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
Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2138 seconds
at the benefits change that could Denude bedroom tax that is set to
hit 40,000 people here. It is not a case but I cannot afford to pay. I
just can't. I am what do you want here from the Chancellor's Autumn
Statement? We don't need crazier ideas, we need leadership and
consistency. Hello. I'm Marie Ashby. Joining me
this week, the Labour MP for Mansfield, Sir Alan Meale, and
Richard Blunt, the Conservative leader of North West Leicestershire
District Council. To build or not to build: It's one
of the biggest challenges facing us - do we need more homes? Where
should they be? And crucially, will it mean building on green belt
land? Nick Boles, the Planning Minister
and the MP for Grantham and Stamford, caused a stir on
Newsnight this week by saying we need to open up more land for
development. If people want to be able to bring up their kids in a
small house with a garden, they need to accept a we need to build
more on some open land. So, should we be building up more new homes?
struggled to understand for a long time where this is coming from. We
have reduced targets over the last few years, we have still not seen
houses being built. We are said to be the fastest-growing region in
the East Midlands. If people want to live here, they are going to
have to live in homes. But we are right in the middle of it. We have
30 minutes from all major cities. So you're saying that no UK -- no
new houses are necessary? Alan Meale, you have thousands of empty
homes any you've. Why can't people live there? It is not thousands, it
is a few hundred. We do need to replace those terms, but there is
an awful lot of brown belt to cover that. I agree we should not be
going into green belt at this time. There is no need for it. We should
see how we could integrate transport corridors with brown belt
land. How many people are on your waiting list their houses in North
West Leicestershire? I couldn't tell you, but it's the same number
which had for a number of years. It is not increasing. But if there are
people on waiting lists, they are waiting. Yes, they are waiting for
certain types. But this is just talking about general building. I
don't see a building houses in a field somewhere is going to solve
social housing needs in another place. So what you say to Nick
Boles? I think he is wrong. And you might have hundreds of empty homes
in Mansfield, but people presumably don't want to live in them. Well,
they do, but they are damaged and we cannot move in for them -- into
them. Some of the need to be replaced. We need a lot of
bungalows because we have a lot of disabled people in our area. As
people get ill, they need different kinds of accommodation. If we could
get them, we could released social housing. So we need to build the
houses that people want, is what you're saying. Yes, on brownfield
sites. Do you agree with that? is the same in north-west. We have
some housing subsidence we have to get those rebuilt. You study
architecture. Is there a mismatch between making desirable homes and
having them at an affordable price, or is it possible to have both?
think you can have both. The houses being built now are meeting the
market need. So people are delivering products people want to
buy. Nearly all the people in the north-west looking our families
looking to set up size. From homes to another potential
housing crisis. They are calling it the Bedroom Tax - or Under
Occupancy Penalties - and it's about to hit tens of thousands of
people in the East Midlands. From April, the Government is bringing
Housing benefit living in homes deemed too big for them could lose
up to a quarter of their income. We went to meet one of them.
It's a home that is full of life, but officially under occupied. Jill
leads on her own in a two-bedroom flat in Derby. She regularly looks
after her nine children. Today, it is Harry. Three of the
grandchildren live with her for half the week. Jill is also a full-
time carer for a father living nearby. She gets benefits of �90 a
week, but under the new rules she will lose �11 a week because she is
living in a flat with more bedrooms than she needs. This is my home, I
get paid to look after my jab -- my dad. I'm saving the government
hundreds of pounds a week. If I couldn't do it any had to be in a
nursing home, so why take another �11 a week of me. People in my
situation should be exempt. whole flat is on the ground floor.
This is the kitchen, one -- Jill's bedroom, and this is the spare room
that is causing all problems. And it is not just Jill. Hundreds of
people will be affected. The Housing Association says about a
thousand of its tenants are in sit -- are in similar situations.
got this bedroom and then there is another bedroom. We know on average
it will be about �12 a week per room. So possibly �50 a month that
people will have to for ago. Some people will be able to do that and
work additional hours if they are lucky enough to have employment. So
not everybody will be going into debt, but a significant proportion
will struggle. I'm not asking for more money, just don't take
anything off me. I can't give anything owls up. I don't smoke, no
phone line, no contents insurance, no cable, no jewellery. My savings
have gone. You can't get blood out of stone. It is not a case that I
don't want to pay, I can't pay! is thought 40,000 people across the
East Midlands will be hit by the changes. They will have to find the
extra money for the rent themselves, move to smaller accommodation, or
even face the prospect of eviction. Chris Hobson, you are the East
Midlands lead manager of the National Housing Federation. How
typical is Jill's situation? Derry to put all, I'm afraid. People will
have the spare room for all sorts of reasons. It might be because
their children stay over the weekend and they are separated. It
is possible that they need equipment for a disability in the
household. Almost one-third of the total people claiming houses in the
region will be affected. Richard, you will be the one having to
implement this as leader of the council. How? Well, your timing is
brilliant. This is the time we need to talk about this issue because we
have some time it to work it out. We have about 550 people who we
think in principle could be affected by this. So we're going to
meet them and find out what the situations are, so by the time it
comes in... So are you going to be inspecting their properties to find
out what the sleeping arrangements are? No, no. We're going to be
talking to them about their situation and what they can do.
