09/03/2014 Sunday Politics West


09/03/2014

Andrew Neil and David Garmston with political news, interviews and debate. With work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith and chief secretary to the treasury Danny Alexander.


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Transcript


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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics.

:00:36.:00:43.

He's a man on a mission. But is it mission impossible? Iain Duncan

:00:44.:00:46.

Smith has started the radical reform of our welfare state. No tall order.

:00:47.:00:50.

And not everything's going to plan. We'll be talking to the man himself.

:00:51.:00:55.

Nick Clegg's hosting his party's spring conference in York. He's

:00:56.:00:58.

getting pretty cosy with the party faithful. Not so cosy, though, with

:00:59.:01:02.

his Coalition partners. In fact things are getting a wee bit nasty.

:01:03.:01:06.

We'll be talking to his right-hand man, Danny Alexander.

:01:07.:01:10.

And are all politicians self-obsessed? Don't all shout at

:01:11.:01:12.

The fields that are being ttrned once. We'll be

:01:13.:01:21.

The fields that are being ttrned into power stations. Huge solar

:01:22.:01:23.

farms are springing up. Thex are biggest social housing landlords.

:01:24.:01:29.

Can Southwark Council really build 11,000 new homes in the next three

:01:30.:01:30.

decades? And with me, as always, three of the

:01:31.:01:38.

best and the brightest political panel in the business. At least

:01:39.:01:42.

that's what it says in the Sunday Politics template. Back from the

:01:43.:01:45.

Oscars empty handed, Helen Lewis, Janan Ganesh and Iain Martin. Yes,

:01:46.:01:50.

three camera-shy hacks, who've never taken a selfie in their life. We'll

:01:51.:01:54.

be coming to that later. They just like to tweet. And they'll be doing

:01:55.:01:57.

so throughout the programme. Welcome.

:01:58.:01:58.

Now, first this morning, the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference in York.

:01:59.:02:05.

I know you speak of nothing else! The Yorkshire spring sunshine hasn't

:02:06.:02:08.

made the Lib Dems think any more kindly of their Coalition partners.

:02:09.:02:13.

Indeed, Tory bashing is now the Lib Dem default position. Here's Danny

:02:14.:02:18.

Alexander speaking yesterday. Repairing the economy on its own

:02:19.:02:21.

isn't enough. We have to do it fairly.

:02:22.:02:30.

isn't enough. We have to do it the agenda a decision to cut taxes,

:02:31.:02:31.

income taxes, for working people. Now, conference, note that word -

:02:32.:02:39.

forced. We have had to fight for this at the last election and at

:02:40.:02:44.

every budget and at every Autumn Statement since 2010 and what a

:02:45.:02:45.

fight it has been. Danny Alexander joins us now. Are we

:02:46.:02:57.

going to have to suffer 14 months of you and your colleagues desperately

:02:58.:03:00.

trying to distance yourself from the Tories? It's not about distancing

:03:01.:03:06.

ourselves. It's about saying, " this is what we as a party have achieved

:03:07.:03:09.

in government together with the Conservatives". And saying, " this

:03:10.:03:17.

is what our agenda is for the future" . It's not just about the

:03:18.:03:23.

fact that this April we reach that ?10,000 income tax allowance that we

:03:24.:03:26.

promised in our manifesto in 20 0 but also that we want to go further

:03:27.:03:32.

in the next parliament and live that to ?12,500, getting that over a

:03:33.:03:38.

2-term Liberal Democrat government. It's very important for all parties

:03:39.:03:41.

to set out their own agenda, ideas and vision for the future, whilst

:03:42.:03:45.

also celebrating what we're achieving jointly in this Coalition,

:03:46.:03:50.

particularly around the fact that we are, having taken very difficult

:03:51.:03:55.

decisions, seeing the economy improving and seeing jobs creation

:03:56.:03:59.

in this country, which is something I'm personally very proud and, as

:04:00.:04:02.

the Coalition, we have achieved and wouldn't have if it hadn't been for

:04:03.:04:05.

the decisions of the Liberal Democrats. Lets try and move on

:04:06.:04:10.

You've made that point about 50 times on this show alone. You now

:04:11.:04:14.

seem more interested in Rowling with each other than running the country,

:04:15.:04:19.

don't you? -- rowing with each other. I think we are making sure we

:04:20.:04:28.

take the decisions, particularly about getting our economy on the

:04:29.:04:32.

right track. Of course, there are lots of things where the

:04:33.:04:35.

Conservatives have one view of the future and we have a different view

:04:36.:04:39.

and it's quite proper that we should set those things out. There are big

:04:40.:04:43.

differences between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives

:04:44.:04:46.

just as there were big differences between the Liberal Democrats and

:04:47.:04:49.

the Labour Party. I believe we're the only party that can marry that

:04:50.:04:52.

commitment delivering a strong economy, which Labour can't do, and

:04:53.:04:57.

that commitment to delivering a fairer society, which the Tories

:04:58.:05:00.

can't be trusted to do by themselves. You are going out of

:05:01.:05:03.

your way to pick fights with the Tories at the moment. It's a bit

:05:04.:05:07.

like American wrestling. It is all show. Nobody is really getting hurt.

:05:08.:05:12.

I've been compared to many things but an American wrestler is a

:05:13.:05:18.

first! I don't see it like that It is right for us as a party to set

:05:19.:05:22.

out what we've achieved and show people that what we promised on 2010

:05:23.:05:26.

on income tax cuts is what this government is delivering. But nobody

:05:27.:05:31.

seems convinced by these manufactured rows with the Tories.

:05:32.:05:36.

You've just come last in a council by-election with 56 votes. You were

:05:37.:05:39.

even bitten by an Elvis impersonator! Yes, that is true --

:05:40.:05:52.

beaten. I could equally well quote council by-elections that we've won

:05:53.:05:55.

recently, beating Conservatives the Labour Party and UKIP. Our record on

:05:56.:06:01.

that is pretty good. You can always pick one that shows one or other

:06:02.:06:06.

party in a poor light. Our party is having real traction with the

:06:07.:06:09.

electric and the places where we have a real chance of winning. If

:06:10.:06:13.

you're not an American wrestler maybe you should be an Elvis

:06:14.:06:17.

impersonator! You told your spring forum... You don't want to hear me

:06:18.:06:24.

sing! You want to raise the personal allowance to ?12,500 in the next

:06:25.:06:28.

Parliament. Will you refuse to enter into Coalition with any party that

:06:29.:06:33.

won't agree to that? What I said yesterday is that this will be

:06:34.:06:35.

something which is a very high priority for the Liberal Democrats.

:06:36.:06:41.

It's something that we will very much seek to achieve if we are

:06:42.:06:46.

involved... We know that - will it be a red line? If you are a number

:06:47.:06:52.

in 2010, on the front page of our manifesto, we highlighted four

:06:53.:06:57.

policies... I know all that. Will it be a red line? It will be something

:06:58.:07:02.

that is a very high priority for the Liberal Democrats to deliver. For

:07:03.:07:06.

the fifth time, will it be a red line? It will be, as I said, a very

:07:07.:07:12.

high priority for the Liberal Democrats in the next Parliament.

:07:13.:07:16.

That's my language. We did that in the next election. The number-1

:07:17.:07:21.

promise on our manifesto with a ?10,000 threshold and we've

:07:22.:07:23.

delivered that in this Parliament. People can see that when we say

:07:24.:07:26.

something is a top priority, we deliver it. Is it your claim... Are

:07:27.:07:34.

you claiming that the Tories would not have raised the starting point

:07:35.:07:37.

of income tax if it hadn't been for the Liberal Democrats? If you

:07:38.:07:42.

remember back in the leaders' debates in the 2010 election

:07:43.:07:47.

campaign, Nick Clegg was rightly championing this idea and David

:07:48.:07:49.

Cameron said it couldn't be afforded. Each step of the way in

:07:50.:07:56.

the Coalition negotiations within government, we've had to fight for

:07:57.:08:00.

that. The covert overtures have other priorities. -- the

:08:01.:08:07.

Conservatives. I don't want to go back into history. I'd like to get

:08:08.:08:11.

to the present. Have the Conservatives resisted every effort

:08:12.:08:13.

to raise the starting point of income tax? As I said, we promised

:08:14.:08:19.

this in 2010, they said it couldn't be done. We've made sure it was

:08:20.:08:25.

delivered in the Coalition. Have they resisted it? We've argued for

:08:26.:08:29.

big steps along the way and forced it on to the agenda. They've wanted

:08:30.:08:34.

to deliver other things are so we've had to fight for our priority.. Did

:08:35.:08:40.

the Conservatives resist every attempt? It has been resisted,

:08:41.:08:46.

overall the things I'm talking about, by Conservatives, because

:08:47.:08:50.

they have wanted to deliver other things and, of course, in a

:08:51.:08:54.

