13/01/2013 Sunday Politics East Midlands


13/01/2013

Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.


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And in the East Midlands, the fight to save our paths. MPs line up to

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call for more protection for them but with a team closing per week,

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2534 seconds

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In the East Midlands, what is the future for our pants closing at the

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rate of 18 Aref -- at each week? do reception, and then and I do get

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cleaning job to try and make ends meet. Joining me this week, the

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Conservative MP Patrick Mercer and Jon Ashworth. It looks like being

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at bay the year for rail transport. Network Rail will spend �500

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million Electa find the Midland mainline meaning faster and more

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reliable trains to London. The Transport Secretary is expected to

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confirm that that there will be as station on a high-speed line. A

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electrification of the Midland main line has to be good news? And I am

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pleased about this. I have been campaigning on this. It is great

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news for Leicester. It is important for these Midlands economy. I hope

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we can get on with it as quickly as possible. We know the economy has

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been in the doldrums, this investment is great for economic

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growth. It has been in the pipeline for a long time. What benefits will

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us bring to the area? I think he is spot on. This is an extremely

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important project. We must make progress. We have seen in the new

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work, ten years ago when I was first elected, travelling time to

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London was slightly faster. With this improvement, I hope they will

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be back to where they were five or six years ago and we can get to

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London in just over an hour. That is amazing. Have more people

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relocated? I would like to say yes with businesses that I am not so

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Stuart. I was on the train the other day with a man who said he

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had moved there because he used to live in Brighton and travelling

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from brighten up to London is slow were now. We are definitely getting

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more commuters. Are you concerned about being cut off because the

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other side of the country is getting the benefit? It is

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definitely going to benefit us. I do not care about of the west side

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of the country. We are doing well. We are extremely lucky with our

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relics. It is a huge amount of money, �500 million. That will make

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a difference of five minutes from Leicester to London. Is it worth

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that Investment? It is important for the economy. We are the slowest

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line north of London and that is ridiculous. It is only five minutes.

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It is important. It will improve connections to London. We need that

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investment. I am a supporter of the high-speed line, but the worry is

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that it will suck all the funding and we will get two years down the

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road, there will not be enough for us. You will see a difference in

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house prices in Leicester. It worked wonderfully in my area.

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us hope it does wonders for the economy? All of our MPs agree on

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the need to save our pubs. MPs played a leading role on the cross-

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party debate on the future of the local and it was led by Toby

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Perkins. They called for a setting up of an independent adjudicator to

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protect landlords from unfair practices. Is it enough to save

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your local pub that? According to research, �5,800 like this one have

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closed in the last four years. Last year they were closing at a rate of

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18 a week. At this handbook, a gathering of a local preservation

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society. They want to preserve their local and that thousands of

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other homes are threatened with closure. If I want to have a quiet

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drink, it is great, but on the other hand I like to come out and

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meet people. Beer sales in pubs are down by one-third. The average pint

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here costs between �3 and three pounds 50. Tax has increased by 40%.

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That beer escalator means that 30% of what you paid goes to the

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government. A lobby of Parliament before Christmas warned MPs of

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another threat to the pub. This estate used to have its own a local

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and some regulars. The beer was out of this world but not enough, it

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closed last year and it is now a supermarket. This local councillor

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led a campaign and organised petitions to block a supermarket

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sweep of so many pubs. What were you told? They said they had

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decided to reduce the number of pubs they had in the area, they did

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not take any account of the wishes of people in the area. He in the

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last two years alone, 200 former pubs have been converted into

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convenience stores. It has been taken over by a supermarket, is

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that more welcome? Yes. I think so. A lot of people have said has much.

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Do you miss it? I think everyone misses it who used to it. Back here,

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and concentration on the pint has been replaced by looking to

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Parliament. A last year beer and pubs contributed millions to the

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economy and it is estimated that the average pub employs 11 people.

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We want to introduce a relationship that is market-based, whether it is

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genuine competition or a genuine choice for people entering the

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industry. Debates on government proposals to give pub tenants

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greater freedom from the companies that dominate the trade. I am tied

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to Marsden's for my products. As a company, they supply us with a

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different range of beers but we have to purchase them through that

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company. They are saying let's freeze duty, let's legislate that

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pubs cannot be demolished to retail used without permission and I think

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there will be some hope. Tax, rising prices and supermarkets, the

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pressure is on, could it be last orders for the traditional pub?

