05/02/2012 Sunday Politics East Midlands


05/02/2012

Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with the latest political news, interviews and debate. The Transport Secretary, Justine Greening, is the Sunday Interview.


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Here, the latest allegations on a council leaders expenses.

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1757 seconds

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And growing pressure to redefine Hello. I marry Ashby and with me

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today is Pauline Latham and the Labour MP for Nottingham East Chris

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Leslie. -- Marie Ashby. Chris is Shadow Treasury Minister.

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First, a minefield for all MPs. Expenses. There is an investigation

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into those made by David Pleat -- David Parsons, the Conservative

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leader of Leicestershire County Council. It relates to trips to

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Brussels and apparently goes back five years. With me to discuss this

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is the political reporter for BBC Radio Leicester, Eleanor Garnier.

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This started last year. A whistleblower work sent a series of

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letters to the leader of the county council. They sent me copies of

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those letters. The Chief Executive ordered an internal investigation

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which has resulted in Spain report into David Parsons's travel inspect

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-- travel expenses back to 2006. He has been that a key used off

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overcharging East Midlands councils. They advanced his travel expenses

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to Brussels but he was being reimbursed by the European Union.

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Because of that, the report is saying he was not paying the money

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back promptly. In one ear, despite four written requests, he did not

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make a single repayment. David Parsons says he has paid it

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all back and blames the problem on communication difficulties between

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the EU and East Midlands Councils. He is denying any wrongdoing and

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said that this week he wrote a cheque at �500 to East Midlands

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Councils. Behind closed doors, Conservative councillors a

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Leicestershire are worried and angry about this.

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So what happens next, will he survive as leader?

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This report will go to the corporate governance committee on

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Monday and I would be surprised if they simply noted the report.

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Having had conversations with people in the council I would be

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surprised if there was not a comment on the serious nature of

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the allegations. This can also be referred to the standards committee

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which looks into the code of conduct of members and their

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behaviour. Finally, a week on Wednesday David Parsons would

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normally be at a meeting in Brussels. Today we need to ask it

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will he choose to does that meeting or will he be allowed to go at that

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meeting? Find you very much, and learner.

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Pauline, dear have any sympathy for David Parsons?

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Expenses are a nightmare and claiming them are a nightmare. It

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appears he does not have set pay things out and then the claim them

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back. They are difficult and it is hard to keep on top of the man has

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put -- and devote the time required to them. There is a lot of pressure

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on you to get it right and you have to get it right because it is

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public money. Do full-time politicians like MPs

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and council leaders get enough support to run their offices?

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That is a good question but at this point in time it is not just about

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avoiding impropriety but avoiding the perception of impropriety. If

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you can avoid the finances going through the bone at bided out of

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the politician, direct payments, would be a far safer way of keeping

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this above board. Let us talk now about this week's

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report by the Inspectorate of Constabulary in such undercover

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policing. 20 environmental campaigners were convicted of

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conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass at Ratcliffe on Soar power

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station. The convictions were overturned amid controversy over

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the role of undercover police officer Mark Kennedy. Pauline, the

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Inspectorate is very critical of the extent to which Mark Kennedy

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Ruth -- the extent to which Mark Kennedy abused his role. Should we

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be allowing police Superintendents to sign these jobs off?

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My understanding is that although that is the level they should be

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signed off at, it is actually assistant chief constables to sign

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it off. I think they should be responsible enough to sign these

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things off and I do think undercover operations are very

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important in the crime detection. But if an officer wants to

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intercept a phone conversation, he or she needs the approval of the

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Home Secretary first. It needs to go to that level.

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Again, I think that goes too far. Chief constables should be able to

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authorise that sort of thing. Bothering the Secretary of State

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that everything happening in the country, I must be happening all

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over the place, is over the top. The his undercover missions can be

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crucial. Should he be involved? My feeling is that he should be

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involved or they could be some independent arrangement. Keeping it

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within the police, you need to make sure there is an approval process

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one step removed so someone can ask questions. I think there are some

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serious issues that have come from their us and we should probably

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revealed how these undercover operations get uproots in future

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because, you know, there has been a lot of concern in my constituency.

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Pauline, for many people the most important question is should

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embarrass a campaigners be targeted in the first place?

