06/10/2013 Sunday Politics Scotland


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Morning folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. An in-out EU referendum


before the general election? We talk to the Tory rebel demanding


one next year. That's our top story. As Government ministers prepare to


decide how the press should be regulated, what will be the impact


of this week's row between the Daily Mail and Ed Miliband?


You take this and you have kept out the colour of people's faces. You


are a disgrace! And we'll hear from the MEP who ruined UKIP's


conference. And coming up on Sunday Politics


Scotland: The meter's running on the cost of living. What can the


politicians do to help people? And who's to blame?


He will try to force a vote in the Commons to hold the poll next


October. Home Secretary Theresa May was asked about his plans on the BBC


earlier this morning. I think he has got it wrong, I think what we need


to do is to negotiate the settlement with the European Union and then put


that to the people me to decide whether to be in or out. Is this a


flea bite or a real threat? I think what is crucial is that we have, at


the next election, a Conservative Party that will be offering people


that renegotiation, a new settlement with Europe, looking to the future


and putting that to the British people in and in or out referendum.


And what the amendment possibly could do, as James Wharton, who was


putting the Referendum Bill through Parliament has said, is it could


jeopardise that bill. Adam Afriyie joins us now from Millbank studio.


Good morning. If the referendum would be held next October, it would


have to be an in-out question based the status quo? There wouldn't be


time for a full renegotiation. I disagree. By having a referendum in


2014, it gives us 12 months to renegotiate, but it kick-started


negotiations, because the European Union, if they wish us to remain


members, would need to accommodate and make changes so that they would


persuade the British public to stay, if that is what they want. It


strengthens the Prime Minister's hand, and 12 months is ample time


for that kind of negotiation. You might think that, but Germany has


not even got a government at the moment, why should they meet our


timetable? This is going to be incredibly, located renegotiation. I


think, basically, 80% of people want a referendum. More than 50% what a


referendum this side of the election. British businesses need


certainty, and we could carry on taking a scan down the road for


ever, but I have struggled with my conscience over this one. I do not


want to cause trouble, but it is essential that Parliament and MPs


have the opportunity to search their souls and give people a referendum


this side of the election. That would also bring certainty and


clarity for the future, and like I said, it strengthens the Prime


Minister's hand if it is successful. You right in the Mail on Sunday that


the people are not convinced there even will be a referendum, so they


don't trust David Cameron? I think the headline was not the headline I


wrote for that piece. What I am saying is a very calm analysis...


You are saying that the British people are not convinced. Look,


there are too many uncertainties here - they may not be convinced the


Conservatives will win the election, I hope we will, they may not be


convinced the renegotiation will be good enough, that there will be a


referendum. Do you trust David Cameron to deliver a referendum?


That is why we need to bring the referendum forward, there is time to


negotiate, and we tidy up the issue that has been hanging around for too


long. Do you trust David Cameron to deliver a referendum in 2017? I


completely support the Prime Minister, and of course I trust the


completely support the Prime Prime Minister. To deliver a


referendum? There as only variables in between. What I am doing with


referendum? There as only variables this amendment, is to try to be sure


is that Parliament and every MP has the opportunity decide whether they


want to be sure of a referendum within this parliament, or maybe


leave it to the vagaries of what may within this parliament, or maybe


happen in 2015. Supposing you got your way, how would you vote? Like


Michael Gove, I would vote for us to leave as of today, but there will be


Michael Gove, I would vote for us to an enormous amount of pressure on


European Union leaders to come an enormous amount of pressure on


forward with proposals. If they were to say, the mandate is not ever


closer political union, it is ever closer trading harmony, giving us


more border control and control over our legal system, I might change my


mind. But this is what needs to happen - if we have a referendum in


2014, 12 months is time for negotiations to be kick-started and


people to argue in or out, and the end result is a stronger Prime


Minister. Is it true that you have got about 80 MPs supporting this? It


is cross-party, that is for certain, and I think we will see it


on hold over the next three or five weeks. He will have to ask each


individual MP. I am asking you, it is your motion! There will be other


motions coming forward, and I know there is widespread support,


cross-party, for people who want the British public to have a say in


2014. You know it is not going to get through, the whips will stop


this from happening. One of the successes, apparently, of your


party's Manchester conference was that you were not divided over


Europe anymore, the Europe issue was settled. Here you are bringing it


Europe anymore, the Europe issue was back to life and pouring petrol on


the flames - are you now the unlicensed troublemaker of the


Tories? The only struggle I have had is not a fight with my party but


Tories? The only struggle I have had with my conscience as to whether or


not I would give Parliament and the British people an opportunity to


have a say in 2014. I wrestled with it, and I decided I wanted people to


have that opportunity. It is for each individual MP to search their


soul, speak to constituents and decide whether they want that. You


decided it would get you in the headlines again. Oh, you are so


cynical, Andrew! I have no ambition in that direction, I am not a


publicity seeker. All I seek is for the British people do have this. I


would not be able to sleep at night if I did not bring forward this


opportunity for Britain to have its say. We have left it far too long.


Nobody under the age of 56 has had a say. Thanks for joining us, good


luck with this continuing struggle with your conscience! I will move


the seat around and addressed the panel, what do you make of it? The


party managers must be furious with him. I think what this confirms is


that David Cameron is incredibly lucky in his enemies. His most


prolific critics, Nadine Dorries, Peter Bone, Adam Afriyie, even if


you are very anti-Cameron, you will not think, man, if only they were in


charge of the party! I think the party managers are not too alarmed.


