16/06/2011 The Record


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Welcome to The Record. The headlines:


The Government says it won't bail out the troubled care homes company,


Southern Cross. Following the financial system


meltdown, the Government publishes its proposed changes to the banking


system. Labour attacks the Education


Secretary after it emerged that some academy schools have wrongly


received too much public funding. Why should any parent have


confidence in him running the education system when he cannot


even on his own department? But first, the UK's biggest care


homes operator, Southern Cross, has four months to find a solution to


its financial problems after reaching an agreement with


landlords and creditors. Responding to an urgent question, the Care


Minister insisted the welfare of the residents was the Government's


"paramount" concern and no-one would be left homeless. On


Wednesday, the struggling care homes provider reached a deal to


guarantee the welfare of its elderly residents. The company says


it will continue to run all of its 751 care homes. Southern Cross


recently revealed it had made losses of more than �300 million in


the six months to March, and has announced 3,000 redundancies. The


Labour MP who called the minister to the Despatch box said the


Government had been to slow to "get a grip" on the problem. After


yesterday's meeting with the different landlords, the company's


suit is uncertain. Residents of Southern Cross, their relatives and


the directors of social services will meet further information


sooner rather than later. What comes next for the company?


Yesterday, a meeting took place between Southern Cross, Landers and


landlords in the committee. It be to work together to deliver a


solution to the company's current financial problems. They made clear


that the continuity and quality of care of all but 1,000 residents


will be maintained and every resident will be looked after. This


is a welcome development and the Government is encouraged by this


positive development. The exact details of the restructuring plan


will be set out over the next few days and following weeks. I think a


joint statement issued yesterday by the company, landlords and lenders


provides for the reassurance that the continuity of care is at the


centre of this consensual restructuring. The Government will


continue to keep close contact with all involved in this process.


people are treated with commodities with no pot to the consequences for


them, it is important the Government steps up and does


something about it. Southern Cross is not the only company in this


Industry to have financial difficulties. We have heard from


the Business Secretary that the business model will be looked at by


his department. Will the Minister give more details on the timings of


this review and her members will be told about his findings? Perhaps


the area we might have some agreement is we need to learn


lessons from all that is currently occur in with regard to Southern


Cross, in respect we have a stable social care sector for the future.


That is what the Government is committed to an overhaul of social


care and why we intend to bring forward a way pep -- white paper.


I'm concerned for the residents of the care homes in my constituency,


it would be wrong if anyone tried to use this as a political shield


to make cheap political points. But can the Minister tell us, given


there will be up to 3,000 job losses, what measures will the


Government take to monitor the quality of care and the staff ratio


of individual homes to ensure there is no negative impact on the


residents? The honourable gentleman asks an important question about


quality of care and its impact. That is why, when it became clear


the company was posting a figure of 3,000 and more redundancies that I


instructed an additional investigation to ascertain any


likely impact and make sure there is no impact on the quality of care.


Will the Minister be careful not to say what he should say, will he


pledge to the House that no final - - vulnerable person who should not


be moved if there is a catastrophe of the kind we all want to avoid,


will be able to stay in the residential home? That is that that


we want here from him, to show some leadership as the Minister


responsible. The leads that I can get to the House today is that


every local authority with Southern Cross care homes and


responsibilities for resonance they have placed their is clear about


their duties to guarantee and provide care, not just for the


residents who are state funded by also the residents who are self-


funding. That is the crews guarantee I can offer.


