24/11/2013 Sunday Politics South West


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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics.


Labour's been hit hard by scandals at the Co-op. Ed Miliband says the


Tories are mudslinging. We'll speak to Conservative Chairman Grant


Shapps. Five years on from the financial


crisis, and we're still talking about banks in trouble. Why haven't


the regulators got the message? We'll ask the man who runs the


City's new financial watchdog. And he used to have a windmill on


his roof and talked about giving hugs to hoodies and huskies. These


days, not so much. Has the plan to make


In the South West: The warning from the wind and solar industry that


story talk of cutting green warned that benefit falls will be to


homelessness and population ships. What is the evidence?


And as always, the political panel that reaches the parts other shows


can only dream of. Janan Ganesh Helen Lewis and Nick Watt. They ll


be tweeting faster than England loses wickets to Australia. Yes


they're really that fast. First, some big news overnight from


Geneva, where Iran has agreed to curb some of its nuclear activities


in return for the partial easing of sanctions. Iran will pause the


enrichment of uranium to weapons grade and America will free up some


funds for Iran to spend. May be up to $10 billion. A more comprehensive


deal is supposed to be done in six months. Here's what President Obama


had to say about this interim agreement. We have pursued intensive


diplomacy, bilaterally with the Iranians, and together with our


partners, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China,


as well as the European Union. Today, that diplomacy opened up a


new path towards a world that is more secure, a future in which we


can verify that Iraq and's nuclear programme is peaceful, and that it


cannot build a nuclear weapon. President Obama spoke from the White


House last night. Now the difficulty begins. This is meant to lead to a


full-scale agreement which will effectively end all sanctions, and


end Iran's ability to have a bomb. The early signs are pretty good The


Iranian currency strengthened overnight, which is exactly what the


Iranians wanted. Inflation in Iraq is 40%, so they need a stronger


currency. -- information in Iran. France has played a blinder. It was


there intransigence that led to this. Otherwise, I think the West


would have led to a much softer deal. The question now becomes


implementation. Here, everything hinges on two questions. First, who


is Hassan Rouhani? Is he the Iranians Gorbachev, a serious


reformer, or he's here much more tactical and cynical figure? Or


within Iran, how powerful is he There are military men and


intelligence officials within Iran who may stymie the process. The


Western media concentrate on the fact that Mr Netanyahu and the


Israelis are not happy about this. They don't often mention that the


Arab Gulf states are also very apprehensive about this deal. I read


this morning that the enemies of Qatar and Kuwait went to Saudi king.


-- the MAs row. That is the key thing to watch in the next couple of


weeks. There was a response from Saudi Arabia, but it came from the


Prime Minister of Israel, who said this was a historic mistake. The


United States said there would be no enrichment of uranium to weapons


grade. In the last few minutes, the Iranian Foreign Minister has tweeted


to say that there is an inalienable right -- right to enrich. The key


thing is the most important thing that President Obama said in his


inaugural speech. He reached out to Iran. It failed under President


McKenna jab. Under President Rouhani, there seems to be progress.


There is potentially now what he talked about in that first inaugural


address potentially coming through. In the end, the key issue - and we


don't know the answer - is the supreme leader, not the president.


Will the supreme leader agreed to Iran giving up its ability to create


nuclear weapons? This is the huge ambiguity. Ayatollah Khamenei


authorise the position that President Rouhani took to Geneva.


That doesn't mean he will sign off on every bit of implementation over


the next six months. Even when President Ahmadinejad was president,


he wasn't really President. We in the West have to resort to a kind of


Iranians version of the study of the Kremlin, to work out what is going


on. And the problem the president faces is that if there is any


sign... He can unlock these funds by executive order at the moment, but


if he needs any more, he has to go to Congress. Both the Democrat and


the Republican side have huge scepticism about this. And he has


very low credibility now. There s already been angry noises coming


from quite a lot of senators. It was quite strange to see that photo of


John Kerry hugging Cathy Ashton as if they had survived a ship great


together. John Kerry is clearly feeling very happy. We will keep an


eye on this. It is a fascinating development.


More lurid details about the personal life of the Co-op Bank s


disgraced former chairman, the Reverend Paul Flowers. The links


between Labour, the bank and the wider Co-op movement have caused big


problems for Ed Miliband this week, and the Conservatives have been


revelling in it. But do the Tory allegations - Ed Miliband calls them


"smears" - stack up? Party Chairman Grant Shapps joins us from Hatfield.


