04/03/2012 Sunday Politics East Midlands


Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby present the latest political news including an interview with Alex Salmond, and Quentin Wilson on his campaign for lower petrol prices.

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In the East Midlands: The solicitor general on whether it


is time to amend the European Convention on Human Rights. Plus


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1780 seconds


rows over elected mayors and the hello, I'm Marie Ashby. This week


our guests are the Solicitor General Edward Garnier and shadow


transport minister Lilian Greenwood. Coming up: with one of our MPs


insisting we should temporarily withdraw from the European


Convention on Human Rights to deport Abu Qatada, is it time to


give our own cause a greater say? And how another City may follow


Nottingham's lead on a workplace parking levy. First Nottingham City


Council is getting it in the neck again, this time over its decision


to spend �900 on posters opposing the idea of an elected mayor for


the city. When you look at this poster, Edward, what is the


problem? It says Nottingham City Council is opposed to the


introduction of an elected mayor. It believes the cost does not


represent current value for money and the Government disagrees and


has decided that a referendum will be held. Looks fairly balanced.


This is Labour Party propaganda being published at the expense of


the tax payers. If the Labour Party wants to oppose an elected mayor,


fine, but they must pay for it out of their own money of. It is �900,


not a huge amount. If that is the attitude Labour takes towards


public money, that is very bad. It should not be engaging in party


political propaganda on the ratepayers expense. If they do not


know the difference between the proper spending of public money and


the production of propaganda, we are in a bad place. I think one of


the things that is helpful about the poster is that it tells people


there will be a referendum because talking to people... It gives the


Labour Party view on that. It says what the council's policy is on it


but talking to people it is clear a lot of people do not know there


will be a referendum and do not know the arguments for and against


a mayor. People of Nottingham, there will be a referendum on an


elected mayor this may. The boats will be for this or that, but to


put it out at the public's expense in this way it is an abuse of


office. It is a wrong expenditure of public money. If you want to


spend your party's money on this, do it. But do not dress it up as an


information giving procedure. for the council to defend their


decision to include their own council policy on it, but I think


it is important that people understand that this referendum is


coming up and what the arguments are because people are rightly


asking, when there is such austerity when the council is


having to make such cuts to the services, is this the right time to


be having a referendum? You could also say look at all the money the


government spends on its policies and all the press officers it has.


The government is an elected government controlled by Parliament,


which produces its policies for public scrutiny. Labour council was


elected. It is acting outside its remit. The city council must act


within the Local Government Act, within the discretion of a council.


The council is to provide public services like education. It is not


in the business of producing propaganda. There are good


arguments for a information our lead. Yes, there will be a


referendum, but to put out propaganda dressed up as


information is wrong. I do not think million... I think it is


important there is information out there about the mayor. There is a


legal question about whether it is OK to put council policy out there.


Let's leave it there. I will remove it from your person. The extent to


which European Court of Human Rights you set decisions are made


by our courts, an issue it exacerbated by the recent decisions


are to prevent the deportation of radical cleric Abu Qatada. The


Conservative MP for Wellingborough has introduced a bill to temporary


we draw from the convention and allow -- not allow Abu Qatada to be


deported 4th with. It is Amis understanding. The European Court


of Rights is becoming sclerotic, there are 150 cases in the backlog,


far too many petty disputes going to Strasbourg which should be dealt


with by national courts. You should not be used in Strasbourg as a


final court of appeal for Nottingham County Court. If you had


a dispute about a holiday, your bus ticket from Romania to Strasbourg,


do not take it to Strasbourg. We need to streamline the court, make


it more efficient and we need to make it do less and do better and


make it concentrate on the important rights which are


protected by the Convention - the torture, free speech, the right to


assembly. Is he right? I do not think I could disagree with what


aid with says. It is important we are signed up to the European


Convention with the human rights. There are things that can be done


to deal with the backlog and make sure the court is operating


effectively and that is what we should use our influence to do.


