tv [untitled] CSPAN June 14, 2009 9:00pm-9:30pm EDT
addition to my duties at the house i should have further such meetings today. >> our specialist hospitals are the jewels in the n.h.s. crown but unfortunately their knowledge and expertise isn't always passed on to district general hospitals which means some patients undergo inappropriate operations which later have to be reversed by specialist hospitals or even worse, prevented from having operations which could free them from pain. so could the prime minister spare just 10 minutes to meet the chair of the federation of specialist hospitals to see how might this be improved? >> of course i will and i think he will understand, as i will understand, this depends on proper investment in these specialist hospitals as well. and i think he will be as equally concerned as i am by the remarks of the health secretary that he's going to be cutting spending in the vital areas that are important to our country.
mr. speaker, the shadow health secretary has said he'll be reviewing national health's organizations on a zero basis. he says he wants to ensure the unit cuts considerabley reduce rather than increase. he said this morning that he wants a 10% reduction in the departmental limits. i think before the conservatives ask for more spending they should talk to the shadow counselor and shadow health secretary. >> mr. speaker, will the prime minister affirm the labor government's commitment to maintaining funding for public services such as housing universities, police and law and order, transport and pensions and reject the policy of 10% across the board cuts which would take this country back -- which would take this country back to the worst days of factories.
>> hear, hear. >> mr. speaker, specifically the shadow health secretary said this morning over three years after 2011, a 10% reduction in the departmental expenditure limits for other departments. it is a very tough spending requirement, indeed, he said. and he said the job of the shadow chancellor is to be sure where the spending restraint bites. there can be no doubt that the choice whenever it comes is between a government that is prepared to invest in the future and a conservative party that is going to cut. >> when even the old-timers are reading out the handout questions, that's when you know things are really bad for the government. can i first of all say how pleased i am to see the prime minister in his place. let me be clear, mr. speaker, about what we think of electoral reform. we want to keep the existing
system. we support the link between one m.p. and one constituency and we back our system because you can throw out weak, tired and discredited governments. and let me say we supported this system when we were behind, when we were ahead, when we won, when we lost. so can i ask the prime minister, why is he suddenly discovered an interest in changing the electoral system? does it have anything to do with the fact his party got 15% of the vote last week? >> mr. speaker, they finally, after many, many weeks, are questioning our policy. isn't it remarkable, it has taken this time for the conservatives to come up with a question. the statement i will make in a few minutes after 12:30 will deal with exactly these sort of problems. i have to remind them that with the conservative party's support in many cases, there are different electoral systems
in different parts of the united kingdom. there's a different one in northern ireland, a different one in scotland, a different one for wales and a different one in the european parliament and a different one in the house of commons. but i will deal with that issue in the constitutional statement in a few minutes. >> my apologies. i was too quick to sit down. thank you, mr. speaker. i'm sure, mr. speaker, i'm sure, mr. speaker, you'd agree it's no good saying wait for the statement when he's briefed all the details after the fact. and i have to say in asking questions about personalities, what is there left to ask when so many members of the cabinet walked out because they can't work with him? hear, hear. >> i want to ask the prime minister questions about the issue of electoral reform and also about the process he intends to follow. on the issue, does he agree with me that a truly proportional system has massive drawbacks? didn't we see this on sunday night when the b.n.p., a bunch
of fashes thugs got two members elected to the parliament. doesn't he agree that's a strong argument against proportional systems. >> mr. speaker, let before the house send the message the politics of discrimination and prejudice and bigotry have no part to play in the democratic life of our country. and let us all take action, let us all take action together to expose the racist and bigotist parties. and on this side of the house we'll do everything in our power to show the problems that made people vote for the b.n.p. are problems we're dealing with on housing, social justice, unemployment, but nobody will support the anti-semitic and the policy of the b.n.p. that's even against mixed race marriage. i believe the whole country could unite on this. what i say about electoral reform, however, is that i never myself have supported the
policy of proportional representation for a westminister parliament. that has always been my view. he has to accept the policy of proportional representization exists for the european elections. i don't see a proposal from his party to change it at the moment but he also has to accept the jenkins proposals that contain their policies lay down a criteria by which it would be impossible for the british national party to have held the seat even on the p.r. system in the british parliament unless they won a constituency seat. >> everyone would agree with what the prime minister says about defeating the b.n.p. and it does mean all mainstream parties making sure they go door to door and get their voters to go out and vote. let me ask about the process. let us be clear about what the prime minister seems to be considering. we are in the fifth and final year of the parliament. there have been reports that a referendum on electoral reform is being considered for before the general election. can the prime minister confirm those reports? is that something he's
considering? >> no plans for that. and let me just say, when he hears the statements later, he will hear that there is an interest throughout the country in what happens to electoral reform. we published a review -- i'm sorry, we published a review on the issue of electoral reform only a few months ago. that has led to a serious debate in the country. but we are not putting proposals forward today. and if i may say so, i said he'd moved on to policy but there seems to be an element of self-interest in the way he's approaching policy. is it not strange -- is it not strange -- is it not strange, mr. speaker? >> order. order. i'm not getting much help from the chief.
