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tv   BBC Question Time Election Leaders Special  CSPAN  April 30, 2015 3:00pm-4:31pm EDT

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prime minister and the head of the conservative party, david cameron. labor party leader ed milliband and liberal democrats leader nick plage. coverage on c-span3 should be getting under way in just a moment. >> our audience here in this town hall. this is "question time." >> now thank you very much.
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over the next 90 minutes the three party leaders are going to take the stage here and the question for our audience of course, as ever. an audience that tonight is made up of three lots of 25% who intend to vote for each of those three party leaders, and the remaining 25% for either undecided or supporting other parties. now, joining this program as ever on "question time" you can of course text or tweet. #bbcqt. follow us @bbcquestiontime. press the old red button and see what other people are saying. let's now get cracking and hear from the leader of the conservative party, david cameron. [ applause ] our first question comes from jenny johnson please. jenny johnson.
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>> will you put back rumors that you plan to cut child tax credit and restrict benefits to children? >> well, thank you jenny, for that question. no, i don't want to do that. this report that was out today is something i rejected at the time. this prime minister and i rejected again today. i do think it's important we go on reforming welfare. it's worth remembering when i became prime minister, we had a situation where some families were getting 70,000 80,000, 90,000 pounds for housing benefits, one house. think how many people watching this program were going out, working hard paying taxes to keep that family in that house. a house they could never ain order to live in. so we've got to go on reforming welfare. let's make sure work always pays and go on doing what we've done for the last two years is get 2 million more people back into work. the most important thing we can do, helping people off welfare into work. that's the sort of country i want to build the next five years.
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>> you said you didn't want to put to bed the rumors you wanted to cut child tax credits. >> yes, we increased child tax credits, 352 pounds under this government. i was determined while we hadto take difficult situations, we have. i wanted to make sure child poverty continued to fall and it has fallen under this government because of what we did -- >> that's a guarantee -- comment on this. there, in the middle there. yep? >> quoting 70,000, 20000 pounds of benefits. how many families are claiming that amount of money? >> it wasn't a huge number, but the fact that every one that was was being paid for by dozens of people going out to work, paying their taxes. look, if you believe, as i do we should go on reforming welfare, making sure that work always pays, helping people back into work, and keeping working people's taxes down that's my program. if you want unlimited welfare,
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more increases in welfare, and higher taxes for working people, that's ed milliband's program. vote for him. i say keep reforming welfare. it's the right thing to do. >> i'm sorry, but i think you're either deceiving the british public or you know exactly what you're going to do but you're refusing to give specifics. i find that very very difficult -- very difficult to understand and how can i possibly vote for you on that basis? >> let me answer that very directly. in the last parliament we saved 20 billion pounds on welfare. we need to save something like half that in this parliament. as i say, if we don't save the money on well naer and oathfare and other parties don't want to it that, they have to make deep cuts. i don't want to do that. i'm going to increase spending on the national health service every year in the next parliament just as i did in the last parliament. we can reduce welfare, if for instance, we get another 2 million people back to work, that will cut the welfare bills. here's another tough choice i think we do need to make.
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i i think we should say to young people in our country the idea you can leave school and immediately sign on to job seekers alliance, get a flat with housing benefit i don't think that should be an option anymore. i think what we should do is say to young people, we want you to have a great future, you should be earning or learning. make available the apprenticeships, university place, make available the training places but say you can't start your life on benefits. that's not the way we should work in britain today. [ applause ] >> in the back. yes? >> that's all very well, but what about those 18-year-old to 21-year-olds who don't have a support network? so then who don't have a family to turn to. isn't that policy for them specifically going to result in more homeless young people in the streets? >> i think the lady makes a very important point. any -- [ applause ] anyone who clearly can't stay at home, who has to live
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independently because of abuse or what have you we have to make special provisions for them and we would. but the situation today where you can age 18 leave school, sign on get a flat, rather than work or earn and learn at the same time, i don't think that's right. other countries in europe have almost abolished youth unemployment because they've taken this approach in say germany or holland. i think we should do the same thing. we have created 2 million jobs in the last 5 years. youth unemployment has come plummeting down. if we stick to the economic plan that's working, we can continue to get unemployment down and give young people what i want which is the opportunity of an apprenticeship or university place and the chance of a great career. starting a life on benefits, frankly, is no life at all. >> can we come back to the question that the man here asked, that either you don't know what you're going to do -- you specified getting people back to work -- out you do know and you're hiding it.
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you know alexander said today you asked two years ago for a thing that included massive cuts in child benefitses >> these were proposals introduced that i rejected then. >> you asked for them. >> i didn't ask for them. >> where did they come from? >> in government, people produce -- look, you remember, step back a second, what we inherited. i became prime minister at a time when there was no money left. and i bring this with me everywhere. the notes that the treasury minister left. and there it is. dear chief secretary, i'm afraid there is no money. that is the situation i inherited. we have had to make difficult decisions. over these last five years. i accept not every one of the decisions has been easy for people, but the truth is, five years on, the deficit is halved. 2 million people are back in work. the economy is growing faster than any major economy in the western world. i think what this election is about is do we build on that foundation and build a really strong country where you can get a job you can keep more of your own money to spend as you choose, you get that
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apprenticeship? we can build houses for people to buy and own. do we go right back to the start with ed milliband potentially propped up by the snp, who want even more borrowing, even more spending, even more debt, all the things that landed us in that mess in the first place? i never want us to go back there again. [ applause ] >> clearly there are some people who are worried you have a plan to cut child credit and tax credits. are you saying absolutely as a guarantee -- >> first of all, child tax credit we increased by -- >> it's not going to fall? >> not going to. child benefit to me is one of the most important benefits there is. it goes directly to the family formally to the mother. 20 pounds for the first child, 14 for the second. it is the key part of families' budgets in this country. that's not what we need to change. what we need to change is, again, what did i inherit? a system where if you worked an
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extra hour extra shift you can find you lost money from the extra hour or extra shift. so universal credit that we're introducing, coming in now means every hour you work you keep more of the money that you earn. we're going to introduce that right across the country. that will save money and form part of the welfare savings we need to make. >> let me bring a couple more people in. the woman there. then i'll come to you. >> if things are all fantastic, we all have more money to spend, why are more families relying on food banks and more people and children in poverty than ever before? [ applause ] >> i think you ask a absolutely key question. i'm not saying everything is perfect. i'm saying we have not finished the work. that's why i'm so keen to do another five years of continuing to get the country back to work to build a strong economy, to pay down our debts and hand on a really good country to our children. that's what this is all about. i'm not saying we fixed it. it takes a long time to fix the
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mess that i was left to clear up. what i would say is we're halfway through a building job. now, you can keep the team that are building the stronger economy or you can go back to the team frankly, the ones that designed the building that fell down in the first place. i think that will be a terrible mistake. >> you want to come in? i'll come to you and then move on. >> you talk about the sort of country you want to hand on to our children. i don't want to hand on a country to my child where there are many using food bank where people have been hit by really punitive benefit sanctions. people have died from the bedroom tax. we've got places where people -- [ applause ] a woman had a disabled daughter die and received a demand for bedroom tax the disabled daughter left behind. that is not a country i want to hand on to my child. [ applause ] >> first of all, let me say, i don't want anyone to have to rely on a food bank in our country. it's important it's there, but i
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don't want anyone to have to rely on them. >> they do. you're prime minister, and they do. >> the most important thing we can do is get more people into work. that's the best route out of poverty. 2 million more jobs is more than the rest of europe put together. have we finished the job? someone said -- 1 in 50 jobs is a zero contract. 2/3 of the jobs we created are full-time jobs. if you're saying the job isn't finished, i absolutely agree. that's why i'm so passionate about completing the job. madam, you asked what country do you want to pass on to our children? i don't want us to go on borrowing year after year racking up debts we then ask our children to pay because we didn't have the courage to pay them off ourselves. this goes to the heart of the election campaign. ed milliband will stand here in a few minutes' time. he is saying go on with the budget deficit forever. i'm saying once the economy starts to grow you should be putting money aside for a rainy day. otherwise we will burden our children with too much debt and
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that's not right. >> what was that? >> why don't you debate with him directly instead of pointing fingers at him? [ applause ] >> we debate -- we debate in the house of commons 146 times. we debate 146 times in the house of commons. it's not always that -- i think this is giving you the chance to ask questions directly. i actually think this is more powerful than a television -- >> let's go on to another question. it's similar subject, really. lana jasper, please. >> okay. more to guarantee your no tax rises promise, acknowledgement you were in the habits of lying in your pre-election promises? >> this is a -- the announcement yesterday -- >> the reason for making this pledge, i really want to be clear with people. over the last five years we made difficult decisions. it hasn't been easy.