They do not take him seriously? No, it is not a frivolous amendment. It


is not as if the James Wharton bill is a work of genius, it is riddled


with flaws, anomalies and loopholes. It purports to guarantee that a


referendum will take place in the next Parliament. My understanding of


the constitution is that is theoretically impossible and that


all the future government would do is cancel out that bill with another


bill. He does have a point that Cameron's plan for a referendum is


nothing like as likely to happen... Hung parliaments, frivolous


amendments can be immensely dangerous. The problem for David


Cameron is twofold. One, if Ed Miliband says he's going to support


Adam Afriyie, it will go through. Unlikely that Ed Miliband would do


that, but what he might do is say to his MPs, ignore this. It may well be


that the Labour payroll and a significant number of Labour MPs do


not turn up, and then what you have got is a war between the


Conservative payroll and the Conservative backbenchers, and in


that war you might well find that Adam Afriyie's amendment goes


through, and then the Prime Minister has real trouble, because Adam


Afriyie says, the Prime Minister could renegotiate terms of


membership, up what basis and with which mandate? He would not be able


to get agreement with Nick Clegg or Ed Miliband, so you would be looking


at Adam Afriyie voting to leave. I think he is a Labour mole, that is


what I have come to, a Daily Mail style conspiracy theory, it could


not be more perfect. The prospect of style conspiracy theory, it could


a referendum on the EU at the same time as Scottish independence is


what no-one once, so that is it. He has told us he could not sleep at


night, wrestling with his conscience. We could send him some


pills, I suppose. We know he's going to sack all those lieutenants were


going around and saying he is the great future and the next leader of


the Conservative Party. He denied doing that! He would be amazed to


hear you say that, this is a crisis of conscience. Whispered


conversations in corridors, quite an operation to get letters into Graham


Brady, he said to have letters, not 46, but at the moment this campaign


is being run by Lieutenant of Adam Afriyie. He has got lieutenants?


They are disaffected and not happy under David Cameron's leadership.


There is a whole army of them! I am pleased he has outmanoeuvred the


awkward squad, and now James Wharton is saying, you're going to kill my


bill. I do not think they are very competence lieutenants. The main


political consequence of this episode is it will unify a large


political consequence of this chunk of the Colin Hendry


Conservative Party behind David Cameron. On what they hope is a


settled position. We still hope to be talking to John Prescott, who is


in hole, if you see him, pointing in the direction of the BBC studios! Do


you want to buy a house? Can you afford the mortgage repayments but


not the 20% or 30% deposit the mortgage provider is demanding from


you? The Government says it has a scheme designed for you which is in


launching next week, help to buy, and it should lead to the


re-emergence of 95% mortgages, remember them?! But is the policy


really good for home-buyers or the British economy? Here is Giles.


Never mind who lives in a house like this, who can afford to buy a house


these days? The Government would this, who can afford to buy a house


like many more people to be able to without putting down a crippling


amount of money as a deposit, and in the spirit of rights to buy, the


government has launched help to buy, confusingly it is the name for two


different schemes. The first scheme, Help to Buy 1, has


been running since April. Help to Buy 2 was supposed to come in


January next year, but the government are bringing it in early.


Let's get in on the inside and take a good look around at what this


scheme actually has to offer. And why the Government thinks it really


works. Help to Buy 1 was an equity loan scheme. The idea, nice, is that


it was for new build only, up to a value of £600,000. But it is Help to


Buy 2 that everyone is looking into right now. It is for any property up


to a value, again, of £600,000. This time the Government is guaranteeing


that it will take on the first losses should the home owner in the


future failed to make their mortgage payments. Don't worry about that, if


you are a buyer, you are going to be concerned about coming up with the


5% deposit and 95% mortgages will be available again in participating


banks and building societies. And that, the Prime Minister thinks, is


a housing prime mover. You cannot get training to 5% mortgage anymore,


90% even, so there are couples in our country who have good jobs,


decent incomes, they could afford the mortgage payments but they


cannot buy the house. It is a failure in our banking market. So


that is the Prime Minister, Jonathan, but I guess for you this


is not Homes Under The Hammer, but a scheme which should be hammered. The


main impact of this scheme will be to push up prices, who does that


benefit? Mostly rich and all the people who own their houses. Plus


the banks, of course, because it is a subsidy for them. Who loses?


People who want to buy a house in the future. Moreover, it is a bit


odd that the Government says it is not OK to borrow to finance schools


or roads, but it is fine for the Government to take on more debt,


effectively, in order to guarantee 95% mortgages and pump up the


housing market. 2.3 million? I do not think Help to Buy covers that.


But enter a would-be buyer, will they now be seeing a plethora of


help to buy mortgages? In a word, no. David Cameron has brought the


announcement forward by three months, and banks were not ready at


that stage. Two banks have committed to fund the scheme, the Lloyds group


and the RBS group, so lenders like Halifax, RBS and NatWest. They will


be doing the scheme, but even once the scheme is up and running you are


not going to see Help to Buy mortgages badged up. You will


probably find 95% mortgages on the high street because of the guarantee


the government is offering. People might say this is how we got into a


mess in the first place. Why would the government want to make those


products available then now? It was more what investment banks were


doing in the background that caused the problems. Mortgages have


performed extremely well through the depths of the downturn. Is this a


game changer? Yes, I have done my best to save over the last few years


but this has enabled me to make that first purchase. How frustrating was


it just renting? Very frustrating, you are throwing away money hand


over fist, and now I can take that leap to being an owner. His


enthusiasm raises a question back at the flat. If you are looking for a


95% mortgage, you don't really care what will happen in the wider


economy, you are thinking, great, I can buy a house. Yes, if I was a


house buyer or a bank, I would be pleased, but it will do longer term


economic damage. The tricky steps pleased, but it will do longer term


the government are trying to pull off is that home-buyers might be so


grateful for the opportunity to buy their own homes that they reward the


Government with the vote, while at the same time the Government tries


to sidestep consequences that such a scheme might create.