Then we will at least be able to get down to the numbers of people
affected. Is this a good policy? Well, it is �21 billion of our
money they get spent on housing benefits. We need to do something
about it. This is part of a huge change you will see. The general
idea is that people who are not working should not be better off
than those who are working. Doing nothing is not an option. Remember
what period of time we're in at the moment. This is a double dip
recession. We're talking about the poorest people in our communities.
And we're going round seeing if we can take out a bedroom. It is not
people friendly. What about people who've had marriage break-ups, and
one person has kept themselves in work but has lost their jobs. They
want access to their children, their want their children to come
and spend time with them. If they only have one bedroom, no children
can spend time there. What happens when someone like Jill cannot pay?
She has nothing left. At a lot of people are going to really struggle.
People are only just getting by. To take �12 away from someone on a
low-budget, that is a big hit. they enough one-bedroom homes for
all these people to move into? the policy over the past three
years had led us to get rid of those types of properties to
develop more family type properties. So even if they do want to move, it
is not given they will be able to. I think we're all agreed that
housing benefit is high, but when you try to make big cuts, and we
are looking to save �2 billion by 2014, sometimes the policy just
doesn't match the reality. Are you not worried about this? I have
spoken to city councillors and they are worried. They said this is a
half-baked, costly measure. The worry is it can cause more problems
in the future. All accounts of a 12% less money. Sir we just have to
put up with it? Every single person I know feels worse off than they
were last year. That is just a fact. Self-employed, employed by the
state, whatever they are doing, they feel worse off. So we need to
get better value out of this massive bill we are paying.
sounds harsh. If you are not on benefits and your situation changes
then the reality is you will downsize or think about it. So is
this proposal fair? This is not about downsizing. The lady we just
saw there, you saw the situation. She is a full-time carer. She is
not in a giant house. Baobabs have one-bedroom more. -- they perhaps
have one bedroom. What would you do? There are billions of pounds of
unpaid tax. What other politicians are saying is let's go and get them.
Why, instead of making tax collectors redundant, why don't we
get them out there getting these people who were not paying their
tax. What is your main fear about is being implemented? In the past
few years, homelessness has risen by 24%. People are just getting by
and this is going to push more people over the edge. Is going to
have a big impact on communities. People there is might not affect
them directly now, but as time goes by, you realise it is much closer
to home. Some policy makers sometimes try to paint a picture of
the scrounger on benefits. We are not talking about that. We talking
about the lady in that situation there. I had a conversation this
week with the woman he separated from her partner. She has the
children at the weekend. She really can't afford to move out of their
house. She is a community nurse. Well, could people rent out a spare
room? Yes, that is part of it. It is just using the space we have
available. We cannot create enough social housing to meet all the
needs. There is a hardship fund which will make a difference.
just go back to that case there. What happens in that particular
situation - she's got nothing to sell, no money coming in from any
other avenue. She is going to go into debt. Then he will issue a
recovery notice which will cost �70 even if she turns up and pays all
of their debt. But she can't pay, so they go for more. She comes back
again. This time, it is �300. It goes on and on. Look, we're running
out of money. Every single person in this money -- country knows we
don't have enough money. But in Britain we have a welfare state. It
should catch everybody who falls through the net.
As we've already heard, the Chancellor will be delivering his
annual Autumn Statement this week - it's likely to be a pretty Black
Wednesday as George Osborne will have to admit to what has been a
pretty terrible year for the economy. Rob Pittam's been to find
out what one businessman in Derby wants to hear from the Chancellor.
These guys are actually working on parts the next year's Formula One
sports cars. We can't actually show you too much because it is secret.
This technology company is just outside Derby. They make parts for
the car industry, things like this carbon fibre air duct for his
sports car. Customers include people like Jaguar. There is a
heavy emphasis on skills and on training. They actually have 42
vacancies at the moment for apprentices. Things are OK at the
moment but it is hard work. We're trying to get post-recession ready
and every day we are working very hard to make sure they is some
consistency. What do you what the Chancellor to talk about next week?