government is holding talks with Jordan to gain assurance catarrh


there will not be tortured. British courts refused to allow Abu


Qatada to be deported if he were tortured. He will not be tortured,


we had that assurance from Jordan. The Strasbourg court came up with a


new. Which is he should not be tried in Jordan with evidence which


had been extracted by virtue of torture. Had that been before our


courts if they would not have permitted it either. We need to get


Abu Qatada back to jawed SATs Gordon as quick as we can. Those


negotiations are going on, the Home Secretary is about to go and there


was constant dialogue between the Jordanian Foreign Office and their


justice ministry and our own authorities. Are you optimistic


that those talks will end in agreement? Yes I am. It is in our


interest and there's that this man should be dealt with under the


Jordanian system. He has already been convicted in his absence of


Avensis in Jordan and he needs to be back there to face justice.


Would you be happy for Abu Qatada to be deported if Jordan has given


those assurances? That is what we need to make sure and unfortunately


the Government could have been on this much sooner. It is good they


are doing something now but they could have done this earlier.


Everyone wants to see the opportunity for put her there to be


tried in Jordan but that his human rights will be protected. We have


to wait until the European courts had completed that process. They


have reached a conclusion to a deferred basis to the one we were


dealing with. 31 in Strasbourg. This process began under your


previous government. We won it in Strasbourg but for this new point.


It will be interesting to see how It has been a long time coming but


now Nottingham City Council's workplace parking levy is a less


than a month away. We report on how it is so controversial the


government may make it more difficult for other authorities to


follow Nottingham's lead. One may go down a similar road. Provide a


solution that will save us money. If Eileen Barrett had her way, if


this field would now be covered in concrete. The company she works for,


Source BioScience, is near junction 26 of the M1 but it still inside


Nottingham City Council's boundary, so come before it will be asked to


pay �50,000 for 50 car-parking spaces as part of the new levy. But


the field next door is outside the city boundary, so the company had


wanted to move its car park here and avoid paying the levy. We are


six miles out of the city centre, we have a limited bus service so we


have to drive. We do not feel we receive any of the benefits that


are being proposed through the levy. It does not help us but it affects


us. Determined by Source BioScience to avoid paying the levy has failed.


It turns out the land it wanted to use as a car park is a greenfield


site. Nathalie -- Crewe is expecting to raise �9 million from


the tax in the first year. Any company with over 11 car parking


spaces will have to pay it. It will cost them �288 for each space,


rising to �381 by 2015. If I was working here at Experian I would


not have to pay. For the company is footing the bill. If I was working


here at Boots, I would have to pay around �180 a year on average. I


would also have to pay if I was working at Nottingham City Council,


as much as �600 for those on the highest salaries. The workplace car


parking levy may be unpopular in Nottingham but councillors in


Bristol are thinking of introducing a similar scheme. Workers, not


employers would pick up the bill. The money raised would pay for a


shortfall in funding for improvements to public transport.


We are trying to learn from Nottingham about what they have


done right and wrong and we will meet with business leaders to tell


them about the scheme and we hope to get a business down from


Nottingham who may give a different point of view. Crewe hopes the new


tramlines that the levy will pay for will ease congestion. It was


the previous government that approved the levy. At the time


David Cameron opposed it but now the government has tightened up the


approval process. Regulations state that local authorities would have


to insure that business interests are properly considered, consulted


and councils must have secured their support. Something Crewe has


not been able to do. The government is toting up with a link --


regulations to ensure businesses are protected from the imposition


of taxes that may have a detrimental effect on the economy.


Are they saying Nottingham got it wrong? We believe they did because


there is significant opposition and little support for a parking levy


in the city. But the council -- councillor responsible for


transport dismisses such criticism. I think the government would like


the private sector to become more involved in local issues, to take


the lead in some cases on local issues and to invest more. But on


the other hand, says that it does not want schemes to go ahead and


Les the business committee supports them. The government is sending


mixed signals. In Nottingham at least the business community seems


resigned to the new levy. Some have already made alternative travel


arrangements to avoid having to pay. Eileen Barrett joins us now. You


clearly feel that this led the is unfair. Others would applaud


Nottingham City Council for taking action to tackle traffic congestion.