Now Conservative MP Margot James, and Allister Heath, editor of City


AM, go head to head. It is said by the critics that this


scheme will cause a housing bubble. Where is the evidence? House prices


are more varied. Housing not just in London remains overvalued and the


problem with this scheme is that it will pump up house prices, it will


not increase the supply and therefore houses will become even


more overvalued. That is a dangerous territory, last time it ended in


tears, and now the Government is taking on the risk of that policy.


What do you say to that? We have a real problem, it takes people on


average until they are 38 years old until they can buy their own


property. The problem is not that they cannot afford it, but they


cannot afford the deposit. We have got to do something to allow people


to get their feet on the property ladder and I don't agree it will


cause a boom in house prices. It would if we were not building any


new houses, but we are. Are you? We have had a record this year, 12


months to right now, the record for the last ten years. These are not


the statistics I have seen, but the new supply is coming up. It is


the statistics I have seen, but the starting to creep up. We don't see


enough house building, need to build more houses and that is a solution


to this problem. You are right, people cannot afford to buy homes


and the reason is there are not enough good quality homes in the


right places. The reason the deposits are so high is because


house prices are still too high, and secondly the Government has passed


laws to make the banking system more prudent, telling them to put more


money aside in case things go wrong. Now suddenly the Government


is not happy with the outcome of its own rules and is trying to create


these subsidies to circumvent the rules it has put in place. It is not


a subsidy. Don't forget banks have to pay a charge in order to take


a subsidy. Don't forget banks have part in this loan scheme and that


the... You are guaranteeing the money. Yes, but the fear is worked


out on a commercial basis. The taxpayer is protected. Why? You are


guaranteeing £12 billion worth of mortgages per year. Yes but the


change in the whole mortgage basis has been made a few years ago in


response of the crash. They made the distressed test on people applying


response of the crash. They made the for mortgages much higher and you


have to be able to repay at twice... So it will not be like


these self certification mortgages handed out in America that caused


the sub-prime crisis? Pigment bit like that but the banks are rightly


asking for bigger deposits, they know there is a big chance house


prices could fall if interest rates will go up, which they will


eventually, so they are demanding bigger deposits. The Government is


making sure the risk of circumventing this is being passed


making sure the risk of on to the taxpayers which is why it


is a dangerous policy. Instead they should be massively accelerating


house-building. Which we are. Planning permission is much easier


to get now, we have seen a 49% increase in planning permission for


a new building over the last year, a huge increase. In the figures I saw


recently, they showed new start in the 12 months to the autumn were


only about 110,000 which is the figure you inherited, which was at


an all-time low in 2010. New house built in the last quarter are third


up on the time last year. You have got to give a chance for the


relaxation of planning laws and the other policies the Government put


into effect last year to take effect and it is coming through now. I


agree, if we weren't building more houses, if the construction sector


was not really ready to take advantage of the increased demand,


there would be a risk. David Cameron says you are snob and it is only


snobs who dislike Help To Buy. They don't have the bank of mum and dad,


people like that will finally get on the housing ladder. That is complete


nonsense. We need a sustainable housing market where there is a


large amount of construction, like in the 1930s for example, where


large numbers of proper family homes were being built for people. House


prices were pushed down and people could afford houses. You are now


encouraging people to take out a 95% mortgage, I thought that was a bad


idea, so supposing interest rates go up by a lot, I am going to


struggle, and supposing house prices fall by more than 5%, I am now faced


with negative equity and soaring interest rates that I cannot afford.


95% mortgage, if you can afford the repayments, you will be fine. What


happens when interest rates rise? They have got to rise a lot before


you get into trouble. People are already affording rent which is a


lot higher than mortgage payments. You will not be able to get into


this scheme unless you can afford repayments double what they are at


the moment. The Conservatives should have been enjoying the media


limelight last week but there was an unwelcome intruder in the shape of a


row between Ed Miliband and the Daily Mail. Just over a week ago the


Daily Mail printed an article claiming that Ed Miliband's Father


Ralph hated Britain. They showed a picture of his father's gravestone


with the caption, grave socialist. They then removed the photo and gave


Ed Miliband the right to reply on the Tuesday edition, but also


printed an editorial alongside it saying they stood by every word they


published an fair headline. It also emerged in the week that the


reporter had gate-crashed a private memorial service for Ed Miliband's


uncle in a London hospital, for which the paper has now apologised,


but Ed Miliband has called on the Daily Mail owner to take a long,


hard look at the way his papers are run. This comes a week before a new


system of press regulation is run. This comes a week before a new


considered at the Privy Council. Joining us now from Hull, John


Prescott. Does this row between Ed Miliband and the Daily Mail


reinforce the case for tough, new regulation of the press? It


certainly influences the opinion about that but that is more of Paul


Dacre's doing. Ed Miliband rang me while I was in Strasbourg making


sure my complaints were nothing to do with press regulation and he is


right. This argument is not about politicians and media people, it is


about ordinary people that love this and dealt with. All of these cases


affected individual people and they are the ones that need to have


justice in this matter. Next week we will be hearing whether the Privy


Council will be reporting on the proposal to replace it. Are you


agreeing then that what the mail did with its Miliband article was a


matter of judgement? Yes, and the with its Miliband article was a


Leveson inquiry came to the conclusion that the relationship


between the press, the police and politicians should be governed, but


this is about how you have a framework that can be fair to


everyone. If you look at the proposal given by half the press


industry that that does not meet the Leveson requirement and I suspect


the Privy Council this week will have to reject that, and I hope it


will because it is not consistent with the Leveson report which the


Prime Minister said he supported. You attacked the mail in your column


today but your paper went through the Cameron family bins to see what


nappies they used for their disabled son. Isn't that far more offensive


than what the Daily Mail wrote about Ralph Miliband? It probably is, I


couldn't defend that. I have had reporters going through my bins.


couldn't defend that. I have had Haven't we all? Yes, but we are


dealing with the judgement of editors who acts unilaterally. Paul


Dacre is running this thing in the Mail. How can we accept their


Dacre is running this thing in the judgement and some accountability


which the press have accepted the old PCC is no good. They are playing


for time because if they reject it this week there is 12 months until


you can consider a parliamentary alternative and then you are near


the election and you begin to bully the leaders. That is how they have


been successful in putting off recommendations. Maybe my memory is


fading but did you or anybody else in the Labour Party object to the


Sunday Mirror's behaviour? I didn't know about it. I would just say it


is wrong if that is what they did. As you said, you have the same


position when they go through your rubbish bins, I think that is wrong.


