30/10/2016 Sunday Politics Scotland


30/10/2016

With guests Iain Duncan Smith, Chi Onwurah and Haras Rafiq of the Quilliam Foundation. Isabel Oakeshott, Steve Richards and Tim Shipman are on the political panel.


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Transcript


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Morning folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics.

:00:36.:00:39.

Theresa May says she wants to help people who are

:00:40.:00:41.

"just about managing" - so should she reverse

:00:42.:00:44.

George Osborne's cuts to benefits that are supposed to help people

:00:45.:00:47.

Prominent London Imam Shakeel Begg is an extremist speaker,

:00:48.:00:53.

says the High Court, after claims made on this programme.

:00:54.:00:57.

So why is Mr Begg still being allowed to advise the Police?

:00:58.:01:02.

Hillary Clinton fights back over the FBI's renewed investigation

:01:03.:01:06.

into her use of a private email server - is this the boost

:01:07.:01:10.

Donald Trump needed to reignite his chances of winning the White House?

:01:11.:01:14.

We'll be asking the Scottish Government's Higher Education

:01:15.:01:19.

minister how she plans to ensure students from poorer backgrounds

:01:20.:01:22.

And haunting the studio on this Halloween weekend,

:01:23.:01:34.

the most terrifying political panel in the business -

:01:35.:01:36.

Tim 'Ghost' Shipman, 'Eerie' Isabel Oakeshott and

:01:37.:01:40.

First this morning, two new models of car to be built,

:01:41.:01:48.

securing 7,000 jobs at the car plant in Sunderland and a further 28,000

:01:49.:01:51.

The news from Nissan on Thursday was seized on by Leave campaigners

:01:52.:01:58.

as evidence that the British economy is in rude health

:01:59.:02:00.

This morning, the Business Secretary, Greg Clark, was asked

:02:01.:02:04.

what assurances were given to the Japanese firm's bosses

:02:05.:02:08.

Well, it's in no-one's the interest for there to be tariff

:02:09.:02:14.

barriers to the continent and vice versa.

:02:15.:02:19.

So, what I said is that our objective would be to ensure that we

:02:20.:02:23.

have continued access to the markets in Europe and vice versa, without

:02:24.:02:28.

tariffs and without bureaucratic impediments.

:02:29.:02:32.

That is how we will approach those negotiations.

:02:33.:02:35.

We're joined now from Newcastle by the Shadow Business

:02:36.:02:38.

Welcome to the programme. Labour has been a bit sceptical about this

:02:39.:02:51.

Nissan decision. Can we begin by making it clear just what a great

:02:52.:02:55.

achievement this is, above all for the workers of Sunderland who have

:02:56.:03:01.

some of the highest productivity in the world, have never been on strike

:03:02.:03:05.

for 30 years, and produce cars of incredible quality. This is their

:03:06.:03:12.

victory, isn't it? Andrew, you are absolutely right. The Nissan plant

:03:13.:03:15.

in Sunderland is among the most productive in the world. The workers

:03:16.:03:20.

of Nissan are amongst the most productive as well. And it's really

:03:21.:03:27.

a victory for them and for the trade unions and the business

:03:28.:03:29.

organisations, and everybody who campaigned to make sure that the

:03:30.:03:32.

government couldn't ignore their future. It's our future. I'm the MP

:03:33.:03:40.

for Newcastle. It makes a huge difference to the region. We are a

:03:41.:03:43.

region that still likes to make things that work. It is a huge part

:03:44.:03:46.

of our advanced manufacturing sector. So it's really something we

:03:47.:03:53.

welcome as well as the job security. I'm glad we have got that on the

:03:54.:03:58.

record from the Labour shadow business secretary. But your Shadow

:03:59.:04:02.

Chancellor, John McDonnell, claims the government is ignoring

:04:03.:04:06.

manufacturers and cares only about a small banking elite. In what way is

:04:07.:04:11.

safeguarding 30,000 industrial jobs in the North safeguarding a

:04:12.:04:15.

financial elite? As I said, we're really pleased that the campaigning

:04:16.:04:20.

by trade unions and the workforce, and business organisations, meant

:04:21.:04:23.

the government felt they couldn't ignore Nissan workers. Let's also be

:04:24.:04:27.

clear that we want that kind of job security for all of those working in

:04:28.:04:31.

manufacturing and in other sectors as well. And sweetheart deals for

:04:32.:04:36.

one company, no matter how important they are, that does not an

:04:37.:04:42.

industrial strategy make. Why'd you say it is a sweetheart deal? Greg

:04:43.:04:49.

Clark told the BBC this morning that what was assured to Nissan is an

:04:50.:04:51.

assurance he gives to the whole industrial sector? I was really

:04:52.:04:56.

pleased to see Greg Clark felt he had to say something, even though

:04:57.:05:02.

it's sad that we having our industrial strategy, you like, or

:05:03.:05:07.

our approach to Brexit delivered piecemeal to the media rather than

:05:08.:05:12.

to the British people and Nissan, actually. But he want published the

:05:13.:05:16.

letter. He said he has told us what is in the letter and that

:05:17.:05:20.

reassurances given on training, on science and on supporting the supply

:05:21.:05:25.

chain for the automated sector. You must be in favour all -- of all of

:05:26.:05:31.

that? We are in favour of an industrial strategy. Greg Clark,

:05:32.:05:36.

unlike Sajid Javid, cannot say industrial strategy. I'm still

:05:37.:05:42.

puzzling to find out what it is you disagree with. Let me put the

:05:43.:05:47.

question. You said the assurances he has given to Nissan are available to

:05:48.:05:53.

the car manufacturing sector in general and indeed to industry in

:05:54.:05:58.

general. What is your problem with that? Two things. Let him publish

:05:59.:06:03.

the letter so we can see that, let him have the transparency he's

:06:04.:06:09.

pretending to offer. But also, we need an industrial strategy that

:06:10.:06:13.

joined. He talked about electric joined. He talked about electric

:06:14.:06:20.

cars and supporting green cars. That was in regard to Nissan. At the same

:06:21.:06:25.

time the government has slashed support for other areas of green

:06:26.:06:30.

technology. So what is it? That is not to do with the Nissan deal.

:06:31.:06:37.

Labour implied at some stage there was some financial inducement, some

:06:38.:06:40.

secret bribes, that doesn't seem to be the case. You are not claiming

:06:41.:06:45.

that any more -- any more. Then you claimed it was a sweetheart deal for

:06:46.:06:49.

one company. That turns out not to be the case. What criticism are you

:06:50.:06:57.

left with on this Nissan deal? I would be really surprised if all

:06:58.:07:02.

that Nissan got was the reassurances that Greg Clark is shared with us.

:07:03.:07:06.

He didn't answer the question of what happens if we can't get

:07:07.:07:12.

continued tariff free access to the single market, if we are not within

:07:13.:07:15.

the single market or the Customs Union. Do you really think a

:07:16.:07:21.

negotiator like Nissan, who are very good at negotiating, they would have

:07:22.:07:25.

excepted making this significant investment without some further

:07:26.:07:30.

reassurances? Do you think there is some kind of financial bride and if

:07:31.:07:34.

so what is the evidence? I would like to see the letter published and

:07:35.:07:38.

I would also like to understand what would happen... There are 27

:07:39.:07:43.

countries which need to agree with the deal we have from Brexit. What

:07:44.:07:49.

will Nissan, how will Nissan remain competitive? How will the automotive

:07:50.:07:54.

industry remain competitive? Greg Clark says he reassured them on

:07:55.:07:59.

that. But how will that be so if we do not get access? We haven't heard

:08:00.:08:07.

anything about that. He talks about reassurances given to Nissan. We

:08:08.:08:11.

need to make -- to know where we're going to make sure Brexit is in the

:08:12.:08:15.

interest of all workers, not only those who work for a Nissan and not

:08:16.:08:19.

only those who can get the attention of Greg Clark. He assured Nissan

:08:20.:08:25.

that Britain would remain a competitive place to do business.

:08:26.:08:29.

That was the main assurance he gave them. He would help with skills and

:08:30.:08:32.

infrastructure and all the rest. Since you are -- intend to repeal

:08:33.:08:38.

the trade union laws that have made strikes in Britain largely a thing

:08:39.:08:42.

of the past, and you plan to raise corporation tax, you couldn't give

:08:43.:08:44.

Nissan the same assurance, could you? We could absolutely give Nissan

:08:45.:08:51.

the assurance that we will be, our vision of the future of the UK, is

:08:52.:08:54.

based on having a strong manufacturing sector. Repealing

:08:55.:09:07.

trade union laws? As we have seen at Nissan, the industrial sector is

:09:08.:09:10.

dependent on having highly trained, well skilled workers. -- highly

:09:11.:09:16.

skilled, well-trained. You don't have that by getting -- having an

:09:17.:09:22.

aggressive policy and trade union laws or by slashing corporation tax

:09:23.:09:26.

and not supporting manufacturing investment. Remember, the last

:09:27.:09:29.

government took away the Manufacturing allowances which

:09:30.:09:35.

supported Manufacturing and slashed corporation tax. That is their

:09:36.:09:39.

solution. It is a low tax, low skill economy they want.