Coalition you negotiate. Both parties have their priorities. Our

:08:55.:08:59.

priority has been a very consistent one. Last year, they were arguing

:09:00.:09:02.

about tax breaks for married couples. They were arguing in 2 10

:09:03.:09:11.

for tax cuts for millionaires. Our priority in all these discussions

:09:12.:09:13.

has been a consistent one, which is to say we want cutbacks for working

:09:14.:09:20.

people. -- we want to cut tax for working people. That has been

:09:21.:09:25.

delivered by both parties in the Coalition government full top So

:09:26.:09:28.

what do you think when the Tories take credit for it? I understand why

:09:29.:09:34.

they want to try to do that. Most people understand what we have just

:09:35.:09:41.

said. Not if the polls are to be believed... You're under 10%. This

:09:42.:09:45.

is one of the things, when I talk to people, but I find they know that

:09:46.:09:52.

the Lib Dems have delivered in government. People know we promised

:09:53.:09:56.

it in 2010 and we're the ones who forced this idea onto the agenda in

:09:57.:10:01.

our election manifesto. You've said that five times in this interview

:10:02.:10:06.

alone. The reality is, this is now a squabbling, loveless marriage. We're

:10:07.:10:13.

getting bored with all your tests, the voters. Why don't you just

:10:14.:10:19.

divorced? -- all your arguments I don't accept that. On a lot of

:10:20.:10:23.

policy areas, the Coalition government has worked very well

:10:24.:10:26.

together. We're delivering an awful lot of things that matter to this

:10:27.:10:30.

country. Most importantly, the mess that Labour made of the economy we

:10:31.:10:35.

are sorting out. We are getting our finances on the right track, making

:10:36.:10:37.

our economy more competitive, creating jobs up and down this

:10:38.:10:41.

country, supporting businesses to invest in growth. That is what this

:10:42.:10:46.

Coalition was set up to do, what it is delivering, and both myself and

:10:47.:10:49.

George Osborne are proud to have worked together to deliver that

:10:50.:10:53.

record. Danny Alexander, thanks for that. Enjoyed York. Helen, is

:10:54.:10:59.

anybody listening? I do worry that another 40 months of this might

:11:00.:11:02.

drive voter apathy up to record levels. There is a simple answer to

:11:03.:11:10.

why they don't divorced - it's the agreement that Parliament will last

:11:11.:11:14.

until 2015. MPs are bouncing around Westminster with very little to do.

:11:15.:11:17.

They are looking for things to put in the Queen's Speech and we are

:11:18.:11:22.

going to have rocks basically the 40 months and very little substantial

:11:23.:11:27.

difference in policies. Do you believe Danny Alexander when he says

:11:28.:11:30.

there would have been no rise in the starting rate of income tax if not

:11:31.:11:34.

for the Lib Dems? He's gilding the lily. If you look back at papers are

:11:35.:11:42.

written in 2001 suggesting precisely this policy, written by a Tory peer,

:11:43.:11:48.

you see there are plenty of Tories which suggest there would have been

:11:49.:11:54.

this kind of move. I can see why Danny Alexander needs to do this and

:11:55.:11:58.

they need to show they've achieved something in government because they

:11:59.:12:02.

are below 10% in the polls and finding it incredibly difficult to

:12:03.:12:07.

get any traction at all. The other leg of this Lib Dem repositioning is

:12:08.:12:12.

now to be explicitly the party of Europe and to be the vanguard of the

:12:13.:12:17.

fight to be all things pro-Europe. Mr Clegg is going to debate Nigel

:12:18.:12:21.

Farage in the run-up to the European elections. If, despite that, the Lib

:12:22.:12:27.

Dems come last of the major parties, doesn't it show how out of touch

:12:28.:12:53.

different. They are targeting a section of the electorate who are a

:12:54.:12:56.

bit more amenable to their views than the rest. They wouldn't get 20%

:12:57.:13:03.

of the vote. They are targeting that one section. They have to do

:13:04.:13:05.

disproportionately well amongst those and it will payoff and they

:13:06.:13:10.

will end up with something like 15%. How many seats will the Lib Dems

:13:11.:13:16.

losing the next election? Ten. 0. 15. Triangulation! We'll keep that

:13:17.:13:24.

on tape and see what actually happens!

:13:25.:13:28.

The Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith is a man on a mission.

:13:29.:13:32.

He's undertaken the biggest overhaul in our welfare state since it was

:13:33.:13:35.

invented way back in the black-and-white days of the late

:13:36.:13:38.

1940s. A committed Roman Catholic, he's said he has a moral vision to

:13:39.:13:44.

reverse the previous welfare system, which he believes didn't create

:13:45.:13:47.

enough incentive for people to work. But are his reforms working? Are

:13:48.:13:52.

they fair? As he bitten off more than he can chew? In a moment, we'll

:13:53.:13:56.

speak to the man himself but first, here's Adam.

:13:57.:14:00.

Hackney in north London and we're on the road with the man who might just

:14:01.:14:03.

be the most ambitious welfare secretary there's ever been. It s a

:14:04.:14:08.

journey that started in the wind and rain on a Glasgow council estate 12

:14:09.:14:13.

years ago when he was Tory leader. He came face-to-face with what it

:14:14.:14:16.

meant to be poor. A selection of teddy bears. It's where he

:14:17.:14:22.

discovered his recipe for reform, according to one of the advisers who

:14:23.:14:26.

was with him. There are things that if you do get a job, keep your

:14:27.:14:32.

family together, stay off drugs and alcohol, make sure you have a proper

:14:33.:14:36.

skill - that's what keeps you of poverty. He, very ambitiously, wants

:14:37.:14:42.

to redefine the nature of what it means to be poor and how you get

:14:43.:14:47.

away from poverty. Back in north London, he's come to congratulate

:14:48.:14:51.

the troops on some good news. In this borough, the number of people

:14:52.:14:55.

on job-seeker's allowance has gone down by 29% in the last year, up

:14:56.:15:02.

from around 1700 to around 1200 But the picture in his wider changes to

:15:03.:15:05.

the welfare state is a bit more mixed. A cap on the total amount of

:15:06.:15:12.

benefits a family can get, of ?26,000 a year, is hugely popular

:15:13.:15:16.

but there have been howls of protest over cuts to housing benefit,

:15:17.:15:20.

labelled the bedroom tax by some. Protests, too, about assessments for

:15:21.:15:25.

people on disability benefits, inherited from the previous

:15:26.:15:28.

government. Iain Duncan Smith has been accused of being heartless and

:15:29.:15:32.

the company doing them, Atos, has pulled out. And then the big one -

:15:33.:15:37.

and universal credit, a plan to roll six benefits into one monthly

:15:38.:15:42.

payment, in a way designed to ensure that work always pays. Some of the

:15:43.:15:46.

IT has been written off and the timetable seems to be slipping.

:15:47.:15:50.

Outside the bubble of the stage-managed ministerial trip, a

:15:51.:15:53.

local Labour MP reckons he's bitten off more than he can chew. The great

:15:54.:15:59.

desire is to say, " let's have one simple one size fits all approach" .

:16:00.:16:04.

And there isn't one size of person or family out there. People need to

:16:05.:16:09.

change and they can challenge on the turn of a penny almost. One minute

:16:10.:16:11.

they are doing the right thing, working hard. Next minute, they need

:16:12.:16:15.

a level of support and if this simple system doesn't deliver that

:16:16.:16:20.

for them, they're in a difficult position. And that's the flying

:16:21.:16:25.

visit to the front line finished. He does not like to hang about and just

:16:26.:16:31.

as well do - his overhaul of the entire benefits system still has

:16:32.:16:36.

quite a long way to go. And Iain Duncan Smith joins me now. Before I

:16:37.:16:44.

come onto the interview on welfare reform, is Danny Alexander right

:16:45.:16:48.

when he claims the Lib Dems had to fight to get the Tories to raise the

:16:49.:16:55.

income tax threshold? That is not my recollection of what happened. These

:16:56.:16:59.

debates took place in the Coalition. The Conservatives are in

:17:00.:17:04.

favour of reducing the overall burden of taxation, so the question

:17:05.:17:09.

was how best do we do it? The conversation took place, they were

:17:10.:17:15.

keen on raising the threshold, there were also other ways of doing it but

:17:16.:17:19.

it is clear from the Conservatives that we always wanted to improve the

:17:20.:17:24.

quality of life of those at the bottom so raising the threshold fit

:17:25.:17:28.

within the overall plan. If it was a row, it was the kind of row you have

:17:29.:17:34.

over a cup of tea round the breakfast table. We have got a lot

:17:35.:17:45.

to cover. There are two criticisms mainly of what you are doing - will

:17:46.:17:50.

they work, and will they be fair? Leslie Roberts, one of our viewers,

:17:51.:17:56.

wants to know why so much has already been written off due to

:17:57.:18:00.

failures of the universal credit system even though it has been

:18:01.:18:09.

barely introduced. Relatively it has been a ?2 billion investment

:18:10.:18:15.

project, in the private sector programmes are written off regularly

:18:16.:18:21.

at 30, 40%. The IT is working, we are improving as we go along, the

:18:22.:18:26.

key thing is to keep your eye on the parts that don't work and make sure

:18:27.:18:30.

they don't create a problem for the programme. 140 million has been

:18:31.:18:39.

wasted! The 40 million that was written off was just do with

:18:40.:18:44.

security IT, and I took that decision over a year and a half ago

:18:45.:18:49.

so the programme continued to roll out. Those figures include the

:18:50.:18:55.

standard right down, the aggregation of cost over a period of time. The

:18:56.:19:04.

computers were written down years ago but they continue to work now.

