29/04/2012 Sunday Politics East Midlands


Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with the latest political news, interviews and debate including Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman.

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David Cameron puts his Culture The proposals to move homeless


families from London to two of our cities amount to human trafficking


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1671 seconds


and our Olympic organisers running Hello, I'm Marie Ashby, and my


guests in the East Midlands this week are Andrew Bridgen, the


Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire, and Paul Holmes,


the former Lib Dem MP for Chesterfield. Coming up:


Next week, voters in Nottingham will decide whether they want an


elected mayor. Two campaigners with strong links to Labour nail their


colours to the mast. One is very much in favour of the idea. We need


to move on from a Victorian system whereby the leader of the council


is chosen by just a few politicians from one political party in a


secret meeting. And the other is very much against it. Without an


increase in powers, without more resources or and it -- a


geographical expansion of the city, it is a pig in a poke.


Plus, the shopkeepers who've been told to take down their Olympic


rings. Are the organisers being a rotten sport?


First, the issue that has dominated the headlines in two of our cities.


The proposal to move hundreds of homeless families from London to


Derby and Nottingham. It comes from the Smart Housing Group which


advises several London councils. The agency says it would relieve


housing pressures in the capital. But would it increase pressure


here? Antrim, the leader of the Labour


group says it would be akin to human trafficking. I think he has


got a hint of truth in that. It is completely unnecessary. There are


plenty of houses available in London within the benefits Cup and


these councils have a regal -- a legal requirement to look at the


location to find accommodation for homeless people. Politicking is


going on with people's lives just before the mayoral election in


London. Not all of these councils are Labour. Some of them are Tory


councils. I am only aware that Westminster might have made an


inquiry. Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea as well.


is mostly Labour councils playing politics. So that will give Ken


Livingstone a slide advantage. don't think they would agree with


that. I think Grant Shapps has come out and said this shouldn't be


happening. There are plenty of houses even around the centre of


London and their houses available for under the �400 a week rent cap.


Even �400 a week to people in the North, that is a huge amount of


money. What do you think, Paul Holmes? The cap is a good idea but


it is going up to �28 billion, but the fact that some councils by


using this capital at election time, the Tory councils in Westminster,


they have decanted council tenants 20 years ago. They are making use


of that. Wet at the bottom of this is that nobody builds council


houses anymore. If you have got a cap housing benefits, somebody


cannot -- not everybody can go into private housing. They are busy


thinking seriously about this. There is even maps showing us where


Derby and Nottingham are so they can plan their route on a train,


find their way here. These councils have a legal requirement to look at


the location of where their house homeless people within their


borough and that is not going to be the Midlands from London.


Especially if they have got family down there. And there is no need


for it at all. There are hundreds and hundreds of houses within the


�400 a week capfuls stock what are your main concerns if people did


come here? So that it will not happen? Can you foresee of social


problems arising if it were to happen? You could see a situation


where somebody who found themselves in London homeless because they had


moved from the Midlands, that for me would be legitimate if the


council said they had to go back to the Midlands. But for a family to


be based in London to be homeless through economic circumstances and


then to be moved 100 miles away from where their friends and family


are, that is no way to treat people and the Housing Minister has made


it clear he is not going to allow that to happen. Already, Nottingham


primary schools are running out of places. Who will play for these


people's benefits? All that has pressure on what we can provide.


you move large numbers of homeless unemployed people from the South of


England to Nottingham, Derby it's a trick, it throws huge problems on


those areas who have their own unemployment rates, they have not


got the services the etc, so you cannot decant the prop him.


that is what it feels like. We have heard about the problem, and Ilott


pushed at someone else and hope it goes up way. They shouldn't be


doing that. Back on housing, there are some houses in Newham


theoretically in the bracket, but they will not take a lot of people


on housing benefit. They will not allow those people. The housing cap


is having an effect. It is suppressing the rise in rents.


Previously, housing benefit, the amount doubled in 10 years which


was driving rents up, whereas now where the housing benefit cap is in


place, it is suppressing rent rises and rents are more affordable.


is certainly causing a lot of debate.


