Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with political news, including an interview with Danny Alexander. George Galloway and Bob Stewart go head-to-head on the future of the Falklands.
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Here, parts of the region where a third of working households are one
bill away from financial disaster. And we're in Brussels on a special
Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2004 seconds
Hello, I am Marie Ashby. My guests in the East Midlands this week as
Shadow Treasury Minister, Chris Leslie, MP for Nottingham East and
the Conservative MP for Derbyshire South, Heather Wheeler. Coming up,
he has been censured for breaching the code of conduct over his
European expenses. So should Councillor David Parsons stand down
as leader of Leicestershire County Council? We have brought the Mayor
of Leicester to Brussels to meet the city mayors here to find out
whether he might have an answer or two.
First, Nottingham-based Experian has told the Sunday Politics that a
club of working households in Ashfield and Leicester are just one
bill away from financial disaster, putting them in the 10 most
vulnerable areas of the country. According to Experian, as many as
238,000 working households have little or no savings and struggle
to feed themselves and their children adequately. The coalition
is constantly emphasising the importance of being better off
working. These are working households and these figures are
frightening. Those would be. It is interesting Experian have done this
work. And also the areas chosen, Ashfield and Leicester. I would
like to see the detail. But actually, what is interesting is
that everything we are doing as a government, the coalition
Government, is trying to make things better for every strata of
society. Some people's experience of what poverty really means is
different to other's. This group and described as traditionally
proud self-reliant working people. That is good, people should be
proud to work. Everything we do is about making work pay. It is good
they are classed as working people, not good -- not good they are in
such dire straits. White class them as one bill away? Everyone gets
bills. -- why are those people classed as one bill away? It has
been interesting the way people's pensions and savings and insurance,
insurance tax, whatever, people have been attacked over the last 15
years with different ways of raising money and France. It has
affected people. Undoubtedly. In Europe constituency Nottingham East,
22,000 and also that one bill away. -- in your constituency. Low and we
are already insignificant poverty in Nottingham as things are. Low
You are saying the Government is doing everything that they can.
seems to be everything that can be done to make things worse, some
changes hitting hard, and very significant changes to housing
benefit, to other welfare changes. But some would say you got us into
this in the first place. That would be said. We are back in recession,
there are not the job opportunities for people to move out of it. More
people have to go to part-time work. It is not as though people do not
want to work, doing the right thing for themselves and their families,
it is the conditions that the Chancellor has decided, stubbornly
raising taxes quickly, cutting back the support that has been there,
not increasing child benefit. The child share component of the
working tax credit, not giving people the opportunity to get back
into work. You are looking at the sea wrong way around. In South
Derbyshire, the number of apprentices rose by 80% in one ear.
That is because there was not meaningful work for those young
kids. -- one a year. Those people have those aspirations. In your
constituency, the number of job- seeker Allowance claimants has gone
up by 19% in 12 months. unemployment has gone down. We can
do statistics. You cannot blame everything... You Cabinet Secretary
said we could be facing a decade of spending cuts. What do these people
have to look forward to? I do not know why Sir Jeremy Heywood said
that. The state is too big. We need a smaller state. I put that on
every leaflet I distributed and got a 9.8% swing, so people believe me.
We do not need a big state, it is too big. We shall leave it there.
Next, a story which has sent political shockwaves through
Leicestershire County Council. The council's Standards Committee has
ruled the leader, David Parsons, breached its code of conduct over
his European expenses. She declined to join us. Were as now is
Councillor Sarah Hill, deputy leader of the lead in Group on the
council. -- with us night. Let us explain how that came about. --
deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats group. He was paid by one
body, East Midlands Councils, they receive the same amount that he was
meant to give back to EMC. The inquiry found he had failed to
repay �4,000 on time, not quite the same as pocketing the money.
but he had the benefit of the money for over 12 months in some cases,
in his back account, so he had the benefit of the interest. Apparently
�150, but he said there was no dishonest intent. Free possibly,
but a massive failure to keep track of what he was doing. -- quite
possibly. What should happen? should resign, not showing the
standards you would expect as leader of the council, breaking the
Code of Conduct on five different accounts. It is disappointing to
see that as a leader of the Council the size of Leicestershire. I am
sure others would agree. He the we were, do you agree? Absolutely not.
