Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with the latest political news, interviews and debate.
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At this is East Midlands Today false start it is the Budget that
keeps on giving but not in a good way. How much damage is being done
Why should it thousands of East Midlands families at lose tax
credits when millionaires get off so lightly? And why should they
Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1730 seconds
Hello, I am Marie Ashby. With me, the Conservative MP for Sherwood,
Mark Spencer, and Jon Ashworth, Labour MP for Leicester South.
Later, sleeping four to a bed, the plight of refugees and asylum-
seekers and the volunteers determined to provide them with
homes fit to live in. Plus the council that threaten to
evict Arthur Martin from his allotment.
First, from this week, thousands of families in the East Midlands have
lost up to �80 in tax credits. Over a year, many stand to lose nearly
�4,000. At the same time, the Chancellor says he is shocked to
discover some of the richest people are paying only 10% in income tax.
How can the coalition still pretend we are all in this together, Mark
Spencer? We have got to get as much tax as we can out of the rich. The
truth is, it is very difficult. Some of these companies and
individuals are very good at moving the goalposts to avoid paying tax.
As a government, we have got to find a system which ties them down
and makes sure they pay the right amount. They have got to stop
people avoiding it? I agree. But let us revisit what is happening.
68,000 families across the East Midlands are losing out. 3500 in
Leicester, one doesn't 500 in show would. I was talking to a mum of
took in Mark's constituency. She is losing �500 a year and yet if you
are a millionaire in show what you are getting a �40,000 tax cut. That
is not right. You must be hearing similar stories? It takes some
explaining. The reality is that it is very difficult to tie some of
these very rich people down. We need to find a system that does it
and stops is people avoiding paying the tax. Sometimes, the best way to
do that is simplify the tax system and make it more simple soap when
they make more money they pay more tax. Why is it fair that if you are
a millionaire, the Tuzla has given the way for �2,000 tax cut. -- the
Chancellor. -- has given you a �40,000 tax cut. To be fair, we
have lifted the tax threshold pretty high, over �9,000, so that
hard-working families pay less tax. I recognise some of the Commons Jon
is making but the reality is it is about getting as much tax... David
Cameron says that in seven years the amount we spend on tax credits
has increased from �18 billion to a �30 billion a year. He is saying it
is out of control. At the last general election, it David Cameron
said families on �50,000 would not get tax credits. He has cut it back
to �26,000. You will now be better off on the minimum wage claiming
tax credits but but but you would be better off on the dole. You do
not want people to think they are better off on benefits. We do not
want people to think that. Some of the anomalies as we go through the
process of changing it takes some changing. We are going in the right
direction but there is more work to be done. Is expecting couples to
work a total of three days a week between them unreasonable?
Working Tax Credits are there to help mums particularly moving to
work. We as the government are increasing the number of hours you
need to work to claim the tax credits... You are forcing women
out of work. We know the economy is in the doldrums. The labour market
is tight. I was in Morrisons the other week in my constituency
talking to people about this. People are worried that they will
not be able to increase their hours. We will have a crazy situation
where you are better off to be on the dole. The they are worried
about feeding their families. We are worried about the Gulf getting
bigger between the haves and the have-nots. People are now stealing
to feed themselves, we have had. That is terrible. We have got to
make the system fair for everyone. At the moment, there are a number
of anomalies. If you have a partner, you may be asked to work more
hours... The work is not always there in reality. Absolutely. That
is where we are out in the economic cycle. We are doing as much as we
can to improve the economy so that jobs are created. We inherited
frankly this poisoned chalice. us not go back to what you
inherited. Leave it there for the moment. With so many people
struggling to get by, it is harder to mobilise support for people like
refugees and asylum-seekers. Volunteers in one of our cities are
so angry about the conditions many have to live in they have decided
to do something about it. These volunteers are on a mission
to sort out the squalid conditions some asylum-seekers and refugees
find themselves in. They are doing an inventory of properties across
Nottingham. They are gathering evidence on their housing
conditions. I have seen holes in ceilings, gaps in walls, damp. All
of which are not conducive to healthy living. Rhino and her --
Rose and her five children live in this rooms. She is not able to
claim benefits and nor is she able to work. There is overcrowding,
there is a fungus affecting our health. The house is very cold. I
can't afford to pay for the gas. Welcome. Zarif travelled from
Afghanistan to start a life peer. He has been homeless since arriving
five years ago. This is my house. That is your stuff? Yes. I feel so
sad because everyone has a nice house and a nice job. I would love
to have a family and I would love to have a wife. I would love to do
a job. By and 21 years old. I have a lot of times. What we want to do
is do a quality piece of research into destitution to be able to
quantified and identify where people are saying. We also want
taxpayers to get value for money in the accommodation provided by the
state. Local authorities estimate that in Nottingham there are about
400 asylum-seekers. In Derby, just under 300. In Leicester, around 450.
