02/12/2012 Sunday Politics East Midlands


02/12/2012

Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby present the latest political news, interviews and debate, with justice secretary Chris Grayling.


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And in the East Midlands: They call it the bedroom tax. Will be looking

:01:22.:01:32.
:01:32.:01:32.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2138 seconds

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at the benefits change that could Denude bedroom tax that is set to

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hit 40,000 people here. It is not a case but I cannot afford to pay. I

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just can't. I am what do you want here from the Chancellor's Autumn

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Statement? We don't need crazier ideas, we need leadership and

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consistency. Hello. I'm Marie Ashby. Joining me

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this week, the Labour MP for Mansfield, Sir Alan Meale, and

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Richard Blunt, the Conservative leader of North West Leicestershire

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District Council. To build or not to build: It's one

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of the biggest challenges facing us - do we need more homes? Where

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should they be? And crucially, will it mean building on green belt

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land? Nick Boles, the Planning Minister

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and the MP for Grantham and Stamford, caused a stir on

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Newsnight this week by saying we need to open up more land for

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development. If people want to be able to bring up their kids in a

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small house with a garden, they need to accept a we need to build

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more on some open land. So, should we be building up more new homes?

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struggled to understand for a long time where this is coming from. We

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have reduced targets over the last few years, we have still not seen

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houses being built. We are said to be the fastest-growing region in

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the East Midlands. If people want to live here, they are going to

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have to live in homes. But we are right in the middle of it. We have

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30 minutes from all major cities. So you're saying that no UK -- no

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new houses are necessary? Alan Meale, you have thousands of empty

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homes any you've. Why can't people live there? It is not thousands, it

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is a few hundred. We do need to replace those terms, but there is

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an awful lot of brown belt to cover that. I agree we should not be

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going into green belt at this time. There is no need for it. We should

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see how we could integrate transport corridors with brown belt

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land. How many people are on your waiting list their houses in North

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West Leicestershire? I couldn't tell you, but it's the same number

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which had for a number of years. It is not increasing. But if there are

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people on waiting lists, they are waiting. Yes, they are waiting for

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certain types. But this is just talking about general building. I

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don't see a building houses in a field somewhere is going to solve

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social housing needs in another place. So what you say to Nick

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Boles? I think he is wrong. And you might have hundreds of empty homes

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in Mansfield, but people presumably don't want to live in them. Well,

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they do, but they are damaged and we cannot move in for them -- into

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them. Some of the need to be replaced. We need a lot of

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bungalows because we have a lot of disabled people in our area. As

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people get ill, they need different kinds of accommodation. If we could

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get them, we could released social housing. So we need to build the

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houses that people want, is what you're saying. Yes, on brownfield

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sites. Do you agree with that? is the same in north-west. We have

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some housing subsidence we have to get those rebuilt. You study

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architecture. Is there a mismatch between making desirable homes and

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having them at an affordable price, or is it possible to have both?

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think you can have both. The houses being built now are meeting the

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market need. So people are delivering products people want to

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buy. Nearly all the people in the north-west looking our families

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looking to set up size. From homes to another potential

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housing crisis. They are calling it the Bedroom Tax - or Under

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Occupancy Penalties - and it's about to hit tens of thousands of

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people in the East Midlands. From April, the Government is bringing

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Housing benefit living in homes deemed too big for them could lose

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up to a quarter of their income. We went to meet one of them.

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It's a home that is full of life, but officially under occupied. Jill

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leads on her own in a two-bedroom flat in Derby. She regularly looks

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after her nine children. Today, it is Harry. Three of the

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grandchildren live with her for half the week. Jill is also a full-

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time carer for a father living nearby. She gets benefits of �90 a

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week, but under the new rules she will lose �11 a week because she is

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living in a flat with more bedrooms than she needs. This is my home, I

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get paid to look after my jab -- my dad. I'm saving the government

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hundreds of pounds a week. If I couldn't do it any had to be in a

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nursing home, so why take another �11 a week of me. People in my

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situation should be exempt. whole flat is on the ground floor.

