16/03/2016 Wednesday in Parliament


Highlights of Wednesday 16 March in Parliament, presented by Keith Macdougall.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 16/03/2016. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



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


of the day in the Commons and the Lords.


The theme of the Chancellor as he unveils a new tax on sugary


Today I can announce that we will introduce a new sugar levy on the


soft drink industry. Among other measures,


George Osborne announces a longer school day and a new lifetime ISA


for young people. He says Britain is well-placed


to handle a cocktail But the Labour leader denounces


the Chancellor's performance He has failed on the budget, failed


on debt, failed on investment, failed on productivity.


The party leaders clash over air pollution.


And a former Lib Dem leader makes a scathing attack


on the Government's record on taking in migrants.


What is it like to be the member of a Government, a British Government,


that has to take lessons in leadership, compassion and courage


from the German Chancellor? But first, it may not


have all the trappings of State Opening Day at Westminster,


but Budget Day still has its own And sure enough, outside


Number 11 Downing Street, stepping into the March daylight,


was the Chancellor. Complete with the famous red box


containing all the closely-guarded secrets of the annual Budget speech


he's about to give MPs. Once into a suitable vehicle,


George Osborne made the short journey along Whitehall,


around Parliament Square, and into the precincts


of the Palace of Westminster. It was George Osborne's


eighth Budget. He told the Commons the UK economy


was set to grow faster than that of any other advanced


country in the world, with a deficit that was


now falling each year. The British economy is stronger


because we confronted our country's problems and took the


difficult decisions. The British economy is growing


because we did not seek short-term fixes, but pursued


a long-term economic plan. He turned to spending totals. My


spending plan in the last Parliament reduced the share taken by the state


from the unsustainable 45% we inherited to 40% today.


My spending plans in this Parliament will see it fall to 36.9%


In other words, the country will be spending no more than the country


So I am asking my right honourable friends the Chief Secretary


and the Paymaster General to undertake a further drive


The aim is to save a further ?3.5 billion in the year 2019-20.


At less than half a percent of Government spending in four


years' time, that is more than achievable while maintaining


He was confident the UK economy would show a ?10 billion


We said our country would not repeat the mistakes of the past


Today, we maintain that commitment to long-term stability


Decisive action to achieve a ?10 billion surplus.


He announced reductions in corporation tax, and then moved


From April next year, 600,000 small businesses will pay no


That is an annual saving for them of up to nearly ?6,000, forever.


A further quarter of a million businesses will see their rates cut.


Mr Osborne said the oil price had continued to fall.


So we need to act now for the long term.


I am today cutting in half the supplementary charge on oil


and gas from 20% to 10%, and I am effectively abolishing


petroleum revenue tax too, backing this key


None of this support would have been remotely affordable if,


in just eight days' time, Scotland had broken away


from the rest of the UK, as the nationalists wanted.


The Infrastructure Commission was urging stronger transport links


So we are giving the green light to High Speed 3 between


We are finding new money to create a four-lane M62.