-- Heather Wheeler. There is a lot of money revolving here, it can
take six weeks to deal with, but it should not have taken longer than
that. But it absolutely dead. There are also disputes about some
cheques going missing. It has caused an awful lot of trouble.
was warned about this. Have been warned about something is fine. If
it is find... He had to act upon it. Free maybe this system needs to be
changed. -- Maybe this system needs to be changed. He had letters
asking him to change that. should not go through the council.
Should David Parsons stand down? The Liberal Democrats are calling
for that. The Labour group are calling for that. It has to be for
the council and local people to decide. He has been humiliated by
these allegations. He has to go through training, for example, in
council standards. That is part of the punishment. Ultimately, it is
for local people in Leicestershire to have a say on whether he should
continue. He has made an apology. Had the Standards Committee met a
fortnight earlier, they would have been able to suspend David Parsons.
Since then, the Department of Communities has watered down their
powers. How can that be right? is not watering down the powers.
That is what it feels like. It has made it more important. With
allegations of fraud, it is a criminal matter for the police.
Nobody has taken this to the police, which is quite right, because it is
obviously a mix up in paperwork. Leicestershire County Council has
gone from strength to strength under his leadership. None of this
paper work should have been going through his hands. It is far from
over? It has not. Some papers were released on Friday. Nearly �2,000
of outstanding invoices has been discovered. That is unfortunate,
pitting us to square one and I am sure there are revelation will come
out. And the council will discuss this again at the end of the week?
We have a full council, the Conservative group will meet us
before the full council, but we will see where it takes us and I am
sure it will not only. Thank you. From one man clinging on to a power
for another who wants more. The elected Mayor of Leicester, Sir
Peter Soulsby, is urging David Cameron to give him more control
over the local economy and the transport system. John Hess has
taken him to Brussels. This is a journey about political
power. Leicester's city mayor, so Peter Salsbury, heading to Brussels
to meet its city mayor. Economic development is top of his agenda.
The mayor can provide co-ordination and influence, but does not up a
banner to make things happen. are in the historic heart of
Brussels city centre to meet an old Brussels friend, Jef Baeck. They
are some with their own mayor. beats Sir Peter on the mayor's
powers. You have the police, one thing, but all other activities.
You organise a city, commercial activities, even health. I would
say, it is a local king. We have come to visit one of the mayor's
projects that probably merits a royal seal of approval. It is
lovely... It was once derelict, but it has been transformed, promoted
by the city mayor, and has won awards. It was a factory until the
1980s, was in the for almost 20 years. There are now 42 apartments,
if mostly three-bedroomed, poor families to rent. We decided it
could be a good idea to make this from the factory, a place for not
really social housing, but average housing. To create a mixed city.
Fascinating. This is the type of economic regeneration that he wants
as part of his city next for Leicester. If only, he says, he had
the powers of the Brussels may have. The mayor has control of the site,
knotting -- not sitting around waiting for someone, having control.
What local people, you can make things happen. -- with local people.
Time for us to meet the city's mayor. On top of the staircase, a
reminder of predecessors. Freddy Thielemans has been the Socialist
mayor of Brussels for 12 years. Do you have responsibility for
economic development within your area? For example, the police? I do
not have control of those. And have both and they are very important.
The mayor is the chair of the city. And he is the identity of a city.
Exactly right. That is very important.
Quite a wide range of funding available to you?
We have commercial taxes that will local, restaurant taxes, terraces,
taxes on charities, taxes on parking, taxes that helps a lot,
giving us and the Normans independence.
He faces elections this autumn, with public transport a big issue.
We want to improve what is happening in the city, more backing
of public transport, more individual possibilities, like
walking, cycling, motor biking. I think that that is truly the
future demand. The city mayor of Brussels, Freddy
Thielemans, is more than just a figurehead with significant
political powers over police and economic development, for example,
that out of powers because Salsbury wants for Leicester and he is
taking that message to Downing Street. -- the sort of powers that
Sir Peter Soulsby wants. It is not just about powers. It is also about
providing leadership. To that extent, the role of the mayor of
Brussels and one of a UK cities such as Les there are many similar.
