17/11/2013 Sunday Politics South West


17/11/2013

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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics.

:00:35.:00:39.

Downing Street announces an inquiry into allegations of hardball tactics

:00:40.:00:42.

and intimidation by unions in industrial disputes. That's our top

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story. Thousands dead. Hundreds of

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thousands without homes. Millions affected. What is Britain doing to

:00:52.:00:55.

help the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan? We'll ask

:00:56.:00:57.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening.

:00:58.:01:02.

Winter is coming and so, it seems, is another crisis in England's

:01:03.:01:05.

hospitals. I'll be asking the Shadow Health Secretary how he'd put a stop

:01:06.:01:07.

to the NHS's annual woes. In the South West: The Lib Dem MP

:01:08.:01:15.

who says his leader's got his priorities wrong on free school

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meals. And the fight to save the region's

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airports. and renewed calls to get lorries off

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

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

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

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the programme. The Government has announced a

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review to investigate what the Prime Minister has called "industrial

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

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

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light during the Grangemouth dispute, when the Unite union took

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

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

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

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

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preventing the kind of intimidatory activity that was alleged to have

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taken place around range mouth during the previous disputes --

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

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it is a responsible thing for the government to establish what

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

:02:51.:02:55.

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

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

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

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

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

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

:03:24.:03:26.

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

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

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

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

:03:45.:03:49.

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

:03:50.:03:53.

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

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

:03:57.:04:03.

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

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

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under pressure to reopen the investigation into what Unite are up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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straight out there with a very strong statement. Essentially Len

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McCluskey wanted Blairites in the shadow cabinet sacked and Ed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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to do as a nightmare. How bad are the relations? They are pretty bad

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and these e-mails confirm the biggest open signal in Westminster,

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which is that relations are pretty tense, -- open secret. That Ed

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Miliband doesn't feel that Ed Balls is acknowledging the economy has

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grown that Labour needs to admit to past mistakes. The sort of great

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open signal is confirmed. On a scale of 1-10, assuming that Blair-Brown

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was ten. I think it is between six and seven. They occupy this joint

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suite of offices that George Cameron and -- David Cameron and George

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Osborne had. It is not just on the economy that there were tensions,

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there were clearly tensions over HS2, Ed Balls put a huge question

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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bits of frustrations they express verbally come what is documented in

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

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

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devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan. HMS Daring has just arrived

:08:19.:08:24.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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lost their homes and the UN estimates 11 million have been

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The International Development Secretary, Justine Greening, joins

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me now for the Sunday Interview Good morning, Secretary of State.

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How much of the ?50 million that the government has allocated has got

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through so far? All of it has landed on the ground now. HMS Daring has

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turned up, that will be able to start getting help out to some of

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those more outlying islands that have been hard to reach. We have

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seen Save the Children and Oxfam really being able to get aid out on

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the ground. We have a plane taking off today that will not read just

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carrying out more equipment to help clear the roads but will also have

:10:03.:10:09.

their staff on board, too. We have ?50 million of aid actually on the

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ground? We instantly chartered flights directly from Dubai where we

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have preprepared human Terry and supplies, and started humanity work

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-- humanitarian supplies. A lot of it has now arrived. I think

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we have done a huge amount so far. We have gone beyond just providing

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humanitarian supplies, to getting the Royal Air Force involved. They

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have helped us to get equipment out there quickly. We have HMS

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Illustrious sailing over there now. Why has that taken so long? It was

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based in the Gulf and is not going to get there until two weeks after

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the storm first hit and that is the one ship we have with lots of

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helicopters. The first decision we took was to make sure we could get

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the fastest vessel out there that was able to help HMS Daring. HMS

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Illustrious was just finishing an exercise and planning to start to

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head back towards the UK. We have said to not do that, and diverted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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call humanitarian supplies -- have made sure we have brought our

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logistics knowledge, we have sent out our naval vessels. It shows we

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are working across government to respond to this crisis. Why does

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only just over 4% of your aid budget go on emergency disaster and

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response? A lot depends on what crises hit in any given year. We

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have done a huge amount, responding to the crisis in Syria, the conflict

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there and the fact we have 2 million refugees who have fled the country.

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We are part of an international effort in supporting them. Shouldn't

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we beginning more money to that rather than some of the other

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programmes where it is harder to see the results question of if we were

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to give more money to the refugees, it would be a visible result. We

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could see an improvement in the lives of children, men and women.

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What we need to do is alongside that is stop those situations from

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happening in the first place. A lot of our development spend is helping

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countries to stay stable. Look at some of the work we are doing in

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Somalia, much more sensible. Not just from an immigration but there

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is a threat perspective. There is a lot of terrorism coming from

:13:33.:13:36.

Somalia. You only have to look at Kenya recently to see that. Which is

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why you talk about what we do with the rest of the spend. It is why it

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is responsible to work with the government of Somalia. Should we

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give more, bigger part of the budget to disaster relief or not? I think

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we get it about right, we have to be flexible and we are. This Philippine

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relief is on top of the work in Syria. Where can you show me a

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correlation between us giving aid to some failed nation, or nearly failed

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nation, and that cutting down on terrorism? If you look at the work

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we have done in Pakistan, a huge amount of work. Some of it

:14:18.:14:20.

short-term. It is written by terrorism. That is -- ridden by

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terrorism. That is not going to fix it self in a sense. Look at the work

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that we do in investing in education. The things that little

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girls like Malala talk about as being absolutely key. We are ramping

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up our aid to Pakistan, it will be close to half ?1 billion by the time

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of the election. Why should British taxpayers be giving half ?1 billion

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to a country where only 0.5% of people in Pakistan pay income tax,

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and 70% of their own MPs don't pay income tax. It is a good point and

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that is why we have been working with their tax revenue authority to

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help them increase that and push forward the tax reform. You are

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right, and I have setup a team that will go out and work with many of

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these countries so they can raise their own revenues. You really think

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you will raise the amount of tax by sending out the British HRM see How

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many troops I we sending out to protect them? They don't need

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troops. We make sure that we have a duty of care alongside our staff,

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but we have to respond to any crisis like the Philippines, and alongside

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other countries we have two work alongside them so that they can

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reinvest in their own public services. If they can create their

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own taxes, will we stop paying aid? We need to look at that but the new

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Pakistan Government has been very clear it is a priority and we will

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be helping them in pursuing that. Let me show you a picture. Who are

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these young women? I don't know I'm sure you are about to tell me. They

