02/12/2012 Sunday Politics East


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Do hard-working families forced to use food banks to keep their


children fed. And the growing numbers of students trying to keep


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2136 seconds


Welcome to Sunday Politics. Coming up: The food banks help feeding


more families who have jobs, but cannot make ends meet.


People perhaps would not have come piquantly, people who are in and


out of work. Those periods out of work they do not have the money to


feed themselves. And it is cheaper, it is beautiful


and the classes are in English. Small wonder students from here are


going over there to study. You have not got the large bet you will have


to pay off for the next 30 years if you are in the UK.


First, let's meet the guests for this week's. Gavin Shuker, the


shadow minister for water, and Dave Hodgson, Liberal Democrat mayor for


Bedford. The region's only elected mayor.


Let us start with the story that has affected everyone, flooding.


They have devastated parts of the region. Many roads became


impassable, people were evacuated, many of which were -- had badly


damaged homes. You have been warning of how serious it is of the


government fails to reach an agreement with insurance company.


Absolutely. The concerns are with people clearing up after some


devastating floods across the country and the region. This


Government are failing on flood insurance, we need a deal where


200,000 homes are appropriately protected after June next year.


They are failing on flood defences, and failing on the clear up,


because local authorities do not have the money they used it.


Central covered -- government is not go in today. Bedford was hit


badly. Has there been a busy we? was busy, and you worry when it


starts to rain again. We are lucky, there were only a handful of houses


that had to be offered evacuation, but none evacuated. It was very


close and some claim -- cases. Now, to the plight of hard-working


families in the East who are struggling simply to feed their


children. Since the start of the recession we have seen food banks


springing up in the towns and cities to help people having a hard


time. Now, they are being used by an increasing number of people in


work and yet cannot manage to support their loved ones.


We are out of recession, employment is at record levels, but that is


not evident here. I have a passport for one of the


children. In Milton Keynes, they expect to


hand out 8,500 bags of food this year, 1,000 more than last year.


Eight times more than four years ago.


There has been a big change in the sort of people coming here. They


are people who would perhaps not have come previously, people in and


out of work. Those people do not have the resources to pay their


bills and feed and sell. previously they would have had


something to fall back on? DE&S, last week we had four children with


the family, and they had a large bill for gas and electricity coming,


and they had to choose whether to pay it or feed their children.


In this family, Kay works at the local college and Simon wanted to


stay at home to bring up the children. They have lost �150 a


month in tax credits and their food bill has gone up �20 a week. She is


still on a pay freeze, and Simon is looking for a part-time job. They


understand the need for austerity but say it is painful. We are


trying to do something for the better good but you cannot see an


end result. If you see an immediate result, it inspires you to carry on.


But it is being on a diet on not losing weight. -- and not losing


weight. We're not actually seeing any results, and I cannot see how


we can see results. It is the middle to the lower band of people


taking a lot of the brunt of these austerity measures. They have got


pay freezes because they are not the ones who have private


businesses, they have not got second homes, and it seems to me


that the rich do not seem to have had as much pressure put on them.


According to a recent report it is those on low and middle incomes


most feeling the pinch at the moment. There is no sign of things


getting any better. It is putting families in a very tough position.


It is also in terms of their borrowing habits, so we are seeing


household's struggling with debt, unable to save the amount they


would like, and also households unable to spend and what we think a


essentials. Then there are those on higher incomes, like this lady. She


runs her own publishing company, and a website where big cost of


food and fuel are constant complaints. Next year she will


probably lose her child benefit. Would it be the end of the world


have we lost it? No, we would make do and mend, we would get by, but


the Government wants us all to be this community of people starting


their own businesses, then we are penalised as soon as we start to do


well. But does not make sense. government says it is doing what it


can to help. Council tax will be frozen for a third year, and it


seems the Chancellor has listened to the campaign by the Harlow MP to


do something about fuel duty. But at the Milton Keynes food bank,


they expect to help even more people next year as the benefit


changes start to bite. Austerity is hurting and making people angry.


The pain is set to continue. Is there any help at hand? The big


event this week will be the Chancellor's Autumn Statement.


