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tv   Wednesday in Parliament  BBC News  January 12, 2017 2:30am-3:01am GMT

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in his first news conference as president—elect, mr trump said the leak would be a tremendous blot on the agencies‘ reputation. the taliban release a video of two abducted university professors, one australian, here on the left, the other american, pleading for donald trump to help secure their release. the german carmaker volkswagen has agreed to plead guilty in the us. it has also agreed to pay $3.1; billion in fines. six employees have been indicted. now on bbc news, it's time for wednesday in parliament. hello and welcome to wednesday in parliament.
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coming up on this programme: theresa may and jeremy corbyn trade blows over the state of the nhs in england. the governor of the bank of england says brexit is no longer the biggest risk to the uk's financial stability. and ministers are urged to do more to help the victims of modern slavery. it is thought by the police there are probably 10,000 people in a year who are victims, and 30 convictions. but first, at prime minister's questions, theresa may defended the government's handling of england's nhs asjeremy corbyn accused her of being in denial over the pressures facing the health service. nearly a quarter of patients waited longer than four hours in a&e last week, with just one hospital hitting its target. and huge numbers also faced long waits for a bed when a&e staff admitted them into hospital
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as emergency cases, with more than 18,000 trolley waits of more than four hours or more. the figures come from the document compiled by nhs improvement, one of the regulators in england, and show that this winter is proving to be the most difficult in more than a decade. jeremy corbyn picked up on those figures and recent comments by the red cross. last week, mr speaker, a85 people in england spent more than 12 hours on trolleys in hospital corridors. the red cross described this as a humanitarian crisis. i called on the prime minister to come to parliament on monday — she didn't, she sent the health secretary. but does she agree with him that the best way to solve the crisis of the four—hour wait is to fiddle the figures so that people are not seen to be waiting so long on trolleys in nhs hospitals? he talks about the pressures on the nhs and we acknowledge that there are pressures on the national health service. there are always extra pressures
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on the nhs during the winter, but of course we have at the moment those added pressures of the ageing population and the growing, complex needs of the population. he also refers to the british red cross' term of a humanitarian crisis. i have to say to him that i think we've all seen humanitarian crises around the world and to use that description of a national health service which last year saw 2.5 million more people treated in a&e than six years ago was irresponsible and overblown. mr speaker, she seems to be in some degree of denial about this and won't listen to professional organisations who have spent their whole lifetime doing their best for the nhs. can i ask her if she'll listen to sian, who works for the nhs? she has a 22—month—old nephew. he went into hospital, there was no bed, he was treated
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on two plastic chairs pushed together with a blanket. she says one of the nurses told her sister, it's always like this nowadays. she asked a question to all of us. surely we should strive to do better than this. does the prime minister and the health secretary think this is an acceptable way of treating a 22—month—old child needing help? i accept there have been a small number of incidents... clamour ..where unacceptable practices have taken place. but what matters, we don't want those things to happen, but what matters is how you then deal with them. that's why it's so important that the nhs does look into issues where there are unacceptable incidents that have taken place and then learns lessons from them. she highlighted the pressures the service was facing. over the christmas period, in the tuesday after christmas,
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we saw the busiest day ever in the national health service. over the few weeks around christmas, we saw a day when more people were treated in a&e within four hours than had ever happened before. this is the reality of our national health service. jeremy corbyn pressed on, attacking the government's record on mental health and social care. earlier this week, the prime minister said she wanted to create a shared society. we've certainly got that. more people sharing hospital corridors on trolleys. more people sharing waiting areas at a&e departments. more people sharing in anxiety created by this government. 0ur nhs, mr speaker, is in crisis, but the prime minister is in denial. can i suggest to her, on the economic question, cancel the corporate tax cuts, spend the money where it's needed — on people in desperate need
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in social care or in our hospitals. the right honourable gentleman talks about crisis. i suggest he listens to the honourable member for don valley, a former labour health minister, who said the following. "with labour, it's always about crisis. "the nhs is on its knees, we've got to be a bit more "grown—up about this. " he talks to me about corporation tax and restoring the cuts in corporation tax. the labour party has already spent that money eight times. the last thing the nhs needs is a cheque from labour that bounces. the only way we can ensure we've got funding for the national health service is a strong economy. yesterday, the right honourable gentleman proved that he's not only incompetent, but that he would destroy our economy and that would devastate our national health service.