but i tell the chief to be quiet and the play master must be here. prime minister. >> is isn't strange they're not interested in discussing this democratic reform but also, mr. speaker, the first questions he asks about policy are not about the economy, not about the health service, not about education and not about public services, not about the issues the public out there know that we and they are concerned about. >> am i to say to the prime minister that it's remarks like that that make him a figure of ridicule across this country. everyone is entitled to ask what the prime minister's motive is. for 12 years not a squeak about electoral reform and now suddenly because he's getting trashed at elections, suddenly he wants to put it on the agenda. this is all at peace with the prime minister training a nation like fools. and for us to believe the member of southwest is the first choice of chancellor telling us he canceled the election because he was going to win it. the prime minister said he had
no plans for a referendum. now, we all know what that means. he said he had no plans to put up taxes in 1997. instead of saying no plans, let him stand up and rule out a referendum. >> i said i had no plans, i repeat i have no plans. mr. speaker, isn't it again remarkable what m.p.'s are being told by their constituents is to concentrate on getting the politics of this country sorted out? what they've been told is concentrating on getting us through the recession. what they've been told is build us a better future and not one question from the leader of the opposition can be about the central issues facing our country. >> the prime minister has chosen today to make a statement about constitutional reform. he can't complain. he can't complain that i'm asking questions about it. and when the prime minister talks about the economy, let's be clear what his legacy will be, not the most useless government we've had in
history, though it is, his legacy will be the biggest budget deficit in europe and the biggest we've had in our history. so let's be clear about the no plans or no proposals today as he put it, a man with no democratic legitimacy who never has been elected as our prime minister, who has been defeated every time the public has been able to vote for him is now considering trying to fix the rules of election before the next general election? isn't that what's happening? >> mr. speaker, on public spending an deficits, let him confirm that his proposals are for a 10% cut in the expenditures. if he wishes to raise the question of deficits and debt, let him confirm that that is now the proposal of the shadow chancellor to cut public expenditure by 10%, as confirmed by the shadow health secretary this morning and let us have a debate about the choice that really does exist in the country between a conservative party that now wants to cut even at a time of recession our basic public services and a labor party that wants to invest in them?
let him also be honest with the country that when it comes to calling for election, he has absolutely no plans for dealing with the recession. he has no policies for dealing with unemployment. no policies for dealing with small businesses. no policies for dealing with the problems of this country. he is an opposition leader who has no plans for government and he doesn't deserve to be in government. >> i had one of my plans for dealing with the recession was the same as the prime ministers last week, except the chancellor. he might be talking about a second preference voting system. the fact is he's left with a second preference lance lower. now, on the issue of public spending, on the issue of public spending, let's be clear about the answers the prime minister has given. he said last week, public spending is rising every year. that is what he said. his chancellor said, i have cut overall public spending. the figures the prime minister is walking around are his own
figures. he is planning to cut public spending by 7% in every department over the next three years. the next election, when he has the guts to call it, won't be about labor investment versus cuts, it's going to be an election about the mismanagement -- it's going to be an election about the mismanagement of the public finances, their polling deficit he left and his plans for cuts. let me just ask him this question. why not? why not on the issue of electoral reform? why not on the issue of electoral reform, admit this the current system gives the country the chance to throw out a government that is weak, that is divided, that is incompetent and that's what we should be having now. hear, hear. >> mr. speaker, let me read the figures for public spending so there is absolutely no doubt about the truth of what i'm saying and that he's got it
wrong. public spending this year is $621 million and rises next year to $672 million, that's this financial year. then to $702 million, then to $717 million and then to $757 million. that is public spending rises. the only party that's proposing a cut in public spending is the conservative party. and he's right, at the next election there will be a choice. there will be a choice between the government that helped people and actively intervened to take us through and a conservative party that will do nothing. >> order. mr. robinson, you can't behave like that and you run the risk of being thrown out of the house. order. everyone's going to be quiet. the prime minister. >> there is a choice between a government that is actually intervening to deal with the recession and a conservative party that said do nothing. it will be a choice between a government that's increasing
public spending by the figures that i've raised and a kevintive leader who for the first time in the house of commons during this parliament has now admitted that the policy of his party is spending cuts. that is what he's told us today. that is going to be the choice before the country. >> hear, hear. >> mr. helmsly. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i know you're interested to hear this question. the prime minister is aware that the incredible bumbling of the skills council for the building futures program, to the extent we have a demolished college. incredibly the l.s.c. delayed the decision from june 3 on yet again on which colleges will be funded. my college is technically insolvent. when will the prime minister intervene to sort this mess out? >> in the budget an extra $300
million pounds was put to further education colleges. we are now looking at how we can help the individual colleges who have spending proposals for new up investment. let me remind this house that there was no investment taking place in further education of colleges when we came into power. we're now investing more in further education colleges than ever before and i believe his college is one of the priorities to getting that new investment. >> mr. speaker, everyone has been out on the campaign trail the last few weeks and knows how angry and frustrated people have become in the way this government always raises people's hopes only to see them disappointed again and again. in no way is that truer than in helmsly where we've had more announcements than new homes. since january when the prime minister announced the biggest council house building program in decades, only 20 new homes have been started.