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i know for many people in britain. i think it's been the right thing to do. i now know what is in the books. i know what needs to be done and i know we can finish the job without putting up people's tax mind fear is this, those people who opposed every step we've taken, every cut we've had to make, i think they will make a cut of their own, to put up taxes, reach into your pay packet and cut pay. if you want government that finds efficiencies in government spending goes on reforming welfare and doesn't put up taxes for working people, indeed, cuts taxes for working people. that's me. if you want a government that goes on with unreformed welfare that doesn't find savings in government spending, and puts up taxes, that's the other guy. that's the choice. >> the question is, why do you need a law? i would -- >> i want to put it absolutely beyond doubt that you know, i really want hardworking people in our country who work every hour, who want to have a better
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future for themselves and their families. i want them to know that we're not going to put up v.a.t. national insurance, or income tax because we know we can make the remaining savings without having to attack their wallets. that's the pledge -- >> when they tried the same thing, your chancellor said no other chancellor in the long history of office has felt the need to pass a law in order to convince people he has the political will to implement his own budget. why do you suddenly need to pass a law? >> because that was -- >> which can be changed anyway, as we know. that was at a time when the budget deficit was forecast to be bigger than the deficit in greece. that's what we inherited. so making that sort of promise then was meaningless. now, having spent five years as prime minister, knowing what needs to be done and let me be clear about what still needs to be done. we've got to save one out of every 100 pounds the government spends for each of the next two years. that's the extent of the efficiencies that are needed. then we can start to see public
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spending growing again to make sure that we go on putting money into our schools and hospitals and all the important public services. >> you want to come back on this question? >> more or less i was going to say what you said. >> all right. okay. the woman there? don't want you to have to repeat -- >> you say you know what needs to be done. why aren't you announcing where the benefit cuts are coming from? >> what was -- [ applause ] what we're saying, very precisely, is we need to make another $30 billion of savings. 1 in 100 pounds. 5 billion of that should come from the tax evaders and aggressive tax avoiders. we've gone after them every year in government. we'll continue to do that. we need to go on making savings in government departments through efficiencies and then the welfare savings that i talked about. that's my plan and that gets us to a budget surplus. it means we're paying down the debts. we're passing on a better country to our children. and crucially we're not putting up taxes. indeed, i want to cut people's taxes. i think you -- people talk about the cost of the living. the biggest element of the cost
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of living is the tax you pay at the end of month. i say you should be able to earn 12,500 pounds a year before you start paying income tax. that would take people on minimum wage working 30 hours a week out of tax all together. we should stop taxing poor people in this country in the way we do today. that's part of our program for the future. >> that wasn't my question, mr. cameron. >> all right. let's have another question from chedia huligan. >> another question on trust. why don't you think voters don't trust your party? >> all i can say is what i think, what i believe and when my disabled son was desperately ill, i went to the nhs night after night. i went to different hospitals. i was in different places. but i got the most fantastic care, support, and i'd say love from those people in the nhs for my family and for my son. it was always there for me. and i would always make sure it is there for other families in our country.
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now, i showed you that note about we had no money when we balm became the government. when we got that note we made a very big decision. we said, yes, we're going to have to make cuts in some areas of government spends but the nhs is going to get more money every year i'm prime minister. it has had more money. that's why there are, comparably when i became prime minister, 9,000 more doctors, 7,000 more nurses. carrying out millions more operations every year. do i think it's perfect? no, i don't. i've got a big ambition for the next five years which is to deliver a seven day a week nhs including seven day opening, 8:00 in the morning, 8:00 in the evening for gp surgeries. i know we can do that because we're already delivering it to about 8 million people in our country. if you elect me as prime minister, i'll finish the job and make sure we have seven day opening for gp surgeries right across our country. that would really help working people to access the nhs that we all want. [ applause ] >> why spend 3 billion or so on
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what was described as damaging and distracting reorganizations of nhs by the kings fund? >> the changes we made actually -- >> making -- >> yes, they're saving money in the nhs. because we got rid of 20,000 administrators and bureaucrats in the nhs, that's one of the ways we've been able to find the extra doctors and extra nurses. again, what i inherited, when i became prime minister, the growth in the number of bureaucrats were going -- i make the point because it's been a recovery job. that's the point. the nhs is stronger today than it was five years ago. >> okay. you served on the nhs. yes? >> good evening, mr. cameron. the fact an extra 8 billion was promised for the health service, very welcome, but surely anybody with half a brain can see that the nhs isn't sustainable in its present form pouring more and more money into it. what are your thoughts on that? >> what do you mean it needs more money -- >> you can't keep pouring more and more money. we already put a sixth of gdp into the house service.
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you can't keep putting more and more into it. >> i don't agree with you, sir. >> well, you're wrong. [ laughter ] [ applause ] >> actually if you look at our health system, compare it with others in the world, it comes out very strongly on its performance and it also comes out very strongly on how cost effective it is. as we become a wealthier country, we should put more money into our nhs so it's always there for us. we have to do better in terms of public health, have to do better in terms of health education. there are all sorts of things about diabetes and smoking and other things where public health issues can really take the pressure off the nhs. i'm a profound believer that our model is the right one, and as long as i'm prime minister, it will be free at the point of use, available to all on the basis of need, and we will go on putting the money it needs into it. not least because we have taken the difficult decisions elsewhere that some people have been talks about today.
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>> the delayed behind me here. >> good evening, mr. cameron. >> good evening. >> i would just like to ask, is it really so difficult to achieve the emergency waiting times, found a best way, and what are the actual blockers? it seems every week in the media we're not hitting these targets. what are your plans moving forward? >> i think you make a really good point. actually the local hospital here does meet the target of seeing 95% of people within 4 hours. it's important to have that target because we want to know we're getting the best out of our nhs. the problem we've had recently is just the number of elderly in our country, growth of the population of our country has put a lot of pressure on the nrkts nhs. my solution of having seven day openings for gp and making sure gp surgeries easier to access for people will take pressure off the nhs. i think making sure social care works together better with the nhs so we begin thecombine the budgets
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and help get elderly people out of hospital, blocked in beds when they could be looked after at home, those things will keep the pressure off. it's always going to be hard work to make sure we deliver these -- >> before we leave it, do you have an answer to the question which is why don't people trust the conservatives on the nhs or -- >> i mean, to me it is my life's work. i profoundly believe that the nhs grows with a conservative government like what i've been leading. we put the money in. i care about it passionately. and i've got seven days left to prove to people that the nhs together -- also i'd make this point, you only ultimately have a strong nhs if you have a strong economy. we have the strong economy now. don't put that at risk. you know where they cut the nhs? portugal. terrible economy. cut the nhs 17%. greece catastrophic economy. cut the nhs 13%. it's the economies that tank and bomb when you can't support the health service that our country needs. i think we all deserve -- >> all right. let's go on. [ applause ] doug wilson, a question from
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doug wilson. you have your hands up. >> yes, mr. cameron. i'd like to ask if we remain in the eu, how will you and how can you control immigration? >> yes very important question. we can control immigration from outside the eu in the way we do now by closing down these bogus colleges and we've closed down about 800 of them and can do it by having a cap on migration for economic reasons coming into the country. >> can you get that done? >> i'm getting to that. inside the eu, the key changes i'm going to make if you re-elect me are these. first of all anyone coming from an eu country cannot claim unemployment benefit while they're looking for a job. second, if they're here after six months and haven't got a job, they have to go home. third, you have to work here for four years paying into the system before you get tax credits and other benefits out of the system. and fourth if you're living here because your family's back at home, you will no longer be able to send the child benefit home to your family. now, those four changes are big changes. they'll make a real difference
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and help us to control immigration immigration. if i'm prime minister, that's what you'll get. [ applause ] >> just a couple of points. i'm sure a lot of people have questions on this. a couple of points. first of all, we looked at the figures of this. under 6% of eu nationals living in this country claim benefits of any kind. under 6%. >> i'm not -- >> you're saying stopping that is going to hugely reduce the number. the other thing is -- >> let me answer that one. >> the point i'm saying the in-work benefits. at the moment -- >> someone coming from the an eu country is effectively getting around 8,000 pounds to come and work here. i'm not saying they shouldn't be able to come and work here. british people can go and work in other european countries. but we do have a benefit system that skews it in favor of people coming to work here. that needs to change. now, that needs change in europe. you need a prime minister that's prepared to make change. >> one other thing, sorry -- how much do you want to get the net migration from outside the eu
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down? do you have a figure in your head for that? >> i have a combined figure. i want to see net immigration into the eu come down under 100,000. the reason i set that target is back in the 1990s, we were members of the eu. we had an open and successful economy. before they got in and opened the doors we had net migration in the tens of thousands, not hundreds of thousands. i believe that's the right ambition. >> all right. the person there in the orange -- in the purple. you, sir. >> you made similar promises in 2010. you lied. immigration most. how can we believe you now? >> let me answer that very directly. i made the promise and outside the eu we did get immigration down. inside the eu, partly because the rest of the eu's economy has not performed and we've created more jobs than the rest of the eu put together, it's been very difficult to meet that target. i now need to make these benefit change ps changes, welfare changes things i described and need to negotiate those in europe. i would argue i have a track record of that. i cut the european budget.
