17/06/2012 Sunday Politics East Midlands


17/06/2012

Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Andrew is joined by Philip Hammond, the defence secretary to discuss troop numbers and Syria.


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Sunday Politics in the East Midlands... The head of the East

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Midlands Ambulance Service response to claims that spending cuts are

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1615 seconds

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danger ring leads. And how long Hello, I'm Marie Ashby. My guests

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in the East Midlands this week are Chris Williamson, the Labour MP for

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Derby North, who's Shadow Communities Minister - and the

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chairman of Nottingham Liberal Democrats, Issan Ghazni. Coming

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up... After an unborn baby dies following a long wait for an

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ambulance, we ask if our regional service is being undermined by

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spending cuts. Plus, one of our local dailies has become a weekly.

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Are others facing the same fate? First, the Coalition is under even

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greater strain after the Lib Dems abstained this week in a Commons

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vote over the conduct of Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. The Tories

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survived the motion. But at what cost? Do you think that Nick Clegg

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was right to tell his MPs to abstain? Absolutely. The decision

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taken by David Cameron was not a Coalition decision. It was a

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personal decision. And as such, we felt that whatever happened in the

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Leveson Inquiry, if Jeremy Hunt goes into the inquiry and we have

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had issues that remain outstanding, and that these issues should be

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legitimate be taken up to an inquiry. But is that not a cowardly

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way out? Actually, it shows that we are independent. You cannot have

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your cake and eat it. Some people have said that we are in the pocket

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of the Conservatives. That we do what they want us to do but

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actually we have proved that on an issue of principle, we are

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independent. But is the Coalition intact? Yes, because that is the

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primary focus and priority. The Coalition is intact but on

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principle we felt that there was no need to support this. You might not

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like it but the Coalition held firm and the Government was not defeated

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on that motion. But what is the point of the Liberal Democrats?

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They have had a long track record of sitting on the fence and

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appearing to be all things to all people. We have seen that in local

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and national government. The Liberal Democrats are enabling this

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right wing and ideologically driven government to push through some of

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the most right-wing and terrible economic and social policies that

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we have seen since probably before the second world war. That is not

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right, Chris. Let's talk about the Murdoch issue. When it comes to

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that, we will not take any lessons from Labour. We have not got any

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moral obligation to take a leaf from their book on that issue

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because, let's go back to the way in which the Labour Party behaved

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towards Rupert Murdoch. It was disgraceful, the way in which you

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were bowing down to Rupert Murdoch. You have certainly upset some

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Conservative MPs. One had to miss a funeral and another had to come

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back early from honeymoon. It is no wonder you will find it hard to get

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the House of Lords reforms. these issues are not compatible. We

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have got a conservative and it -- commitment made at Cabinet level

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about an issue of national importance, which is about the

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democracy of the House of Lords. But this issue is about whether or

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not a minister should be referred to an inquiry... And you abstained?

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These issues are not compatible. Really, I think this illustrates

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that they are not fit to hold public office. We will have to

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Next, we all need to know we can trust the ambulance service in an

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emergency. But are spending cuts jeopardising the service we get in

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the East Midlands? A Retford couple certainly think so. Sarah Gould and

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her partner, Gary, have blamed delays in response times for the

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death of their unborn child. Their MP, John Mann, claims spending cuts

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and shift changes mean fewer ambulances are available. The chief

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executive of the East Midlands Ambulance Service, Phil Milligan,

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joins me now. We must get one thing straight, how long did it take for

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an ambulance to reach Sarah Gould from the time the children centre

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called 999? First, this is a tragic case. My heart goes out to Sarah

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and her partner. She had been 13 weeks pregnant and was looking

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forward to a bundle of joy and it was a desperate situation. -- 30.

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But how long did it take? We took the call and we were told she could

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not hear the heartbeat. We treated at with the utmost importance. In

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two minutes we had a response vehicle with a highly trained

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paramedic out on the street. It arrived 30 minutes later it. She

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had with her very quickly... paramedic but not an abeyance until

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when? And a midwife looking after her. When did the ambulance

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arrived? We then sent an ambulance. That was on the way very quickly

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and arrived after 34 minutes. minutes before she got access. Are

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you not supposed to response to an emergency within eight minutes?