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a reference there tojeremy corbyn‘s comments the previous day on immigration and earnings limits. later in the day, the head of the nhs in england, sir simon stevens, told mps that funding would be highly constrained over the next three years and that spending per person in real terms would reduce in england. he was asked if nhs england had got the money it had asked for. the government is repeatedly telling us, i've had letters recently from the secretary of state, that the nhs is getting more money than it asks for. what's your view on that? well, it's right that by 2020 nhs england will be getting an extra £10 billion over the course of six years. i don't think that's the same as saying we're getting more than we asked for over five years because it was a five—year forward view, not a six—year forward view. over and above that, we've been through a spending review negotiation in the meantime and that
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has set the nhs budget for the next three years. it's a matter of fact, it's not news, i've said it previously to a select committee back in october, that like probably every part of the public service we got less than we asked for in that process. i think it would be stretching it to say that the nhs has got more than it asked for. 0k. would you agree there's not enough money and there is a clear gap? there are clearly very substantial pressures and i don't think it helps anybody to try and pretend there aren't. but that's not a new phenomenon, to some extent, it's a phenomenon that's intensifying. in the here and now, there are very real pressures. over the next three years, funding is going to be highly constrained and in 2018—19, as i previously said in october, real terms nhs spending per person in england is going to go down, ten years after lehmann brothers and austerity began. we all understand why that is,
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but let's not pretend that's not placing huge pressure on the service. you're watching wednesday in parliament with me, alicia mccarthy. now let's go back to prime minister's questions and the situation in northern ireland. the deputy first minister, sinn fein‘s martin mcguinness, has resigned. under stormont‘s power—sharing agreement, his resignation means the first minister, arlene foster, also loses her office and that could mean fresh elections have to be held. the snp's westminster group leader thought that breakdown could have wide—reaching implications. the prime minister has indicated that she wants to take the views of the elected representatives and the devolved institutions on brexit seriously. so it stands to reason that if there is no northern ireland assembly and there is no northern irish executive for much
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of the time before the march timetable she has set before invoking article 50, that she'll be unable to properly consult, to fully discuss and to find agreement on the complex issues during this time period. in these circumstances, will the prime minister postpone invoking article 50... will she postpone article 50 or will she just plough on regardless? i'm clear that first of all we want to try to ensure that within this period of seven days we can find a resolution to the political situation in northern ireland so that we can continue to see the assembly government continuing. but i'm also clear that in the discussions we have it will be possible... it's still the case that ministers are in place and that obviously there are executives in place, that we are still able to take the views of the northern ireland people. theresa may. brexit is no longer the biggest risk to the uk's financial stability, the governor of the bank of england
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has told mps. mark carney was making one of his regular appearances at the treasury committee. he was asked about remarks made by a colleague, andy haldane — the bank of england's chief economist — about economic forecasting. andy haldane called the failure to predict the financial crisis of 2008 a "michael fish" moment for economists. he also accepted that a similar dynamic might have been in play over the bank's forecasts about brexit. i feel i should begin by asking you, will you agree with the chief economist that the bank of england's be having a michael fish moment, or two? well, one of the advantages of managing group think is one doesn't always agree with everything that is said. by colleagues. think the core point that andy haldane made, or tried to make, related to, no disrespect to mr fish, i should
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say, but was trying to make... pertains exactly to what we are talking about today. which is the ability to identify the risk to financial stability. and the poor performance of most in the economic profession, including some of the major topic institutions, the bank of england. in identifying the major risks prior to the crisis. and he said the bank had taken action to mitigate the risks around the referendum. i do think we helped make the weather. meteorologists predict the weather, we helped make the weather in that we catalysed continuously continuously planned actions, pre—position of collateral, other steps within our major central banks. and better risk management, which helped make sure that this was a smooth process. he was asked whether brexit remained the biggest domestic risk to the uk's financial stability. i am going to try and take you to a yes or no on it. because...