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first prime minister ever to do it. i vetoed the european treaty because it wasn't in our national interest. i've kept britain out of the euro. i can deliver these things in europe, but i need your mandate, sir, in seven days' time to get out there and win a deal for britain, controls immigration gets us a better position in europe and with me, you'll get that. in our referendum, you the british people deciding before the end of 2017. >> lady here. [ applause ] >> good evening, mr. cameron. >> good evening. >> i work in housing. i deal a lot with the homeless that live in bradford. a lot of those come from eastern european countries who are not able to access those types of benefits that we're talking about. what can the community do in relation to dealing with that? because it just causes problems related to crime and drug substance abuse. >> i think we need to go back to a system much more where, of course, you are free to travel around europe to work in a different european country. but you're not free simply to
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travel around europe in order to claim benefits. freedom of movement was always meant to be about the freedom to go and take a job. it was not freedom to go and claim benefits. so those rules need to be tougher. that's not what our benefit system is there for. >> all right. you, sir there. >> yes mr. cameron. all these questions you're being asked have a moral dimension and you keep answering them in terms of economics. i'd like you to engage a little bit more with the moral die dimensions that these questions are asking. [ applause ] >> to me helping someone to get a job has a moral dimension. it gives them the dignity and pride that comes with work. helping someone to get an apprenticeship, that has a moral dimension. it gives someone the chance of a career and success. building a house for the young can afford to buy and own that has a moral dimension. it gives them a stake in the country they want to live in.
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the plans i have for the next five years is about taking the economic foundation we've built the last five year all the shared sacrifice we've been to but not putting that to waste saying let's now turn that into jobs, into pay into houses, into good school places. yes, also, into that sense at the end of your life that this is a country where if you work hard, save, do the right thing, you should get that dignity and security in retirement that's the right of everyone who lives in our country. >> matthew, with a question, please. >> hi, david. >> hi. hi. >> if you're in a situation where you have to team up with another party, what policy would you be willing to compromise? >> i'm going to be really -- it's -- [ applause ] i'm going to disappoint you because we've got seven days to go, and i'm gong to fight everything i've got those next seven days to get an overall majority. and the reason why i think that's right is look i think a strong decisive -- a more accountability government where
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you're not trading away -- that's the trouble with coalition. you've got a great manifesto you don't quite win the election, you go into some dark room with nick clag or someone else and start giving away some of the things in your program. i don't want to do that. i have a great program about building these houses creating these jobs funding these apprenticeships, helping people with pensions and crucially this european referendum which i've said absolutely that is a red line. i don't want to give any of these things away, so i'm going o to spend the next seven days for victory and if enough people are watching this program back at home backing me, we can have the whole of the manifesto rather that bartered away in a darkened ed room. >> wa you said five years ago, we must sort things out as quickly as foblpossible for the good of the country. i want to make a big offer for the -- now it's getting closer to a dark room with -- [ applause ] >> what i'm saying, the last
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election wasn't decisive. i believe i did the right thing by forming a coalition and having a decisive government to deal with the mess that we left. i'm saying this time i think we can go one better. i'm saying let's have a decisive outcome and these things don't have to be compromised on and can have a really decisive government, more accountable government for you as a citizen. >> all right. you, sir? >> sorry. >> sir? >> winning by a mile is a good hope, but say you don't, then what if you have to be in a coalition with somebody else. that question -- >> let me give one specific example, something i've been very clear about. >> i think the british people really do deserve a referendum on whether to stay in a reformed european union or leave. i've been very clear that i will not lead a government that does not deliver that pledge. so i couldn't be clearer about that red line. i think people frankly, have been let down too many times about this issue. and i want everyone holding that stubby pencil in their hands in
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the voting booth in a week's time to know if you get me as prime minister, you get that chance to have that in a referendum. >> so if you couldn't glompb with the liberal democrats on those grounds, you wouldn't -- >> you correctly interpreted what i've said. >> what happens to the government of the country? >> i'm say if i'm to form a government, and i hope to win the election in seven days' time, we're 23 seats short of an overall majority. so i hope to govern the country as a majority. but if i don't, for whatever reason, i've been very clear i would not lead a government that did not contain that pledge. >> all right. >> couldn't be clearer. >> briefly, you, sir? >> more likely to actually win that overall majority if you treated voters with the intelligence they have and answer their questions in terms of what if or what might happen if there was a coalition that needed -- treat people with their intelligence. >> i think that it's fair in the last seven days to do everything
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you can to try and win. i want to use the limited time i've got including the 28 minutes tonight to explain why a conservative majority government would be good for britain. i think we'd go further and faster in clearing the deficit, in building thoses homes and providing those pensions. that's what i want to do. >> you've had your -- >> let me take this point. people know with me if we fall short, i'll do the right thing for the country. i did last time. i would again. i would still plead with people with seven dayses to go particularly particularly when you're faced with an alternative of a labor government. people don't want our country to succeed or even exist. when that's your alternative, put your trust in 23 more seats for the can rveonservatives and we'll have a strong government. >> david cameron. >> thank you very much. [ applause ]
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>> so our next -- our next party leader is from the labor party. would you welcome ed miliband, please? [ applause ] >> thank you very much. thank you. >> the first question is from elizabeth moody, please. elizabeth moody. >> good evening, mr. miliband. >> hello, elizabeth. >> five years ago the outgoing labor treasury minister left a message, there's no money left. how can we trust the labor party with the uk economy? >> we just saw it by the way, because -- >> david cameron had it in his pocket. >> it's his regular prop. let me directly address you, elizabeth. there was a global financial crisis. there was a high def sit. that deficit hasn't been cleared. it will be the mission of my government to cut the deficit
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every year and balance the books. let me tell you how i'm going to do it. first of all, we'll have fair taxes. we'll reverse david cam ro's tax cut for the richest in our society, millionaires. i can't justify a 43,000 pound tax cut for every millionaire in britain. secondly, we'll protect key areas like health and education but outside those key areas there will be falls in spending because we have to get the deficit down. the final thing concerns your living standard. we see living standards fall over this parliament. as a result, lower living standards means lower tax revenues for government and that's why the deficit hasn't been cleared. so it's a three-part plan to make sure we balance the books. >> but if you look back, and the question was looking back, why should we trust labor in the light of what happened before? so, six years before the crash, you increased borrowing year on year on year on year on year. why should people believe that you're going to get it done? >> the debt and the deficit were both lower before the financial crisis. >> of course they were, but you were increasing the deficit. >> let me address directly the