:09:40.:09:45.

Thank you. Sorry I had to rush you. I'm grateful for you joining us.

:09:46.:09:49.

I'm still struggling to see what is left of Labour's criticism? Yeah,

:09:50.:09:57.

except for this. This was a valid point she just made. What we know

:09:58.:10:01.

for sure is that Greg Clark could say to Nissan, my aim is to get

:10:02.:10:07.

tariff free deal. There is no way he could guarantee that. None of us

:10:08.:10:11.

know that. I don't think that was enough. I think clearly there was a

:10:12.:10:19.

more detailed package involving training and other things. He has

:10:20.:10:23.

acknowledged this, albeit we do not know the precise mechanism. What I

:10:24.:10:27.

think is interesting about this is if you reverse what happened this

:10:28.:10:30.

week, at a time when the government says Britain is open for business

:10:31.:10:33.

and it is going to have an industrial strategy, so far it is a

:10:34.:10:38.

bit vaguely defined. Nissan hadn't made this commitment. Imagine what

:10:39.:10:43.

would have happened? It is an impossible scenario. The government

:10:44.:10:46.

seems to me was obliged to make sure this didn't happen. Let's not forget

:10:47.:10:52.

Nissan has invested hundreds of millions in the north-east. It has

:10:53.:10:56.

been a huge success story. When I spoke to workers from Nissan, they

:10:57.:11:00.

were so proud because they went to Japan to teach the Japanese had to

:11:01.:11:04.

be more productive. The idea that Nissan was just going to walk away

:11:05.:11:08.

from this given its track record, its importance, wasn't really

:11:09.:11:13.

credible. The government had some bargaining chips. Absolutely, of

:11:14.:11:17.

course they weren't going to walk away. The majority of people in the

:11:18.:11:22.

area in which Nissan is braced -- based, voted for Brexit. Nissan

:11:23.:11:27.

knows it is in a powerful position because it is an emotive sector.

:11:28.:11:30.

Clearly the government didn't want to have some big showdown. I

:11:31.:11:34.

honestly don't think this is a smoking gun. The Labour Shadow

:11:35.:11:40.

minister really struggled to articulate what exactly she thinks

:11:41.:11:43.

the government is hiding. I think the reassurances were given were

:11:44.:11:48.

pretty anodyne, really. They were anodyne and general. And what Greg

:11:49.:11:51.

Clark was setting out was an objective and he made the right

:11:52.:11:55.

noises, and Nissan exercised its right to sabre rattle. It does have

:11:56.:11:59.

a history of doing that. The one thing that would now be clear given

:12:00.:12:04.

Greg Clark's performance this morning on the BBC, is that if we

:12:05.:12:07.

were to discover some kind of financial incentive directly linked

:12:08.:12:12.

to this investment, not more for skills or infrastructure, that is

:12:13.:12:17.

fine, but some direct financial investment, compensation for

:12:18.:12:20.

tariffs, which would be illegal under World Trade Organisation

:12:21.:12:23.

rules, what you might call a financial bride, the sect -- the

:12:24.:12:28.

business Secretary's position would be untenable? He would be in a very

:12:29.:12:33.

difficult position indeed. Just released the letter. There is

:12:34.:12:37.

nothing to hide. Put it out there. The most revealing thing is that

:12:38.:12:40.

people are getting wildly excited about the fact Greg Clark announced

:12:41.:12:45.

Britain's negotiating position would be that we would like tariff free

:12:46.:12:50.

trade with Europe. This is regarded as an insight into what this comment

:12:51.:12:53.

is doing and it says a great deal about how little we have been told

:12:54.:12:55.

in Parliament and the media about what they are up. Do you think it is

:12:56.:13:01.

exciting we are going for tariff free trade? We're easily excited

:13:02.:13:08.

these days. We don't know. This is where these things are at such a

:13:09.:13:13.

tentative phase. We don't know how the rest of the European Union is

:13:14.:13:16.

going to respond to Britain's negotiating hand. We know Britain

:13:17.:13:24.

once the best of everything, please. It is a starting point. But that is

:13:25.:13:30.

not how it is going to end up. We are getting wider than that. We have

:13:31.:13:31.

will have to see. Now, Universal Credit,

:13:32.:13:33.

a single payment made to welfare claimants that would roll together

:13:34.:13:35.

a plethora of benefits whilst encouraging people into work

:13:36.:13:38.

by making work pay. But have cuts to the flagship

:13:39.:13:41.

welfare scheme reduced work incentives and hit the incomes

:13:42.:13:43.

of the least well-off? Well, some of the government's

:13:44.:13:48.

own MPs think so, and, as Mark Lobel reports,

:13:49.:13:50.

want the cuts reversed. Theresa May says she wants

:13:51.:13:57.

a country that works for everyone, that's on the side

:13:58.:14:00.

of ordinary, working people. It means never writing off people

:14:01.:14:04.

who can work and consigning them to a life on benefits,

:14:05.:14:07.

but giving them the chance to go out and earn a living and to enjoy

:14:08.:14:10.

the dignity that comes But now some in her party

:14:11.:14:13.

are worried that the low earners will be hit by changes

:14:14.:14:19.

to Universal Credit benefit system originally set up to encourage

:14:20.:14:24.

more people into work. We also need to focus tax credits

:14:25.:14:26.

and Universal Credit Concern centred on the Government's

:14:27.:14:29.

decision in the July 2015 budget to find ?3 billion worth of savings

:14:30.:14:36.

from the Universal Credit bill. Conservative MP Heidi Allen

:14:37.:14:45.

is working on a campaign to get MPs in her party to urge

:14:46.:14:48.

the Prime Minister to think again. I want her to understand for herself

:14:49.:14:56.

what the outcomes might be if we press ahead

:14:57.:14:58.

with the Universal Credit, Do you think Theresa May, right now,

:14:59.:15:00.

understands what you understand? To be fair, unless you really

:15:01.:15:05.

get into the detail, and I have through my work

:15:06.:15:07.

on the Work and Pensions Select Committee, I don't

:15:08.:15:10.

think anybody does. Independent economic analysts

:15:11.:15:12.

at the IFS agree with Heidi Alan that cuts to Universal Credit weaken

:15:13.:15:18.

incentives to work. One of the key parts

:15:19.:15:22.

of the Universal Credit system That is how much you can

:15:23.:15:24.

earn before your credit As the Government has

:15:25.:15:28.

sought to save money, both under the Coalition and now

:15:29.:15:31.

they Conservative Government, both under the Coalition and now

:15:32.:15:33.

the Conservative Government, that work allowance has been cut,

:15:34.:15:35.

time and time again. The biggest cuts happened

:15:36.:15:38.

in the summer budget of 2015. That basically reduces the amount

:15:39.:15:40.

of earnings you get to keep It weakens the incentive people have

:15:41.:15:43.

to move into work. What do changes to the Universal

:15:44.:15:46.

Credit system mean? The Resolution Foundation think-tank

:15:47.:15:48.

has crunched the numbers. If you compare what would have

:15:49.:15:51.

happened before the July 2015 summer budget to what will happen by 2020,

:15:52.:15:55.

even if you take into account gains in the National Living Wage

:15:56.:15:59.

and income tax cuts, recipients will be hit

:16:00.:16:01.

by annual deductions. Couples and parents would receive,

:16:02.:16:06.

on average, ?1000 less. A dual-earning couple with two

:16:07.:16:09.

children under four, with one partner working full-time

:16:10.:16:11.

on ?10.50 an hour and the other working part-time on the minimum

:16:12.:16:14.

wage for around 20 hours a week, they would

:16:15.:16:17.

receive ?1800 less. Hit most by the changes

:16:18.:16:24.

would be a single parent with a child under four,

:16:25.:16:27.

working full-time I think, if I'm honest,

:16:28.:16:28.

it is unrealistic, given the economic climate,

:16:29.:16:42.

to expect everything to be reversed. What I would like to see

:16:43.:16:45.

is an increase in the work allowances to those people

:16:46.:16:51.

who will be hardest hit. That is single parents and second

:16:52.:16:54.

earners hoping to return to work, because they are the people we need

:16:55.:16:57.

to absolutely make The Sunday Politics understands that

:16:58.:16:59.

about 15 to 20 Conservative MPs are pushing for changes ahead

:17:00.:17:04.

of the Autumn Statement. A former cabinet minister told us

:17:05.:17:08.

that they believed further impact analysis should be done to find out

:17:09.:17:11.

if any mitigation measures Former Work and Pensions Secretary

:17:12.:17:14.