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are the Ethiopian Spice Girls and I'm surprised you don't know because

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they have only managed to become so famous because your department has

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financed them to the tune of ?4 million. All of the work we do with

:17:10.:17:13.

women on the ground, making sure they have a voice in their local

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communities, making sure they have some control over what happens to

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their own bodies in terms of tackling FGM, female genital

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mutilation... Did you know your department has spent ?4 million on

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the Ethiopian Spice Girls? Yes, I do, and we have to work with girls

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and show them there is a life ahead of them with opportunity and

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potential that goes beyond what many of them will experience, which

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includes early and forced marriage. It is part of the work we do with

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local communities to change attitudes everything you have just

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said is immeasurable, and they broadcast on a radio station that

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doesn't reach most of the country so it cannot have the impact. It only

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reaches 20 million people and the project has been condemned saying

:18:27.:18:26.

there were serious inefficiencies. That aid report was done a while ago

:18:27.:18:35.

now, and it was talking about the project when it first got going and

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a lot of improvements have happened since. I would go back to the point

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that we are working in very difficult environments where we are

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trying to get longer term change on the ground and that means working

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directly with communities but also investing for the long-term,

:18:54.:18:56.

investing in some of these girls start changing attitudes in them and

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their communities. Why does the British taxpayers spend ?5 million

:19:04.:19:13.

on a Bangladesh version of Question Time? We work with the BBC to make

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sure we can get accountabilities... That is bigger then the BBC Question

:19:21.:19:40.

Time Normal -- budget. That includes the cost of David Dimbleby's

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tattoo! We are working to improve people's prospects but also we are

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working to improve their ability to hold their governments to account so

:19:53.:19:56.

that when they are not getting services on the ground, they have

:19:57.:20:00.

ways they can raise those concerns with the people who are there to

:20:01.:20:08.

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

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

:20:13.:20:18.

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

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

:20:24.:20:27.

our national interest and that means having a clear approach to

:20:28.:20:32.

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

:20:33.:20:37.

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

:20:38.:20:43.

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

:20:44.:20:49.

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

:20:50.:20:55.

a coalition agreement. There have been a lot of agreements that you

:20:56.:21:04.

are sceptical about ring fencing. We are focused on shaking up the

:21:05.:21:09.

economy and improving our public finances. Why haven't you done that?

:21:10.:21:22.

At the end of the day we will be accountable but we are committed to

:21:23.:21:28.

doing that. You are running out of time, will you do it? I hope we can

:21:29.:21:33.

find the Parliamentary time, but even if we don't, we have acted as

:21:34.:21:40.

if that law is in place and we have already met 0.7% commitment. If you

:21:41.:21:46.

are British voter that doesn't believe that we should enshrine that

:21:47.:21:52.

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

:21:53.:21:57.

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

:21:58.:22:01.

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

:22:02.:22:09.

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

:22:10.:22:15.

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

:22:16.:22:21.

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

:22:22.:22:31.

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

:22:32.:22:38.

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

:22:39.:22:44.

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

:22:45.:22:51.

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

:22:52.:22:54.

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

:22:55.:22:57.

accident and emergency. The College of Emergency Medicine have warned

:22:58.:22:59.

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

:23:00.:23:03.

dire prediction comes, expect a spring of political recriminations,

:23:04.:23:06.

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

:23:07.:23:10.

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

:23:11.:23:18.

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

:23:19.:23:24.

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

:23:25.:23:33.

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

:23:34.:23:38.

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

:23:39.:23:46.

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

:23:47.:23:50.

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

:23:51.:23:55.

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

:23:56.:24:03.

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

:24:04.:24:09.

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

:24:10.:24:13.

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

:24:14.:24:23.

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

:24:24.:24:33.

the weather, economic realities structural reforms, and changes to

:24:34.:24:36.

the general health of the population, are all factors they

:24:37.:24:41.

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

:24:42.:24:46.

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

:24:47.:24:51.

redouble our efforts this year because we expected to be a

:24:52.:24:56.

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

:24:57.:25:03.

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

:25:04.:25:10.

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

:25:11.:25:14.

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

:25:15.:25:20.

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

:25:21.:25:26.

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

:25:27.:25:30.

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

:25:31.:25:35.

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

:25:36.:25:38.

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

:25:39.:25:46.

used as a political football. Doctors and all health care

:25:47.:25:49.

professionals are frustrated about the politics that surrounds the NHS

:25:50.:25:55.

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

:25:56.:25:58.

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

:25:59.:26:04.

frustrating when there is a commentary that suggests the NHS

:26:05.:26:08.

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

:26:09.:26:15.

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

:26:16.:26:21.

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

:26:22.:26:30.

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

:26:31.:26:36.

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

:26:37.:26:43.

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

:26:44.:26:47.

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

:26:48.:26:53.

and their patients can survive the winter.

:26:54.:26:56.

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

:26:57.:27:04.

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

:27:05.:27:09.

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

:27:10.:27:19.

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

:27:20.:27:25.

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

:27:26.:27:30.

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

:27:31.:27:34.

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

:27:35.:27:40.

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

:27:41.:27:47.

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

:27:48.:27:54.

come to rethink how the NHS care is particularly for older people so I

:27:55.:27:58.

propose the full integration of health and social care. It cannot

:27:59.:28:03.

make any sense any more to have this approach where we cut social care

:28:04.:28:09.

and let elderly people drift to hospitals in greater numbers. We

:28:10.:28:13.

have two rethink it as a whole service. So you would repeal some of

:28:14.:28:21.

the Tory reforms and move commissioning to local authorities

:28:22.:28:26.

so the NHS should brace itself for another major top-down health

:28:27.:28:32.

reorganisation? No, unlike Andrew Lansley I will work with the

:28:33.:28:35.

organisations ie inherit. He could work with primary care trusts but he

:28:36.:28:47.

turned it upside down when it needed stability. I will not do that but I

:28:48.:28:53.

will repeal the health and social care act because last week we heard

:28:54.:29:06.

that hospitals and health services cannot get on and make sensible

:29:07.:29:09.

merger collaborations because of this nonsense now that the NHS is

:29:10.:29:15.

bound by competition law. Let me get your views on a number of ideas that

:29:16.:29:20.

have been floated either by the press or the Coalition. We haven't

:29:21.:29:25.

got much time. Do you welcome the plan to bring back named GPs for

:29:26.:29:37.

over 75s? Yes, but it has got harder to get the GP appointment under this

:29:38.:29:41.