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issue about the financial crisis. we got it wrong on bank regulation. the mistake we made, and i absolutely say this to this audience was the banks weren't properly regulated. we made that mistake. now the question you've got to consider for the future is who's going to get it right for the future? now, we've learned that lesson. david cameron is saying there should be less bank regulation at the time. leave that to one side. we learned that lesson for the future. i'm the first labor leader david, going into an election saying spending in key area is actually going to fall. that's because i'm so determined, back to elizabeth, that we live within our means. >> all right. the lady -- yes? >> and just going back to your letter for a moment, the letter mr. cameron, you call is a prop. i run a business here. the last five years has been really hard work. we have a plan and the economy is improving. for me back in as a chancellor and he called that letter a joke. let me tell you, running a business the last few years is anything but a joke, and if
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that's the way your party wants to treat the economy, how can we trust you? [ applause ] >> what does your business do? >> i employ 76 people here in the city. >> let me tell you very specifically what i think we need to do for businesses like yours and this does go to the big choice of this election. there will be some people who tell you that the way we succeed as a country as long as a few people at the top do well in large corporations, that will power the economy. i've got a different view, and that's your choice for the next five years. i think it's when working people, every person in our country succeeds in britain -- now for your business, we make a different choice from mr. cameron. he wants to cut taxes further for the largest businesses. i would cut your business rates if i was prime minister. that's important, i hope, for your business, but i think it tells a bigger story about how britain succeeds. as i say, i think it succeeds
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not just with a few successful corporations but with millions of businesses and millions of working people. >> does that satisfy you? >> no. that wasn't the question i asked you. i asked why i should trust the chancellor who thinks the leter was a joke. if he worked in the corporate world, he would have been fired and not be allowed back to do that job. you're telling me -- [ applause ] >> let me tell you, i can tell you, i take incredibly seriously the need to get the deficit down. it was on the front fajpage of our manifesto. that's why he's going into this election telling our colleagues in departments that spending is going to fall. you have to make your decision but we are absolutely deadly serious about getting the deficit down and balancing the books. >> i also think mr. miliband you talk about big businesses. i was today with the biggest private employer in the uk. they talked about behaving their way, the problems they've made. i think that's something politicians have got to think about, too. >> all right. >> we need strong big business
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in the country. >> we do. one thing -- can i just comment on that? >> yes y ees. >> the one thing business needs this is a difference of view, we need to stay within the european union. it would be a disaster for our businesses. give david cameron credit. he believes in staying in the eu. i feel he's being dragged by his party to exit from the eu. begin, again, i've got to say to this audience, i think that would be a real problem for our country. >> all right. the woman up there at the back. yes, you. >> hi. if your party were in power the gaps between the richest and the poorest? >> what's your name? >> shirley. >> shirley. >> yeah. >> it's a great question shirley. let me answer it directly. yes. there's a rule shirley is referring to called the nondom rule. some may know that and some may not. you can live here/work here, be permanently settled here but not pay taxes here. been in place, believe it or
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not, for 200 years. that's 40 prime ministers. ss sministers. i'm going to it get rid of it. i believe in a country that has one rule for all. david cameron worked to defend that rule. i think he's wrong about that. we have to tackle tax avoidance wherever we find it and make people at the top live up to their responsibilities. >> i hope we can -- [ applause ] i hope we can reach the man sitting right behind me here yes. >> a really simple question. do you accept that when was last in power they overspent? >> no, i don't. i know you may not agree with that, but let me -- let me just say very clearly -- >> even with all the borrowing year on year on year? >> no, i don't. let me tell you, because there are schools that have been rebuilt in our country, there are hospitals that were rebuilt, there were centers that were built which would not have happened. and so i don't agree with that. let me just explain to you the way i see it. there was a global financial kpri sis crisis which caused the
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deficit to rise. now, look, president obama isn't dealing with a high deficit because we built more schools and hospitals. this gentleman here spending's got to fall. >> that's why we will reduce spending. >> all right. you, sir, there. >> what about the financial crisis? australia didn't suffer this. canada didn't suffer this. some other countries didn't suffer. this country suffered because -- how can you stand there and say you didn't overspend and end up bankrupting this country? that is absolutely ludicrous. you're frankly just lying. [ applause ] >> i guess i'm not going to convince you, but -- >> you're not going to convince because the facts speak for themselves. you stood there and said you didn't overspend.
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if i get to the end of the week and i can't afford to buy a pint i've overspent. it means i haven't got any money left. the government of 13 years and during that 13-year period, you spent, spent you sold gold when it was low. if we sold the gold now, we'd be pretty much better off. you can't stand there and say -- >> the point you made, i think i'm not going to convince you. >> that's what happened under the last government. >> let me come back on this. you said something very important which is that some other countries didn't suffer from that. that's because they were less exposed to financial services. >> i'm sorry, financial services. financial services actually brought millions and millions and millions of pounds into this country. millions of pounds which you then spent and spent irresponsibly. >> i want to make this point, david. i want to make this point. i think what we didn't do enough of is build up other industries sure financial services are important including here.
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look, the reality is that we didn't do enough on apprenticeship. we didn't do enough on the modern industrial port and we aren't doing enough now. one industry. so my point is as you need a more diverse and more diverse industrial base. that's also a stake in this election. >> i come to you. we're going to keep moving around the audience. i don't want two or three people to get all the -- >> if you can't accept that you overspent in the last government, then why on earth should we trust you not to do it again if you can't even realize that's what you did? they cut the deficit by half. why should we trust you not to do the same thing? if you can't accept that you overspent? >> you and other audience members, goes back to elizabeth's question, there are some parties in this election saying no cuts at all. i'm not saying that. mr. cameron, he didn't say this earlier, wants to double the cuts next year. not just the same cuts as in the last parliament, double the cuts. now, i think that would be incredible dangerous force. >> because you want to -- you're saying you don't want people from my age group to be in
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dealt, yet you're committed to borrowing even more. >> no, we're committing to a balanced plan which balancing -- not going much further and i try to set out what that balanced plan is. but, look you and others will have to make a judgment about this because i think we can balance the books without sacrificing our public services. without sacrificing tax credits. jenny asked a question earlier, the very first question of this -- where's jenny who asked the question? i'm afraid david cameron might have sounded like e answerhe answered your question but he didn't. i'm going to give you that guarantee tonight. i'm not going to cut your tax credits. i'm note going to cut child benefit or means testing. i think that would be the wrong thing to do for our country the wrong thing to do for family finances and that's -- i've got to say, after mr. cameron's answers tonight tax credits and child benefits are on the ballot paper of this election because millions of families risk losing thousands of pounds because of a cuts plan that he has. yes, i do disagree with mr. cameron.
