winter.

:26:54.:26:56.

Joining me now from Salford in the Shadow Health Secretary, Andy

:26:57.:27:04.

Burnham. Tell me this, if you were health secretary now, you just took

:27:05.:27:09.

over in an emergency election, what would you do to avoid another winter

:27:10.:27:19.

crisis? I would immediately halt the closure of NHS walk-in centres. We

:27:20.:27:25.

heard this week that around one in four walk-in centres are closed so

:27:26.:27:30.

it makes no sense whatsoever for the Government to allow the continued

:27:31.:27:35.

closure of them. I would put nurses back on the end of phones and

:27:36.:27:40.

restore an NHS direct style service. The new 111 service is not in a

:27:41.:27:47.

position to provide help to people this winter. I think the time has

:27:48.:27:54.

come to rethink how the NHS care is particularly for older

:27:55.:27:57.

come to rethink how the NHS care is propose the full integration of

:27:58.:28:00.

health and social care. It cannot make any sense any more to have this

:28:01.:28:06.

approach where we cut social care and let elderly people drift to

:28:07.:28:10.

hospitals in greater numbers. We have two rethink it as a whole

:28:11.:28:19.

service. So you would repeal some of the Tory reforms and move

:28:20.:28:23.

commissioning to local authorities so the NHS should brace itself for

:28:24.:28:29.

another major top-down health reorganisation? No, unlike Andrew

:28:30.:28:33.

Lansley I will work with the organisations ie inherit. He could

:28:34.:28:45.

work with primary care trusts but he turned it upside down when it needed

:28:46.:28:50.

stability. I will not do that but I will repeal the health and social

:28:51.:29:04.

care act because last week we heard that hospitals and health services

:29:05.:29:08.

cannot get on and make sensible merger collaborations because of

:29:09.:29:12.

this nonsense now that the NHS is bound by competition law. Let me get

:29:13.:29:18.

your views on a number of ideas that have been floated either by the

:29:19.:29:22.

press or the Coalition. We haven't got much time. Do you welcome the

:29:23.:29:32.

plan to bring back named GPs for over 75s? Yes, but it has got harder

:29:33.:29:40.

to get the GP appointment under this Government because David

:29:41.:29:42.

to get the GP appointment under this scrapped the 48-hour guarantee that

:29:43.:29:47.

Tony Blair brought in. He was challenged in the 2005 election

:29:48.:29:51.

about the difficulty of getting a GP appointment, and Tony Blair brought

:29:52.:29:55.

in the commitment that people should be able to get that within 48

:29:56.:30:02.

hours. That has now been scrapped. Do you welcome the idea of allowing

:30:03.:30:06.

everyone to choose their own GP surgery even if it is not in our

:30:07.:30:14.

traditional catchment area? I proposed that just before the last

:30:15.:30:19.

election, so yes. Do you welcome the idea of how a practice is being

:30:20.:30:23.

rated being a matter of public record, and of us knowing how much,

:30:24.:30:31.

at least from the NHS, our GP earns? Of course, every political party

:30:32.:30:32.

supports transparency in Of course, every political party

:30:33.:30:36.

More information for the public of that kind is a good thing. Do you

:30:37.:30:41.

welcome this plan to make it will form the collect in an NHS hospital

:30:42.:30:48.

-- make wilful neglect a criminal offence. It is important to say you

:30:49.:30:53.

can't pick and mix these recommendations, you can't say we

:30:54.:30:57.

will have that one and not the others. It was a balanced package

:30:58.:31:01.

that Sir Robert Francis put forward. My message is that it must be

:31:02.:31:05.

permitted in full. If we are to learn the lessons, the whole package

:31:06.:31:10.

must be addressed, and that includes safe staffing levels across the NHS.

:31:11.:31:14.

Staff have a responsible to two patients at the government also has

:31:15.:31:19.

responsible at T2 NHS staff and it should not let them work in

:31:20.:31:26.

understaffed, unsafe conditions -- a responsibility to NHS staff. Is

:31:27.:31:42.

there a part of the 2004 agreements that you regret and should be

:31:43.:31:47.

undone? A lot of myths have been built up about the contract. When it

:31:48.:31:51.

came in, there was a huge shortage of GPs across the country. Some

:31:52.:31:57.

communities struggle to recruit. This myth that the government have

:31:58.:32:03.

built, that the 2004 GP contract is responsible for the AM decries is,

:32:04.:32:08.

it is spin of the worst possible kind -- the A crisis. You would

:32:09.:32:16.

