25/11/2015 Wednesday in Parliament


25/11/2015

Georgina Pattinson presents highlights of Wednesday 25 November in Parliament.


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Transcript


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Hello and welcome to Wednesday in Parliament.

:00:12.:00:13.

As the Chancellor presents his Autumn Statement,

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he announces the planned cuts to tax credits are scrapped.

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I have listened to the concdrns I hear and understand them and because

:00:27.:00:33.

I have been unable -- been `ble to announce today an improvement in the

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public finances, the simplest thing to do is not the phasing thdse

:00:37.:00:40.

George Osborne also rules ott further reductions

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The police protect us and wd are going to protect -- protect the

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police. The Shadow Chancellor,

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John McDonnell, Over the last five years thdre has

:00:53.:01:02.

barely been a target the Ch`ncellor has said that he has not missed or

:01:03.:01:04.

ignored. Well, the Chancellor certainly

:01:05.:01:07.

pulled some rabbits from his hat George Osborne ditched

:01:08.:01:10.

the planned cuts to tax credits and ruled out further reductions

:01:11.:01:13.

in police budgets. The Chancellor said he could abandon

:01:14.:01:15.

the 4.4 billion pound cuts to tax credits and still deliver

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the promised ?12 billion in welfare cuts over the next five years,

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thanks to higher tax receipts. I hear and understand them

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and because I have been abld to announce today an improvement in the

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public finances, the simplest thing to do is not to phase these changes

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in, but to avoid them altogdther. Tax credits are being phased out

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anyway as we introduce What that means is that

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the tax credit taper rate I propose no further changes to the

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Universal Credit taper or to the work allownaces beyond thosd passed

:01:52.:02:01.

through Parliament last week. The Chancellor's announcement

:02:02.:02:05.

on police funding started whth The minimum representations from the

:02:06.:02:07.

Shadow Home Secretary is th`t the But now is not the time

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for further police cuts. Now is the time to back

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our police and give them I am today announcing that there

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will be no cuts There will be real terms

:02:26.:02:29.

protection of police funding. Mr Speaker,

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the police protect us and wd are There were other announcements

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in the statement, including increasing the state pension by

:02:48.:02:54.

?3.35 a week to ?119.30 next year. A new social care

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"precept" in Council Tax of up to 2% to allow local councils to raise ?2

:03:03.:03:05.

billion for social care. And the cap on training places

:03:06.:03:12.

for nurses scrapped, with the goal This delivers a doubling of the

:03:13.:03:15.

housing budget, 400,000 new homes with extra support for London,

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estates regenerated, right-to-buy rolled out, paid for by a t`x

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on buy-to-lets and second homes delivered by a Conservative

:03:29.:03:31.

government committed to helping working people who want to buy their

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own home, for we are the buhlders. Many people have signed a pdtition

:03:35.:03:46.

arguing that no VAT should be Now, we already charge

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the lowest 5% rate allowabld under European law and we are comlitted to

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getting the EU to change its rules. Until that happens,

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I am going to use the ?15 mhllion a year raised from the Tampon Tax

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to fund women's health charhties As a one nation government,

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today we deliver the Spending Review The guardians of economic sdcurity,

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the protecters of national security, This government,

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the mainstream representatives It was the turn of the

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Shadow Chancellor to respond. There is such a thing as thd Iron

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Law of Chancellor's statements. The Iron Law of Chancellors

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statements is that the louddr the cheers for the statement

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on the day, the greater the disappointment by the wdekend

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when the analysis goes in. But from what we have heard today,

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we don't need until the weekend Over the last five years,

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there has barely been a target the Chancellor has set that he has

:04:55.:05:01.

not missed or ignored. Let's quote from Mao,

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rarely done in this chamber We must learn to do economic work

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from all who know how, We must esteem them as teachers

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learning from them to respect conscientiously, but we must not to

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pretend to know what we do not know. I thought it would come in handy

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for him in his new relationship So, the Shadow Chancellor lhterally

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stood at the Dispatch Box from Look,

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it is his personal signed copy! The problem is,

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half of his Shadow Cabinet would be I am intrigued that the Torx

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backbenchers cheered the huliliating It seems like barely three or four

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weeks ago that they were chdering on and voting for the implelentation

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of the tax credit policy. But,

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times move on and things ch`nge The ideaology

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of the Chancellor has not changed. He is, in essence, still intending

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to cut more than ?40 billion a year than he needs to to run

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a current account budget imbalance And notwithstanding the humhliating

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U-turn on tax credits, this is a government who added 37 bhllion

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of cuts and tax rises in thd summer budget to the 121 billion of fiscal

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or discretionary consolidathon This 18 billion announced

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in the Green Book today, and the Chancellor was very clear

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that the 12 billion of welf`re cuts Backbenchers also got a chance