Welcome to the programme. When it comes to the Co-op, what are you


accusing Labour of knowing and when? I think the simple thing to say here


is that the Co-op is an important bank. They have obviously got into


difficulty with Reverend flowers, and our primary concern is making


sure that that is properly investigated, and that we understand


what happened at the bank and how somebody like Paul Flowers could


have ended up thing appointed chairman. You wrote to edge Miliband


on Tuesday and asked him what he knew and when. -- you wrote to Ed


Miliband. But by Prime Minister s Questions on Wednesday, David


Cameron claims that you knew that Labour knew about his past all


along. What is the evidence for that? We found out by Wednesday that


he had been a Labour councillor Reverend Flowers, and had been made


to stand down. Certainly, Labour knew about that, but somehow didn't


seem to think that that made him less appropriate to be the chairman


of the Co-op bank. There was no evidence that Mr Miliband or Mr


Balls knew about that. I ask you again, what are you accusing the


Labour leadership of knowing? We know now that he stood down for very


inappropriate images on his computer, apparently. You are


telling me that they didn't know. I am not sure that is clear at all. I


have heard conflicting reports. There is a much bigger argument


about what they knew and when. There was a much bigger issue here. This


morning, Ed Miliband has said that they don't have to answer these


questions and that these smears This is ludicrous. These are


important questions about an important bank, how it ended up


getting into this position, and how a disastrous Britannia -- Italia


deal happen. -- Britannia deal happened. And we need to know how


the bank came off the rails. To be accused of smears for asking the


questions is ridiculous. I am just trying to find out what you are


accusing Labour of. You saying that the Labour leadership knew about the


drug-taking? Sorry, there was some noise here. I don't know what was


known and when. We do know that Labour, the party, certainly knew


about these very difficult circumstances in which he resigned


as a councillor. I think that the Labour Party knew about it. We knew


that Bradford did, but not London. Are you saying that Ed Miliband knew


about the inappropriate material on the Reverend's laptop? It is


certainly the case that Labour knew about it. But did Mr Miliband know


about it, and his predilection for rent boys? He will need to answer


those questions. It is quite proper to ask those questions. Surely,


asking a perfectly legitimate set of questions, not just about that but


about how we have ended up in a situation where this bank has made


loans to Labour for millions of pounds, that bank and the Unite


bank, who is connected to it. And how they made a ?50,000 donation to


Ed Balls' office. Ed Balls says that was nothing to do with Reverend


Flowers, and yet Reverend Flowers said that he personally signed that


off. Lots of questions to answer. David Cameron has already answered


them on Wednesday. He said that you now know that Labour knew about his


past all along. You have not been able to present evidence that


involve Mr Miliband or Mr Balls in that. So until you get that, surely


you should apologise? Hang on. He said that Labour knew about this,


and they did, because he stood down as a councillor. If Ed Miliband


didn't know about that, then why not? This was quite a serious thing


that happened. The wider point is about why it is that when you ask


perfectly legitimate questions about this bank, about the Britannia deal,


and about the background of Mr flowers, why is the response, it is


all smears? There are questions about how Labour failed to deal with


the deficit and how it hasn't done anything to support the welfare


changes, but there is nothing about that. Let us -- lets: To the wider


picture of the Co-operative Bank. Labour wanted the Co-op to take over


the Britannia Building Society, and it was a disaster. Do you accept


that? The government of the day has to be a part of these discussions


for regulatory reason. The government in 2009 - Ed Balls was


very pleased... But you supported that decision. There was a later


deal, potentially, for the Co-op to buy those Lloyds branches. There was


a proper process and it didn't go through just recently. If there had


been a proper process back in 2 09, would the Britannia deal have gone


through? First, you accept that the Tories were in favour of the


Britannia take over. Then your Chancellor Osborne went out of his


way to facilitate the purchase of the Lloyds branches, even though you


had no idea that the Co-op had the management expertise to become a


super medium. Correct? The difference is that that deal didn't


go through. There was a proper process that took place. Let's look


at the process. There was long indications as far back as January


2012 that the Co-op, as a direct result of the Britannia take over


which you will party supported, was unfit to acquire the Lloyds


branches. By January 2012, the Chancellor and the Treasury ignored


the warnings. Wide? In 2009, there was political pressure for the


Britannia to be brought together. Based on the information available,


this was supported, but that process ended up with a very, very


problematic takeover of the Britannia. Wind forward to this


year, and when the same types of issues were being looked at for the


purchase of the Lloyds deal, the proper process was followed, this


time with us in government, and that purchase didn't go through. It is


important that the proper process is followed, and when it was, it


transpired that the deal wasn't going to be done. But it was the


Treasury and the Chancellor who were the cheerleaders for the acquisition


of the Lloyds branches. But there was a warning that the Co-op did not


have enough capital on its balance sheet to make those acquisitions,


but instead of heeding those warnings, your people went to


Brussels to lobby for the requirements to be relaxed - why on


earth did you do that? Our Chancellor went to argue for all of


Rajesh banking, not specifically for the Co-op. He was arguing for the


mutuals to be given a special ruling. The idea was to make sure


that every bank in Britain could have a better deal, particularly the


mutuals, as you say. That is a proper thing for the Chancellor to


be doing. We could go round in circles here, but in the end, there


was not a takeover of the Lloyds branches, that is because we


followed a proper process. Had that same rigorous process been followed


in 2009, the legitimate question to ask is whether the Co-op would have


been -- would have taken over the Britannia. That is a proper question


to ask. It is no good to have the leader of the opposition say, as


soon as you ask any of these questions about anything where there


is a problem for them, they come back with, oh, this is all smears.


There are questions to ask about what the Labour government did, the


debt and the deficit they left the country with, the way they stopped


work from paying in this country. The big question your government has


two answer is, why, by July 201 , when it was clear there was a black


hole in the Co-op's balance sheet, your government re-confirmed the


Co-op as the preferred bidder for Lloyds - why would you do that?