redo that contract? It was redone under our time in government and

:32:17.:32:18.

change to make it better under our time in government and

:32:19.:32:23.

money. GPs should be focused on improving the health of their

:32:24.:32:25.

patients and that is a very good principle. Not so great if you can't

:32:26.:32:32.

get 24-hour access. I agree with that. We brought in evening and

:32:33.:32:37.

weekend opening for GPs. That is another thing that has gone in

:32:38.:32:41.

reverse under Mr Cameron. It is much harder to get a GP appointment under

:32:42.:32:45.

him and that is one of the reasons why A is an oppressor. -- under

:32:46.:32:55.

pressure. What do you make of the review into intimidatory tactics by

:32:56.:33:00.

unions? If there has been intimidation, it is unacceptable,

:33:01.:33:05.

and that should apply to unions as well as employers. Was Unite wrong

:33:06.:33:09.

to turn up and demonstrate? I don't well as employers. Was Unite wrong

:33:10.:33:15.

know the details, this review will look into that presumably. I need

:33:16.:33:18.

reassurance that this is not a pretty cool call by Mr Cameron on

:33:19.:33:23.

the designed to appear near the election -- that this is not a

:33:24.:33:28.

political call. Are you sponsored by unite? No. Do you get any money from

:33:29.:33:42.

Unite? No. What have you done wrong? It seems others are getting money

:33:43.:33:49.

from Unite. Can I tell you what I think is the scandal of British

:33:50.:33:53.

party political funding, two health care companies have given ?1.5

:33:54.:33:57.

million in donations to the Tory party, they have ?1.5 billion in NHS

:33:58.:34:04.

contracts. I wonder why you don't spend much time talking about that

:34:05.:34:10.

and obsess over trade union funding. We are happy to talk about that. We

:34:11.:34:18.

see from e-mails that Mr Miliband's closest advisers regard Mr Ed Balls

:34:19.:34:22.

as a bit of a nightmare, do you see a bit of a nightmare about him as

:34:23.:34:27.

well? I don't at all, he is a very good friend. I can't believe that

:34:28.:34:31.

you are talking about those e-mails on a national political programme.

:34:32.:34:36.

My goodness, you obviously scraping the barrel today. I have been in

:34:37.:34:40.

front-line labour politics for 20 years. I can't remember the front

:34:41.:34:45.

bench and the wider party being as united as it is today and it is a

:34:46.:34:48.

great credit to Ed Miliband and Ed Balls. We are going into a general

:34:49.:34:53.

election and we are going to get rid of a pretty disastrous coalition

:34:54.:34:58.

government. It was worth spending a few seconds

:34:59.:34:58.

government. It was worth spending a having nightmares. Thank you for

:34:59.:35:02.

joining me. It's just gone 11:30am. You're

:35:03.:35:05.

watching the Sunday Politics. Coming up in just over 20 minutes, I'll be

:35:06.:35:08.

talking to the MP accused of using his

:35:09.:35:16.

Hello, and welcome to Sunday Politics in Northern Ireland. It's

:35:17.:35:20.

the newest party on the block, but can NI21 deliver realistic

:35:21.:35:24.

alternatives? Its leader Basil McCrea says Stormont should be given

:35:25.:35:33.

more tax powers. It will increase accountability, it will make a

:35:34.:35:35.

greater propensity for local parties to work together, it will make them

:35:36.:35:40.

more accountable and I think it will make for better government.

:35:41.:35:43.

Also up for discussion today - its last incarnation was in 2002, but

:35:44.:35:47.

now the SDLP wants to see a return of the Civic Forum. Alex Attwood

:35:48.:35:54.

will be telling me why. The economy is starting to grow, but when will

:35:55.:35:58.

people's standard of living increase? We'll be asking if we're

:35:59.:36:05.

finally beginning to emerge from the economic downturn. And to discuss

:36:06.:36:09.

all of that and more, I'm joined by the political correspondent of the

:36:10.:36:11.

News Letter, Sam McBride, and the University of Ulster's Dr Cathy

:36:12.:36:14.

Gormley-Heenan. The party political conference season is well and truly

:36:15.:36:17.

upon us. Yesterday it was the turn of the newest party here, NI21. Its

:36:18.:36:22.

leader, Basil McCrea, wants Westminster to allow local

:36:23.:36:24.

politicians the authority to raise or reduce the levels of income tax

:36:25.:36:28.

and stamp duty. He set up the party this year, along with John

:36:29.:36:31.