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to question the Chancellor. In the wisdom that is contahned in

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the big Blue Book from the Office for Budget Responsibility, which, if

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I can quote him from page shx, says that the cost of the tax crddits

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reversal is more than offset by cuts to a variety of other benefhts,

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but in later years. Can he confirm that, actually,

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he has delayed the effectivd changes in tax credits,

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he has not U-turned on them? Could I congratulate my

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Right Honourable Friend on sticking unswervingly, despite all the recent

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difficulties, to his commitlent to a balanced budget over the cycle and

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answering the fears of some of us by sticking to the aim

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of a modest surplus on the budget if Will he reinforce the argumdnt that

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that is an absolutely essential precondition to our building

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a modern sustainable economx in this country able to withst`nd such

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shocks as the global economx will I welcome the Chancellor's decision

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to cut tax credits cuts. Does the Chancellor intend

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apologising to the people who were unnecessarily scared by his original

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plans, and does he intend disciplining his peers in the House

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of Lords who, had they supported the Liberal Democrat motion there,

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would have saved him He was phasing out grants to local

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government and then he said that there are different ways in

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which local authorities could raise money for social care, or

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for that matter for policing under Now, I believe in fair fundhng and I

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am sure he realises that in more prosperous areas the take from that

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sort of raising from funds hs higher for the needs of those commtnities,

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but the sort of take from communities like Doncaster

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and elsewhere may not meet the challenges that we have

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on our doorstep? Does the Chancellor of the Dxchequer

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realised that he is becoming a hero to those like me who have c`mpaigned

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to deal with the perennial plight The fact of the matter is it is

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an area of major concern to millions of constituents around the country

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in constituencies all over the country and by establishing a

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permanent pothole fund he is helping Usually,

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the main event on a Wednesd`y - Prime Minister's Question Thme

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was instead the warm-up act ahead There were no bumps in the road

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for the Prime Minister eithdr. Unlike his official car,

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which was scraped just before the parliamentary session as

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it stood outside Number 10 Downing In the Commons, the Labour leader,

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Jeremy Corbyn, focused This week, Mr Speaker,

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55 Labour councils have madd a commitment for their areas to be run

:10:07.:10:12.

entirely on green energy by 205 . With

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the Paris climate talks just days away, will the Prime Ministdr join

:10:17.:10:19.

me in commending those councils and would he call on all Conservative

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councils to do the same? I certainly commend all councils for

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wanting to promote green endrgy We have made that easier in

:10:28.:10:30.

our country by having the fded-in tariffs and the other measures we

:10:31.:10:34.

have had to help for partictlarly We will be taking part in the Paris

:10:35.:10:38.

climate talks because it is absolutely vital to

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get that global deal, but wd have to make sure that we take action

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locally as well as globally. The gap between Britain's 2020

:10:49.:10:52.

target and our current shard of renewable energy is

:10:53.:10:55.

the biggest in the European Union. Some of his decisions he has made

:10:56.:11:00.

recently, such as cutting stpport for solar panels on home

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and industrial projects, scrapping the Green Deal, cutting support for

:11:04.:11:07.

wind turbines, putting a new tax on renewable energy, increasing subsidy

:11:08.:11:10.

for diesel generators - is ht any wonder that the Chief Scientist

:11:11.:11:14.

of the United Nations Environment Programme has criticised Brhtain for

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going backwards on renewabld energy? As I said, a trebling of wind power

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in the last Parliament, And, also, he makes the point

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about solar panels. Of course,

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when the cost of manufacturhng solar panels plummets, as it has,

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it is right to reduce the stbsidy. If we don't reduce the subshdy,

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we ask people to pay higher energy bills, something I seem to remember

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the Labour Party of the last I think if you look at the Secretary

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of State for Climate Change's speech,

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you can see the right balance between affordable energy and making

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sure we meet our green targdts. After four questions on gredn

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energy, Mr Corbyn moved on to ask about violence against women, saying

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that domestic violence accotnts Can the Prime Minister please

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explain why one third of those referred to women's refuges

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in England are being turned away? The fact is, when it comes to rape

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crisis centres, that we protected, or domestic violence centres

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that we helped to fund, this government has got a good rdcord on

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helping women and making sure that the crime of domestic violence is

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properly investigated by thd police The SNP's Westminster leader,

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Angus Robertson, used his qtestions The fatal dangers of unintended

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consequences and escalation in Syria All serious observers agree that

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an air campaign alone will not lead to the ultimate defeat of D`esh

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on the ground and air ground forces to the ultimate defeat of D`esh

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on the ground and that ground forces How many troops and from whhch

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countries does the Prime Minister I am not arguing that action

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from the air alone can solvd the very serious problem th`t we

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have with Isil. Clearly,

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we need a political settlemdnt in Syria and a government in Syria

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that can act comprehensivelx with We should be acting now with allies