And we will develop the case for a new tunnelled road


My honourable friends for Carlisle, Penrith and Wrexham have told us not


to neglect the North Pennines. So we will upgrade the A66


and the A69 too. The Government who are delivering


Crossrail 1 will now commission I know this commitment to Crossrail


2 will be warmly welcomed by the Leader of the Opposition,


the right honourable It could have been designed just


for him, because it is good for all those who live in north


London and are heading south. I have listened to the case made


by Welsh Conservative colleagues and I can announce today that


from 2018 we are going to halve the price of the tolls


on the Severn crossings. I am today providing extra funding


so that by 2020 every primary and secondary school in England


will be, or be in the process The Chancellor switched


to the content of drinks. We all know one of the


biggest contributors to childhood obesity


is sugary drinks. A can of cola typically has nine


teaspoons of sugar in it. Some popular drinks


have as many as 13. I am not prepared to look back


at my time here in this Parliament, doing this job, and say


to my children's generation, We knew there was a problem


with sugary drinks. We knew it caused disease,


but we ducked the difficult So today I can announce


that we will introduce a new sugar We're going to use the money


from this new levy to double the amount of funding we dedicate


to sport in every primary school. And for secondary schools,


we are going to fund longer school days for those that want to offer


their pupils a wider range of activities,


including extra sport. We have consulted widely


on whether we should make compulsory But it was clear there


was no consensus. Indeed, the former


Pensions Minister, the Liberal Democrat Steve Webb,


said I was trying to abolish Instead, we are going to keep


the lump sum and abolish Mr Opperman, you may have been


an amateur jockey, but I do not want From April 2017, anyone under


the age of 40 will be able to open a Lifetime ISA and save up


to ?4,000 each year. For every ?4 you save,


the Government will give you ?1. So, putting ?4000, and the


Government will give you ?1000 every year until you are 50. You don't


have to choose between saving the first time or saving for your


retirement. With the new Lifetime Iser, the Government is giving you


the money to do both. One that reaches a surplus


so the next generation does not have One that reforms our tax system


so the next generation One that takes the imaginative steps


so the next generation One that takes bold decisions


so that our children grow up This is a Budget that gets


the investors investing, savers saving, businesses doing


business, so that we build for working people a low-tax,


enterprise Britain, secure at home, I commend to the House a Budget that


puts the next generation first. And with that, George Osborne


concluded his speech. In line with parliamentary


tradition and custom, the Budget is replied to not


by the Shadow Chancellor but by the Leader of


the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn. It was his first time responding


to a Budget since becoming Mr Corbyn said the speech


the Chancellor had given the nation was, in fact, the culmination


of six years of failure. It is a recovery built on sand


and a Budget of failure. failed on debt, failed


on investment, failed on productivity, failed


on the trade deficit, failed on the welfare cap and failed


to tackle inequality in this This Budget has unfairness


at its very core, paid for by those He could not have made


his priorities clearer. While half a million people


with disabilities are losing over ?1 billion in Personal


Independence Payments, corporation tax is being cut


and billions handed out in tax cuts The gulf between what


the Conservative Government expects from the wealthiest


and what they demand from ordinary British taxpayers


could not be greater. The "mates rates" deals for big


corporations on tax deals is something they will be


for ever remembered for. This is a Chancellor who has


produced a Budget for hedge fund managers more than


for small businesses. Every library that has been closed,


every elderly person left without proper care,


every swimming pool with reduced opening hours or closed altogether


is a direct result of the Government underfunding our local


authorities and councils. Far from presiding over


good-quality employment, he is the Chancellor who has


presided over underemployment I want to hear the Leader


of the Opposition and I expect you to hear the Leader


of the Opposition. If you do not want to hear him,


I am sure the Tea Room awaits. Perhaps there will be a phone call


for Mr Hoare if he keeps shouting. Security comes from knowing your


income and knowing where your job is. If you are one of those nearly 1


million people on a zero hours contracts, you don't know what your


income is, you don't have that security.


Over the past six years, the Chancellor has set targets


on deficit, on debt, on productivity, on manufacturing


He has failed in all of them, and he is failing this country.


There are huge opportunities for this country to build


on the talent and efforts of everyone, but the Chancellor


is more concerned about protecting vested interests.


The price of failure is being borne by some of the most vulnerable


Next came the reaction to the Budget of the SNP.