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This was not an eight-minute emergency. Why not? Because when we

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take a call we asked if the patient, if their heart has stopped. Then we

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can send out a vehicle straight away. But this woman was 30 weeks

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pregnant and bleeding. Was that not a top priority? Within two minutes

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the vehicle was on the road with a paramedic and with the right

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equipment to go up and help the midwife. But it still took 34

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minutes. You said you did the best you could under the circumstances

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but it is well short of what you are duty bound to do. Last year we

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were told he responded to 72 % of emergency calls in eight minutes

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compared to a national average of 35 %. Back in December I saw that

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we could do better and I was not happy with performance. We have

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made changes and we are achieving that national target and I want to

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do better in the future. I want us to be confident that we have got a

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sevens people can trust. -- service. Some people have said spending cuts

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are hitting the ability to respond effectively. What evidence have you

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got that this is happening? We have got a �3 billion top-down

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reorganisation which the Government said that they would not implement.

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We understand the East Midlands Ambulance Service will be closing

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60 ambulance stations across the region. It appears that with

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spending cuts which will effectively happen as a consequence

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of this are necessary reorganisation, and the closure of

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these stations are bound to have an impact on the service to the wider

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public. That is why I think that he is absolutely right to have

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spending cuts... Spending cuts? First, can I say that I offer my

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condolences to the family. It is a very tragic case. It is something

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which is not very nice to hear about. In terms of spending cuts, I

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did not think it is a case of spending cuts. We have got other

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issues that the Chief Executive will get to the bottom of. You are

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talking about 3 billion in terms of the cost of the up eagles. It is

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actually 1.2, the actual cost. -- are people. -- reorganisation. The

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net savings... Day of 4.5 billion. If you were talking about wastage,

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let's talk about... You have wasted �12 billion on a useless data

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system which has not done anything. Let us turn back... The number of

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hospitals that we have built... would like to bring Phil Milligan

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back in. Gentlemen, please! Let's bring him back in and talk about

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the closure of the stations because you had been discussing these bans

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as a way of saving money is. Unions have said that ambulances will be

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further away. This is not about saving money. I have got to use the

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money I have got to support the best service I can. The reduction

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is not about saving money. We will continue to operate from 100 bases

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around the East Midlands. More than 100 yesterday and they will be more

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than 100 tomorrow. But how can we be certain that with these changes

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people like Sarah Gould will get the service when she needs it? They

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will be further away. We are investing in the front line. Not

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cuts which have been mentioned. 44 more front Line staff, last year,

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more than �9 million spent on services and �8 million on

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ambulances. I am protecting the but line and making sure we are

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responding to patients. We must move on, gentlemen. Next, they're

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part of our daily lives, but for how much longer? Jane Dodge

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investigates what the future holds for our regional daily papers.

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now the presses roar into action. The rush and bustle of producing

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millions of newspapers is on again. Those were the days. Everyone it

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seemed had their nose in a newspaper. Can't we get those

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papers out quicker? Sales now are tiny in comparison. Many

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advertisers have gone elsewhere and thousands of jobs have been lost.

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This reporter and her photographer are a sign of the times. They work

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for an online newspaper - The Lincolnite. It competes with the

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Lincolnshire Echo - which after more than a century as a daily

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newspaper - has become a weekly. The changes have come at a cost

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according to the leader of the city council. We had more specialism and

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in-depth knowledge. We had a more political knowledge. I am not

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saying that is entirely lacking now. But it is less evident and we have

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got to work harder to make sure people understand the content and

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what we are up to. This used to be the offices of the Lincolnshire

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Echo. Probably three years ago. Jon Grubb is all too aware times are a

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changing. He used to be the editor of the Lincolnshire Echo but left

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when its owners - Northcliffe Media - part of the Daily Mail Group -

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decided to make it a weekly. If you consider that Tesco's has a profit

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ratio of 8%, many businesses will be quite happy in the East Midlands

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to have a ratio of 5%. Daily newspapers are doing pretty well in

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comparison but it is not enough for the shareholders and what we are

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used it. They are nearer 20 %. at The Lincolnite they're

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discussing this morning's story. The online newspaper has a

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permanent staff of just three, but a monthly online readership of

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50,000. We have done the same job as any other journalist, whether it

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is going to council meetings and reporting accidents or daring to be

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County Council, it is the same job but a different medium. In the days

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when newsrooms were dominated by men with moustaches, papers like

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the Leicester Mercury were selling 200,00 a day. It now sells around a