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because it is about keeping our own He asked specifically

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about ground troops. The fact is there are troops in

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Syria - the Free Syrian Armx and the Kurdish forces - that would work

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with us to help eliminate Isil, but of course the full range of ground

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troops will only be available when there is a political settlelent in

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Syria. The question is simple - can we afford to wait for that political

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settlement before taking action to We spent 13 times more bombhng Libya

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than investing in its reconstruction after the

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overthrow of the Gaddafi regime Reconstructing Syria will bd

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essential to secure stability How much does the Prime Minhster

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estimate this will cost and how much Obviously,

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we have one of the biggest budgets anywhere in the world, as the

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support we have given you h`ve given to the Syrian refugees, which stands

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at ?1.2 billion, demonstratds. Clearly part of our plan whhch I

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will bring to the host tomorrow will focus on the reconstruction and

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rebuilding of Syria alongside the political deal that is necessary. I

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would far rather spend the loney reconstructing Syria than stpporting

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people kept away from their homes and the country who dearly want to

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return. You are watching Wednesday

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in Parliament with me, Peers' fears over the banning

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of an add on prayer. But, first,

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dairy farmers have been continuing to protest at supermarkets

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in parts of the UK over the price Over the summer,

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cows were even paraded throtgh A group

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of MPs have been investigathng the problem and have been t`king

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evidence from two leading supermarkets, both of which defended

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their milk purchasing policds. And two for? In driving down the

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price too far? We are competing with everyone in the high Street, we are

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still able to pay the leading price for our milk. We can serve lore

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volume as a result. Our farlers have benefited from that. They h`ve had

:15:50.:15:55.

more premium on more volume, so we have been able to sustain that in a

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difficult market. What would Aldi say to that? Are you selling milk as

:16:02.:16:05.

a loss leader? Is it cheaper than water in and Aldi store? Last retail

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price might go up and down, there is no connection between Paul Tweed P

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the supplier for our product. If you take the example of milk, it is a

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category that is marginally profitable. In many ways, it is

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completely separated from what we pay for a product. If the rdtail on

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milk were to 50p or increasd to ?2, it would have no effect on our cost

:16:49.:16:57.

price. In the summer, you agree to pay a minimum four plight of 28p to

:16:58.:17:07.

suppliers. How did you come to that figure? We recognised it was

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difficult for suppliers. Ond of the biggest problems we have he`rd of is

:17:12.:17:22.

volatility. It is particularly difficult for dairy farmers. We felt

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it was necessary to take sole action. By setting out a minimum

:17:27.:17:35.

four place -- floor price, ht has helped. I understand the prhce you

:17:36.:17:43.

came to was around 30p? I'm interested in how you came to that

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figure and how that would bd adjusted up or down going forward.

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Our approach is very much around collaboration and discussion. We

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based our discussions on thd cost of production, the market and the

:18:07.:18:11.

impact of volatility. Orangdy putting pressure on the farler and

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the processor as well? -- rdnt you? We are discount supermarket. We will

:18:22.:18:27.

not reduce our price on milk ahead of the market. We have reacted to

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market pressures. We will follow when necessary.

:18:35.:18:37.

Now, the Education Secretarx, Nicky Morgan, has outlined

:18:38.:18:39.

It delivers a Conservative manifesto colmitment

:18:40.:18:42.

to double free childcare hotrs from 15 to 30 hours for 38 weeks a year.

:18:43.:18:46.

But Labour has warned the promised payments fell short of the `ctual

:18:47.:18:48.

cost of childcare providers in some areas of the countrx.

:18:49.:18:57.

The 30 hours will give hard,working parents a real choice to work if

:18:58.:19:08.

they want to do so. As well as being the only party to commit to extend

:19:09.:19:15.

to 30 hours at the general dlection, we were the only party to commit to

:19:16.:19:20.

raising the funding rate for providers. The increase in funding

:19:21.:19:28.

includes nearly ?300 million to the rate paid for two-year-old,

:19:29.:19:31.

three-year-old and four-year-old entitlements. This will delhver a

:19:32.:19:42.

new national funding rate. The rate will be ?4 88 for three and

:19:43.:19:47.

four-year-olds. For two-year-olds, it will be ?5 39. We have sdt a

:19:48.:19:54.

level of funding that providers need to deliver a high-quality of

:19:55.:19:59.

childcare. We support this bill However, there are a number of

:20:00.:20:03.

challenges with the governmdnt's plans. It is only right we

:20:04.:20:08.

scrutinise them. High-quality, affordable childcare is not cheap.

:20:09.:20:12.

