18/03/2012 Sunday Politics East


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In the East: What hope can the forthcoming budget of the family's


desperate for better times? And the battle is on to save our high


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1815 seconds


Perhaps this week's budget may do something for some much needed a


job creation. But what about help for our high streets? Rows of


discount stores and charity shops are now commonplace. What can be


done? After the number of vacant shops doubled last year? Mary


Portas tried to turn things around. The government has announced that


12 High Street will have the opportunity to become Mary Portas


pilots. Mary Portas, shopping expert, offering her advice to one


high street retailer. She has been given �1 million to spend on a


pilot project to take 12 High Street and see if she can return


them to the heart of their communities. This one is hoping to


beat one of them. We are looking at things like arts and Kraft shops.


It is a social experience as much as anything. We speech is an old


market town, but not particularly affluent. As a shopping area, it


has serious competition from Peterborough and King's Lynn. This


woman to go with his high street flower shop 18 months ago. The rent


is a big chunk of Fife fixed cost, so is the business rates. -- Mike


fixed cost. We are delivering day- in and day-out, so a huge amount


goes on the running of the van with diesel costs. Mary Portas once it


to be easier to become market traders. This town has the market


at its heart. But the leader of the council says they're going to have


to be even more radical. The whole of the shopping area, it stretches


way down the High Street. Behind me, way down to Norfolk Street, another


half a mile down there in that direction. It is unrealistic and it


is not sustainable in the long term. We have to look at contraction.


People are not just going to browse around, buying the odd nick knack


in places like this. On Wednesday, all eyes will be scrutinising the


Chancellor's Budget for growth. would love to see even a small


sustained growth over the next three years. I would love to take


on apprentice. All that has to be coupled with the public having


confidence in the economy, and without that, we're not going to be


able to grow. Joining us in the story -- in the studio is the head


of the Federation of Small businesses. The banks have to be


mentioned. They say they are giving support to small businesses. But


that is not necessarily the case. People are being told there is


support but that systems of getting us aboard a not easy. When you


actually look at the support, there are so many options are. And a


small business is trying to run a business, we don't have time to go


out and did the research that the big guys do. One of the issues is


around it not only making support available but making it easy to


access. The lady with the flower shop, it is that thing about fuel


costs. If I as an individual, choose to go from A to B, I choose


to do that. As a business, I have to use transport. So you would like


to see that addressed in the Budget? Absolutely. I pay VAT or my


fuel costs as well as everything else. What about business rates?


yes. Where I am in Chelmsford, I had not paid business rates for a


year and it looks like I won't pay them again this year. But I am


unusual and Chelmsford is unusual. It is looking at what support can


be made available and making that support up fierce and making it


easy to access. Let me bring in our other two guests. Dr downpour to


come on that question of consumer confidence, how do we start to


restore that? The first thing is to make sure that as much as possible,


we support businesses and the Mary Portas report is a good step in the


right direction. It is about making sure we have local a authorities


and councils that have proper plans about how to bring alive the


vibrancy of town centres in terms of commerce and trade and also


making sure that we have locally sensitive business rates to support


shops in struggling areas. There are not any easy answers for it. In


terms of the fuel costs, the government has made steps to reduce


the fuel that would have been 10 pence higher under the previous


government. Money to move dependancy away from fossil fuels


and support green energy and other technology to reduce home fuel


bills. The government's policy has been endorsed, hasn't it, Richard


Howard? By the European Commission? Well, Britain is cutting out


services and our jobs and spending at a rate which is the second worst


in the whole of Europe. David Cameron has been in America this


week where they are not cutting as hard and employment is growing and


there is growth in the economy. The sort of complacency we had earlier


from down, the Federation of Small Business as well. They ask every


quarter, are things getting better? 3/4 say in Suffolk, Essex, and a


region, they're getting worse. has job creation? Apparently, if


every self-employed person in Britain employed one person, there


would be no unemployed people. Now, if you think that in this area, the


number of small businesses, I think in Essex, we have the largest


number of self-employed people anywhere in the country. If you


give support to small businesses, it is about supporting the


unemployment, about support in the economy, it is about making sure


that the hall clock starts to work within... How are you going to do


that? It is about supporting small businesses. The government has made


sure we get broadband investment in Suffolk and Norfolk and other


counties, which is so vital for small businesses. About National


Insurance, Labour wants to help people with small businesses by


saying they should have a National Insurance holiday. We want to have


companies like hares but want to employ apprentices. We want out-of-


town shopping to do about it up... Let me give the last word to this


lady. Are you optimistic about the future? Absolutely, because


otherwise we may as well just pack up and go home now. More from both


if you in a moment. Were want to move on now to a new phrase


rehearing a lot of. It is the squeezed middle. It is being used


by all the parties now and it is a recognition that where we may be


all in it together, middle-class families seem to be bearing the


pain of the Cup's most. -- the cuts. This is Milton Keynes, and in the


eyes of the politicians, this is the heart of aspirational England.