Government because David Cameron scrapped the 48-hour guarantee that

:29:42.:29:46.

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

:29:47.:29:51.

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

:29:52.:29:55.

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

:29:56.:30:02.

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

:30:03.:30:06.

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

:30:07.:30:14.

traditional catchment area? I proposed that just before the last

:30:15.:30:19.

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

:30:20.:30:22.

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

:30:23.:30:30.

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

:30:31.:30:34.

supports transparency in the NHS. More information for the public of

:30:35.:30:38.

that kind is a good thing. Do you welcome this plan to make it will

:30:39.:30:44.

form the collect in an NHS hospital -- make wilful neglect a criminal

:30:45.:30:51.

offence. It is important to say you can't pick and mix these

:30:52.:30:54.

recommendations, you can't say we will have that one and not the

:30:55.:30:58.

others. It was a balanced package that Sir Robert Francis put forward.

:30:59.:31:03.

My message is that it must be permitted in full. If we are to

:31:04.:31:06.

learn the lessons, the whole package must be addressed, and that includes

:31:07.:31:12.

safe staffing levels across the NHS. Staff have a responsible to two

:31:13.:31:17.

patients at the government also has responsible at T2 NHS staff and it

:31:18.:31:19.

should not let them work in understaffed, unsafe conditions -- a

:31:20.:31:33.

responsibility to NHS staff. Is there a part of the 2004 agreements

:31:34.:31:42.

that you regret and should be undone? A lot of myths have been

:31:43.:31:48.

built up about the contract. When it came in, there was a huge shortage

:31:49.:31:52.

of GPs across the country. Some communities struggle to recruit.

:31:53.:31:58.

This myth that the government have built, that the 2004 GP contract is

:31:59.:32:04.

responsible for the AM decries is, it is spin of the worst possible

:32:05.:32:12.

kind -- the A crisis. You would redo that contract? It was redone

:32:13.:32:17.

under our time in government and change to make it better value for

:32:18.:32:22.

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

:32:23.:32:24.

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

:32:25.:32:32.

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

:32:33.:32:37.

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

:32:38.:32:41.

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

:32:42.:32:44.

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

:32:45.:32:55.

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

:32:56.:33:00.

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

:33:01.:33:04.

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

:33:05.:33:12.

to turn up and demonstrate? I don't know the details, this review will

:33:13.:33:16.

look into that presumably. I need reassurance that this is not a

:33:17.:33:20.

pretty cool call by Mr Cameron on the designed to appear near the

:33:21.:33:23.

election -- that this is not a political call. Are you sponsored by

:33:24.:33:35.

unite? No. Do you get any money from Unite? No. What have you done wrong?

:33:36.:33:44.

It seems others are getting money from Unite. Can I tell you what I

:33:45.:33:51.

think is the scandal of British party political funding, two health

:33:52.:33:54.

care companies have given ?1.5 million in donations to the Tory

:33:55.:34:02.

party, they have ?1.5 billion in NHS contracts. I wonder why you don't

:34:03.:34:06.

spend much time talking about that and obsess over trade union funding.

:34:07.:34:11.

We are happy to talk about that. We see from e-mails that Mr Miliband's

:34:12.:34:18.

closest advisers regard Mr Ed Balls as a bit of a nightmare, do you see

:34:19.:34:23.

a bit of a nightmare about him as well? I don't at all, he is a very

:34:24.:34:29.

good friend. I can't believe that you are talking about those e-mails

:34:30.:34:32.

on a national political programme. My goodness, you obviously scraping

:34:33.:34:38.

the barrel today. I have been in front-line labour politics for 20

:34:39.:34:42.

years. I can't remember the front bench and the wider party being as

:34:43.:34:46.

united as it is today and it is a great credit to Ed Miliband and Ed

:34:47.:34:50.

Balls. We are going into a general election and we are going to get rid

:34:51.:34:53.

of a pretty disastrous coalition government. It was worth spending a

:34:54.:34:58.

few seconds to establish your not having nightmares. Thank you for

:34:59.:35:01.

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

:35:02.:35:04.

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

:35:05.:35:06.

talking to the MP accused of Hello, I'm Martyn Oates, coming up

:35:07.:35:24.

on the Sunday Politics in the South West: The fight to save the region's

:35:25.:35:28.

dwindling air links. And for the next 20 minutes, I'm

:35:29.:35:31.

joined by Labour's Councillor Kate Wheller, from Dorset County Council,

:35:32.:35:34.

and Oliver Colvile, Conservative MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport.

:35:35.:35:40.

On Monday, David Cameron met some of the first people to benefit from the

:35:41.:35:43.

recently extended Help To Buy scheme ` the Government backed mortgages to

:35:44.:35:47.

get people onto the housing ladder. On the same day, though, St Ives MP

:35:48.:35:51.

Andrew George claimed the main beneficiaries are likely to be the

:35:52.:35:59.

rich. In principle, the government has got it right and we need to have

:36:00.:36:02.

the government is standing behind people trying to get onto the

:36:03.:36:07.

housing ladder. But as designed, it may actually only benefit the

:36:08.:36:11.

wealthy who will get onto the housing ladder anyway, and possibly

:36:12.:36:15.

be used the second home ownership. What we need it to do is help people

:36:16.:36:19.

who otherwise wouldn't get into that market. Clearly, the intention is

:36:20.:36:25.

not the Vista benefit the wealthy. Where that happened, it would rub

:36:26.:36:30.

salt into the wounds in places like Cornwall and Devon and Dorset. My

:36:31.:36:37.

understanding is that 75% of the people applying to have this help

:36:38.:36:40.

from the government are actually going to be under 30, and that is

:36:41.:36:48.

good news, because we need to encourage the young to start owning

:36:49.:36:52.

homes as well. In terms of the financial circumstances, you don't

:36:53.:36:57.

share the concerns of Andrew? No, I don't. They have to find 5% of the

:36:58.:37:03.

deposit and the government will find another 15. That will hopefully take

:37:04.:37:07.

some of the pressure off the bank of mum and dad. This is interesting.

:37:08.:37:13.

You will know, I'm sure, there are critics on the right for quite

:37:14.:37:19.

different reasons he says this is `` who say this is all built on debt,

:37:20.:37:25.

which might prove dangerous, and it might drive another housing bubble.

:37:26.:37:31.

