15/04/2012 Sunday Politics East Midlands


15/04/2012

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

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keeps on giving but not in a good way. How much damage is being done

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Why should it thousands of East Midlands families at lose tax

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credits when millionaires get off so lightly? And why should they

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1730 seconds

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Hello, I am Marie Ashby. With me, the Conservative MP for Sherwood,

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Mark Spencer, and Jon Ashworth, Labour MP for Leicester South.

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Later, sleeping four to a bed, the plight of refugees and asylum-

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seekers and the volunteers determined to provide them with

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homes fit to live in. Plus the council that threaten to

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evict Arthur Martin from his allotment.

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First, from this week, thousands of families in the East Midlands have

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lost up to �80 in tax credits. Over a year, many stand to lose nearly

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�4,000. At the same time, the Chancellor says he is shocked to

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discover some of the richest people are paying only 10% in income tax.

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How can the coalition still pretend we are all in this together, Mark

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Spencer? We have got to get as much tax as we can out of the rich. The

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truth is, it is very difficult. Some of these companies and

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individuals are very good at moving the goalposts to avoid paying tax.

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As a government, we have got to find a system which ties them down

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and makes sure they pay the right amount. They have got to stop

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people avoiding it? I agree. But let us revisit what is happening.

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68,000 families across the East Midlands are losing out. 3500 in

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Leicester, one doesn't 500 in show would. I was talking to a mum of

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took in Mark's constituency. She is losing �500 a year and yet if you

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are a millionaire in show what you are getting a �40,000 tax cut. That

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is not right. You must be hearing similar stories? It takes some

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explaining. The reality is that it is very difficult to tie some of

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these very rich people down. We need to find a system that does it

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and stops is people avoiding paying the tax. Sometimes, the best way to

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do that is simplify the tax system and make it more simple soap when

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they make more money they pay more tax. Why is it fair that if you are

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a millionaire, the Tuzla has given the way for �2,000 tax cut. -- the

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Chancellor. -- has given you a �40,000 tax cut. To be fair, we

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have lifted the tax threshold pretty high, over �9,000, so that

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hard-working families pay less tax. I recognise some of the Commons Jon

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is making but the reality is it is about getting as much tax... David

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Cameron says that in seven years the amount we spend on tax credits

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has increased from �18 billion to a �30 billion a year. He is saying it

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is out of control. At the last general election, it David Cameron

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said families on �50,000 would not get tax credits. He has cut it back

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to �26,000. You will now be better off on the minimum wage claiming

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tax credits but but but you would be better off on the dole. You do

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not want people to think they are better off on benefits. We do not

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want people to think that. Some of the anomalies as we go through the

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process of changing it takes some changing. We are going in the right

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direction but there is more work to be done. Is expecting couples to

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work a total of three days a week between them unreasonable?

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Working Tax Credits are there to help mums particularly moving to

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work. We as the government are increasing the number of hours you

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need to work to claim the tax credits... You are forcing women

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out of work. We know the economy is in the doldrums. The labour market

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is tight. I was in Morrisons the other week in my constituency

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talking to people about this. People are worried that they will

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not be able to increase their hours. We will have a crazy situation

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where you are better off to be on the dole. The they are worried

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about feeding their families. We are worried about the Gulf getting

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bigger between the haves and the have-nots. People are now stealing

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to feed themselves, we have had. That is terrible. We have got to

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make the system fair for everyone. At the moment, there are a number

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of anomalies. If you have a partner, you may be asked to work more

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hours... The work is not always there in reality. Absolutely. That

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is where we are out in the economic cycle. We are doing as much as we

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can to improve the economy so that jobs are created. We inherited

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frankly this poisoned chalice. us not go back to what you

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inherited. Leave it there for the moment. With so many people

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struggling to get by, it is harder to mobilise support for people like

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refugees and asylum-seekers. Volunteers in one of our cities are

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so angry about the conditions many have to live in they have decided

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to do something about it. These volunteers are on a mission

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to sort out the squalid conditions some asylum-seekers and refugees

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find themselves in. They are doing an inventory of properties across

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Nottingham. They are gathering evidence on their housing

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conditions. I have seen holes in ceilings, gaps in walls, damp. All

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of which are not conducive to healthy living. Rhino and her --

