13/01/2016 Wednesday in Parliament


13/01/2016

Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Wednesday, presented by Keith Macdougall.


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Hello and welcome to Wednesday in Parliament, our look at the best

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of the day in the Commons and the Lords.

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Is sending in the bulldozers a good idea?

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Jeremy Corbyn criticises David Cameron's plans to demolish

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We'll be Prime Minister guarantee that all existing tenants of the

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council estates earmarked for redevelopment will be be housed in

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new council housing in their current communities? The House of Lords

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discusses the House of lords. Should their powers be curbed? Use your

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Use your vote prudently, yes, use it sparingly, yes.

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And if God Save the Queen has to go, what should become

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I want to say which area it was says the most reasonable choice was

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Could housing be one of the main political issues during the time

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At the weekend David Cameron unveiled his ?140 million plan

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to tackle poverty by bulldozing so-called 'sink' estates to make way

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The Prime Minister pledged to demolish 'brutal high-rise'

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towers and bleak housing in an effort to tackle drug abuse

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So was this an attempt by the Conservative leader to march

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across Labour's traditional territory?

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The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn challenged David Cameron

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This week the Prime Minister rather belatedly acknowledged

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there is a housing crisis in Britain.

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He announced a ?140 million fund to transform 100 housing estates

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around the country, which amounts to ?1.4 million per housing estate

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It is not even going to pay for the bulldozers, is it?

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What we have done is double the housing budget. We're going to be

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investing ?8 billion in housing. That comes after having built

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700,000 homes since becoming Prime Minister. We have over a quarter of

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a million more affordable homes. Every estate he announces you wishes

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to build those will include tenants and people who have bought their

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homes under Right to Buy. Will those people, the leaseholders, will be be

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guaranteed homes on those be built estates that he has proposing to

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build? Of course I accept this is not as carefully thought through as

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his reshuffle. I gather is still going on. It has not actually

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finished yet. What we want to do is to go to human tears where there are

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a sink estates and housing estates that have helped people back and

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agree with those local councils, those local people and make sure

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tenants get good homes, make sure home owners get rehoused in new

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houses. That is what we want. I noticed the Prime Minister did not

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give any guaranteed to leaseholders on states. So there is another

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larger groups on those as states that have two I have a question to

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ask him. Daryl says, will be Prime Minister guarantee that all existing

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tenants of the housing estates earmarked for a reader redevelopment

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will be rehoused in council housing in their current amenities with the

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same conditions that we have now? Isn't it interesting, Mr Speaker,

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who here is the small see conservative who is saying to people

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stay in your sink estates, have nothing better than what Labour

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agave after the war. We are saying if you are a tenant, have the Right

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to Buy. If you are in a sink estate, we will help you out. That is the

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fact of politics today. A party on the side of the House that once to

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give people life chances and a Labour opposition that wants them to

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stay stuck in poverty. Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister doesn't seem to

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understand. He doesn't understand the very serious concerns that

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council tenants have when they feel they are going to be forced away

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from the community where they live, where their children go to school

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and their community is so strong. But there is another area where the

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Prime Minister might be able to help us today. His party's manifesto

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said, everyone who works hard should be able to own a home of their own.

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So we'll families earning his so-called national living wage be

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able to afford one of his discount starter homes? I very much hope they

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will. As well as starter homes, we are having shared ownership homes.

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We are saying to the 1.3 million tenants of Housing associations, we

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are on your side. You can buy your own home, why does he still oppose

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that? Well, Mr Speaker, I hope this what hope goes a long way. Research

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by shelter found that families on his so-called living wage will be

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unable to afford the average Tartar home in 98% of local authority

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areas. He didn't answer the question about the 1.3 million housing

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association tenants. I want what is best for everybody. He owns his

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home, I own my home, why weren't we let those 1.3 million own their

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homes? Why not? The Prime Minister gave no assurances to tenants, no

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assurances to leaseholders, no assurances to low-paid people who

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want to get somewhere decent to live. He quoted the words of Linda,

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a council tenant for the last 25 years. The council bill being put

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through Parliament, we will have two signed a new agreement, if we say we

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will have to pay the bedroom tax and debt. If we downsize, we lose our

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secure home. It is a real problem that Linda and others are facing. If

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she was in the advice you grow, what advice would you give her? It has

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not paid by pensioners, but that's another point I would make to Linda

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and all those who are in council housing or other two Council

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Association homes. We are giving you the chance to buy your own home. It

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is interesting what this exchange has shown. We now have a Labour

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Party with a housing policy that does not support home ownership.