We could have a whole host of reasons for stopping people from

:37:32.:37:33.

doing things. I think we should be positive about it. We have to make

:37:34.:37:41.

sure we increase the housing stock which will be sold. The big problem

:37:42.:37:52.

is we are encouraging people to take on mortgages while interest levels

:37:53.:37:58.

are low, and interest levels we know cannot stay at this artificially low

:37:59.:38:02.

level for too long. They will go up. You may not be old enough to

:38:03.:38:13.

remember 50% mortgages, but I am. To find people at risk of being in that

:38:14.:38:16.

situation gash the horror of repossession, prices going up,

:38:17.:38:25.

interest levels going up almost daily. That is what this initiative

:38:26.:38:33.

risks doing. So you would prefer this is not happen? No, I would

:38:34.:38:38.

refer that the government used any spare money to build houses that are

:38:39.:38:47.

affordable, to control rent so that landlords are not buying whole

:38:48.:38:50.

portfolios of homes and benefiting from people in my area, on the

:38:51.:39:02.

lowest wages. There was a real coalition love`in

:39:03.:39:06.

in the Commons this week ` the kind of thing that doubtless warms

:39:07.:39:09.

Oliver's heart. The Tory Education Secretary said how much he liked

:39:10.:39:12.

Nick Clegg's plan to give all infants free school meals next year.

:39:13.:39:16.

Disagreement, though, came from another Lib Dem Nick. North Devon's

:39:17.:39:20.

Nick Harvey says the policy will subsidise parents who can afford to

:39:21.:39:23.

pay, while ignoring more than a million children in real need.

:39:24.:39:29.

Janine Jansen reports. Many children from low income

:39:30.:39:33.

families are entitled to free school meals. However, Deputy Prime

:39:34.:39:37.

Minister Nick Clegg says, from next temper, all infants and eight will

:39:38.:39:42.

get a free lunch, regardless of whether they are rich or poor. We're

:39:43.:39:48.

going to give everybody a hot, helping meal at lunchtime. If you

:39:49.:39:54.

are a parent paying for your child's school lunch, you could have

:39:55.:39:58.

a saving of over ?400 per child per year. The trouble is, one MP does

:39:59.:40:06.

not agree. 1.2 million children living within the government's

:40:07.:40:11.

definition of child poverty do not get a meal at school. Why does the

:40:12.:40:17.

government consider it a higher priority to give it to all children

:40:18.:40:23.

between the ages of five and seven, 1.3 million of which can afford to

:40:24.:40:30.

pay. All children should be able to enjoy high`quality lunches. I'm

:40:31.:40:37.

right `` unlike the Right Honourable gentleman, who I normally agree

:40:38.:40:40.

with, I will have to part ways with him. This school was set up in the

:40:41.:40:48.

1700s. Today, it has the highest number of children on free school

:40:49.:40:53.

meals in the whole of Devon. Almost half the pupils are on free school

:40:54.:40:58.

meals, and that is actually highly unusual the Devon. Even though in

:40:59.:41:02.

the county there are a high number of families on low incomes, the

:41:03.:41:06.

actual take`up of free school meals is low ` just under 12%. Parents

:41:07.:41:13.

told me the low take`up could be due to the stigma, but there is a bigger

:41:14.:41:19.

problem about eligibility. One society says thousands of children

:41:20.:41:23.

who meet the government's definition of living in poverty are not getting

:41:24.:41:29.

a free meal. If a couple was working more than 24 hours, they tend not to

:41:30.:41:34.

be eligible. If they single parent was working more than 16 hours, they

:41:35.:41:40.

tend not to be eligible, despite the fact they may also be on low income.

:41:41.:41:45.

The Children's Society says families on less than 60% of the average

:41:46.:41:51.

income are missing out. It says the number of children in poverty not

:41:52.:41:56.

getting a free school meal in Cornwall is 9200 ` and average of

:41:57.:42:01.

51%. In Devon, it is more than 15,000. The highest centage of the

:42:02.:42:07.

so`called working poor is in central Devon, that is 30 `` 53%. One mother

:42:08.:42:15.

has her own solution. I think it should be eligible to all children,

:42:16.:42:21.

no matter what their circumstances. That may be beyond the government's

:42:22.:42:25.

means, but Nick Harvey says his suggestion would not cost 1p more. I

:42:26.:42:30.

want to use this sum of money that has been found and take all children

:42:31.:42:35.

living in poverty and give them a school meal. It seems agreeing with

:42:36.:42:39.

Nick isn't as straightforward as it once was.

:42:40.:42:46.

Kate, the last Labour government had some pilots looking at extending

:42:47.:42:49.

free school meals. I think the idea is something which is still popular

:42:50.:42:54.

in Labour circles. The question is, how would you do it? I like the idea

:42:55.:42:59.

of free school meals much more universally. It is good social

:43:00.:43:07.

cohesion, for children to all sit down and eat together. The whole

:43:08.:43:13.

thing about take`up is difficult. There is a huge stigma attached. It

:43:14.:43:18.

doesn't surprise me the Lib Dems are in this situation. They are

:43:19.:43:21.

developing thick skin is not agreeing with each other. I think

:43:22.:43:27.

it's a shame they've chosen this to fall apart on, because it is a good

:43:28.:43:33.

initiative. Which of the next EU agree with? `` of the Nicks do you

:43:34.:43:43.

agree with? On this occasion, I agree with Nick Clegg. If families

:43:44.:43:51.

were paid a living wage, we would all be able to feed our children

:43:52.:43:58.

properly, wouldn't we? But should we not target families who really need

:43:59.:44:05.

it? We all know that an awful lot of people who do require that help do

:44:06.:44:12.

not ask for it, for all sorts of misplaced pride. This way, all

:44:13.:44:16.

children will now receive a good, hot meal. Oliver, I have a feeling

:44:17.:44:22.

you will say a good `` the same thing. I will. There is a big

:44:23.:44:30.

problem in my area with low skills and low wages, so anything we can do

:44:31.:44:36.

to try to take the pressure off families making ends meet we should

:44:37.:44:42.

most certainly be doing. Anything which also takes away the stigma of

:44:43.:44:48.

children being given school meals, they don't have to be concerned

:44:49.:44:52.

about it, I think is also a good thing. In other areas such as child

:44:53.:45:00.

benefits, the government seems to be moving away from universal benefit

:45:01.:45:03.

and saying, let's target this towards people who really need it.

:45:04.:45:09.