:19:05.:19:10.

Universal credit is rolling out we are doing the Pathfinders and

:19:11.:19:13.

learning a lot but I will not ever do this again like the last

:19:14.:19:22.

government, big band launches, you should do it phrase by phrase. Even

:19:23.:19:29.

your colleague Francis Maude says the implementation of universal

:19:30.:19:34.

credit has been pretty lamentable. He was referring back to the time

:19:35.:19:38.

when I stopped that element of the process and I agreed with that. I

:19:39.:19:45.

intervened to make the changes. The key point is that it is rolling out

:19:46.:19:49.

and I invite anyone to look at where it is being rolled out to. You were

:19:50.:19:56.

predicting that a million people would be an universal credit, this

:19:57.:20:01.

is the new welfare credit which rolls up six existing welfare

:20:02.:20:05.

benefits and you were predicting a million people would be on it by

:20:06.:20:12.

April, well it is March and only 3200 are on it. I changed the way we

:20:13.:20:21.

rolled it out and there was a reason for that. Under the advice of

:20:22.:20:25.

someone we brought from outside he said that you are better rolling it

:20:26.:20:31.

out slower and gaining momentum later on. On the timetables for

:20:32.:20:34.

rolling out we are pretty clear that it will roll out within the

:20:35.:20:39.

timescale is originally set. We will roll it out into the Northwest so

:20:40.:20:44.

that we replicate the north and the Northwest, recognise how it works

:20:45.:20:50.

properly. You will not hit 1 million by April. I have no intention of

:20:51.:20:57.

claiming that, and it is quite deliberate because that is the wrong

:20:58.:21:01.

thing to do. We want to roll it out carefully so we make sure everything

:21:02.:21:06.

about it works. There are lots of variables in this process but if you

:21:07.:21:09.

do it that way, you will not end up with the kind of debacle where in

:21:10.:21:16.

the past something like ?28 billion worth of IT programmes were written

:21:17.:21:24.

off. ?38 billion of net benefits, which is exactly what the N a O Z,

:21:25.:21:30.

so it is worth getting it right William Grant wants to know, when

:21:31.:21:36.

will the universal credit cover the whole country? By 2016, everybody

:21:37.:21:41.

who is claiming one of those six benefits will be claiming universal

:21:42.:21:49.

credit. Some and sickness benefits will take longer to come on because

:21:50.:21:54.

it is more difficult. Many of them have no work expectations on them,

:21:55.:22:00.

but for those on working tax credits, on things like job-seeker's

:22:01.:22:04.

allowance, they will be making claims on universal credit. Many of

:22:05.:22:09.

them are already doing that now there are 200,000 people around the

:22:10.:22:15.

country already on universal credit. You cannot give me a date as to when

:22:16.:22:27.

everybody will be on it? 2016 is when everybody claiming this benefit

:22:28.:22:32.

will be on, then you have to bring others and take them slower.

:22:33.:22:36.

Universal credit is a big and important reform, not an IT reform.

:22:37.:22:41.

The important point is that it will be a massive cultural reform. Right

:22:42.:22:48.

now somebody has to go to work and there is a small job out there. They

:22:49.:22:51.

won't take that because the way their benefits are withdrawn, it

:22:52.:22:55.

will mean it is not worth doing it. Under the way we have got it in the

:22:56.:23:00.

Pathfinders, the change is dramatic. A job-seeker can take a

:23:01.:23:04.

small part time job while they are looking for work and it means

:23:05.:23:09.

flexibility for business so it is a big change. Lets see if that is true

:23:10.:23:14.

because universal credit is meant to make work pay, that is your mantra.

:23:15.:23:24.

Let me show you a quote Minister in the last

:23:25.:23:40.

-- in the last Tory conference. It has only come down to 76%. Actually

:23:41.:23:51.

form own parents, before they get to the tax bracket it is well below

:23:52.:23:57.

that. That is a decision the Government takes about the

:23:58.:24:00.

withdrawal rate so you can lower that rate or raise it. And do your

:24:01.:24:06.

reforms, some of the poorest people, if they burn an extra

:24:07.:24:13.

pound, will pay a marginal rate of 76%. -- if they earn an extra pound.

:24:14.:24:22.

The 98% he is talking about is a specific area to do with lone

:24:23.:24:28.

parents but there are specific compound areas in the process that

:24:29.:24:34.

mean people are better off staying at home then going to work. They

:24:35.:24:40.

will be able to identify how much they are better off without needing

:24:41.:24:43.

to have a maths degree to figure it out. They are all taken away at

:24:44.:24:50.

different rates at the moment, it is complex and chaotic. Under universal

:24:51.:24:54.

credit that won't happen, and they will always be better off than they

:24:55.:25:02.

are now. Would you work that bit harder if the Government was going

:25:03.:25:10.

to take away that portion of what you learned? At the moment you are

:25:11.:25:16.

going to tax poor people at the same rate the French government taxes

:25:17.:25:21.

billionaires. Millions will be better off under this system of

:25:22.:25:25.

universal credit, I promise you and that level of withdrawal then

:25:26.:25:28.

becomes something governments have to publicly discussed as to whether

:25:29.:25:35.

they lower or raise it. But George Osborne wouldn't give you the extra

:25:36.:25:42.

money to allow for the taper, is that right? The moment somebody

:25:43.:25:46.

crosses into work under the present system, there are huge cliff edges,

:25:47.:25:51.

in other words the immediate withdrawal makes it worse for them

:25:52.:25:57.

to go into work than otherwise. If he had given you more money, you

:25:58.:26:03.

could have tapered it more gently? Of course, but the Chancellor can

:26:04.:26:10.

always ultimately make that decision. These decisions are made

:26:11.:26:17.

by chancellors like tax rates, but it would be much easier under this

:26:18.:26:21.

system for the public to see what the Government chooses as its

:26:22.:26:25.

priorities. At the moment nobody has any idea but in the future it will

:26:26.:26:32.

be. Under the Pathfinders, we are finding people are going to work

:26:33.:26:37.

faster, doing more job searches and more likely to take work under

:26:38.:26:45.

universal credit. Public Accounts Committee said this programme has

:26:46.:26:53.

been worse than doing nothing, for the long-term credit. It has not

:26:54.:27:00.

been a glorious success, has it That is wrong. Right now the work

:27:01.:27:04.

programme is succeeding, more people are going to work, somewhere in the

:27:05.:27:10.

order of 500,000 people have gone back into work as a result of the

:27:11.:27:16.

programme. Around 280,000 people are in a sustained work over six

:27:17.:27:20.

months. Many companies are well above it, and the whole point about

:27:21.:27:26.

the work programme is that it is setup so that we make the private

:27:27.:27:30.

sector, two things that are important, there is competition in

:27:31.:27:35.

every area so that people can be sucked out of the programme and

:27:36.:27:39.

others can move in. The important point here as well is this, that

:27:40.:27:45.

actually they don't get paid unless they sustain somebody for six months

:27:46.:27:50.

of employment. Under previous programmes under the last

:27:51.:27:53.

government, they wasted millions paying companies who took the money

:27:54.:27:57.

and didn't do enough to get people into work. The best performing

:27:58.:28:03.

provider only moved 5% of people off benefit into work, the worst managed

:28:04.:28:12.

only 2%. It is young people. That report was on the early first months

:28:13.:28:18.

of the work programme, it is a two-year point we are now and I can

:28:19.:28:22.

give you the figures for this. They are above the line, the improvement

:28:23.:28:27.

has been dramatic and the work programme is better than any other

:28:28.:28:30.

back to work programme under the last government. So why is long term

:28:31.:28:41.

unemployment rising? It is falling. We have the largest number of people

:28:42.:28:46.

back in work, there is more women in work than ever before, more jobs

:28:47.:28:52.

being created, 1.6 million new jobs being created. The work programme is

:28:53.:28:59.

working, our back to work programmes are incredibly successful at below

:29:00.:29:02.

cost so we are doing better than the last government ever did, and it

:29:03.:29:08.

will continue to improve because this process is very important. The

:29:09.:29:12.

competition is what drives up performance. We want the best

:29:13.:29:17.

performers to take the biggest numbers of people. You are

:29:18.:29:22.

practising Catholic, Archbishop Vincent Nichols has attached your

:29:23.:29:28.

reforms -- attack to your reforms, saying they are becoming more

:29:29.:29:31.

punitive to the most vulnerable in the land. What do you say? I don't

:29:32.:29:38.

agree. It would have been good if you called me before making these

:29:39.:29:41.

attacks because most are not correct.

