19/02/2012 Sunday Politics East Midlands


19/02/2012

Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with the latest from Greece on the debt crisis, John Prescott on police commissioners and an interview with Scottish secretary Michael Moore.


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Here in the East Midlands: Ken Clarke and Graham Allen on 70

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being the new 50, legal aid cuts, and how we can revive our cities.

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1716 seconds

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Hello, I'm Marie Ashby, and my guests in the East Midlands need

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little introduction. Justice Secretary Ken Clarke and the Labour

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MP for Nottingham North, Graham Allen.

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I've got to start with your Oldie Award, Ken. Last week Liz Kendall

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said in your case 70 is obviously the new 50! Music to your ears!

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Yes! I would like more and more of that, if possible! I was very

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surprised it was so soon and my reaction was, me so young?! There

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is no Merit to it. You just grow older! A very good lunch on the

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Strand and the problem was, I was the only one doing a job. So I left

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all these celebrities of yesteryear having a very good afternoon's

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post-prandial talk! It was fine! Rather good! I must look at the

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magazine more often. I think they got it wrong. My money was on

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Dennis Skinner! He has been called a dinosaur! So you don't think it's

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time to write your memoirs just yet! Well, I have often stayed to

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avoid writing my memoirs. When I have got absolutely nothing to do

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and I suddenly find myself not in politics, not an MP or a minister

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or anything of that kind, I suppose I shall have a go. I do read

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memoirs. Historic ones. They are all so self-justifying. Your

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Rushcliffe constituency disappears at the next election, when it'll be

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swallowed up by the new Coalville and Newark seats. Well, there will

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be people like me in every walk of life. The thought of retiring has

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never crossed my mind but the problem is, it does cross the mind

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of others. You will let us know what you're up to, went to? I will.

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I will that my association are in good time as well. But there are

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separate associations to be set up first. I am at an age where I have

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decided I am rather nearer the event! I don't think that the

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Conservative Party will ever let Ken go. He is the acceptable face

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of the Conservatives. Red in tooth and claw! He always comes across so

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reasonably... Weight! We haven't started discussions yet! If --

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wait! But you are not going. Let's move onto an issue which is

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very much the Justice Secretary's brief - the Legal Aid Bill. It

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reached its committee stage in the House of Lords this week and it

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aims to cut �350 million from the �2 billion legal aid budget. How

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can you slash that amount without causing more hardship or injustice?

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We are not depriving access to any body in terms of justice. We are

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retaining the most generous legal aid system in the world. There is

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no other demographic country where the taxpayer should spend this

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amount of money in financing litigation or anything like it. It

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is actually about how many lawyers, how money expert witnesses, how

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many claims managers, etc, are paid by the taxpayer for resolving their

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battles, and we are actually asking the question, what should the

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taxpayer pay for? The taxpayer should pay for those brushes with

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the law that people who are not able to afford their own

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representation have when it is on vital, important matters affecting

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their freedoms. He is not wrong about the generous legal aid system

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we had in our country. Ours costs �39 per person, compared with just

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�5 in France and Germany. Well, Ken is so good at these wafting

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statements and everything flows by. Real people are being heard by

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these cuts. They are my constituents, people on low incomes,

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people on housing, landlord and tenant issues, people with problems

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with debt. You need to get your advice early and this is the

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strange thing. And Ken knows this, he is a former Chancellor of the

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Exchequer. If you can help people really early on, you don't pay

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loads and loads of money downstream when they have got to go through

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much more expensive litigation or they need extra healthcare. You are

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basically saying those who need help but will not get it? They

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don't lead litigation for most of those things being talked about.

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For debt, the Government puts money into debt advice of various kinds.

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It puts money into the Citizens Advice Bureau. Often, it is more

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general advice they require. And in Nottingham, they are possibly going

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to have to close the Nottingham or send. That does affect those things

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talked about. People pop into those things needing lawyers and they get

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great advice. They get advice from relatively cheap means and they can

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access extra legal advice if they then needed. Ken, your own

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department says there of 45,000 fewer cases where Bobby Ball would

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be represented? We are putting that money into not-for-profit general

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advice centres, including the Law centres. That is not really the

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case, Ken... What are you saying to George Osborne? I knew cutting your

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budget or not? This is about lawyer's... I am cutting 350

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million and it should be more. This is the best we can do. We have a

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staggering bill, as has already been said. All the common law