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Yes, I think they should, because they were not going to act lawfully.

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I think people should have found out what they were going to do and

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what they were up to to try to stop civil unrest. I do believe we

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should have undercover operations but they should be monitored. They

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should be monitored and there should be claimed of conduct. I

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would be very wary if an outside body was policing that. -- codes of

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conduct. They could push people suspected of being under cover to

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do things they knew they should not He the rules for a investigating

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people are too widely drawn, according to the reports, they

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should focus on serious crime and serious disruption to the community.

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This is a problem. How do we define domestic extremism? Did this really

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merit such a long-standing undercover operation? It is

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difficult for us to second guess that. Threats can come from all

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sorts of different circumstances but we need a tighter definition of

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extremism and a proper sign-off a level which is accountable. That is

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why I feel it should be ministers signing this off.

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Is it time for new rules, Pauline? Yes, times have changed. We have a

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new government. We need to draw a line under that and let us look at

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it again to make sure we get it right this time.

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I am not sure if we should or should not have had popped --

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should or should not have had prosecutions in this case. There

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will be times when we need that level of police scrutiny Bellini to

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have safeguards for civil rights as well.

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From one moral conundrum to another, one of our local county councils

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has chosen to roll-out a radical scheme that helps people to invest

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in help paint problem families and offenders. Eleanor Garnier reports.

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Four there are 120,000 troubled families in the country, around 13

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hundreds a Leicestershire alone. That includes Julian, his partner

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and his children. The government says they cost the state �eight. 8

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billion per year. I have had a drink problem. I have

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had police coming round, youth offending services, social services,

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the council. There was always somebody on the phone. I could have

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lost my children and there was no way out for me.

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Now the government wants to use Social Impact Bonds to fund

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intensive help for parents like Julian. If they are successful and

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reduce long-term dependence on the state, investors get their money

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back and a healthy return. But they stand to lose their money if they

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miss their targets. The government thinks it can raise

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up to �40 million through Social Impact Bonds been trial Terry

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Leicestershire and elsewhere in the country.

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We wants to contact those families in a different way to the way we

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have done up to now. We want to help them change. We feel that

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public services had been to Silo it, too fragmented and have not given

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enough long-term support. We were to give them that longer terms of -

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- local longer term support. He the first social impact bond was

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launched over a year ago as Peterborough prison, aimed at

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cutting reoffending. It was a Labour Party idea but Ken Clarke

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has fully embraced it. Investors in the Peterborough at scheme have put

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�5 million into the bonds to fund his intensive rehabilitation work

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with 3000 prisoners. If reoffending rates drop, investors get their

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money back and a return of up to �8 million but first they must prove

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that reoffending has dropped by at least seven.

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5%. This is fairly uncharted territory. Week, as a funder, think

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it is well worth exploring this because if social impacts bonds

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work they do have the potential to unlock significant new sources of

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finance for really important public policy issues that this country

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faces. Although there is widespread

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support for Social Impact Bonds at Westminster, others are more

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sceptical. One shoe bring in private companies

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to do very complex social work, they will inevitably cream and skim

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and pick the easiest cases. They may also find it is much more

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difficult than they think and demand more money from the State

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for doing the work. In the end, it will end up being more expensive

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and the people being held will have less money spent on them.

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She is not the only one worried about how this will work in reality.

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This is a complex scheme. We are not too sure, at the moment,

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whether we will find the savings we needs to pay back the Social Impact

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Bonds Investment. Back at home in Melton Mowbray, it

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was not private money that transforms Julian's life but a

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publicly funded local authority projects.

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Who families need help. Families like mine was need help. Lottery

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winners, businesses, anything. Anyone with money. They could help

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and make life better for families going through hell.

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So will these bonds work? The chief executive of the British

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Association of Social Workers, Hilton Dawson, has joined us in the

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studio. Julian Spong said that it does not matter where the money

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comes from. He is absolutely right. It does not

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matter where the money comes from but the programmes must work and

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have a real effect. That is the crucial matter in this. That

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includes all the public provision that is made available to him and

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families in his situation. It started life as a Blairite idea,

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Chris, but is this privatising the Paul?