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quarter of that. The Derby Telegraph has seen its circulation

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plummet to just under 31,000. But sales of the Nottingham Post have

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fallen by 17% in the last year making it the worst performing

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regional newspaper in the country. Later this month The Post is due to

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move to smaller offices. It's also got a new editor who's already

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overseen the switch from a daily to a weekly on his last paper - the

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Scunthorpe Telegraph. So is the Nottingham Post also set to become

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a weekly paper or even disappear altogether? Not according to its

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new editor Mel Cook. He says the paper constantly leads with stories

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other media follow, is number one in the community for news and

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information, and will remain that way. It will stay as a daily and

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has already made an operating profit of �965,000 this year, up

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bomb last year. But according to the National Union of journalists,

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the owner has not committed to the long-term survival of the regional

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newspapers. I think we have to have a different look at the ownership

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structure of the media. There is nothing this government has done so

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far that suggests that they are doing that. We approached the

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editors of the three local day the papers but they all declined

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interviews. In a debate in Westminster, a local MP called for

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government subsidies to keep provincial newspapers a plate.

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they are supported at a rate payer expense and local television

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stations are individually supported by the BBC to buy their content,

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why should open newspapers not at his advantage when they offer an

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irreplaceable function? Any such action must be swift. More than a

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dozen jobs have gone at Leicester Mercury and Nottingham Post this

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year. This week, 10 start at the Derby Telegraph have been told

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their jobs are now at risk. -- What do you think? It is a

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phenomenon across the country. The advent of the internet and social

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media, I think the economic downturn we have experienced is

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also contributing because we have got less businesses expending money

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on advertising in the local newspapers. What impact have the

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cuts had already on editorial staff? We have had a big reduction

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already at the Derby Telegraph and that has a knock-on implications

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for the reporting of democracy. When I was in local council, 20

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years ago, the coverage of the local democracy was a significant

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feature of what they did. Our local newspapers facing an overwhelming

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pressure from new media, or are they being defeatist? I think Chris

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is right and it is not just British, but a worldwide phenomenon. We have

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spoken about the demise of the printing press in some countries

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and actually the demise in the UK has been the quickest out of all

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the countries. And it is all connected with the media and the

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recession. But most importantly, it has got to be, and I think we have

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got some scope to look at subsidies for the media. His Louise Mensch

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right? I think we have got room for exploration. I am not saying that

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she is right. But we must link some of that with the way newspapers

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behave. For example, continuing with the democratic function of

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news delivery in the community and cohesion and social values. These

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could be linked to subsidy. Would you support subsidy? I am not sure

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it is the right way to go. Particularly at a time when we have

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got massive reductions in public services. If we are going to

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prioritise public spending, and putting money in local private

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organisations effectively, I do not think that is the right way to use

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that money. It would be better to create jobs. I think support needs

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to be given were of a possible to newspapers and the industry. Is it

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a problem, is it acceptable for Northcliffe Papers to owned so many

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newspapers in the area? Should we be looking at that? We should look

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at how news is made available online because a lot of people do

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not buy newspapers because they can read that online for free. That is

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their choice. We can give people an introduction and if people want the

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rest of the story, they can pay a subsidy. I think we need a more

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pluralistic offering. That would ensure that we continue to have

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print press. But we also support the internet and the way in which

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News has been circulated a mine. Do not forget -- online. We must make

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sure that we continue with print press. Time for the round-up of the

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The leader of Leicestershire County Council David Parsons will face the

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standards watchdog on Tuesday. That will rule on allegations that he

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broke the code of conduct after expenses for trips to Europe. The

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Audit Commission is investigating claims that the previous Labour

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majority in Corby acted unlawfully when it sold a quayside at Tesco

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for �80,000. The BBC has seen an e- mail stating the land was worth up

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to �8,000,000.10 year later. Leicester MPs Liz Kendall and John

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Ashworth had seen of representatives of British Gas

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after the axing of 300 jobs in the city. They are pressing for

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redundancies to be kept to a minimum. In the Commons tomorrow,

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Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Andrew is joined by Philip Hammond, the defence secretary to discuss troop numbers, changes to the armed forces and the crisis in Syria. There is also a look ahead to what happens after the Greek elections, how the markets might react and what it will mean for the UK economy.

And the regular panel of journalists look back over the week's politics and in particular the Leveson inquiry.


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