This is about making sure children have a good start to the day. A need

:45:10.:45:13.

to make sure they have a good breakfast. Nick Harvey is saying at

:45:14.:45:19.

the moment this will lead a lot of older children who desperately need

:45:20.:45:22.

this money out of the frame, when the same part of money could be

:45:23.:45:29.

targeting them. In my constituency, there are places where 50 or 60% of

:45:30.:45:33.

children are getting free school meals. I am sure there are many more

:45:34.:45:39.

people whose children are involved in. I think it is important that we

:45:40.:45:43.

do everything we can to make sure children have a healthy start. A

:45:44.:45:48.

related issue, something else Nick Harvey talks about a lot is the fact

:45:49.:45:52.

that the government's pupil premium is tagged directly to free school

:45:53.:45:58.

meal take`up, despite the fact that if the government assesses child

:45:59.:46:04.

poverty in a much broader way, that is leaving a lot of people in the

:46:05.:46:10.

south`west out of the net. I asked what the definition of child poverty

:46:11.:46:14.

was and I was told it was very difficult. I represent a naval

:46:15.:46:20.

garrison city and I know it goes towards service families and I think

:46:21.:46:27.

that is a good then. The pupil premium is complex. It should not be

:46:28.:46:32.

linked to free school meals, but it has been. It makes life terribly

:46:33.:46:39.

difficult for schools themselves ` they don't really know where they

:46:40.:46:43.

are. The government is now talking about looking at the whole thing. I

:46:44.:46:47.

read only recently that when universal credit comes in, this will

:46:48.:46:52.

make a big difference and it will change, but the start of universal

:46:53.:46:59.

credit is a movable feast. Heaven knows when that will actually start.

:47:00.:47:04.

And the ramifications of that impact on all these other benefits are also

:47:05.:47:12.

unknown. Until we get to grips with the entire package, we will always

:47:13.:47:16.

have these questions, should we be doing this or that? The whole thing

:47:17.:47:21.

needs a proper, comprehensive look at. And despite promises, that

:47:22.:47:27.

simply isn't happening. It hasn't been a great week for

:47:28.:47:30.

aviation in the South West. On Monday the Exeter`based operator

:47:31.:47:33.

Flybe announced heavy job losses. And there's huge concern about the

:47:34.:47:36.

future of flights to London from the region's only other surviving

:47:37.:47:39.

airport at Newquay. Flybe currently provides these as well, but plans to

:47:40.:47:42.

pull out in the spring. Tamsin Melville reports.

:47:43.:47:51.

The early flight from London Gatwick to Newquay. It is the airport's

:47:52.:47:57.

flagship route, but as things stand, aged `` it could stop in March.

:47:58.:48:03.

Without that flight it will be very difficult to do business on a

:48:04.:48:09.

national basis. It makes things so much easier. The people to invest,

:48:10.:48:16.

it is essential. To travel down to Cornwall any other way takes so many

:48:17.:48:21.

hours. But this plane was less than half full. The operator has blamed

:48:22.:48:26.

costs at Gatwick for reasons of pulling out. The number of

:48:27.:48:32.

passengers checking in at the Gates has fallen every year for the past

:48:33.:48:36.

five years. With Cornwall Council subsidising this airport to the tune

:48:37.:48:41.

of ?3 million a year, critics argue it is not worth keeping it open. The

:48:42.:48:46.

council's had to keep the Gatwick flight going by classing it is a

:48:47.:48:54.

public service obligation route has support, but there is a lengthy

:48:55.:49:00.

tender process governed by EU rules. At the same time, some ministers say

:49:01.:49:05.

they need to re`evaluate air passenger duty. There is a special

:49:06.:49:10.

exemption for flights in an out of Northern Ireland. The principle is,

:49:11.:49:14.

where air passenger duty does cause home to the viability, they can look

:49:15.:49:24.

at an exception. `` does cause harm. We need to look at whether these

:49:25.:49:29.

places are in disproportionately affected by air passenger duty. But

:49:30.:49:34.

this passenger says keeping the airport going with taxpayers money

:49:35.:49:39.

is wrong. Cornwall Council is having to find over ?3 million every year

:49:40.:49:45.

to prop the airport up. We just cannot afford that every more. ``

:49:46.:49:56.

anymore. In a bid to claw back some cash, the authority is talking about

:49:57.:50:00.

doubling the airport development the paid by each passenger to ?10, but

:50:01.:50:05.

this is not enough for Tim. Even putting it up by ?5 is not going to

:50:06.:50:11.

go up anywhere near to covering the subsidy. In the past, the cost of

:50:12.:50:19.

subsidising the airport has been explored. For now, closing the

:50:20.:50:22.

airport completely is off the agenda. Passengers will rise again.

:50:23.:50:31.

Cornwall has got another round of European funding and there will be

:50:32.:50:36.

more interest and investment. If we lose the airport now, that is a

:50:37.:50:40.

crucial part of our productivity to make sure we are competitive with

:50:41.:50:42.

the rest of the country and the world. Across the region, Plymouth

:50:43.:50:49.

airport closed in 2011. Efforts to reopen it looked uncertain. This

:50:50.:50:56.

week, Flybe announced it would cut a further 500 jobs. The site of

:50:57.:51:00.

flights leaving Newquay is clearly something that cannot be guaranteed.

:51:01.:51:11.

Tamsin Melville reporting. And the Green Party's Rupert Read joins us

:51:12.:51:17.

to discuss. Listening to that report, it seems clear that the main

:51:18.:51:21.

spokespeople and business people are united that it is essential to

:51:22.:51:26.

retain services like this. Your party disagrees. Well, they are

:51:27.:51:34.

looking to get free money, which is never really free. It comes from the

:51:35.:51:40.

taxpayer. This is wrong. But the argument is this stimulates the

:51:41.:51:47.

private sector. It is not persuasive when you take into account a Friends

:51:48.:51:51.

of the Earth report which shows regional airports are in most cases

:51:52.:51:57.

a drain on the local economy. Why? It is because people leave the area

:51:58.:52:01.

on those planes and fly off to go on holiday. Goods get shipped in

:52:02.:52:08.