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countries are the same. Nobody dreams paying lawyers out of can --

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the amount of taxation that we do. One area we will cut on his

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criminal negligence. The health service is in crisis. The billions

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of pounds it is having to make provision as claims managers

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advertise on buses to get people to bring claims at enormous expense

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and bring actions against the health authorities and those have

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to be settled and insured against the costs and it comes out of their

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budget. We can see why the government is determined to take

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action on this because you get people appealing and appealing and

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appealing? I don't think you do. People hate lawyers like they hate

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MPs but they like their own lawyer. Their own lawyer helps them when

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they are desperate and often people come to me as a final Court of

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Appeal and they are really desperate. Often because they are

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not able to access the legal system as it stands. It is a closed club

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as it stands, so taking away legal aid will make it much worse for

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those people, particularly on low incomes. But what about defending

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themselves? They come to me and they come to Graham in surgeries.

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They need help of social security claims and so on. We help them and

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we have staff that help them - case workers. Not on the scale people

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think but they help sort them out. Or they go to the Citizens Advice

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Bureau. Some go to a solicitor who gives exactly the same advice as we

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do. With great respect, the solicitors icy don't know as much

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about the social security system as we do or of workers, and they send

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a large bill have for a fee - legal aid. There will be some who

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desperately need this service to one no longer able to access it.

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Next, this week's unemployment figures showed 188,000 people in

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our region are now out of work. But one of our cities isn't waiting for

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the Chancellor to do more to boost the economy. It's ploughing more

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than �100 million into schemes, which it's hoped will create

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thousands of jobs, as Chris Doidge reports.

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Derby, like anywhere, has seen a few changes over the years. Almost

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nothing in the picture survives. But with the economic gloom hitting

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the City particularly hard in 2011, the council in trying to intervene

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in 2012. To give the city a kick- start. This is the council's

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headquarters. 500 staff moved out last year. By Christmas, 2000 will

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be able to move back in. We are now standing in the middle of what will

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be the council chamber. They were sceptical at first him what we were

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trying to do but I think they are beginning to understand that by

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investing in this building, bringing in 2000 staff instead of

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500, is the best use of resources. The council also showed me the

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first fruit from the city's innovative regeneration fund. A �10

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million pot designed to nudge businesses into creating jobs.

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is an enormous, iconic scheme for the City and the first office

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development out of the ground for 30 years. But its council money

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that has convinced the site's developers to get cracking. I guess

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at a time when there are sensitive pressures on budgets, it is

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difficult to justify spending money on this instead of day care and

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home care centres? I think what local of bodies have got to do is

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take a wide approach to what they're doing and if we

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concentrated on the very narrow aspect of the day-to-day aspect, we

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would lose sight of the wider picture, which is making the City

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for up -- thrive. And then this car-park. Perhaps the most

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ambitious part of the plan. It is set to become a Velodrome with his

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sporting and musical ambitions. So how does the council judged --

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justified that added time of austerity? You are right, it is a

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tricky balancing act. But we have got to do these things to make

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Derby a good place to live and work. The Investment has cross-party

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support but the refurbishments have met with scepticism from the

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opposition. We think there are better things to spend money on

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that and that we should be spending money on council housing. We have

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7,000 on a waiting lists. But we do support the swimming pool and we

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think there is a need to do that. We would support it. Doing up this

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building will cost taxpayers �90 million in mortgage payments over

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the coming decades. It is a decision made around the same time

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as the spending cuts began. Some argue this and other big project in

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Derby are strange things to be doing at a time of austerity and

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those who stand to benefit the most say the changes can't come soon

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enough. The last two years, I have seen a change in the attitudes and

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be far more positive role played by the authorities are encouraging

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activity and regeneration. I think that is a good thing and everybody

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welcomes it with open arms. council says the project they have

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started on up on budget, on time and likely to overbore form. But

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this Duration of politicians could be long gone by the time their

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Grand Designs can be properly judged. -- this generation.

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Graham Allen, the message from Derby is clear. Whatever party you

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belong to, you can make things happen locally. It's not just Derby.

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Yes. I wrote a little piece about giving local government much more

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freedom. The answer to our economic problems is not some super brain in

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Whitehall telling us what to do. It is local projects like this. We

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have seen a loss of innovation in shopping and retell and our towns

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and cities across the East Midlands, if we let them loose and freer, as

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every Western democracy is, to run their own affairs, I think we will

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find out there is so much creativity out there. I like the

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spirit of the Derby operation and the leaders turning their energy

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into how to help businesses and regenerate the economy. I would

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like to know more about Derby's ballot sheet. And have not seen the

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business plan and I don't know the effect on the overall situation.