Iain Duncan Smith, an architect of the system, now says

:17:15.:17:20.

the cuts should be reversed. But his former department has told

:17:21.:17:25.

us that it has no plans to revisit the work allowance changes announced

:17:26.:17:29.

in the budget last year. What I would say to Heidi Allen

:17:30.:17:34.

and IDS, they got it right the first time and they should stick

:17:35.:17:38.

to the vote they cast last year, because these reforms actually

:17:39.:17:41.

do make sense. What interests me is the fact

:17:42.:17:42.

we are trying to move people off welfare into work,

:17:43.:17:45.

we are raising the wages people earn by massively increasing

:17:46.:17:48.

the minimum wage and this People are coming off

:17:49.:17:50.

welfare and into work. Campaigners are pushing for savings

:17:51.:17:53.

to come from other areas to relieve The other thing we have to start

:17:54.:17:56.

looking at is the triple Financially it has been a great

:17:57.:18:02.

policy, and it was absolutely right that we lifted pensioners

:18:03.:18:06.

who were significantly behind, for many years, in terms of income

:18:07.:18:08.

levels, but they have I think it is time for us to look

:18:09.:18:11.

at that policy again, because is costing us an awful

:18:12.:18:16.

lot of money. With just over three weeks to wait

:18:17.:18:18.

until the Conservative leadership's new economic plan is unveiled

:18:19.:18:21.

in the Autumn Statement, its top team is under pressure

:18:22.:18:24.

from within its own ranks to use it And I'm joined now by former Work

:18:25.:18:28.

and Pensions Secretary, Welcome back to the programme.

:18:29.:18:44.

Theresa May said she is on the side of the just managing, the working

:18:45.:18:49.

poor. But they are about to be hit from all sides. Their modest living

:18:50.:18:53.

standards are going to be squeezed as inflation overtakes pay rises,

:18:54.:18:56.

they will be further squeezed because top-up benefits in work are

:18:57.:19:00.

frozen. Incentives to work are going to be reduced by the cuts in

:19:01.:19:04.

universal benefits. So much for being on the side of those just

:19:05.:19:10.

managing? Theresa was right to focus on this group. The definition has to

:19:11.:19:17.

be the bottom half, in economic terms, of the social structure. It

:19:18.:19:20.

doesn't look good for them? This is the point I am making, it is an

:19:21.:19:24.

opportunity to put some of this right. One of the reasons I resigned

:19:25.:19:27.

in March is because I felt the direction of travel we had been

:19:28.:19:30.

going in had been to take far too much money out of that group of

:19:31.:19:34.

people when there are other areas which, if you need to make some of

:19:35.:19:38.

those savings, you can. The key bit is that the group needs to be helped

:19:39.:19:42.

through into work and encouraged to stay in work. There was a report

:19:43.:19:46.

done with the IFS, when we were there, at Universal Credit. It said

:19:47.:19:50.

Universal Credit rolled out, as it should have been before the cuts,

:19:51.:19:55.

people would be much more likely to stay in work longer and earn more

:19:56.:19:59.

money. It is a net positive, but that is now called into question.

:20:00.:20:04.

Let's unpick some of the detail, but first, do you accept the words of

:20:05.:20:07.

David Willets? It says on the basis of the things I read out to you that

:20:08.:20:12.

the just managing face a significant and painful cut in real terms if we

:20:13.:20:20.

continue on the way we are going. I do, in essence. That is the reason

:20:21.:20:27.

why I resigned. I felt Heidi raised that issue as well, that we got the

:20:28.:20:32.

balance wrong. It is right that pensioners get to a certain point,

:20:33.:20:35.

when they are on a level par, doing the right thing over five years.

:20:36.:20:41.

Staying with that process has cost us ?18 billion extra this year, in

:20:42.:20:49.

total. It will go on costing another 5 billion. Then there is the issue

:20:50.:20:54.

of tax allowances. I want to remind you and viewers what David Cameron

:20:55.:20:57.

told the Conservative conference in 2009. If you are a single mother

:20:58.:21:04.

with two children, earning ?150 a week, the withdrawal of your

:21:05.:21:09.

benefits and the additional taxes that you pay me on that for every

:21:10.:21:15.

extra you earn, you keep just 4p. What kind of incentive is that? 30

:21:16.:21:22.

years ago, this party won and election fighting against 98% tax

:21:23.:21:29.

rates for the Rex richest. I want us today to show even more anger about

:21:30.:21:35.

96% tax rates for the very poorest in our country. Real anger, and

:21:36.:21:41.

effective rate of over 90%. Universal Credit reduces that. Some

:21:42.:21:47.

will still face, as they lose benefits and pay tax, a marginal

:21:48.:21:52.

rate of over 75%. That is still too high? Yes, it is the collision

:21:53.:21:56.

between those going into work at the moment they start paying tax. A

:21:57.:22:00.

racial Universal Credit is set at 65%. You can call that the base

:22:01.:22:06.

marginal tax rate. 1.2 million will face 75%? That is the point about

:22:07.:22:11.

why the allowances are so important. The point about the allowances which

:22:12.:22:15.

viewers might not fully understand is that it was set, as part of

:22:16.:22:19.

Universal Credit, to allow you to get certain people, with certain

:22:20.:22:22.

difficulties, as they cross into work, to retain more benefit before

:22:23.:22:29.

it is tapered away as they go up in hours. A lone parent, who might have

:22:30.:22:33.

various issues, you want her to have a bigger incentive than a single

:22:34.:22:36.

person that does not have the same commitments. It is structured so

:22:37.:22:40.

that somebody who has difficulty going to work, they all have

:22:41.:22:43.

slightly different rates. What happened is that last year a

:22:44.:22:45.

decision was taken to reduce tax decision was taken to reduce tax

:22:46.:22:48.

credits, and, on the back of that, to reduce allowances. I believe,

:22:49.:22:52.

given everything that happened now, we need to restore that to the point

:22:53.:22:58.

where it helps those people crossing over. You say a decision was taken,

:22:59.:23:01.

it was a decision by the former Chancellor George Osborne in the

:23:02.:23:06.

summer budget. Other decisions were taken in successive Budgets to raise

:23:07.:23:10.

the Universal Credit budget, which resulted in the disincentive being

:23:11.:23:13.

higher than many people wanted. Do you accept that has been the

:23:14.:23:19.

consequence of his decisions? I was in the Government, we take

:23:20.:23:21.

collective responsibility. I argued this was not the right way to go,

:23:22.:23:25.

but when you are in you have to stay with it if you lose that argument.

:23:26.:23:28.

There was another attempt before the spending review last year to

:23:29.:23:32.

increase the taper, so the marginal rate would have gone up. I managed

:23:33.:23:37.

to stop that. I'm Sibley saying, what we made as a decision last

:23:38.:23:41.

year, given the circumstances and given that the net effect of all of

:23:42.:23:46.

that, I think it is time for the Government to ask the question, if

:23:47.:23:50.

we are in this to help that group of people, Universal Credit is

:23:51.:23:54.

singularly the most powerful tool. One of the Argentine aid in the

:23:55.:23:57.

paper published on Thursday, we are set going on doing two more races of

:23:58.:24:02.

the tax threshold, taking more people out of tax. That has a

:24:03.:24:09.

diminishing effect on the bottom section. Only 25p in that tax rate

:24:10.:24:14.

will help any of those. Most of it goes to middle income? You and I

:24:15.:24:19.

will benefit more from that. With Universal Credit, every pound you

:24:20.:24:23.

put into that will go to the bottom five tenths. That is why I designed

:24:24.:24:26.

it like that. He pressed the button and immediately start to changed

:24:27.:24:31.

circumstances. Should the cuts in Universal Credit that Mr Osborne

:24:32.:24:34.

introduced, against your argument, should they be reversed? I believe

:24:35.:24:40.

so. I believe you can do it even if there is concern about spending. I

:24:41.:24:43.

don't believe you need to go through with the continuing raise the tax

:24:44.:24:47.

threshold. Cost is dependent on inflation, but give or take. It is

:24:48.:24:55.

in the Tory manifesto? Has more than doubled. What is in the manifesto,

:24:56.:25:01.

and Lasse Prime Minister made this clear in conference, we want to

:25:02.:25:06.

improve the life chances of people. Today's announcement on the Green

:25:07.:25:10.

paper is what I wrote over the last two and a half years. Big changes

:25:11.:25:13.

necessary to how we deal with sickness benefit. That can now be

:25:14.:25:17.

done because of Universal Credit, because people can go back to work

:25:18.:25:20.

and it tapers away their benefits. It is the most powerful tool to sort

:25:21.:25:24.

our people that live in poverty, Universal Credit. We need to make

:25:25.:25:30.

sure it lands positively. If Mr Osborne's cuts were reversed, what

:25:31.:25:33.

you and some of your backbench Tory colleagues want to do, how would

:25:34.:25:37.

that improve the incentives of the working poor, as they try to get on

:25:38.:25:43.

in life? They have to pay more tax, they lose some benefits. How would

:25:44.:25:50.

it improve it? Would many still face a 75% rate? The key question is,

:25:51.:25:53.

first and foremost, as people move through income to the point where

:25:54.:25:58.

they are getting taxed, that group will be enormously benefited by the

:25:59.:26:02.

re-emergence of these allowances at the right level. That is what the

:26:03.:26:07.

IFS have said, that is what the Resolution Foundation are saying,

:26:08.:26:12.

and the Centre For Social Justice is saying. You have to get that group,

:26:13.:26:15.

because they are most likely to be drifting into poverty and less

:26:16.:26:19.

incomes are right. Would it help those who face a 75% margin? We

:26:20.:26:25.

don't face that. Exactly right. People much poorer than us do. I

:26:26.:26:29.

would love to get the marginal rate down to testify percent, and lower,.