We have Leveson set up by the Prime Minister to look at the cultures and


practices and the unilateral action of editors and he came forward with


a proposal that was agreed in Parliament under a compromise of the


Royal Charter. I don't like a Royal Charter, it is not democratic


frankly, but we have agreed to go along with it so why did the


Government set up in charge at the same time rushed through the press


box? It looks like a fix, like they are using the Royal Charter as a


means of delaying everything. They have now said they are going to


introduce their own independent charter. This industry does not want


to face up to any form of accountability. We know Alistair


Campbell and Ed Miliband's officers accountability. We know Alistair


are working closely on the assault of the Mail. What is the endgame for


this? Is it the head of Paul Dacre? He is not an acceptable character to


me, and he needs to be taking account. When Ed Miliband rang me it


was to say, don't let these arguments drift into press


regulation, he wanted the argument of decency. Are you and Ed Miliband


after Paul Dacre's head? No, he can stay there. It is like with Murdoch,


after Paul Dacre's head? No, he can we were not attacking him but what


is papers were doing. To that extent, what they are doing about


is papers were doing. To that ordinary people, not just big


politicians who can look after themselves. We know, with the bad


cases he had to deal with, they might get libel action, which the


press say, but they pretty well destroyed their lives. That is about


judgment. If you say, as Paul Dacre got good


What is the endgame in this? Whether the Labour Party is trying to make


this an issue of press regulation or not, that is where it is going.


Pretty soon the privy Council will discuss the issue of press


regulation, before the end of the year. The question is, what is the


impact on the various political partiesmy hunch is that the total


political impact of the Levinson enquiry over the past several years


is close to zero, because most voters don't care and those who do


care tends to believe that all parties are roughly equally


complicit in being too close to editors. You said that the claims


that Adam Afriyie was a Labour maul -- mole, this has been a dream for


Ed Miliband. I am taking on Murdoch, the energy companies, and now the


evil Daily Mail! Are used to work for the Daily Mail, so I have to


take that into account. When they printed the right of reply, they


surrounded it with a big two fingers up at him. If they hadn't done


that, they probably would not be in the position they are in now. The


poll in the Sunday Times this morning shows that most people think


the Daily Mail was wrong. If you defend your dad, people will


naturally do this, but it took all the coverage away from the Tory


conference. The media likes covering itself and here it is doing it


again. This has been a dream for Ed Miliband. The political significance


of this is that David Cameron said that he wanted to try to find some


common ground between the three party Royal Charter and the


so-called press Royal Charter which is half of the press industry which


has signed up to it. The Daily Mail has ensured that the Prime Minister


will not be able to do that. What will happen this week is that the


press Royal Charter has to be considered first. That will probably


be rejected. Then what will happen is the three party Royal Charter in


will come up, but meanwhile there will still be a press regulatory


body because the Royal Charter is not a proper statutory underpinning


and they will therefore be able to go ahead with that. Basically, it


will all just go into the long grass and it will be an impasse that will


probably not be resolved. That you say that nobody much cares about


this outside of our profession. My point is that this has been great


politics for Ed Miliband. Is only great politics if he scores a


relative victory, if he's seen to be pure than the other party leaders.


There is little evidence of that so far. I take your point about the


poll that shows people are sympathetic to him. He says that, I


am the chap who stands up a vested interest. That all the vested


interests he stands up to people you would expect a left-wing politician


to want to take on, Murdoch, the mail and so on. It is about who he


has stated before, who is his father. Maybe people thought of him


as a Marxist and now people think of him as a hero. It is approaching


11:35am. You are watching the Sunday Politics.


Good morning and welcome to Sunday Politics Scotland. Coming up, how


the cost of living issue could cost the political parties. They have all


been anxious to address the problem. The next Labour government will


freeze gas and electricity prices until the start of 2017. Can I


recall a measure introduced by a leader of a major political party in


the UK which has received such widespread and utter and total


condemnation? ! I see that the Labour Party has stopped talking


about fuel prices and energy prices and now they are talking about the


cost of living prices, as if one was not directly related to the other.


So with the pound in your pocket seeming to drain away, how are you


being affected by the cost of living, and is it a crisis? I didn't


think, when I was retired, I thought I would be comfortable. I own my


house and I have no mortgage. I am still struggling.


Hello. The Prime Minister talked about it, Holyrood debated it and Ed


Miliband even mentioned it in a letter of complaint to the Mail on


Sunday. Yes, the cost of living has dominated debate. It probably stems


from so-called Red Ed's pledge to freeze energy prices. So how can


politicians address the problem, and who is to blame anyway? Here's Niall


O'Gallagher's take on the week's events.


Counting the cost. Inverness man Eddie Collins keeps a close eye on


the energy users. He has to do. Armed with his latest meter


reading, Eddie scours the internet for the best deals. Prices keep


rising, but as a pensioner, his income is fixed. Every penny counts.