The current account will not be back in the black now until 2018/ 19. The


targets keep getting pushed back, more broken promises. Borrowing in


four years' time will still be higher than they promised it would


be this year. That is the scale of the failure of the key economic


methods. This is all about political choices. We said at the election,


and we hold to it, a very modest half percent real terms increase in


expenditure could have released money not just the investment but to


make sure those on benefit did not fall any further behind. That would


have been a sensible, humane and productive thing to do. The


Chancellor and this Government have gone against that one more time. He


may be able to sell that to some of his backbenchers, he has been unable


to sell it in Scotland and I fear that will continue to be the case


for him. And after that came the views of backbenchers. If we are


going to have a tax based on sugar, I wonder whether over the longer run


we shouldn't consider widening that base. After all, it is not just


sugar in drinks that are held to be harmful. Whether we want to find tax


bases all the time on health grounds is another matter, but that bridge


has now been crossed now the levy has been introduced. Britain is now


at a crossroads. The structural deficit will be gone next year, so


the Chancellor is choosing to make unnecessary cuts to meet an


unnecessary target. It is his choice to remove support from people with


disabilities. It is his choice to cut universal credit. It is his


choice to stand by as child poverty increases.


And the Budget debate continues for another three days.


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


The Justice Secretary talks of his plans for a new type of prisons.


It's normally the main event, but on Budget Day,


Prime Minister's Questions becomes the supporting feature.


Little point in the party leaders debating the economy,


as they've yet to hear the Budget speech.


So the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn focused on a non-financial matter,


It's an issue moving up the political agenda,


All the candidates for Mayor of London have said they regard


improving London's air as a top priority.


Mr Corbyn produced some stark figures on the effects


The sad truth is that 500,000 will die because of this country's


failure to comply with international law on air pollution.


Perhaps he could answer another question -


pollution cost our economy every year?


Of course it costs our economy billions, because people


That is why we have the new clean air zones, and emissions from cars


The Royal College of physicians estimates and pollution costs our


economy ?20 billion per year. The failure to deal with air pollution


is killing people. Only a few days ago, London faced a severe smog


warning. His friend, the Mayor of London has resided over at legal


breach of air quality in the capital bore many times since 2012.


It was the Conservative government in the 1950 that passed the clean


air act, and I am sure it is this government which will continue that.


Things have moved on a bit since then. The governments... The


government are now... The government are now threatened with being taken


to court for its failure to comply with international law on air


pollution. He is proposing to spend tens, if not hundreds of thousands


of pounds of public money defending the indefensible. Why not invest


that in clean air and better" to for everyone in this country? We are


investing money in clean air. We are phasing out the use of coal-fired


power stations, far in advance of what other European countries are


doing, blazing a trail in terms of more renewable energy. The questions


to the Prime Minister are these,... He once boasted he led the greenest


government ever. No huskies was safe from his cuddles. Could he explain


why the energy and climate change select committee has produced a


damning report when it comes to green energy, saying major investors


describe his policies as risky as a result of cuts and changes? The


climate action network said Britain is the second best country in the


world for tackling climate change after Denmark. That is our record.


The leader of the SNP switched subjects to the situation in Libya.


There is widespread reporting that the UK Government


are about to commit to send ground troops to Libya to train


Is this true, and why has Parliament not been informed about it?


Libya is a people smuggling route, which is bad for Europe and bad


for us, and we also have the growth of Daesh in Libya, which is bad


for us and bad for the rest of Europe.


If we have any plans for troop training or troop deployment


in a conventional sense we will of course come to the House


The UK spent 13 times more bombing Libya than it did on securing


the peace after the overthrow of the hated Gaddafi regime.


The critics of UK policy even include President Obama


Will the Prime Minister give a commitment to bring to Parliament


the issue of any potential Libyan deployment of any British forces


for approval before giving the green light for that to happen?