Well, look, the good thing is, we can discuss this until the cows come


home, but there is going to be a proper, full investigation, so we


will find out what happened, all the way back. So, we will be able to get


to the bottom of all of this. Grant Shapps, the only reason the Lloyds


deal did not go ahead was, despite the Treasury cheerleading, when


Lloyds began its due diligence, it found that there was indeed a huge


black hole in the balance sheet and that the Co-op was not fit to take


over its branches. That wasn't you, it wasn't the Government, it was not


the Chancellor, it was Lloyds. You were still cheerleading for the deal


to go ahead... Well, as I say, a proper process was followed, which


did not result in the purchase of the Lloyds branches. At that proper


process been followed with the purchase of the Britannia, under the


previous government... Which you supported. Yes, but it may well be


that under that previous deal, there was a excess political pressure


perhaps put on in order to create that merger, which proved so


disastrous. The Tories facilitated it, Grant Shapps, they allowed it to


go ahead. I have said, we are going to have a proper, independent


review. What I cannot understand is, when you announce a robber,


independent review, the response you get to these serious questions. The


response is, oh, this is a smear. It is crazy. We are trying to answer


the big questions for this country. We have done all of that, and we are


out of time. The Reverend Flowers' chairmanship of the Co-op bank was


approved by the regulator at the time, which no longer exists. It was


swept away by the coalition government in a supposed revolution


in regulation. But will its replacement, the Financial Conduct


Authority, be different? Adam has been to find out. Come with me for a


spin around the Square mile to find out how we regulate our financial


sector, which is almost five times bigger than the country's entire


annual income. First, let's pick up our guide, journalist Iain Martin,


who has just written a book about what went so wrong during the


financial crisis. The FSA was an agency which was established to


supervise the banks on a day-to day basis. The Bank of England was


supposed to have overall responsible at for this to Bolivia the financial


system and the Treasury was supposed to take an interest in all of these


things. The disaster was that it was not anyone's call responsibility, or


main day job, to stay alert as to whether or not the banking system as


a whole was being run in a safe manner. And so this April, a new


system was set up to police the City. Most of the responsibly delays


here, with the Bank of England, and its new Prudential Regulation


Authority. And the Financial Services Authority has been replaced


with the new Financial Conduct Authority. Can we go to the


financial conduct authority, please? Canary Wharf, thank you. Here, it is


all about whether the people in financial services are playing by


the rules, in particular, how they treat their customers. This place


has got new powers, like the ability to ban products it does not like, a


new mandate to promote competition in the market, the concept being,


more competition means a better market, plus the idea that a new


organisation rings a whole new culture. Although these are the old


offices of the FSA, so maybe not quite so new after all. It has also


inherited the case of the Co-op bank and its disgraced former chairman


the Reverend Paul Flowers. The SCA will be part of the investigation


into what happened, which will probably involve looking at its own


conduct. One member of the Parliamentary commission into


banking wonders whether the new regulator, and its new boss, are up


to it. I have always said, it is not the architecture which is the issue,


it is the powers that the regulator has, and today, it does not seem to


me as if there is any increase in that. And with the unfolding scandal


at the Co-op, it feels like the new architecture for regulating the City


is now facing its first big test. And the chief executive of the


Financial Conduct Authority, the SCA, Martin Wheatley, joins me now.


Welcome to The Sunday Politics. The failure of bank regulation was one


of the clearest lessons of the crash in 2008, and yet two years later, in


2010, Paul Flowers is allowed to become chairman of the Co-op - why


have we still not got the regulation right? We have made a lot of changes


since then. We have created a new regulator, as you know. At the time,


we still had a process which allowed somebody to be appointed to a bank


and they would go through a challenge, but in the case of Paul


Flowers, there was no need for an additional challenge when he was


appointed to chairman, because he was already on the board. But going


from being on the board to becoming chairman, that is a big jump, and he


only had one interview? That is why today, it would be different. But


the truth is, that was the system at the time, the system which the FSA


operated. He was challenged, we did challenge him, and we said, you do


not have the right experience, but at the time, we would not have


opposed the appointment. What we needed was additional representation


of the board of people who did have banking experience. You can say that


that was then and this is now, but up until April of this year, it was


still the plan for the Co-op, under Mr Flowers, and despite being


seriously wounded by the Britannia takeover, to take on 632 Lloyds


branches. That was the Co-op's plan. They needed to pass our test


as to whether we thought they were fit to do that, and frankly, they


never passed that test. It was not the regulator that stopped them It


was. We were constantly pushing back, saying, you have not got the


capital, you have no got the systems, and ultimately, they


withdrew, when they could not answer our questions. You were asking the


right questions, I accept that, but all of the time, the politicians on


all sides, they were pushing for it to happen, and I cannot find


anywhere where the regulator said, look, this is just not going to


happen. I cannot comment on what the politicians were doing, but I


continue what we were doing, which was constantly asking the Co-op


have you got the systems in place, have you got the people, have you


got the capital? And they didn't. But it only came to a head when


Lloyds started its own due diligence on the bank, and they discovered


that it was impossible for them to take over the branches, it was not


the regulator... In fairness, what we do is ask the questions, can you


do this deal? And we kept pushing back, and we never frankly got


delivered a business plan which we were happy to approve. Is the SCA


going to launch its own inquiry into what happened? -- the FCA. The


Chancellor has announced what will be a very broad inquiry. There are a


number of specifics which we will be able to look at, relating to events


over the last five years. Could there be a police investigation I


think the police have already announced an investigation. I am


talking about into the handling of the bank. It depends. There might


be, if there is grim low activity, which we do not know yet. You worked


at the FS eight, didn't you? I did. Some of those people who were signed


off on the speedy promotion of Mr Flowers, are they now working


there? Yes, we have some. I came to join the Financial Services


Authority, to lead it into the creation of the new body, the SCA.


