26/02/2012 Sunday Politics East Midlands


Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby present political news and debate, including former defence secretray Liam Fox in his first major television interview since leaving the cabinet.

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A Lib Dem lord and a troublesome And our panel of bright young


things is here to analyse British politics and the week ahead.


A private security firm is to run one of our police stations. It is a


step too far? And the health trusts paying pregnant mums to stop


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2027 seconds


Hello, I'm Marie Ashby and our guests in the East Midlands this


week are Vernon Coaker, the Labour MP for Gedling, and the


Conservative MP for Amber Valley, Nigel Mills.


Coming up: The health trust paying pregnant mums to stop smoking. They


stand to get vouchers worth up to �700. Could it save us a packet,


too? And counting sheep for the EU - the


farmers who insist they're being fleeced.


First, we're getting used to services being privatised. But the


police? This week the private security firm G4S signed a deal to


build and run a police station near Lincoln. What's more, 500 civilian


workers at Lincolnshire Police will transfer to the company, and it'll


take over responsibility for a number of services. For instance,


it'll be involved in issuing firearms licences.


Vernon Coaker, you were a Home Office minister with responsibility


for policing in the last government. Do you have a problem with a


private company running police services?


I think there are real concerns about what is happening. The first


point is that they are pushed into this by the cuts to the Budget. You


only have to look at what is happening in Lincolnshire with the


loss of police officers already. Privatisation is not really to be


effective, but to save money. GS4 will want to make a profit. Do we


want our policing to be run for a profit? But we are told it could


save Lincolnshire Police �20 million. That is a big saving.


put the money back into the police. It will not be put back into


frontline police officers. It will not be there to retain staff. The


money is taken out of the budget, so the savings had to be made by


Lincolnshire Police. This is about efficiency and profit. Nigel Mills,


surely people have a right to be concerned that GS4 will be involved


in issuing firearms certificates? I don't think issuing certificates


is the thing most people worry about when they think about what


the police are doing. This is an interesting innovation. It allows


more officers out on the beat. That should be a positive step. It will


be interesting to see how successful it is.


But remember that this is a company which fitted a tag to an offender's


false leg last year. Now we are talking about handing over the


policing in Lincolnshire! They are taking over some of the


back office staff. You're not going to have GS4's operas as Aberdeen


police work. We can find mistakes in private companies and police


forces. This is a welcome step. We all know there's Ltd money out


there. It is not an isolated case, though.


When the BBC's inside-out programme investigated GS4, they discover a


catalogue of serious failures, including murderers and paedophiles


being unmonitored for weeks at a time.


It is not for me to defend GS4. you are happy for this to happen?


I'm sure the police will have done proper checks to make sure that


they are fully competent to do the work. We are talking about back


office functions, not have been able out on the streets on Friday


night. I would not think anybody watching this programme would think


that it is a simple back-office function as to who has a firearms


licence or certificate. They think that would be a pretty basic part


of policing, who has a gun. To actually outsource that to a


private company, people would have very real concerns. The other thing


is this is a ten-year contract. What are the safeguards for the


public if it goes wrong? The Home Office will get it in the neck,


presumably. What is in the contract? It is �10 million. What


happens with the custody suite if it does not work? What does happen?


What would happen in this instance? I would hope that we have learnt


the lessons of the previous government, locking us into


excessive cost that is not appropriate. I hope the lessons


have been learned. We are doing a full review of that. So you just


hope it is going to be OK? We have to trust the people involved.


this is for policing. This is a fundamental part of the security of


our communities. It is not a simple, with due respect, a bit of a


village egg-and-spoon race. This is fundamental policing of our


communities! It is not a matter of hope, it should be a matter of


certainty. We are engaging with private companies to give value,


and not getting locked into that good things.


-- difficult things. Next, we can't force pregnant women


to stop smoking, but it's clearly in their babies' interests that


they give up. Now Derbyshire NHS is running a pilot scheme under which


mums are being given shopping vouchers if they stop. The vouchers


could be worth up to �700 - but they'll only be paid out if mums


can prove they've quit. This device measures the carbon in their bodies.


We've been asking people in Nottingham if they think it's an


idea that should be introduced nationally.


I don't think they should pay them. It is their responsibility. That is


the harm they are doing to their child. They have to take full


responsibility. It should go on for like the first


two months, and let them do it themselves after that.


incentive to stop smoking would be good. But as long as it is


foolproof and they can't use the money on cigarettes anyway.