I monitor my costs monthly, and also in between the months and I do a


forecast once a week to get a meeting -- a reading and I put it


into the computer and it gives me a forecast of what I will need for the


end of the month. The pressure on consumers is pushing up the


political temperature. Ed Miliband wants to see prices capped. But his


opponents say the government should get out of the control room. The


energy promise, they admitted 24 hours later they would not be able


to keep it. It is all sticking plasters and quick fixes, together


for the cameras. Read Ed and his blue Peter economy. Will the


Minister simply match that commitment for his preferred


separate Scotland and you regulator? Never can I recall a


measure introduced by a leader of a major political party in the UK


which has received such widespread utter and total condemnation as


being completely unworkable! Ministers seemed complete the aware


he was trashing the idea of a cap as Ministers seemed complete the aware


they made their way into the chamber for first ministers questions.


Later, the Scotsman said their expert commission could look at the


Labour proposed freeze to. Today, we saw Fergus Ewing give the game away.


None of you agree with it and you on the side of the energy companies and


not on the side of ordinary people. I thought I would be more


comfortable when I was retired. I own my house and I have no mortgage.


I'm still struggling. Eddie expects prices to keep going up and is


sceptical about the ability of politicians to pin the energy


companies back. Labour think this is fertile ground for them, as they


pursue their cost of living agenda. The question for voters is whether


pruning prices will help coax the economy back to growth or stop the


green shoots from breaking through. I'm joined now in the studio by


Stewart Maxwell. He is an SNP MSP. From Edinburgh we have Scottish


Labour's finance spokesman Ian Gray and his counterpart from the


Conservatives, Gavin Brown. The SNP split over energy price freeze, that


was in the headlines this week. Is there a split in the SNP over Ed


Miliband's plans to freeze energy prices? There is no split, I know


the papers enjoy that kind of thing, but there is no split. We are


focused on trying to reduce household bills in Scotland. It is


an interesting idea for Labour to freeze energy prices, but the


problem they face if they have published no information or evidence


or background research, so we have no idea whether that is feasible or


not. Is an interesting that -- idea, and we all want to see a full


analysis. Yes, but many senior people both in the industry and the


Labour Party have said that, frankly, they doubt it is even


workable or can even be in demented. There are clear problems with the


policy they have put forward. We are focusing on what we can do and we


have made sure that, for example, we have frozen council tax. That will


save the average household in Scotland £1200 by the end of this


Parliament. Labour's energy policy, even if it is implementable, would


only save £120. So we are doing much more already through this proposal.


£120 is a lot of money for a lot of people. In principle, would you


welcome this policy? If you could sort out some of the tweaks here and


there, would you like a policy to freeze energy prices if you could


work one? Absolutely, we welcome the principle of keeping all household


bills down, which is why we have scrapped tuition fees, prescription


charges and bridge tolls. The point is that we have put this whole


policy, as well as other things to do with energy regulation, into an


expert commission. Let's not three judge the work of the expert


commission. It into the long grass? Not at all. They will get energy


regulation and not with whether or not this is a workable policy.


Frankly, we have not had any evidence from Labour that it is. The


Scottish government has sent this to an expert commission and will look


at it in more detail than just an off-the-cuff announcement at


conference. Is this policy workable? It is workable and there


is nothing off-the-cuff about it. It is not just about the energy


crisised price freeze -- energy price freeze. We want to introduce a


more open wholesale market, but also a strong regulator will stop in


Parliament this week, Fergus Ewing did not say that he did not believe


it was possible to freeze energy prices, he also said that an


independent Scotland might see an independent regulator. I know that


Stuart is keen to say there is no split, but call me old-fashioned,


but Fergus Ewing is this deck -- government's energy minister, and if


he says this policy is impossible and they will not pursue it, surely


that is the policy of the Scottish government. So either we stay part


of the United Kingdom and benefit from a freeze in energy prices and a


strong regulator he then continued to regulate those unfair prices, or


we going to an independent Scotland with Fergus Ewing's policy of


allowing energy companies to continue to put their prices up


willy-nilly. I think we heard from the energy companies, he thought the


policy was unworkable. Fergus Ewing was giving some examples from


California where a similar policy had catastrophic consequences. Let


me address the California example. It is ridiculous. The reason the


California energy market collapsed and had blackouts was not because


there were controls on prices, but because the energy market was run by


Enron, who illegally manipulated the market to create energy shortages.