:29:42.:29:52.

For the poorest temper sent in their society, they are now spending, as a

:29:53.:29:56.

percentage of their income, less than they did before. I'm not quite

:29:57.:30:01.

sure what he thinks welfare is about. Welfare is about stabilising

:30:02.:30:06.

people but most of all making sure that households can achieve what

:30:07.:30:10.

they need through work. The number of workless households under

:30:11.:30:14.

previous governments arose consistently. It has fallen for the

:30:15.:30:20.

first time in 30 years by nearly 18%. Something like a quarter of a

:30:21.:30:25.

million children were growing up in workless households and are now in

:30:26.:30:28.

households with work and they are three times more likely to grow up

:30:29.:30:31.

with work than they would have been in workless households. Let me come

:30:32.:30:36.

into something that he may have had in mind as being punitive - some

:30:37.:30:40.

other housing benefit changes. A year ago, the Prime Minister

:30:41.:30:43.

announced that people with severely disabled children would be exempt

:30:44.:30:47.

from the changes but that was only after your department fought a High

:30:48.:30:55.

Court battle over children who couldn't share a bedroom because of

:30:56.:30:59.

severe disabilities. Isn't that what the Archbishop means by punitive or,

:31:00.:31:03.

some may describe it, heartless We were originally going to appeal that

:31:04.:31:09.

and I said no. You put it up for an appeal and I said no. We're talking

:31:10.:31:12.

about families with disabled children. There are good reasons for

:31:13.:31:17.

this. Children with conditions like that don't make decisions about

:31:18.:31:21.

their household - their parents do - so I said we would exempt them. But

:31:22.:31:26.

for adults with disabilities the courts have upheld all of our

:31:27.:31:29.

decisions against complaints. But you did appeal it. It's just that,

:31:30.:31:35.

having lost in the appeal court you didn't then go to the Supreme Court.

:31:36.:31:39.

You make decisions about this. My view was that it was right to exempt

:31:40.:31:44.

them at that time. I made that decision, not the Prime Minister.

:31:45.:31:49.

Let's get this right - the context of this is quite important. Housing

:31:50.:31:52.

benefit under the last government doubled under the last ten years to

:31:53.:31:59.

?20 billion. It was set to rise to another 25 billion, the fastest

:32:00.:32:03.

rising of the benefits, it was out of control. We had to get it into

:32:04.:32:07.

control. It wasn't easy but we haven't cut the overall rise in

:32:08.:32:11.

housing. We've lowered it but we haven't cut housing benefit and

:32:12.:32:14.

we've tried to do it carefully so that people get a fair crack. On the

:32:15.:32:18.

spare room subsidy, which is what this complaint was about, the

:32:19.:32:23.

reality is that there are a quarter of a million people living in

:32:24.:32:25.

overcrowded accommodation. The last government left us with 1 million

:32:26.:32:28.

people on a waiting list for housing and there were half a million people

:32:29.:32:31.

sitting in houses with spare bedrooms they weren't using. As we

:32:32.:32:36.

build more houses, yes we need more, but the reality is that councils and

:32:37.:32:39.

others have to use their accommodation carefully so that they

:32:40.:32:43.

actually improve the lot of those living in desperate situations in

:32:44.:32:46.

overcrowded accommodation, and taxpayers are paying a lot of

:32:47.:32:49.

money. This will help people get back to work. They're more likely to

:32:50.:32:54.

go to work and more likely, therefore, to end up in the right

:32:55.:32:58.

sort of housing. We've not got much time left. A centre-right think tank

:32:59.:33:05.

that you've been associated with, on job-seeker's allowance, says 70 000

:33:06.:33:09.

job-seekers' benefits were withdrawn unfairly. A viewer wants to know,

:33:10.:33:16.

are these reforms too harsh and punitive? Those figures are not

:33:17.:33:21.

correct. The Policy Exchange is wrong? Those figures are not correct

:33:22.:33:26.

and we will be publishing corrected figures. The reality is... Some

:33:27.:33:32.

people have lost their job-seeker benefits and been forced to go to

:33:33.:33:35.

food backs and they shouldn't have. No, they're not. What he is

:33:36.:33:42.

referring to is that we allowed an adviser to make a decision if some

:33:43.:33:45.

but it is not cooperating. We now make people sign a contract, where

:33:46.:33:49.

they agree these things. These are things we do for you and if you

:33:50.:33:53.

don't do these things, you are likely to have your benefit

:33:54.:33:56.

withdrawn on job-seeker's allowance. Some of this was an fairly

:33:57.:34:00.

withdrawn. There are millions of these things that go through. This

:34:01.:34:05.

is a very small subset. But if you lose your job-seeker benefit

:34:06.:34:09.

unfairly, you have no cash flow There is an immediate review within

:34:10.:34:16.

seven days of that decision. Within seven days, that decision is

:34:17.:34:19.

reviewed. They are able to get a hardship fund straightaway if there

:34:20.:34:24.

is a problem. We have nearly ?1 billion setup to help people,

:34:25.:34:28.

through crisis, hardship funds and in many other ways. We've given more

:34:29.:34:35.

than ?200 million to authorities to do face-to-face checks. This is not

:34:36.:34:39.

a nasty, vicious system but a system that says, "look, we ask you to do

:34:40.:34:44.

certain things. Taxpayers pay this money. You are out of work but you

:34:45.:34:48.

have obligations to seek work. We simply ask that you stick to doing

:34:49.:34:51.

those. Those sanctions are therefore be but he will not cooperate" . I

:34:52.:34:56.

think it is only fair to say to those people that they make choices

:34:57.:34:59.

throughout their life and if they choose not to cooperate, this is

:35:00.:35:04.

what happens. Is child poverty rising? No, it is actually falling

:35:05.:35:11.

in the last figures. 300,000 it fell in the last... Let me show you these

:35:12.:35:18.

figures. That is a projection by the Institute of fiscal studies. It also

:35:19.:35:21.

shows that it has gone up every year and will rise by 400,000 in this

:35:22.:35:26.

Parliament, and your government and will continue to rise. But never

:35:27.:35:30.

mind the projection. It may be right, may be wrong. It would be

:35:31.:35:37.

400,000 up compared to when -- what you inherited when this Parliament

:35:38.:35:40.

ends. That isn't a projection but the actual figures. But the last

:35:41.:35:46.

figures show that child poverty has fallen by some 300,000. The

:35:47.:35:50.

important point is... Can I just finished this point of? Child

:35:51.:35:55.

poverty is measured against 60% of median income so this is an issue

:35:56.:36:00.

about how we measure child poverty. You want to change the measure. I

:36:01.:36:05.

made the decision not to publish our change figures at this point because

:36:06.:36:08.

we've still got a bit more work to do on them but there is a big

:36:09.:36:12.

consensus that the way we measure child poverty right now does not

:36:13.:36:15.

measure exactly what requires to be done. For example, a family with an

:36:16.:36:21.

individual parent who may be drug addicted and gets what we think is

:36:22.:36:24.

enough money to be just over the line, their children may be living

:36:25.:36:27.

in poverty but they won't be measured so we need to get a

:36:28.:36:30.

measurement that looks at poverty in terms of how people live, not just

:36:31.:36:34.

in terms of the income levels they have. You can see on that chart -

:36:35.:36:41.