There will be some good news for motorists on fuel duty with some


money for infrastructure projects in the region, but there is likely


to be an admission that things will not improve until 2018. In London


is Matthew Hancock, the Conservative MP for West Suffolk,


George Osborne's former chief of staff. Now he is a business


minister looking after apprenticeships, skills and further


education. Families are telling us we cannot go on like this. You have


already moved your targets for austerity from five years to seven


years. Are we going to hear it is moving to eight years? As you say,


we all know what is tough across the country. The reasons for that


are well rehearsed, we had the biggest deficit in peacetime


history. We are on the right road and making progress, the deficit is


down by one quarter, and it is coming down, but is this easy?


Absolutely not. Is there still further to travel? Of course there


us. When you have a debt problem as a country, it is very difficult to


work your way out of it, but the argument that I have been making is


that we have got to make sure that everybody plays their par at. --


plays the part. The richest are paying the biggest proportion of


dealing with the deficit. If you could let me interject, let of the


new. -- let me deal with these issues. The figures do not bear out


what you are saying. You're going to fill your debt repayment target.


How hard we get for these families? As I said, the deficit is down by


one quarter, and everyone knows that you do not get out of a debt


problem by borrowing more. We have got to deal with it has a country


and live within our means, and anyone who is offering magic


solutions is frankly not telling the truth. But there is a positive.


We are making progress. In the same way we heard this week that


immigration is down by a quarter, we are making progress. When people


say they are making sacrifices, I entirely understand that. We have


to make sure that everyone plays the part. Let me ask you a question.


Let me put the case of these families. They do not feel like


they are in it together. These people are losing. They are losing


their child benefit next month and are being hit hard and the


wealthier people. People losing their child benefit are in the top


15% of earners. It is the people right at the top who are paying the


largest contribution, but of course everyone is affected because as a


nation, we were borrowing �1 for every �4 the government spent. I


understand it is difficult and hard, but the crucial point is that we


are one-quarter of the way through bringing the deficit down. I do not


think anyone expected this to be easy. Let us bring the other guests


in. Gavin Shuker, we're not doing badly, we still have a triple-A


rating, and you have heard what Matthew Hancock said. Unemployment


and inflation is falling. couldn't have heard a more


complacent answer on this issue. The reality is that borrowing is


going up and the debt is going up. This government are borrowing more


than five years than the last Labour government borrowed and 13.


To say we're making progress, I do not agree. And the family in the


film put it very well. They're willing to share -- take their fair


share of the pain. If they believe that we are going to make progress,


that is fine, but we're not doing that. Dave Hodgson, are the Liberal


Democrats failing the people? They have promised it would be the


welfare they paid for this. 80% of deficit reduction is coming from


cuts, which affects those with lower incomes. We know the people


are being affected. We have seen it in Bedford where we have a food


bank. We have more people turning up to a place where we can get


meals for �1 for people who have to work. We know it is austere, but we


need to talk about how we deal with it, and we have to say that we are


taxing the rich are more. We are taxing them 45%, and we would like


50% of the rich, and we think that is right. We have taken too many


people out of tax entirely, -- We have taking people out of tax


entirely, and nothing that is the right thing. If we have spent money


on a stimulus package, that money has to come from somewhere, and it


will be expensive. This Government said it would close the deficit in


four years, now it looks like Kate. -- looks like gategate. It is clear


that the plan is not working, and I think a plan has said very sensibly,


not pulling out resources in the economy is the right way to go, and


to get growth. Matthew Hancock, what is your reaction? One of the


area as the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives have come together is


on stopping the poor people from the paying income tax. If you are


on a minimum wage, you pay half the income tax now that you did under


Labour, because as the mayor said, we are raising the level at which


you start to pay tax. But to fix the least well-paid the most. There


are 2 million people, the lowest paid people, who are not paying


income tax when they used to pay income tax under Labour. If you are


on a minimum wage and doing a full 35 a week, you are doing half of


the income-tax I did it. There is support therefore people on the


lowest wages, but is it this -- as it difficult? Yes, it is. The


deficit being down by one-quarter is very important, and the fact


that unemployment is coming down and inflation is coming down shows


that things are moving in the right direction. Let's bring Dave Hodgson


back in. What about locally, like Bedford, can you stimulate growth


locally? We rely on central government to an extent. We have


some new projects in place, this time last year George Osborne


announced the East Coast rail line and we want that to go ahead as


quickly as possible. We want western bypass to be completed as


well. When way to help save some money


might be to study abroad. -- one way. A growing number of students


are going to the Continent to take their degrees. Universities they


are doing all they can to encourage them. Kevin visited an open day in


Maastricht, where the intake from the UK increased by Sodade % last


Fortified in the years to keep outsiders at bay, the city is


facing a mini invasion from British students, and this women is one of


them. She started at Maastricht University in the autumn, studying


liberal arts. Languages are big thing I am interested in, so I am


close to Belgium and Germany here, which is exciting. I friends are


all from different countries in the world, so this is something I do


not think I would have exposure to violent a UK university. Tuition


fees were a key factor, and back home she would have paid �9,000 a


year. Here the basic cost is 1,500 pounds, it is deliberately kept low


by the Government. -- �1,500. And the rent is law. In Exeter that


would have been �540 a month, here she pays �290 a month for a than 10


minutes away. -- for a run which is 10 minutes away.


