Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with the latest political news, interviews and debate, including an interview with Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls.
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Here: A warning that the closure of a hostel for vulnerable teenagers
will force some of them onto the streets.
Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1830 seconds
And, how we're sitting on huge Hello, I'm John Hess. Our guests in
the East Midlands are the Conservative MP for Bosworth, David
Tredinnick and John Mann, the Labour MP for Bassetlaw. Coming up:
Is the price of spending cuts too high? A homeless charity tells us
it's being forced to close a hostel for vulnerable teenagers. It warns
more young people will end up sleeping rough.
Plus, our region is sitting on some of the biggest reserves of shale
gas in the country. The question is, should we exploit them?
First briefly, the Budget. David, can you give me an example
of how the Budget has helped businesses and people wanting to
get into work in your own constituency? We have just had this
huge enterprise zone just outside Hinckley announced, creating at
least 2000 new highly paid jobs, be an average of �40,000 in year in
salaries. Bring in the corporation tax rate down will help businesses
in the area, and also the top rate will stop people going abroad.
it a quick fix or long term? think it is part of a long-term
solution. When you have high tax rates people tried to avoid them.
This Chancellor has said he wants people to pay their taxes. We will
be paying taxes - petrol up more than three pence, it is great if
you are in business, to see record Petrel lovers. Pensioners getting
hit. Even if you want to go on holiday in a caravan in England.
You will be paying 20% VAT. This is nonsense. It does nothing for
business. A You are a member of the Treasury Select Committee. The one
thing everyone agrees on is that we need to get the economy going again.
Growth was predicted to be 2.5% and the last Budget, now it is
predicted to be under 1%. In other words, we are not growing the
economy. Yet the Independent Office for Budget Responsibility is
forecasting growth of 2% next year, 2.7% in 2014 - much higher than the
Eurozone. They always predict higher, and it when it comes to the
real year, this year, it is much lower. They also predict, by the
way, which -- that national debt is going to be going up every single
year. Not delivering, David, on that key issue of dealing with a
deficit reduction. Even during the boom years, a number of private
sector jobs in the West Midlands was declining. We have a
fundamental structural problems, and we have to deal with this
massive budget deficit that Labour have left us. This new budget that
we have just had makes it easier for people to take jobs, people in
the private sector. We have got help for younger people, and, by
reducing this debt burden we will, in the end, create the new jobs we
need for the benefit of the country. Yet the Chancellor has warned he
will cut another �10 billion off the welfare bill. Why should
vulnerable people in our region pay an even higher price for a crisis
that they say they are not responsible for and did not cause
in the first prize? We have passed a new bill through Parliament to
create a universal benefit, and stop some of the abuses that we
have had in the past. Some of the benefit was going to people who
should not have had it in the first prize. We want a much more targeted
benefits system. John Mann, what you say to David, where he said
earlier that lowering the top rate of tax, reducing corporation tax,
will attract more companies to Britain, and by implication more
companies to the East Midlands? any people benefiting are the
millionaires who are getting the vast amounts of their tax. That
does nothing for anyone. There is nothing in this for small
businesses. Petrol prices going up does nothing for small business,
and that is what the East Midlands needs. For the moment, thank you.
Next, spending cuts are taking an increasing toll, particularly on
local charities. Now Framework has told the Sunday Politics it's being
forced to close a hostel for vulnerable teenagers, as I've been
finding out. Heading to a hostel that won't be
here next Spring. By the time these daffodils have wilted, this shelter
for the homeless in Nottingham will be closed because of local council
spending cuts. 19-year-old Daniel Whitehead, who was homeless for
almost two years, is having to look for new accommodation again. How
valuable would you say this service is? With all the support and that,
it has been good for me and the people I have lived with that. It
is quite valuable, really. This is one of the flats run by the
Framework charity for the homeless. The room's been cleared because of
a funding cut of �250,000 by Labour-run Nottingham City Council.
The hostel offered 14 vulnerable young homeless people a roof over
their head. It shuts at the end of the month. It will mean that young,
homeless and vulnerable people who need support to establish the
skills that they need to live independently will no longer get
that support, and they will be left to fend for themselves. Neither
Nottingham City Council or the Labour politician in charge of
housing agreed to be interviewed about this. In a statement, the
The blame game is of little interest for Daniel. It is
important for all the people who are homeless, really. If it wasn't
there, where will people go? Government insists it's protected
its �6.5 billion Supporting People programme and expects councils to
do the same. That message hasn't been heard here. The hostel shuts
in just over a week. Can we cut through this blame game
here. Is the Government seriously suggesting that councils like
Nottingham are wilfully choosing to scrap funding for hostels like this
one when they could keep it open? Yes, that is the case. The money is
there, but they are not using it. It is not ring-fenced. So, there is
a degree of politics in this. It is very unwise. All of the homes we
have in Hinckley are open, so I don't know what this Labour-
controlled council are doing. are what, taking a local decision?