Two men with very different powers to run their cities. -- such as
Leicester. He wants to tell the Prime Minister that Brussels has
the answer for me UK. If it is good enough for Boris
Johnson, surely he should have more powers? I think it is a pretty
convincing case. If you are the leader of a Cabinet, as in
Nottingham, whatever the form of constitution, I think our cities
and local authorities do need to have more powers devolved to them.
Ultimately, we have to accept that we are living in one of the most
centralised constitution's anywhere in the developed world. Whitehall
is very good at clinging on to Paris. Across the political divide,
we all sometimes see -- clinging on to Paras. We all sometimes say that,
despite all those promises about devolving, it has not been
happening. Will David Cameron give them more? The public and
astonished at the short memories of politicians. There were referendums
all over the country asking what people like a mayor. Nottingham
said no. But no new cars. Should there be more? -- but no new Paras.
The new mayors coming in, where the towns and cities said yes, there is
the appetite on it. That will show how good they are, then be able, as
they will have a cabinet meeting with all the mayors coming to a
number 10, it is all very exciting. But should they have to prove
themselves? Absolutely. Exactly as Boris Johnson proved himself, being
re-elected, do you really think everyone will go carte blanche and
have tax-raising powers? The idea of Derek Hatton in Liverpool!
the idea that they should only get those if elected. Let me finish. --
if re-elected. It is the cities and the people that should be able to
shape their own destinies, not wait to be told by departments in
Whitehall. We are seeing it as the budgets are cut, councils becoming
very dependent on central Government. What about localism
bill? Everything how you have recalled... It dictates to councils.
You must have been sitting through a different bill. I suspect I was.
And should be elected police commissioners would have something
to say. When we have those elections, yes. There is danger of
a dish joint. A meal that is directly-elected, a police
commissioner, -- an air that is directly-elected, Police
commissioner, but we need to sort out from an English perspective
what we are doing on devolution. The difficulty is the boundaries.
If it was a city with a city police force, it would be right to have
someone like on us. Time for a round-up of the stories and 60
seconds. -- in 60 seconds.
US retailer, Walgreen, is being �4 billion on a 45% in Alliance Boots.
Walgreen would have the option to take over in three years' time.But
we are committed no jobs will be lost. We think it is an opportunity
to grow up jobs. Leicestershire police say they have
acted on claims that some officers have stopped and searched a
disproportionate number of black people. Equality and Human Rights
Commission says it will take legal action unless the ports can prove
the situation has improved. Corbett Conservative MP has launched a
macro blocking site to rival Twitter. She has regularly been the
victim of abuse from twitters that she has described as immoral and
misogynistic. Margaret Thatcher brought in the right to buy council
homes. Now the coalition is allowing the Labour majority in
Derby to keep the proceeds of new sales.
All those years that councils complained they could not keep hold
of the money from council house sales at the coalition has made
this happen. It is very partial, looking at the details, being only
allowed to keep the proceeds of the right to buy in some council house
sales. That means the council will have a few tens of thousands for
every sale, but will that replace like-for-like the houses that are
sold on? I think it is very dubious. The proceeds can be kept as long as
it is invested in new homes. have not seen new builds in social
housing. I am really sorry... you know how many new houses?
is terrible. There is just no will to do it. I arrived late here,
because I came from an opening of eight new social houses. This was
the first one of how many that have been done. We have been taking the
money that we have been given, the 50% up until now, and...
waiting lists are just growing. much money? Discounts of up to
�75,000, not leaving a lot for councils? Before it was only 50%,
so it will be more. Wetbacks are better than nothing? Of course.
Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with the latest political news, including an interview with the chief secretary to the treasury, Danny Alexander. Also in the programme, Respect MP, George Galloway and defence select committee member, Bob Stewart, go head-to-head on the future of the Falklands.