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Rose and her five children live in this rooms. She is not able to

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claim benefits and nor is she able to work. There is overcrowding,

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there is a fungus affecting our health. The house is very cold. I

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can't afford to pay for the gas. Welcome. Zarif travelled from

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Afghanistan to start a life peer. He has been homeless since arriving

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five years ago. This is my house. That is your stuff? Yes. I feel so

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sad because everyone has a nice house and a nice job. I would love

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to have a family and I would love to have a wife. I would love to do

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a job. By and 21 years old. I have a lot of times. What we want to do

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is do a quality piece of research into destitution to be able to

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quantified and identify where people are saying. We also want

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taxpayers to get value for money in the accommodation provided by the

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state. Local authorities estimate that in Nottingham there are about

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400 asylum-seekers. In Derby, just under 300. In Leicester, around 450.

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Councillors at Nottingham City Council have told me they

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wholeheartedly support the work the citizens are doing. We were told no

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one was available to be interviewed today. Helping asylum-seekers and

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refugees at a time when local people are struggling to get by is

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something politicians often struggle to justify. Citizens of a

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Century plans to publish findings by June. -- citizens of The century.

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It is all our responsibility in civil society to expose what is

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going on and ask politicians to be accountable for the part they play.

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I am keen that we own our communities and what happens in

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them and I think that is what is called the Big Society. For these

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asylum-seekers, it does not matter what it is called. They just need

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help. It is not a normal life that a woman of my age... I feel so sad

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and so tired. Sometimes I cried because of the situation. We live

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in the shadow. We live like a rat underground. Alain Joeb has joined

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us, a refugee from the Cameroons. First, I want to find out where our

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MPs stand on this. The volunteers are disgusted that we do so little

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to help asylum-seekers. Do you agree with them? I think I do on

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balance. Asylum-seekers should be treated with dignity. I think the

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border agency has got to deal with what is known as legacy cases

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quickly and fairly. They have not been doing that. Under my own

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government, we were not doing it quickly enough although going back

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20 years or 15 years we were never doing it quickly enough. We have

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got to get legacy cases sorted out. I see it in my constituency all the

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time. By using more of it? I am seeing people not getting their

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responses and quick responses. -- are using more of it? It happened

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under John Major government, under the current government, under my

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government. To give you a quick example, I recently met some young

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men, 18, 19, in my constituency from Afghanistan. They came here

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when they were 10 years old. They have still not been told what their

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status as. That is not fair. Absolutely. When you see the way

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that some of these asylum-seekers are having to live, do you accept

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we have to do more? It is about getting the balance right. There

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does not seem to be any balance. They have to live in a cave, for

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example. A we are taking quite a few of these asylum-seekers... We

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cannot be the refugees home of the world. We need to do our share but

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we have just spent 10 minutes talking about the challenges facing

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hard working UK families. We have got to look after them as well.

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they come first? We need to do our fair share and at the moment it

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feels as though the proportions are tipping the long way. What happens?

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Does somebody like Zarif... Does he have to keep living in a cave?

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has travelled from Afghanistan and travelled through lots of other

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modern countries like France, Germany, Belgium. Why did he end up

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in the UK having travelled through all of those countries? He may say,

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why shouldn't he? We need to do our bit. We have to look after our own.

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The let us hear Alain Joeb's story. You fled prosecution in the

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Cameroon and it took you 10 years to get refugee status. Can you

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describe to me how you survived during that period? It was terrible.

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I fled Cameroon in 2000 after I was caught up in politics between the

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government in place on the opposition. I was locked up, beaten

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terribly. The charity in London identified 68 scars over my body.

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They recorded that I was systematically abused. When I came

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to make the application, there was total disbelief. For 10 years, I

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lost my wife for years ago... Until today, I cannot visit my wife

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because there was no resources for me available. I was not allowed to

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work for 10 years. I was not allowed to use my skills. They

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vanished within the 10 years. I remember receiving something...