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They have a defence policy that does not believe in defence. We have a

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Labour Party that does not believe in work and a Labour leader who does

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not believe in Britain. David Cameron.

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The SNP Westminster's leader Angus Robertson opted

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He supported the idea of a post-study work visa that

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would allow university students from overseas to stay

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He said the Commission led by the economist Lord Smith had

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recommended the creation of schemes to allow overseas graduates

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to remain in Scotland and work for a period of time once

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Why did the UK Government this week ruled out a return of a post study

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work Visa without discussions and before parliamentary reports? There

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is no limit on the number of people who can stay after they have

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graduated, as long as they have a graduate level job. That is a clear

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message. The return of post study abusers is supported by all of

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Scotland's publicly funded colleges, College Scotland, universities

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Scotland, the representative body for higher institutions. All

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parties, including the Scottish Conservative Party. Why does the

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Prime Minister think they are all wrong and he is right? I think the

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disadvantage of inventing a new post-work-study route, we are

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effectively saying to people coming to our universities, it is OK to

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stay with a less than graduate job. There are lots of people in our own

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country desperate for a those jobs. We do not need the world's brightest

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and best to come here and study and then to do a menial and Labour job.

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That is not what our immigration system is for. What we want is a

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system that we can advertise to the world, com study and work here. Onto

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gambling and the potential dangers of fixed odds betting terminals.

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Some of the Government's backbenchers would agree with me,

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despite my background would be menial, in calling to a reduction to

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fixed betting terminals. They seem reluctant to review this ?1.6

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million industry and refuses to bring it under scrutiny. Can the

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Prime Minister ensure that the Government will undertake a review

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of this dangerous and addictive problem? We keep this important

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situation under review. A former oil trader raised

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the falling global price of oil: 30 billion I'll is good for... It is

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bad in other respects. If it goes on like this, we risk seeing regimes

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under pressure, enormous financial transfers out of our markets to pay

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for other country's deficit, a possible collapse in share prices

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and dividends for pensions and a liquidity problem in our banking

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sector. May I invite the Prime Minister initiate a review across

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Whitehall to assess the effects of low oil prices on our economy and

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beyond? It has a effect on our our constituents who are able to fill up

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their cars were less than ?1 per litre. That is a very big increase

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in people's disposable income. A low oil price is good for the British

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economy as an economy that is a production economy. There are other

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consequences and union to many of them. We need to look carefully at

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how we can help our industry. Now, cast your mind back to the end

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of October and there was something of a constitutional

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crisis at Westminster. The House of Lords had blocked

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the Government's planned cuts to tax credits and this despite the Lords

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supposedly having little or no say Conservative Ministers

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were not best pleased. A review was ordered into the powers

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of the Lords. It concluded that peers should

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lose their veto over what's known Peers would instead be allowed

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to send these laws back to the Commons, forcing MPs to vote

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again, but would only be able The person in charge of the review

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led a debate on his proposals. My Lords, by having the ability to

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do what the House of lords traditionally does so well, ask the

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House of commons to think again, we are doing what we have always done.

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To limit it to a ping without a pong, we are giving the House of

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lords writes that they do not have at the moment. In other words we

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have a conversation between the two houses that they have the final say.

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Speaking as someone who has served the Government for 30 years, it is

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no bad thing that the House of lords does have the opportunity to revise

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legislation, to seek no matter how inconveniently or uncomfortably to

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the Government of the day, go back and think about this again.

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Particularly in relation to tax credits. I sometimes reflect that

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members of the Government party in the other house might be grateful of

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being speared several months of being quite rightly have ranked by

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their constituents, who would have lost sums of money. The House

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sometimes sells itself sought. -- sells itself short. In that context

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of the constitutional democracy, to deal with legislation on issues as

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sensitive as the level income of people who are hard-pressed because

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of the economic crisis,... Why is this change being proposed?