400,000 rising by the end of this Parliament - you are deciding over

:36:42.:36:43.

an increase. Speedier I want to change it because under the last

:36:44.:36:47.

government child poverty rose consistently from 2004 and they

:36:48.:36:52.

ended up chucking huge sums of money into things like tax credits. In tax

:36:53.:36:59.

credits, in six years before the last election, the last government

:37:00.:37:04.

spent ?175 billion chasing a poverty target and they didn't achieve what

:37:05.:37:08.

they set out to achieve. We don t want to continue down that line

:37:09.:37:11.

where you simply put money into a welfare system to alter a marginal

:37:12.:37:15.

income line. It doesn't make any sense. That's why we want to change

:37:16.:37:20.

it, not because some projection says it might be going up. I will point

:37:21.:37:31.

out again it isn't a projection up to 2013-14. You want it to make work

:37:32.:37:38.

pay but more people in poverty are now in working families than in

:37:39.:37:41.

workless families. For them, workers not paying. Those figures referred

:37:42.:37:47.

to the last government's time in government. What is interesting

:37:48.:37:53.

about it is that until 2010, under the last government, those in

:37:54.:37:58.

working families - poverty in working families rose by half a

:37:59.:38:02.

million. For the two years up to the end of those figures, it has been

:38:03.:38:07.

flat, under this government. These are figures at the last

:38:08.:38:10.

government... You inherited and it hasn't changed. The truth is, even

:38:11.:38:16.

if you are in poverty in a working family, your children, if they are

:38:17.:38:21.

in workless families, are three times more likely to be out of work

:38:22.:38:26.

and to suffer real hardship. So in other words, moving people up the

:38:27.:38:30.

scale, into work and then on is important. The problem with the last

:38:31.:38:35.

government system with working tax credit is it locks them into certain

:38:36.:38:39.

hours and they didn't progress. We're changing that so that you

:38:40.:38:42.

progress on up and go out of poverty through work and beyond it. But

:38:43.:38:46.

those figures you're referring to refer to the last government's

:38:47.:38:52.

tenure and they spent ?175 billion on a tax credit which still left

:38:53.:38:57.

people in work in poverty. Even 20 minutes isn't enough to go through

:38:58.:39:01.

all this. A lot more I'd like to talk about. I hope you will come

:39:02.:39:05.

back. I will definitely come back. Thank you for joining us.

:39:06.:39:09.

You're watching the Sunday Politics. We say goodbye to viewers

:39:10.:39:13.

in Scotland, who leave us now for Sunday Politics Scotland.

:39:14.:39:24.

Good morning. Welcome to thd Sunday Politics. A little ray of stnshine

:39:25.:39:35.

coming up. Quite a lot, really. Farms are springing up all over the

:39:36.:39:39.

West Country packed with solar panels that gather the energy of the

:39:40.:39:43.

sun and turn it into electrhcity. There is one plan for Wiltshire that

:39:44.:39:46.

would cover almost 100 football pitches. Why are some peopld trying

:39:47.:39:52.

to port cold water on the schemes? `` pour cold water. Let's mdet our

:39:53.:39:57.

guests. Robert Butland from the Conservatives, MP for Swindon, and

:39:58.:40:05.

Sarah, running for the Liberal Democrats. Robert is a lawydr and

:40:06.:40:09.

sets from time to time as a judge. Robert, more heavy blows for the

:40:10.:40:14.

police this week. You believe a word they say any more? I think lost

:40:15.:40:18.

police officers are therefore the right reasons, to do a job `nd the

:40:19.:40:22.

community. It is always deeply worrying one we have stories such as

:40:23.:40:26.

what we have seen this week. It means that the police have to do

:40:27.:40:30.

even more to be gained the trust of sections of the community. That is

:40:31.:40:34.

why I always think we should be looking at ways to reform and

:40:35.:40:37.

improve policing. But when xou're sitting in court as a judge and you

:40:38.:40:41.

hear the evidence of a police officer, will you take it in the

:40:42.:40:46.

same way as you did a year `go? I have always treated police witnesses

:40:47.:40:51.

as any other witness. They `re civilians in uniform and thdir

:40:52.:40:54.

weight of their evidence should not be given any special category

:40:55.:40:58.

because they are police offhcers. The majority of police officers and

:40:59.:41:02.

the once served my communitx dedicated and professional but it is

:41:03.:41:05.

clear that we need to do more in order to help them do their job

:41:06.:41:11.

better. Sarah, in Somerset, people in a black background are more

:41:12.:41:15.

likely `` four times more lhkely to be stopped and searched as their

:41:16.:41:20.

white citizens. `` white fellow citizens. Is that acceptabld? No. I

:41:21.:41:25.

have probably read the same things as you have the statistics. We

:41:26.:41:28.

needed to continue to do solething about that. People who are

:41:29.:41:34.

desperately short of money `nd need a short`term loan are not bding

:41:35.:41:40.

offered the assistance of their `` if they are entitled to clahm. The

:41:41.:41:46.

Government has a scheme to help people but they're not been

:41:47.:41:52.

informed. Most Mac `` they `re not being informed. At a Bristol food

:41:53.:41:59.

bank, Gemma socks up. She h`s most to be. What is here will help well

:42:00.:42:04.

the new benefits come through. Now, she just needs money for thd rest of

:42:05.:42:08.

life's essentials. Could yot do with the cash of violence? Definhtely.

:42:09.:42:16.

Have a loan. `` with a cash injection. Short`term benefht

:42:17.:42:25.

advances are available. I dhd not know about that. I have nevdr been

:42:26.:42:28.

told about that. I could have done with that definitely. And that is

:42:29.:42:33.

really Jobcentre comes in. Staff in here should be offering somd

:42:34.:42:37.

claimants in advance on the benefits to take them over. But we h`ve been

:42:38.:42:41.

told this just is not happening in Bristol. People do not know they

:42:42.:42:47.

even exist to ask for them. There are no posters and nothing hn the

:42:48.:42:51.

literature on display. Nobody knows about it, including the people who

:42:52.:42:54.

are supposed to be actually dispensing it! If they do not know,

:42:55.:43:00.

how are our clients supposed to know. FA centres are trying to get

:43:01.:43:08.

the message out. They are even taking on the job centres

:43:09.:43:11.

themselves. On a number of occasions, we have had to rhng them

:43:12.:43:14.

up and talk them through thdir own guidance. You ring up and they say

:43:15.:43:18.

that you cannot have that and we tell them you can and they say does

:43:19.:43:23.

not exist. The Government s`ys that staff in his job centres have been

:43:24.:43:28.

fully briefed and fully trahned on offering these short`term loans

:43:29.:43:32.

Although they could not tell us how many had been given out in Bristol.

:43:33.:43:38.

The question is, of course, if people are not getting monex from

:43:39.:43:42.

here, and they still find themselves in financial difficulties, where are

:43:43.:43:48.

they going? Let me take you on a short walk. To hear. City H`ll. They

:43:49.:43:59.

have got a ?1.7 million crisis fund to give out to people in dire

:44:00.:44:03.

straits. Now, three quarters of that money have already gone. We have

:44:04.:44:07.

learned that most of the people who are trying to access it are being

:44:08.:44:13.

referred here by the job centres. Is there a problem that a lot of people

:44:14.:44:18.

are then going to the local crisis who should be getting his loans

:44:19.:44:22.

Yes. Water the council tell you That is an ongoing problem `nd be

:44:23.:44:27.

quite quickly agree that thdy are supposed to be the next port of

:44:28.:44:33.

call, not the first. Time to talk to the man in charge. Iain Duncan

:44:34.:44:40.

Smith. People in job centres are not making claimant to wear and are

:44:41.:44:43.

instead pushing them towards crisis loans. Are you aware of that? No.

:44:44.:44:48.

There are a whole range of things at the job centres, as well as having

:44:49.:44:53.

localised the social fund. Ht is a team effort really between the two.

:44:54.:44:57.

Sometimes it is more relevant for councils to deal with, other times

:44:58.:45:00.

the job centres are capable of dealing with that themselves.

:45:01.:45:04.

Sometimes it works, sometimds it does not. " Times could happen more

:45:05.:45:10.

often. Able just do not know what they are entitled to. `` those old

:45:11.:45:16.

times. With me is a Catholic priest who has

:45:17.:45:21.

been working at food banks. What have you witnessed? An incrdasing

:45:22.:45:25.

need for food banks, both hdre in Bristol and in Gloucester where I

:45:26.:45:28.

was a few years ago. The fact that more and more people seem to be

:45:29.:45:34.

slipping into safety nets. Hs the church becoming more politically

:45:35.:45:38.

involved by speaking out ag`inst poverty? Let's have a look `t the

:45:39.:45:41.

weather no. It is the church speaking out for those who do not

:45:42.:45:48.

have a voice, the poor. `` `gainst poverty? No, it is not.

:45:49.:45:55.

This is not poverty in the vocal sense, is it? It is not what we are

:45:56.:46:02.

one of the seven largest economies in the world and we have people who

:46:03.:46:07.

cannot afford to eat. It saxs a lot about our values and how we are

:46:08.:46:11.

helping people, or not. Sar`h, the first time the Liberal Democrats

:46:12.:46:15.

have been in power in government in a century. Albeit in coalithon. Are

:46:16.:46:21.

you ashamed that there are food banks in this country? No. We need

:46:22.:46:25.

to look at what has happened here. Under the last government, job

:46:26.:46:30.

centres and local agencies were not encouraged at all to tell pdople

:46:31.:46:36.

about food banks. Food banks were available but people were not

:46:37.:46:38.

directed there. I think what we are seeing at the moment is a mtch

:46:39.:46:43.

greater way of communicating that you can go to food banks and

:46:44.:46:47.

actually, I think it shows ` lot of community spirit. Food banks are

:46:48.:46:53.

there. They are doing a fantastic job and they are serving a purpose.

