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Friday 21st November 2014
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Call Clegg: Nick Clegg On LBC - Live Blog

Follow Call Clegg as it happens as Nick Clegg answers listeners questions for another 30 minutes on LBC 97.3.

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09:29 - Why can't politicians give straight answers?

NC: I always try and give the best answer I can, I try and be as sincere as possible. There are some questions that can't be answered with a yes or no answer.

09:27 - How can you justify spending 1billion on free school meals plans which are in chaos?

NC: It is complete nonsense. You will have to ask Conservatives why they want to now argue against something that will save families hundreds of pounds and provide a better education for our children. It is a policy which has been tested, researched and have been proved to save families money, is good for health and is good for education.

How can the policy be in chaos when it hasn't been implemented yet?

09:23 - Aid for Ukraine. How do you justify giving money to a country that has been accused of corruption?

NC:  We stand ready through the EU, through the IMF to provide help to the Ukraine at a time when it desperately need help because it is being intimidated and put upon. This is in the heart of our own backyard. An unstable Ukraine will be bad for us, it is in our interests to make sure Europe is stable.

We are umbilically linked to the rest of Europe.

It just cannot be, in this day and age, when there are rules that one country can be allowed to just barge in and annex another country. 

09:20 - Following the death of Bob Crow, what is the future of unions?

NC: I didn't know with him personally, he had such passion clearly in everything he said and such commitment to his views and members so I want to add my sympathy to his family and friends.

I think Trade Unions have a long way to go to fit into the way society runs. I think they are important, it is a fine tradition. My problem is where the trade unions and Labour Party think they have an exceptional right to run a political party. That can't be right.

I draw a big distinction between the role of trade unions in the work place and the role of trade unions in the political work place.

 

09:15 - Question on compensation for slavery. Would Britain be where it was without slavery?

NC:  I have to be honest I don't think financial compensation for these terrible events that happened in the past are necessarily the way to deal with it. That's no to say as a country that we should not be totally open and contrite about the events of the past, that was abolished in this country more quickly in this country than others. 

I have a huge amount of empathy. of course I do. with those people in the Carribean who say that there is a scar but I don't think the best way to heal that scar is financially. 

There are countries that do need to help and Britain is a major player that provides help to other countries. I don't want you to overlook that we have a very proud record of foreign aid.

We shouldn't airbrush out of our history the role slavery paid and we can all look back in horror. In this day and age the way we help each other is through different means.

09:12 - Is there an increased posibility of a Lib-Lab coalition following Labour alligning themselves with Lib Dems over EU.

NC: I don't think it has any bearing. We have always been consistent on EU. We've consistently said if there are plans for a change in power structure we should have a referendum.

09:08 - Karen asks about the three million jobs that depend on the EU trade - how many jobs in the rest of the EU depend on British trade.

NC: I don't have the figure for you. My starting point is what is good for Britain? If you are pro-British you have to be pro-jobs in Britain.

My absolute priority is jobs.

I passionately support that as a proud trading nation to pull the drawbridge up would be very, very bad for the Birtish people. It would leave us poorer, it would lead to job losses and it would make us less safe.

09:05 - On spare room subsidy aka 'the bedroom tax'

NC: Our party's position is to change it and to make changes such that people who can't move are given allowances. But you can't duck the fundamental problem - there are people on the waiting list and there are bedrooms that are unused. This issue of overcrowding is something Labour never talk about, you have children living in massively overcrowded properties. Something Labour bequethed to us. We are trying to solve this.

How you apply this is a legitimate area of debate, that's why we have tripled the descretionary housing fund. It's all about transition. I don't think anyone disputes the principle.

09:01 - John used to be on low income and now is on higher - so he can afford accountants so he pays less tax than before. How is this fair?

NC: I think it is great that  you are ringing up about this. We do need a fair tax system where the broadest shoulders carry the highest burden. The very rich do more, we are not letting the richest off the hook. For Labour it was 40p for us it is 45p.

Because of the Liberal Democrats, we've introduced the biggest changes to the income tax system. We've taken three million of the income tax system. I'm very excited about it, that is a fair thing to do. I'd like to go further, I'd like to see a workers bonus. I think that should remain our priority.

With companies we brough down the headline rate of corporation tax but we have aggresively tried to close the loopholes. That is a work in progress.

09:00 - Call Clegg has begun. Call 0845 60 60 973 to send in your question for the Deputy Prime Minister.
08:49 And don't forget, you can watch Call Clegg live in high definition on lbc.co.uk.
08:45 Of course, Mr Clegg will answer any question that you want him to. Call 0845 60 60 973 to send in your question for the Deputy Prime Minister.
08:41 How will Mr Clegg defend his policy?
08:35 Mr Clegg has been under fire for not thinking through his free school meals policy. Some schools have claimed that lunchtime has taken three hours, while parents have been brought in to chop vegetables.
08:30 Welcome to another unmissable edition of Call Clegg - and it's been a difficult week for the Deputy Prime Minister.