Next, on Thursday, Nottingham holds its referendum on whether the city


should have an elected mayor. Leicester's already got one. So


should Nottingham have one, too? We invited two people with close links


to Labour to pitch for the votes of the undecided. One is very much in


favour of the idea, the other vehemently opposed. First up, the


former Head of Communications for the city council, Stephen Barker,


with the case for an elected mayor. I think modern cities are run by


mayors. They deal with other mayors. Both the previous government and


the current Government hope very much that UK cities will choose to


be governed by mayors and many ambitious cities are choosing to go


for it now. There was a prevailing wind of change in favour of mayors


and in Nottingham, which has achieved a lot in recent years, but


not as much as other cities, needs not to fall further behind. Times


change, we move on, we modernise, and we need to move on from a


Victorian system whereby the leader of the council is chosen by just a


few politicians from one political party in a secret meeting. We need


the lever of the city to be tested at the ballot box across the city,


not just in one ward. That is the fundamental democratic principle at


the heart of this referendum. We all need to choose the person that


leads the city. The elephant in the room in this debate is Nottingham


City Council's title administrative boundary. At Trent Bridge, very


example. Standing two miles first from the square, I am not in


Nottingham. Nottingham Forest Football Club is not actually in


Nottingham. Trent Bridge cricket ground is not in Nottingham. If one


thing has come from the referendum debate already, it is at least the


boundary issue is further up the agenda. But I believe that only a


mayor would have the means and motivation to actually do something


about it. Now we are stuck with people that matter thinking that


Nottingham is a city only half the size that it truly is and with half


the population unable to take part in a referendum on Thursday. The


decision for now is whether or not Nottingham once a mayor at all. Of


course, consideration of what candidates might be available in


November will be for Labour but we can be sure that Nottingham these


bold and determined leadership from somebody that wants to put the city


on the map. Come rain on a truck -- come rain or trying on Thursday,


vote for a mayor in Nottingham. Convinced? Well, the former Labour


Leader of the city council, John Taylor, insists you should think


again. The idea of a directly elected


mayor from Nottingham is unwanted and unnecessary, and more probably


just a diversionary stunt from Clegg and Cameron. We are told that


only a directed -- directly elected mayor can bring about long-term


investment and stable leadership which a city like Nottingham needs


but without an increase in powers, without more resources or a


geographical expansion of the city boundaries, none of that is on


offer. We are being asked to vote for a pig in a poke. Supporters of


the mayor say it is needed for brave long-term planning and


accessing resources but I can tell you that over the last 25 years,


Nottingham has enjoyed that brave, consistent and long-term future in


planning big projects. The refurbishment of the old market


square built with private sector money and the building of the


Nottingham Contemporary are the envy of other cities, all done


without a mayor. And that same, highly pragmatic approach has been


applied by council leaders to the city's services. There has been


dramatic improvement in education, crime has been reduced and


Nottingham is now the cleanest of all the major cities. That costs


money. Be directly elected mayor will not have any more cash. They


will be faced with making millions of pounds worth of cuts. I believe


in the importance of a city driving the regional economy and I


understand how that should work. Or should have some one or somebody in


charge of infrastructure, land use planning, highways, transport, big


investment decisions but the mayor, whoever that is, their authority


would stop at Trent Bridge. And boots, it is in Broxtowe. We used


to have somebody who did that. They have been scrapped. As for getting


local kids, their chance to share in the city's prosperity,


programmes have been cut. The mayor is irrelevant. For all these


reasons, I will be urging everyone in Nottingham to simply vote of no.


So, who gets our MPs' vote? A pig in a poke. That's what John Taylor


says people in Nottingham will get if they vote for a mayor.


I would disagree. More than half the people in the country and half


of the jobs are based in our cities. They need to be areas of


regeneration and growth and you need a strong figure to lead at


that. And mayors have been successful across the world and in


London of focusing that energy and drive. Not always. You are talking


about Stoke and Doncaster? They were dysfunctional before the mayor


came along. They need a major disorganisation and the mayor was


not strong enough to deliver it. We need more transparency as well.


Nottingham City Council is the only one that is not its closed --


disclosing expenses over �500. They -- the people want transparency. It


is clear that it is a group of councillors in a darkened room who


decide the leader of the city council is, not the people of


Nottingham. Steven Barker is saying that. He insists it is time that


the people of Nottingham have their say. That is a nonsense. You have


city-wide elections. You might as well say, let's scrap the MPs in


Parliament and elect David Cameron as President to do what they like,


and that demagoguery approach is appalling and mayors a rare example


of that. Looking to America, I have been unstudied city governments in


two cities in America and believe me it is not an example we want to


follow. The rife corruption and incompetence that goes on because


of this system is one of the worst examples that Cameron could quote.