We had people who were challenging and they did the job. There was not


a requirement to approve the role as chairman. There was not even a


requirement to interview at that stage. What we did do was to require


that he was interviewed, and that the Co-op should get additional


experience. One of the people from the old organisation, who signed up


on the promotion of Mr Flowers to become chairman is now a


nonexecutive director of the Co op, so how does that work? Welcome he


was a senior adviser to our organisation, one of the people who


made the challenges, and who said, you need more experience on your


board. Subsequently he then went and joined the board. Surely that should


not be allowed, the regulator and the regulated should not be like


that. Well clearly, you need protection, but we have got to get


good people in, and frankly, we want the industry to have good people in


the industry, so there will be some movement between the regulator and


industry. We all wonder whether you have the power or even the


confidence to stand up if you look at all of the really bad bank


decisions recently, politicians were behind them. It was Gordon Brown who


pushed the disastrous merger of Lloyds and RBS. It was Alex Salmond


who egged on RBS to buy the world. All three main parties wanted the


Co-op to buy Britannia, even though they did not know the debt it would


inherit, and all three wanted the Co-op to buy the Lloyds branches -


how do you as a regulator stand up to that little concert party? Well,


that political pressure exists, our job at the end of the day is to do a


relatively technical job and say, does it stack up? And it didn't and


we made that point time and time again to the Co-op board. They did


not have a business case that we could approve. The bodies on left


and right -- the politicians on left and right gave the Co-op special


support. They may have done, but that was not you have made a warning


about these payday lenders, but I think what most people would like to


see is a limit put on the interest they can charge over a period of


time - will you do that? We have got a whole set of powers for payday


lenders. We will bring in some changes from April next year, and we


will bring in further changes as we see necessary. Will you put a limit


on the interest they can charge That is something we can study. You


do not sound too keen on it? Well, there are a lot of changes we need


to make. One change is limiting rollovers, limiting the use of


continuous payment authorities. Simply jumping to one trigger would


be a mistake. Finally, an issue which I think is becoming a growing


concern, because the Government is thinking of subsidising them, 9 %


mortgages are back - should we not be worried about that? I think we


should if the market has the same experiences that we had back in 2007


- oh wait. We are bringing a comprehensive package in under our


mortgage market review, which will change how people lend and will put


affordability back at the heart of lending decisions. -- 2007-08. You


have not had your first big challenge yet, have you? We have


many challenges. It was once called the battle of the


mods and the rockers - the fight between David Cameron-style


modernisers and old-style traditional Tories for the direction


and soul of the Conservative Party. But have the mods given up on


changing the brand? When David Cameron took over in 2005, he


promoted himself as a new Tory leader. He said that hoodies need


more love. He was talking about something called the big society. He


told his party conference that it was time to that sunshine win the


day. There was new emphasis on the environment, and an eye-catching


trip to a Norwegian glacier to see first-hand, supposedly, the effects


of global warming. This week, party modernise and Nick bone has said


that the party is still seen as an old-fashioned monolith and hasn t


done enough to improve its appeal. The Tories have put some reforms


into practice, such as gay marriage, but they have put more into welfare


reform band compassionate conservatism. David Cameron wants


talked about leading the greenest government ever. Downing Street says


that the quote in the Son is not recognised, get rid of the green


crap. At this point in the programme we were expecting to hear from the


Energy and Climate Change Minister, Greg Barker. Unfortunately, he has


pulled out, with Downing Street saying it's for ""family reasons"".


Make of that what you will. However, we won't be deterred. We're still


doing the story, and we're joined by our very own mod and rocker - David


Skelton of the think-tank Renewal, and Conservative MP Peter Bone.


Welcome to you both. I'm glad your family is allowed you to come? David


Skelton, getting rid of all the green crap, or words to that effect,


that David Cameron has been saying. It is just a sign that Tory


modernisation has been quietly buried. I do think that's right


Modernisation is about reaching out to the voters, and the work to do


that is now more relevant than ever. We got the biggest swing since 931,


and the thing is we need to do more to reach out to voters in the North.


We need to reach out to non-white voters, and show that the concerns


of modern Britain and the concerns of ordinary people is something that


we share. And what way will racking up electricity bills with green


levies get you more votes in the North of England? We have to look at


ways to reduce energy bills. The renewable energy directive doesn't


do anything to help cut our emissions, but does decrease energy


bills by ?45 a year. We should renegotiate that. That is a part of


modernisation and doing what ordinarily people want. And old


dinosaurs like you are just holding this modernisation process back I


am very appreciative of covering on this programme. The Tory party has


been reforming itself for more than 150 years. This idea of modern eyes


a is just some invention. We are changing all the time. I'm nice and


cuddly! So you are happy that the party made gay marriage almost a


kind of symbol of its modernisation? Fine Mac the gay marriage was a free


vote. David Cameron was recorded as a rebel there because more Tories


voted against his position than ever before. It was said that this was a


split between the old and young but it actually was a split between


those who were religious and nonreligious. It is a


misinterpretation of what happened. Is a modernisation in retreat? I


think modernisation is an invention. Seven years ago, in my


part of the world, we got three councillors elected, two were 8 and


one was 21. A few months ago, a 25-year-old was chosen to fight


Corby for the Conservative Party. He came from a comprehensive School. He


was one of the youngest. The Tory party is moving on. So you found


three young people? Hang on a minute. You can't get away with


that. Three in one batch. Does modernisation exist? Modernisation


is about watering our appeal and sharing our values are relevant to


voters who haven't really thought about voting for us for decades now.


Modernisation is about more than windmills and stuff, it is about


boosting the life chances of the poorest, it is about putting better


schools in poorer areas. It is also saying that modernisation and the


Tory party... When has the Tory party been against making poorer


people better off? Or against better schools? Do you think Mrs Thatcher


was a moderniser when she won all those elections? The problem we have


at the moment is that UKIP has grown-up. If we could get all of


those people who vote UKIP to vote for us, we would get 47% of the


vote. We don't need to worry about voters on the left. We need to worry


about the voters in the north, those people who haven't voted for us for


decades. Having an EU Referendum Bill is going to get people to


vote. We have to reach out to voters, but not by some sort of


London based in need. You have to broaden your base. I agree with you


on that. We have to broaden our appeal, but this back to the future


concept is not going to work. We need something that generally


appeals to low and middle-income voters, and something that shows we


genuinely care about the life chances of the poorest. Do you think


that the people who vote UKIP don't support those aspirations? We are


not doing enough to cut immigration. We don't have an EU Referendum Bill


stop we have to get the centre right to vote for us again. Do that, and


we have it. Tom Pursglove, the 25 euros, will be returned in Corby


because we cannot win an election there. -- the 25-year-old. Whether


you are moderniser or traditionalist, people, particularly


in the North, see you as a bunch of rich men. And rich southerners. You


are bunch of rich southerners. We need to do more to show that we are


building on lifting the poorest out of the tax. We need to build more


houses. There is a perception that the leadership at the moment is


rich, and public school educated. What we have to do is get more


people from state education into the top. You are going the other way at


the moment. That is a fair criticism. Modernisers also say


that. I went to a combo hedge of school as well. -- do a


comprehensive school. We need to show that we are standing up for low


income. Thank Q, both of you. You are watching the Sunday Politics.