McCallister, after the two men left the Ulster Unionist Party. Stephen

:36:32.:36:34.

Walker went along to the party's inaugural conference for Sunday

:36:35.:36:42.

Politics. Outside Belfast's Europe Hotel, NI21 show their colours.

:36:43.:36:49.

Inside they claimed to have found a new political formula. This marks

:36:50.:36:55.

the first opportunity for NI21 to map out in detail some of their

:36:56.:36:59.

policies. But what do their activists and supporters make of

:37:00.:37:03.

their plans, in particular the idea that the Executive could control

:37:04.:37:10.

levels of income tax? I think it is an aspiration. If we want to grow up

:37:11.:37:15.

as a party and the country, we should be looking at saying we need

:37:16.:37:24.

responsibility for ourselves. I am happy in my income tax that I am

:37:25.:37:26.

contributing, it involves local people. Income tax is where the

:37:27.:37:35.

finances come from, and if you control how you tax people, the more

:37:36.:37:40.

power that comes to Stormont the better and the more effective

:37:41.:37:45.

parliament can be. Basil McCrea believes greater fiscal powers will

:37:46.:37:50.

make devolution stronger. It will increase accountability, it will

:37:51.:37:54.

help Northern Ireland parties to work together, and I think it will

:37:55.:37:58.

make for better government. What do the Business Committee think? We

:37:59.:38:03.

need to be cautious in the steps we take in that. We have been at the

:38:04.:38:11.

forefront of the devolution of corporation tax. If you go into more

:38:12.:38:14.

broad measures such as income tax, it requires a lot more to be done

:38:15.:38:19.

before we can be sure where that path will go. Other policies

:38:20.:38:24.

included an official opposition at Stormont and the First and Deputy

:38:25.:38:27.

First Minister becoming Stormont and the First and Deputy

:38:28.:38:33.

ministers. Peter and Martin are joined. One cannot order a fish

:38:34.:38:37.

supper without the other one. Let's call it what it is, a joint office.

:38:38.:38:45.

So how should we now view NI21? You look at people around the room, this

:38:46.:38:49.

is the first time they have come to politics. But are they ready for the

:38:50.:38:55.

hard slog of standing in elections, pounding the puck past and knocking

:38:56.:38:59.

on doors? That will be a challenge to get past this idealism and a

:39:00.:39:05.

vague feeling that things aren't right and translated into commitment

:39:06.:39:10.

to do something. So their first conference is over but another first

:39:11.:39:15.

is on the horizon. Next to me the Council and European elections

:39:16.:39:18.

resent NI21 with their first electoral test.

:39:19.:39:23.

Let's get some reaction from my guests, Cathy Gormley-Heenan and Sam

:39:24.:39:33.

McBride. Cathy, Basil's big thought, local politicians being

:39:34.:39:36.

able to set income tax and stamp levelled levels. Good idea? Yes, I

:39:37.:39:44.

am glad he rated because Northern Ireland has declared itself from the

:39:45.:39:50.

debate on tax, up to this point we have had some tentative

:39:51.:39:52.

conversations about fiscal devolution and autonomy but nothing

:39:53.:39:57.

more substantial. Sam, is that how you see it? People talk about this

:39:58.:40:05.

before but it never happens. The argument for work which was made

:40:06.:40:08.

yesterday is that it helps Stormont grow up, it lets them raise their

:40:09.:40:12.

own taxes so grow up, it lets them raise their

:40:13.:40:16.

about cuts here or there, they need to take responsibility themselves

:40:17.:40:19.

and that is a good argument. The problem is that Northern Ireland

:40:20.:40:28.

gets a huge help from Westminster, millions of pounds each year. If

:40:29.:40:33.

Northern Ireland races all its own income tax, it would be obvious how

:40:34.:40:38.

much we get from Westminster. Those sorts of questions weren't really

:40:39.:40:43.

addressed. Another notion was getting rid of the office of First

:40:44.:40:46.

Minister and Deputy First Minister and calling it it is -- what it is,

:40:47.:40:54.

a joint office. I imagine that would inflame matters in some quarters.

:40:55.:41:03.