In pregnancy it is hard to quit smoking, as I have found myself. A


Smoking Room helped me to quit. They gave me an incentive and


support, but no finer for support. It could have helped. It is not a


bad idea. If you are responsible, being pregnant should be enough


leverage to make sure you protect your own health and that of your


baby. We have been joined by Julie


Greenwood, who heads the stop smoking team for the NHS in


Nottingham. First, some strong feelings that pregnant mothers


should take responsibility for their own actions. Some people


believe they should done in a bribe to give up smoking.


-- they should not need a bribe. There are concerns. There are a


number of premature deaths and associated health problems if the


boss Mick and pregnancy. This is a pilot. I have concerns about


escaping their responsibility. One of the ways to make it more


acceptable would be to say if people are going to receive


vouchers, they should not just be in cash but should be returned, say,


for baby clothes or equipment. If you are pregnant, shouldn't that


be incentive enough? I think we would all like to


believe that if somebody is pregnant, they are going to be so


concerned about their baby that they don't want to risk smoking and


harming themselves and the baby. I'd think the idea of rewarding


someone for something they should not be doing is pretty awful. I'm


not sure how many people would want to go out to pay tax to pay


somebody not to do something they should not be doing.


Let's ask Julie. Made people will find it hard to believe that it is


hard to stop smoking. -- many people.


It is incredibly difficult. I have got personal experience of


supporting women who are trying to stop smoking. It is only a small


portion of women who continue to smoke through pregnancy. But they


tend to be women from the most deprived areas. They are highly


addictive, and they have got lots of stress and chaos in their lives.


Although one could assume that when a woman becomes pregnant, she can


stop smoking, it is actually very difficult.


We heard also in those brief clips from one young woman who said that


vouchers might have actually helped her. Do you personally think they


are a good idea? We don't use them in Nottingham


city. But we have looked at the evaluation of other services that


have used them. If we can encourage women, if this is going to work,


then maybe I would be happy to look at the findings and the evaluation


of the Derbyshire project to see if it can help. Do you have any


reservations? When you look at smoking in pregnancy, it impacts so


much on the help of mother and baby. Also, later in life, when you look


at the cost to the NHS, it casts around �65 million per year to


treat a woman with pregnancy complications per year. Maybe �24


million per year is the cost to the infant as well.


Isn't this what it is all about, Vernon Coaker? The long-term cost?


It is controversial, this. On the one hand, shouldn't people take


responsibility for their own health and their own unborn child?


Alongside that, people are also concerned about the fact that


linked to smoking in pregnancy is a lot of premature birth and so on.


People worry about that as well. It is trying to navigate your way


through that we changes behaviour. The pilot scheme is about vouchers.


All I am saying is that I agree with Nigel, and would get concerned


about paying tax for bad behaviour. But isn't it about trying to


prevent premature death with unborn babies? Isn't one of the ways to do


that to linger vouchers do something that would benefit the


child was much if America is anything to go by, the vouchers --


would benefit the child. If America is anything to go by,


the vouchers would work. On this occasion, I think if giving


up smoking is bad heart, and I'm sure it is, I'm not sure that a


small voucher is going to help. If you stop smoking, you have got a


lot of money saved anyway. That is your incentive. Is a small Dutch


are going to make a large difference?


If this works, though, surely there will be pressure on the rest of the


country to introduce it? Be Royal College of Midwives say they


support it. That is the point. It has a pilot.


What I am saying is, which is the way to make it more acceptable


rather than just people being rewarded for what others see as the


right thing? Where does this end, though? If we


start to give vouchers to women to persuade him to stop smoking during


pregnancy, do we have to dip into alcoholics or obese people to stop


eating? -- would give them too. The issue here is we have got two


people involved, the mother and the baby. That impacts longer into


their lives because it can increase the risk of not just a short-term


risk but could increase the risk of cancer and heart disease. Really


got to think about those, haven't we. Thank you very much.


Now, when we heard about this last week, we found it hard to believe.


The EU is warning farmers that it'll fine them unless they tag all


their sheep. With more than a million in our region, that's some


ask, as our political editor John Hess has been finding out.