Coming up in just under 20 Hello.


Coming up on the Sunday Politics in the South West: The wind and solar


industry is warning that Tory talk of cutting green taxes is scaring


investors and threatening jobs. And for the next 20 minutes, I'm joined


by The Lib Dem Peer Robin Teverson and Labour Councillor in Plymouth


Nicky Williams. Welcome both of you.


Let's start with council cuts. This week, the Conservative mayor of


Torbay blamed the government for his council's plans to remove funding


from charities which work with drug users and homeless people. Meanwhile


in Somerset the Conservative County Council put plans to cut children's


centres on hold. When you are talking about children's services,


of course it will be an emotive subject. We are going to go out and


continue to listen so we make sure we come up with the right result. 18


children's centres are under threat in Somerset. Is this now the cuts be


inviting? I think it is. `` really biting. There are challenges to all


of the services. Implement, have you seen any children's centres become


vulnerable? `` implement. We are making sure that families in need


are being helped. We have done a lot of work to secure our future. There


has been support of children's centres, but the councils are saying


it is their fault for the budget cuts in the first place. Can there


be such aggressive cuts in spend be upset with the cuts are biting? Cuts


have been biting. Local authorities clearly can now spend the money that


they have left on the services that they want to. There is a lot more


flexibility there. Which services oh or stay is another issue. `` go or


stay. Eg the villages passing the buck? `` you do not feel it is


passing the buck? I am sure that is not the case. There is only so far


it can go, and I think central government will have to be very


careful in the future. Plenty more to discuss today.


This week the Prime Minister denied reports he'd told his team to get


rid of all the green rubbish. His earlier talk of rolling back green


levies is causing concern in the South West. With one renewable


energy expert this week warning David Cameron's comments are already


frightening investors and threatening jobs in the region.


Just how green do the Conservatives want to be? The issue hit the


headlines this week after one newspaper printed claims from what


it called a unnamed senior party member that the PM was making a U


turn on environmental issues. It comes only weeks after this


statement in the Commons. We need to roll back some of the cream


chargers. `` green charges. Last month, David Cameron revealed he was


considering rolling back green levies on energy companies to make


bills more affordable. Such talk inevitably sets alarm bells ringing


in the green energy sector. We need clarity and a long`term framework.


The message we are reviewing is very unhelpful. Many of the 10,000 jobs


in renewables are at some parts `` are at some degree of risk. South


West Conservatives have been pressuring David Cameron to cut the


subsidies given to some forms of renewable energy. Among them, the


Torridge and West Devon MP Geoffrey Cox, who pledged to oppose all new


commercial wind farms in his constituency, and Richard Drax,


whose Dorset South constituency lies near to the proposed Navitus Bay


offshore wind farm. A development he spoke out against


in Westminster this week. Eight other states `` sites have been


identified. There is no World Heritage Site or coastline site. Why


can't we do that? But despite this, Mr Drax is also a supporter of


renewable. He's just had planning approved for a 175 acre solar farm


on his estate in Dorset. Something campaigners were dismayed and


slightly bemused by. He is credited as being opposed to the subsidy that


government is giving to green energy. Apparently he has been very


vocal about that and also about offshore wind farms. Then he


proposes a development of this sort. So are the party that once urged


people to vote blue and go green sending out mixed messages? The


Prime Minister has strongly denied the comments reported in the press.


But those in the renewable energy sector might need a bit more


convincing. Earlier, I asked the Conservative MP


Geoffrey Cox if he thought he'd won his campaign to get the Government


to cut green energy subsidies. I think what we have one is a review,


and it is a perfectly sensible and I think proper thing to do at the time


of extreme financial hardship for many people that we review all of


these kinds of charges that fall heavily on the ordinary consumer and


see whether we can do better for last. What does that mean for jobs


in the region? It doesn't necessarily mean anything for jobs.


But we have heard that there are worries about the threat to jobs in


the green industry. That is a response to mood music, not any


particular detail. The Prime Minister is committed to green


policies. We have the first green investment bank. We have a whole


range of policies on green issues. He did `` do you think he used the


words that were quoted in the newspaper? I do not know, but I know


he is committed to seeing whether we can make this file less heavily on


the householder. There may be people that feel cheated by this, that you


are relaxing the green agenda. I do not buy that. We are not rolling it


back. What we are doing is reviewing its to make it cleaner. But David


Cameron said he was rolling it back. We are rolling it back in the sense


that we want to reduce the charge on the consumer, but there are other


ways of getting this particular cat `` skimming this particular we can


make it default less on the individual householder. But you are


doing it as a knee jerk reaction to Labour talking about freezing


prices. Freezing prices is going to cause massive upset in the


marketplace. Except profits have soared under this government by 70%,


and the average bill has gone up by about ?300 under this Parliament.