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Something has to be done, but what? It is a dire situation. In towns

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like the ones that we represent, especially in my town, where there

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is a huge Korean tradition and a whole series of micro-breweries who

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are independent, the local pub is terribly important. I think the

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debate made a great deal of sense and I think the government's idea,

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the beer escalator, is that the right phrase? It cannot continue

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like this because it is driving people out of business. We heard a

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woman saying she would rather have a supermarket. There are a lot of

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things that have gone on. Their other supermarkets, the smoking ban,

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but it has hit hands. There is taxation. It has focused on

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landlords, the rent that they pay and the beers that they come by,

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this is tied down. Vince Cable said he would look at that. He has

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ignored are debates that we have been having. I am a member of a

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working men's club, they have been under pressure as well. The

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Government needs a strategy to support pubs and are working men's

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club. Is there a case where the minimum price for alcohol would be

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a benefit? There could be. The subject earlier, I think it

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probably makes sense. As an Ombudsman between the big and small

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firms, this would have an effect. This is not just about what MPs can

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do, it is also about a change in society? Some people will go to the

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pub willingly, but you cannot force people. There is a change in how we

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get our alcohol. Yes there is. There is a change in the face of

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pubs. Pubs used to be purely and simply about the consumption of

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alcohol with the vast proportion of individuals going in there the men.

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That has changed, they now give food and entertainment and has a

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broader appeal. It is not a question of forcing people in, it

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is a case of keeping them out! saw a lot of MPs there. You say it

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is important, but are you jumping on the bandwagon. Be it is popular

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and I have had meetings in Parliament. I am having a dry

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January, but I enjoy a pint. I think people would be really

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disappointed if the great British pub disappear. That is why we have

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to save them. It has got to be one of the biggest political issues of

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the year, what should we pay people in benefits? MPs have voted to cap

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increases to 1%, but as well as that there are cuts on the way.

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What is the view of people who rely on benefits to get by? Even for

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those with a job, benefit still play a role of? Best players offers

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advice but it also offers jobs. Most of the workers here are

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recruited locally and the project includes a building firm which

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carries out renovations and takes on unemployed people to carry out

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the work. It means that the people here are in work that many still

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rely on benefits. This woman works as an administrator and she is a

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single mother and could face cuts of up to �50 per month in her

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income because of changes to housing benefit and reductions in

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council tax rebates. You go to work and work hard and obviously been a

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single parent, you need help, but to be penalised for actually going

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to work, you think he would be better off still staying on

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benefits. This woman is an administrator, she has two jobs to

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make ends meet but still relies on housing benefit. She is facing a

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cut of �44 per man. They do reception in the daytime and in the

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evening I do a cleaning job to make ends meet, but it looks like when

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this tax comes in, whatever spare time I have, I will have to find

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myself another job. You are a managing director of that project

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and it is a very common story, people working but still needing

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benefits? Yes. A huge number of people are very poor. They work

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extremely hard and require the benefit system to ensure that they

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can sustain their work. Do you think that politicians get that? Do

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they understand the sort of struggle that people are facing?

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do not know. I do not want to talk about what politicians know and do

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not know. The facts are that the huge number of very decent people

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get up every morning and work for low wages. These are people like

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carers, hospital porters, hospital workers, a huge list of people who

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are at the core of our society and are the people who make it tick.

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And they are the ones who will be struggling. You heard it from her.

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You haven't voted for this cat. What do you say to people like

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those women, they are working and cannot survive President Obama I

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hear what she says and I thought the points we heard work entirely

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fair. I applaud Iain Duncan Smith, I think he has the right idea, but

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I would remind all of us that the sort of points we were making in

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opposition, particularly about the administration and fairness of

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measures like this is very difficult to get right. They do not

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think it is fair, they will be worse off. I will say that we have

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got to save money. There are people who depend on these benefits, we

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have to take money away from those who are not in work and to try to

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avoid it. How... Are you saying that we do not have the money and

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cuts have to be made all over the place and this is one area that

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will have to be cut as well? problem is that the people who are

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being hit by these benefit cuts tend to be people on tax credits

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and the majority of them are in work. This is dinner ladies,

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primary school teachers, soldiers, police officers who will see their

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tax credits cut and you have got the very poorest in society are

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going to get their benefits cut and then on top of this, you have got

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this bedroom tax, where people who because they have an extra bedroom,

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have to pay in addition. A couple came to me, the wife is disabled,