:26:30.:26:38.

-- down to 65%. It is a balance of how you spend the money. I would

:26:39.:26:42.

prefer to do that rather than necessarily go ahead with threshold

:26:43.:26:49.

razors. I think the coronation of the marginal reduction of 65%,

:26:50.:26:55.

getting it down to 60%, plus more allowances, will allow Universal

:26:56.:26:57.

Credit to get to the group that is going to be, and the report written

:26:58.:27:01.

by the IFS and ourselves, it shows it is going to be the most dynamic

:27:02.:27:05.

and direct ability of a Government to be able to influence the way that

:27:06.:27:09.

people improve their incomes in the bottom five deciles. Would you take

:27:10.:27:16.

on extra work if you knew you were going to lose 75% of it? Even 65%?

:27:17.:27:22.

This has been my argument all along. Universal Credit can help that

:27:23.:27:27.

enormously. One point that goes missing, 70% of the bottom five

:27:28.:27:32.

deciles will be on Universal Credit. Whatever change you make to

:27:33.:27:34.

Universal Credit has a dramatic and immediate effect I am arguing,

:27:35.:27:41.

genuinely, it is time to rethink this. The Prime Minister wants to

:27:42.:27:44.

make this a priority. I am completely with her on this. I think

:27:45.:27:48.

she made a really good start. To deliver this, we need to... You have

:27:49.:27:54.

a lot of work to do to deliver it. Because it is a manifesto

:27:55.:27:57.

commitment, or because they want to do it, stopping increasing the

:27:58.:28:03.

personal allowances are not acceptable, what about bringing to

:28:04.:28:05.

an end, by the end of the parliament, the pension triple lock

:28:06.:28:11.

that pensioners enjoy to improve and put more money to the working poor?

:28:12.:28:17.

What about that? Well, you are absolutely right that there is now

:28:18.:28:21.

the danger, I think, of a mess balance between the generations.

:28:22.:28:24.

Quite rightly at the beginning, when we came in, we have a commitment as

:28:25.:28:28.

a Conservative Party in a manifesto to get pensions back onto earnings.

:28:29.:28:35.

It was moved to a triple lock that guaranteed a minimum. What about

:28:36.:28:39.

ending up now? I understand it is a promise through the Parliament, but

:28:40.:28:44.

after 2020? I am in favour of getting it back to innings and

:28:45.:28:47.

allowing it to rise at reasonable levels. Moving from earnings to the

:28:48.:28:52.

triple lock has cost ?18 billion this year. Here was a high, under

:28:53.:28:56.

pressure, as the Government was scratching around to pay more money

:28:57.:29:00.

out of working age areas, when the budget was almost out of control on

:29:01.:29:04.

the pension side. I'm in favour of helping pensioners, but now they are

:29:05.:29:08.

up to a reasonable level, at a steady rate, that can be afforded by

:29:09.:29:11.

Government, which takes the pressure off, working age people have to pay

:29:12.:29:16.

for that. In years to come, time to end the triple lock

:29:17.:29:28.

and use the savings to help these people we have been talking about?

:29:29.:29:32.

As part of a load of packages, yes. It would also help with the

:29:33.:29:34.

intergenerational fairness argument. Thank you for being with us.

:29:35.:29:37.

Now, a prominent London Imam called Shakeel Begg -

:29:38.:29:39.

who is Chief Imam the Lewisham Islamic Centre - is an extremist.

:29:40.:29:42.

That was the verdict of the judge in a libel action that Mr Begg took

:29:43.:29:45.

against the BBC, after we described him as an Islamic extremist

:29:46.:29:48.

Mr Begg had complained about a short segment in an interview in November

:29:49.:29:52.

2013 with Farooq Murad, the then head of the Muslim Council

:29:53.:29:55.

of Britain, an organisation which claims to represent British

:29:56.:29:57.

In that interview, we described Mr Begg as an extremist speaker

:29:58.:30:03.

who had hailed jihad is the greatest of deeds.

:30:04.:30:06.

From his base of the Lewisham Islamic Centre, Mr Begg has been

:30:07.:30:09.

involved in a number of community organisations, including

:30:10.:30:13.

the Police Independent Advisory Group in Lewisham,

:30:14.:30:16.

Lewisham Council's Advisory Council on Religious Education

:30:17.:30:21.

and as a volunteer chaplain at Lewisham Hospital.

:30:22.:30:23.

But in his judgment, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave called

:30:24.:30:29.

Mr Begg a Jekyll and Hyde character - a trusted figure in his local

:30:30.:30:32.

community, but when talking to predominantly Muslim audiences

:30:33.:30:35.

he shed the cloak of respectability and revealed the horns of extremism.

:30:36.:30:40.

The judge cited one speech made by Mr Begg at a rally

:30:41.:30:43.

outside Belmarsh Prisonm- the high security prison that houses

:30:44.:30:46.

terrorists - as particularly sinister.

:30:47.:30:49.

The judge said the imam was expressing admiration and praise

:30:50.:30:52.

Following Friday's judgment, the hospital trust have told us that

:30:53.:30:58.

Mr Begg's status as a voluntary chaplain has been terminated.

:30:59.:31:02.

We have been told by Lewisham Council he is no longer

:31:03.:31:06.

on their Religious Education Committee.

:31:07.:31:07.

The Metropolitan Police have confirmed that

:31:08.:31:09.

Mr Begg remains a member of their Independent Advisory Group

:31:10.:31:14.

in Lewisham, as well as the borough's faith group.

:31:15.:31:24.

I am joined by Haras Rafiq, chief executive of the Quilliam

:31:25.:31:28.

Foundation. Welcome to the programme. I have here in my hand a

:31:29.:31:35.

statement from the trustees of the Lewisham Islamic Centre. They reject

:31:36.:31:41.

the judge's ruling as fanciful and say they are unequivocal and

:31:42.:31:43.

unwavering in their support of Shakeel Begg as their head imam.

:31:44.:31:50.

What do you make of that? To be honest, it doesn't surprise me. At

:31:51.:31:54.

the end of the day he is only the imam of that mosque because he

:31:55.:31:58.

belongs to the same theological fundamentalist views that the mosque

:31:59.:32:03.

would portray. If they were to say he was an extremist, they would be

:32:04.:32:09.

saying in fact that they have allowed extremist preaching and

:32:10.:32:12.

extremist theology within their walls. I think this is a very

:32:13.:32:17.

important decision and a very important judgment by the judge.

:32:18.:32:24.

First of all, these people like to operate in a linear, under a veneer

:32:25.:32:28.

of respectability. When that veneer is taken away, there are a number of

:32:29.:32:33.

things that can happen. First of all, the BBC did very well to stand

:32:34.:32:37.

by their guns and say, we're not going to be intimidated by somebody

:32:38.:32:44.

who is threatening to taking -- to take us to court for potential

:32:45.:32:48.

libel. Many other media companies have done that in the past and

:32:49.:32:53.

people have capitulated. Also, this has exposed him. Legally now, here's

:32:54.:32:58.

some deal can be classified as an extremist preacher, somebody who

:32:59.:33:02.

promotes religious violence. I think the mosque really needs to take a

:33:03.:33:06.

step back and say, how we part of the problem that we are facing

:33:07.:33:10.

within society? Or are we going to be part of the solution? It really

:33:11.:33:19.

concerns me. The High Court judge says that Mr Begg's speeches were

:33:20.:33:24.

consistent with an extremist Salafist is the most worldview. What

:33:25.:33:31.

is Salafist is and how widespread is it in UK mosques? -- mosque. It

:33:32.:33:40.

comes from the Middle East. It is from Saudi Arabia. The enemy for

:33:41.:33:43.

them was the old colonial Ottoman Empire. There is the quiet Salafist

:33:44.:33:52.

to get some with their lives, lives outside society. There is a

:33:53.:33:55.

revolutionary who tries to convert other people to their worldview. And

:33:56.:33:58.

then there is the Salafist jihad ease. People like Islamic State etc.

:33:59.:34:06.

We have seen of increased in recent decades because of money that has,

:34:07.:34:09.

growing from the Middle East. When that is mixed with a political

:34:10.:34:14.

ideology, it becomes potent. Do we have a political -- particular

:34:15.:34:19.

problem in Britain with this in our mosques? Absolutely. Without the

:34:20.:34:25.

theology that says hate the other, hate other Muslims, that

:34:26.:34:27.

excommunicate other people, that says it is OK to fight and is good

:34:28.:34:32.

to fight when you have got an enemy, we wouldn't really have a jihadi

:34:33.:34:36.

problem. Really that is something we have to tackle. The number of

:34:37.:34:44.

mosques and institutions supporting Salafist and Islam is has been on

:34:45.:34:49.

the increase. Do we have a problem with what the judge called Jekyll

:34:50.:34:54.

and Hyde characters who hide their extremism except when they are

:34:55.:35:00.

speaking to specific groups? Absolutely. One of the things we

:35:01.:35:05.

have focused on in the past, a number of hate preachers now in

:35:06.:35:09.

prison, people like Anjem Choudary, and everybody focused on them. But

:35:10.:35:13.

there is a range of people operating under that level. People who will

:35:14.:35:17.

show one face to the community because they actually need that for

:35:18.:35:22.

a respectability. They need that for a legitimacy. They need that to

:35:23.:35:25.

operate. When they are behind closed doors and talking to their

:35:26.:35:30.

constitution, that is when you will see the real face of what these

:35:31.:35:35.

people believe. It is an increasing phenomenon. We are seeing it more.