Shipley `` cheaply and undercut local businesses. I think Newquay

:52:09.:52:14.

airport is in terminal decline. We ought to be shipping the quality ``

:52:15.:52:21.

the money into ways it can be used better to help the local people. For

:52:22.:52:25.

example, how about serious investment in rail travel? The

:52:26.:52:29.

numbers using trains in the area are going up. Let's put our money into

:52:30.:52:34.

that. We think that should be done as part of a renationalised train

:52:35.:52:43.

system. Oliver, what do you make of the argument that Plymouth airport

:52:44.:52:50.

is dying? The issue is very sad. 37,000 people signed a petition to

:52:51.:52:53.

make sure it could be brought back to life again. I understand Newquay

:52:54.:52:58.

is likely to get some money from the Chief Secretary of the Treasury.

:52:59.:53:05.

I've written to the secretary of state asking whether or not Plymouth

:53:06.:53:10.

could have similar things as well. But I do think we need to try and

:53:11.:53:14.

maintain if we possibly can the regional airports. It is a problem.

:53:15.:53:23.

My fear is that Exeter Airport may be the only one that survives. We

:53:24.:53:27.

need to make sure we have significantly better train routes,

:53:28.:53:36.

as Rupert said. If the airports do have to go, we need to get trains

:53:37.:53:39.

which go into the heart of Exeter Airport as well, the same as what

:53:40.:53:48.

happens in Southend. Kate, you are obviously quite far away. Do you

:53:49.:53:54.

think regional airports are worth the fuss? Well, we do have one very

:53:55.:54:04.

popular airport. We use Extech airport in our area as well. ``

:54:05.:54:12.

Exeter Airport. I think regional airports are good for the economy

:54:13.:54:15.

and they are good for the country as a whole. However, I do think we need

:54:16.:54:21.

to be looking much more holistic li at the whole infrastructure. ``

:54:22.:54:30.

holistically. Particularly along the south coast. We need general

:54:31.:54:37.

investment in the infrastructure ` road, rail and broadband. That is

:54:38.:54:40.

what will really make the difference to our economic road. `` growth.

:54:41.:54:53.

Unfortunately, if a regional airport is not washing its own face, as they

:54:54.:54:58.

say, it may have to go. We cannot keep subsidising things. Rupert, I

:54:59.:55:05.

can see you do not think there is much of an argument for regional

:55:06.:55:10.

airports. As what the competitive disadvantage some areas would face

:55:11.:55:18.

if Newquay closes? Oliver has called for money to be invested in pretty

:55:19.:55:22.

much everything, but there is in the money. The money should be targeted

:55:23.:55:27.

where it can do good. Wi`Fi is absolutely crucial. And, as I've

:55:28.:55:32.

said clearly, rail investment. The numbers using the trains in your

:55:33.:55:35.

part of the country are going up. Let's have good quality rail

:55:36.:55:39.

services we can rely on and be proud of. Rupert, thank you. Time now for

:55:40.:55:49.

our round`up of the political week in just 60 seconds.

:55:50.:56:00.

This is the only region which has seen a rise in unemployment. The

:56:01.:56:05.

so`called bedroom tax is labelled Dickensian, as Andrew Leis intellect

:56:06.:56:15.

`` yet another coalition policy. This target is the most marginalised

:56:16.:56:21.

in society. It is completely the wrong way to address the serious

:56:22.:56:27.

shortage in affordable housing. The region's Police Commissioner has

:56:28.:56:30.

asked to put up council tax by more than 2%.

:56:31.:56:33.

Cornwall Council plans a rise of just under that. And Baroness Wilcox

:56:34.:56:40.

says we should call time on train toilets flushing straight onto the

:56:41.:56:45.

tracks. I'm delighted to say how happy I am

:56:46.:56:48.

to travel by rail most of the time, all the way to the West country. But

:56:49.:56:54.

I'm sorry to say that we still have raw sewage going out onto the lines.

:56:55.:57:02.

Oliver. Conservative elite commissioners and council leaders

:57:03.:57:18.

all saying they need more money. Well, they want to say that there

:57:19.:57:22.

will be no council tax increases for the next three years. The cost of

:57:23.:57:27.

living is such an issue this autumn, I think it is important councils do

:57:28.:57:32.

everything they can to keep those taxes down. I will be calling on the

:57:33.:57:39.

local authority here to do that. You keep the council tax down this year

:57:40.:57:45.

because you artificially put it off. What that means is that,

:57:46.:57:50.

ultimately, we have to put a big hike in because we simply cannot

:57:51.:58:00.

fulfil our commitment is to our residents on the level of funding

:58:01.:58:04.

central government is giving us. I spent the whole of yesterday in

:58:05.:58:08.

meetings... if we hear more. Thank you. Andrew,

:58:09.:58:10.

it is back to you. Who'd be an MP? It's a good

:58:11.:58:28.

question. Certainly something Mark Pritchard must have asked himself

:58:29.:58:31.

when his picture graced the front page of the Daily Telegraph, with

:58:32.:58:34.

allegations that he had offered to set up business deals overseas in

:58:35.:58:37.

return for hundreds of thousands of pounds. Mr Pritchard dismissed the

:58:38.:58:40.

claims as hurtful and wrong. He referred himself to the

:58:41.:58:41.

Parliamentary Standards Commissioner who has now said there is

:58:42.:58:44.

insufficient evidence to investigate. In a moment we'll talk

:58:45.:58:47.

to Mr Pritchard, but first let's take a look back at how the story

:58:48.:58:50.

unfurled. A Conservative MP has denied allegations that he used his

:58:51.:58:54.

Parliamentary contacts for financial gain... The daily Telegraph says

:58:55.:58:58.

Mark Pritchard offered to broker investments overseas. In a statement

:58:59.:59:05.

he said the allegations made by the Telegraph are false. Mr Pritchard

:59:06.:59:13.

was secretly filmed... What do you make of these allegations? He has

:59:14.:59:18.

referred himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for

:59:19.:59:21.

standards to clear his name and I suspect this story will reopen the

:59:22.:59:30.

debate about what MPs should be allowed, having business interests

:59:31.:59:38.

elsewhere. Is it not clear that you did ask for money in consultancy

:59:39.:59:48.

services? First of all I would like to apologise for the sunglasses I

:59:49.:59:52.

have had a lot of comments about that. On a serious point, these

:59:53.:00:01.

claims by the Telegraph of false. You didn't ask for ?3000? They are

:00:02.:00:08.

false, hurtful and malicious. It is known widely that I have sued the

:00:09.:00:12.

