01/06/2016 The Wales Report


Felicity Evans looks at what is next for the steel industry in Wales and speaks to the first minister. Ahead of the EU referendum, there is a look at the debate over immigration.

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As Welsh steelworkers wait for news from both Tata


and the UK government, we ask, where next


With less than a month to go until the referendum on the the UK's


How much of a factor is immigration playing in the debate?


When it comes to using numbers in political campaigning,


Good evening and welcome to The Wales Report.


Remember, you can join tonight's conversation on social media.


We start tonight with the latest on the steel industry in Wales.


After a meeting last week in Mumbai, Tata's continuing the process


of selling its UK operations, including Port Talbot.


The UK government's put forward proposals to change the pension


system in order to allow the company to fill the deficit in its scheme.


Here's our business correspondent, Brian Meechan.


The uncertainty continues over what is next for the loss-making Port


Talbot site and others around the country. The future of Tata's plans


including here at Port Talbot is being decided that is as ours away


behind closed doors in Greybull Capital. Negotiations are ongoing


between the company, UK and Welsh men's and the bidders trying to


overtake these operations. The outcome will have a huge operation


on the workers here and their families and the entire community


surrounding it. This local bar is backing Tata workers with especially


broad ale. As part of the UK's government efforts to protect the


industry, it is proposing changes to the pension system to allow the


company to reduce its deficit which is currently ?500 million. The UK


government's plans would see the huge Tata pension scheme from ?15


billion, the ?12.5 billion. Either way, no company that buys it will be


likely to take over that liability. That means it is essentially a


negotiation between the government and Tata about how to resolve the


pension deficit and at the moment, it is the workers and pensioners in


that scheme who have to pick up the bill. We knew they were always going


to come back for pensioners, either Tata or any potential new owners,


they would always attack pensions again. Pensions experts have


estimated with limited information available, the people who have


already retired will lose an average around 25% of their pension whether


they go into the new government scheme or the pension protection


fund. It is bullying tactics. It is a question of, if you do not play by


my rules, I am taking it away. I think it is absolutely disgraceful


that they should look at the pensions and penalised retired


steelworkers. The UK government has said that this plan they are putting


forward for pensions will only be felt Tata and will not have a wide


impact the pension schemes and other people paying into pension schemes.


Do you believe that? I do not believe that for one instance. That


is the first stage of the government meddling in other private pension


schemes. How can they justify letting Tata get away get away with


taking money out of our pension pots when at the current time they are


telling everybody to take pensions out? It just does not make any sense


to me. Rumours have been going around about Tata and whether it is


going to rethink and reconsider its decision to sell. What do people


think about that, about Tata staying? I feel bitter about it, to


be honest. I am lucky, I still have a job. But I know a lot of men and


women that have not got jobs any more, they have been cast out of the


business, surplus to requirements. And I feel bitter for them. And


also, for those left behind. We have gone through the mill as well. With


all this, things that have been happening. Politicians have been


supportive of the proposed changes to the pension scheme. I trust the


view of the trustees on this, but it looks like they have got quite an


innovative solution. They will reindex from the Retail Price Index


to the Consumer Price Index, which helps to pay down the liabilities.


And it secures a sustainable future for the fund. It seems Tata and


politicians have some convincing to do if these workers are anything to


go by. Pension rights have been hard gained and many will want to ensure


they are not easily lost. I'm joined now by the First


Minister, Carwyn Jones, who was That was for the Tata board meeting.


Welcome. What is your reaction to the suggestion about reindexing the


Tata pension scheme? Do you support that idea? I would not be supportive


of scene cuts the benefits to those retired or paying in at the moment.


That needs to be examined carefully and you can see from the reaction of


the three men in the film that it is a natural reaction, people saying,


why should we have our benefits cut? I would not be supportive of it


going into the government's tech show and fund which was designed to


deal with those companies going bust. That is not the case for Tata.


It is for the trustees to work through a solution to this to make


sure we do not see a cut in benefits. We do know that no buyer


will come forward if the pension scheme is there and they have to


take it over so it does need government intervention that we have


to make sure it does not penalised pensioners and those already in the


scheme. Is there a third option is available or have you been waiting


for other proposals to be made by the trustees? When British Coal was


privatised, the deal was done with the British Coal pension scheme so


it would be more attractive for privatisation. The government made a


deal and that scheme is doing well and the UK government is doing


better at that scheme that it should be. So that our presidents and it


just needs to have innovative thinking. Concern about the current


proposal is it, the slippery slope and could apply to firms other than


Tata if they get into pension deficit. And the other is a


financial analyses we had analysing the figures suggests there is not


much to Prince in terms of how workers come out of it between the


reindexing and the pension funds -- much difference. If the fund went


into the pension protection fund, a queue of businesses would say, we


will have the same, thank you very much, you have done it for Tata.