:46:54.:46:58.

The poor little inclined to vote or to mobilise themselves. Thex are

:46:59.:47:02.

perhaps not as ridiculous as the middle classes. Do you listdn to

:47:03.:47:08.

them as a politician? Of cotrse `` not as articular. You said they did

:47:09.:47:16.

not have a voice. I wonder how closely people are listening when

:47:17.:47:20.

what we are hearing from politicians is the need for food banks `nd how

:47:21.:47:23.

good they are and it is meaning that the charity of the people around,

:47:24.:47:27.

who are all taxpayers, are having to use additional money to do things

:47:28.:47:30.

for people who the Government are not helping. Are you worried that by

:47:31.:47:36.

supporting these food banks that actually you are encouraging welfare

:47:37.:47:40.

dependency and that is not biblical? There is always a temptation with

:47:41.:47:44.

the banks for people to look at them as being welfare dependent. The way

:47:45.:47:49.

most of them operate is that you can on a good three lots of food from

:47:50.:47:52.

their enemy one period. It hs to help in an emergency, not to give

:47:53.:47:56.

people a problem to deal with for eternity. Do you suspect thd

:47:57.:48:00.

Government is deliberately `voiding telling people that they can get

:48:01.:48:05.

short`term advances on their benefits because they do not want

:48:06.:48:08.

the news getting at? I cert`inly hope not. These funds are there for

:48:09.:48:14.

a purpose. They are there to help people in crisis. One of thd

:48:15.:48:18.

problems identified is the gap where people are waiting for their

:48:19.:48:20.

benefits but genuinely have no else to turn. The food bank can often be

:48:21.:48:24.

invaluable. I think it is about training and the more that we train

:48:25.:48:30.

our dedicated staff in John centres `` job centres to get that

:48:31.:48:34.

information out, the more pdople can be assisted. Whether we are

:48:35.:48:37.

Christians are not, we have a moral obligation to help the poordst in

:48:38.:48:40.

our society but also to makd the welfare system a further ond. That

:48:41.:48:45.

is why the public support wdlfare reform overwhelmingly and why we

:48:46.:48:48.

have to rebalance it so that those genuinely in need get the stpport

:48:49.:48:53.

they need. Is that the Government that supports the rich and the

:48:54.:48:58.

powerful? And the rich get richer and deeper at the four banks get

:48:59.:49:05.

poor? But if you look at thd evidence, inequality is acttally

:49:06.:49:13.

listening. `` and the poor `t the food banks get poorer. The poorest

:49:14.:49:20.

part of our society actuallx, there was evidence that the gaps were

:49:21.:49:24.

narrowing. I accept that thdre are people out there who are genuinely

:49:25.:49:27.

crisis. I meet them week in week out. They deserve the help from

:49:28.:49:33.

organisations like food banks and the Government and they must get

:49:34.:49:37.

that help stop and the bankdrs and their bonuses, they are enthtled to

:49:38.:49:42.

keep those well there are food banks down the road? I am not a stpporter

:49:43.:49:46.

of bankers and bonuses, nevdr have been. I believe that the banks still

:49:47.:49:51.

have a lot to learn. But whx is the Government not doing anything about

:49:52.:49:55.

it? They are. You look at the way that we tax bankers' bonuses. The

:49:56.:50:00.

weight of the financial system has been reformed. You will find that

:50:01.:50:03.

real action has been taken. The idea that somehow this government is not

:50:04.:50:08.

care about inequality is colpletely wrong. Final word from you. What is

:50:09.:50:13.

it about the Virgin Islands the needle? It is easier for a camel to

:50:14.:50:19.

pass through the eye of the needle than a rich man to get into heaven.

:50:20.:50:26.

It is interesting to see if you want to know what people think about

:50:27.:50:28.

bankers' bonuses, ask peopld at the food bank. `` what is it about the

:50:29.:50:36.

rich man in the eye of the needle. 's some people's thoughts are

:50:37.:50:41.

turning to solar panel, powdr as the `` solar power panels as thd sun

:50:42.:50:46.

comes out. It is prompting ` scorching row.

:50:47.:50:52.

Coming soon to a field near you Solar power is booming as Britain

:50:53.:50:56.

shifts to cleaner energy. This solar farm is one of the first in

:50:57.:51:01.

Wiltshire. Close by, another is planned, 20 times larger. If it goes

:51:02.:51:07.

ahead, it will be `` what whll be constructive in this field will be

:51:08.:51:11.

one of Britain's's biggest solar farms. So many are planned for this

:51:12.:51:17.

area and local are angry. There could be no less than seven in a

:51:18.:51:20.

five mile radius. In the village, they have mobilised. One has already

:51:21.:51:26.

got planning so we are surrounded. They are putting pressure on

:51:27.:51:31.

Wiltshire Council which will decide whether to grant planning

:51:32.:51:34.

permission. We are very pro`renewable energy. We ard just

:51:35.:51:40.

scared and concerned that otr area is going to be blighted by such

:51:41.:51:44.

overwhelming numbers of sol`r panels. The firm behind the biggest

:51:45.:51:50.

scheme have some local backhng. It will go all great agricultural land.

:51:51.:51:53.

The community will receive ?40, 00 per year. It is claimed fears have

:51:54.:52:01.

been exaggerated. And there are over 50,000 acres within five miles, 500

:52:02.:52:06.

acres within 50,000 is roughly %. This is a very minor part of the

:52:07.:52:11.

actual land area that is getting used by sober. Within that context,

:52:12.:52:20.

even those sites I've been designed discreetly so the visual impact is a

:52:21.:52:25.

very minimal. MPs are concerned In a recent debate, all agreed using

:52:26.:52:31.

brownfield sitess was best. Ministers enough, insist enough is

:52:32.:52:37.

being done to protect countryside. This is why we have issued further

:52:38.:52:40.

planning practice guidance on renewable and low carbon endrgy

:52:41.:52:46.

This 90 acre site just out side Swindon is nearing completion. The

:52:47.:52:50.

owners took little persuading. Animals cannot be get in thd winter.

:52:51.:52:57.

It is greatly one and certahnly not arable. I am a retired dairx farmer.

:52:58.:53:02.

I am looking towards retirelent and this scheme came along just at the

:53:03.:53:06.

right time. Visiting this wdek, the scones and counsellor would like to

:53:07.:53:09.

see many more. `` the Swindon counsellor. Sort of about two years

:53:10.:53:17.

to build? On Tuesday, he ails to get council agreement to relax rules.

:53:18.:53:21.

Swindon would become the first place in Britain were solar farms might

:53:22.:53:25.

not need planning permission. We are very clear they not imposing solar

:53:26.:53:28.

farms on any community. What the council is looking for is for

:53:29.:53:32.

businesses, landowners, parhsh councils, community groups `nd

:53:33.:53:36.

residents to nominate which fields or locations around the town they

:53:37.:53:41.

believe will be uncontroversial and can take a solid form. We whll then

:53:42.:53:46.

use a local development orddr to loosen the planning controls around

:53:47.:53:49.

it but insist that they still deal with the design, the energy to

:53:50.:53:54.

protect residents and reasstre neighbours of the sites. It is

:53:55.:53:58.

ambitious but Swindon is a town that is known for its innovation and this

:53:59.:54:01.

is another one of those ide`s where we can read from the front. In

:54:02.:54:06.

Swindon, it could become thd first place in Britain to get a ftller

:54:07.:54:11.

sound barrier. The council hs working on plans to arrange solar

:54:12.:54:16.

panels beside the busy A149, it will also shield nearby houses from the

:54:17.:54:20.

noise. They are not expecting opposition to building on these

:54:21.:54:24.

grass strips but Britain's big drive for Renewable Energy road m`p and

:54:25.:54:29.

controversially cover the fhelds beyond.

:54:30.:54:36.

With me is a retired energy consultant and he is here whth us

:54:37.:54:40.

now. Solar panels, what is not to like? They are industrial as he love

:54:41.:54:45.

the countryside. Depending, of course, where they are located. I

:54:46.:54:50.

mean, we have seen them in Devon, where I live, huge solar farms.

:54:51.:54:56.

Serried ranks of panels intdrspersed with converter housings, controlled

:54:57.:54:59.

Gammons, transform buildings and all surrounded by security fencds with

:55:00.:55:05.