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This is the kitchen, one -- Jill's bedroom, and this is the spare room

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that is causing all problems. And it is not just Jill. Hundreds of

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people will be affected. The Housing Association says about a

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thousand of its tenants are in sit -- are in similar situations.

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got this bedroom and then there is another bedroom. We know on average

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it will be about �12 a week per room. So possibly �50 a month that

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people will have to for ago. Some people will be able to do that and

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work additional hours if they are lucky enough to have employment. So

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not everybody will be going into debt, but a significant proportion

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will struggle. I'm not asking for more money, just don't take

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anything off me. I can't give anything owls up. I don't smoke, no

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phone line, no contents insurance, no cable, no jewellery. My savings

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have gone. You can't get blood out of stone. It is not a case that I

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don't want to pay, I can't pay! is thought 40,000 people across the

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East Midlands will be hit by the changes. They will have to find the

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extra money for the rent themselves, move to smaller accommodation, or

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even face the prospect of eviction. Chris Hobson, you are the East

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Midlands lead manager of the National Housing Federation. How

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typical is Jill's situation? Derry to put all, I'm afraid. People will

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have the spare room for all sorts of reasons. It might be because

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their children stay over the weekend and they are separated. It

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is possible that they need equipment for a disability in the

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household. Almost one-third of the total people claiming houses in the

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region will be affected. Richard, you will be the one having to

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implement this as leader of the council. How? Well, your timing is

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brilliant. This is the time we need to talk about this issue because we

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have some time it to work it out. We have about 550 people who we

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think in principle could be affected by this. So we're going to

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meet them and find out what the situations are, so by the time it

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comes in... So are you going to be inspecting their properties to find

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out what the sleeping arrangements are? No, no. We're going to be

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talking to them about their situation and what they can do.

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Then we will at least be able to get down to the numbers of people

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affected. Is this a good policy? Well, it is �21 billion of our

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money they get spent on housing benefits. We need to do something

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about it. This is part of a huge change you will see. The general

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idea is that people who are not working should not be better off

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than those who are working. Doing nothing is not an option. Remember

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what period of time we're in at the moment. This is a double dip

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recession. We're talking about the poorest people in our communities.

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And we're going round seeing if we can take out a bedroom. It is not

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people friendly. What about people who've had marriage break-ups, and

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one person has kept themselves in work but has lost their jobs. They

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want access to their children, their want their children to come

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and spend time with them. If they only have one bedroom, no children

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can spend time there. What happens when someone like Jill cannot pay?

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She has nothing left. At a lot of people are going to really struggle.

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People are only just getting by. To take �12 away from someone on a

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low-budget, that is a big hit. they enough one-bedroom homes for

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all these people to move into? the policy over the past three

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years had led us to get rid of those types of properties to

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develop more family type properties. So even if they do want to move, it

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is not given they will be able to. I think we're all agreed that

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housing benefit is high, but when you try to make big cuts, and we

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are looking to save �2 billion by 2014, sometimes the policy just

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doesn't match the reality. Are you not worried about this? I have

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spoken to city councillors and they are worried. They said this is a

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half-baked, costly measure. The worry is it can cause more problems

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in the future. All accounts of a 12% less money. Sir we just have to

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put up with it? Every single person I know feels worse off than they

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were last year. That is just a fact. Self-employed, employed by the

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state, whatever they are doing, they feel worse off. So we need to

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get better value out of this massive bill we are paying.

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sounds harsh. If you are not on benefits and your situation changes

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then the reality is you will downsize or think about it. So is

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this proposal fair? This is not about downsizing. The lady we just

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saw there, you saw the situation. She is a full-time carer. She is

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not in a giant house. Baobabs have one-bedroom more. -- they perhaps

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have one bedroom. What would you do? There are billions of pounds of

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unpaid tax. What other politicians are saying is let's go and get them.