It is a local decision. There is money available for these projects,
but they are not caring to use it. A so, in effect, John Mann, David
Tredinnick is saying this is Nottingham City Council's joys.
Well, strangely, Conservative Nottingham County Council in my
area has also cut its Supporting People programme by a huge amount,
and what they say is the Government has forced them to do it. And that
is the case. What we have had is the Government cutting the
Supporting People budget across the country and saying to local-
authority is they have still got the responsibility for homelessness
and Supporting People, but we're not giving you any money to do it.
That is the dilemma of all councils of all parties, and the vulnerable,
including the would be and future home this... It is a scandal. There
is a danger of this happening in my area and other parts of
Nottinghamshire. You say it is a scandal, yet the Housing Minister
is saying Supporting People funding has been protected. He says it's up
to councils to invest in vulnerable teenagers like Daniel. And the
money is there - �6.5 billion nationally.
It has been precisely been cut. They say used for general money.
All councils with huge cut are having to balance out the different
priorities. We are seeing part of the country, including in my area,
problems with Supporting People, problems with the Budget, and
people like this potentially getting thrown out on the street.
Isn't this one Budget that should be protected for the most
vulnerable people in society? the money is there. It is not ring-
fenced. But I think it is important that councils do their utmost to
keep these homes open and support organisations that are providing
services for drug addicts, people who are on the streets... But the
Government has said they have cut the budget by 12%. There is a
rationalisation because of a big overspend generally in affairs in
the UK at the moment, but if we don't support these homeless
shelters and houses like that, these people often end up in police
stations or hospitals. We have to pick up a much larger built later
on. It is a very sensitive area. We have touched on deficit reduction
already. Is it realistic to expect any budget to be fully protected,
given the economic climate we are in? Of course not, but it is a
false economy to throw people out onto the street, to encourage drug-
taking and crime and alcoholism, which is precisely what will happen.
People need a home, and young people in pubs, but -- perhaps
because they had been thrown out of the family home for whatever reason,
they need to have somewhere to live or they will end up on drugs and
doing crime. I have to agree. We must support vulnerable people and
make sure they don't sleep rough and get into trouble.
Let's see if there's any agreement on our next issue. We can reveal
that the East Midlands is sitting on some of the biggest reserves of
shale gas in the country. A reason to celebrate, or should we be
worried about what might happen if we exploit them?
So, could the tranquil beauty of the Vale of Belvoir become one of
Britain's biggest gas fields. From here to the Derbyshire Peak
District is one of the country's biggest reserves of shale gas. This
is Melton Mowbray, celebrated for its pork pies, yet it could be
ingredients a mile underground that could give this town and many
others in the East Midlands rich pickings in a new dash for gas.
This geologist is inside a labyrinth of a national collection
of rock specimens at the British Geological Survey headquarters. He
is looking for box 14189. It contains ancient stones, drilled
just north of Derby in the Swinging 60s, when the any interest in gas
was jumping Jack Flash. This black line in the court is an old plant
stem, about 250 million years old, and it is the organic matter within
the start of material that will generate Matt -- gas. It looks
psychedelic, but this is a Geographic map with Melton Mowbray
in the bottom corner. But this is what begets the gas industry so
excited - this thick green belt represents the shale gas reserves
in this area alone. The reserves have been identified in three main
areas of the East Midlands. But, how is the gas extracted? The water
is pumped in at very high pressures. It will spread the rocker open. If
you imagine that this ball is sound, Sanders also pumped into the
borehole, it goes into the fractious, and that keeps the
Thatcher's open and creating a pressure gradient by which Gas can
flow from the rock into the borehole. It is called fracking.
That, together with new drilling technology, has opened up new
possibilities. But, it is controversial. In Blackpool,
fracking of the Lancashire coast created minor earth tremors.
Drilling was suspended pending a government safety review. In
America, critics claim fracking contaminates the water supply with
gas. This fireball in a bathroom basin became an internet sensation.
Former Nottingham South MP Alan Simpson is now sustainable energy
policy adviser for Friends of the Earth. The experience from America
is that if you give an untrammelled permission to race down that route,
you will end up with thousands of drilling sites, producing billions
of gallons of toxic waste that are just poured back onto the land.
Once those companies have milked the profits, the community is
affected and will pick up the legacies for generations to come.