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well, strictly speaking, strictly speaking, the view of the committee is no. and he explained that the bank of england had taken action to ease the risks. the uk's green investment bank could be killed off if the government goes ahead with plans to sell it, according to the green party mp caroline lucas. the bank supports offshore wind farms and other green projects. the government has announced plans to part privatise it, with australian bank macquarie thought to be the preferred bidder. but former liberal democrat business secretary sir vince cable said he fears it will be split up. the co—leader of the green party urged ministers to halt the planned sale. this week, we had that the green investment bank stands on the brink of notjust being flogged off, but of being broken up with its green purposes discarded. founded in 2012, the gib has been widely recognised as a true success story, kick—starting truly innovative, low—carbon projects across the uk. and yet, this preferred bidder,
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macquarie, not only has a dismal and terrible environmental record, it also has an appalling track record of asset stripping. why is the government setting up a structure to invite in a profiteer asset stripper? if the gib has been restructured in such a way as to allow it it's to be stripped of its assets, how can the government guarantee that the special share supposedly introduced to protect the future of the gib, will have the intended effect? isn't this exactly the wrong time to be selling off the green investment bank, given that the government has decided to embark upon a new industrial strategy which must, to be in accord with our own climate change commitments, have low—carbon projects at its core? and finally, will the minister admit that this selling off could lead to the bank being fatally undermined as an enduring institution. will he stop the killing of the gib? will he halt the sale process with immediate effect? the minister said he couldn't comment on the process, potential bidders or media speculation.
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it is precisely because we want the green investment bank to be able to do more, unfettered from the constraints of the state, that we are seeking to put it into the private sector. and the objectives that we have set out in the sale, they could not have been clearer. it has been discussed in this house. we are looking at very clear objectives around securing value for money for taxpayers, which must be our primary responsibility. we want to ensure that the gib can be reclassified to the private sector. but we have also been very clear that the reason we want to move into the private sector is to enable the business to grow, and continue as an institution supporting investment in the green economy. we are selling it as a going concern, and potential investors will be buying into the company's green business plan and forward pipeline projects. these are the criteria we have set, these are the criteria against which we are evaluating the proposals that are before us. the government's being urged to give victims of slavery the right to stay in the uk — to help ensure human
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traffickers can be locked up. mps on the work and pensions committee are looking into the treatment of those who've been enslaved. the former high courtjudge and independent peer lady butler—sloss explained that victims receive financial and other support while their cases are being investigated, but when that period comes to an end, the help stops, even if a person has been officially recognised as a victim of slavery. she said this was "appalling" and explained some of the consequences of the process, known as the national referral mechanism or nrm. we had 31 convictions last year. and there were over 1000 people, ithink, identified going through the nrm. it is thought by police there are 10,000 people per year who are victims, probably. and 30 convictions. one of the reasons is that the police, of course, can't keep track of these people because they have no idea
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where they are. they all disappear because they have no entitlements. if you don't have the witnesses, speaking as a former judge, you have a great difficulty in going ahead with the prosecutions. so it is actually in the public interest to keep these people with some entitlement in this country, at least until the time when there has been a trial and we have had a conviction. otherwise, we don't get the traffickers. do you think, to fix this so that they don't fall off at the end, does that need to be legislation? can itjust be guidance that can be put out to dwp? immediately? what is your view on how we fix it? it occurs to me that another group of people i've witnessed recently, women who are domestic violence survivors and have been moved to another town in the country, and they are nobody with no paperwork. and they have the same battles with the localjobcentre, who are you? we have never heard of you? do we need legislation to do this,
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or some kind of guidance that the dwp can have? do we maybe need a new category of people who are, ask no questions, you've got this label, this piece of paper, and you automatically have the entitlement to benefits? there is statutory guidance being drafted at this moment. which makes me think that this committee is enormously important, because i hope that you will have a real impact on that statutory guidance. but it seems to me there is two things, really. one, the other two know better than i do, one is the immigration status. if you can get at least the leave to remain for a year, but preferably indefinitely to remain, but even one year would help. and then, there would be that guidance, iwould hope, that they would then be expressed their entitlement to health care, housing and so on. so that they would have a piece of paper that they could show to all the authorities so that they would then become priorities.