We are driving to one of the highest and remotest areas of


England. Peter Atkin is going to count his sheep. How many have you


got, Peter? 600 appear on this moor. And where


do they end up? On the horizon. In the Peak District, it is not


just the elements that can make hill farming a struggle. A chill


wind has Broadmayne -- has come in from Europe, making sure that all


sheep are compelled to be tagged. If not, the farmer gets a fine. The


consequences? Financial loss on something that is


basically only justifiable anyway. How do you feel about that?


Rather better, really. They want us to use a system that we know is


flawed. -- rather bitter. This is what the fuss is all about.


It is an allegory tag that the EU and Defra what on every sheep. --


electronic tag. Stephen wainwright is a younger


generation farmer. He says the new rules fail to take into account the


unique nature of the Peak District. When you go gathering to find your


sheep, I do with my dad and my best friends, and we set off for 7.5


hours. We go behind rocks and galleys, and even if they gave you


a week's notice, you would not get everyone. It is just opened more


land. You can go about 7, 8, 9 miles in that direction without


seeing a fence. It is market day in Bakewell. This


is where many of Derbyshire's 370,000 sheep are sold and bought.


It was the outbreak of foot-and- mouth disease more than 10 years


ago that prompted the EU and Defra to consider electronic tagging to


track and soars each animal. Newborn lambs now have to be tagged.


It will be the turn of older sheep in two years. All 8 million of them.


The EU embarked on a programme to bring in electronic identification


of sheep using a chip inside the tags. That has proved more


difficult to develop than was perhaps originally expected.


The sheep then come to market to be auctioned. Today in Bakewell the


prices are strong. The farmers have cause to smile.


It is good business for sheep farmers. Britain is now the biggest


exporter in Europe. But the issue, farmers say, could put all this at


risk. It is unfair to expect people to


jump through hoops when the system that they want to use is not 100%


perfect. One solution is to give the sheep farmers some leeway.


Defra is sympathetic but fears it could end up facing fines of up to


�10 million from the EU if it does not comply. In a statement, Defra


admits that at the moment there seems to be no effective way around


Farming ministers still have a compromise can be reached with the


EU that -- but they could be some long nights ahead.


There goes the EU all over dip -- all over again! Is it Operation


overkill? That is just what I was about to


say. It looks like a sledgehammer to crack a nut. We are trying to


fix a problem from a decade ago. This is not needed. It is not part


of its time. It is a step too far. And we heard the farmer say they


are struggling as it is to make a farm living. This could push people


to the limit? Clearly, hill farmers watching this


and others will feel for them. I hope that common sense prevailed,


but I think you saw from the shots how ridiculous it is to believe


that you can get every single sheep or lamb or whatever on that huge


expanse... I'm not an expert in sheep farming, but surely there's a


better way of finding to deal with the issues this is dealing with.


One of the best ways is listening to what the hill farmers are saying.


Maybe, Natal, the EU Commissioner to come to see for himself.


There does seem to be a special case in that part of Derbyshire.


You do not have sheep in a pen. Having to find all of them, making


sure if they are attacked, maybe if there's some margin for error, that


the take the edge of it. -- if they are tags.


The Defra I effectively washing their hands of this. Is that


reasonable, for him to say OK, we could it a fine, let's take this no


further? You have to fight your corner on


these things and get it changed. Through listening to farmers and


through Nigel and myself, other MPs, we have had lots of regulation


change, and with this implementation date being push back


to 2014, there has been some change already. The government needs to


continue to fight its corner. What can be done next, then, Nigel?


It is fair to say that Defra had been working party get this measure


softened. There has been some success. I think we can all urge


ministers to keep the pressure up and find a solution that is less


painful for farmers and gives them a decent chance of making a living


in a hard business. Thank you very much to both of you.


Time now for our regular round-up of some of the other political


stories in the East Midlands in As fears grow over the extent of


President Ahmadinejad's nuclear programme, Patrick Mercer, a former


army commander, has joined those warning of the dangers of using


force against Iran. We cannot afford any ill judged military


action of. Earlier this month we highlighted


concerns over the decision to devalue educational on vacations.


Now, a Derby recruit the company is warning it will exacerbate the


skill shortage. Derbyshire County Council is to spend �7 million on


improving broadband services, matching the amount the government


has agreed to contribute. Big Brother watched says Leicester


and Nottingham have more CCTV cameras than any other city in the


UK. Leicester says that almost half of theirs are in schools.


Nottingham stressed that many of theirs play an important role in


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