:35:36.:35:37.

people believe. It is an increasing And we're going to carry on seeing

:35:38.:35:44.

it. Not just has the Lewisham mosque stuck by him, but given the clarity

:35:45.:35:49.

of the judge's ruling, are you surprised that the Metropolitan

:35:50.:35:52.

police would wish to continue with Mr Begg as an adviser? I'm

:35:53.:35:56.

absolutely shocked that that decision. What Uzzy going to do?

:35:57.:35:59.

Advise them on how to deal with extremist preachers and promote

:36:00.:36:04.

religiously motivated violence? I don't know what he's going to advise

:36:05.:36:09.

them on. Because we now have a judge that has ruled against him and

:36:10.:36:14.

actually classified him as an extremist and somebody who promotes

:36:15.:36:18.

religious violence, we actually have a possibility for the CPS to

:36:19.:36:21.

actually prosecute him. There is a law that has been in place since

:36:22.:36:26.

2005 called religiously motivated violence. If he has been classified

:36:27.:36:31.

as somebody who promotes this, there is a potential for the CPS to

:36:32.:36:36.

prosecute. I want to called into question other organisations,

:36:37.:36:38.

interfaith organisations, other Muslims groups, who say they want to

:36:39.:36:42.

interfaith organisations, other fight extremism, I call on them to

:36:43.:36:47.

say, this guy is an extremist preacher, we should cut our ties

:36:48.:36:57.

from him. This was a very high risk strategy by the BBC. The exposure

:36:58.:37:01.

could have been over ?1.5 million of licence payers money. Will this make

:37:02.:37:07.

it more difficult for Jekyll and Hyde characters to behave as Mr Begg

:37:08.:37:12.

has behaved? Absolutely. It will do. One of the things they will now have

:37:13.:37:16.

to make sure is that they are a lot more careful. Careful with what they

:37:17.:37:23.

say to their own constituency. It won't solve the theological problem.

:37:24.:37:28.

But it will actually stop other people from operating in this manner

:37:29.:37:32.

and allow other media organisations to have the confidence to expose

:37:33.:37:36.

them when they do. Haras Rafiq, thank you for joining us.

:37:37.:37:38.

It's just gone 11.35, you're watching the Sunday Politics.

:37:39.:37:41.

We say goodbye to viewers in Scotland, who leave us now

:37:42.:37:43.

Good morning and welcome to Sunday Politics Scotland.

:37:44.:37:51.

Coming up on the programme: As student grants fall and loans

:37:52.:37:55.

increase, I'll ask the minister responsible how that squared

:37:56.:37:58.

with the SNP's pledge to reduce inequality of access to education.

:37:59.:38:03.

And with Brexit and talk of Indyref2 still looming large,

:38:04.:38:06.

is the Scottish government taking its eye off the ball

:38:07.:38:09.

The Scottish Government's announced a review of the system which helps

:38:10.:38:19.

fund people from less-well off backgrounds to go to

:38:20.:38:21.

Official figures out this week showed the number of students

:38:22.:38:25.

getting bursaries or grants has fallen by 35% since the SNP

:38:26.:38:28.

And elsewhere, higher education is facing continuing

:38:29.:38:33.

One university principal has warned its effect

:38:34.:38:37.

This college would have its campus and Galashiels have, like many other

:38:38.:38:59.

further education institutions has Scotland look-mac students from less

:39:00.:39:03.

well off backgrounds who made the vital financial support. Is the

:39:04.:39:08.

system working as well as it should? The principal ones to see college

:39:09.:39:12.

and university students treated on an equal basis.

:39:13.:39:17.

There is a gap for people who come from families who do not quite

:39:18.:39:22.

qualify for means testing, the bursary, but who cannot actually

:39:23.:39:27.

afford to fund their college place and in the college system loans are

:39:28.:39:32.

not available to those students. Someone who wants to train to be a

:39:33.:39:37.

teacher can access a loan and go to university but someone who wants to

:39:38.:39:41.

be a joiner does not have that opportunity.

:39:42.:39:46.

She also says there just is not enough money to help out all the

:39:47.:39:50.

students who need it but there is another concern.

:39:51.:39:54.

The other thing we must keep an eye on our changes to the welfare

:39:55.:39:58.

system. It can be the situation right now in Scotland where someone

:39:59.:40:04.

can be getting less from the bursary than if they were receiving welfare

:40:05.:40:08.

which is a huge barrier to education.

:40:09.:40:11.

Across Scotland, there were questions about whether students get

:40:12.:40:15.

their access to financial support. Official figures show the number of

:40:16.:40:26.

students getting bursaries or grants fell by almost 5% in a year and the

:40:27.:40:29.

Scottish Government has launched an enquiry into whether the system

:40:30.:40:31.

should be changed. Another concern which could affect the ability of

:40:32.:40:36.

University of Warwick, UK's vote to leave the EU. This week -- the

:40:37.:40:43.

university 's ability. There is a large amount of

:40:44.:40:47.

uncertainty and when you run the different models it ranges from bad

:40:48.:40:55.

to awful to catastrophic. University leaders say some progress has been

:40:56.:40:59.

made. We have an assured and current EU

:41:00.:41:05.

students and EU students entering in 2017 well have beer after Brexit

:41:06.:41:09.

three protected. We have had reassured us from the UK Government

:41:10.:41:15.

that if you apply for European research funding and your project

:41:16.:41:18.

plan is on beyond Brexit the UK Government will ensure that funding

:41:19.:41:25.

is still continued to be provided. But there is no way to tell how

:41:26.:41:29.

things are, they might go. Principles are in a different

:41:30.:41:34.

position because the UK Government cannot guarantee that they cannot

:41:35.:41:38.

give absolute assurances. They can advise people on entitlement and

:41:39.:41:44.

such things but there remains a fundamental uncertainty we do not

:41:45.:41:48.

know what the status of EU citizens in the UK will be a porcelain

:41:49.:41:53.

Brexit. These changing times for higher

:41:54.:41:58.

education gave rise to other concerns. This week students at the

:41:59.:42:03.

Glasgow School of Art protested at what they see as a plan to put

:42:04.:42:08.

expansion ahead of quality teaching, management says it wants to make

:42:09.:42:14.

things better for students. Higher education is moving quickly

:42:15.:42:19.

and we have been directly engaging with the students and we plan to do

:42:20.:42:25.

more of that. Back in Borders College things are

:42:26.:42:30.

more serene and over the next few years we could see change what

:42:31.:42:33.

affects the whole further and higher education sector.

:42:34.:42:36.

Well, a little earlier I spoke to Lucy Hunter Blackburn,

:42:37.:42:38.

a former civil servant who headed up Higher Education at

:42:39.:42:41.

Basically, Lucy, grants are down, loans are up, grants bound by around

:42:42.:42:59.

35% in the SNP came to power, -- drags down. Why? The reason is set

:43:00.:43:04.

out in a report the Government issued this week but said the reason

:43:05.:43:11.

grants have been cut in 2013 was to protect free tuition fees. In that

:43:12.:43:18.

sense, cutting grants is paying for not having tuition fees? That is

:43:19.:43:22.

very much what that report says and that would be a reasonable reading

:43:23.:43:27.

of the numbers published over the past few years, it explains why the

:43:28.:43:32.

Government had to go after grants, because it cannot touch the subsidy

:43:33.:43:38.

from the look-mac for free tuition. Critics say, of course, not having

:43:39.:43:42.

tuition fees does not benefit students from lower income

:43:43.:43:47.

backgrounds as much as having a proper grants system. Is there is

:43:48.:43:50.

merit in that argument? If what you are interested in it who

:43:51.:43:55.

ends up with all the depth and we should be interested in that, it is

:43:56.:44:00.

clear when he got grants the people who take on debt are the poorest

:44:01.:44:04.

students whose families cannot help them out and sort the more you push

:44:05.:44:15.

your money into the subsidies further up the income scale the less

:44:16.:44:18.

money you have to help people further down that scale from taking

:44:19.:44:20.

out larger student loans. The Scottish Government was quite

:44:21.:44:23.

vulnerable on this and recently but in England the amount they are

:44:24.:44:26.

abolishing grants and everyone will have a loan. I guess Scottish

:44:27.:44:31.

Government can say, grants may have been falling here, times are tough,

:44:32.:44:35.

but we are not doing anything as dramatic as an angler.

:44:36.:44:42.

That is fear, the in England is a very poor outcome for students and I

:44:43.:44:45.

completely agree. It is a shame the only ever look at include because

:44:46.:44:50.

you could look at the other devolved nations and they would find they

:44:51.:44:53.

have kept much higher levels of grants and we now have.

:44:54.:45:00.