That is true, because the wholesale price of electricity and energy has


gone up. Let me just finish one answers so that the message is very


clear. The review is going to look at how we make it lighter on the


householder. There are plenty of other ways of raising this money and


not allowing it to fall so heavily as it does on the householder. At a


time of financial hardship, that has got to be the right thing to do. You


surprised by the negotiations on the deal to get a vast solar farm that


covers around ten football pitches? I do not think it is for me to


comment. I do not know enough about the detail about what Richard is


planning. I simply do not know enough about the detail. It is but


it would get around ?2 million of subsidies, and he has actually been


opposed to these subsidies himself. I am not going to comment on any


personal or individual case, certainly not about a colleague, the


detail of which I certainly do not know. I do want to say that it must


be right to reduce the charge on the householder of these levies. I have


to stop you there. Thank you for joining us. You speak on energy.


What is Jeffrey talking about here? He says that there are other ways to


raise money and not allow it to fall happily on the householder. You have


to put it through direct taxation. I suspect that is what the Chancellor


is trying to do. In some ways, that is quite good. What it does do is


create a whole uncertainty in the industry, particularly in the South


West, and in terms of investment, and this whole argument about cost


to the consumer of electricity, the trouble is, because of the lack of


investment we have had from the big energy companies in the past, if we


stayed stuck to gas and coal, we have seen how price rises go up and


up, and we need to get off of that fossil fuel junkie that we have


become and get renewables in. Are you worried that David Cameron's


comments about rolling back green levies infesting green investment


and jobs are threatened? Absolutely. This is real. This is politics. The


whole reason we have been going through this over a two`year period


is to get investing competence in the industry `` confidence in the


industry, and this is seriously undermining it. I do not think


George Osborne believes in this agenda at all and he is driving


David Cameron to this degree. It is a real split within the Tories will


stop it is bad for investment. `` Tories. Can you make these cuts


without affecting the green industry? I believe that we can. We


need to reset the energy market, which is why we want to do a


two`year freeze, and then we can reset the market by making it much


more fair and transparent and break down the power that the big five


have. Robin was saying that you could freeze the price is now on a


budget should have been doing this a long time ago. Is that what you were


thinking? Yes all stop `` yes. The companies have too much power at the


moment. Under the Labour government, I think it was down to six


companies. We do not have a good enough market and the government


hasn't done enough about it so far. We need a radical change but a price


freeze is a sticking plaster. The price freeze will give us the time,


whilst discontinuing the ?300 extra people have been facing in their


pockets on energy, to actually put the legislation through, to break


the monopoly that these big five companies have. What about the idea


that we need to support green energy in other ways? We need a balanced


market. Yes, we need to support green energy. The problem is, we


have seen that there has been a fall in investment in green energy since


2009, where it was at an all`time high. It has dramatically dropped to


what it is today. There is more renewable generation, it is up about


15% in the second half of the last year. That is quite wrong. It is the


highest it has ever been. It was a 7.2 billion. Before we argue too


much about this, what do you make of the solar farm idea? Do you think


there is any hypocrisy going on there? I think he is a very astute


businessman and it is up to him to put the pathway between his business


and his parliamentary career. We will move on.


Figures out this week revealed nearly 3,000 families in Cornwall


have been hit by what Labour calls the bedroom tax. April's benefit


changes mean people in social housing with spare bedrooms get less


money. They can apply for an emergency bailout to help them


adjust to the cuts but that cash is normally time limited and for some


tenants it's about to run out. When his marriage broke down and his


wife and twins moved out, Matt Pope was left with two spare bedrooms.


He's had to find an extra ?80 a month to pay his rent because of new


rules on under occupancy which have seen his housing benefit cut. It's


been a tough year for him. My wife left and took my children. I had


previously lost my job, and that all of the sudden, I had letters from


the council saying that they were going to charge me for the now


vacant rooms that I had. It felt like the straw that broke the camels


back `` camel's back. I attempted suicide in April. It was a


culmination of all of those issues at that point. Matt fell behind with


the rent and recently got a letter from his council warning him that he


could be evicted if he didn't pay the ?78 he owed. The Council has


spent thousands of pounds and keeping me in this property, for


adapting the place to suit my requirements, to meet my


disability. It would have been easy for me to move into a glow that was


disabled adapted `` a small home that was disabled adapted. Matt has


been claiming discretionary housing payment to help him cover the


shortfall in his housing benefit but the amount has reduced over the past


three months and it is due to end in December. Figures obtained by BBC


Sunday Politics South West show there has been a big rise in the


number of people on benefits asking for emergency cash or what's known


as discretionary housing payment to help them pay their rent. Last year,


between April and September 2012, 1,600 people applied for the help.


This year over the same period, applications have more than doubled,


with 4,100 applying. The government has given councils more funds for


discretionary housing payment this year in anticipation of the impact


of its welfare reforms. But some housing providers say there isn't


enough money to help everyone who needs it. There is variation in the


ways that the local authorities work, and in some of our areas, we


are not being successful. We have one area where we made seven


applications and they were all refused. In Plymouth, the number of


people on benefits applying for emergency cash for their rent has


more than tripled. From 200 last year to more than 700 this year.


Oliver Colvile, the Conservative MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport


says the benefit changes are needed. There are some people who do not


need family houses. The big issue, though, is that there are an awful


lot of people who are living in cramped conditions. And my


constituency, it is about 5,000 families who come and talk to me


about how it is that they have been stuck in cramped accommodation, and


we have to make sure that those people have the right accommodation.


Back in Mid Devon, Matt Pope is now up to date with his rent because the


parish council stepped in and used a community crisis fund to pay off his


arrears. But he's worried about the future because he knows this is just


a temporary fix. A temporary fix for him. It seems there are a lot of


temporary fixes going on. This emergency cash that is being


supplied is only temporary. It is not all temporary. In terms of


forces families and retired people, in terms of foster parents, all of


those have been permanently fixed. Certainly Liberal Democrats would


include disabled people, but we have not been able to persuade our


colleagues in the coalition. A number of local authorities do


manage to fulfil those requirements from money that has been sent out to


local government. There was one specifically that had not responded.