Councillors at Nottingham City Council have told me they
wholeheartedly support the work the citizens are doing. We were told no
one was available to be interviewed today. Helping asylum-seekers and
refugees at a time when local people are struggling to get by is
something politicians often struggle to justify. Citizens of a
Century plans to publish findings by June. -- citizens of The century.
It is all our responsibility in civil society to expose what is
going on and ask politicians to be accountable for the part they play.
I am keen that we own our communities and what happens in
them and I think that is what is called the Big Society. For these
asylum-seekers, it does not matter what it is called. They just need
help. It is not a normal life that a woman of my age... I feel so sad
and so tired. Sometimes I cried because of the situation. We live
in the shadow. We live like a rat underground. Alain Joeb has joined
us, a refugee from the Cameroons. First, I want to find out where our
MPs stand on this. The volunteers are disgusted that we do so little
to help asylum-seekers. Do you agree with them? I think I do on
balance. Asylum-seekers should be treated with dignity. I think the
border agency has got to deal with what is known as legacy cases
quickly and fairly. They have not been doing that. Under my own
government, we were not doing it quickly enough although going back
20 years or 15 years we were never doing it quickly enough. We have
got to get legacy cases sorted out. I see it in my constituency all the
time. By using more of it? I am seeing people not getting their
responses and quick responses. -- are using more of it? It happened
under John Major government, under the current government, under my
government. To give you a quick example, I recently met some young
men, 18, 19, in my constituency from Afghanistan. They came here
when they were 10 years old. They have still not been told what their
status as. That is not fair. Absolutely. When you see the way
that some of these asylum-seekers are having to live, do you accept
we have to do more? It is about getting the balance right. There
does not seem to be any balance. They have to live in a cave, for
example. A we are taking quite a few of these asylum-seekers... We
cannot be the refugees home of the world. We need to do our share but
we have just spent 10 minutes talking about the challenges facing
hard working UK families. We have got to look after them as well.
they come first? We need to do our fair share and at the moment it
feels as though the proportions are tipping the long way. What happens?
Does somebody like Zarif... Does he have to keep living in a cave?
has travelled from Afghanistan and travelled through lots of other
modern countries like France, Germany, Belgium. Why did he end up
in the UK having travelled through all of those countries? He may say,
why shouldn't he? We need to do our bit. We have to look after our own.
The let us hear Alain Joeb's story. You fled prosecution in the
Cameroon and it took you 10 years to get refugee status. Can you
describe to me how you survived during that period? It was terrible.
I fled Cameroon in 2000 after I was caught up in politics between the
government in place on the opposition. I was locked up, beaten
terribly. The charity in London identified 68 scars over my body.
They recorded that I was systematically abused. When I came
to make the application, there was total disbelief. For 10 years, I
lost my wife for years ago... Until today, I cannot visit my wife
because there was no resources for me available. I was not allowed to
work for 10 years. I was not allowed to use my skills. They
vanished within the 10 years. I remember receiving something...