Unless Fergus Ewing is suggesting that the SNP in an independent


Scotland will let Enron run our energy markets, that is simply not


going to happen. I think that example, it really shows you how


desperate the SNP are to rubbish the policy because they know they are on


the wrong side of this, on the side of the energy companies is set off


on the side of hard-pressed consumers. 900,000 households in


Scotland live in fuel poverty. That is the side we are on. They are on


the side of the energy companies. Stewart Maxwell, a quick response


from you. That is clearly nonsense. I have already pointed out that we


are saving the average house or in Scotland ten times more through


council tax freezing than through Labour's energy policy. Even Lord


Mandelson has said this policy is unworkable. Let's that the expert


commission have a go at this. I want to bring in Gavin Brown from the


Conservatives. You are sitting on the sidelines on this debate, but Ed


Miliband was really quite a fright for the Prime Minister when he made


his promise. His poll ratings shot up and Mr Cameron was forced to


address it in his conference speech. The idea of reading an energy bill


is superficially attractive to consumers, but it is a short-term


measure and I think there would be quite serious long-term


implications. I would be concerned about the level of investment we


would see from companies across the board as we try to move towards a


low carbon economy. We already know that there is several hundred


billion pounds of infrastructure investment needed to keep the lights


on and in order to have a proper energy system in the future. I think


this would potentially damaging. I think there are other investments


you could take us are just giving greater powers to Ofgem and looking


into price mechanisms and looking into mis-selling, for example. The


energy bill itself will force energy companies to have the lowest


possible tariff for consumers. There are things that can be done, but


they do think that this policy of Mr Miliband is unworkable and I -- and


it will have damaging long-term publications -- implications. All


three of your parties are complicit in higher energy bills because of


the extra tariff levied for green renewable investment. One analysis


today in the Sunday Telegraph puts it at £425 in higher bills over the


next six years. Stewart Maxwell cup -- of the SNP, you need that


investment in green technology. Yes, and the investment will provide many


jobs going forward, and it will be a hugely important part of the


Scottish economy going forward. We must replace the carbon heavy fuels


that we use at the moment. Yes, we have to invest in it, and that is


one of the big questions about Labour's policy. What damaging


consequences would it have for the future of green energy? Ed Miliband


was the person who introduced the energy secretary -- green tariff as


energy secretary. We do need investment for the shift to


renewables. One of the lesser noticed aspects of Fergus Ewing's


intervention in Parliament was that he also described something that


would destroy the single integrated energy market in the United Kingdom,


so the cost you are referring to, instead of being spread between 60


million essential consumers in the UK might well for 5 million


consumers in Scotland, and that is a policy which we would certainly


think would put our energy bills up. The coalition government have not


done enough to tackle the high fuel bills. Had they are on the side of


vested interests. They are taking action, and the Conservatives


leaving balanced measures. We believe nuclear power needs to be a


part of the energy mix. That, of course, is low-carbon, and you would


not therefore need quite the same levels you would need under SNP


proposals. Let's look at other living costs


issues. We had a debate in Parliament this week where Labour


accused the Scottish governance of not doing enough to help people with


the cost of living. Frankly, that is nonsense. If we had had a Labour


the cost of living. Frankly, that is government in Scotland just now, we


would still have tuition fees and prescription charges. They were


having outstayed commission that would roll back all the progress


that has been made on free bus passes for the elderly and other


people, and we would not have had the council tax freeze that is


saving the average household £1200 by the time this car -- Parliament


is completed. We are doing everything we possibly can and we


have had over £260 million of investment over three years for


energy-saving measures. A lot of work is being done. Ian Gray from


Labour, it sounds like a shopping list to tackle the cost of living.


We have paid for cuts in services in many other ways. If this is the


SNP's approach to addressing the cost of living, it isn't working.


900,000 households in Scotland are in fuel poverty. That is increasing.


The way in which these things have been paid for, we demonstrated


through the week that this was because of the disappearance of £1


billion of anti-poverty programmes. You use that to do things like make


prescriptions free. My prescriptions are free now. That is not the way


you address the cost of living for those who are most seriously


affected. He talks about the investment the government are


making, but if we look at capital investment, the government refused


to make sure that the investment is creating local, high-quality,


full-time and permanent jobs. We support investment in the economy,


not investment in zero hours contract jobs. We need the Scottish


governance do far more on this. There was a debate through the


week... I want to get onto Gavin Brown. Mr Gray made the point about


targeted and universal benefits, but the fact is that universal benefits


are extremely popular with voters, although the Conservatives probably


want more targeted benefits. I think you need a blend of both. The


government needs to do to maximise here. We need to focus on the


economy and get the economy moving so that we can get people back into


work. We also need to look at specific measures that have been


highlighted as particularly challenging. The UK government, for


example, raised income tax threshold to £10,000, or it will be by April


next year. That takes hundreds of thousands of people out of tax


altogether and gives them more money in their pocket. Freezing the fuel


duty which has happened now for three years and it is hoped will go


on until the end of the Westminster Parliament, that puts money back


into people's pockets saving not just motorists, but also people in


rural areas, feeding into the general cost of the economy. And I


want to pick up with that point. And we saw the clip from the Prime


Minister at the start of the programme. In his conference speech,


he was talking about fixing macro economic stuff. He was wanting to


address the cost of living. Is this Labour 's problem that we are in


this mess in the first place? No, the Prime Minister has made a mess


of this. What about the figures we saw this week which showed that in


the last year, 500,000 Scottish people borrowed money to buy food.


That is the date basis. That is a problem people are facing BN, PO. It


is caused by the decisions made in both Westminster and Holyrood.


Freezing energy prices would be a start. I want to look at other


headlines. And you defence paper coming out on Tuesday. A warning


that an independent Scotland could not inherit the traditional


regiments. Philip Hammond has already said Scotland would inherit


its fair share of the assets, so let us put the scaremongering to bed. If


you are being faced by redundancy at the moment from the conservative


party and fill Howard Hammond is seen you will be sacked, or you


could join the Scottish defence Force and no redundancies will be


there, I think people will very proudly choose to serve any Scottish


defence force. Scaremongering from the Secretary of State for defence?


I think the point in the papers is that it is inherent on several


points. The simple carve up of Scottish regiments simply would not


be the case. It is up to serving personnel to decide what they would


want to do in the event of separation. But I has to be said


that Scotland would not get automatic entry into Natal. This is


another example of how the SNP prospective is based on wishful


thinking, for the let us to do with Europe, Natal or carving up Scottish


regiments. The applicant then they could do these things and it is a


dishonest prospectus to offer the population of Scotland.


So, that is what the politicians have to say. How are people really


coping with a definite decline in their living standards. In a moment,


we will explore what a couple of experts have to say on the matter,


but first, here is a look at life when bills are going up and money is


tight. Just over six years ago, we walled in cheap energy prices and


low interest rates. No, annual income is not matching expenditure.


As increasing numbers seek help, what are the asking about? Problems


with date and increasingly people not having the money to boot into


prepayment meters. They are getting extortion bells and one a date will


never be able to pay them. There are also other increasing pressures on


their income. The utility bills are going up and the food is going up.


The money they have got coming in, whether from jobs are benefits, is


getting cut and not going as far as it did even just a couple of years


ago. Things ain't what they used to be. Citizens advice Scotland seat


they saw a one third rise in people worried about energy bills.