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i know local authorities have appalling problems with housing. but these are people who really should be treated as priorities. the committee also heard from the independent anti—slavery commissioner — he said victims were being let down. is somebody who has been kept in slavery for six months then capable of doing a job straight after? it is very unlikely. there would be a period that they would need to be supported. and i think that that period, we need to say what is the period? i wouldn't want this to be a lifetime on benefits — i don't think... we need to be working about how we integrate people within the uk, or when they go home. but it needs to be enough time that professionals are able to assess and say, this person needs to be supported for that period of time. you know, some people may need long—term psychological support. now, let's go back to the state
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of england's health service. mps spent the afternoon in a labour—led debate on nhs and social care funding. where backbench mps set out the problems facing the nhs and some possible solutions. what we are seeing is this government is running out of places to cut corners to save money on the nhs. we are seeing the lack of respect and compassion given to people, the health care they need and deserve. we are seeing those that need care at home having to make do with 15 minute flying visits. we have seen the pressure in a & e departments building over the last six years, and yet, every year, we reach a winter crisis. and somehow, this is a surprise to the government. we have seen a & e waiting times increasing were now over 1.8 million people are waiting more than four hours. in 2015—16, an increase of 400% since 2010. hospitals are under pressure in winter because of admissions. because the people who come to a & e are sicker, are older, are more complicated.
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and that is the problem that we have at the moment. but what we haven't seen as ijust mention, is any summer respite in nhs england at all. it's not a catastrophe of people living longer. all of us who are medical in the house remember that was definitely the point of why we went into medicine, and that is the point of the nhs. but we are not ageing very well. and for the age of 40 or 50 onwards, people are starting to accumulate conditions that maybe they would not have survived in the past. by the time they are 70, they have four or five core morbidities is that make treating even something quite simple a challenge. so my colleagues and friends who are still working on the front line say it is not evenjust numbers, it is complexity. someone comes with what sounds like an easy issue, but in actual fact, with diabetes and renal failure and previous heart attack, this is now a complex issue. the conservative and gp who chairs the health committee is one of those calling for a cross—party convention to map out a future for health and social care.
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and i think what our constituents want us to do as politicians is to recognise the scale of the challenge. and get to grips with it. in future, would you agree with me that there should be a new funding settlement, certainly in terms of the budget, that the nhs and social care, and bring both of them together. at the moment, there have been cuts of {4.6 billion. that is what i am hoping. we must end the silos of health and social care. thinking about this money has been social care money or health money, and think of it as a patient pound and a taxpayer pound, and how to get the very best from that. what impact will our exit from the eu have on the labour market — more specifically on industries that currently rely on large numbers of migrant workers to get thejob done — such as agriculture? in the lords, peers urged ministers to make a firm commitment that
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foreign workers already in the uk would be able to stay after brexit. isn't it time that the government really dropped this ridiculous pretence that there is a trade—off here? the reality is that we have significant sectors of our economy, like caring and hospitality and areas of agriculture, which would virtually collapse if non—british nationals didn't remain and work here. there is massive and anxiety out there in the country, amongst employer and employee. is it time now that the government did the right thing morally and commercially, and gave these individuals the right to remain? the government has been absolutely clear that it will seek to reach agreement on this issue at an early stage of negotiations with the eu. i dispute the notion of a trade—off because the eu's refusal to guarantee the status of uk nationals elsewhere in the eu prior to negotiations shows that the government has been
