26/02/2012 Sunday Politics East Midlands


26/02/2012

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

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

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

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

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2027 seconds

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

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

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Conservative MP for Amber Valley, Nigel Mills.

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

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

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too? And counting sheep for the EU - the

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farmers who insist they're being fleeced.

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

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

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

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

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

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it'll be involved in issuing firearms licences.

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Vernon Coaker, you were a Home Office minister with responsibility

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

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private company running police services?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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be interesting to see how successful it is.

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

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

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policing in Lincolnshire! They are taking over some of the

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

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

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

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there. It is not an isolated case, though.

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

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catalogue of serious failures, including murderers and paedophiles

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being unmonitored for weeks at a time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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the lessons of the previous government, locking us into

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excessive cost that is not appropriate. I hope the lessons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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and not getting locked into that good things.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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idea that should be introduced nationally.

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

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

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responsibility. It should go on for like the first

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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baby. We have been joined by Julie

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

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Nottingham. First, some strong feelings that pregnant mothers

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should take responsibility for their own actions. Some people

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

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

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number of premature deaths and associated health problems if the

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

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

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acceptable would be to say if people are going to receive

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

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

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be incentive enough? I think we would all like to

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

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

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

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

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

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somebody not to do something they should not be doing.

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

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hard to stop smoking. -- many people.

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It is incredibly difficult. I have got personal experience of

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

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

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

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

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

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stop smoking, it is actually very difficult.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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responsibility for their own health and their own unborn child?

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Alongside that, people are also concerned about the fact that

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

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

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

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

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

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

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that to linger vouchers do something that would benefit the

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

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

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

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

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

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

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are going to make a large difference?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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consequences? Financial loss on something that is

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

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

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

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

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electronic tag. Stephen wainwright is a younger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The EU embarked on a programme to bring in electronic identification

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

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difficult to develop than was perhaps originally expected.

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

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prices are strong. The farmers have cause to smile.

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

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

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risk. It is unfair to expect people to

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

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

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

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

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

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Farming ministers still have a compromise can be reached with the

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

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

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overkill? That is just what I was about to

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

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

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

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

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to the limit? Clearly, hill farmers watching this

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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further? You have to fight your corner on

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

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

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change, and with this implementation date being push back

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:54:02.:54:12.
:54:12.:54:16.

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

:54:16.:54:21.

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

:54:21.:54:25.

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

:54:25.:54:30.

force against Iran. We cannot afford any ill judged military

:54:30.:54:34.

action of. Earlier this month we highlighted

:54:34.:54:42.

concerns over the decision to devalue educational on vacations.

:54:42.:54:45.

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

:54:45.:54:50.

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

:54:50.:54:53.

improving broadband services, matching the amount the government

:54:53.:54:58.

has agreed to contribute. Big Brother watched says Leicester

:54:58.:55:02.

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

:55:02.:55:06.

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

:55:06.:55:11.

Nottingham stressed that many of theirs play an important role in

:55:11.:55:16.

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