They have to look at Tata separately but there are different ways of


analysing what is proposed but it is for the trustees to decide how best


to take the pension scheme forward to protect those who are part of the


scheme. How urgent is it they come up with a third plan on the


pensions? Tata has talked about wanting to complete a sales process


by the end the month. It is crucial, nobody is going to with steel


breaking unless the pension fund changes. I understand the gap in the


funding which is not unusual in funds like this, it has reduced over


the years anyway and this is not a scheme that is about to collapse.


But that does need to be dealt with in order for there to be a


successful change. You are saying no to the pension protection fund, at


Eurosceptical desk article on the real index in and you would like to


see a third plan? I would like a situation where people do not see a


huge loss benefits I think pension protection is wrong and there are a


number of hazards for the UK government on that. I look for a


solution to protect the integrity of the scheme that does not see


enormous cuts on those involved. Trustees have said there will be


cuts involved but they think the reindexing is the most likely option


and if they stick with that, can they convince you? Let's see it, we


have not seen the figures and the detail and until we see that, it is


difficult to give an opinion. In principle, you have heard what I


have said about what should be done with the pension scheme. What about


the report that Tata might be reconsidering the sale process given


the improving market conditions, what the jewel reaction to that be?


It is not a question of who runs the steel industry but the commitment


they showed -- what would your reaction to that be? Some workers


will say that how can we be sure that Tata will have that commitment


when they have already said they want to sell and Tata will have the


response to that. We would not want Tata to continue and the pension


issue to be dealt with and three years down the line the threat


remains. I heard that the loss in Port Talbot in steel was down by two


thirds and there is talk of steel making breaking even in the very


near future which is very helpful. Funny, it is about having somebody


to put in the investment and who is committed to the future of steel in


Wales. You think Tata is not given what has happened? They would have


to convince people. Tata is a company with a good reputation and


that means something to them. They are not a here today and gone


tomorrow company, to be fair. Having said they want to sell, if they then


want to stay, obviously they will have to convince the workers at the


Welsh plans that that is a long-term commitment and they will have two


give guarantees in my view to make sure that is the case. We do not


want them to stay for now and then look at it in three years' time,


that does not give the certainty that workers need. You in Greybull


Capital last week for the board meeting that for the board meeting,


who did you talk to and what came out of that -- you were in Mumbai.


They said that the position at the moment is to sell. But in the


future, the position may change. That is what they said. But they


said that is the position at the moment and they have been given the


challenge of finding a seller and that is what they are working on.


Whether the upturn in steel prices has an influence on their thinking,


we will remain to see. What is important is if we were in a


situation where there were no bidders, nobody wanted to run the


industry, that would be difficult. The seven bidders have said they


want to look at the bidders in some detail and that is to be welcomed.


And they sticking to the deadline as you understand it of completing the


process by the end of June? As time ticks on and they do not publish a


short list or name a preferred bidder, it is a tight deadline


already. No timescale was indicated to me at the meetings. I think the


timescale hopefully has extended. Tata is not losing the money that


they were. Yes, they are losing money, but it is not as bad as it


was and that might mean the timescale is extended. In some ways,


that is good and it gives time for a proper solution to be found, but it


still creates that uncertainty for the workers at Port Talbot and the


other locations. And we need to say, there is a deal on the table, and


that is crucial to all workers. You have spoken to workers at Port


Talbot. And we heard some of the men saying the uncertainty is terrible


to difficult -- is terrible to live with for those working and for those


who have pensions. It is not recent. We have seen lay-offs in the past


and people had been concerned for a while. I would say to people in Port


Talbot and I live down the road, we are fighting hard to make sure the


industry has a future. Carwyn Jones, thank you very much.


Immigration is one of the big issues in the run-up to this month's


referendum on whether Britain should remain in or leave


The most recent official figures put net EU migration to the UK -


that's the difference between the numbers of people coming


This week, on The Wales Report, we're going look at


what the issue means for us here in Wales.


I've been to Merthyr to see if the town's past


It might be hard to believe now, but this site was once home to the


world's biggest ironworks. 250 years ago, the ironworks were at the


cutting edge of technology. If village that consisted of sheep


tracks and a couple of thousand residents became a magnet for


immigrants. At first, they came from other parts of Wales and England and


then from Ireland. When the first census was done in 1801, suddenly


people discovered that Merthyr, the parish, was the largest in Wales.


