16/12/2012 Sunday Politics East Midlands


16/12/2012

Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with the latest political news, interviews and debate including transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin.


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In the East Midlands: It could be a bleak winter for thousands, but are

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2149 seconds

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In the East Midlands: It could be a bleak winter for thousands, but are

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they strivers or skivers? I have seen the numbers go up and I have

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been coming for a couple of months, then it line kicks longer each week.

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And as one of our region's hospital's heads towards a cash

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crisis will the government step in to bail it out? They paid all that

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money out, all of that, I think something has got to be done.

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I'm Marie Ashby. Joining me this week, someone in the perfect

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position to answer that question, the Chairman of the Health Select

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committee and Conservative MP for Charnwood, Stephen Dorrell, and

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Labour's Liz Kendall, the MP for Leicester West. And we're starting

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with health, Liz Kendall's been busy in that area herself. She's

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part of an all-party group of Leicestershire MPs who've been

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meeting the man reviewing the decision to stop children's heart

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surgery at Glenfield Hospital and transfer its ECMO specialist life

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support unit to Birmingham. Children's heart surgery at

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Glenfield was scheduled to stop after a government review

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recommended concentrating specialist services in a smaller

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number of larger centres. Surgical cases would be transferred to

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Birmingham. But after strong objections, including from local

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MPs, the decision is being reviewed by an independent panel. You met

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the chairman Lord Ribeiro on Thursday, any hope there? He was

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very clear to the cross-party group of MPs and peers that met with him

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that he is coming to this with an open mind up. He has no

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preconceptions, he wants to look at the evidence about what is going to

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deliver the best care for children and the best support for families.

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What makes you think the outcome will be different this time?

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Because he is going to look at the proper evidence including on

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Glenfield's ECMO service, although he was told by the Secretary of

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State that was outside his review, he said the evidence was that the

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services were closely linked so he will be looking at it. He was

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concerned about whether or not people from the black and ethnic

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minority communities had been properly consulted with and he will

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look at increased pressure for services from our bigger population,

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particularly among younger people in the area. So he wants to look at

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the evidence, take a national decision about what is right for

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the country and the most important thing is he is listening and that

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is welcome. This has had cross- party support for Glenfield, are

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you still behind the campaign? Absolutely, I think it is important

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that this decision is reviewed, that is why I welcome the fact it

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is being referred to the panel. Lord Rob Burrow is a distinguished

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man, a former President of the Royal College of Surgeons, and

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between Liz and myself there is agreement that there needs to be a

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decision about this. Children's Heart surgery has been something

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the health service has taken 10 years to respond to a national

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scandal in Bristol. It really is time that there was a decision made

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on a national basis about how this service will be delivered in future.

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Do you think heart surgery for children should stay at Glenfield?

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I don't think that is a political decision, it is a decision as

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listed just now that needs to be taken on the evidence about how

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that service can be delivered best in a safe and sustainable fashion.

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One of the things that he said is that he is going to put the report

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in now at the end of March, it was initially going to be the end of

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February. The Leeds hospital has also referred at their decision, so

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that is when it is going to come, I think it is right, we need a

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decision, because the staff, families and children are worried

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about the future. They need to take an independent decision. We were

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putting the case for Glenfield and I'm confident they will listen to

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that but there is a long way to go. It may be Christmas, but there's a

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distinct lack of cheer for many. Thousands of people across the East

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Midlands will be getting their Christmas meals from the region's

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food banks. Benefits look set to be one of the great battlegrounds for

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next year, with the Chancellor talking of helping "strivers not

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skivers". But how do the people who rely on food banks to feed

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themselves and their families feel? John Hess has been to one as they

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prepared their very own seasonal party.

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Christmas is around the corner and there is a whole roast on the go,

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just the thing on a cold winter's day. We are in Loughborough, this

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is a Christian a run a charity that provides a free food for some of

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the vulnerable in the area, the unemployed, those living on the

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breadline and who may need a bit of extra help. Parisse uses the

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facility, what exactly is provided here? That provide us with food,

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fresh vegetables, stuff that can be used, but markets throw away.

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You're a former musician, a full- time carer, is it a fundamental

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that you get this service? Are yes, it is, because without it, the old

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cliche, it would be... A we will catch up with you later, let's

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catch up with Judy, one of the people who runs this organisation.

