25/11/2015 The Papers


No need to wait to see what's in the papers - Clive Myrie presents a lively and informed conversation about the next day's headlines.

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the Manchester United game against PSV, and Man City against Juventus,


and we meet the teenage weightlifting sensation after the


Papers. Hello and welcome to our look


ahead to what the the papers With me are Isabel Hardman,


assistant editor at the Spectator, and Ben Chu, the Independent's


economics editor. The FT says the government's deficit


reduction strategy will now depend more on tax rises


than on further cuts, as the public appetite


for austerity wanes. The Metro echoes the famous


declaration of Margaret Thatcher, as it headlines


Mr Osborne's two policy reversals. The i has the same play


on the Thatcher quote. The Guardian highlights the squeeze


on local government, it says councils will see a near halving


of their central government grant. The Express says the Chancellor's


protection of foreign aid spending is


a political gamble when taxes rise. The Telegraph says the U-turn on


working tax credit marks the end of austerity. The Daily Mail would like


to know, whatever happened to austerity? We will start with the


Metro, the Tories are for turning, everyone expected a softening of the


cuts to working tax credits, not that they would be completely


scrapped, but he has completely scrapped them, surprised everybody.


A smart move by the Chancellor, no-one and could pick over the


details of the mitigation, saying that there is a problem here or


there. Everyone was so surprised that he had managed to scrap those


cuts entirely, so even though some people will still be affected by


lower tax credit payments when they are rolled into universal credit, it


became a good news story for him. And I think it rectified some of the


damage that has been done to his reputation, to his character over


the past few weeks, to have someone saying, I have listened to concerns


and changed my mind is quite important in politics, particularly


for George Osborne. He looks reasonable. He had carried on


resisting those concerns for too long. The 27, 29 billion stuff down


the back of the sofa, when would he have found out about that? In the


weeks leading up to the statement. OK, in the weeks leading up to the


statement, sober for the vote on working tax credits? I am not sure


of the timing, but the Chancellor generally has good sign of what


numbers are going into the Autumn Statement, not least because there


is too and fro between the Treasury and the OBR about what will go into


the document. You would not have thought before and? Not judging by


the look on his face when he lost the vote! These headlines are about


three quarters right, on tax credits, it is a big reversal, on


public spending, the squeeze will be considerably less than was


expected, but there is a lot of departments which are still having


extremely large squeezes, and he will still get this 10 billion


surplus at the end of the Parliament, and this is something


that a lot of economists say is not necessary to get the public finances


on an even keel. They think you only need a current budget surplus,


excluding capital spending. I do not think we should take this too far


and say austerity is over, but there will be a lot of public spending


cuts to come. Let's go to your paper, do the numbers add up? A Venn


diagram, some kind of diagram, like a wheel with lots of black bits and


red bits, can we bring that up for the viewers to see? There it is.


Now, I am going to let you explain this diagram, do the figures add up?


Well, what you're looking at is a Catherine wheel of a income that is


the best way to describe it. The red bars are cuts announced today, so


very big for transport, justice, local government, Home Office. The


protected departments, overseas aid, health, you can see the bars going


up, and you can see the pain since 2010, since austerity started, so


over the full decade you can see how big some of the cuts have been to


places like transport, business, justice, getting on for 50%, perhaps


even more. It is really trying to sum up the whole decade of


austerity, if you like, you can see how uneven it has been, how some


departments are fared relatively well, others have been hit really


hard. Some of these departments have a lot of pain to come, local gun


and, huge difficulty in meeting their social care requirements. --


local government. Justice, the Home Office, we have not heard much from


them, but they will be making very difficult decisions in the weeks


and. But at the same time, it seems as if the leader writers have


decided that it is the U-turn that is the big thing, if we look at the


front pages, which means, as you are saying, he comes across as a


reasonable man who listens to the public, a potential leader. I think


he has got the headlines he was hoping for four tomorrow's papers,


but I think the diagram and the headlines illustrate what sort of


Chancellor George Osborne is. A lot of his critics get him wrong and


Sadie is ideologically of. He is not, he is politically driven. --


and say he is ideologically driven. Some departments are big and still


growing, others have been slashed, and if he were an ideologically


driven Chancellor, he would have kept going on tax credits, saying,


you are just complaining and making apocalyptic predictions, as you did


in 2010. And he would have banked the 29 billion, had a bigger


surplus. If he continued to play to the image that a lot of people feel


that he exhibits, of a man who is ideologically driven, obsessed with


austerity, someone who has got to balance the books at whatever cost,


no matter how it might affect all mean to ordinary people at there.