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I think there are a lot of people who have questions and you heard

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Polly Toynbee in the police say it is all very well to get an

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investment is something like a road scheme, where there is a simple

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investment and result. But what is the methodology for it -- the

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methodology for measuring the result in issues like this? We need

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to get the money in from resources for all sorts of reasons. We need

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to reduce alcoholism, reoffending, and if we can be measured and it is

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robust, we need to try this out. That is what the pilot scheme is

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all about. And Tim Robinson in that he's said he was worried about this

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would work in practice but he is trailing the scheme?

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He I think councils need to think outside the box and look at

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innovative ways of funding it. This is a pilot scheme and we need to

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evaluate it and see if it can be rolled out across the country.

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There are so many families who need help and I think we have to try and

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find a way to solve the problems and to help them have a fulfilling

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life. They are not getting it at the moment.

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Hilton Dawson, how would you set about measuring the success of the

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work the investors put in here? I think I would stick to a defined

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range of programmes, quite honestly. Here in Nottingham we have the

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example of Graham Allen and Sabino a great deal of the evidenced based

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programs that can help families make changes, and huge changes to

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the lives of very young children. That is the sort of programme that

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needs to be financed by this sort of initiative. A very clear outcome.

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But you need to look over many years to see that?

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We do need to stick with it. That has been one of the failings, quite

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honestly. That is why we do not see so much success. We must not throw

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the baby out with the bath water. A local authorities to have expertise,

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dedicated public servants and us a real knowledge about the best way

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of helping families and communities. Do not lose that in the process.

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Chris, it is going to be a nightmare to prove that there is a

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return on this? For yes, that is where I am

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slightly anxious. These should be areas where there should be public

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investment any way. Cuts will hit some of the key services like

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social care and crime reduction. People will be desperate there any

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alternative they can find but is this going to be cost-efficient?

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That is what people will ask. And how long will investors have to

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prove they have made savings to get a profit?

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They need to prove they had done the work and got results. It will

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take time. It is not a quick fix. Some families need working with for

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a very long time. People in prisons need a lot of help because some are

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illiterate and have never. To give them the skills get into work,

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which is an issue with families, Cup is very difficult. It will not

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be easy. It will not be quick. It could provide a solution and we

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will look at innovative ones. What about the warning the from

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Polly Toynbee that the government may end up bailing out investors?

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It is an important point and I do think it is important that we do

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not come for these whizz-bang ideas. If it can be measured and you can

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be certain of that it will deliver an outcome, fine, let us try it out.

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Mike own view is that there are no ways around that. Sometimes you

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have to prioritise public investment. It is worth trying

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things like this in pilot form but I would not put all my eggs in one

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basket. Pauline, will the government not

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bail-out investors if things do not work out?

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I think it would be very hard to bail out investors. Investors know

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that if you win, sometimes you do, and sometimes you lose. If they do

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fail, I hope that is the risk they appreciate taking. That is what

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comes when investing in any business.

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It does sound like there is a lot the risk attached to this?

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Yes, and there is a danger of playing safe and colluding over

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what need to be substantial outcomes. This is not a panacea. It

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is only a pilot. It cannot replace the very substantial levels of

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public investments which will continue. We need to have that

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investment in these communities. Allied to the correct programmes,

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this could bring some real freshness into situations and some

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real help to the families we have seen.

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It could mean a radical change to the way we so per up -- the way we

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approach society's problems in the future?

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Indeed. It is a regular criticism of welfare services that sometimes

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they prop up a problem situation is said are dealing with it. This

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could be a way forward. Now it is time for our round-up of

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the main political stories in the region was 60 seconds with John

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Hess. Communities secretary Eric Pickles

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claims Nottingham is now the only local authority which has failed to

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list all its spending on items above �500. The city's Labour

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leader insists it would cost more money than it is worth.

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With Nottingham's workplace parking levy fast approaching, Boots has

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announced it will pay half the cost to its workers. Experience is going

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the whole hog. It has agreed to pay the lot.

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If you want to vote in the East Midlands on whether we should stay

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in the EU, you will have to move to Corby. 13 constituency referenda

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are being organised by the Campaign Group the People's pledge.

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Leicestershire is considering axing three bus travel for disabled

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passengers before 9:30am. -- free bus travel. The council says it can

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no longer afford to subsidise the 8000 people who will lose out.

:50:42.:50:45.

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