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Full transcript | Hosni Mubarak | Speech to the nation | Cairo | 10 February 2011

President Mubarak has stated that he plans to remain in office until September.

I am addressing the youth of Egypt today in Tahrir Square and across the country. I am addressing you all from the heart, a father's dialogue with his sons and daughters.

I am proud of you as the new Egyptian generation calling for a change to the better, dreaming and making the future.

First and foremost, I am telling you that the blood of your martyrs and injured will not go in vain. I assure you that I will not relent in harshly punishing those responsible. I will hold those who persecuted our youth accountable with the maximum deterrent sentences.

I tell the families of those innocent victims that I suffered plenty for them, as much as they did. My heart was in pain because of what happened to them, as much as it pained their hearts.

I am telling you that heeding to your voice, your message and demands is an irretraceable commitment.

I am determined to live up to my promises with all firmness and honesty and I am totally determined to implement (them), without hesitation or reconsideration.

This commitment springs from a strong conviction that your intentions are honest and pure and your action. Your demands are just and legitimate demands.

The mistakes can be made in any political system and in any state. But, the most important is to recognise them and correct them as soon as possible and bring to account those who have committed them.

I am telling you that as a president I find no shame in listening to my country's youth and interacting with them.

The big shame and embarrassment, which I have not done and never will do, would be listening to foreign dictations whatever may be the source or pretext.

'Defined vision'

My sons, the youth of Egypt, brother citizens, I have unequivocally declared that I will not run for president in the next elections, satisfied with what I've offered my country in over 60 years during war and peace.

I declared my commitment to that, as well as my equal commitment to carrying out my responsibility in protecting the constitution and the people's interests until power and responsibility are handed over to whoever is elected in next September, following free and candid elections with guarantees of freedom and candour.

This is the oath I took before God and my country and one which I will keep until we take Egypt and its people to a safe harbour.

I have set a defined vision to come out of this crisis and to carry out what the citizens and the youth have called for in a way which would respect the constitutional legitimacy and not undermine it.

It will be carried out in a way that would bring stability to our society and achieve the demands of its youth, and, at the same time, propose an agreed-upon framework for a peaceful transfer of power through responsible dialogue with all factions of society and with utmost sincerity and transparency.

I presented this vision, committed to my responsibility in getting the nation out of these difficult times and continuing to achieve it first, hour by hour, anticipating the support and assistance of all those who are concerned about Egypt and its people, so that we succeed in transforming it (the vision) into to a tangible reality, according to a broad and national agreement with a large base, with the courageous military forces guaranteeing its implementation.

We have started indeed building a constructive national dialogue, including the Egyptian youths who led the calls for change, and all political forces. This dialogue has resulted in a tentative agreement of opinions and positions, putting our feet at the start of the right track to get out of the crisis and must continue to take it from the broad lines on what has been agreed upon to a clear road map and with a fixed agenda.

From now to next September, day after day, we'll see the peaceful transition of power.

Constitutional reforms

This national dialogue has focused on the setting up of a constitutional committee that will look into the required amendments of the constitution and the needed legislative reforms.

It (the dialogue) also met about the setting up of a follow-up committee expected to follow up the sincere implementation of the promises that I have made before the people.

I have made sure that the composition of the two committees is made of Egyptian figures that are known for their independence and experience, experts in constitutional law and judges.

In addition to that, the loss of the martyrs of the sons of Egypt in sad and tragic events has hurt our hearts and shaken the homeland's conscience.

I immediately issued my instructions to complete the investigation about last week's events (the clashes between pro- and anti-Mubarak demonstrators) and submit its results immediately to the general prosecutor for him to take the necessary legal deterrent measures.

Yesterday, I got the first report on the top priority constitutional amendments proposed by the committee of justice system and law experts and that I have set up to look into the required constitutional and legislative amendments.

In response to the proposals in the committee's report, and in compliance with the prerogatives of the president of the republic, in conformity with Article 189 of the constitution, I have submitted a request today asking for the amendment of six constitutional clauses: 76, 77, 88, 93 and 189, in addition to the annulment of clause 179.

Moreover, I am asserting my readiness to submit, at a later time, an (additional) request to change any other clauses referred to me by the constitutional committee, according to the needs and justifications it sees fit.

These top-priority amendments aim to ease the conditions for presidential nominations, and the fixing of limited terms of presidency to ensure the rotation of power, and the strengthening of the regulations of elections oversight to guarantee their freedom and fairness.