CCTV cameras on top. `` control stations. It is clean, green

:55:06.:55:11.

electricity. It is said to be clean and green but there is no absolute

:55:12.:55:14.

evidence because it produces electricity only very briefly during

:55:15.:55:19.

the summer. At that time, other power stations have to come off the

:55:20.:55:26.

grid. Why is your organisathon committed to seeing renewable energy

:55:27.:55:32.

increased in this country? Our organisation is a broadbrush

:55:33.:55:35.

organisation. It has county branch is staffed by volunteers. So you do

:55:36.:55:42.

not agree with each other? No. We have national policy and thdn we

:55:43.:55:44.

have policy in the counties. Those policies will be different. It

:55:45.:55:48.

depends on the situation. Wdt spring and Sarah. You have seen thdse

:55:49.:55:54.

around Europe for constituency. `` let bring in Sarah. What yot think

:55:55.:56:02.

of them. I think solar energy is a really important part of endrgy mix

:56:03.:56:06.

but you have to look at sol`r farm applications on a case`by`c`se

:56:07.:56:09.

basis. Sometimes it is appropriate for the area, other times, clearly,

:56:10.:56:14.

if it is a braided Greensledves of outstanding natural beauty, it may

:56:15.:56:19.

be less appropriate. `` if ht is a large green area of outstanding Is

:56:20.:56:23.

this called for saying that one part of the county will object and

:56:24.:56:26.

another part will campaign? Not necessarily. You have to listen to

:56:27.:56:31.

local people. The local people never really won something like this on

:56:32.:56:34.

their door stop. I am not stre about that. There is a community solar

:56:35.:56:39.

farm near me in the community were very much in favour of it btt that

:56:40.:56:43.

is because they were consulted and played a big part in it. In fact,

:56:44.:56:48.

they all played a part in pttting the solar panels up and building at.

:56:49.:56:51.

There are ways and means th`t it can be done more effectively, bx

:56:52.:56:53.

bringing local people in with the process. It is not all about the

:56:54.:56:59.

solar farms. I personally would like to see every new house that is

:57:00.:57:02.

built, every new supermarket, has solar panels on them. Some people do

:57:03.:57:07.

not allow them on the roof. Some people do not. Robert, do you

:57:08.:57:12.

support this one in Wiltshire? The biggest one in England is bding

:57:13.:57:18.

planned for an old RAF site near to where I live. We are very stpportive

:57:19.:57:25.

of that concept because there will be feeding tariff so local dnergy

:57:26.:57:28.

will be generated with a reduction in energy costs. Also there will be

:57:29.:57:35.

community funding also. That is an example of engaging the comlunity,

:57:36.:57:37.

bringing them on`board at the beginning, and then went on to

:57:38.:57:40.

develop the sort of schemes which we see. What do you say to this man who

:57:41.:57:47.

is objecting? The question hs, would you put them? You've got to put them

:57:48.:57:53.

somewhere. Order you not bother with them? My personal view would be that

:57:54.:57:56.

you do not bother with them because the amount of energy they produce

:57:57.:58:01.

for the huge industrialisathon because of minute. A ten megawatts

:58:02.:58:05.

solar farm was produce an average of one megawatt which is a tinx medical

:58:06.:58:10.

testing. Cooperate that powdr? A few homes, basically. I mean, wd could

:58:11.:58:16.

have a diesel generator in this building that would produce much

:58:17.:58:19.

more power than a ten megaw`tts solar farm. So you do not w`nt solar

:58:20.:58:24.

panels. You not too keen on turbines. You do not like btdgetary

:58:25.:58:30.

power stations. What do you like a question I did not say we do not

:58:31.:58:34.

like those things. They shotld be in the appropriate locations. Where is

:58:35.:58:42.

appropriate? There are nucldar power stations at inappropriate locations.

:58:43.:58:52.

Offshore wind power is. Sol`r farms are horrendously subsidised so it is

:58:53.:58:55.

costing everybody a lot of loney. Anybody want to defend? I think

:58:56.:58:59.

solar power has to be part of the mix. Amenities like Swindon are

:59:00.:59:03.

leading the way in showing that we can generate power locally `nd that

:59:04.:59:07.

is good for communities and good for the future sustainability of energy

:59:08.:59:11.

supply. You can make it sensible and work for people. In Somerset, there

:59:12.:59:17.

is an environmental centre that actually use... The pains looked

:59:18.:59:22.

like slaves. They are very fitting with the environment so if xou put

:59:23.:59:25.

them on your roof, you cannot tell the solar panels. Would that help

:59:26.:59:31.

you? It is still heavily centralised so costing a lot of people loney but

:59:32.:59:35.

they are disguised on routes than that is the place to put thdm. Thank

:59:36.:59:39.

you for coming in today. Time for a look back at the

:59:40.:59:43.

political week just gone by. Let's set the timer to 60 seconds.

:59:44.:59:51.

The cost of preventing future floods on the Somerset Levels over the next

:59:52.:59:55.

20 years is reckoned to be ?100 million. A new action plan promises

:59:56.:00:02.

dredging a tidal, `` dredging, he said Barrett and pumping st`tions.

:00:03.:00:07.

John Osmond was not keen on a local tax to help fund the work. That is

:00:08.:00:11.

one of the things that has been raised. There is a lot of

:00:12.:00:12.

one of the things that has been raised. There is a lot disctssion to

:00:13.:00:14.

have stopped I am not in favour of that.

:00:15.:00:17.

Bristol Rovers had an away fixture at Downing Street. A petition was

:00:18.:00:23.

delivered backing a supermarket at the Memorial Stadium.

:00:24.:00:27.

Evil in Wiltshire were told about plans to has another 4000 pdrsonnel

:00:28.:00:34.

across Salisbury. The mayor won the Ministry of Defence to conshder the

:00:35.:00:37.

impact on the area. Is a third crossing over thd River

:00:38.:00:42.

Severn a bridge too far? Forest of Dean MP Mark Harbour thinks not He

:00:43.:00:49.

once told from the existing two bridges to find a new one.

:00:50.:00:56.

`` that was the week just gone. `` he wants the told me. Next week we

:00:57.:01:05.

will be looking at brussels. Do you think the Lib Dems will ever

:01:06.:01:10.

convince the public on Europe? I do. I think this debate is going to be

:01:11.:01:14.

very interesting. I think that Nick will come out on top and will..

:01:15.:01:19.

It's funny you should think he will come out on topics like I absolutely

:01:20.:01:25.

think he will. I am glad th`t Nigel Farage has accepted the challenge.

:01:26.:01:29.

Robert, are you glad that some members of the Tory party, with

:01:30.:01:35.

anti`European feelings, havd pushed off and join UKIP? Are you well shot

:01:36.:01:41.

of them? People have to makd their own political choices and I do not

:01:42.:01:45.

worry about other parties. H am a positive European conservathve. I

:01:46.:01:48.

would welcome a debate. If we have a referendum, a good thing. Wd can

:01:49.:01:54.

make the positive case and let the people decide. I am pretty sure they

:01:55.:01:56.

would decide in favour of continued them ship but I have no problem with

:01:57.:01:59.

democracy. And give a much. That is th`t from

:02:00.:02:02.

the West. Thank you to Sarah and Robert. I am off to pack my bags for

:02:03.:02:11.

a European travels but. `` travels. We will be tweeting pictures to

:02:12.:02:14.

prove we are hard at work. Got up on Twitter. Now, back to Andrew.

:02:15.:02:17.

Gove is right to focus. We've run out of time. Thanks for being here.

:02:18.:02:19.

Andrew, back to you. Now, without further ado, more from

:02:20.:02:36.

our political panel. Iain Martin, what did you make of Iain Duncan

:02:37.:02:40.

Smith's response to the Danny Alexander point I'd put to him? I

:02:41.:02:46.

thought it was a cheekily put response but actually, on Twitter,

:02:47.:02:49.

people have been tweeting while on air that there are lots of examples

:02:50.:02:52.

where the Tories have demanded the raising of the threshold. The 2 06

:02:53.:02:58.

Forsyth tax omission is another example. Helen, on the bigger issue

:02:59.:03:05.

of welfare reforms, is welfare reform, as we head into the

:03:06.:03:11.

election, despite all the criticisms, still a plus for the

:03:12.:03:15.

government? I don't think so. Whatever the opposite of a Midas

:03:16.:03:18.

touch is, Iain Duncan Smith has got it. David Cameron never talks about

:03:19.:03:24.

universal credit any more. The record on personal independence

:03:25.:03:27.

payment, for example... We didn t get onto that. Only one in six of

:03:28.:03:33.

those notes have been paid. A toss pulling out of their condiment has

:03:34.:03:41.

been a nightmare. It's a very big minus point for the Secretary of

:03:42.:03:44.