Remarkably, there was a 87% rise in people asking about warm home


discount or in surely she areas. It shows how keen people are about the


energy bills. I am joined here in the studio by


Jim McCormick of the Rowntree Foundation and, in our Edinburgh


studio, by business and economics journalist Bill Jamieson. Thank you


for joining me. Jim, you are looking closely at the cost of living. What


is the snapshot pictures you are seen? Every year, we ask the British


public what would be an a basket of goods adequate for living. That


level of income that we have seen as a 25% increase in the cost of


essentials, the likes of food, energy and childcare. Given that


wages, tax credits and benefits have either stalled or been cut in


certain places, people on low to moderate incomes have been


struggling to keep the head above the water, in terms of the gap


between the income and living standards. It is right that


politicians should address this agenda. Bill Jamieson, you study the


cost of living a lot and rate about it a lot. Is this a picture you


recognise? I was it affecting different sectors of society, the


working class, the middle-class, to use the old labels. We are seeing


polarisation in the highest rate. We have seen figures from Tesco which


showed the dramatic fall in profits. People are going to the low-cost end


of shopping, such as liberals and other shops like that. At the top


end, there are great performances by the likes of Waitrose, who are doing


extraordinarily well. Luxury car sales are up 12%. Well it is right


to focus on the low end of the scale, whether as hardship, we are


seeing polarisation. That is an interesting point, the polarisation.


There is a gap between the well-off middle classes and the working


classes, but also the working brewer, actually. In Parliament this


week, we were hearing about people who are working going to food


banks. I think the scale of this surprises politicians of all


parties. When politicians are in opposition, they are very keen to


express opinions on this, but when they are in government, there has


never been a cop even responds to this. This not only refers to likes


of childcare, but if you are on EPA meter, you are paying a higher tire


tariffs, so people who have less choice as can tumours are the most


vulnerable. It is not just people out of work, but people and workers


well. The way the childcare market operates, we see very high cost, but


very patchy quality. The government needs to address not just energy,


but private rents and what is happening in childcare. Politicians


have to hear the complaints about the cost of living, so what do you


make of attempts made this week and the three gentlemen you have here


from. What you think of the attempts to address this? I do not think


there is a lot they can do in the image of town. I think we are in for


the long haul here. I think week the reason we are seeing this


polarisation I was talking about, for people who already have assets,


such as property or shearers in companies, they are doing very well.


The property boom raised the price of assets. If you do not have


assets, not a lot will happen for you. This will time to address. As I


missing, why we are seeing buoyant sales at the high end of the market.


On television tonight, we have seen a high end television drama queer


Tesco are taking advertising space in it. We're also seeing the


difference mortgage rates compare to the mortgage outgoings compared to


the 1980s and 1990s. That is a big difference for many households.


People who do not have assets are turning to payday loan lenders and


we will see will legislation about this to tighten up on that next


week. Although energy, companies would like customers to pick up the


phone and let them know when they are having problems paying bills,


more often than not, people will ignore any warning let us went to


these payday loans. We have the likes of help to buy schemes and


other payday lending licensing schemes. The question is how we do


this intelligently. The response from business from regulation, the


response was interesting. The big six energy companies took fright.


How can be what the semi-capitalist system where we regulate these


markets and to taxpayers have a raw deal? When you liked it utility


companies were privatised, we are still picking up the tab, paying for


higher real fears and energy prices? Yes, the joys of privatisation have


worn very thin. We have not seen the likes of competition that we hoped


we would see which would keep prices down. There is certainly a cause for


ramping up the regulatory muscle. There is a feeling that that one


will be in that industry for the likes of a year or 18 months before


regulation will stamp down on it. But we are faced with the vagaries


of energy prices, which are out with our control, as are the oil prices.


We are is the rate balance, the fear and efficient balance, between the


cost to the consumer and the government. People would argue that


we still have to get the balance right.


You are watching Sunday Politics Scotland from the BBC. We have still


got our look at the Week Ahead to come, with our two pundits, Gillian


Bowditch of The Sunday Times and Murray Ritchie, the former political


editor of The Herald. But first, let us cross to Alisdair Fraser for the


latest news from Reporting Scotland. Good afternoon. An investigation has


begun after two prison officers were injured during a disturbance


yesterday at Scotland's newest jail. The incident at Low Moss prison in


East Dunbartonshire lasted more than seven hours. It is understood that


only a small number of prisoners were involved.


A motorcyclist has died in a road accident in the Highlands. It


happened on the A87 Invergarry to Kyle of Lochalsh road near Bun Loyne


in the Highlands, just before five o'clock yesterday evening. The


51-year-old man has not been named. Some of the world's top athletes are


pounding the streets of Glasgow today in the Great Scottish Run.


Around 23,000 runners are taking part in the half-marathon and 10k


events. Olympic gold-medallist Kathleen Grainger started the event.


The route passes some of the city's most famous landmarks, iconic


buildings and Commonwealth Games venues. Late running engineering


works had delayed some runners travelling to the event by train,


but ScotRail say their service is back to normal.


Time now for a look at the weather with Judith.


Good afternoon. Quite a settled look to the weather, which is good news


for these runners that you were just seen. Some thick cloud across the


south-west, which will lead to rain in the likes of Galloway. Bails


particularly in the East of Scotland. Quite breezy along the


East Coast -- West Coast. That is all for now. Reporting


Scotland is back at 6.10pm. Thanks, Alisdair. It has been a busy


week in politics. Here is our look back at the past seven days in 60


seconds. Hundreds of patients in NHS client had their appointments


postponed GGA, future failure. Plans to close police stations out


for consultation. Upto 1000 new jobs are being created


in Scotland by a major call centre operator.