I think that is down to attitude of particular local authorities at that


time how that works. Surely the point of this is to free up some of


these houses, and if you are going to hand out emergency and out of


emergency cash to different people, then you are not actually freeing up


the houses. Maybe you do need to evict a few more people. What we are


doing is putting out enough money for people in need. Yes, the


reconfiguration within the housing market is needed, because what we


had under the previous government was 420,000 fall in the number of


social and council homes in the country. The Labour government


actually introduced spare room tax in terms of people having to live in


the private rented sector. Yes, it has had to spread into the public


sector. It is not good but things have to change. It is fundamentally


unfair, which is why Labour have said they would get rid of it. You


invented it in 2008. But it is inherently unfair. Implement, we


have 600 families who wants to downsize. There is nowhere for them


to go will stop we not `` them to go. It is causing more money because


more people are having to go to private landlords, where it costs


more, so they are claiming more in benefits, so this is a complete


false economy. It is very well to say we need to build more houses,


but if you desperately need those houses now, maybe this is the


solution. We don't have the houses available for people to downsize. We


have an enormous problem in that there are too many people on the


waiting list. We are not building enough houses across the country. We


are trying to put that right under lease of land onto the market and


work with housing associations to bring forward more affordable


accommodation. The stock of social housing and council housing during


the Labour government went down 420,000 nationwide. You have waiting


lists of up to 12,000 people that are not able to get decent housing


because, during the Labour government, you did not build the


houses. The number of housing stock has been reduced because of the


right to buy policy. So why did you not do anything when you were in


government? You didn't. You stop local authorities from replacing the


houses that were sold. Your government stop you from replacing


council houses that you sold under right to buy. We are working with


housing associations to release more land so that we can actually build


more houses. Labour has pledged to work out solutions to actually solve


this problem. The bedroom tax is not a solution. It is just pledging more


and more people into poverty. `` plunging. It is trying to get to a


problem that we inherited as a government. It is not perfect. It is


always fun to debate this but we have to move on because it is time


for our round up of the political week in 60 seconds.


Concern about rising water bills was raised in Parliament. If my right


honourable friend convinced that the regular age or is robust enough and


ensuring that future rises will be kept to a minimum? The problem of


pay day lending was put to the Prime Minister by the MP for Torbay.


Devon and Cornwall's Police Commissioner revealed he's spending


more than half a million on consultants. I think it is


ridiculous. I think he needs to go to the public and say, what do you


think? The majority of them would say to put police back on the


streets. It emerged that some Devon councillors have been failing to pay


their council tax. They bowed these things in and they should be


prepared to pay for them themselves. `` bowed to pay for them


themselves. `` voted these things in. Councillors in Weymouth said


Dorset was missing out on its olympic legacy. These things should


be used now. And the campaign to get a Cornish tick`box on the census was


revived. We haven't much time. Would you like


a Cornish text box on the census? Yes, absolutely. Take away. Do you


think that is ridiculous? Would you like a dev in the box? `` Devon. I


do not see a reason why that data cannot be collected. You never


know, there is still time. That is Sunday Politics in the South West.


Thank you to my guests. Before we go back to Andrew in London, just time


to tell you that, as always, the programme is available to watch on


the eye player, and you can always check out Martin's blog, which you


can go to buy the BBC website. `` through the BBC website.


those people who want to cycle. We will be returning to this one. Thank


you. A little bit of history was made at


Prime Minister's Questions this week. A teensy tiny bit. It wasn't


David Cameron accusing one MP of taking "mind-altering substances" -


they're always accusing each other of doing that. No, it was the first


time a Prime Minister used a live tweet sent from someone watching the


session as ammunition at the dispatch box. Let's have a look We


have had some interesting interventions from front edges past


and present. I hope I can break records by explaining that a tweet


has just come in from Tony McNulty, the former Labour security


minister, saying that the public are desperate for a PM in waiting who


speaks for them, not a Leader of the Opposition in dodging in partisan


Westminster Village knock about So I would stay up with the tweets if


you want to get on the right side of this one! We are working on how the


Prime Minister managed to get that wheat in the first place. What did


you think when you saw it being read out? I was certainly watching the


Daily Politics. I almost fell off my chair! It was quite astonishing He


didn't answer the question - he didn't do that the whole time. But I


stand by what the tweets said. I have tweeted for a long time on


PMQs. Normally I am praising Ed Miliband to the hilt, but no one


announces that in Parliament! Because the Prime Minister picked up


on what you said, it unleashed some attacks on you from the Labour side.


It did, minor attacks from some very junior people. Most people were


supportive of what I said. They took issue with the notion of not doing


it until 12:30pm, when it wasn't available for the other side to use.