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i've got a different plan. >> i think we should move on to another subject. simon wilkinson, please? simon wilkinson. >> why is the labor party misleading the country about having to do a deal with the snp in the event minority labor doesn't -- [ applause ] >> let me be plain. we're not going to do a deal with the scottish national party. we're not going to have a coalition. we're not going to have a deal. let me just say this to you simon. in it meant -- if it meant we weren't going to be in government, not doing a dole coalition, not having a deal, so be it. i'm not going to sacrifice the unity of our country i'm. i'm not going to give into snp demands around trident or deficit or anything like that. i want to repeat this point to you. i'm not going to have a labor government if it means deals for coalitions with a scottish national party. i want to say this to folks in scotland, david. there's no easy route here to vote snp and get a labor government. if you want a labor government,
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you need to vote labor. >> we know the members of the shadow cabinet say they're open to deals. you disagree with that? >> i do. i'm the leader. we wouldn't have deals. >> you wouldn't support the -- you wouldn't go to the queen and have them accept an invitation -- >> we want the labor queen's speech. i want a labor majority government. it would be for the party in the house of commons to vote for it. you asked me about deals, coalitions. they're not going to happen. i couldn't be clearer with you. >> you said something rather interesting. you said you'd rather not have a labor government than have a labor government supported by the snp? >> a labor government with a coalition or a deal. look, the -- >> what's a deal in your terms? in your language. >> lots of different kind of deals. coalition, where they're called -- >> coalitionministers in your cabinet. what is a deal? >> confidence in supply, they said, where you sort of have an arrangement. i'm not doing that. i'm not doing that. and i want to explain why i'm not doing it. >> sorry, so you'd rather lose office, so to speak? you'd rather not have a labor
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government to do that? >> if the price of having a labor government with a coalition or deal with the scottish national party, not doing to happen. >> okay. >> yes you, sir? let's have people who haven't spoken already. yes? >> in that case, does that rule out a future labor government? because you're not going to win the most seats in the uk. >> no. look first of all, i don't want to sound like the previous bloat blote, mr. cameron. look, i'm going to fight as hard as i can for as many seats as i can. i want to make this point about the snp. the reason why i reject the snp, they're, by the way, fighting us in scotland. the reason i reject it is because they want to break up the country. not only that, they used to say that the referendum was a once
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in a lifetime experience. that's what they said before the last referendum. now nicholas sturgeon isopening the door to another coalition. >> the problem is you do sound a lot like the other guy because both of you seem to not entertain the possibility that you might not get a majority which is absolutely ridiculous. >> sure. >> you really need to be honest with voters about what you might do in the event that you do. >> what was your name? i'm sorry. >> rebecca. >> rebecca, let me try and do better than the other guy on this one. you know, he was saying at the end, david cameron that if you didn't get a majority, it meant this business of going into a darkened room with nick clage. i don't like the sound of that at all for a whole range of reasons. but i don't like it for one -- for one particular reason. i'm not going to start bartering away my manifesto whatever the outcome of the election, right? even if i don't win a majority i've got a manifesto. you know, some of you may have
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read it. not that many people. some people may have read it. but itst's out there. if i'm the prime minister i'm going to do everything i can to get my manifesto, not start trading for anyone else's manifesto manifesto. we're in a new world in britain. it was the first coalition obviously this coal list for a long time. it's not about saying going to a darkened room with somebody and start taking off parts of your manifesto. it's not going to happen if i'm prime minister. >> we'll go to another subject. alicia, please? >> what makes your view more important than the british people when its s it comes to an in and out -- >> sure. >> it's actually alicia. >> it's about leadership what i want to achieve as prime minister. when i look at the country what do i think the biggest problems in the country are? i think five years of wages
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falling behind bills and the threat is going to happen again. i think five years of young people thinking they're going to have a worse life than their parents. five years of an nhs in crisis. if i'm prime minister in seven or eight days' time, i want to spend all of my energy on those issues. not on deciding whether we want to exit the european union which i think frankly will be a disaster for the country. >> suppose she wants -- >> your view is more important than mine and everybody else here? >> i do -- i do respect that point of view but i don't agree with it because i'm putting my view forward. i think one of the things -- >> will you put ours forward? >> you do at the general election. one thing about leadership, you don't always do what the poll tell you to do. you do what you think is the right thing for the country. i've got to level with you and level with the country that i don't think the right thing for our country to do now is plunge ourselves into two years of debating whether to leave the eu when i've got to tell you that for jobs and the millions of jobs that depend on it for businesses and for families, it
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will be a disaster. now, there's one thing i will say to you which is any further transfer of powers from britain to the european union, we would have a referendum. unlikely to happen, though. in a way you have to make your own judgment about what is the most important issue to you. for me, it isn't trying to get out of the eu. >> okay. [ applause ] >> so you don't want a referendum, the debate that brings. a second election because you won't form a majority government? >> i don't want -- >> if you don't go majority you're not going to go the snp? >> i want to govern. i want to govern and change the country. and i think -- i just got to say to you, the stakes are incredibly high. you know you get this choice once every five years. do you want a country run for the richest and most powerful the nondoms the lady talked about at the top? for jenny, her tax credits aren't safe. that's the choice of this election. that is a choice facing the british people. >> couple more people. the woman there then i'll come to you and we'll move on.
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yes? >> yes, hello good evening. the conservative party has made cuts to education. how would you propose to endure the damage cuts to education. how would you propose to endure the damage done by the -- >> education which we may come to. i want to stick to the subject of the eu if you don't mind while we're on it. yes. >> mr. miliband. >>ly. >> you know when people ask you a question about forming a coalition, you say no, i want the majority mr. cameron said the same. do you comprehend how much respect you would get from the audience if you were truly honest. >> sir, i'm saying to you -- [ applause ] i'm absolutely not saying to you i'm guaranteed the majority. i'm working for it. and i guess you'll respect me saying that. but i tried to answer the lady on the end who asked a question about the circumstances of not getting a majority. and i tried to outline my approach. as i said, my approach is not to start to barter away different
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bits of the manifesto. the reason i say that is because i think trust in politics, which is a pretty fragile thing anyway, is incredibly low. so the idea that nick clegg says i'm breaking my tuition fees promise and david cameron says i'm breaking my vat promise and they blame each other and the coalition, that's not going to be my approach. whatever the circumstances. if i'm prime minister, i'm going to seek to implement all of my manifesto. >> i'm going to get back to the lady there. just one brief question on this and an answer if you would. >> the conservative party have made up to 20% cuts in education. how do you propose to undo the damage done by the savage cuts to adult education made by this government? >> have you had experience of this? >> yes we have. i work in f.e. >> what we've said for the future, i can't guarantee to reverse what's already been done but what we've said for the future is we will protect education spending. so it will be protected at least against inflation. now, the reason why we've made that choice, which we haven't made in other government departments, is because i think
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investing in education investing in the future is essential not just for our society but our economy as well. i think it's a false economy to start cutting back on education spending. i can't promise to immediately reverse the damage and i'm not going to make a false promise to you. >> but adults in further education -- >> yes indeed. >> ufrlts or pliermrimary -- >> yes. we have made that promise. >> amy green. >> mr. miliband -- the welfare bill skyrocket. i'm over here. >> hi. sorry. [ laughter ] >> it's okay. it's a vote for yourself. the welfare bill skyrocket. >> no. let me explain why. i believe in a welfare system with responsibility. responsibility means that if you can work you should work. we're the only party at this election putting forward a proposal saying if you're a young person unemployed more than a year we'll guarantee you a job working with the private sector but if you don't take the job you'll lose benefits. because i think that actually
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responsibility is a foundation of the welfare system. but let me just say one more thing to you, amy because it's important for keeping control of the welfare bill. take the issue of housing benefit. you may not be obvious but the housing benefit bill's gone up a lot in the last five years for those in work. the reason for that is we have an economy based on low pay and we're not building up enough homes in our country. that's why we have an eight-pound minimum wage and that's why we'll build homes again in britain. dealing with the welfare bill is about responsibility but it's also about tackling the underlying factors that are driving the welfare bill up. like our low pay economy that doesn't work for working people. and this is all connected. because our economy doesn't work for most people and works for the richest in our society in my view, if means that the welfare bill's higher. it means that people are having a harder life and working all the hours. we'll keep it under control. >> the benefits of a legitimate lifestyle choice. >> no. >> i think they do. you say about raising minimum wage and you're going to guarantee jobs. i work in recruitment.
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where are those jobs going to come from? >> they're going to come from working with the private sector to help create those jobs. apprenticeships for our young people so actually they're the skilled people that the private sector needs. a proper industrial policy which will help the private sector. cutting business rates which will also help grow the economy and help grow jobs. leading in the big industries of the future like green industry. take climate change for example. some people see that as a burden. it isn't a burden. it's a necessity to tackle it and a challenge to lead as a country in one of the most important industries of the future. >> can we come back to welfare? [ applause ] is your plan to cut the welfare bill, to increase it? >> there's a cap on the welfare bill which the government has put in place. we'll keep to within that cap. >> the ifs says your commitment to being tough on welfare amounts to almost nothing. >> well i don't agree with them. >> where have they gone wrong? they've analyzed everybody's -- >> let me give you an example.
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i want to help pensioners in our country. we're going to have a triple lock on the basic state pension. that means pensions going up by 2 1/2% but we have said that the winter fuel-outs will not continue to grow to pensions with incomes above 43,000 pounds a year because i don't think i can justify that in the times we're in. but i think this point about the drivers of the welfare bill and what is making it go up is the key thing underlining it. >> i'm trying to go to different people who haven't spoken yet. >> are you essentially telling us that you're expecting the private sector to fund the gaps in the welfare bill? because there's only so much that employers can actually do to -- you can't keep expecting -- you're talking about zero hours contract changes. you're talking about getting people to working in the private sector after a year. how are employers supposed to afford all of this stuff?
