17/11/2013 Sunday Politics South West


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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics.


Downing Street announces an inquiry into allegations of hardball tactics


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


story. Thousands dead. Hundreds of


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


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


International Development Secretary Justine Greening.


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


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


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


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


meals. And the fight to save the region's


airports. and renewed calls to get lorries off


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


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


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


the programme. The Government has announced a


review to investigate what the Prime Minister has called "industrial


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


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


light during the Grangemouth dispute, when the Unite union took


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


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


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


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


preventing the kind of intimidatory activity that was alleged to have


taken place around range mouth during the previous disputes --


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


it is a responsible thing for the government to establish what


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


under pressure to reopen the investigation into what Unite are up


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


straight out there with a very strong statement. Essentially Len


McCluskey wanted Blairites in the shadow cabinet sacked and Ed


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


bits of frustrations they express verbally come what is documented in


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


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


devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan. HMS Daring has just arrived


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


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


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


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


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


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


lost their homes and the UN estimates 11 million have been


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


The International Development Secretary, Justine Greening, joins


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


ground? We instantly chartered flights directly from Dubai where we


have preprepared human Terry and supplies, and started humanity work


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Illustrious was just finishing an exercise and planning to start to


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


their own bodies in terms of tackling FGM, female genital


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


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


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


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


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


local communities to change attitudes everything you have just


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


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


reaches 20 million people and the project has been condemned saying


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


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


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


that we are working in very difficult environments where we are


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


our national interest and that means having a clear approach to


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


accident and emergency. The College of Emergency Medicine have warned


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


dire prediction comes, expect a spring of political recriminations,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the weather, economic realities structural reforms, and changes to


the general health of the population, are all factors they


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


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


redouble our efforts this year because we expected to be a


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


used as a political football. Doctors and all health care


professionals are frustrated about the politics that surrounds the NHS


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


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


frustrating when there is a commentary that suggests the NHS


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


and their patients can survive the winter.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the Tory reforms and move commissioning to local authorities


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


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


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


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


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


that hospitals and health services cannot get on and make sensible


merger collaborations because of this nonsense now that the NHS is


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


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


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


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


Government because David Cameron scrapped the 48-hour guarantee that


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


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


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


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


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


traditional catchment area? I proposed that just before the last


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Andrew George claimed the main beneficiaries are likely to be the


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


the government is standing behind people trying to get onto the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


situation gash the horror of repossession, prices going up,


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


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


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


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


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


lowest wages. There was a real coalition love`in


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


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


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


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


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


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


Janine Jansen reports. Many children from low income


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


problem about eligibility. One society says thousands of children


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Nick isn't as straightforward as it once was.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


pull out in the spring. Tamsin Melville reports.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


places are in disproportionately affected by air passenger duty. But


this passenger says keeping the airport going with taxpayers money


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


flights leaving Newquay is clearly something that cannot be guaranteed.


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


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


spokespeople and business people are united that it is essential to


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


example, how about serious investment in rail travel? The


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


need to make sure we have significantly better train routes,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


holistically. Particularly along the south coast. We need general


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


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


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


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


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


airports. As what the competitive disadvantage some areas would face


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Oliver. Conservative elite commissioners and council leaders


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


question. Certainly something Mark Pritchard must have asked himself


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


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


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


claims as hurtful and wrong. He referred himself to the


Parliamentary Standards Commissioner who has now said there is


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


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


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


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


Mark Pritchard offered to broker investments overseas. In a statement


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


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


referred himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for


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


debate about what MPs should be allowed, having business interests


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Telegraph need to say clearly whether they accept that or they


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


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


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


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


Parliament, or setting up Parliamentary groups, or going to


ministers, writing to ministers that would be completely


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


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


Parliament to have outside consultancies and interests. Did you


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


sensationalist headlines? Part of this has come from your membership


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


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


another one, there is an uncomfortable overlap between your


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


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


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


Albanian Prime Minister and the Mayor of Teheran and the previous


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


sorts of headlines, create suspicion. I am suing the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Albania to getting a business contract. You meet these people


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


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


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


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


going to prejudice my legal proceedings against the Telegraph. I


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


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


international. We need politicians who get out of the Westminster


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


the real world and have an international perspective. And ask


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


# I talk and talk until my head explodes.


# Make this boy shout, make this boy scream.


# Going underground. # Going underground.


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


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


Autumn Statement is becoming a more important part of the political


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


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


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


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


but cosmetically it could have apolitical impact. George Osborne is


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


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


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


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


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


or if you accept it will take another parliament again to


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


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


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


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


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


talking about raising the tax allowance threshold even further,


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


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


Clegg mentioned in his party conference. The significance of the


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


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


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


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


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


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


public. It is recognised that he was far too triumphalist


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the economy starts growing, ironically. We need to remind


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


Unless the politicians screw up Unless you have some idiot in


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


want to do that. When do you anticipate wages outstripping


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


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


are broader measures which no one seems willing to use.


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


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


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


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