Is the danger we give too much power to that 1%? It is people not


systems that are corrupt. The mayor would be a person. He will have a


lot of power, but also be accountable to the people. We can


vote him out we like we do with an M P. There is also going to be a


male role covenant of these mares that will go down and lobby on


behalf of their cities to the Prime Minister. So they are going to have


real power. They must have power because there are plenty of ex-


Labour ministers that want to be mayors. Of course, it is


interesting that the Conservatives on Nottinghamshire County Council


have planned to abandon their current system and go back to a


committee style system. If they go for the mayor, it is going to


change that. They will go back to the Cabinet system. They have got


plans to abandon it and go to committee style where more people


have a say. Well, everyone in Nottingham will have a say...


said that one person will have a say. It will be one person driving


the vision, but he will have to have a mandate, what his aims are.


And the people will vote. It is for the people in Nottingham to decide


if what they won. You have to be in it to win it, so if they don't do


it, could they lose out? Of the leader of any council can go and


lobby in London and Europe and do effectively. They have done from


Sheffield, Nottingham and smaller towns like Chesterfield. I was an


MP for nine years and my colleague had far more power to influence


than I did and he led the normal Council where he had the support of


half the councillors. The mayor, he only needs the support of a third


of the councillors and he can do what he wants. He can bulldoze


anything through. As we have seen in Doncaster and Stoke and lots of


American cities, it is a disaster. Isn't at the very positive in this?


Doesn't it engage people in politics? The X Factor is then --


The X Factor is not a good example of how to run a country. Boris


Johnson and Ken Livingstone, it is about who you least dislike. It is


ludicrous and demeans politics. It is anti-democratic and it is the


very day interest. There is nothing democratic about a few councillors


with a small majority and the council deciding between themselves


whose turn it is to beat the leader. We are talking on principle. We are


driving forward a city in difficult times and being a coalescing force


for the city, that is a mayor. And having a mandate from the people.


The Lib Dems are not as democratic as they would suggest. We believe


in democracy where you have to have half the people on a council


supporting what you were doing. You cannot railroad things through with


less than a third. You would give them well-paid positions so they


will go along with anything you say, which is what happened in Doncaster.


Doncaster are elected a mayor because they had a corrupt Labour


council and they are having a referendum to get rid of the mayor!


Which way will it go? I don't know. I hope it will go yes for an


election for mayor. Well, I don't know, that is down for the voters


in Nottingham and the other cities, but a lot of them, as is happening


with the 12th mayor paula mac, they will have a referendum to get rid


of them. Thank you both. Time for our regular Sixty Seconds


slot. Here's our political editor, The GMB members say they will take


industrial action from tomorrow over Nottingham's workplace parking


levy. The company can afford to cover the �300 it will cost each


worker, they say. Imperial Tobacco say they are prepared to pay most


of it. UKIP member Derek Clarke has repaid �31,000 after an


investigation by his anti-fraud watchdog. He used the money to pay


for two assistance. He says at no stage did he gain personally.


Next, a novel way to decide the outcome of an election. By Labour


group on air wash Council tossed a coin to resolve a split over who


should be the new leader. Alex Phillips won by a head.


Finally, the Olympics is running rings around businesses. Two


shopkeepers have been told to remove the rings from their


premises. They say the organisers are running away with themselves.


Paul Holmes, do you think the Olympic organisers are taking their


commercial rules way too seriously? I do. The Olympics has become


demeaned over the last 20 years just by becoming a shop front


window for large multinational companies. They pour vast amounts


of money into the advertising that comes from it and they want to get


their profit back. It is undermining the spirit of the


Olympic sport stop do you agree? can see why the organisers want to


protect their brand image. There will be a lot of foreign visitors


and a lot of counterfeit goods. When you see the Olympic Cafe in


London, which has been called for 20 years and it has been told to


take it signed a, it is unreasonable. It is taking it far


too far. It does seem sad that people are being penalised for


trying to enter the spirit of the games. Isn't it sad? No business in


Derbyshire is going to undermine the profit of the Olympics in


London. On the face of it, this crackdown seems over-the-top, but


organisers will say that if they give way to one shopkeeper, they


would have to do it to all. There is a danger to the brand, they say.


One of my colleagues wanted to send a letter out and he couldn't put


the logo on their because it was protected at that level. Really?


Yes. It had to be blanked out the. Have you got any tickets? I did put


in for some but I didn't get any. Did you? No. I will watch a bit of


it on television. Get into the spirit of it! Like the shopkeeper


that was going to hand knit the rings false stop all the money was


being diverted from places like Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire for


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