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Since austerity kicked in, were different have you noticed?

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type of people coming have changed slightly. People who one wouldn't

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have expected it, people who have perhaps lost their jobs, because

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they haven't had their jobs for very long, they find they cannot

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claim benefit, or people trying to claim benefits, which have been

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held up for various reasons, which happens. I come one-iron a bit

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short, and it really helps -- when I am a bit short. I have seen the

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numbers coming up and I have only been coming for a couple of months,

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it gets longer every week. How do you feel when you hear the

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Chancellor talking about the shirkers and the strivers, and

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those who were on benefits, staying in bed with the curtains closed?

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That is probably because they cannot afford to keep their house

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and the bed is the warmest place! I don't think most people in

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government has any height -- how hard it is at the bottom of the

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pile. They don't see how it is, my message to them would be, a jump in

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your car, come down to a place like this and witnessed first-hand

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exactly what is going on. Because all these people are in dire need

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of help. We are now inside the fault -- a food stall. Is it always

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this busy? Yes it is, this is our normal Tuesday and Thursday. What

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are you able to give the people? give them bridge, we give them pins

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up stock we give them cake -- we give them a front, we give them at

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teens. But once it is gone, it is gone. How much would that cost of

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the supermarket? I would say roughly �15. And that is a lot of

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money to find? Yes, I would be back on Tuesday, first in line. Free

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food is distributed twice a week from here. They will also be open

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on Christmas Eve and New year's Eve. You know it there will be -- they

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will be open because of the lengthening queue. Will you go and

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have a look? I think interest, most MPs, most weekends, see somebody,

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most of us more than one. Several good come into our surgeries at

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weekends from different versions of the story. A but you must be seen

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more of them? The answer is, there is clearly more stress, more

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hardship in our society as a result of economic times, that is true.

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What is important is to be clear at first of all that we should provide

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help for people who find themselves in hard times the Messiah might be

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volunteers providing that help, and we should ensure that there is a

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proper safety net. But we do them no favours if we do not insist that

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the real way to help them in the long term, them and their children,

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is to ensure the economy works better so that fewer people are in

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that position and more people are able to sustain themselves.

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people there are saying it is not just the government who will act of

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touch, it is all politicians across the board, they feel let down.

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think that is true, I think people look at all politicians and feel

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that they don't understand what is really going on in their lives. The

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struggle they face, the choice between heating and eating. I had a

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community meeting this week where people are really suffering a, they

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are worried about what is going to happen, people want to do their

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best for their family at Christmas, we are seeing our local credit

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union same people are more in debt. People are choosing between heating

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and eating, it is up to us, and I feel strongly as a Labour MP that I

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should say the government has made a huge mistake on the economy, we

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have long term unemployed doubled in the East Midlands... I and they

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said the queues are getting longer. Let's have a look at how many

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people are in the region. Housing benefit's a good indicator. There

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are 327,000 people on it in the East Midlands, that's up 7.5%. In

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Charnwood, Stephen, it's just under 8,000. And in Leicester, it's just

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over 34,000. That's a shocking figure - more than 300,000 people

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in our region on housing benefit. You can't label them all skivers.

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didn't label them at skivers. your government did. But equally,

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those people struggling in the way that is described, and I do not

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dissent from the description, and they know there are people in their

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community that they live next door to who they themselves described as

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skivers, so we shouldn't imagine that this problem does not exist

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for stoppages a small problem that does exist. What we ought to do is

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make certain that all of those who are engaged and looking after

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themselves, want to find jobs, sustain themselves, look after

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their families, we have an economic environment where they can find a

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job and look forward to improving living standards. Mind you, that

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food bank in Loughborough has been running for three years, so it is

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not just something that started now, it has been going on since Labour

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was in government. We have seen around one new food back open every

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single week across the country. -- food bank. 70% more food they are

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giving out now than three years ago. The truth, I'm afraid, is what the

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government announced in the Autumn Statement, their cuts to benefits

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and tax credits, six out of 10 of those people affected are in work.