It is in the judiciary's prerogative to decide about the validity and membership of MPs and amend the conditions and measures on the amendment of the constitution.

The proposal to delete Article 179 from the constitution aims to achieve the required balance between the protection of the nation from the dangers of terrorism and safeguarding the civil rights and freedoms of the citizens which opens the door to the lifting of the emergency law following the return of calm and stability and the presence of suitable conditions to lift the state of emergency.

'In one trench'

Brother citizens, the priority now is to bring back trust between Egyptians, trust in our economy and our international reputation, and trust in protecting the change and movement that we have started from turning back or retreating.

Egypt is going through difficult times which it is not right for us to allow continuing, as it will continue to cause us and our economy harm and losses, day after day, which will end in circumstances which those youths who called for change and reform will become the first to be harmed by.

The current moment is not to do with myself, it is not to do with Hosni Mubarak, but is to do with Egypt, its present and the future of its children.

All Egyptians are in one trench now, and it is on us to continue the national dialogue which we have started, with a team spirit, not one of division, and far from disagreement and infighting so that we can get Egypt past its current crisis, and to restore trust in our economy, and tranquillity and peace to our citizens, and return the Egyptian street to its normal everyday life.

I was as young as Egypt's youth today, when I learned the Egyptian military honour, allegiance and sacrifice for my country.

I have spent a lifetime defending its soil and sovereignty. I witnessed its wars, with its defeats and victories.

I lived the days of defeat and occupation, I also lived the days of the (Suez) crossing, victory and liberation.

It was the happiest day of my life when I raised the flag of Egypt over Sinai.

I faced death many times as a pilot, in Addis Ababa, and numerous other times. I never succumbed to foreign pressure or dictations.

I kept the peace. I worked towards the stability and security of Egypt. I worked hard for its revival and for its people.

I never sought power or fake popularity. I trust that the overwhelming majority of the people know who Hosni Mubarak is. It pains me to see how some of my countrymen are treating me today.

'Immortal identity'

In any case, I am completely aware of the seriousness of the current hard turn of events as I am convinced that Egypt is crossing a landmark point in its history which imposes on all of all to weigh in the higher interests of our country and to put Egypt first above any and all considerations.

I saw fit to delegate presidential jurisdictions to the vice-president as defined by the constitution. I am certain that Egypt will overcome its crisis.

The will of its people will not break. It will be back on its feet with the honesty and loyalty of its people, all its people.

It will return the machinations and glee of those who were gleeful and machinated against it.

We, Egyptians, will prove our ability to achieve the demands of the people with civilised and mature dialogue.

We will prove that we are no-one's servants, that we do not take instructions from anyone, and that only the demands of the citizens and the pulse of the street take our decisions.

We will prove all this with the spirit and tenacity of Egyptians, through the unity and cohesion of the people, and through our commitment to Egypt's dignity as well as its unique and immortal identity, for it is the essence and the base of our presence for more than 7,000 years.

This spirit will continue to live within us for as long as Egypt and its people are present. It will live in every one of our peasants, workers and intellectuals. It will remain in the hearts of our old men, our youth and our children, Muslims and Christians. It will remain in the minds and conscience of all those yet unborn.

I say again that I lived for the sake of this country, preserving its responsibility and trust. Egypt will remain above all and above everyone.

It will remain so until I hand over this trust and pole. This is the goal, the objective, the responsibility and the duty. It is the beginning of life, its journey, and its end.

It will remain a country dear to my heart. It will not part with me and I will not part with it until my passing.

Egypt will remain immortal with its dignified people with their heads held high.

May God preserve the safety of Egypt and watch over its people.

May peace be upon you.

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Q&A: What are tax credits and how do they work?

All you need to know about the government's plan to cut tax credits.

What are tax credits?

Tax credits are payments made regularly by the state into bank accounts to support families with children, or those who are in low-paid jobs. There are two types of tax credit: the working tax credit and the child tax credit.

What are they for?

To redistribute income to those less able to get by, or to provide for their children, on what they earn.

Are they similar to tax relief?

No. They don’t have much to do with tax. They’re more of a welfare thing. You don’t need to be a taxpayer to receive tax credits. It’s just that, unlike other benefits, they are based on the tax year and paid via the tax office.

Who is eligible?

Anyone aged over 16 (for child tax credits) and over 25 (for working tax credits) who normally lives in the UK can apply for them, depending on their income, the hours they work, whether they have a disability, and whether they pay for childcare.

What are their circumstances?