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being an employer is a very, very expensive business as it is. >> we're definitely not expecting employers to fund the welfare bill. but my point at the moment is the welfare bill is actually spending billions and billions of pounds subsidizing low pay in our country. i'm afraid that's the sort of reality. now, we've got to raise the minimum wage in a way that is cautious. we've got to do it so it doesn't put people out of work. and that's what we'll do. but i think we've also got to confront the fact that because we're one of the low-pay capitals of europe we are spending tens of billions of pounds on welfare as a result of that. so it's about working with the private sector to make sure you can raise wages. >> on that point let me bring in chris mcgee, please. >> a ban on zero hours contracts will prevent me from growing my small business. isn't it time the labour party put business before gimmicks and sound bites? [ applause ] >> and there's more evidence that people like zero hours contracts than dislike them. >> chris, what's your business
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in. >> it's tourism business. when the sun shines i've got business. if the sun doesn't shine i don't. so zero hours contracts would be good for me. >> the sun always shines in yorkshire. >> whenever there's a cycle race there is. >> let me tell you about my policy and then you come back and say how it might affect you. our policy is this, that after 12 weeks an employee will have a right to a regular contract, not a zero hours contract, based on the average number of hours that they've done. and if the employee wants to carry on with the zero hours contract they can but we think that should be in the hands of the employee having the right to a regular contract. let me explain why i say that. i know this may be difficult for your business but let me explain the reasons for that. i don't think we can base the future of our economy on the economy -- i meet lots of people on zero hours contracts that people don't know from one day to the next how many hours they're doing or what wage they're going to be getting. mr. cameron was honest enough to say the other day he couldn't live on a zero hours contract. well, nor could i. but if i can't live on it and he
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can't live on it i don't think we should make the british people live on it. that's the logic of my position. [ applause ] >> ryan furlong, please. >> hi. what are you going to do differently about imarbitration? >> i changed labour's position. and let me tell you what we're going to do. under a labour government when people come here they won't get benefits for at least the first two years. we're going tone sure that in our public services our people learn english. but i think everyone who comes here should learn english. and thirdly, we're going to stop something which i think frankly should have been stopped a long time ago, which is employers bringing people into this country, exploiting migrant labor, and undercutting wages. let me give you a fact brian. there have been -- [ applause ] there have been two prosecutions for failure to pay the minimum wage in the last five years. now, the notion that that reflects what's actually happening in the world of work
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is of course nonsense. and even the government's own migration advisory committee have said that is one of the things that is bringing low-skilled labor into here. the notion that some rogue employees, and i emphasize some because most employers don't do this, can get away with bringing migrant labor in and undercutting wages. so the last thing i want to say to you is this. i don't believe it's prejudiced to worry about immigration. some people say it is. i don't believe it is. i think people's concerns are real. i see it with my constituency in doncaster. and we're going to deal with -- >> why don't you set a target, then? refuse to set a target when she criticizes the conservative patt policy on it but isn't willing to commit to any kind of number at all. is it just free-for-all, everyone who wants to come here can come here regardless of economic suitability or affordability, and where is everyone going to live? [ applause ] >> what's your name? >> jo. >> jo.
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i'll tell you why i'm not going to set a target. because i don't want to stand on the stage in five years' time and -- >> you -- >> let him answer. >> let me finish this answer. that i've broken my promise. this is a really important point. david cameron stood on the stage five years ago and said he'd get net yi78 grace to 10,000. it's 219,000. >> but you're not even -- >> let him answer. >> i'm not going to pluck a target out of the air. it's not the right thing to do. i can't -- trust in politics trust is so low in politics for reasons i understand, because of broken promises in the past. i want to be the first politician to underpromise and overdeliver, not overpromise and underdeliver. and look, sometimes -- sometimes that means i'll get a hard time from people like jo because i'm not making the easy promise. but i'm not the guy who's going to make the easy promises. because all it does is it makes people think you're all going to
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break your promises. >> no, no no. i'm afraid we've come to the end of those 28 minutes. >> it flew by for me. maybe not for the audience. >> thank you very much, mr. miliband miliband. >> thank you. [ applause ] >> so the last of our three leaders now. from the liberal democrat party, the leader of the liberal democrats, would you welcome nick clegg. [ applause ] and mr. clegg the first question comes from darren metcalfe, please. darren metcalfe. >> nick. >> hi, darren. >> how are you? your promise on student loans has destroyed your reputation. why would we ever believe anything else you say?
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[ applause ] >> nice easy way to start. look, firstly, i got it wrong. i said sorry. musically, no less. when you make a mistake in politics just as in life in politics just as in life sometimes you can't do exactly what you want. i was absolutely between a rock and a hard place five years ago on that particular policy. secondly, i hope you can at least give me credit for the many, many other things that i have actually put into practice, whether it's taking lots of people on low pay out of paying any income tax. the biggest expansion of apprenticeships this country's ever seen. the biggest reform of our pension system in a generation. more money into schools to help with the education of disadvantaged children. more childcare. shared parental leave. healthy lunches for little kids at primary school. the list goes on. i accept for some people, and you may be one of them for whom that one thing you can't forgive, you can't forget -- >> why did you vote for it and not just abstain? because it was such a key thing. you had all your candidates
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going around to these things. why didn't you abstain when it came to the vote? rather than vote in favor. that's the thing that upset people. >> well, i mean, what happened as you may remember was the previous government, the labour government introduced fees and then increased them. when we came into government there, was no money left. david cameron's just been waving around the letter which provided to the liberal democrat chief secretary of the treasury at the time saying there was no money left. and both the larger parties as they i think would admit if you asked them about it wanted fees to go up very considerably. the report commissioned at the time into all this said there should be no limit at all. in a sense what we did is get the fairest deal we could in those circumstances. and thankfully you've now got more young people at university than ever before. as i said earlier my experience is some people will say i can't forget that. i hope there are plenty of other fair-minded folk who will accept that nonetheless there are many many, many other good policies that i did put into practice. >> anybody want to come in on this? you, sir in the middle.
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yes, you in the center. >> policy of increasing tuition fees, essentially robbing from the rich you're taking money away from future generations to go to university because the economy's going bust by people not repaying their fees, not getting enough money to be able to make the threshold. and the policies are completely defunct. >> no, i don't agree with that. under the old system we inherited if you left university you had to stop repaying the moment you earned 15,000 pounds. now you don't pay back if you earn 16 17, 18, 19 20:00 you only start paying back when you earn -- >> that's precisely my point. >> no. well, you're right -- some people say it's not generous enough. you're saying it's too generous. you're right to say that no one needs to pay up front. thousands of students under the old system who used to have to pay up front or ask their parents to do so. and crucially if you can't pay it off during your working life it gets paid off for you. so in a sense it's a much, much
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more fair system. it's not the system i would have liked. but it's a much, much more fair system than people alleged at the time it was introduced. >> the question was about trust. you, sir, in the blue pullover there with the tie. yes. second row from the back. >> hi mr. clark. the public suggests -- >> did you say prime minister clegg? mr. clegg. i thought you said prime minister clegg for a moment. >> the public says they can't forgive that one thing. in hindsight would you go into coalition in 2010 again? >> yes, absolutely. the more i look back the more i think it's a brave decision for the liberal democrats. it's come at a political cost. but it's clear in my mind -- we could have been greece. our deficit was almost as big as greece's. our banking crisis was a whole lot worse. and i certainly wouldn't have wanted on my conscience higher interest rates higher unemployment higher youth unemployment, which i'm absolutely sure would have happened if we hadn't stepped up
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to the plate to create a stable government without which an economic recovery is not possible. and my great concern at the moment is that having got this far over five years, and millions of people across the country having made huge sacrifices to get us this far after that terrible heart attack in our economy back in 2008 that we undo it all by lurching off -- [ no audio ]
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[ no audio ] >> we've temporarily lost our feed from the bbc. we're working to restore it and hope to resume coverage in just a moment or two. >> 1,500 pounds off 8 million of the most vulnerable families. we can only assume that they're looking at the kind of plans which they floated some years ago. >> did you know about it when it happened? >> yes but if they're -- >> we didn't know. it only came out today. that's what she means. something you discovered and worked on in coalition which has been kept secret until today. it's a way of attacking the tory party. >> last summer george osborne made a speech at the conservative party conference and he said that the conservative party in a radical departure from the sensible way which we've adopted over the last five years to balance the books, are not going to ask the very wealthy in society to pay a single extra penny in tax to balance the books and instead only the working-age poor are going to pick up the tab for the mistakes made by the bankers. i think that's unfair. they've said they want to take
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the equivalent of 1,500 pounds off the 8 million poorest families in this country. they won't tell you how they'll do that. 12 billion pounds is about exactly as much as we spend as a country on disability living allowance. are they going to scrap disability allowance? are they going to scrap it? it's about the same as we spend on employment support allowance. are they going to scrap that? i think the point that danny was making quite rightly is we've had five weeks of this election campaign. the conservators have a very unfair plan to balance the books which departs from what we've done in coalition. and i think we are entitled to say what are you going to do? who are you going to hurt? who's going to bear the pain? >> the woman back there. >> i don't think voters want to hear reasons why not to vote for another party. we want reasons why to vote for your party. >> sure. [ applause ] that's fair. but i think also voters want to know what the choices are. and i think at the moment the fundamental choices are a