The UK reserves, according to one industry expert, are the equivalent
of seven North Sea gas fields. This is the office of the Department for
an even here, officials admit they don't know the full extent of shale
gas in the UK. In a statement, the Energy Minister, Charles Hendry,
also says that they don't know how economically or environmentally
viable it will be to extract. At best, he says, it is years away.
But he goes on to say that if it comes good, we must be ready to
take full advantage of it. That may be the signal for a new dash for
gas that could transform the country's economy, but also our
countryside. This is a huge energy policy issue
we are talking about here. We are also told that the Government is
going to make an announcement pretty soon on whether to approve
new drilling applications. Your constituency seems to be sitting on
some of this shale gas. Should we had -- go-ahead and exploit them?
It would be a new name for people, the Gainsborough trough, and I
don't think many people have heard that term before. I have got an
open mind on whether this is usable or not. I have an open mind. I have
got a lot of fears about the potential for water pollution. In
my area, the water tables and linkage in, this is critical water
- this is water that we are using all the time. So, there are dangers
that. But think what is important is the public are engaged in the
debate. People in my area do not know that there is this possibility,
whether it is an opportunity or a threat, and they need to be able to
participate in that debate, rather than the Government are jumping
ahead without them knowing. That is why I welcome your reporting on it
today. David didn't it, is the Government likely to jump ahead on
such a key issue? Given all those pollution concerns as well. We have
to look at all energy sources, and I would sooner see this in
operation than these giant windmills on shore, which I think
are inefficient, and against which there has been quite a reaction.
The problem will be if we have communities that find methane gas,
out of the taps, as has happened in America. We need to have tougher
regulations than in the US, but we can't ignore eight times the
reserves of the North Sea if they are unsure. How do we get that
assurance? How do we assure those residents who might be living on
some of those huge reserves of shale gas? You either trial away
from people's homes, or you have tougher regulations. Sensible
regulations to reassure communities. We are in a wild now where energy
is at a premium. Prices have gone through the roof. We have to look
at all possible opportunities. have seen battle prices go through
the roof over the last week caused it. John Mann, you heard Alan
Simpson their who said that the toxic waste from drilling could
pose a huge environmental problem. The danger of water contamination
clearly is the problem with shale gas and specifically with fracking
- the process to get it. But we should bear in mind, there is a
range of other possibilities with energy in our area that is
underground. We are using grand tours -- ground sauce heat pumps to
draw heat to heat pensioners' homes already. It has been very
successful. We need to be careful that we don't jump for what the
energy companies say are the quick gains - bit games for them - and
not put investment in the things which are slowly but surely working
which are no risk to anyone, and are in fact free in terms of the
energy bills. David, the National shale gas reserves dwarf those, we
are told, of the North Sea. Surely there is going to be pressure on
ministers are to exploit them, and it is going to become irresistible?
We have to look at this massive resource. It does have quieted
toxic process, but there should be ways of taking it forward safely.
That is my concern. I don't think we can do everything from ground
source heating. I think it is valuable in his plays, but this is
a massive new source of power which the nation needs if it is to
develop its industries and get people into work, and give them
happy lives. John Mann, you have touched on it already, but how do
we have that much wider public debate? By informing people, by
allowing role -- local people to participate. Telling them the
options. People will then discover themselves the pros and cons. But
people need to know what is underground, what the Government is
tentatively thinking about, and then we can have that open debate.
That is what I would encourage. We can then make rational decisions
with local people. And the prospect of being self-sufficient in gas?
we can do that without any risk to local water supplies, I would be
for it. Yes, it is part of our energy package. There are
controversies in other areas, over nuclear power, but this is
something that must be considered. Thank you very much indeed.
Now it's time for our round-up of some of the other political stories
in the East Midlands this week with The Conservative MP for North West
Leicestershire, Andrew Bridgen, has called for an urgent debate on the
state of the construction industry. His constituency has some of the
largest brick factories in the country.
Tory Party Chairman, Baroness Varsi, didn't take kindly to a suggestion
that she was one of the reasons Roger Helmer has resigned as a
Member of the European Parliament. I feel that it is no surprise that
he has gone, and it may well be that his views really are more in
tune with the party that he has now chosen to join.
Derby councillors have approved a controversial application for a new
mosque in Normanton. It'll include a 21 metre high minaret.
Finally, plaudits from the Prime Minister for the work done by
Nottingham North Labour MP, Graham Allen, on early intervention to
help disadvantaged families. We are going to be setting up the early
intervention foundation which will be funded in order to make the
arguments that he has put very effectively, whichever side of the