Very happy to give that commitment, as we always do. I think I am very


clear that it was right to take action to prevent that slaughter


that Colonel Gaddafi would have carried out against his people in


Benghazi. I believe that was right. Of course Libya is in a state that


is very concerning right now and everyone has to take their


responsibilities for that. Regional elections in Germany


at the weekend resulted in sweeping gains by the anti-immigrant


AfD Party. Its success has been seen


as a reaction against the policy of the German Chancellor Angela


Merkel to accept a million migrants. A German government spokesman has


said despite the outcome of the regional polls,


the immigration policy In the House of Lords,


a former Lib Dem leader sharply contrasted the approach of Germany


with that of Britain. My Lords, Germany has provided a


refuge for more than 1 million refugees. The German Chancellor has


said that despite the recent election results, by the way, and


relatively minor in their fact, she will not change course. In contrast,


Britain provides refuge to not a single refugee currently seeking to


flee from the Syrian battlefield. Many women and children amongst


them. Our Prime Minister boasts he will have nothing to do with the


European plan that deals with manifestly European and pan-European


issue. What is it like to be the member of a government, a British


Government, that has to take less than -- lessons in compassion from


the German Chancellor? I find it a great honour to be part of this


government. But the noble Lord refers to the refugees in Syria.


The noble Lord referred to the refugees in Syria.


We should also congratulate the Turkish people on all


that they have done over this period; they have nearly 3 million


I do not think that I need to draw the attention of the House to this,


At the Syria conference at the beginning of February,


11 billion euros was raised in a day - the largest amount ever raised


Don't the elections in Germany and elsewhere in the EU just show the


democracy is at last taking over from the failed corporate project of


European integration? The quicker that is abandoned, surely be better.


Democracy, as Lord Pearson Brannock said,... I would never dream of


commenting on what has happened or advising on what has happened in


Germany. Should we not take some comfort from the fact that although


the vote in Germany was disturbing, 80% of those who voted did not vote


for an ultra-right-wing party. It was clear last autumn, unless we


stopped the flow of refugees from Libya and Turkey, into what was


becoming a worse and worse Mediterranean, that there would be


many deaths. We have still not really got together any composite


plan to stop this blow of refugees before they leave territorial seas.


-- this flow of refugees. Put the noble minister let us know are we


coming to some conclusion to stop people going to see? If we don't,


they will die, and they are dying every day. The noble Lord draws


attention to some of the saddest aspects of this crisis. The whole


point of the summit of last week was in fact to break the business model


of the people traffickers. And end the link between getting in a boat


and getting settlement in Europe. The Justice Secretary Michael Gove


has said a new Bill will pave the way for prisons in England


and Wales to follow the system of academy schools, with league


tables and provision for failing jails to be taken over


by more successful jails. At the Commons Justice Committee,


Mr Gove admitted there was a problem with overcrowding in some prisons


but said it was not extreme. There are steps we hope to introduce


to ensure that prisons work better, and I'm sure we can talk more


about some of the administrative Ideally, what we want to do


is create a freestanding foundation, what we call a reform


prison, and in order to allow governors to


have a significantly greater degree of freedom than we currently grant


them, we will need to create a new legal status, in the same way


as the Blair government created We are looking at what the firm


legal foundation should be for prisons


that operate in an independent way. I'm interested in the prison


league table idea. Essentially, could you tell


us what it is the one measuring, how you are measuring it


and not happen when it doesn't meet We have worked out or are working


out three types of measurement. The first is a set of aspirational


measurements that will let us know that prisons are doing


well in three, four, And they would link to, for example,


the quality as well as the number of qualifications that


the prisoners are securing. They would link to the


success of that prison in basic resettlement goals meaning


prisoners find and staying in accommodation and find and stay


in jobs, desist from criminality Then we think there


should be some dipstick measures so that anyone visiting


a prison or observing how it is operating,


by a week by week or month by month, can


see how it is doing. The broader picture there


is about successful you think prison reform will be when we still have


such a large prison population and when the result


of that is the extreme overcrowding. I wouldn't say we have extreme


overcrowding. It is certainly the case


that the ideal would be one prisoner in each room


and we are very far from that. I wouldn't over fixate on numbers,


because I think there is a danger of being paralysed by the thought,


we can't make any change I think let's make


changes within the Do join me for our


next daily round-up. Until then, from me,


Keith Macdougall, goodbye.


Download Subtitles