This university first focused on medicine when it opened, now it


broadens out. We're off to explore behind another grand Prasad to meet


other students. I won two to go on broadened meet a new culture, you


have obviously not got a larger debt to pay-off. Maastricht is


exciting, it is completely new, and the �9,000 a year I would not have


to pay something I will not miss. They are is an irony with tuition


fees because it is the second most expensive in Europe here, but it is


still cheaper than England. course you can party you, but it


has to be the learning that drive you, -- that drives you. Many


students believe that they could well remain in Holland and find


jobs to help the economy grow. This open day is designed to find the


next batch. This women is among those looking round, and like every


good scholar, she has done her homework. I have been to various


cities. They are all really nice and different. There are different


things about all of them. I met this man in the street by chance.


What does he think? I have just spent three RS and and the


engineering bit, with 10 or 15 students, and it is totally


different to England. University delivers virtually all


of its courses in English, it has 16,000 students, just over 300 come


from the UK, with 13 from this region. With such a gap between


tuition fees here and back home, officials and Maastricht believe it


is just the start of what will become a huge cross-Channel


contingent. Why should people have to go and


study abroad because they cannot afford a tuition fees? It is


freedom of movement between here and the Netherlands, and for many


years people have gone to universities across the world. Of


course, tuition costs money, and if the Dutch government wants to


contribute to the cost of British students going to university, that


is a decision for them. Here, there is not much money to go around, and


tuition fees have been rotten. It is a decision for every student to


apply where they want, within the European Union, and people can do


that. Is it a good thing or a bad thing people going abroad? It is a


good thing. My sister went abroad to study a language. It is


happening more frequently. I thought we were wrong to break the


pledge by tuition fees -- of tuition fees by the party. But we


must remember that over half of the students will not pay until they


have earned a -- over half of the people will not pay as much as


27,000. We have got to be realistic about how much it will cost. Gavin


Shuker, you went University in Cambridge. Would you have done that


if the judge and fees elsewhere were so low? -- the tuition fees?


It is a helpful measure to bring up in the House of Commons, and I


voted against trebling tuition fees to �9,000. Across Luton, it has led


to 500 fewer young people going to university. That is a tragedy.


There will be many people who will remember this at the ballot box.


Dave Watson, will we lose these people permanently abroad? There is


a danger of that. When the Labour Party brought in tuition fees, we


saw those numbers of recruitment dropping, and they picked up


slightly, never reaching the same target. Matthew Hancock, thank you


For Your a time. Finally, to the political round-up


of the week. She thought she would be OK. I had


a meeting with the cheek -- Chief Whip in the morning at 10 o'clock,


and I expected to beef line. But it was not. The Conservative whip


remain suspended until she has built bridges. Stuart Jackson


thought he would be orate addressing a UKIP meeting where he


said he was at one with them. -- he would be all right.


But there was success in Milton Keynes, with the Red Bull Formula


One team. Pointed out by the town's MP, which prompted the Prime


Minister's ending. I am delighted to pray -- paid tribute to the


Formula One team, which sadly be the Formula One team based in my


constituency! There were celebrations for 100


women vicars to a camp -- having a champagne breakfast, following the


church's decision not to allow Gavin Shuker, you a member of the


Christian shows Socialist Movement. -- Christian Socialist Movement.


Were you disappointed? This, my church has led by women, and I


believe in women at every level of the Church. I am not in the Church


of England, and it saddens me that many people have tried to give them


a kicking, when the same people they say they want to be appointed


to the Rolls, they do not agree with in terms of their own


religious beliefs. Dr thing the Bishop of Chelmsford is right to be


seeing two women in the church, do not give up? -- do you think?


amazes me is there are 36 bishops in the House of Lords, and they


have to be male. That has to be wrong. It is in evitable that this


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