The Government has published details of its planned banking


changes, to protect taxpayers from the risk of having to bail out the


industry again in any future crisis. It includes forcing them to


separate their retail businesses from their riskier investment


operations. That proposal was announced by the Chancellor, George


Osborne, in his Mansion House Speech, along with the decision to


put the nationalised bank, Northern Rock up for sale. When the


coalition Government came into office, questions were asked about


the future of banking rigid the -- banking Reggie -- regulation. There


should be a new settlement between the financial system and the


British people. A settlement what the banks support the people so


that people make a light the banks. The actions we are taking to


complete this settlement, I commend this statement to the House. What


utter contempt the Government is showing to Parliament today by


announcing he's major proposals first to the bank has in the city


yesterday and only today to alight have absented lives. Time and time


again, ministers give policy speeches outside this place and the


House of Commons is merely an afterthought. Ways the Chancellor


himself not here to make these announcements? This disregard for


the democratic process is reflected in the draft legislation that we


have today before us. It hands vast new powers over the lives of all a


constituents to the unelected Bank of England and leaves out


accountability deficit and with no mention of parliamentary Eckert


ability in all of its pages. Hoban said those comments showed


"the emptiness" of Labour's thoughts on banking and Mr Osborne


hadn't revealed the full paper on reform, which was the centrepiece


of the announcement. Drawing on my 19 years as a banker, can I tell


you... I was far more popular then and I am now! Mr Deputy Speaker,


drawing on that experience, can I say that the Minister has rightly


identified some deep structural problems which the UK banking


system. Although all over the coming weeks and months there will


be howls of protest from so it -- certain sections of the banking


community, the principles he has outlined will lead to a safer and


more stable UK banking system. will not up our financial services


industry employs several million people and generates over �50


billion a year in tax revenue. Can he assure me that these proposals


will strike the right balance between protecting the consumer and


that the same time maintaining our leading place in the global


financial marketplace? Before the general election, the Chancellor


and Business Secretary got into of her office fight about fooled the


toughest on the backs. Neither of them are here today. If the last


Government was charged with light touch regulation, this Government's


is guilty of like touch reform. Hoban said the Government's


proposals struck the right balance and would create a more sustainable


and safer banking system. Labour are concerned about the sale of


Northern Rock, which they would like to see turned back into a


building society, owned by its members. The bank has its


headquarters in the Shadow Business Minister, Chi Onuwarah's


constituency in Newcastle. Could the Minister explain to me how


these option will be structured so as to promote Northern Rock's


mutualisation? Could he also say what guarantees he will offer on


the name, headquarters, jobs and the community contribution of


Northern Rock? I think she raises some important points about how a


potential bidder would seek to maintain employment in the North


East. How they would use the Northern Rock name. Whether, how


their headquarters would be structures. That is something that


bidders will need to consider. I would encourage all those who have


an interest in Northern Rock to engage with people in the North


East to present to them why they a deal gives the best future. Can the


Secretary get an assurance to the House and to the country that the


sale of Northern Rock will not proceed unless there is absolute


certainty that every penny of taxpayers' money put into it will


be recouped plus interest, and can he also give an assurance that the


transformation of the banking system that is being proposed will


begin to give people some trust in the banking system again?


honourable friend makes some important points and we will seek


to do through the sale process to get the best possible deal for the


taxpayer. Mr Hoban said trust in banks had taken a knock and the


best thing they could do was get on with helping families and


businesses by ensuring a flow of credit.


Labour are questioning Government plans to create more "academies"


after the disclosure that some schools in England have been given


too much public money. 200 of the worst-performing primaries are to


be taken out of council control in an effort to improve standards. But


it's been revealed that some academies will have to repay


funding after being given too much. Called to the Commons to make a


statement, the Education Minister said Labour needed to look at the


bigger picture. Does he agree that we should raise the bar on


secondary schools from and 35% achieving five good GCSEs to 40%


next year, and does he agree that we should further raise it to 50%


by the end of this Parliament? Does he agree with our announcement


today... I do not know why the opposition do not want to hear this.


Does he agree with our announcement today to extend the Academy's


programme to underperforming primary schools? And in particular,


to the 200 worst performing primary schools, many of which were in that


state for a decade while his party was in Government. The Shadow


Education Secretary wondered how many schools had been overpaid and


if the money would be clawed back. Isn't it the case that the


Secretary of State repeatedly finds himself in his position because he


rushes ahead and fails to consult people on changes? We have been


here before. The only way people can make him listen to them is to


launch it legal action, that is no way to run a department. We year he


will pay the council's legal costs. In the past year, the Secretary of


State has spent more money on solicitors' fees than Brian Jacques


and Fred Goodwin put together. should remind him that these


problems occur every year. It occurred every year under the last


Labour Government. The difference to Jean his former Government and


this is that we are taking action to sort out this problem. That is


why we announced a fundamental review of the school funding system.


We will be making further announcement and consultation on


the details of that review later this year. We have as Secretary of


State botched the building schools for the future programme, who had


to do a U-turn on schools' Sports partnerships, who cannot spot


errors in the funding programmes of his own department, why should any


parent have confidence in him running the education system when


he cannot even run his own department? I see the honourable


lady is trying to create a theme here. But there is no theme. This


is a particular problem, reported in the Financial Times today, that


occur every year and arises out of the complexity of the funding


system that we are trying to simplified. It is extraordinary for


the party opposite to be quibbling about accounting errors. Is it a


smokescreen to distract attention from the Commons that Tony Blair


has recently made, supporting this Government's policies on academies


and primary schools? The Education Minister said that was a point he'd


been "too sensitive" to raise, but Government policies had been


endorsed in The Sun, by Tony Blair. You're watching The Record here on


BBC Parliament, with me, Alicia McCarthy. The main news again:


The Government's welcomed a deal which could ease the financial


crisis at Britain's largest care home company, Southern Cross. The


firm says it's reached an agreement with its landlords to guarantee the


welfare of its 31,000 elderly residents. Still to come:


Anger in the Lords as Peers are told to come back from their summer


break one week early. But their complaints get little sympathy.


my dear old Aunt would say, my lord But before that. The Labour peer


Alan Sugar has suggested that newspaper editors and proprietors


should go to jail if their publications are found guilty of


phone hacking. The issue was raised by the former Conservative Cabinet


minister Lord Fowler, who called phone hacking a "massive conspiracy


against the public". Lady Rawlings said she could only answer for the


Culture department not the Home Office and couldn't comment on


newspaper editors. Does he recognise that in the last two


weeks alone, News Corporation have paid out damages of �100,000 to get


traced Siena Miller and admitted misuse a private information and


harassment. News International have set up what they call a


compensation fund for the victims of phone hacking and evidence has a


move that News Of The World is not the only newspaper involved. Does


she agree that all of this represents a massive conspiracy


against the public which the police and the Press Complaints Commission


have been powerless to prevent and will she give an assurance that


once the criminal proceedings are complete, then the government will


set up an independent inquiry to find out where responsibility lies?


My noble friend is extremely knowledgeable and experienced on


this subject and I have read the details that he mentioned but I


need to make it clear from the start that my answers will only


cover press regulations and not the criminal aspects. I know your


Lordships are well aware that the criminal aspects of hacking are


covered by the Home Office. We do fully understand by noble friend's


request for a further inquiry to be set up after the present cases are


resolved. We are witnessing a revolution in the information and


communications world, as in technology in general, of such


galloping speed that I can any agree with my noble friend that


constant monitoring is essential in case further action is needed.


Would the noble Baroness agree with me when I say that it is ludicrous


to suggest that an editor of a national newspaper is not aware of


where the information came from? And in the past, as I believe one


of my noble friend has mentioned, a journalist was actually given a


custodial sentence for phone- tapping. Isn't it the case that the


editor is responsible as to what goes in the newspaper and therefore


he also should be given a custodial sentence and indeed the proprietor


and the board of directors? Lady Rawlings said she could any answer


for the culture department and not the Home Office and could not


comment on newspaper editors. Is it time for the politicians to leave


the Health Service alone? Lots of people think so. And that was the


view of Steve Field, the leader of the body called the NHS Future


Forum, which recently looked in detail at the Government's radical


reforms to the NHS in England and recommended some alterations.


Ministers this week accepted those changes. When Professor Field and


other experts came before the Commons Health Committee, the


chairman quoted from a report written by the ex-Labour Health


Secretary Alan Milburn. He writes the U-turn, as he describes it,


slows the pace of reform and dramatically reduces its impact.


GPs' ability to drive more services at of hospital and into the


community has been severely compromised. I wonder if you agree


with Mr Milburn. I think the whole article, he is wrong, and this is a


time for politicians to get out of the NHS, to a some space to get on


and run the service. I would like to see the bill passed through as


quickly as possible, amended to make it work, but actually the plea


is that I want to get on of my patients. What was your few before


the health bill, we you having discussions with all the political


parties by one used to be done with the NHS? Did you think there was a


need for reorganisation? Of the NHS? Yes. Absolutely. We are record


any contract might speeches back. We need to health system which is


more integrated around the needs of the patients. We need to integrate


health and social care. We do need competition in the system in order


to free up some of the poor quality services that are provided. We have


too many hospital services in some areas. I know there are huge


concerns and I'm sure the Forum have been listening to them from


staff, stake holders, Patients, political parties, about the


introduction of American-style commercial competition in two-hour


National Health Service. I am slightly disappointed over the


message in there has been over the role of competition since we


reduced our report. If you read reports of my panel there is no


suggestion in their that competition does not have a role to


play in health service. We heard concerns but also heard evidence


and saw evidence, studies by the LSE and Bristol, that showed that


the confident -- competition introduced by the last a month had


driven up quality and, in one case in the LSE, had saved lives. So


competition does have a role to play. I am very clear that that


competition has to be managed properly. I am every three clear


that despite what some have said, there was no attempt to introduce


American-style privatisation in the health service. One of the things


that disappoints be about this debate is that it proceeds on the


basis of are you on oppose -- in favour of privatisation or not, as


opposed to thinking about how competition could be used


effectively. I know that the health service needs more work from


charities and social enterprises. think competition does have a place


but it think we need to think a bit wider about it. Information is the


key. We should have competition between hospitals, we should


compare results a look at how we can driver performs in that way. My


concerned about competition is that health is not just to business, it


is part of our national infrastructure. I have a


responsibility as a major trauma centre, I must have every service


in a hospital to support that. As members will know, we treat the


military coup in back from winded overseas and on occasion we have


had 11 separate specialities working on one person and is one of


those was contracted out it would weaken my ability to do that.