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conservative plan which i've just described which i think wants to ballot books, which we must do, but wants to do so unfairly, and a labour plan which still won't give you any time table or any detail or any plan about how to balance the books in the first place. i think one of the most important things, whoever is in government, in whatever combination -- and by the way, unlike ed miliband and david cameron i'm not pretending i'm going to be prime minister next thursday. i wish it were otherwise, but i doubt it's an impending prospect. i think they know they're not going to be prime minister. they're not coming clean with you. that they're going to have to make compromises as well. all i'm saying is in the decisions about how we govern ourselves after next thursday when you cast your vote one of the most important questions is how do you finish the job of wiping the slate clean so that our kids and our grandkids don't continue to pay the price for our generations' debts but you do so fairly. and that's why i think the center-ground position from the
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liberal democrats makes more sense than excessive cuts or excessive borrowing. >> somebody's got to be prime minister. who are you going to make prime minister? hang on. if you were in a position to decide. >> here's the most unsurprising assertion of the evening. either david cameron or ed miliband are going to be prime minister. >> it may be no prime minister. it may be so badly mashed about by the election nobody can form a majority. >> everybody's got to behave in a grownup responsible way even if they don't -- >> we heard ed miliband here say he wouldn't depend on the scottish national party. >> should i try to answer the question? >> yes. >> david cam sxron ed miliband are going to walk into number 10 as prime minister. i don't think that's much in doubt. you have to decide which of those two. the real question is who's going to go in alongside them? alex hammond? is it going to be nigel farraj? or is it going to be me and the liberal democrats? my great fear as i said earlier is if you have david cameron to the tune of nigel farraj or the
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swivel-eyed brigade on the right wing of the conservative party or you have ed miliband basically the beck and call of alex hammond you lurch off to the right and the left which is not what we need as a country. >> you sir. [ applause ] then i'll come to you. >> that's all well and good. but you've just told us that in 2010 you had to make a very difficult decision on tuition fees. how do we know that you won't have to make a very difficult decision again around the things you're promising us tonight? >> and that's a totally fair challenge. and that's why i've been much clearer and crisper, i hope maybe you didn't hear it about the red lines without which the liberal democrats simply won't go into any coalition government. for instance, education spending, you just heard ed miliband say that the labour party wants into crease education spending to keep up with prices. what he didn't tell you is that there were going to be 460,000 new youngsters going into education system. so you need to increase spending to help them as well. the conservatives want to do the referring, keep up with
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increased pupil number but not with prices. both amount to a cut, a multibillion-pound cut to the money that goes into our nurseries, our schools and our colleges. i cannot be more clean than you -- with you. the liberal democrats will not go into any coalition, any government. we won't sign a coalition agreement unless -- if either of those parties insist on those cuts to our education system because i think that really is short-changing the little children of today, who should be given just as much -- >> you mean you want more than just a standstill because you've said there are, what is it 400,000 people coming into education. you want a big expansion of the education budget. >> i think the increase of the budget needs to keep pace not only with prices but also with the increase of the numbers. >> do you have any idea what the cost of that would be? >> it would be another 5 billion pounds by the final year of the next parliament. >> and you can find that? >> yes. >> you think. you, sir. >> i just wondered if you've got plans for a new job after next week when you become unemployed and it becomes irrelevant. >> charming. no i don't.
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>> all right. david jackson. question from david jackson, please. >> nick. how do you feel about the huge increase of people driven to use food banks many of them in work poverty or falling foul of benefit sanctions? >> well, i think like everybody here i don't -- it's very -- it's very distressing to see an increasing number of people move into food banks. and that's why every day that i've been in government over the last five years as we had to clean up this unholy mess we inherited, this massive black hole in our public finances, a broken banking system the biggest heart attack in our economy in a generation i've always tried to take decisions where we spread the burden as fairly as possible. so for instance i have resisted time and time again much, much deeper cuts to benefits to the help given to the most vulnerable, those who fall on hard times as advocated by conservatives in government.
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when people get back into work particularly those on low pay, i'd be very anxious to make sure they keep more of the money they earn. when i came into government, everybody here, all of us would start paying income tax the moment you earned 6,400 pounds. on the front page of your well-thumbed copy of the 2010 liberal democrat manifesto you would have seen an absolute leading commitment which we did stick to which was that we would raise the point at which you pay income tax. sow pay no income tax on the first 10,600 pounds you earn. that has actually meant 3 million people over 3 million people on low pay pay no income tax for the first time ever. the final thing i would say is about the benefit sanctions which you mentioned. i do -- i have become persuaded listening to the trestle trust and others who provided evidence about the reasons people are using food banks. i have become persuaded that we need in effect a kind of yellow card system that some of the sanctions that applied to people who don't meet the conditions of their benefits shouldn't be imposed quite as harshly and
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automatically as they are. and that is a change i would want to introduce in the next parliament. [ applause ] >> good evening, nick. i do think you're an honorable man, but what you're forgetting is that all these sanctions are in place because you put cameron into number 10. you didn't have a majority. so there would be no work program, nowhere near as many benefit sanctions and you could have made a different choice, and that's why people don't trust you. people like me that voted for you in the election did not vote liberal democrat to put cameron in number 10. >> hang on. just explain what did you expect? what did you want? >> i'm sorry. >> what did you want? >> my preference would have been for him to have continued negotiations with labour, which i think a lot of liberal democrat natural voters would vote for labour that protested. >> qi just make -- there's just the little matter of democracy. >> you could have chosen. >> no. >> you did choose. >> no. >> accept responsibility. you did choose.
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that was your choice. >> that's not actually the case. after the last election no one won a majority. whether you and i like it or not, the liberal democrats did not win. i'm not prime minister. i lead a party of 8% of mps in the house of commons. and it was the conservatives that won the most votes and seats. >> you're slagging each other off. david cameron said you were a great team and now you're slagging each other off. >> and he keeps talking about darkened rooms, ed miliband. if either of them thinks they're going to win a majority they need to go lie down in that darkened room. the point -- [ applause ] the point i'd like to make to you and to everybody is this, is that you are the boss. right? we are your servants. you give us through the way you vote next thursday our marching instructions. and last time the marching instructions were very, very clear. the only way we could create a stable government at a time of economic firestorm which could engulf this country, we could have been the next domino to
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fall after greece and portugal and spain was the conservatives -- >> it's nothing like greece, our economy. and you know it. our economy is nothing like greece. comparing this country to the economy of greece. you're not that stupid. >> no, i don't. with the greatest respect, please don't be complacent about the state of the british economy. our banking crisis was considerably worse than greece's. our deficit was just as bad -- >> what about our assets? >> if you want to see what happens where people don't step up to the plate, however controversial it is, to provide stable government, look at the 50% youth unemployment in many other european countries where governments haven't got to grips with the economic crisis. i will never apologize never apologize. whatever the short-term political effects. on the liberal democrats. for having stepped up to the plate in a very plucky and brave way to put the country before party. [ applause ] >> all right.
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>> i don't know whether the color of your pullover is -- >> yellow. >> it does say something does it? >> no. >> your question. >> good evening, mr. clegg. you mentioned about democracy. do i assume from that that when the phone rings on friday morning, next friday morning, that the first person you will speak to will be the person who has most seats? >> yeah. i think the party that gets the biggest mandate from you, in other words, the party with the most votes and the most seats, even if they haven't got a slam dunk result, has in a democracy the result -- the right forgive me, to make -- if you like the first move to reach out to other parties to assemble a government if they so choose. it may not work out. other parties may not reciprocate. and then other arrangements might need to be arrived at. but i think in a democracy it just seems to me a pretty old-fashioned principle that the party that's got its nose ahead of the other parties because of the way you vote even if they haven't got an outright majority, has got the mandate to
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try and put together a government. >> all right. before we go into another question, does anybody else want to speak about food banks? specifically. which was the question we had. taken point. no? all right. let's go on to a question from grace davis please. grace davis. >> is free movement within the uk creating a problem -- in the eu creating a problem in the uk? >> free movement in the eu, is it creating a problem in the uk? i think it did create a problem when free movement became kind of the same as the freedom to claim. i don't think the freedom to move is the same as the freedom to claim. so even though i am pro european, not because i think it's perfect but i think it makes sense for an open economy to be part of the world's largest marketplace even though i am pro european, i decided as deputy prime minister in this coalition government to break that link so that people couldn't arrive here from elsewhere in the european union and claim benefits, no questions asked, on the first day they arrive. by the way, i would also point out it is a two-way street.