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Part of a wider concern by the government, no government likes it

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when they are defeated but join the club. I know what it is like to be

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defeated. In the five and three quarters years of this government,

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it suffered 123 defeats and any five and three quarters years between

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2002 and 2008, which I am particularly familiar with, the

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government suffered 325 defeats. I urge the size not to abandon its

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right to say no. Use it prudently, yes, sparingly, yes, but retain this

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we must. The application of the proposals in the report is that we

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have gone beyond the point where the present self-regulatory framework

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can be allowed to continue and something that is more laid down in

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statute might be required in place of the current convention.

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You're watching our round-up of the day in the Commons

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An MP bids to replace God Save the Queen with an anthem

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The British economy risks once again becoming dependent on consumption

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by households and not led by export performance.

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You're watching our round-up of the day in the Commons

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The British economy risks once again becoming dependent on consumption

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by households and not led by export performance.

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That was the claim of the Scottish Nationalists

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during a Commons debate they'd called, focusing on the UK's current

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Opening the debate, the SNP's finance spokesman noted that in 2012

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the Chancellor George Osborne had declared he wanted to double

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Mr Speaker, total export sales in 2013 were ?521 billion,

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which was a reasonable start, but that fell to ?513

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The numbers are moving in the wrong direction,

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yet the Chancellor and this Government still expect us

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to believe that exports could, in effect, double over this

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The OBR s most recent forecast suggests that they will miss that

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target by about ?350 billion, so the target set

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I have to say that I really struggle to take lessons on the economy

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It is a party that built its whole idea of independence,

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which mercifully the good people of Scotland rejected,

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on the idea that oil was going to be the lubricant,

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the foundation of their independent economy.

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Oil is now $35 a barrel and it is accepted that if the SNP

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had been successful, the cost would have been somewhere

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in the region of ?5,000 for every single household.

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Scotland would have been in the most atrocious economic place if it had

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The Chancellor s latest wheeze is to open the door to Chinese cash.

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China has no track record of building nuclear power plants,

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yet the Chancellor has offered massive subsidies over the next 20

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years in the hope of encouraging Chinese state companies to invest

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So much for encouraging British manufacturing!

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I believe that the Chancellor s cunning plan has little to do

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with energy security and everything to do with getting China to cover

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Britain s disastrous current account deficit.

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With Chinese money coming in, foreign currency will stay

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The head of the Tax Office, Dame Lin Homer, has announced

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that she will be leaving her post in April.

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Until then, though, it's business as usual,

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so MPs on the Public Accounts Committee have been

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questioning her with their usual robustness.

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She was challenged over whether enough is being done

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A Conservative, Stephen Phillips, suggested that wealthy people

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in particular had been "getting away" with tax evasion.

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A claim that led to tetchy exchanges with Lin Homer.

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You are prosecuting 35 a year at the moment.

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By 2020 you are going to be prosecuting 100.

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That means that each and every year at the moment there are about,

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let's say, no, in fact, 65 is an underestimate because even

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in 2020 you will not be prosecuting everyone.

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But there are a lot of wealthy individuals who are evading

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their taxes and who are not prosecuted.

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You can agree with that and it will reflect credit on you.

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I said a few minutes ago, you probably didn't hear

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so I will say again, that across the whole spectrum

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we do not prosecute everybody in every category.

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So there will always be individuals who we don't prosecute.

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Wealthy, less wealthy, not so wealthy.

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It has never been our intention to prosecute everybody.

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You assess the risk in terms of evasion yourself at 40%

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in relation to individuals evading personal taxation.

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A message which goes out loud and clear, doesn't it?

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It is "evade your taxes and you are not going

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No, I don't think it is, Mr Phillips, and I am not

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But I think the message is that we will use a range

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of approaches to dissuade people from evading their taxes.

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And the assertion that we have ignored rich people...

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Well, the problem with that is that on your own figures,

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you have asked the Treasury for more money so that you can prosecute more

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wealthy tax evaders and another 65 a year by 2020.