so will he for once, just once, make a promise and actually deliver? >> mr. speaker, i don't accept his figures. what has happened since january is we brought in place measures, first of all to protect people in their own homes so the expected rate of mortgage repossessions has not happened and mortgage repossessions are roughly as they were a few months ago. equally at the same time we are bringing in a program for social housing to invest more in social housing over the next few months and indeed over the next few years. and i have to tell him, we are prepared to take even more decisions to make available more social housing over the next few months. now, that's only possible because we have taken the decisions that his and the conservative party have opposed about the increased investment that's necessary at the time of a recession. so i hope if he's going to ask us for more social housing he'll support the investment that's necessary for it. >> all true, why are a staggering 1.8 million families in this country waiting for a
home? that is 70% more than when this government came into power. and if he wants to do something now, why doesn't he stop the treasury from grabbing all the money councils have raised in represents and sales and allow them to use that money instead to build desperately needed homes, would he at least do that? >> mr. speaker, i have to tell you there are million more people in homes than when we came in government in 1997 and we've also approved houses for more than a million extra people. at the same time we are putting aside extra money for social housing. i have to tell him that over $40 billion in total have been invested in housing since 9 -- 1997 by 2010 and make house improvements by eight million people and i just have to say since 1997, over 29 billion has been invested in social housing. we are not complacent and why we're planning to invest more this year. >> since the stated objective
of bailing out the bank to maintain landing to businesses and homes of 2007 levels, and since the latest official figures just published show that money is now absolutely flat, instead, 20% down on 2007 left. when will my honorable friend use the power which he already has from the majority ownership of several major banks to force the banks to give priority to rescuing the real economy rather than simply looking after their own interests and letting the real economy go. >> mr. speaker, my honorable friend is right, the banks have a duty now to lend to small businesses and for housing. since march 1, they've been under an obligation as a result of quantitative agreements we've reached. in other words, they have agreed to increase its lending this year by $25 billion and lloyd g.h.b. to increase by $14 billion, northern rock by $5
billion, hsbc and barclays agreed to increase their lending, the total increase in lending that's agreed to come from march 1 is $70 billion extra over what happened last year and you'll begin to see the companies that will benefit from that be able to say that where rejections happened before when they included applications they're now having the applications accepted. we'll continue to monitor this situation but i assure him that $70 billion more extra money is going into lending to small businesses and to homes. >> so robert smith -- >> thank you, sir. >> pensioners and others who rely on their savings are suffering greatly from the low interest rates needed to tackle the recession. will the prime minister explain to them why the savings limit for canceled tax benefit is stuck at $16,000 when if it had gone up in line with the retail price index it now would be $27,000 pounds. >> mr. speaker, in all areas we've got to look at what we can afford at different times and obviously we've done a great deal for those who are on
pension credit to raise the amount of money they receive. we've done a great deal for people working tax credit, child tax credit to raise the amount of money they receive. obviously reform and housing benefit is something we are looking at it. i think he's got to accept 1.5 million children have come out of poverty over what we've done and a million pensioners have come out as a result of what we've done. if we hadn't added the pension credit and we had the free tv license, pensioners would not be as well off as they are and there are many people in other parties who did not support that when we did it. >> thank you, mr. speaker. last week able u.k. announced a multimillion pound investment to my constituency which is going to create 5,000 much needed jobs. it is on the largest development site in the north of england on a deep water
estuary. i would appreciate it if my bright honorable friend and his ministers can tell me what he can further do to secure more economic development in my area and across the country and to that end, will he meet me and my colleagues to look at some of the barriers we still have to economic growth in my constituency? >> i think he can manage an answer to that. >> mr. speaker, the latest estimates shows there would be 500,000 more people unemployed if we had follow followed the policies of the conservative party. and let me say that at all times we will seek foreign direct investment into this country. we've given new allowances for people so they can invest now so they can invest through the recession into our future. the only way of making a better future is to invest in the future. that's what we're doing. unfortunately, our opponents want to cut.
