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