We don't need any crazy ideas, we need leadership and consistency.
We're talking six years of consistency. We don't need a rush
because there is an election coming. We need things to be very, very
stable. And we need some encouragement. How would you do
that though? Well, we need to start talking about success. We're coming
off the back of a really good year for Great Britain. But there's been
a terrible recession. Well, we've had the Olympics, there had been
all kinds of things. It is not lazy Britain, it is great Britain.
what practical measures can be implemented? I don't think he's
done anything. He needs to unlock the banking system, that's for sure.
We are under starter's orders. We have to be let off the leash and
have the encouragement to do it. We need more funding their education,
particularly. The next generation is so important. I'm not really
interested in the terms and where the government is right now. Over
the next 10 years we need to invest in education and people who want to
try hard. What is it like competing and talking to suppliers at the
moment? What is the atmosphere like? I think people are looking at
each other saying, can we talk about success? We are actually
doing OK. There are still pockets that are really struggling but
people are now starting to be open and say, we are struggling, how can
we get better? All, we're doing really well, how do we get even
better? People have kept their heads down for two or three years,
nobody dared talk about success just in case you got shot down for
it. We need to move on from it. If you are successful, if you are
employing people and generating income and paying taxes, you should
be getting a pat on the back. Richard: Graham there has pointed
out yet again that what businesses want is consistency, and there's no
voice for business in your Government? What a superb man to
say that we want a level playing field. The only way we can get out
of the mess we in his for our businesses to do well. So the Prime
Minister will say exactly the same thing. Allen, we know that Graham
later the Chancellor as mediocre. How do you think he is doing.
know he is mediocre. Everybody says it in the media, on television and
radio. Business leaders are saying it. As Chancellor, he is not able
to grasp the nettle and actually start to her build programmes that
will help us get out of this. Nottingham, they had a few ideas on
what they wanted from the Chancellor for Christmas. We once a
more jobs for the young ones. -- we want some more jobs. If he puts the
threshold up, I'd be happier with that. If you ever family, sometimes
you are better off not working. So I think they need to consider that.
-- if you have a family. They need to think about the normal people,
not just rich people. Things like fuelled need to be at a decent
price. At the moment, everybody is on their needs. Thank you very much,
Chancellor, for the fixed rate VAT. Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas to the Chancellor! Bet he wouldn't have expected that!
But Alan, it's clear from what those people said that people are
still struggling, but to improve the economy he's got to keep going
with a policy of cuts. I think he needs to invest in jobs and he
needs to peak -- keep those people who have businesses with jobs. One
thing he might do is not increase the fuel duty on 3 p, which would
be very sensible. I hope he does it. In the north, for me, if he needs
to put some construction infrastructure in there to try to
get as a new road link. That would bring jobs in construction. And we
need something in the East Midlands generally. There is a 364 million
pot up there. So far, we've only had �2 million of that in this
region. It is still a gloomy message, isn't it, on the streets?
All politicians agree we cannot keep spending our way out of
trouble. Even the Labour leader would and say that now. We can't
just keep writing cheques. One thing we can do is keep taxes low,
and we're doing that. They also the same thing - consistency.
Time now for a look at some of the other political stories in the East
Midlands this week - here's our political editor John Hess with our
60 second round-up: It seems David Cameron doesn't know he's east from
his West when it comes to the Midlands.
He was challenged on unacceptable levels of lead -- youth
unemployment in his Leicester South constituency, and he got a
surprising response. If you take the figures for Birmingham, 2% were
in the private sector, the rest was in the public sector. Later, A was
delivered to Downing Street to let him know exactly where Leicester is.
Work has finally started on the alliance boots site in Nottingham.
It is aiming to create a centre for innovation and encourage new
business through incentives. It is really significant. And Derby
residents are the latest facing charges to have their bins emptied.
It is all part of the Labour-run council to balance its books.
Bins always get people going, don't they? I always say Eric Pickles
must dream about them because it is all he talks about! Recycling is
very important. Is it a problem in your area? And no, in fact, every
time I see Eric Pickles, I tell him to leave rubbish bins alone. What
about in Mansfield? It was, because they were going to charge for it.
They have now reversed back, which I think they should. So you are
happy with the way it is now? happy. Richard, it seems a shame
that the Prime Minister didn't seem to know where Leicester was. He was
here last week. He thought it wasn't the West Midlands, it has
never been there! Is as a simple error. It is 20 miles apart. It is
a big city! Does he know where Mansfield is? So to me, he should
know where Leicester was. obviously need to remind him!