We as an employer feel it is a significant amount of money. The


levy does not have an end dates so we do not know how it will impact


on us. We are worried about the impact on the city. We have about


70 staff, or we will have to find funds to accommodate the parking


levy for those people. Eileen's business it six miles outside the


city centre. Nowhere near the tram route. There one day she feels it


is unfair. The question for Nottingham City Council is how do


they find their part of the investment in Nottingham and for


every pound that the parking levy raises, �3 are coming in from the


government and it will generate �10 of inward investment into the city.


I sympathise with Eileen's situation but if we do not Path To


-- funded through the parking levy, we have to find another way to make


the money. One of the problems we have is it is only affecting her


few and if you look at the scheme, we regard it as grossly unfair in


its application. Imagine a small organisation with less than 10


people by someone takes home �70,000, they are exempt. Another


organisation with someone on a minimum wage will have to find


those funds. We have no transport for hour employees. -- dedicated


transport for our employees. There is no link to the benefits.


Businesses tell me that they are paying enormous cost from


congestion in the city. One of the biggest things they raised with the


A453. If you are going to get in best not in the city, that will not


work if we do not have an integrated transport system. I


sympathise with what Eileen says and businesses have to decide


whether they can absorb the cost or whether they will have to ask


employees to pay a contribution to the cost of parking at work. People


to pay for their parking. I do not think it is painful. It is painful


at the moment particularly when the economy is in a shaky state --


state but we do need to find this money so that Nottingham can


benefit from the billions of pounds of investment. The Department of


Transport will make it harder for any other scheme to get off the


ground without the support of the business community. Surely the


government should be supporting schemes like this especially when


we have heard in the past about David Cameron's green issues.


is an arbitrary attack on jobs, attacks on businesses. If the wise


counsellors of the Nottingham City Council thinks this will encourage


investment in the city, they must live on another planet. It is also


about less pollution, we have a polluted atmosphere. It ought to be


proportion of, properly targeted and to affect those people who have


an interest in the city of Nottingham. Clearly you will agree


with that. Absolutely. It strikes to make that it is common sense.


People who work in your Business who do not live in the city of


Nottingham are being fleeced by the city council in order to go to work,


some think they need to do so support their business and families


in order to do -- schemes like this can go ahead. Strong language.


the people of Nottingham and led them vote on it rather than those


who come to work from outside. These are important businesses,.


you think the council will live to regret this? The council put


forward the levy and they have been re-elected so it is not a secret. I


disagree with Edward. Lot of the people who drive in to Nottingham


do not live in the area. Why should taxpayers in Nottingham fund the


congestion created by people coming in from Derbyshire and


Leicestershire? If we are serious about tackling congestion then we


have to look at innovative ways of doing it. The government signed off


on the projects that are bringing money into the city knowing what


the scheme was for. There is a balance between central government


interference and localism but the point is this came through the


Transport Act under millions government and if they are going to


do this, why did they wait 10 years to do it? We will have to leave it


there. Thank you. Time for our weekly round-up of some of the


Rebel Euro MP Roger Helmer has left the Conservatives and defected to


the United Kingdom Independence Party. He claims you Ken Dulieu


represents the values of the East Midlands Tories better than a


Conservative Party led by David Cameron. UKIP is now the largest


party representing the region in Europe. Robert Bolt tree has been


suspended from the Conservative group after being charged with


three offences of theft. They involve his council expenses and


council funds amounting to �5,000. It means Derbyshire is now a hung


council. Nottingham City Council has given


the markets where protesters their marching orders. They have been


there since October. The Occupy group say their anti-capitalism


protest will not go away. Finally a reminder when Roger


Helmer was flying the flag for the Tories. He complained the Union


Jack was upside down in Strasbourg. Now Lib Dem councillor Phil Knowles


once Harborough council to apply the black every day. Are you a 21


day years a man or a 365 days a year man as far as the flag is


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