This would raise by the Alliance in 2007 and Martin McGuinness had asked

:41:04.:41:09.

the Hansard team to change the D in OFMDFM to a small deed to signify

:41:10.:41:15.

that it is a joint office, so there have been some moves at signifying

:41:16.:41:18.

that this is a joint office, which it is but it has never been

:41:19.:41:24.

explicitly said, and I think the NI21 remarks shine a spotlight on

:41:25.:41:30.

that. The issue of an opposition was raised. John McCallister's pitch to

:41:31.:41:38.

be leader of the Austrian party was about going into opposition. That is

:41:39.:41:45.

what differentiates them from the Alliance Party, which is their big

:41:46.:41:49.

task. There was some meat on the bones of what the opposition stuff

:41:50.:41:52.

would mean but also the role of the speaker, which is technical but

:41:53.:41:56.

crucial in making the speaker more like the speaker at

:41:57.:41:58.

crucial in making the speaker more where they have less control, the

:41:59.:42:04.

parties have less control of that process. Did you get the sense it

:42:05.:42:09.

was a successful conference or will it weather on the vine? It was a

:42:10.:42:14.

successful conference in the short space of time they had. A lot of

:42:15.:42:21.

young people, energy, Basil McCrea's speech was a bit rambling

:42:22.:42:24.

but there were things that enthused people. Liam Clarke's point, lots of

:42:25.:42:31.

youthful enthusiasm but will it translate to political commitment? I

:42:32.:42:36.

think it will. One strapline was a post-agreement party for a

:42:37.:42:40.

post-agreement generation, and most people voting for the first time in

:42:41.:42:45.

the next elections were born as the agreement was signed, so there is an

:42:46.:42:49.

appetite there. Thank you both for now.

:42:50.:42:49.

There's been a lot of talk over now.

:42:50.:42:53.

past week about jobs and business in general, and mention even of the

:42:54.:42:57.

"green shoots" of recovery. But is that too optimistic? In a moment

:42:58.:43:00.

I'll be talking to the chair of the Assembly's Finance Committee, Daithi

:43:01.:43:03.

McKay, and David McIlveen, who sits on the Enterprise Trade and

:43:04.:43:06.

Investment Committee. But first, our economics and business editor, John

:43:07.:43:09.

Campbell, assesses if things are really improving, and if there are

:43:10.:43:12.

hard facts to back up the feel-good factor. The economy is recovering

:43:13.:43:19.

but the pace of growth is slow. We have a long way to go before we get

:43:20.:43:22.

back to where we were before the recession. There were a couple of

:43:23.:43:30.

bits of good news, the decline in unemployment is continuing and some

:43:31.:43:32.

evidence that job creation has picked up. Inflation also fell this

:43:33.:43:37.

week but other figures show the service sector, the biggest part of

:43:38.:43:42.

the local economy, shrank during the year, but most economists say the

:43:43.:43:48.

growth we have seen it not pick up until the third quarter during the

:43:49.:43:54.

summer months. Next week, with the new instalment of the house price

:43:55.:43:58.

index, expect that to show an increase in transaction but not

:43:59.:44:02.

prices, we also get a survey of earnings which will show how much

:44:03.:44:05.

pressure household budgets are under, because a question for the

:44:06.:44:12.

economy is how can it grow if people's wages are falling in real

:44:13.:44:15.

terms? John Campbell setting out the stall there. The Sinn Fein MLA

:44:16.:44:19.

Daithi McKay is the chair of the Assembly's Finance Committee. He's

:44:20.:44:21.

with me now, along with the DUP's David McIlveen, who's private

:44:22.:44:24.

secretary to the Finance Minister, Simon Hamilton. John ended his

:44:25.:44:30.

comments with an interesting assessment, which may be a good

:44:31.:44:35.

place to dart. How can the economy grow if wages are static or

:44:36.:44:40.

place to dart. How can the economy in real terms? Over the past nine

:44:41.:44:44.

months, there has been a continuing fall in the employment rate. We have

:44:45.:44:50.

seen more good news stories, more direct foreign investment and

:44:51.:44:54.

exports are up, which indicates indigenous businesses are doing

:44:55.:44:58.

well, so the elephant in the room is the cost of living. People go to the

:44:59.:45:03.

shops on a weekly basis and spend over ?100 each time, the cost of

:45:04.:45:10.

goods is another issue, and a lot of these issues can be dealt with if

:45:11.:45:13.

you take control of fiscal powers, as was referred to in your previous

:45:14.:45:20.

peace. Are you backing Basil McCrea in that demand? They are backing us

:45:21.:45:25.

because we raised the issue, but income tax and stamp duty were two

:45:26.:45:32.

issues raised a couple of weeks ago on some commission recommendations

:45:33.:45:35.

so it is limited in terms of their scope. Do you agree, David McIlveen,

:45:36.:45:43.

that the parties at Stormont and Simon Hamilton has to get his hands

:45:44.:45:49.

on the real evils of power, the capacity to raise or lower income

:45:50.:45:55.

tax? The term green shoots of recovery I would hope is permanently

:45:56.:45:58.

etched from vocabulary, because we have to realise whom and bust did

:45:59.:46:05.

not work and we now need a level head to ensure our economy grows at

:46:06.:46:10.

a sustainable rate. I do not believe devolving fiscal powers to Stormont

:46:11.:46:13.

is the best way forward, surely because it is fantasy politics.