The more you earn, the less you are likely to receive. Single claimants must work at least 16 hours a week. Let’s take a full-time worker: if you work at least 30 hours a week, you are generally eligible for working tax credits if you earn less than £13,253 a year (if you’re single and don’t have children), or less than £18,023 (jointly as part of a couple without children but working at least 30 hours a week).

And for families?

A family with children and an income below about £32,200 can claim child tax credit. It used to be that the more children you have, the more you are eligible to receive – but George Osborne in his most recent Budget has limited child tax credit to two children.

How much money do you receive?

Again, this depends on your circumstances. The basic payment for a single claimant, or a joint claim by a couple, of working tax credits is £1,940 for the tax year. You can then receive extra, depending on your circumstances. For example, single parents can receive up to an additional £2,010, on top of the basic £1,940 payment; people who work more than 30 hours a week can receive up to an extra £810; and disabled workers up to £2,970. The average award of tax credit is £6,340 per year. Child tax credit claimants get £545 per year as a flat payment, plus £2,780 per child.

How many people claim tax credits?

About 4.5m people – the vast majority of these people (around 4m) have children.

How much does it cost the taxpayer?

The estimation is that they will cost the government £30bn in April 2015/16. That’s around 14 per cent of the £220bn welfare budget, which the Tories have pledged to cut by £12bn.

Who introduced this system?

New Labour. Gordon Brown, when he was Chancellor, developed tax credits in his first term. The system as we know it was established in April 2003.

Why did they do this?

To lift working people out of poverty, and to remove the disincentives to work believed to have been inculcated by welfare. The tax credit system made it more attractive for people depending on benefits to work, and gave those in low-paid jobs a helping hand.

Did it work?

Yes. Tax credits’ biggest achievement was lifting a record number of children out of poverty since the war. The proportion of children living below the poverty line fell from 35 per cent in 1998/9 to 19 per cent in 2012/13.

So what’s the problem?

Well, it’s a bit of a weird system in that it lets companies pay wages that are too low to live on without the state supplementing them. Many also criticise tax credits for allowing the minimum wage – also brought in by New Labour – to stagnate (ie. not keep up with the rate of inflation). David Cameron has called the system of taxing low earners and then handing them some money back via tax credits a “ridiculous merry-go-round”.

Then it’s a good thing to scrap them?

It would be fine if all those low earners and families struggling to get by would be given support in place of tax credits – a living wage, for example.

And that’s why the Tories are introducing a living wage...

That’s what they call it. But it’s not. The Chancellor announced in his most recent Budget a new minimum wage of £7.20 an hour for over-25s, rising to £9 by 2020. He called this the “national living wage” – it’s not, because the current living wage (which is calculated by the Living Wage Foundation, and currently non-compulsory) is already £9.15 in London and £7.85 in the rest of the country.

Will people be better off?

No. Quite the reverse. The IFS has said this slightly higher national minimum wage will not compensate working families who will be subjected to tax credit cuts; it is arithmetically impossible. The IFS director, Paul Johnson, commented: “Unequivocally, tax credit recipients in work will be made worse off by the measures in the Budget on average.” It has been calculated that 3.2m low-paid workers will have their pay packets cut by an average of £1,350 a year.

Could the government change its policy to avoid this?

The Prime Minister and his frontbenchers have been pretty stubborn about pushing on with the plan. In spite of criticism from all angles – the IFS, campaigners, Labour, The Sun – Cameron has ruled out a review of the policy in the Autumn Statement, which is on 25 November. But there is an alternative. The chair of parliament’s Work & Pensions Select Committee and Labour MP Frank Field has proposed what he calls a “cost neutral” tweak to the tax credit cuts.

How would this alternative work?

Currently, if your income is less than £6,420, you will receive the maximum amount of tax credits. That threshold is called the gross income threshold. Field wants to introduce a second gross income threshold of £13,100 (what you earn if you work 35 hours a week on minimum wage). Those earning a salary between those two thresholds would have their tax credits reduced at a slower rate on whatever they earn above £6,420 up to £13,100. The percentage of what you earn above the basic threshold that is deducted from your tax credits is called the taper rate, and it is currently at 41 per cent. In contrast to this plan, the Tories want to halve the income threshold to £3,850 a year and increase the taper rate to 48 per cent once you hit that threshold, which basically means you lose more tax credits, faster, the more you earn.

When will the tax credit cuts come in?

They will be imposed from April next year, barring a u-turn.

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.