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Why, instead of making tax collectors redundant, why don't we

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get them out there getting these people who were not paying their

:48:40.:48:50.
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tax. What is your main fear about is being implemented? In the past

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few years, homelessness has risen by 24%. People are just getting by

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and this is going to push more people over the edge. Is going to

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have a big impact on communities. People there is might not affect

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them directly now, but as time goes by, you realise it is much closer

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to home. Some policy makers sometimes try to paint a picture of

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the scrounger on benefits. We are not talking about that. We talking

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about the lady in that situation there. I had a conversation this

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week with the woman he separated from her partner. She has the

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children at the weekend. She really can't afford to move out of their

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house. She is a community nurse. Well, could people rent out a spare

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room? Yes, that is part of it. It is just using the space we have

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available. We cannot create enough social housing to meet all the

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needs. There is a hardship fund which will make a difference.

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just go back to that case there. What happens in that particular

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situation - she's got nothing to sell, no money coming in from any

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other avenue. She is going to go into debt. Then he will issue a

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recovery notice which will cost �70 even if she turns up and pays all

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of their debt. But she can't pay, so they go for more. She comes back

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again. This time, it is �300. It goes on and on. Look, we're running

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out of money. Every single person in this money -- country knows we

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don't have enough money. But in Britain we have a welfare state. It

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should catch everybody who falls through the net.

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As we've already heard, the Chancellor will be delivering his

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annual Autumn Statement this week - it's likely to be a pretty Black

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Wednesday as George Osborne will have to admit to what has been a

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pretty terrible year for the economy. Rob Pittam's been to find

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out what one businessman in Derby wants to hear from the Chancellor.

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These guys are actually working on parts the next year's Formula One

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sports cars. We can't actually show you too much because it is secret.

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This technology company is just outside Derby. They make parts for

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the car industry, things like this carbon fibre air duct for his

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sports car. Customers include people like Jaguar. There is a

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heavy emphasis on skills and on training. They actually have 42

:51:41.:51:48.

vacancies at the moment for apprentices. Things are OK at the

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moment but it is hard work. We're trying to get post-recession ready

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and every day we are working very hard to make sure they is some

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consistency. What do you what the Chancellor to talk about next week?

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We don't need any crazy ideas, we need leadership and consistency.

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We're talking six years of consistency. We don't need a rush

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because there is an election coming. We need things to be very, very

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stable. And we need some encouragement. How would you do

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that though? Well, we need to start talking about success. We're coming

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off the back of a really good year for Great Britain. But there's been

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a terrible recession. Well, we've had the Olympics, there had been

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all kinds of things. It is not lazy Britain, it is great Britain.

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what practical measures can be implemented? I don't think he's

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done anything. He needs to unlock the banking system, that's for sure.

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We are under starter's orders. We have to be let off the leash and

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have the encouragement to do it. We need more funding their education,

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particularly. The next generation is so important. I'm not really

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interested in the terms and where the government is right now. Over

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the next 10 years we need to invest in education and people who want to

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try hard. What is it like competing and talking to suppliers at the

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moment? What is the atmosphere like? I think people are looking at

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each other saying, can we talk about success? We are actually

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doing OK. There are still pockets that are really struggling but

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people are now starting to be open and say, we are struggling, how can

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we get better? All, we're doing really well, how do we get even

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better? People have kept their heads down for two or three years,

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nobody dared talk about success just in case you got shot down for

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it. We need to move on from it. If you are successful, if you are

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employing people and generating income and paying taxes, you should

:54:06.:54:16.

be getting a pat on the back. Richard: Graham there has pointed

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out yet again that what businesses want is consistency, and there's no

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voice for business in your Government? What a superb man to

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say that we want a level playing field. The only way we can get out

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of the mess we in his for our businesses to do well. So the Prime

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Minister will say exactly the same thing. Allen, we know that Graham

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later the Chancellor as mediocre. How do you think he is doing.