should allow the commissioners to be innovative and trust them as the


people best place to balance to protect what Julian has been talked


about and the need for innovation. D thing that is the way forward?


mental health, 20% of mental health is provided by eight none NHS


providers. Turning point provides brilliant services for Scotland,


which is not meant to have private services. At the moment, we don't


know what good or bad is. Most citizens have not got a clue and


told something horrible happens whether it was bad. And also they


don't know what is good at the moment, based people. I have been


on the receiving end of fantastic care for our family, and the most


appalling care, and I'm absolutely determined to do something about


improving the quality of care in this country. The Government is


insisting that the Libyan leader, Colonel Gaddafi, will not be able


to attend the London Olympics next year, because of a European Union


travel ban. Preparations are well under way for the 2012 games due to


start next summer. But the allocation of tickets has provoked


a row, with thousands of members of the public being left disappointed.


It was revealed earlier in the week that the Libyan Olympic Committee


has been allocated a few hundred tickets for sports groups and


athletes. In a rather roundabout way, the Shadow Olympics Minister


asked about the allocation of tickets to Libya and sought


reassurance that members of the regime wouldn't be coming to the UK.


Will he recognise the limited scope for the International Olympic


Committee to do more than issue invitations to countries around the


world, to the national Olympic committees of countries around the


world? And will he, given the sensitivity of what we would


describe as pariah regimes, a short the House that all necessary and


relevant diplomatic intervention will be taken at the appropriate


time to prevent participation in the games of heads of such states?


The short answer is I entirely agree with the right honourable


lady. What was apparent is that it is much easier to deal with the


situation did they have the subject of EU planning sanctions. Would the


minister of sport agree that the E Olympics as a celebration of world


sport and has country should be very careful about trying to ban


people coming to this country for the Olympics? I would certainly


agree they are a celebration of world sport. It is an issue we


touched on with the question, it is really important aware there are


regimes that we do not wish to invite to this country that the


relevant international sanctions are in place to back that up. It is


one of the ironies of the current process that the band that was put


in place at the 1980 Olympics produced into people who did not


abide by that ban, Lord Coe and Lord Moynihan who are central to


the livery of the games. Another Conservative wanted to know where


any government tickets were going. Will my right honourable friend


assure the House that none of those tickets will be provided as free


perks either to government employees in general or took UK


politicians in particular. I am happy to assure my honourable


friend about those tickets. The tickets will be purchased and are


available through the ballot. 2400 of the tickets are being made


available to host towns and cities. Again, they will be purchased. 2900


tickets will be made available to guests of the government, including


business guess, to ensure we gain an economic legacy to the Olympics


and others will be allocated as prizes in the school games.


Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. There was consternation in the


Lords at the news that they will be coming back a week early from the


summer break - to deal with a backlog of business. Labour's


spokesman Lord Bassam said it was an "unprecedented" move and


complained that there was "real and genuine anger" among Labour peers.


Anger because it disrupts long-term arrangements and anger because it


treats this place with contempt. The truth is, and in saying this by


apportion no blame to the noble lady, that the government is trying


to force through a programme it is overlong, over programmed and


overblown. In short, it is too long and they know it and the House, and


the process of scrutiny, is the sufferer. This is a crisis of


timetabling not caused by your Lordship's right full desire to


scrutinise bills. As my dear old and brose would say, the noble Lord


has a bit of a brass neck. And she implied Labour peers only had


themselves to blame. This is a self-regulating house and scrutiny


can only be curtailed by the House itself. The corollary is that


whether House chooses to do well on a particular bill, as it did on the


parliamentary voting systems and constituencies bill, add bill on


which we spent 17 days in committee, more than double the usual maximum


for the very largest bills, more time must then be found elsewhere,


if the scrutiny of the other bills in a cover's that is slated


programme is not to suffer in consequence. And that's it for now,


but do join me on Friday night at 11 for The Record Review, our look


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