You are saying that it is not who he is. I think that is misunderstanding


the Chancellor, he is a very strategic man, and the fact that he


not only announced he would protect police budget at the end of speech,


so that John McDonnell was scribbling away, and mending his


response seconds after the Chancellor had sat down, he a


political Chancellor, not some dry columnist who would like to sit in a


think tank. He thinks about the next move on the chessboard. My sense is


that he veers between the pragmatic Osborne that Isabel has been


describing and the pragmatic Osborne that Isabel has been describing Andy


Moore the wind in his sales, he thought he could move very hard on


tax credits. Now he is back in practical mode, and he has tempered


austerity, done a reversal on tax credits, thinking more


strategically. He goes between the two, he still has an element of


ideology, by targeting the surplus, which doesn't really make economic


sense. It makes some rhetorical sense, because most people think


that a government's budget is the same as a household budget, and if


you are not in balance, you are going to go bankrupt, which is not


true. It worked for Margaret Thatcher! To the Guardian, the 27


billion U-turn on the front, it talks about councils, Isabel, that


local councils are going to see their budgets, their central grant


cut drastically. They will have control over corporation tax, and


they can raise council tax by 2%, if it is used for social care, but they


are one of the big losers out of this. Absolutely, and this is where


we will see real opposition to this, not from the Labour Party, which I


am sure we will get onto, but from local governments and Conservatives


in local government included. Today a Conservative leader of the local


gun and association was stinging about the effect of these cuts on


local government. We talked about a black hole that they will not be


able to plug. -- the Local Government Association. He says they


will be in a great deal of trouble and that services that people rely


on are going to deteriorate. Now, again, the Tories might say, a lot


of these people gave dire warnings in 2010, but it is significant that


Conservative councils are criticising this Spending Review,


not putting on a show of unity, seriously worried about their


services. Conservative MPs that I talk to agree about this, they are


worried in a slightly cynical way that the people who vote will start


to notice the cuts to services, whereas they have been able to


sustain some of them because the cuts may have been born by people


who were disenfranchised already. Very briefly, the Financial Times,


Osborne swaps axe for taxes, he pivots to the centre, some have


suggested this is a tax and spend Spending Review and Autumn


Statement, is that how you see it? There is some element of truth in


it, a very slight, almost Gordon Brown stealth tax rise by Osborne,


saying, no, we will bind our hands going into the general, no income


tax, no VAT but a significant chunk of tax rises in the Budget after the


election. He has done it again, damp duty is going up for buy to let


people with second homes. There is going to be various cuts at


renewable energies games, company cars, lots of things like that. The


apprenticeships Levy, a big chunk of change will come from that, it will


hit companies, the OBR think it will be passed on to employees. The


non-tax-raising Chancellor pads up tax. Who would have thought you


could compare Gordon Brown and George Osborne? Staying with the


Financial Times, Isabel, the Labour response, John McDonnell's great


leap backwards, not the best of days, some would suggest in terms of


the Labour leadership and how it has responded to the Autumn Statement.


It is now much easier to compare Gordon Brown and George Osborne than


Gordon Brown and John McDonnell. It is very difficult for a Shadow


Chancellor to response to an economic statement, you have seconds


to decide what you are going to say, scribbling out a bit as the


Chancellor surprises you. John McDonnell has never done this


before, but all of that taken into account, his response to the


Spending Review was very bad today. Labour MPs were ashen faced to begin


with, because they don't want him to be Shadow Chancellor, but when he


produced Mao's little red book and started quoting from it before


handing it to George Osborne as a gift, he could have wrapped it up,


here is a little gift, you could see all of them sinking down into their


seats. Actually, journalists enjoy the stories, they are interesting


and fun, but there is something very sad about what is happening to the


Labour Party at the moment. You have hundreds of thousands of new members


who would save they are doing what we believe they should be doing. But


not what the electorate believes. Ben, very briefly, can Labour


recover? He needs to put the little red book away and start reading from


the basic book of politics. If you are going to make a high risk joke,


make sure it is funny expert well, we are laughing, but not many of the


Labour Party are, I am afraid. We will look at a few more stories in


an hour, many thanks for that. Stay with us on BBC News, much more


coming up, but now it is time for Sportsday.


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