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They have had �10 million from reserves. Yes, but we have to get

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something back from that. I presume they have worked out how the

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Velodrome will pay and how the money will be saved by closing down

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these satellite office blocks. And also they are not put in too many

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officials in their great new headquarters. I don't want to sound

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churlish because they have a great businessman supporting them. But

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the idea that any big prestige project is a good thing to be seen

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doing can be very short term. And the history of this country is

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littered with local authorities investing sometimes him very, very

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ill-advised things. -- investing in. I would love to see a partnership

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between entrepreneurs and business leaders, with those who run

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businesses, not just property developers. Businessmen as well.

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we were to listen to central government of all colours, they

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don't exactly have the best record of economic prudence over many

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decades. In the local area, you find you have counsellors, leaders,

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mayors, who are very much in touch and sensitive to what they can do

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locally and need to win over their electorate. I would like to see our

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cities saying whether they would like to raise revenue in different

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ways. They would have to explain it very carefully that if you want to

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run a tax of any sort or a money- raising thing, a bond issue, let

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them have that freedom. And I am afraid we have had localism and the

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rhetoric of that, but what they're saying now is that let's define

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local government as a separate entity so that it can get on with

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life rather than Mr Pickles deciding how many things can happen.

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We are cautious. There is a Localism Bill and we have greatly

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extend the powers councils have to do things. Instinctively, I find

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this attractive. I am probably scarred by my recollection of the

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disastrous times we used to have with Liverpool and Moseley and

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Lambeth and those corrupt sort of bankrupt oligarchies that we used

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to have. That was in the 1980s. We need protection against that. You

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let people do this and I have no reason whatever to doubt that the

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people in Derby know what they are doing. Every local authority can do

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whatever it likes. You have some City boss you will reduce the play

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is... They are a conservative Lib Dem coalition, which is rather

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familiar! -- Conservative-Lib Dem coalition. They are spending more

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to get the country growing. Sheffield went bankrupt in the

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1980s by trying to do its own thing. One at a time, gentlemen!

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mistake an individual Prime Minister makes affect everybody.

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Whereas if you have ideas out there, people are bright enough and we can

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learn from each other. You don't have to have one size fits all. And

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if you listen to what is going on in other places, you will have much

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better economic development. Budget is only a few weeks away.

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What should be done to create jobs? I think George Osborne would do us

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a great favour if he were to allow local authorities and local people

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to Willette who they felt almost appropriate in their areas and let

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them get on. -- local people to elect. George Osborne knows all the

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answers! I don't think he was saying that! A lot of people are

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going in for a vast prestige project. They have got to try to do

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something to help investors and businessmen in small and medium-

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size enterprises in particular create jobs and develop their ideas

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and for goods and services to be marketed. I don't think any

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politicians anywhere think that huge glossy project will help.

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hear you! Time for a round-up of our other political stories in the

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Spot the mistake. No! East Midlands MP did. At Strasbourg, he was

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incensed to discover if the Union Jack flying upside-down! After 33

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years, we should by now have learned which way up to hang the

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British flag! Thank you! And the European Union is being accused of

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pulling the wool over from as' eyes. They have to tag all the sheep.

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They say doing this to over one million in a region is unrealistic.

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And it has been said a Home Office should pay towards the �1 million

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it cost to police this month's EDL march in Leicester. They are going

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to court to press their case. And if you're wondering who was

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responsible for the upside-down flag? I am blame it on the French.

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I am glad we flag that up for you. But more seriously, should the

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Government stump up some money for the EDL protests? There are rules

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about it. Anything that costs the local police service quite a bit of

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money, there will be other disorders and demonstrations.

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Exporting events. These things just happen. You cannot say it comes as

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a surprise. I will leave it to the Home Office to argue with Leicester

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as to whether this crosses the threshold where you get a national

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contribution. If the police have had two EDL marches in the last two

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years. It is money they could spend on police officers. If it is

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exceptional, I am sure the Home Office will pay. There are very

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strict rules... Should this change? I think we should send the bill to

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EDL and then they might crawl back under the stone they came from!

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it looks like they won't get any government help. Should that

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change? It just means the taxpayer pays more through central

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