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know he is mediocre. Everybody says it in the media, on television and

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radio. Business leaders are saying it. As Chancellor, he is not able

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to grasp the nettle and actually start to her build programmes that

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will help us get out of this. Nottingham, they had a few ideas on

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what they wanted from the Chancellor for Christmas. We once a

:55:17.:55:24.

more jobs for the young ones. -- we want some more jobs. If he puts the

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threshold up, I'd be happier with that. If you ever family, sometimes

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you are better off not working. So I think they need to consider that.

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-- if you have a family. They need to think about the normal people,

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not just rich people. Things like fuelled need to be at a decent

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price. At the moment, everybody is on their needs. Thank you very much,

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Chancellor, for the fixed rate VAT. Merry Christmas.

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Merry Christmas to the Chancellor! Bet he wouldn't have expected that!

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But Alan, it's clear from what those people said that people are

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still struggling, but to improve the economy he's got to keep going

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with a policy of cuts. I think he needs to invest in jobs and he

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needs to peak -- keep those people who have businesses with jobs. One

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thing he might do is not increase the fuel duty on 3 p, which would

:56:31.:56:38.

be very sensible. I hope he does it. In the north, for me, if he needs

:56:38.:56:41.

to put some construction infrastructure in there to try to

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get as a new road link. That would bring jobs in construction. And we

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need something in the East Midlands generally. There is a 364 million

:56:54.:56:58.

pot up there. So far, we've only had �2 million of that in this

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region. It is still a gloomy message, isn't it, on the streets?

:57:06.:57:09.

All politicians agree we cannot keep spending our way out of

:57:09.:57:14.

trouble. Even the Labour leader would and say that now. We can't

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just keep writing cheques. One thing we can do is keep taxes low,

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and we're doing that. They also the same thing - consistency.

:57:26.:57:29.

Time now for a look at some of the other political stories in the East

:57:29.:57:32.

Midlands this week - here's our political editor John Hess with our

:57:32.:57:42.
:57:42.:57:43.

60 second round-up: It seems David Cameron doesn't know he's east from

:57:43.:57:45.

his West when it comes to the Midlands.

:57:45.:57:50.

He was challenged on unacceptable levels of lead -- youth

:57:50.:57:53.

unemployment in his Leicester South constituency, and he got a

:57:53.:58:00.

surprising response. If you take the figures for Birmingham, 2% were

:58:00.:58:06.

in the private sector, the rest was in the public sector. Later, A was

:58:06.:58:14.

delivered to Downing Street to let him know exactly where Leicester is.

:58:14.:58:18.

Work has finally started on the alliance boots site in Nottingham.

:58:18.:58:23.

It is aiming to create a centre for innovation and encourage new

:58:23.:58:29.

business through incentives. It is really significant. And Derby

:58:29.:58:33.

residents are the latest facing charges to have their bins emptied.

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It is all part of the Labour-run council to balance its books.

:58:42.:58:50.

Bins always get people going, don't they? I always say Eric Pickles

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must dream about them because it is all he talks about! Recycling is

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very important. Is it a problem in your area? And no, in fact, every

:59:01.:59:06.

time I see Eric Pickles, I tell him to leave rubbish bins alone. What

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about in Mansfield? It was, because they were going to charge for it.

:59:13.:59:16.

They have now reversed back, which I think they should. So you are

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happy with the way it is now? happy. Richard, it seems a shame

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that the Prime Minister didn't seem to know where Leicester was. He was

:59:26.:59:31.

here last week. He thought it wasn't the West Midlands, it has

:59:31.:59:37.

never been there! Is as a simple error. It is 20 miles apart. It is

:59:37.:59:44.

a big city! Does he know where Mansfield is? So to me, he should

:59:44.:59:50.

know where Leicester was. obviously need to remind him!

:59:50.:59:54.

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