Telegraph previously. I have also been critical of their coverage of

:00:13.:00:17.

the plebgate affair, their reporting of that. I have been supportive of

:00:18.:00:21.

the cross-party Royal Charter and I know that some people in the media

:00:22.:00:26.

don't like my position on that. That is why it is malicious. I believe in

:00:27.:00:31.

a free press. That free press also has a responsibility to be fair

:00:32.:00:38.

accurate and lawful. In discussions with this business who turned out to

:00:39.:00:43.

be a Telegraph reporter, it is true that you ask for ?3000 a month

:00:44.:00:49.

consultancy fee. The point is.. That is the point. No. That video

:00:50.:00:56.

has been cut and pasted to serve the Telegraph's story. The story was

:00:57.:01:01.

that we want to get Mark Bridger, for whatever reason, at any cost. --

:01:02.:01:06.

Mark Bridger hard. I would not go down the line they were hoping I

:01:07.:01:10.

would go down. Everything I own outside of Parliament is openly

:01:11.:01:17.

declared. We are allowed to have outside witness interests. The

:01:18.:01:19.

Telegraph need to say clearly whether they accept that or they

:01:20.:01:25.

don't. I think you need to say clearly whether you asked for the

:01:26.:01:29.

money or not. You then went on to ask for ?300,000 if it was a 10

:01:30.:01:33.

million deal, you asked for 3% commission. Let me be clear, if I

:01:34.:01:40.

was asking for income in return for lobbying, or raising issues in

:01:41.:01:44.

Parliament, or setting up Parliamentary groups, or going to

:01:45.:01:48.

ministers, writing to ministers that would be completely

:01:49.:01:54.

inappropriate. I was approached by somebody to advise them on business.

:01:55.:02:00.

It is entirely proper and entirely within the rules for members of

:02:01.:02:03.

Parliament to have outside consultancies and interests. Did you

:02:04.:02:10.

or didn't you? I am answering the question in the way that I want to

:02:11.:02:13.

answer it, not in the way that fits a particular narrative. The

:02:14.:02:17.

narrative, unfortunately, of some parts of the Telegraph and to be

:02:18.:02:21.

fair, there are some very good journalists, I know there is a

:02:22.:02:26.

dispute about the direction of that paper at senior parts. Do they want

:02:27.:02:30.

to return to being a Catholic, objective newspaper or do they want

:02:31.:02:35.

to slip into the slippery slope of being an agnostic rag, looking for

:02:36.:02:40.

sensationalist headlines? Part of this has come from your membership

:02:41.:02:42.

of these all-party Parliamentary groups. You were in Malta when you

:02:43.:02:51.

are first approached, I think you were on a trip there, Hungary is

:02:52.:02:55.

another one, there is an uncomfortable overlap between your

:02:56.:02:59.

political and business interests. I have no business interests in any of

:03:00.:03:03.

those countries. Some of the country is the Telegraph mentioned, let me

:03:04.:03:09.

be clear, I have not even visited. You were boasting that you knew the

:03:10.:03:14.

Albanian Prime Minister and the Mayor of Teheran and the previous

:03:15.:03:20.

prime minister. I make no apology for making foreign trips. I think it

:03:21.:03:24.

is unfortunate we have a narrative developing in some parts of the

:03:25.:03:29.

press that if a politician goes abroad at the taxpayers expense it

:03:30.:03:33.

is wrong. If they go abroad at a host government's expense it is

:03:34.:03:36.

wrong. If they go abroad with a charity, NGO and private company,

:03:37.:03:41.

even if it is declared, it is wrong. We want people with an international

:03:42.:03:46.

perspective in Parliament. Look at this map. You are a member of 5

:03:47.:03:51.

country groups. I don't know what Canada has done not to deserve you,

:03:52.:03:56.

or Australia. 54 groups, you are a part of. You're like... This is the

:03:57.:04:03.

Mark Pritchard British Empire. That is very kind. If I had global

:04:04.:04:06.

interests that white I would not be in Parliament. No, no, no. That is

:04:07.:04:14.

the point... It is the suspicion, that you used these groups to drum

:04:15.:04:18.

up business for your consultants. Prove it, that is the trouble. These

:04:19.:04:22.

sorts of headlines, create suspicion. I am suing the

:04:23.:04:31.

Telegraph... Have you issued a writ? I expect an apology. Have you issued

:04:32.:04:37.

a writ? I have just answered your question. It is yes or no, have you

:04:38.:04:45.

issued a writ? I am in final legal discussions tomorrow about issuing a

:04:46.:04:49.

writ. You have raised something for top the fact is that is inaccurate.

:04:50.:04:54.

I am a member of 40-something Parliamentary groups, of which I

:04:55.:05:01.

make no apology. We have got 54 Let me answer the question if I may It

:05:02.:05:07.

would be very useful. There are 196 countries around the world, it is

:05:08.:05:12.

less than a quarter of the country groups on my figures. I make no

:05:13.:05:20.

apology. One of my regrets is not having visited Syria, I don't know

:05:21.:05:23.

if I am a member of the Syria group, part I should become a member, I

:05:24.:05:29.

make no apology. -- perhaps I should become. When it came to the Syria

:05:30.:05:32.

vote, I was blind sided foot of yes, we have excellent briefings. I had

:05:33.:05:40.

to make a judgement based on part knowledge with nothing beats being

:05:41.:05:44.

on the ground, as even BBC journalists recognised this week.

:05:45.:05:49.

Nothing beats being on the ground. You posted about your connections in

:05:50.:05:52.

Albania to getting a business contract. You meet these people

:05:53.:05:55.

through these all Parliamentary groups. That is where there is an

:05:56.:06:02.

unhealthy overlap. That is what the Telegraph said, let's wait and see.

:06:03.:06:08.

Look... You are a newspaperman, you know lots of people in the newspaper

:06:09.:06:11.

industry, as well as being a respected broadcaster. I am not

:06:12.:06:16.

going to prejudice my legal proceedings against the Telegraph. I

:06:17.:06:20.

make no apology. A good politician has to be local am a national and

:06:21.:06:26.

international. Hang on hang on - has to be local, national and

:06:27.:06:31.

international. We need politicians who get out of the Westminster

:06:32.:06:35.

bubble, who have a business hinterland, who keep their foot in

:06:36.:06:38.

the real world and have an international perspective. And ask

:06:39.:06:45.

for 3% commission? I have answered the question. It was a cut and

:06:46.:06:48.

pasted video, photo shopped to suit the agenda of the Telegraph. They

:06:49.:06:53.

need to get back to serious news reporting and I wish those well at

:06:54.:06:55.

the senior part of the Telegraph who want to get to those days. We look

:06:56.:07:00.

forward to the writ. Thank you. Now - there's been more good news on

:07:01.:07:03.

the economy for George Osborne this week - inflation's down, growth

:07:04.:07:06.

forecasts have been revised up and unemployment has fallen again. On

:07:07.:07:08.