People who want to work and better themselves and their family. But at


the moment, many here do not feel aspirational, they feel squeezed.


It is the extras, the bits like holidays that we can't afford any


more. We have had to sell all of our cars. And petrol is so


expensive that we have to think really carefully before we do any


long journeys. Simon and K at they life has become much more of a


struggle. Kay works at the local college. Simon, a teacher, gave up


work to look after their children because it was cheaper than using


child care. They are on a fixed rate mortgage. Child benefit has


been frozen and next month they expect to lose up to �200 a month


in tax credits. They can't afford repairs to their home and they


think very carefully about shopping. In the 12, the kids ask for things.


-- the Tory I'll. I can't afford to just put my hand in my pocket.


country, we are broke, but we can't sit around just doing nothing. I do


think that in some ways, all the focus has been put on people who do


not have a job at all. And so the people who are working like


ourselves, we do seem to be suffering is a bit more. We don't


get help with this -- prescriptions, council tax, fees for courses.


There is no extra help. Milton Keynes, like many seats in this


area, used to be Labour, then it went over to the Conservatives.


Aspirational middle England will probably hold the key to the next


election. At the moment, we are having the second year of the


council tax freeze. In the Autumn Statement, and the Prime Minister


announced that the Chancellor announced that fares would not be


going up as much as they were. government is doing its best to


clobber those people who are in work and doing their best to get on


a life. And the withdrawal of the educational maintenance allowance


etc, if you're a long -- a young family in Milton Keynes try to get


on, life is a lot harder. This week's budget is about all about


putting more money back into people's pockets. The tax cut will


probably be paid for by some sort of new tax on the very well-off.


The aim will be to make things a little less painful for


aspirational middle England. For this family, and the thing that


gives them extra spending money would be welcomed. But the


Chancellor has little room for manoeuvre. So will any of always be


enough SMAC real people facing real problem. Richard Howard, do you


feel any responsibility when you see things like that? Absolutely.


Ed Miliband raised this issue and has put it right at the centre of


British politics. That family is absolutely typical of 200,000


families in Britain who were having their working tax credits taken


away from them this week. Labour says and the government -- in the


Budget, the government should reverse that. It is cutting the tax


owed the people on over �150,000 a year to add on to a pension tax


relief for the same group of people of �1.6 billion. They are not


helping them. Buddied tolerated high-spending, you tolerated other


things, do not feel the responsibility that you have


created the plight of a family like that? This lady said that the banks


were at fault before. What I feel is that people like that family


need help now. The government has got absolutely the wrong priorities.


If you take working families, if one partner stays at home, they are


being discriminated against by the government's changes in child


benefit. First of all, you have rightly highlighted that we


inherited a record level of national debt. That is �2 that


everybody is pain in debt interest. I spend a lot of my last few weeks


with the family -- with a family, and we see that the biggest


frustration amongst that family and all the group's they meet is that


the benefits system is too complicated. Those people on


benefits are better off than people who were not on benefits, and that


should never be the case, but thanks to the Labour government the


people of -- a better off on benefits than in work. It is a


clear priority... These people are working. But those people who were


in work will be �700 per year better off thanks to this


government's plans. That is lower paid families that are benefiting.


You saw that man there say he couldn't afford to buy in you


should for someone who is going to work. The cuts that your government


upbringing and is too far and too fast. The changes that your


government is bidding and to taking away the tax credit and taking away


child benefit actually is making it more expensive to work than to stay


at home. Your speculating that we are bringing in policies. We


haven't actually brought the men, because the current system is the


legacy of the Labour government as was highlighted earlier, and the


Labour government spent and spent and spent. The priority is were not


supporting hard working families. What this government wants to do is


take those families out of tax and make them better off. There will be


lots more to talk about on Monday night when I will be looking at the


economy with a special programme. 11pm. I will be talking to business


leaders and politicians to see what can be done to help this region


drive the economic recovery. Now, it is time for the weekly round-up


of all things political. This week, MPs break out in this wet but it is


all in a good cause. -- in a sweat. MPs showing solidarity of running a


Sport Relief mile. The surprise announcement prompting Chelmsford's


winning city-state is has caused a rift among Essex MPs. There was a


success they Essex. Now, there wasn't! Chums would! Equally


unexpected was the backing for a third runway at Heathrow. It is


more practical to build a third runway. Good news for this man who


has managed to make sure visitors will not be charged to see Big Ben.


But bad news for gardeners as a hosepipe ban is introduced.


water companies, Anglian Water, has a good drought plan. Hopefully,


there is enough water left to freshen up our MPs. Is the city


state his award a good thing? well done to Chelmsford. Also to


Luton who did a brilliant campaign. And coming mentioned to Labour by-


election victories -- can we mentioned two Labour by-election


victories? Good news all round. Thank you very much indeed for


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