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absolutely right not to give away the guarantee for status of eu citizens in the uk. because the prime minister has said that would have left uk citizens high and dry. for agriculturalists and horticulturalists in lincolnshire and adjoining counties, the access to migrant labour is very important indeed. without our migrant labour, it is probable that many of those businesses would not survive. does the minister appreciate that there are tens of thousands of european citizens working in our health service? and indeed our health service would fall apart — i am not exaggerating — fall apart if it wasn't for these workers? does the minister agree with the statement statement in the recent cbi report that we need a system informed by business, rather than imposed on business? and that this is essential
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to the future economic growth of the uk? is the government talking to employers, listening to them, and what have they had to say about the £1000 levy about which we have heard today? that was a reference to comments from government minister robert goodwill who told a lords committee that there were suggestions that firms which hire european union workers could face an annual levy after the uk leaves the eu. mr goodwill explained that businesses will from this april be charged a £1,000 a yearfor every skilled worker they employ from outside europe. so for example, if one wishes to recruit an indian computer programmer on a four—year contract, on top of the existing visa charges and the administration involved around that, there will be labour market tests and all these other things in place. there will be a fee of £1000 per year, so for a four—year contract, that employer
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will have to pay £4000 of an immigration skills charge. now, that is something that is currently applying to non—eu. that maybe something that has been suggested to us, and could apply to the eu. as i say, i am not in a position at the moment to really speculate as to what the settlement will be post—brexit negotiations. but downing street later insisted that extending the levy wasn't on the government's agenda. and that's it for now, but do join me at the same time tomorrow for the best of the day here in westminster. but until then, from me, alicia mccarthy, goodbye. hello. you may have seen some wintry fair
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in the last day or two but that prospect is more widespread across britain in the next couple of days. a cold, blowy start to the day in the northern half of the british isles but something slightly different coming from the south—west, my will, moist atlantic air. don't be fooled by the dry start in the south—east, things will change markedly here and through the day further concerns for those on the move about the strength of the wind and there will be snow and not just where we've already seen it because we're bringing in that mile, moist air into an atmosphere that is really quite cold i suspect eventually through the day across some parts of southern britain we will see a conversion of some of this rain into snow. first up winds think what's all the fuss is about, i thought there would be loads of snow? it will be this mild air first of all that has to drag the moisture in from the atlantic and run it into that cold air and once that process really gets going, and it may be
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well into the afternoon before you see it, eventually there will be some snowfall tracking its way ever further to the east, some of it getting to and lying in lower levels and all the while in the northern half of the british isles it's that cold, blustery sort of day again with frequent snow showers, blizzards across higher ground so not a day for the mountain is by any means at all! that's what the thermometers will say, this is how cold it will feel especially across northern parts given the strength of the wind here. we have real concerns for the evening rush that some of the snow, as i say, could well lie to low levels across east anglia, the south—east midlands and the south—east and once it's away underneath clearing skies, the temperatures will fall and ice could become an issue for a time until we bring potentially another belt of snow down to the northern half of the british isles. if you're on the
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move first thing on friday morning it could be a festival of frost and ice and for some, further snowfall. notjust ice and for some, further snowfall. not just across ice and for some, further snowfall. notjust across northern britain, this feature could drag that's no prospect in east anglia, these midlands and parts of the south—east during friday rush hour but once it's away there is a brighter fresh at prospect bowl with some sunshine but it does nothing for the feel of the day. welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to our viewers in north america and around the globe. my name's mike embley. our top stories: in his first news conference as president—elect donald trump rejects claims he might be vulnerable to blackmail by the russians. volkswagen agrees to plead guilty to criminal charges in the us and will pay the biggest fine ever imposed for disguising the level of emissions from its diesel cars. the taliban release a video of two abducted professors — one australian, the other american — as they plead for donald trump to help free them. and drawing a line under the 0bama presidency. we talk to the artist who's painted him every day since he took
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