That is how you have had to live? I cannot imagine what that must have
been light. But now you have your own business. You have got a food
stall in the Victoria Centre in Nottingham. How is that working
out? I hear it it is popular. Exciting. I am grateful to the
resilience of the local people in Nottingham. They have been
extremely supportive. They really helped me out. My work within the
local community has been valuable and I am really happy today. Some
people would say you have been lucky to find the right help. What
we do say to Mark Spencer when he says that the situation is that we
have to look after our own people first? I think Mark will accept
that we cannot tolerate a family of four sleeping in one single bed. We
cannot tolerate a young man where they he has come from to be
sleeping in a cemetery where the dead people are. Something needs to
change. The government has a duty of care to everyone who finds
themselves here. They need to provide for these people the basic
things for them to survive. heard earlier in the film saying
that politicians are generally reluctant to speak out in support
of asylum-seekers. When you hear what is happening, do we not have
to be a bit braver and say, he is right. They deserve a better life.
We should be able to help them, no matter what our own problems are.
would say that politicians should always talk about the issues they
believe in and should not try and cut their words for what they think
would be most popular with the public. I know some politicians do
that. I do not think Mark does that actually. I don't think I do that.
This man has come here and he is running a small business and
contributing to the Nottingham economy. I could take you down to
lots of small businesses in Leicester where people have come
here and saw refugee status and have been granted it and are now
running small businesses. But there are other people... Look at Zarif
living in his cave, surviving, barely surviving on �10 a month.
That is from the charity. That is all he gets. He is desperate to
work. Shouldn't we let him work? have also got a UK residents in the
same circumstances who are homeless and find themselves in desperate
circumstances. We need to make our fair share -- do our fair share,
help these people, whether they come from in the world. But we can
only do so many. Other nations need to step up as well and help us out.
It is about getting the proportion right. It comes back to this point
I made at the start. That young man's status needs to be resolved
as quickly as possible. If the border Agency and the authorities
decide he should not have refugee status, they should remove him from
the country in the fairest way and with dignity. That is the issue is
a start you would agree that these things need to be moved on more
quickly. 10 years was far too long in your case. You had to endure
terrible things in that time. need certainly to speed up. It is
not our duty to move somebody on let somebody's day. In Nottingham
and in the United Kingdom... As a citizen, my concern is for human
beings being treated fairly and humanely. You will accept that we
cannot tolerate that a family of four is in a single bed. That is
not the kind of society we want to live in. Or indeed a young man
sleeping in the cemetery. That should be shock us. We appreciate
already that the representative in the Midlands are supporting our
commission in addressing the issue and finding a solution. But more
has to be done? More has to be done. Time now for our round-up. Here is
With the news that Dutch company is planning to take over rally,
Nottingham North MP is calling for the world-famous company to move
back to his home city. In its heyday, it employed 8000 workers.
Their report to Derbyshire County Council recommends its main
opposition leader should get thousands of pounds more in
allowances. But current Labour leader says she has no intention of
claiming any more than she does now. Lib Dem MEP has been elected a full
member of a new European Parliament committee on organised crime. It
plans tougher action on corruption and human trafficking.
Finally, Eastwood Town Council has reversed a decision to evict
pensioner Arthur Martin from his allotment after a public outcry
against claims that he is not fit enough to work it. We are going to
move on from this. We have learnt from it. We are going to work
together, this council. What do you think of that last
story? Eastwood Council has climbed down now but only after protesters
accused them of over-reacting. think they lost the plot, frankly!
There are some things that politicians should get involved in
and some that they shouldn't. We should encourage in -- be
encouraging people to get out and keep fit. Did they lose the plot,
Jon? Yes, I think they did. I am jealous that I did not think of
that line! It was clearly a barmy decision from Eastwood Town Council.
They said he had a dodgy hip then they tried to make out that they
were doing it in his best interests. Terribly patronising. What did you
think of that? It is patronising. I am glad they have climbed down on
us. We want people garden in on their allotments. It is good for
your health. This is another result of Big Society and shows the power
of the other a lot when holders. is symptomatic of how we have ended
up looking at the state to interfere and make these nanny
state decisions. We need to let people live their own lives.
shows that ordinary people have more power than the they think.
That is good news was that back could be interesting in the run-up
to the local elections! Thank you both what joining me. -- thank you