Tram testing starts next week in Edinburgh. Residents have been


warned to look out for them at junctions.


And the Scottish Green party's annual conference has been held in


Inverness. Delegates were told the party could play a key role in


convincing Scots to vote for independence in the referendum. We


do have to work harder to knock on more doors, to work with building


relationships with more voters, to persuade them to put across in the


box for the Green party. Let's turn our attention to the week


ahead with our pundits. I'm joined here in the studio by Jim


McCormick of the Rowntree Foundation, and in our Edinburgh


studio we have Bill Jamieson, the business and economics journalist.


Her bark -- I'm joined here in the studio by Gillian Bowditch of the


Sunday Times, and Murray Ritchie, the former Political Editor of the


Herald. What you think about the cost of living and what politicians


had to say? Very interesting to hear politicians speak on this subject.


What I think is that, superficially, it has attracted the idea of


controlling energy prices. In practice, there was little the


politicians can do. It is about wages and inflation and prices, and


they don't have the mechanism to make a big difference. What it comes


down to, you can freeze energy prices, but you can bet your bottom


dollar that the energy prices will prices, but you can bet your bottom


go up before the 20 month deadline and they will go up again at the end


of it. It is something that people are very concerned about, but what


the politicians have to do is ensure that the economy is in a state where


we are going to create general prosperity and wealth. It is tough


for the politicians, isn't it? Particularly those in the UK


government and Holyrood, it is difficult for them to address these


living cost issues. In the conference season, the party leaders


always look to the polls. They always want to try to find a comment


or a promise or a statement, something that will help their


or a promise or a statement, standing in the opinion polls. It


worked brilliantly for Ed Miliband. His comments on freezing energy were


brilliant, and the Prime Minister had to respond. He said that he


would control the cost of living, as though he could cost -- sap his


fingers and it would happen. As Gillian said, this is rhetoric and


not action. It frightens people like this and this time of year when we


are looking at polls and all the rest of it, they out in the real


world, I am not sure people respond to this greatly. People are looking


for real action. Yes, people are suffering. Compared to five years


ago, wages are suppressed and prices have gone up, so people really


notice it. The thing that has to happen is that the economy has to


get going. There is no point doing a huge amount about prices, you cannot


do that. But you can create prosperity so that people have more


money in their pockets and they have better paying jobs. That is where


the focus has to be. Let's turn our focus to the independence


referendum. The Greens have been having their conference in


Inverness. Murray, have you seen the role of the Greens in the


referendum? They were debating that, the story today was about an


apparent so-called split in the yes campaign and the Greenstone want the


pound. When I was convener of the independence convention after my


retirement, we invited the Greens join and they were hesitant. Some of


them supported independence and some supported devolution. They have


since embrace independence, but I think they were always worried that


this would be seen as an Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon and


venture, and even Labour voters would be kept to the side. It is


good to see the Greens emerging from this with their own policies and


they have very cogent arguments to make about how Scotland would be a


better place under independence environmentally. And Gillian, do you


think they are uneasy bedfellows with the SNP? Patrick Harvie has


always said that the form of independence being offered by SNP


and Alex Salmond is a deceptive form of independence. It is not that I


must -- it is not an honest form of independence. The Greens want to see


a radical form of independence, separating from the pound and the


monarchy and the state. It is all the things that Alex Salmond is


trying to fudge just now. Patrick Harvie has said that people have to


make this hard decision and cannot pretend it will be all things to all


people. That is where the fundamental difference is. The


Greens? Vision of independence would make Scotland, the cost of living


would go screaming up some of that policies were introduced. But


intellectually, it is a more honest version of independence. Murray, the


front page of the Scotland on Sunday today, MoD warns SNP on control of


unit after independence. This looks like it's coming out in a White


Paper on Tuesday. Does this complicate matters? They seem to be


saying that Scottish regiments would not be Scottish any more. Think


about that. All these guys in kilts playing bagpipes marching down the


street saying, we are an English regiment will sub it does not


compute. There will be questions to be settled. End the stories are


coming out, being churned out in Whitehall and Westminster and


saying, Scotland can't do this on that. We're going to get a lot more


of that. Their answers to all of these things. Only one question has


been settled so far and that is Europe. The yes campaign have won


the European debate hands down. We're not going to be thrown out of


Europe, we will be members of the European Union, and all that remains


is a negotiation about how much we pay for it. As for the rear -- rest


of it, there is still a debate going on. There is more debate and more


interested these papers coming out from the UK government. Is it


arrogant of the UK government to say, hang on, these are Scottish


regiments would be Scottish? It is to be critical, because the success


of Labour and Conservative governments have hacked Scottish


regiments right down. We have lost a lot of them over successive English


governments, so it is rich to come out and say you're going to lose the


Black Watch. However, having said that, defensive a big issue, it is a


lot of jobs are a huge part of Scottish life. I think that to


recreate a defence industry for Scotland or the whole issue of


defence is going to be extremely costly, when we do actually have


something that works quite well just now. And finally, the Cabinet


reshuffle. The former defence secretary Liam Fox, rumours of a


Cabinet reshuffle on Monday or Tuesday. Murray, do you think Liam


Fox will make a reappearance in government? I haven't the faintest


idea is! I imagine he must come back sometime, and Philip Hammond is not


the most popular defence secretary we have ever had. He was even booed


at the Tory conference. And Gillian? What is interesting about


the reshuffle is the potential for women in government. Liz truss and


Karen Bradley may start to move into more senior jobs. It may be a


welcome change to see some more women around the table. And talk of


one planning Minister he might go. He was bored of speeding about


planning applications! Thank you very much.


That is all from as this week. We are back at the same time next week.


From all others on the Sunday Politics Scotland team, enjoyed


afternoon. Goodbye.


Political magazine presented by Andrew Neil and Andrew Kerr.

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