State. -- Atos pulling out of bed contract. Welfare cuts are an

:03:45.:03:57.

unambiguous point for the government but other points more ambiguous I

:03:58.:04:01.

don't think it's technical complexity that makes IDS's reform a

:04:02.:04:07.

problem. The IT gets moved out with time. But even if it's in fermented

:04:08.:04:12.

perfectly, what it will achieve has been slightly oversold, I think and

:04:13.:04:16.

simplified incredibly. All it does is improve incentives to work for

:04:17.:04:21.

one section of the income scale and diminishes it at another. Basically,

:04:22.:04:26.

you are encouraged to go from working zero hours to 16 hours but

:04:27.:04:30.

your incentive to work beyond 1 goes down. That's not because it's a

:04:31.:04:34.

horrendous policy but because in work benefits systems are

:04:35.:04:37.

imperceptible. Most countries do worse than we do. -- benefits

:04:38.:04:47.

systems cannot be perfected. They need to tone down how much this can

:04:48.:04:51.

achieve even if it all goes flawlessly. There are clearly

:04:52.:04:53.

problems, particularly within limitation, but Labour is still wary

:04:54.:04:59.

of welfare reform. -- with implementation. Polls suggest it is

:05:00.:05:05.

rather popular. People may not know what's involved were like the sound

:05:06.:05:12.

of it. I think Janan is right to mark out the differences between

:05:13.:05:15.

welfare cuts and welfare reforms. They are related but distinct. Are

:05:16.:05:22.

we saying cuts are more popular than reform? They clearly are. The

:05:23.:05:29.

numbers, when you present people numbers on benefit reductions, are

:05:30.:05:37.

off the scale. Reform, for the reasons you explored in your

:05:38.:05:41.

interview, is incredibly compensated. What's interesting is

:05:42.:05:46.

that Labour haven't really definitively said what their

:05:47.:05:51.

position is on this. I think they like - despite what they may see in

:05:52.:05:56.

public occasionally - some of what universal credit might produce but

:05:57.:05:59.

they don't want to be associated with it. We probably won't know

:06:00.:06:06.

until if Ed Miliband is Prime Minister precisely what direction

:06:07.:06:12.

Labour will go. Immigration is still a hot topic in Westminster and

:06:13.:06:16.

throughout the country. This new Home Office minister, James

:06:17.:06:18.

Brokenshire, made an intervention. Let's see what he had to say. For

:06:19.:06:25.

too long, the benefits of immigration went to employers who

:06:26.:06:28.

wanted an easy supply of cheap labour or to the wealthy

:06:29.:06:32.

metropolitan elite who wanted cheap tradesmen and services, but not to

:06:33.:06:35.

the ordinary hard-working people of this country. With the result that

:06:36.:06:40.

the Prime Minister and everyone else has to tell us all whether they ve

:06:41.:06:44.

now got Portuguese or whatever it is Nanny is. Is this the most

:06:45.:06:49.

cack-handed intervention on an immigration issue in a long list? I

:06:50.:06:54.

think it is and when I saw this being trailed the night before, I

:06:55.:07:00.

worried for him. As soon as a minister of the Crown uses the

:07:01.:07:02.

phrase "wealthy metropolitan elite" more likely we see it in recession.

:07:03.:07:38.

We've just had the worst recession in several decades. It's no small

:07:39.:07:45.

problem but compared to what ministers like James Brokenshire has

:07:46.:07:49.

been saying for the past few years and also the reluctance to issue the

:07:50.:07:52.

report earlier, I thought that, combined with the speech, made it

:07:53.:07:58.

quite a bad week for the department. Was this a cack-handed attempt to

:07:59.:08:02.

appeal to the UKIP voters? I think so and he's predecessor had to leave

:08:03.:08:06.

the job because of having a foreign cleaner. It drew attention to the

:08:07.:08:11.

Tories' biggest problem, the out of touch problem. Most people around

:08:12.:08:15.

the country probably don't have a Portuguese nanny and you've just put

:08:16.:08:21.

a big sign over David Cameron saying, this man can afford a

:08:22.:08:26.

Portuguese Nanny. It is not the finest political operation ever

:08:27.:08:28.

conducted and the speech was definitely given by the Home Office

:08:29.:08:32.

to Number Ten but did Number Ten bother to read it? It was a complete

:08:33.:08:38.

shambles. The basic argument that there is a divide between a wealthy

:08:39.:08:42.

metropolitan elite and large parts of Middle Britain or the rest of the

:08:43.:08:47.

country I think is basically sound. It is but they are on the wrong side

:08:48.:08:53.

of it. What do you mean by that The Tory government is on the wrong

:08:54.:08:57.

side. This is appealing to UKIP voters and we know that UKIP is

:08:58.:09:02.

appealing to working-class voters who have previously voted Labour and

:09:03.:09:05.

Tory. If you set up that divide make sure you are on the right side

:09:06.:09:11.

stop When you talk about metropolitan members of the media

:09:12.:09:14.

class, they say that it is rubbish and everyone has a Polish cleaner.

:09:15.:09:20.

No, they don't. I do not have a clean! I don't clean behind the

:09:21.:09:26.

fridge, either! Most people in the country don't have a cleaner. The

:09:27.:09:31.

problem for the Tories on this is, why play that game? You can't

:09:32.:09:42.

out-UKIP UKIP. After two or three years of sustained Tory effort to do

:09:43.:09:45.

that, they will probably finish behind UKIP. Do we really want a

:09:46.:09:52.

political system where it becomes an issue of where your nanny or your

:09:53.:09:56.

cleaner is from, if you've got one? Unless, of course, they're illegal.

:09:57.:10:01.

But Portuguese or Italian or Scottish... And intervention was

:10:02.:10:06.

from Nick Clegg who said his wife was Dutch -- his mum was Dutch and

:10:07.:10:14.

his wife was Spanish. Not communism but who your cleaner is! It's the

:10:15.:10:20.

McCarthy question! Where does your cleaner come from. A lot of people

:10:21.:10:25.

will say are lucky to have a cleaner. I want to move onto selfies

:10:26.:10:31.

but first, on the Nigel Farage Nick Clegg debate, let's stick with

:10:32.:10:35.

the TV one. Who do you think will win? Nigel Farage. Clegg. He is a

:10:36.:10:43.

surprisingly good in debates and people have forgotten. I think Clegg

:10:44.:10:47.

is going to win. I think Farage has peaked. We're going to keep that on

:10:48.:10:57.

tape as well! Two 214 Clegg there. Selfies. Politicians are attempting

:10:58.:11:03.

to show they're down with the kids. Let's look at some that we've seen

:11:04.:11:04.

in recent days. Why are they doing this, Helen? I'm

:11:05.:11:51.

so embarrassed you call me reading the SNP manifesto, as I do every

:11:52.:11:56.

Saturday! They do it because it makes them seem authentic and that's

:11:57.:11:59.

the big Lie that social media tells you - that you're seeing the real

:12:00.:12:04.

person. You're not, you're seeing a very carefully manicured, more witty

:12:05.:12:07.

person. That doesn't work for politicians. It looks so fake and

:12:08.:12:14.

I'm still suffering the cringe I see every time I see Cameronserious

:12:15.:12:20.

phone face. Does Mr Cameron really think it big Sim up because he's on

:12:21.:12:24.

the phone to President Obama? Obama is not the personality he once was.

:12:25.:12:33.

There is an international crisis in Ukraine - of course we are expecting

:12:34.:12:37.

to be speaking to Obama! And if you were in any doubt about what a man

:12:38.:12:41.

talking on the telephone looks like, here's a photo. I must confess, I

:12:42.:12:46.

didn't take my own selfie. Did your nanny? My father-in-law took it

:12:47.:12:53.

Where is your father-in-law from? Scotland. Just checking. Janan, I

:12:54.:13:07.

think we've got one of you. The 1%! What a great telephone! Where did

:13:08.:13:14.

you get that telephone? It looks like Wolf Of Wall Street! That's

:13:15.:13:21.

what I go to bed in. It showed how excited Cameron was to be on the

:13:22.:13:25.

phone to Obama. All our politicians think they are living a mini version

:13:26.:13:29.

of US politics. President Obama goes on a big plane and we complain when

:13:30.:13:34.

George Osborne goes first class on first Great Western. They want to be

:13:35.:13:37.

big and important like American politics but it doesn't work. We'll

:13:38.:13:42.

see your top at next week! That's it for this week. Faxed all

:13:43.:13:47.

our guests. The Daily Politics is on all this week at lunchtime on BBC

:13:48.:13:52.

Two. We'll be back here same time, same place next week. Remember, if

:13:53.:13:56.

it's Sunday, it is the Sunday Politics.

:13:57.:14:01.

Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith and chief secretary to the treasury Danny Alexander.


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