You did a report earlier this year on the broader question of access to

:45:01.:45:04.

higher education and you showed access to higher education for young

:45:05.:45:10.

people for the most deprived areas in Scotland lags other nations of

:45:11.:45:16.

the UK, particularly in God. To give a figure, if you are from --

:45:17.:45:23.

particular in England. If you are from the well of patronage or four

:45:24.:45:26.

particular in England. If you are times more likely to go to

:45:27.:45:33.

university, the figure was 2.4 times in England. Why is the gap so big

:45:34.:45:40.

between Scotland and England? A lot of our young people who come from

:45:41.:45:44.

disadvantaged areas go to college instead of University and some of

:45:45.:45:50.

them will move to university. What we have not done in Scotland is

:45:51.:45:55.

expand the opportunities for direct entry to university as much as they

:45:56.:46:00.

have done in England so it is clear the chance of getting into

:46:01.:46:03.

universities suffer here and the entrance requirements are higher and

:46:04.:46:10.

we have far more courses were high requirements.

:46:11.:46:14.

The figures for young people from lower income backgrounds pipping

:46:15.:46:18.

straight into universities are better not just in England but also

:46:19.:46:23.

in Wales and Northern Ireland. -- getting straight into. All the other

:46:24.:46:28.

UK nations have a higher proportion of disadvantaged children going

:46:29.:46:34.

straight to university. There has been a fast improvement in

:46:35.:46:39.

Scotland even though we lag behind other UK nations, but you found

:46:40.:46:44.

almost all of that increase in young people into higher education from

:46:45.:46:47.

lower income backgrounds, they were going into sub degree courses in

:46:48.:46:53.

college. There is anything that looked at the

:46:54.:46:59.

all entrances into higher education up to the age of 30 and when you

:47:00.:47:04.

look at that the growth has been an entry into college-level courses. So

:47:05.:47:11.

look at that the growth has been an higher National diploma which are an

:47:12.:47:14.

important part of the Scottish education system, but the change in

:47:15.:47:18.

proportion of people getting into university by the age of 30, going

:47:19.:47:24.

directly into university, had been a very small and rather static.

:47:25.:47:29.

There is a plan in England to increase the number of universities,

:47:30.:47:32.

the Government outlined various proposals on this. They have not

:47:33.:47:40.

been taken up in Scotland but what the given what you just said would

:47:41.:47:45.

it not be a good idea to have an expansion of universities in

:47:46.:47:49.

Scotland? There are two things. You need either new institutions or more

:47:50.:47:53.

space in the coloured ones. In England it is to allow, make it

:47:54.:48:01.

easier for private providers to come into the education sector. -- or

:48:02.:48:05.

more space in the current universities.

:48:06.:48:11.

We have a well established university system but the space in

:48:12.:48:19.

it is tight because we subsidised places so heavily and what that

:48:20.:48:25.

means is we could see the acceptance rate proportion of Scots being

:48:26.:48:32.

accepted hasn't not quite sharply through UCAS over the last nine or

:48:33.:48:40.

so years whereas we have not increased in the proportion of

:48:41.:48:44.

people from outside Scotland. -- win as we have increased. -- whereas we

:48:45.:48:53.

have increased. Should we build more universities, as is the plug on

:48:54.:48:59.

England's? I would expand the one we have got. For a small nation we have

:49:00.:49:06.

a number, 18 institutions designated as universities or higher education

:49:07.:49:11.

institutions, that is not a bad number for a country of 5 million,

:49:12.:49:17.

it is more about the space we have currently. They may need to expand

:49:18.:49:22.

to build more space but we are not talking about massive expansion,

:49:23.:49:28.

just a debt of breathing space means we can get back to the kind of

:49:29.:49:34.

success rates for applicants from Scotland to Scottish universities we

:49:35.:49:38.

would have seen nine or so years ago. -- just a bit of breathing

:49:39.:49:40.

space. Thank you. Well, the Scottish Government

:49:41.:49:42.

minister responsible for Higher Education is Shirley-Anne

:49:43.:49:43.

Somerville. I spoke to her

:49:44.:49:45.

earlier this morning. The figures out this week show the

:49:46.:49:53.

amount of money the Scottish Government is giving out in

:49:54.:49:58.

bursaries and grants has gone down by 35% since the SNP first came to

:49:59.:50:08.

power. Why is that? The changes we made in 2013 to the student support

:50:09.:50:11.

package was built with stakeholders at that time to ensure that students

:50:12.:50:15.

have the maximum amount of money in the pockets. That is what we

:50:16.:50:19.

delivered up time, and that is a combination of bursaries and loans.

:50:20.:50:22.

I know now that stakeholders have concerns that bad Allens has not

:50:23.:50:29.

reflected well on students and how they are experiencing this system,

:50:30.:50:32.

which is why we have launched a review of student support this week,

:50:33.:50:36.

to make sure we take a fresh look at what is going on. If you review says

:50:37.:50:40.

the balance is wrong, we need to give more money in bursaries and

:50:41.:50:46.

loans, a rebalancing, you will do that? The review group has to be

:50:47.:50:51.

aware of the financial context the government is working in. It has be

:50:52.:50:56.

based on a realistic view of the financial context we are in,

:50:57.:50:58.

particularly when we are going financial context we are in,

:50:59.:51:02.

through Brexit. I am not saying rebuke to have to deliberate one way

:51:03.:51:05.

or the other, the entire point of having a rebuke -- review group

:51:06.:51:13.

chaired by a review... As the figures show in England, you come

:51:14.:51:18.

chaired by a review... As the from a well-off backgrounds, you are

:51:19.:51:20.

four times more likely to go to university than someone from a

:51:21.:51:26.

low-income backgrounds. Sorry, in Scotland, you were four times more

:51:27.:51:31.

likely. In England, only 2.5 times. There is not just a big inequality

:51:32.:51:36.

in access to higher education, there is a big difference between Scotland

:51:37.:51:39.

and the other nations in the UK. We are the worst. Why do you think that

:51:40.:51:45.

is? We measure things differently appeared and we do down in England.

:51:46.:51:49.

I think that is why it is often difficult to have a cross boundary

:51:50.:51:55.

discussion on that. When I spoke to John Swinney about this recently, he

:51:56.:51:59.

expected that this gap was there, as I remember. So you can't just say it

:52:00.:52:05.

is down to a blizzard of statistics. No, we could get into a debate about

:52:06.:52:09.

whether we use a different measure of statistics. Lets not. If you are

:52:10.:52:15.

young person from a low-income in England, you are considerably more

:52:16.:52:18.

likely to get into university than you are in Scotland. Let's not put

:52:19.:52:24.

numbers on it. Why is that? There are a number of reasons why the

:52:25.:52:27.

Scottish education system is different. Many people here can

:52:28.:52:30.

going to college and turns university, and that's a different

:52:31.:52:33.

course of action Pennington. We can also just do a degree at a college

:52:34.:52:38.

in Scotland, but you don't get immigrants. We're not being

:52:39.:52:42.

complacent, and that's exactly why the Scottish Government has accepted

:52:43.:52:46.

the recommendations of the widening access commission, that was in the

:52:47.:52:48.

last Parliament, and we are now going for it to come up with

:52:49.:52:53.

stakeholders and universities, ensure that those recommendations

:52:54.:52:56.

are put in place. Are you saying that because of this difference that

:52:57.:53:00.

we have appear, or young people can sometimes go to college and then to

:53:01.:53:05.

university, that the difference between Scotland and England is an

:53:06.:53:11.

illusion, or you saying... No, I'm saying it is not as stark as the

:53:12.:53:14.

figures you presented. I accept that we do have more to do, and that's

:53:15.:53:18.

exactly why we are taking actions. There has been an improvement over

:53:19.:53:22.

the last few years. We are seeing more people from the most deprived

:53:23.:53:24.

communities gaining access to university. But that is entirely

:53:25.:53:31.

down to people going into sub degree courses and colleges. Not anything

:53:32.:53:36.

wrong with doing now, but that's what accounts for the improving

:53:37.:53:43.

figures. You're not getting more people straight into university. No,

:53:44.:53:46.

that I think one of the other aspects is looking at the murder

:53:47.:53:51.

journey. This idea of leaving school, going to university and if

:53:52.:53:53.

you don't make that decision you had your chance. Mass-mac the learner

:53:54.:53:59.

journey. We are looking to ensure that any person wants to go to

:54:00.:54:02.

college first and then university, or does a university degree or

:54:03.:54:08.

diploma at a college, that is equally as important and valid as

:54:09.:54:12.

someone that goes to university. We need to ensure we are developing the

:54:13.:54:17.

Scottish education system. It's not as linear as we might have had in

:54:18.:54:20.

the past, when you or I were at university. The problem for you is

:54:21.:54:28.

that Nicola Sturgeon has staked a reputation as first Minister on

:54:29.:54:34.

doing something about this issue. What targets do you have? Is it not

:54:35.:54:39.

by the end of your current period in office, you will be able to come

:54:40.:54:43.

back on this programme and tell me that, however you measure it, the

:54:44.:54:49.

gap in opportunity for young people from lower income backgrounds in

:54:50.:54:53.