Instant history, and instantly forgettable, I would say. Do you


think you have started a bit of a trend? I hope not, because the


dumbing down of PMQs is already on its way. Most people tweet like mad


through PMQs! Is a measure of how post-modern we have become, we have


journalists tweeting about someone talking about a tweet. That is the


level of British politics. I am horrified by this development. The


whole of modern life has become about observing people -- people


observing themselves doing things. Do we know what happened? Somebody


is monitoring the tweets on behalf of the Prime Minister or the Tory


party. They see Tony's tweet. They then print it out and give it to


him? There was a suggestion that Michael Goves had spotted it, but


Craig Oliver from the BBC had this great sort of... Craig Oliver was


holding up his iPad to take pictures of the Prime Minister, which he then


tweeted, from the Prime Minister. People will now be tweeting in the


hope that they will be quoted by the Prime Minister, or the Leader of the


Opposition. I wasn't doing that I'm just talking about the monster you


have unleashed! I hope it dies a miserable death. I think Tony is a


good analysis -- a good analyst of PMQs on Twitter. Moving onto the


Co-op. You were a Co-op-backed MP, white you? I was a Co-op party


member. There are two issues here about the Co-op and the Labour


Party. All the new music suggests that the Co-op will now have to


start pulling back from lending or donating to the Labour Party, which,


at a time when Mr Miliband is going through changes that are going to


cut of the union funds, it seems quite dangerous. There are three


things going on. There's the relationship that the party has


politically with the Co-op party, there is the commercial relationship


you referred to, and then there is this enquiry into the comings and


goings of Flowers and everybody else. The Tories, at their peril,


will mix the three up. There's a lot of things going on with a bang.


Labour has some issues around funding generally, and they are


potentially exacerbated by the Co-op issue. The Labour Party gets soft


loans from the Co-op bank, and it gets donations. ?800,000 last year.


Ed Balls got about ?50,000 for his private office. You get the feeling,


given the state of the Co-operative Bank now, that that money could dry


up. We will see. There's lots of speculation in the papers today At


the core, the relationship between the Co-op party and the Labour Party


is a proud one, and a legitimate one. I don't think others always


understand that. Here is an even bigger issue. Is it not possible


that the Co-op bank will cease to exist in any meaningful way as a


Co-op bank? Is the bane out means it is 70% owned -- the bail out means


that it is 70% owned, or 35% going to a hedge fund, I think I read


Yes, there is a move from the mutualism of the Co-op. But don t


confuse the Co-op bank with the Co-op Group. Others have done that.


I haven't. Here's the rub. The soft loans that Labour gets. They got


?1.2 million from this. And 2.4 million. They are secured against


future union membership fees of the party. What is Mr Miliband doing? He


is trying to end that? You have this very difficult confluence of events,


which is, could these wonderful soft loans that Labour has had from the


Co-op, could they be going? And these union reforms, where Ed


Miliband is trying to create a link between individuals and donations to


the Labour Party... Clearly, there could be real financial difficulties


here. The government needs to be careful, because George Osborne


launched one of his classic blunderbuss operations this week,


which is that the Labour Party is to blame for Paul Flowers' private


life. No, it's not. And that all the problems, essentially... Look at


what George Osborne was doing in Europe. He was trying to change the


capital requirement rules that would make it easier for the Co-op to take


over Lloyd's. If there is to be a big investigation, George Osborne


needs to be careful of what he wishes for. This is another example


of the Westminster consensus. All of the Westminster parties were in


favour of the Britannia takeover. This is how the Co-op ended up with


all this toxic rubbish on its balance sheet. All the major parties


were in favour of going to get the Lloyds branches. The Tories tried to


outdo Labour in being more pro-Co-op. There was nobody in


Westminster saying, hold on, this doesn't work. It is like the


financial bubble all over again Everyone was in favour of that at


the time. I think there is no evidence so far that the storm is


cutting through to the average voter. If I were Ed Miliband, I


would let it die a natural death. I would not write to an editorial


column for a national newspaper on a Sunday. That keeps the issue alive,


and it makes him look oversensitive and much better at dishing it out


than taking it. I agree about that. The Labour press team tweeted this


week saying that it was a new low for the times. And this was


re-tweeted by Ed Miliband. It isn't a great press attitude. It is very


Moni. Bill Clinton went out there and fought and made the case. So did


Tony Blair. If you just say, they are being horrible to us, it looks


pathetic. And it will cut through on Osborne and the financial


dimensional is, not political. I shall tweet that later! While we


have been talking, Mr Miliband has been on Desert Island Discs. He


might still be on it. Let's have a listen to what he had to say.


# Take on me, take me on. # And threw it all, she offers me


protection. # A lot of love and affection.


# Whether I'm right or wrong #. # Je Ne Regrette Rien. #.


Obviously, that was the music that Ed Miliband chose. Who thought -


you would have thought he would choose Norman Lamont's theme tune!


He chose Jerusalem... He has no classical background at all. He had


no Beethoven, no Elgar. David Cameron had Mendelssohn. And Ernie,


the fastest Notman in the West. -- fastest milkman. Tony Blair chose


the theme tune to a movie. Tony Blair's list was chosen by young


staffers in his office. It absolutely was. Tony Blair's list


was chosen by staff. The Ed Miliband this was clearly chosen by himself,


because who would allow politician to go out there and say that they


like Aha. I am the same age as Ed Miliband, and of course he likes


Aha. That was the tumour was played in the 80s. Sweet Caroline. It is


Angels by Robbie Williams. I was 14-year-old girl when that came out.


I thought Angels was the staple of hen nights and chucking out time in


pubs. The really good thing about his list is that the Smiths to not


appear. The Smiths were all over David Cameron's list. The absolutely


miserable music of Morris he was not there. What was his luxury? And


Indian takeaway! Again, chosen for political reasons. I would agree


with the panel about Aha, but I would expect -- I would respect his


right to choose. Have you been on Desert Island Discs? I have. It took


me three weeks to choose the music. It was the most difficult decision


in my life. What was the most embarrassing thing you chose? I


didn't choose anything embarrassing. I chose Beethoven, Elgar, and some


proper modern jazz. Anything from the modern era? Pet Shop Boys.


That's all for today. The Daily Politics will be on BBC Two at


lunchtime every day next week, and we'll be back here on BBC One at


11am next week. My luxury, by the way, was a wind-up radio! Remember,


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


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