Friday the former Bullingdon boy donned a head torch and went down't

:07:09.:07:12.

pit for just one of many photo opportunities ahead of the Autumn

:07:13.:07:15.

Statement, which he'll deliver in the Commons on fifth December. And,

:07:16.:07:18.

who knows, he might even take his hard hat off for that.

:07:19.:07:25.

# Going underground. # Let the boys all saying and let

:07:26.:07:35.

the boys all shout for tomorrow # Lah, lah, love, love.

:07:36.:07:41.

# I talk and talk until my head explodes.

:07:42.:07:49.

# Make this boy shout, make this boy scream.

:07:50.:07:53.

# Going underground. # Going underground.

:07:54.:08:03.

# I'm going underground. # I'm going underground.

:08:04.:08:09.

George Osborne in his heart out he probably sleeps with it on. This

:08:10.:08:17.

Autumn Statement is becoming a more important part of the political

:08:18.:08:21.

calendar for the coalition. It looks like this is where they are finally

:08:22.:08:25.

going to come up with some kind of response to Ed Miliband's game

:08:26.:08:31.

changing electricity price freeze. The idea which is mooted is they

:08:32.:08:35.

will move people's green tax on two general bills which is not an answer

:08:36.:08:40.

but cosmetically it could have apolitical impact. George Osborne is

:08:41.:08:43.

receiving a lot of representations from lobby groups, business, MPs on

:08:44.:08:50.

his own side, for tax cuts and extra bits spending and he has to spend

:08:51.:08:53.

the next two weeks reminding people of something that has been skewered

:08:54.:08:56.

by the economic recovery. This country has a fiscal deficit which

:08:57.:09:06.

is twice that of France, supposedly the crisis economy in western Europe

:09:07.:09:09.

or if you accept it will take another parliament again to

:09:10.:09:12.

eliminate this deficit, we are not even halfway through the age of

:09:13.:09:15.

austerity. He is in no position to give anything away. He has to hold

:09:16.:09:20.

the line. Danny Alexander has been useful but this is his real

:09:21.:09:24.

challenge. He is going to give stuff away. When the Autumn Statement

:09:25.:09:28.

comes away, 15 months from an election, Nick Clegg has been

:09:29.:09:33.

talking about raising the tax allowance threshold even further,

:09:34.:09:38.

talk of moving green levies of the electricity bills, he is going to

:09:39.:09:42.

give stuff away. We will get funding for free school meals that Nick

:09:43.:09:44.

Clegg mentioned in his party conference. The significance of the

:09:45.:09:49.

Autumn Statement is twice a year, a Chancellor stands up and we all look

:09:50.:09:53.

at the state of the economy. If you talk to members of the Chancellor's

:09:54.:09:57.

circle, it is interesting how nervous they are. They say, don t

:09:58.:10:01.

assume we are going to have this wonderful growth for ever, don't

:10:02.:10:04.

assume everything is fine in the eurozone. I think what would help

:10:05.:10:09.

the Chancellor is if somebody was able to see some of that humility in

:10:10.:10:14.

public. It is recognised that he was far too triumphalist

:10:15.:10:14.

speech he made on the 9th of September, when he said to Ed Balls,

:10:15.:10:22.

we have one and you cannot make an economic policy on the cost of

:10:23.:10:23.

living -- we have... Won. economic policy on the cost of

:10:24.:10:36.

people don't seem to learn from Norman Lamont's green shoots. Labour

:10:37.:10:40.

has moved from complaining there is no growth, now there is, to say

:10:41.:10:45.

has moved from complaining there is is gross but living standards are

:10:46.:10:46.

not rising. If the economy grows by nearly 3% next year, even the bank

:10:47.:10:51.

is saying it will grow by 2.8%, living standards could start to

:10:52.:10:56.

rise. It does but everybody in a difficult position politically if

:10:57.:10:59.

the economy starts growing, ironically. We need to remind

:11:00.:11:02.

ourselves that economy, the natural direction of an economy is to grow.

:11:03.:11:08.

Unless the politicians screw up Unless you have some idiot in

:11:09.:11:13.

charge! It is not a cause for the Morris dance that they seem to be

:11:14.:11:16.

doing, certainly on the Tory side. Osborne is put in a difficult

:11:17.:11:20.

position goes he will have to stop giving stuff away, he cannot push

:11:21.:11:26.

the austerity line at the same time as jangling his magical growth - he

:11:27.:11:33.

will have to start giving stuff away. It puts Labour in a difficult

:11:34.:11:39.

position, it is very unlikely that living standards will match GDP Not

:11:40.:11:45.

since 2003, GDP has been a great indicator. Wages have stagnated for

:11:46.:11:52.

ten years, food has gone up 17% energy has gone up 24%. That is a

:11:53.:11:56.

decade in which everybody has got poorer. The real sweet spot comes

:11:57.:12:01.

when wages start to outstrip inflation. It is a sweet spot and

:12:02.:12:06.

will be a huge challenge for Ed Miliband. As ever on the economy

:12:07.:12:11.

with a sweet spot, you have a danger moment because that is when the

:12:12.:12:14.

governor of the Bank of England will have to look at interest rates.

:12:15.:12:18.

Everything he was saying last week was when we move toward 7%

:12:19.:12:21.

unemployment come that is not the trigger for raising interest rates,

:12:22.:12:25.

it is the moment when we look at it. Everything was saying he did not

:12:26.:12:31.

want to do that. When do you anticipate wages outstripping

:12:32.:12:32.

inflation? It hasn't happened for so long. The second half of next year.

:12:33.:12:40.

Wages and prices are not the sole measure of living standards, there

:12:41.:12:42.

are broader measures which no one seems willing to use.

:12:43.:12:46.

That's all for today. The Daily Politics will be back at tomorrow at

:12:47.:12:49.

midday on BBC Two and I will back here on BBC One at 11:00am next

:12:50.:12:53.

week. Remember if it's Sunday, it's the Sunday Politics.

:12:54.:12:58.

Andrew Neil and Martyn Oates with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With international development secretary Justine Greening, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham and Conservative MP Mark Pritchard.


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