Scotland's is now the same as in England? No, the commission that

:54:54.:54:59.

target the government has accepted, as has the stakeholders, too ensure

:55:00.:55:03.

that by 2020 we have many more people going from the most deprived

:55:04.:55:08.

communities will stop the targets are about the government and the

:55:09.:55:11.

universities. Why is it not your aspiration that people from lower

:55:12.:55:16.

income backgrounds should have the aspiration that people from lower

:55:17.:55:20.

same opportunities as in England? I want them to have better

:55:21.:55:24.

opportunities than England. But they have considerably worse

:55:25.:55:26.

opportunities at the moment, so wouldn't the benchmark -- a

:55:27.:55:31.

benchmark be to say we want it to be the same as it went? No, we are

:55:32.:55:36.

setting the benchmark -- benchmark higher. How will opportunities for

:55:37.:55:44.

young people from lower income backgrounds in Scotland differ from

:55:45.:55:47.

those in England by the end of the period in office? The commission

:55:48.:55:52.

looked at many examples, but one of them is to ensure that those who

:55:53.:55:58.

work from your areas and skills where they might not have the same

:55:59.:56:03.

attainment levels as those that are in more affluent backgrounds,

:56:04.:56:07.

actually have what is called a contextualised admissions into

:56:08.:56:10.

universities. One of the key areas we are looking at is that people who

:56:11.:56:14.

were in a high school from April backgrounds need to be able to get

:56:15.:56:18.

into university, and is not all about grades. The time when you

:56:19.:56:22.

could measure whether a student was good or bad simply by their graves

:56:23.:56:28.

has long gone. We are ensuring a contextualised admissions process is

:56:29.:56:30.

fair. Universities are doing this already. By the end of your period

:56:31.:56:35.

in office, through this contextualised admissions preceding

:56:36.:56:40.

that you have just described, a young person from a lower income

:56:41.:56:44.

background in Scotland will have more chance, because you said you

:56:45.:56:47.

wanted to do better, more chance of getting into university than they do

:56:48.:56:51.

in England? If that is the right decision for them. So that is the

:56:52.:56:58.

benchmark we should judge you on? The benchmark is set out in the

:56:59.:57:03.

commission report. That you have just said you want them to have

:57:04.:57:05.

better opportunities than just said you want them to have

:57:06.:57:08.

England, where they don't have that we can say you failed? The

:57:09.:57:12.

recommendations are there for all to see. Absolutely, they are there for

:57:13.:57:16.

myself and the government to be judged on. We are taking access

:57:17.:57:20.

within the commission's recommendations widening access

:57:21.:57:24.

already. But those with care experience, for example. We are

:57:25.:57:28.

already doing short-term measures to improve widening access to those

:57:29.:57:33.

with -- those within particular groups. This is a long-term issue.

:57:34.:57:38.

By 2020, we will see great development. Can you point to any

:57:39.:57:43.

evidence from Scottish Government researchers which shows that the

:57:44.:57:46.

policy of having no tuition fees is leading to greater access to

:57:47.:57:53.

university, or indeed to college, for students from lower income

:57:54.:57:57.

backgrounds? The figures have shown in the last few years that the

:57:58.:58:02.

number of people from disadvantaged backgrounds that are applying to

:58:03.:58:07.

university has increased, and the number of entrants has also

:58:08.:58:11.

increased. Can you point to any research which shows that that is

:58:12.:58:15.

connected in anyway with adding low -- having no tuition fees? I can

:58:16.:58:20.

point to an absolute printable as to why tuition is there. So this

:58:21.:58:25.

principle doesn't require any evidence? No, it is a founding

:58:26.:58:32.

principle of the education policy. Even if it could be demonstrated, as

:58:33.:58:36.

Lucy Hunter Blackburn argued, that having a policy of no tuition fees

:58:37.:58:40.

was meaning that grants would be cut, making it more difficult than

:58:41.:58:43.

people from lower income backgrounds to get to university, it is the

:58:44.:58:47.

principal overriding any evidence that could count against it? She has

:58:48.:58:53.

given her opinion. You have said it is a principle which you have just

:58:54.:59:00.

accepted, you can point to any evidence that shows no tuition fees

:59:01.:59:03.

is increasing the chances for a lower income young people. There is

:59:04.:59:08.

no evidence to suggest that free tuition fees are preventing people

:59:09.:59:14.

from lower backgrounds. At best it is neutral? It is a matter of

:59:15.:59:18.

opinion. We have a principle within the SNP that you should be able to

:59:19.:59:21.

go to university based on your ability to learn and not your

:59:22.:59:26.

ability to pay. Is the defining policy of your governments is to

:59:27.:59:34.

reduce inequalities in access, surely to say it is a matter of

:59:35.:59:37.

principle which overrides evidence, or a matter of opinion, isn't good

:59:38.:59:44.

enough? There is no evidence to say that free tuition is putting people

:59:45.:59:48.

off. She gave her opinion and she is privately entitled to it. I believe

:59:49.:59:56.

that the free education... Wouldn't it be a priority for you to go to

:59:57.:00:01.

your civil servants, the once you are still bear, not ones like Lizzie

:00:02.:00:05.

Hunter Blackburn who have left, and said, we have this policy, at least

:00:06.:00:11.

to put my mind at rest, can we find out if there is any evidence that it

:00:12.:00:14.

is doing anything to increase access? You don't seem to have done.

:00:15.:00:20.

I look at the evidence of the amount of people coming from worst of

:00:21.:00:24.

backgrounds and I look at what is happening down south. Will you

:00:25.:00:30.

commission such a study now? I look at what is happening down elsewhere

:00:31.:00:34.

they do have 27 thousand pounds worth of debt that it could link the

:00:35.:00:38.

ball. And access to university for young people from low background is

:00:39.:00:45.

utterly better. -- considerably better. It will be interesting to

:00:46.:00:50.

see what happens now that they have abolished maintenance grants. I

:00:51.:00:57.

don't think England's as a policy that we would support here. That is

:00:58.:01:06.

a different issue. I accept that they're doing now is, but there is

:01:07.:01:10.

no evidence that having the tuition fees -- having no tuition these is

:01:11.:01:16.

to tearing people from lower income backgrounds. You have a better

:01:17.:01:19.

chance of going to university in England only do in Scotland. There

:01:20.:01:24.

are myriad of reasons why these things will happen. One of the

:01:25.:01:27.

reasons is that we have an entirely different type of education system.

:01:28.:01:33.

People will go to college to study and use... People have to end, but

:01:34.:01:38.

it seems slightly extraordinary that you haven't commissioned your civil

:01:39.:01:41.

servants to look at the evidence in England and here and find out

:01:42.:01:44.

whether there is any connection chewing tuition fee policy and...

:01:45.:01:50.

Our government policy is that free education is integral and you should

:01:51.:01:53.

be able to go to university regardless of how much money your

:01:54.:01:56.

parents have all stop we will have to leave it there. Thank you very

:01:57.:01:57.

much. Now, as well as higher education,

:01:58.:02:08.

problems have also been mounting in other areas

:02:09.:02:10.

like health and policing. Analysis of the National Health

:02:11.:02:12.

Service here by Audit Scotland found that only one its targets

:02:13.:02:15.

was met last year. Meanwhile, Police Scotland

:02:16.:02:17.

are looking at a likely overspend in their budget for this

:02:18.:02:19.

year of ?17.5 million. I'm joined now by George Adam

:02:20.:02:21.

from the SNP and Miles Briggs I wonder, is the Scottish Government

:02:22.:02:29.

focusing too much on independence and neglecting its duties to run

:02:30.:02:35.

Scotland's? I am taking a wild guess here, but I suspect you'd think they

:02:36.:02:41.

are. Absolutely. I think this week's audit report has demonstrated that

:02:42.:02:45.

more than ever. The government has now missed seven out of eight of its

:02:46.:02:49.

NHS targets. It has been in power for ten years, and patients are

:02:50.:02:55.

suffering. I think it's clear from that that the Scottish Government

:02:56.:02:59.

have taken their eye off the job. I think you have to look at this and

:03:00.:03:04.

the actual context, which is that there are 18 pieces of legislation

:03:05.:03:08.

currently being consulted on, that the government is dealing with a lot

:03:09.:03:12.

of the issues and the day-to-day and the day job. One of the biggest

:03:13.:03:16.

issues is the fact that Brexit is going to take ?11.2 billion, if it

:03:17.:03:25.

is a Tory had exit. We have to stand up Scotland and make sure we that.

:03:26.:03:31.

Brexit doesn't explain why your party can't run the health service.

:03:32.:03:36.

That's not true. The health service got ?13 billion of funding this

:03:37.:03:40.

year, more than ever. The patient surveys say there are more patients

:03:41.:03:44.

saying the service is working better than ever before. This is the Tories

:03:45.:03:48.

once again trying to take away from the issues that we need to discuss,

:03:49.:03:53.

which is the day-to-day life which Brexit files cars are trying to move

:03:54.:04:02.

away. Why is that wrong? Look at the facts that for ten years we have not

:04:03.:04:04.

had an NHS workforce plan. Maybe facts that for ten years we have not

:04:05.:04:08.