:46:14.:46:19.

Conservative estimations indicate we received ?11 billion more each year

:46:20.:46:27.

then what we sent in tax receipts. That is around ?6,500 for every

:46:28.:46:31.

citizen of Northern Ireland. I don't know about Sinn Fein or NI21, but if

:46:32.:46:36.

they want to go to the electorate and tell them they will give them a

:46:37.:46:42.

?6,500 greater tax bill, they are braver amend alive. What about stamp

:46:43.:46:49.

duty? These things come as a part -- at a cost. We have targeted requests

:46:50.:46:55.

for fiscal powers to areas where we believe we can gain an overall

:46:56.:46:59.

economic benefit. Corporation tax, air traffic duty. So should we just

:47:00.:47:08.

soak it up? Wages are static or falling, you don't want the levers

:47:09.:47:13.

of power to change things, which some people think would be an

:47:14.:47:17.

important asset. We just have to get on with it? There are two things we

:47:18.:47:24.

can do. We can keep household taxes low and this Assembly has delivered

:47:25.:47:29.

that. Second, we can create better higher paid jobs. We know our

:47:30.:47:34.

economy is too reliant on the public sector. There have been more

:47:35.:47:39.

private-sector jobs created in the last two years then in the history

:47:40.:47:41.

of Northern Ireland. That is good news. Daithi McKay, so you are

:47:42.:47:53.

engaged in in fantasy politics? Dublin had chances in terms of the

:47:54.:47:58.

taxes down there. We don't have that here, we have guesses based on the

:47:59.:48:06.

surveys 's David referred to. They are not based on actual figures.

:48:07.:48:10.

Dublin is a sovereign state in control of its own affairs, the

:48:11.:48:15.

reality for us is that we are part of the UK economy. You have to

:48:16.:48:21.

accept that. I don't accept that. It is backed at the moment. But to get

:48:22.:48:29.

back to fiscal powers, what we are entitled to is accurate figures in

:48:30.:48:34.

terms of taxes we raise so we can go to London with a stronger hand when

:48:35.:48:38.

it comes to the economy. But look at corporation tax. That was trailed as

:48:39.:48:43.

a great panacea but it hasn't happened and now we are told it is

:48:44.:48:47.

on the long finger and will come at a cost. It is a risky thing to

:48:48.:48:55.

engage. We have to take risks. You cannot keep throwing out estimates

:48:56.:48:59.

and scaring people off because ultimately this economy will not go

:49:00.:49:02.

anywhere. In terms of moving this issue forward, we need a proper,

:49:03.:49:08.

mature debate as is happening in Wales and Scotland. The real problem

:49:09.:49:13.

is the dogma that has been introduced by Unionist politicians

:49:14.:49:16.

because when Sammy Wilson, the previous Finance Minister, was

:49:17.:49:21.

questioned about devolution, he said he would be opposed to it because he

:49:22.:49:26.

is a Unionist. That does not cut it with the Business Committee. -- with

:49:27.:49:31.

the people who want to see this happen. You should be practical, not

:49:32.:49:38.

dogmatic? We have to use devolution to our best advantage and it is

:49:39.:49:43.

ironic we have a Sinn Fein representative saying we should be

:49:44.:49:46.

more like what is happening across the border. I struggle to find

:49:47.:49:50.

anyone in Northern Ireland today who would want to be in an economy which

:49:51.:49:55.

has undergone such extreme austerity as Republic of Ireland has had to

:49:56.:50:00.

face. Briefly, can you comment on the petrol bomb attack on an

:50:01.:50:04.

Alliance Party office in East Belfast last night? Naomi Long says

:50:05.:50:07.

it's an attack on democracy. Is she right? I agree entirely with that.

:50:08.:50:14.