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They are struggling and striving to do the best for their families! And

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they feel it is incredibly unfair that they are paying the price when

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millionaires are getting a big tax cut. They don't think that is fair

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and I don't think that is fair. Then people turn around and say you

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are out of touch. Politicians will always be accused of being out of

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touch but when it -- what any politician should do is when they

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have rich in their constituency, they meet people in their own

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constituency, they engage with problems... But it out of 10 of

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those people are actually working. But in Parliament we say we want a

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fair system, one people who can work are helped and supported to go

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into work and people who can't get a decent safety net, so they can

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live a decent life, in the 21st century, in one of the richest

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countries in the world, to have those food banks is a scar on

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society. You point the thing that the government, I don't think

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people in that you would help all thank either of us are appointing

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figures -- for pointing fingers at each other. There is a recession

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going on since 2008, times are tougher, what we don't have to do

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is to look after the people who opt in hard times. But Germany's

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growing by three or 4%, America is growing, this country is flat lined.

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We have got such problems that long-term unemployment, the

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government's work programme, we discover... But we cannot keep

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paying out benefits. The way you do that is we had a job guarantee for

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young people, we said you had no option but to turn down, the

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government scrapped that programme, its new programme, only two out of

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every 100 people have found work. That is not right, what we have

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found is happening in the new work programme is that those who are

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running them are being paid a only when the people on Dos programs

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have long-term, sustainable work. The evaluation of the work

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programme found most people would have found work without the work

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programme. I think we will be hearing more about this in the new

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year. Back to health now and the growing

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financial crisis at King's Mill Hospital in Sutton in Ashfield. The

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hospital took on a Private Finance inititative to refurbish the

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building which looks like it could end up costing �2 billion. Now 16%

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of its budget goes on repaying the PFI, compared with 5% at the Derby

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Royal Hospital. A new Chief Executive has been appointed to

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Sherwood Forest NHS trust which runs Kings Mill. He's warned job

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losses at the hospital can't be ruled out. I think there may be

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reductions in the workforce, but we need to come at it the right way,

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we will increasingly have patients treated at home, so they will still

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be treated but maybe not in the way they have seen it in the past. We

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may not have as many hospital beds or as many nurses in hospital but

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we will still have those staff caring for people in their

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community. The finances are pretty grim at King's Mill, will your

:52:04.:52:14.
:52:14.:52:14.

It is not in the interests of patients to simply go on bailing

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out a hospital where 16% of the revenue is being reserve to pay for

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and pay out on to PPF eye. there is a President. You already

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helping Peterborough and Stamford NHS Trust, who are �45 million in

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debt. We are seeing the requirement to change. We had a debate this

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week in the House of Commons, the requirement to change the way care

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is delivered to reflect the fact that today's health service has

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many more elderly people, many people whose needs are best met not

:52:46.:52:54.

in the modern Acute Hospital, but by ensuring there are property it -

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- community-based services. We need to take resources, away from the

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acute sector to make sure there are proper dignity -- community

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services, so people cannot be discharged because the services are

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not there. But what of the hospital runs out of money? The is why I

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stress it is in no one's interest to us to bail out existing

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structures. If the system as it is currently delivering spends too

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much on acute and not enough on delivering care near to people's

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homes, then we are not meeting the needs of patients, and that should

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be what drives the service. Labour massively expanded this PFI project,

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this whole idea of it, does Labour regret having done it? No, I think

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overall I think PFI absolutely helped transform a crumbling

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Victorian hospitals. I am also clear that some of those project

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were not good value for money. I agreed with Stephen, we need to get

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a shift of services out of hospitals into the community to

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help people stay fit and healthy for as long as possible. But one of

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the problems in this area, particularly in and around the

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Ashfield constituency, is we have seen vital services like walk-in

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centres been shut, so people here the rhetoric on the grounds, they

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think... There are two people who use Kingsmill. We've been to

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Mansfield to find out what they think of their hospital. I have had

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good dealings with Kingsmill, every time I have been in, I have been

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looked after very fairly and the place is lovely and clean. I do use

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the hospital quite a bit, these recent years, so I have seen the

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development and improvement and they are fantastic, it is a really

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nice place to go now. But I am worried about the financial

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situation they are in. They haven't got it, and no, they have paid all

:54:57.:55:02.

that money out, all of that, I think something has got to be done.

:55:02.:55:09.

It looks a lot better than I did. Got no complaints about it, really.

:55:09.:55:13.