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That is how you have had to live? I cannot imagine what that must have

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been light. But now you have your own business. You have got a food

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stall in the Victoria Centre in Nottingham. How is that working

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out? I hear it it is popular. Exciting. I am grateful to the

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resilience of the local people in Nottingham. They have been

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extremely supportive. They really helped me out. My work within the

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local community has been valuable and I am really happy today. Some

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people would say you have been lucky to find the right help. What

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we do say to Mark Spencer when he says that the situation is that we

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have to look after our own people first? I think Mark will accept

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that we cannot tolerate a family of four sleeping in one single bed. We

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cannot tolerate a young man where they he has come from to be

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sleeping in a cemetery where the dead people are. Something needs to

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change. The government has a duty of care to everyone who finds

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themselves here. They need to provide for these people the basic

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things for them to survive. heard earlier in the film saying

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that politicians are generally reluctant to speak out in support

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of asylum-seekers. When you hear what is happening, do we not have

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to be a bit braver and say, he is right. They deserve a better life.

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We should be able to help them, no matter what our own problems are.

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would say that politicians should always talk about the issues they

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believe in and should not try and cut their words for what they think

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would be most popular with the public. I know some politicians do

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that. I do not think Mark does that actually. I don't think I do that.

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This man has come here and he is running a small business and

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contributing to the Nottingham economy. I could take you down to

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lots of small businesses in Leicester where people have come

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here and saw refugee status and have been granted it and are now

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running small businesses. But there are other people... Look at Zarif

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living in his cave, surviving, barely surviving on �10 a month.

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That is from the charity. That is all he gets. He is desperate to

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work. Shouldn't we let him work? have also got a UK residents in the

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same circumstances who are homeless and find themselves in desperate

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circumstances. We need to make our fair share -- do our fair share,

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help these people, whether they come from in the world. But we can

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only do so many. Other nations need to step up as well and help us out.

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It is about getting the proportion right. It comes back to this point

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I made at the start. That young man's status needs to be resolved

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as quickly as possible. If the border Agency and the authorities

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decide he should not have refugee status, they should remove him from

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the country in the fairest way and with dignity. That is the issue is

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a start you would agree that these things need to be moved on more

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quickly. 10 years was far too long in your case. You had to endure

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terrible things in that time. need certainly to speed up. It is

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not our duty to move somebody on let somebody's day. In Nottingham

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and in the United Kingdom... As a citizen, my concern is for human

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beings being treated fairly and humanely. You will accept that we

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cannot tolerate that a family of four is in a single bed. That is

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not the kind of society we want to live in. Or indeed a young man

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sleeping in the cemetery. That should be shock us. We appreciate

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already that the representative in the Midlands are supporting our

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commission in addressing the issue and finding a solution. But more

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has to be done? More has to be done. Time now for our round-up. Here is

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With the news that Dutch company is planning to take over rally,

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Nottingham North MP is calling for the world-famous company to move

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back to his home city. In its heyday, it employed 8000 workers.

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Their report to Derbyshire County Council recommends its main

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opposition leader should get thousands of pounds more in

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allowances. But current Labour leader says she has no intention of

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claiming any more than she does now. Lib Dem MEP has been elected a full

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member of a new European Parliament committee on organised crime. It

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plans tougher action on corruption and human trafficking.

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Finally, Eastwood Town Council has reversed a decision to evict

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pensioner Arthur Martin from his allotment after a public outcry

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against claims that he is not fit enough to work it. We are going to

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move on from this. We have learnt from it. We are going to work

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together, this council. What do you think of that last

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story? Eastwood Council has climbed down now but only after protesters

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accused them of over-reacting. think they lost the plot, frankly!

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There are some things that politicians should get involved in

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and some that they shouldn't. We should encourage in -- be

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encouraging people to get out and keep fit. Did they lose the plot,

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Jon? Yes, I think they did. I am jealous that I did not think of

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that line! It was clearly a barmy decision from Eastwood Town Council.

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They said he had a dodgy hip then they tried to make out that they

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were doing it in his best interests. Terribly patronising. What did you

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think of that? It is patronising. I am glad they have climbed down on

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us. We want people garden in on their allotments. It is good for

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your health. This is another result of Big Society and shows the power

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of the other a lot when holders. is symptomatic of how we have ended

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up looking at the state to interfere and make these nanny

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state decisions. We need to let people live their own lives.

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shows that ordinary people have more power than the they think.

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That is good news was that back could be interesting in the run-up

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to the local elections! Thank you both what joining me. -- thank you

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