We have experienced many attacks on our people on property we are no

:50:15.:50:19.

stranger to how that feels. This is an attack on democracy. It's not

:50:20.:50:25.

only was an attack on an elected representative's office but it could

:50:26.:50:29.

have damaged adjoining premises. I don't see how that is good for East

:50:30.:50:35.

Belfast. Our thoughts should be with Naomi and all their elected

:50:36.:50:37.

representatives working in that office and their families because

:50:38.:50:42.

this has a huge impact that people do not realise, but in terms of

:50:43.:50:44.

Belfast, we do not want to do not realise, but in terms of

:50:45.:50:49.

repeat of what happened here before. We want to see a happy and

:50:50.:50:54.

productive Christmas and see businesses grow and flourish as they

:50:55.:50:57.

should have done this year. Thank you both. Time now for a look at

:50:58.:51:02.

what's been making the headlines in the political week gone past.

:51:03.:51:13.

Tributes were paid to one of the SDLP's founders. From Cranfield to

:51:14.:51:21.

Crossgar, everyone had the highest respect for Edinburgh they. Stormont

:51:22.:51:30.

was told to hurry up welfare reform. ?400 million a month does not sound

:51:31.:51:35.

a lot but it will be 60 million in the first year. Another bill was

:51:36.:51:42.

killed by Mark H Durkan. I am not scrapping the national parks built

:51:43.:51:48.

but I am shelving it. Parading talks continued but there was no

:51:49.:51:51.

breakthrough. They were helpful meetings. That does not mean there

:51:52.:51:56.

was a miracle. And Edwin Poots gave us some marriage guidance. Many

:51:57.:52:03.

people who are heterosexual desire lots of other folks. Those of us who

:52:04.:52:08.

are married should not be doing that, so people can resist urges.

:52:09.:52:15.

Now, if you've been a keen follower of local politics for a while,

:52:16.:52:20.

you'll very probably recall the Civil Forum. It was set up in 2000

:52:21.:52:23.

to address pressing social economic and cultural matters. However, its

:52:24.:52:28.

life was short-lived, and it hasn't met since 2002. Tomorrow, the

:52:29.:52:33.

Assembly will debate an SDLP motion to recall it by as soon as the end

:52:34.:52:38.

of January. Let's hear more from Alex Attwood, who's proposed the

:52:39.:52:44.

motion. Thank you for joining us. It met 12 times between 2000 and 2002,

:52:45.:52:48.

and then slipped away into the shadows. Doesn't it look a bit like

:52:49.:52:54.

a relic of the past at this stage? I think the greater strength of

:52:55.:52:59.

society today and over the last ten or 20 years has been the party of

:53:00.:53:03.

our civic groups. They held this place together during the years of

:53:04.:53:07.

conflict and they are the people, and Richard Haass could tell you

:53:08.:53:12.

this, who have given the wisest advice to this new talks process. I

:53:13.:53:16.

think it is time now to scale up the input of civic society into our

:53:17.:53:23.

politics, and doing so will make politics more honest than we have

:53:24.:53:28.

seen recently. Do we really need a Civic Forum to do that, because you

:53:29.:53:32.

have said there have been hundreds of submissions from civic society to

:53:33.:53:36.

the house is all talks without this form? Lets take as an example the

:53:37.:53:44.

victims form, add all the indications are that while its work

:53:45.:53:48.

is challenging, it has shaken up well and that creates a better

:53:49.:53:53.

understanding of the issues around victims and helps politicians to do

:53:54.:53:56.

what has to be done on their behalf. In respect of civic groups,

:53:57.:54:00.

we need to build an inclusive society, we need to capture all

:54:01.:54:06.

those who give good authority and advice. Creating a new Civic Forum

:54:07.:54:12.

is one way of doing so, and in my view will create a great point of

:54:13.:54:16.

contrast between the failure of party politics and the strength of

:54:17.:54:21.

civic groups. But isn't this a spectacular own goal on your part

:54:22.:54:25.

because by calling for the reintroduction of the Civic Forum,

:54:26.:54:29.

you are admitting our politicians have failed us. Yes, we have. Look

:54:30.:54:35.

around us at the flags and parades dispute, look at politics degrading.

:54:36.:54:40.

Some parties clearly had a bigger responsibility to govern and they

:54:41.:54:44.

have the biggest failure in not leading or governing. But your party

:54:45.:54:50.

has failed to. It is part of that overall failure? I think politics

:54:51.:54:55.

has failed people in Northern Ireland. I think it is more true for

:54:56.:55:01.

some parties than others, but how are we going to have the image of

:55:02.0:48:07

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