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there are roughly about as many brits living and working elsewhere in the european union than there are europeans working in our country. we've got to remember it's also a freedom which many of us, british people also benefit from in europe. >> where do you stand on the question of a referendum? because we had david cameron saying there was no way he'd do any kind of deal which didn't allow a referendum on europe after the negotiation -- >> so david cameron and i together actually in coalition government legislated for the circumstances in which a referendum will take place. >> you're happy with that? >> i am happy with that. he appears to have changed his mind. i agree. it's perfectly sensible to say to you in law that in future if your palace -- if the sovereignty of our nation is in any way shared or pooled with the european union at that point it should be your choice whether we carry on in the european union or not. it shouldn't be the choice of the parliament or the government of the day. we shouldn't be able to give your powers away behind your back. that is what we legislated for in 2011.
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and there are stirring speeches by william hague and david cameron in the house of commons saying this is the right approach. within months the ink was barely dry on the legislation. the conservatives have now changed their mind again and again and again. but i remain of the view, as i always have done, that we should have a referendum on whether we should stay in or leave the european union when new powers are given up to the european union. and i will, by the way -- again shock, horror. always argue that we must remain part of the european union. i think as we quit we've book poorer. unemployment goes up and investment goes down. [ applause ] >> the logic of what you say in view of what david cameron said earlier on this program is you can't go into coalition with him because you will only allow a referendum if powers are given to the european union. he wants to repatriate some hours and then have a
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referendum. >> you should have taken the opportunity when david cameron was here to ask him about the conservative position. >> you should explain it. you heard him. you were listening in the back room. >> conservatives say they want to renegotiate but -- >> sometimes they say 2016. sometimes they say they're going to leave the european union if they don't get what they want. sometimes they say they'll stay. i don't know what they're going to think on your next tuesday let alone on may the 8th. i think there should be a referendum. i say this is a pro european whether they stay in or go out, when new powers are given up by us as a country to the european -- >> only when new powers are given up. i think you've spoken already. then i'll come to you. yes, sir. >> we've got eight countries. we've got eight countries that are about to possibly leave the european union and we've got stilt eurozone crisis lying underneath. >> eight countries about to leave. >> yeah. we've got spain. we've got cyprus.
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they're in danger of leaving. there's a chance that they will leave soon. we've got the eurozone debt crisis still underneath the surface and we've got 30% government bonds european government bonds trading at negative interest rates. and germany, the heart of the eu, 70% of its government bonds are trading at negative interest rates. i want to know how bad does it have to get before you would think perhaps now we should leave? >> i don't by the way, think eight countries will leave. >> possibility. >> well, everything's a possibility. but i don't -- i absolutely don't think it's going to happen. i'll tell you why. because in a globalized world where we have big borderless threats like climate change, you know, human traffickers and crime which crossed borders, we have these massive corporations that sort of go from one continent to the other, you've got capital flows going from one -- a corner of the planet to the next it makes sense. i think we become stronger when
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we do things together. i just think we can fight crime we can fight climate change we can regulate big global corporations better when we do it together. by the way, it's a very similar argument to why i so passionately believe in the country, the united kingdom, that i love so much and i don't want to see it pulled apart. because i think we are just quite simply stronger when we do things together rather than when we fall apart. >> but it still isn't an answer to my question, which is how bad would it have to get? for example, if greece was to leave the european union and then if france which looks set to possibly -- >> i'm sorry. can i interrupt? >> france could possibly vote in the euro-skeptic national front in. and if they do they would full out. >> okay. the description -- >> how bad does it have to get? >> is there other circumstances in which you would say britain should -- >> since i think those circumstances aren't remotely going to happen i cannot envisage circumstances where i think it's sensible for the united kingdom to leave. what is the world's largest borderless marketplace? 500 million shoppers who buy our manufactured products, our services, our goods.
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do you really think japanese car manufacturers, big investment banks, big legal firms big you know aerospace firms would invest in our country if we were bobbing along somewhere in the mid-atlantic, friendless unable to sell into our own european neighbor? of course not. jobs are at stake. >> we've heard your point. sorry not to keep with you but i want to go to the man up there. >> if you believe in true democracy like you've mentioned a few times you'd give the british people a say on the european union. [ applause ] >> i've explained the reasons, not only -- when a referendum will take place, but more than that i'm the first deputy prime minister, we're the first government to ever put that into law all right? >> let's go on to another question. brenda hammonds, please. we haven't got much time left. brenda hammonds. >> with rising tension in russia and the middle east, will you support the need for the trident nuclear deterrent? >> where do you stand on the trident nuclear deterrent? >> so i think we should keep the
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nuclear deterrent in this unsafe world. but i don't think we need to keep it on the same basis on which it was originally designed to flatten moscow at the press of a button. and this comes down to basically whether the trident nuclear system has four nuclear submarines or three nuclear submarines and whether you need a nuclear submarine absolutely 24 hours a day, 365 days of the whole year going around the world. i personally think we can step down the nuclear ladder while keeping ourselves safe. and that i think is a sensible balanced way to keep ourselves safe but not spend huge amounts of money on a cold war replacement to the nuclear trident system which just doesn't fit the post-cold war world we live there. the kind of threats we face aren't like the cold war. they're stateless groups extremist groups, terrorist groups. the civil war we're seeing raging in syria and elsewhere. those are the big threats. they're not solved by having four nuclear submarines rather than three.
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>> you, sir at the back. you've spoken already but have another go. >> you're talking about keeping the country safe. when was this country last time attacked by another country? >> well, we are under threat from people who don't want to attack in the conventional sense but want to attack us maim fellow citizens -- >> it's because we're meddling in their countries. >> well i don't actually think there's any excuse that any rational or reasonable person could give to those people who want to kill innocent british citizens through terrorist acts in our cities. [ applause ] whilst as a good old-fashioned liberal i'm the first person to defend our civil liberties and our freedoms i will -- i think there's no inconsistency between defending our freedoms and keeping ourselves safe. we don't make ourselves any less free by making ourselves any less safe. >> one last thing if i could ask you this. you've said you want the liberal democrats to be the heart for the conservatives the brains
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for labour. if neither of those works and you can't form a coalition would you remain leader of the liberal democrats or would you see your job as over? >> look, i want to carry on. i'm 48 years old. i've got bags of energy. i believe in what the liberal democrats stand for which is to strike the right balance between creating a strong economy but doing so fairly. i don't think that's represented on either the right or the left of british politics. but look -- >> i have to stop you there. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> a nice brief answer. thank you. [ applause ] sorry to -- sorry to cut mr. clegg short, but we do have to stop because we have exactly 90 minutes for this program. that ends, incidentally of course as you would guess, this edition of question time. we're going to be back not next thursday when we have the election results but on friday evening at 9:00 when we'll be looking back at the election and seeing what's happened. the first chance to talk about it. so from here my thanks of course
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to our party leaders and particularly to all of you who came to take part in this in leeds. good night. [ applause ] ♪ 150 years ago this weekend a grieving nation gathered along the route of abraham lincoln's funeral train as it made its way from washington, d.c. to his final resting place in springfield, illinois. this sunday afternoon at 2:30 on american history tv on c-span 3 we're live from oakridge cemetery in springfield to commemorate the anniversary of president lincoln's funeral. with over 1,000 re-enactors and
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a recreation of the 1865 eulogy, speeches and musical performances as well as historians and authors on the funeral journey and a tour of the newly recreated lincoln funeral car. also on c-span this weekend saturday at 10:00 a.m. eastern the grand prize winners in our student cam documentary competition. and at 8:00 the festivities of the state visit of japanese prime minister shinzo abe, including his arrival at the white house and the toast at the dinner in his honor. and sunday morning at 10:30 the supreme court of the united states' oral arguments on the issue of same-sex marriage on whether the 14th amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex. and on c-span 2's "book tv" this weekend, saturday night at 10:00 on "after words," author peter slevin looks at the life of our first lady michelle obama, from childhood through the whit

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