Interesting that a lot of them like what the PFI has done for the

:55:13.:55:18.

hospital. We've already heard the chairman of the trust saying there

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could be job losses. How does it work, do wards close, do jobs have

:55:22.:55:30.

to go? I'm sure what Eric Morton is spending all his thinking Tyne on

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his making sure the hospital doesn't run out of money and that

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what happens is the services change in a way that reflect the needs of

:55:37.:55:41.

patients. You don't have to wait until the hospital has run out of

:55:41.:55:45.

money before you change the way in which care is delivered to reflect

:55:45.:55:50.

the needs of patients. Under all governments, the NHS has to live

:55:50.:55:54.

within our budget, it is a Budget that is at record levels, and it

:55:54.:56:00.

needs to meet changing needs of patients, if the needs of patients

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change then the shape of the service that is delivered needs to

:56:03.:56:08.

change as well. You've been bitten by the PFI process in Leicester -

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�20 million lost when a project for a major health hub fell apart.

:56:13.:56:19.

Maybe PFIs and hospitals aren't good for your health! One of the

:56:20.:56:24.

interesting things is that the PFI deals are quite long deals, 25-30

:56:24.:56:29.

year deals, and health care is much more fast moving than that. So I

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think there is an issue if you have a process which locks the service

:56:32.:56:37.

into a model which may not be the right one for 20 or 30 years' time,

:56:37.:56:42.

we have to look at that for the future. The other thing is that

:56:42.:56:47.

whilst individual services need to lick -- live within their means,

:56:47.:56:51.

one of the benefits of a National Health Service is that people are

:56:51.:56:56.

not left on their own, it is not that hospital, it is the whole area.

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So I think it would be wrong to go down a route where it is just about

:57:00.:57:05.

the individual service, we are a national health service, we need to

:57:05.:57:10.

work together to support each other. PFIs aren't always bad, Derby's

:57:10.:57:13.

Royal Hospital is held up as a shining example, why has that one

:57:13.:57:19.

worked when others have failed so spectacularly? Some of Stephen's

:57:19.:57:23.

colleagues say that everything is all down to this terrible PFI, the

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majority of hospitals with PFI deals are able to pay them back

:57:27.:57:30.

properly. Those have been problems often have an underlying issues

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that need to be addressed. don't hear me criticise the PFI is

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I was first a Treasury minister then a health minister that

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introduced it, and I'm delighted to say that the Chancellor has now

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said that he is going to look at the failings, because 15 years into

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a programme, it is not surprising it has made mistakes. What we need

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do is it refashion it in order that there is it a capital available to

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allow the system to restructure. Time now for a round-up of some of

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the other political stories in the East Midlands this week - with our

:58:04.:58:14.
:58:14.:58:15.

Political Editor John Hess in 60 UK Coal has restructured his

:58:15.:58:19.

business. It has divided the company into a mining operation and

:58:19.:58:25.

a property sector. There is also a new name, coalfield resources. The

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firm says it mining business would have gone bust without the move up.

:58:29.:58:34.

The government may have signalled a shale gas bonanza in the East

:58:34.:58:38.

Midlands. There are thought to be large

:58:38.:58:44.

reserves in our region, so far and no one has applied to carry out the

:58:44.:58:51.

controversial for racking. Ashfield council is handing out a

:58:51.:58:57.

�250 Christmas bonus to staff earning less than �21,000. The

:58:57.:59:01.

measure has been condemned by the leader of the opposition Liberal

:59:01.:59:05.

Democrat group. Wondering why you Christmas card

:59:05.:59:09.

from Leicester County Council has gone, the council has decided to

:59:09.:59:17.

scrap its tradition of sending out cards. You can tell it is

:59:17.:59:21.

Christmas! There we have it in a nutshell - Labour Ashfield district

:59:21.:59:22.

council giving out bonuses, Conservative Leicestershire

:59:22.:59:31.

cancelling Christmas - you lot are just poles apart. I don't think we

:59:31.:59:34.

are cancelling Christmas by cancelling Christmas cards! There

:59:34.:59:38.

will be more than one view about the merits of them. I haven't even

:59:38.:59:43.

started writing mind. Are you sending any? To a few people. I

:59:43.:59:47.

have done all my shopping online this year, it was all sorted last

:59:47.:59:53.

week, it has transformed my life. If Christmas cards could be a

:59:53.:59:58.

personal expression and again, that would be wonderful. Where you get a

:59:58.:00:05.

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