7700 people. They were astonished. But it kept on growing. By the


1880s, Cole was King and the burgeoning economy attracted a


second wave of migration to Merthyr. The Jewish refugees came here,


Italians came here, they are not refugees but economic migrants.


Spanish people came here because the works is importing iron or so


Spaniards came over with the iron will. So Merthyr is the most


cosmopolitan town in Wales apart from Cardiff and Swansea, the


seaports. The boom years of Merthyr have long gone and the unemployment


rate is consistently above the wealth -- the Welsh average, but


people from other EU country still come here to work. Freedom of


movement is a key principle of the EU, the freedom of movement of


people, goods and services and capital. Creating a single market


with no barriers to travel, trade or investment. But it is the free


movement of people principle that concerns a lot of people worried


about levels of EU immigration into Wales and the rest of the UK because


all you need to work here is an EU passport.


Home country of Holland, he worked in IT but the pay was not good. --


in Max's home country of Paul and. He says educating and training good


workers is expensive to the taxpayer in the country they drawn up. But


Britain is getting the benefit of his training without having to pay


for it. From my perspective, I strongly believe that the British


economy is gaining a lot because they don't... It is people who are


paying taxes straightaway and expanding the economy. Today, local


factories like that behind me continue to attract workers from


other EU member states. Around 2% of the population of Merthyr are EU


nationals, below the UK national average of 5%. Some research


suggests there is a small impact on jobs and wages and it is most likely


to affect lower skilled workers, the sort of people who might be


competing for jobs in Merthyr's meat factory. This woman has concerns


over the impact of EU immigration on the town. There is not enough jobs


and houses in Merthyr for the people who have lived here all their life.


There are very low income families. These people are coming, these


immigrants, and are prepared practically to work for nothing.


Leave campaigners say that leaving the EU is the only way for Britain


to get back control of its borders and tackle problems caused by


immigration. For Remain campaigners, it is not so simple. They say of


Britain wants continued access to the single market, freedom of


movement is something the country may have to accept.


Joining me now on behalf of VoteLeave is Ross England.


How important is the immigration issue to the EU debate? An important


part of the jigs and one which must be taken seriously. Those of us who


want to remain in the EU believe we should be discussing this topic and


stressing how important immigration is to Britain. 60% of the EU


immigrants into Britain come with a degree. That brings a great deal of


skills, particularly to our universities, to our NHS and it


enriches our economy as a whole. That does not detract from the fact


that of course there are difficulties in certain areas. Your


film shot Merthyr, which has a very low rate of immigration. But there


are higher rates in for example the London area. To what extent, bass


England, do you believe some of the problems caused by immigration in


areas where lots of people are moving in and possibly putting


strain on resources such as the NHS and schools, to what extent you


think that feeds into the fault Leave argument? I think it is clear


that leaving the European Union would address those issues. We don't


have control over our borders. The UK Government does not have control


over who comes into the UK from Europe. Virtually every country in


the world controls its own border. The issues you're talking about in


terms of the price of labour being pushed down is an inevitable factor


when you have a country that is open to a labour market in which there


are hundreds of millions of people willing to work for less than the


people in that country. It is an uncontroversial thing to say that


having free movement of people across the EU pushes deep cost of


labour down. Doesn't it depend on whether Britain wants to negotiate a


place in the single market? Norway and Iceland are not in the EU but


are in the single market so they have to accept freedom of movement.


The UK would have its own deal with the European Union. Norway has a


unique deal. The UK would be able to negotiate a deal with the EU over


which we had very low tariff trade and at the same time we can can --


we can control our own borders. Immigration is a complex issue.


You're talking about the price of labour being pushed down, so people


having less in their pay packets if the are low skilled. At the same


time, some immigrants coming in and contributing hugely through their


expertise and skills. That can be addressed by a British government


which has control over its immigration policy. It is up to the


British government to decide once it has the power to decide. What's not


to like about having control over Borders? This is a totally spurious


argument. Australia has control over its own borders. Today, the Leave


campaigners are advocating a points -based system. Australia has twice


the number of immigrants that we have. It chooses how many people to


let him. The point is you have to have immigration in the modern world


in order to invigorate your economy. We work in an international economy.