Attempts by government to ctt corners will ultimately fail. At the

:20:13.:20:17.

heart of this bill is a serhous funding gap. The announcements today

:20:18.:20:22.

on the go some way to answer these. When ministers first announced this,

:20:23.:20:26.

they said it would cost ?350 million. This figure was pioneer

:20:27.:20:31.

skive. By their own recent admission, revising this to ?64

:20:32.:20:37.

million. The Institute for policy research has identified a ?0 billion

:20:38.:20:41.

funding gap in government plans even on the basis of revised

:20:42.:20:51.

figures. The government unddrstands there is a funding shortfall.

:20:52.:20:55.

However, we'll have to interrogate this further as the bill proceeds.

:20:56.:21:00.

The rate still remains below the true cost of childcare.

:21:01.:21:03.

The Government has been criticised for failing to ensure peopld

:21:04.:21:05.

In 1995 the law was changed to equalise the pension age of men

:21:06.:21:10.

But in 2011 state pension ages were raised at an even faster rate.

:21:11.:21:18.

Many women complained they weren't given enough time to prepard

:21:19.:21:20.

Paul Lewis from the Radio Four programme Money Box has told MPs

:21:21.:21:25.

people had been let down by "poor communication".

:21:26.:21:27.

First, the former Pensions Minister Steve Webb gave his view.

:21:28.:21:35.

I am very much of the view that because everybody is differdnt,

:21:36.:21:42.

personalised communication hs the key. We tried really hard to think

:21:43.:21:47.

what general messages we cotld put across. Essentially the message was,

:21:48.:21:52.

things are changing, find ott. There is no way you can have a general

:21:53.:21:57.

message that works for a contracted in, contracted out, men, wolen,

:21:58.:22:03.

different age groups and so on. The message was, you need to find out

:22:04.:22:08.

where you stand on this is how to do it. People accept the pension age

:22:09.:22:15.

had to rise. But they wanted more notice to prepare. Suddenly at the

:22:16.:22:22.

age of 62, they find out thdy have another four years with no loney.

:22:23.:22:30.

14% of households in Britain don't have access to a computer. The older

:22:31.:22:35.

you are, that is probably more likely. Whenever people say over 65

:22:36.:22:45.

is cannot use a computer, I feel upset. At people in rural areas

:22:46.:22:51.

don't have good internet connections yet. The computer system will be

:22:52.:22:58.

good for those who use it, but it won't work for everybody. I think

:22:59.:23:02.

the department should look `t individual communication, pdrhaps

:23:03.:23:06.

even face-to-face communication Explaining options to peopld. Would

:23:07.:23:14.

you abandon some of the gendric messages and concentrate more on a

:23:15.:23:23.

personalised approach? I wotld give age UK a big grand. Give thdm

:23:24.:23:29.

advertising budget. Let thel do the telephone and face-to-face. I think

:23:30.:23:33.

there are individual organisations who could do that better.

:23:34.:23:39.

Advertising is a way of covdring the government's back. But you don't

:23:40.:23:48.

take notice of adverts. Personalised individual approach is I thhnk what

:23:49.:23:50.

people need. The refusal to screen

:23:51.:23:52.

an advertisement featuring the Lord's Prayer in UK cinemas has been

:23:53.:23:54.

raised in the House of Lords, with a Minister asking the agencx who

:23:55.:23:58.

made the decision to think `gain. The Church of England had hoped the

:23:59.:24:00.

60 second film, which features the Christian prayer being recited or

:24:01.:24:04.

sung by a variety of people, would be screened UK-wide before Christmas

:24:05.:24:07.

ahead of the new Star Wars film The government has made it clear

:24:08.:24:16.

that it does not agree with that decision and has urged the cinema to

:24:17.:24:21.

look again. We very much welcome the support from the Minister and indeed

:24:22.:24:32.

from Number Ten other ministers and indeed from Richard doctrinds and

:24:33.:24:37.

Stephen Fry. I wonder whethdr I might press the Minister to go

:24:38.:24:41.

further. With the Minister `gree with me that advertisements are

:24:42.:24:45.

about beliefs? ER about lifdstyles. Then they sell the product. And

:24:46.:24:55.

therefore others should be free to also speak about ideas in the

:24:56.:25:02.

marketplace of ideas. By banning this advertisement, they have

:25:03.:25:08.

narrowed the opportunities for beliefs and values to be spoken

:25:09.:25:12.

about in the public square. Is she saying that any religion or

:25:13.:25:19.

political party should be committed to advertise in the way the Church

:25:20.:25:23.

of England wants to do? Bec`use I think it is important we understand

:25:24.:25:28.

about where our president is being set. I and the government bdlieves

:25:29.:25:39.

in the freedom of expression. And the freedom to not believe `t all.

:25:40.:25:45.

As well as to believe in a variety of different religions.

:25:46.:25:47.

Well, that's all from me after a busy day in Westminster

:25:48.:25:50.

Until tomorrow, at the same time, from me, Georgina Pattinson,

:25:51.:25:54.

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