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she has to have medication and to has been does not stay in the same

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room, unless they can find the extra money, they will be thrown

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out of the specially adapted bungalow. That is not fair. Carers

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are going to be massively affected by this. At the moment, foster-

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parents are not allowed to have and the spare bedroom and they will be

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paying this tax. It is the collateral damage, I think, and

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poorer people are being treated it like collateral damage. The issue

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is that these cuts will affect people who are working. They are

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working people. I think some of the rhetoric is difficult. It is not

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just the rhetoric! The application of it will have to be looked at

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carefully. I come back to the point that the application matters. I

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applaud the direction and I understand that those who do not

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wish to work, something has to be done for the amount of money that

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they are getting, but there are difficulties with this and I will

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not pretend it is uncontentious and they will not pretend that my

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sympathies lie with the many poor people in my constituency who are

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decent hard-working people. It is not just the changes to benefits,

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it is also implementing them and from April, local councils will see

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the new Universal Credit scheme being rolled out. One council

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leader was invited to Parliament as an expert on this subject. He told

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them it will not work. People are finding it very difficult to plan.

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As our other concern is that it will not work. The IT will not work,

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the systems are not going to integrate with the universal credit

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system and we're not going to be able to get them to talk to each

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other. We need that information in order to operate the system. We are

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concerned that that is not happening. What is the alternative

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plan if it does not happen? Our plan is it will not work on time

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and there is no alternative plan. The this is the concern. It is not

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going to work and he believes it will make the matter worse. I think

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he says a lot of things that I have been covering. If they cannot

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administer this, it will not look good. The fact remains that it has

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to be made to work and the government plans must be as

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resilient as they possibly can be. I take the. Macro about an

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alternative plan. Graham Chapman described this as a Europe poll tax.

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We must make sure that it is not. Surely it is better in this case to

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have local councillors - macro councils administering a these

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benefits. A lot of people who have been getting it will lose that this

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benefit in the next few months and that will be a poll tax. They will

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be hit hard, there is a general unfairness. Let us remember, the

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richest in society are getting in this tax cut because the 50 pence

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rate has been reduced. The very poorest in society are being

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clobbered. It it is because David Cameron and George Osborne want to

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say they are getting tough on scroungers. How does your project

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work? And we make progress in a small way. We are a small social

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enterprise. We have huge social deprivation. It is complicated. I

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run an organisation that employs local people. I set up a

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construction company, right at the end of the recession, to try and

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use capital spend more effectively. I went right back to basics on

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procurement. A company has discovered that every pound they

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spend with us has doubled their money in local impact. Is this the

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way forward? We have got to stop demonising the poorer. To

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continuously do this, you end up with the collateral damage that we

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are experiencing. There is a huge amount of fear. People are

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frightened that they do not know how to cope. We have to stop

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demonising in the poorer and using policy to find nasty names for

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people. It is not helping, it is not useful and it alienates people.

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They are genuinely frightened. is talking about skivers and a

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drivers. They are strivers. Those points are well made and it is

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exactly what the coalition wants to try and avoid. The implementation

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of this has to be carefully done. We will leave it there. Time now

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for a round-up of some of the other stories in 60 seconds. The

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Conservatives on Derby City Council have pulled out of a cross-party

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approach to lobby the government for more money. The ruling Labour

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group says Darby is getting a raw deal. Tories originally backed the

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idea but their leader says they pulled out because Labour is using

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it as a party political campaign. Derbyshire's Police and Crime

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Commissioner has chosen his deputy after interviewing six candidates.

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He has -- opted for this man who will leave his job with the

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Nottingham probation trust. Patrick Mercer has this raided a government

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Minister to visit this hospital. He said there had been concern over

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its future but it was -- is confident it would remain open.

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is on major routes. They're always susceptible to casualties, which we

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see frequently during the year. the Health Minister said he will

:05:36.:05:46.
:05:46.:05:48.

come to the hospital, you must be pleased? I am delighted. It is a

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Minister who understands of the nuts and bolts of health policy.

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he definitely coming? He has promised he will. The what

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difference do you think that will make? The difficulties are that

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health chiefs in the trust have said that if a clinical case can be

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made for further services are being opened in hospital, let us do it,

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where as GPs have been less optimistic. I hope the Minister

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will open the door for the first time and we will get more services.

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Next week we will be asking if local councillors should be paid

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more and Arab guests will include the Labour MP for at Ashfield. We

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