Gordon would like to... Maybe George would like to say why that is? I'm

:04:09.:04:13.

not them to say, I don't have a clue! The first Minister failed to

:04:14.:04:19.

answer that question. Like you have just seen earlier in your piece

:04:20.:04:24.

about education, in each area where the SNP are responsible, we have

:04:25.:04:27.

seen Scotland go backwards. Gomis ministers need to start to get a

:04:28.:04:30.

grip of what they are responsible for. -- Scottish ministers. In that

:04:31.:04:40.

audit reports, one of the big policies of the SNP government, and

:04:41.:04:43.

one that many would agree with, is to try to integrate the NHS with

:04:44.:04:50.

social care. That helps both patients and could potentially save

:04:51.:04:54.

a massive amount of money. According to that reports, despite this being

:04:55.:04:58.

talked about not just by the SNP but by previous governments for over a

:04:59.:05:03.

decade, the SNP government has got no system of benchmarks in place to

:05:04.:05:07.

know whether this policy will actually be implemented or not. It

:05:08.:05:13.

has no idea how much it would cost and no plan in place for staff.

:05:14.:05:16.

That's pretty shocking, isn't it? The idea is to integrate health and

:05:17.:05:28.

social care and ensure people get the service they need when they need

:05:29.:05:34.

it, that is important. We are working towards bats and there will

:05:35.:05:36.

be challenges but we are getting working towards bats and there will

:05:37.:05:40.

there and dealing with these issues. The point that Scotland makes is not

:05:41.:05:48.

just you are not getting there quickly it is because there are no

:05:49.:05:53.

proper benchmarks and planes you cannot have any idea if you are

:05:54.:05:57.

getting there or not. There are tests and benchmark and

:05:58.:06:02.

ordered Scotland have pointed to certain things we will take on

:06:03.:06:10.

boards -- Audit Scotland. They keep talking about that we keep talking

:06:11.:06:14.

about Brexit but that could potentially take 80,000 jobs away

:06:15.:06:19.

from Scotland. That is keeping an eye on the day job and standing up

:06:20.:06:23.

for Scotland. That is a reasonable point. It would

:06:24.:06:27.

be remiss of the Government not to print much of its time both

:06:28.:06:31.

analysing the possible effects print much of its time both

:06:32.:06:36.

Brexit and trying to argue with the UK Government for what it sees as

:06:37.:06:41.

the best way to handle it. It would be dereliction of duty not to do so.

:06:42.:06:53.

I have not mentioned at Brexit but is where the focus on policy is in

:06:54.:06:56.

Scotland and the UK Government want the Scottish Government to work

:06:57.:06:58.

together to deliver the best possible Brexit and I only wish SNP

:06:59.:07:03.

ministers would do that and stop was the grievance politics. Which we see

:07:04.:07:10.

everyday. The Scottish Government is trying to draw up detailed proposals

:07:11.:07:15.

for what it sees as a halfway house whereby Scotland could remain in the

:07:16.:07:26.

UK but not suffer hard Brexit. It is perfectly reasonable, given the way

:07:27.:07:30.

Scotland voted in the referendum and the mandate the Scottish Government

:07:31.:07:36.

has, for them to do that. Negotiations are taking place now

:07:37.:07:40.

and now is the time for these ideas to be put forward and the me said

:07:41.:07:47.

that is there but the clear message I hear, as someone who voted to

:07:48.:07:53.

remain, I do not want to see the Scottish Parliament use that to

:07:54.:07:57.

peddle an independent agenda once more which two years ago we voted to

:07:58.:08:03.

say no to. That is where we need to seek the Scottish Government move

:08:04.:08:06.

forward. This is the Tories obsession with

:08:07.:08:10.

independence. They are willing to discuss with the people in the

:08:11.:08:16.

Sunderland about the Nissan jobs, they voted to leave so they are

:08:17.:08:20.

willing to do that behind closed doors but the will not talk to the

:08:21.:08:28.

Scottish Government to do likewise. Thank you both very much.

:08:29.:08:31.

It's time to look back at the events of the past week and see what's

:08:32.:08:34.

With me now are the political editor of The Herald, Tom Gordon,

:08:35.:08:45.

and the former Labour MP for Glasgow North, Ann McKechin.

:08:46.:08:48.

What did you make of that last point, Tom? There clearly are

:08:49.:08:59.

mounting problems but it seems not unreasonable for the Government to

:09:00.:09:02.

focus a bet on Brexit so perhaps they are both right. It is not a

:09:03.:09:10.

binary choice, it just shows the business of Government is hard and

:09:11.:09:14.

Brexit has made it even harder so I think you have to cut the Government

:09:15.:09:19.

some slack. There are ?1 problems they must focus on the immediate

:09:20.:09:23.

circumstances, they must deal with Brexit. -- there are long term

:09:24.:09:31.

problems. If you take that Audit Scotland report, they have been in

:09:32.:09:35.

power since 2007, it is quite shocking.

:09:36.:09:39.

They were elected in 2007 on a promise of fighting for local

:09:40.:09:44.

services and now they are trying to undertake the reforms that were

:09:45.:09:48.

omitted about ten years ago. They have become the Labour Party. The

:09:49.:09:53.

face the same dilemma Labour faced a decade ago. It is not easy because

:09:54.:09:58.

labour did suffer from that because it is all very well talking about

:09:59.:10:03.

doing this and that is what the problem is everybody now accepts to

:10:04.:10:06.

rebalance the health service and promote this integration you must

:10:07.:10:11.

close some acute facilities and perhaps people will have to travel a

:10:12.:10:14.

bit more in order to release money you can put into care in the

:10:15.:10:24.

community but as soon as you experienced, there are people on the

:10:25.:10:27.

street saying you are closing our hospitals, this is outrageous. The

:10:28.:10:29.

Audit Scotland report is a wake-up call that there must be a serious

:10:30.:10:30.

debate about how we shift that call that there must be a serious

:10:31.:10:36.

budget from acute health care into social care and the Audit Scotland

:10:37.:10:40.

report says we have not even started that, despite the demographic

:10:41.:10:46.

problems, rising ageing population... The Audit Scotland

:10:47.:10:54.

report also makes the point, the Labour Liberal backed Government

:10:55.:10:57.

were talking about that long before then. We spoke before the 2010

:10:58.:11:02.

election about social care integration south of the border that

:11:03.:11:07.

has been a similar discussion about how we do that, but cutting local

:11:08.:11:11.

authority budgets by far greater extent than other public service

:11:12.:11:15.

budgets, and Scotland has had a consequence and that is we do not

:11:16.:11:20.

have the adequate level of care and our communities to care for a

:11:21.:11:25.

greater number of elderly people. Tom, this discussion earlier about

:11:26.:11:29.

how education, I think we may have got some pledges from Shirley but

:11:30.:11:35.

this is a difficult one for the Government because Nicola Sturgeon

:11:36.:11:40.

has staked her reputation on it. There is room for waffle is limited.

:11:41.:11:45.

They must come up with hard targets and demonstrate they have met them.

:11:46.:11:51.

She said Judge me at the end of this Parliament on whether I have

:11:52.:11:55.

narrowed the attainment gap. You picked up on the point of the

:11:56.:11:59.

principle of free education. This shows is a problem when the

:12:00.:12:03.

principal becomes a commandment because Alex Salmond had halved in

:12:04.:12:07.

stone but the rocks would melt before they got rid of this. They

:12:08.:12:13.

are not locked into it, what may. Government have to be flexible and

:12:14.:12:17.

pragmatic as conditions change and in the long term this principle may

:12:18.:12:21.

have to be flexed but right now they are stuck with it. Labour's position

:12:22.:12:27.

on tuition fees has been all over the place. I think you are against

:12:28.:12:33.

them again, aren't you? Having ?9,000 fees a year, like in England,

:12:34.:12:41.

is not sustainable. You think there could be smaller fees? There is a

:12:42.:12:47.

need, as Tom said, change in circumstances you need to look again

:12:48.:12:52.

at other ways in which to finance higher education. I am not here as a

:12:53.:12:59.

party spokesman today but I think both sides of the border we do not

:13:00.:13:04.

have a long-term and sustainable financial settlement in terms of

:13:05.:13:07.

have a long-term and sustainable undergraduate students. What you

:13:08.:13:12.

have just said, in the guide to what politicians say, the technical term

:13:13.:13:21.

for what you said is blather. The technical and if we need to be

:13:22.:13:26.

prepared for innovation and creative ways of resolving this and the

:13:27.:13:31.

Minister to be failed to accept your point about the evidence clearly

:13:32.:13:34.

showing we have not met the attainment gap and we are the worst

:13:35.:13:40.

of all the home nations and we need to do better.

:13:41.:13:42.

The danger for the Government is these things are so complicated and

:13:43.:13:47.

if you set targets omitting them is not easy, not simple.

:13:48.:13:52.

Something that came out in the health debate is we need a

:13:53.:13:55.

consensual cross-party debate but there is no chance before the local

:13:56.:13:57.

elections. I'll be back at the

:13:58.:13:57.

same time next week.

:13:58.:14:02.

Andrew Neil and Gordon Brewer are joined by Iain Duncan Smith, Chi Onwurah and Haras Rafiq of the Quilliam Foundation. The Daily Mail's Isabel Oakeshott, commentator Steve Richards and Tim Shipman of The Sunday Times are on the political panel.


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