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I want more money to do volume crime, which is what led

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I don't understand why you are so defensive.

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I don't want the message to get out there that there are certain people

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that we will not go after and I think...

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I reject words being placed in my mouth, I'm afraid.

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I honestly don't quite understand why you are being so defensive

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about this because it does seem to me that if you have gone

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from looking at the numbers of prosecutions of wealthy

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individuals, 35 was mentioned, and you have got some additional

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funding to increase prosecutions to 100 a year.

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I sort of feel, that says to me that maybe there are some people,

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maybe not all of the 65 added on, some people who might,

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through other things, because maybe that became part

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of the way that HMRC worked, maybe some of those 65,

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and obviously not the same individuals, who are going to be

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prosecuted in the future and maybe in the past they came

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in for a conversation and something would be sorted out.

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And, yes, they might have to sort out their affairs and pay

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a backdated cheque or something like this.

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But ultimately, there will not be a prosecution.

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Because it seems to me, we have seen too many of those

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conversations happening rather than prosecutions and quite rightly,

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public concern at that has led to more funding coming in,

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which maybe more of those cases or types of those cases should end

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with prosecutions, so, honestly, I don't think this is a trap.

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It is just saying, don't be defensive.

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Public pressure and unhappiness in this particular area

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is going to lead to more prosecutions and that will mean that

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maybe some individuals in the way they carried out their affairs

:22:14.:22:16.

in the past will not be acceptable in the future

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Please don't be defensive about that.

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I am not, and can I just say, that is our approach

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across the piece and has been since 2010 so we have gradually been

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expanding prosecutions, not maybe as fast as we could have done.

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But we do believe that we need to signal clearly that for anyone

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who evades tax, there is a risk of prosecution.

:22:42.:22:47.

Now, have we had enough of God Save The Queen?

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The UK national anthem always gets an airing when the England football

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team or England rugby team is about to play

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But shouldn't England be represented by something more English?

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Land of Hope and Glory is one of the songs now being put forward

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as an alternative to God Save the Queen.

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Introducing his own Bill in Parliament, a Labour MP believed

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an English national anthem was an idea whose time

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It has often seemed incongruous to me that when England play

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against other home nations on the football or rugby field,

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while the Welsh and Scots sing an anthem that reflects the identity

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of their nations, England sings about Britain.

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That reflects a sense that we see Britain and England as synonymous,

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and this not only denies us English an opportunity to celebrate

:23:46.:23:48.

the nation that is being represented, but it is a cause

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of resentment among other countries within the British Isles,

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who feel that England has requisitioned the British song.

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I spoke to radio stations in all corners of England this

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morning, such was the interest in the debate about what our

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There were voxpops on the streets of towns far and wide,

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and each area reflected the specific differences

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I will not say which area thought that the most appropriate choice

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for an English national anthem would be Heaven Knows I m Miserable Now

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` that will remain a secret between me and the listeners

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But that reflects the fact that each local area has its own sense

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He said there had been suggestions for an English anthem

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The three options were God Save the Queen, Jerusalem and Land

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of Hope and Glory, and Jerusalem was the clear winner,

:24:40.:24:41.

Land of Hope and Glory received 32% and God Save the Queen just 12%.

:24:42.:24:48.

Just as Jerusalem was the favoured choice of those who voted

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in the Commonwealth Games poll, so it seems to be an early favourite

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among members of the public who have engaged with me.

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The campaign group England in my Heart is specifically

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campaigning for Jerusalem to be played before England rugby matches.

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One MP believed a separate English anthem was wrong.

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What greater pleasure can there be for a true-born English man

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or true-born English woman than to listen to our own national

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anthem ` a national anthem for our whole country,

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for our whole United Kingdom, of which England is but a part,

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but an important part, and to listen to those words that

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link us to our Sovereign, who is part of that chain that takes

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Despite that opposition, Toby Perkins was allowed to bring

:25:38.:25:43.

How far it progresses remains to be seen.

:25:44.:25:47.

Do join me for our next daily round-up.

:25:48.:25:52.

Until then, from me, Keith Macdougall, goodbye.

:25:53.:25:56.

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