>> mr. speaker, parliament stands accused of being evermore distant from the country so away from the political arena, what does the prime minister feel he's overachieved in the real world to qualify him to lead the nation? >> i think every m.p. should return with a bit of humility after listening to the constituents over the last few weeks. i think every m.p. has learned from their constituents they want us to clean up their politics and they want us to get them through the recession and they want us to build for the future. now, that is what i am going to do and i believe i have the experience to do that. >> thank you, mr. speaker. in the next two years, indian health services will see an increase in funding of over $55 million thanks to the labor government. however, is my honorable friend aware of concerns about a zero
basis of a new office budget, will the prime minister reassure me that he will not implement these plans? >> mr. speaker, i can also get the house, the figures for current expenditure the next few years. current expenditure including the health service will rise from $655 billion to $608, to 6 66, to 689 billion and then to $712 billion. that is a rise in expenditure. the only way that these cash figures will be cut is it there is a conservative government cutting 10% out of the major departments. this is the day, mr. speaker, when the shadow health spokesman of the conservative party has admitted that the conservatives plan 10% cuts in our vital public service. this is the day when the conservatives have revealed their truman festo for this country and this is the day when they've showed the choice of the next election has been
investment under labor and massive cuts under the conservative party. >> mr. speaker, in 2007 there were 8,324 deaths where there was an increase of 28% on the year before. i brought out a report which said that infection control procedures were being damaged because of overcrowding and understaffing at n.h.s. facilities. does the prime minister agree with me that any unavoidable death is totally unacceptable? and in light of this report, what fresh actions is the government now going to take to eliminate all superbugs from our hospitals? >> mr. speaker, i'm determined to do that. that we have brought in new rules for nurses, we've brought in new rules for people being checked coming into hospitals and brought in new rules for
cleanliness and given them more powers and doubled the number of matrons so cleanliness is on the center to everything that happens in the national health service. we're determined to rout out the superbug and are able to deal with mrsa as well. i can assure you if anyone had any of that personal experience happening to any member of their family, we will continue the work we're doing to reprove the superbugs and msra and have the utmost sympathy for them if that has happened. >> mr. speaker, my honorable friend understand the anger among people who work in financial services who have seen millions of pounds quite rightly invested in our banks to shore them up but now have seen thousands of jobs in the the mix of a recession and does he agree with me he needs to work with the unions and actually keep people in work during a recession more than
shedding jobs to pay money back to the government? >> my friend is a great advocate for his constituents and i know cheldman and gloucester have made a number of redundancies and i'm happy to meet him to talk about these issues. but let me say our determination is to keep as many jobs as possible in this country and prevent unbloiment where possible except where it gives people new jobs. 150 new jobs have been created in a development of the a flexible deal allowing young people to get jobs and more than 200,000 people are finding new jobs every month. we will continue to provide that support. but again, i have to say to the house, the issue is very clear, we are prepared to provide the investment that is necessary for jobs, the conservatives revealed again as the party of cuts. >> mr. speaker, last month before the local elections the prime minister announced a question from the honorable
member of gloucester and said we wanted to demolish the development agencies and want to give it to local governments and he said we would invest and make cuts. this week after those elections the southwest r.d.a. made 60 million pounds of cuts, cutting projects in my constituency, carving the budget for regeneration in gloucester. why should anybody believe a word the prime minister says again? >> thousands of companies in his area are getting help under the inland revenue scheme and other schemes we're interesting. thousands of companies are getting special help to take them through the recession. but if his argument is that we must avoid cuts, then he better talk to his shadow chancellor because he is proposing massive cuts in services today and in the future. the conservative party has been revealed today as the party that will fight for the next few months on cuts in services and at some point they're going to have to tell us how many
nurses and how many doctors and how many teachers and how many public servants are going to lose their jobs as a result of this new policy announced this morning. >> mr. hamilton. >> thank you, mr. speaker. can i ask the prime minister to join with me in paying tribute to the general from 1968. he led behalf of the union and changed the conditions in the mainland industry more than any individual has ever done. he loved poetry. and at the end of the day, mr. speaker, the prime minister, look at being a tribute to him and his faith. would the prime minister consider coming to faith and speaking? >> i would, indeed. lawrence daily was a friend of mine as well as of many people. i think there are few peo