Companies do business abroad. They have headquarters in one country,


other plants in other countries. There is bound to be a great deal of


immigration. And it is a sign of a successful economy. Why do people


want to come to Britain? Because we are doing well. The danger is of


course that the people in favour of leaving the EU will get their wish,


which will of course cause such a big economic shock that we will have


a very per economy and you will get fewer people wanting to come because


we are not offering the jobs people come for. Now that is an extreme


scenario. At the point is, and Ross says we will do our own deal with


Europe, we would do our own deal with Europe, but Europe as a rule


for everyone which relates to free movement of people. Among other


things. As you said in the film. And therefore that is what is there a


choir of Norway and of Iceland. If you want access to that economy,


double cushion our economy as a whole, then you need to have free


movement of people. Your response to that, that it is spurious to argue


that Britain could somehow be the only country to negotiate single


market access and not have to negotiate free movement of people.


If it wanted to negotiate full single market access, Britain would


be in a good position to do that. Britain is the fifth biggest economy


in the world. One of the most powerful countries on earth. It is a


great shame that British politicians seem to want to talk us down and


talked only potential of an independent Britain to throw our


weight a bit on the world stage. Thank you for joining as.


With the Assembly election over and the EU referendum fast


approaching, we are all used to hearing politicians using numbers


and stats to back up their arguments.


Throughout the campaign, we've been bombarded with conflicting claims


about the costs and the benefits of membership from both sides.


But do you ever have the sneaking suspicion that politicians might not


Will Moy, of fact checkers Full Fact, is here to explain how


to demystify the numbers and give us some advice on how we can debunk


45. 70,000 jobs will be lost. A lot of people are treated by the feeling


you cannot trust what you hear from the people in power. That is not


always true. It is hard to know which bits you can trust on which


you cannot. As a voter, you can't take anyone's word for anything as


totally at face value. There are not many claims you couldn't look at and


say that is exactly what is going on. The question is, what do you do


next? Ask yourself three questions. Where does it come from? Is there


any reason to think this is independent, credible, impartial?


Secondly, what are the actually measuring? It has been simplified,


it is a head like no. What is underneath and is going on in the


real world. Finally, just because something is going on in the real


world, the economy is getting bigger or smaller, that doesn't mean that


is what it is going to do in your own life or for your family. Two


months after the referendum, we have well funded campaigns and people are


wary. It is a problem for the campaigns and the voters. People


understand there is often more to the story than what they're getting


from the campaigns which are trying to persuade them. People don't know


what to do next. This is a referendum about what the world will


be like in 30 years' time and it is up to you to make a best guess.


I'm joined now by Dr Matt Wall, from Swansea University.


Welcome to the programme. Politics is about persuasion. I guess we


shouldn't be surprised that the politicians want to pick the fact


and figures that best support their argument? Absolutely. You'd be


surprised if they did anything different. I think the art of the


campaign is to pick the best possible fact that cannot be


revealed as an outright lie. We have seen that on both sides. These are


favourable interpretations of the numbers. How much it costs us to be


in the EU and how much it might cost to leave. Both of them we should be


sceptical about, you suggest? How does one cultivate an air of


scepticism about these things without being cynical? Good


question. It is difficult. The video we just watched talks about the


source of information. You should be sceptical about things coming from a


campaign than something coming from an independent source like the ONS.


Immigration figures are based on observation. Economic observations


are based on projections. -- economic figures. The further we get


into the future, the more difficult the prediction becomes. While there


is a relative economic consensus about the short-term effects of a


British exit which would generally seem to be negative, 1520 years'


time, nobody can really see what effect would be. There has been


scepticism about statistics for a long time. On the other hand, we


know that statistics is an important way of us learning about the world


and improving the world. Florence Nightingale did it. And


mathematician and statistician who used these that sticks to marshal


the powers that be to implement the policies that saved hundreds of


flights. To be responsible with numbers, how much irresponsibility


is there on those making these arguments not to dissolution are, do


you think? That is an interesting question. I think people are


responsible for themselves, for the information they concern. I think


disillusioning the voters with stretching the truth, I don't know


that is necessarily something... Campaigns must persuade voters and


they will take the figures that suits them. In Britain we have a


range of independent bodies to give us relatively reliable statistics on


things like rove and immigration. I think it is important. The biggest


distinction I would make is between projections and distinctions. If you


look at independent versus campaign based sources, that will help your


sought the chaff from the wheat. Is there a figure you have come across


in your career that has stuck with you or has changed your 99% of all


statistics are made up on the spot. That is one of my favourites. --


your worldview? 99% of all statistics are made up on the spot.


That is one of my favourites. Thank you.


We will be holding a special debate the week before the EU referendum.


If you'd like to get in touch with us about that


or anything else, email us at [email protected]


On The Wales Report with Felicity Evans, she looks at what is next for the steel industry in Wales and speaks to the first minister.

And with less than a month to go until the EU referendum, there is a look at the debate over immigration.

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