09/12/2012 Sunday Politics East


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Here in the East, the MP who finally succeeded in getting the


fuel duty escalator scrapped. And, a blight or a blessing? Would


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2134 seconds


Welcome to Sunday Politics, I'm Etolle George.


Later, controversy over planning decisions to build solar farms on


prime agricultural land. The price of localism, which was given to


communities in at the last election, has promised -- has proven to be


but false promise. And George Osborne grunts the wishes of this


MP, and makes the dream of motorists come true. Fuel duty


affects every man and woman in the country because it impacts on food


prices and transport prices. It is a toxic tax, and the Government has


said, we have at Palma de Mallorca rises.


First let's meet our guests, Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge,


Julian Huppert, and Peter Bone, the Conservative MP for Wellingborough.


Let's begin with the news that the boss of the first private company


to run an NHS hospital has stepped down. Ali Parsa founded Circle in


2004. The company took over the running of Hinchingbrooke Hospital


in Huntingdon in February. It has incurred a �4 million deficit in


its first six months. Steve Melton is taking Mr Parsa's place as


interim chief executive. patients expect us to fix the


quality first. Meanwhile, behind the scenes we are working on long-


term sustainable economics. This is a ten-year contract, and we are in


our first year. So we are absolutely focused on getting


quality right first, and then a sustainable hospital in economic


terms second. Julian Huppert, are you reassured, or are there alarm


bells ringing? There are definitely alarm bells.


There have been problems with a hospital for a long time. People


who live there have to face the uncertainty for many years. This


approach of having a private company running it is an


interesting approach. I hope it works out, because what is more


important than any discussion is what sort of health care do people


get when they need it? Peter, what about private companies running it?


The quality is what matters first. Let us but the economics second. It


would have been wrong if they cut the quality of service to make the


books balance. In the NHS, the one thing that seems wrong is that we


broke -- wobbly too much about balancing the books... But don't we


have to think about balancing the books? If you are taking over a


hospital that has not been run very well, met us but the quality right


first. This Chief Executive may have resigned, but he will still


have to go in front of the select committee, so the public accounts


committee will look into that. - is it a time for experimenting?


can understand why three or four years ago the then Government


decided to stay but trying something different. Do you think


it will be followed elsewhere? it works well. If not, we will have


to say that was a mistake and it should not have happened. The key


is the quality, and what happens to patients. The industrialisation of


our countryside is an allegation that levelled at the growing number


of solar farm is in our region. Many have been given the go ahead


without applications being discussed more widely. Opponents


say the Government's determination to make green targets is at the


expense of our countryside. Solar farms, the answer to our


energy woes, or at desecration of the countryside? The height, there


is going to be 40,000 panels over this area. It will absolutely


transform the landscape. 35 years here are coming to an end for Roger


and his family. They are selling up, musing, they say, a quarter of the


value of their farm -- home. this is a rural setting, and it is


being turned into an industrial setting. In at a world where we


cannot feed the people on the planet, we should not be taking


agricultural land out of use. This is driven entirely by subsidies. If


you think about it practically, we do not need energy in the middle of


the summer when it these panels will be producing the main energy,


we need it in the depths of the winter. Be owner of the land


declined to comment, but the Government says that if planning


applications do not adversely impact on the environment, they


should be approved. Proposals for solo farms like this one in Weston


Longville can simply be decided on by his single planning officer.


They do not have to be discussed at council meetings. Once given the


go-ahead, there is not a lot anybody opposed to the plans can go,


unless they are willing to take proceedings to the High Court.


Going to a High Court is extremely expensive, and David Cameron has


recently announced that he is going to become -- it is going to become


more expensive and more difficult. That means that the promise of


localism, which was given to local communities in the run-up to the


last election, has proven to be a false promise, one at that has not


been kept to. The Prime Minister has twisted the localism agenda to


sit other purposes. Lack energy has just got approval for the country's


largest solar farm. Much of what you see in the countryside has been


grown for energy. Solo it is a far more effective use of the land.


Opponents argue Solar farms are expensive, that solar energy cannot


be stored, and that we get it when we need it least. But farmers say


it makes economic sense. We are in it to make a profit, but also there


is a need for food and energy, and water, and farmers have to do the


best they can and diversify. current spate of solar forms take


advantage of a terrace that are expected to change in the spring.


The reason there is a rush to get some of those sold of forms


completed by the end of March is that everybody is aware that the


Government is going to change the support but Solar receives in April.


At the moment we do not know what that support level will be.


level of support Solar Energy receives from the Government may


determine whether this becomes the landscape of the future.


Dunion, is it right that these decisions do not go before for


council? Are unsurprised there is not a role for a planning committee


involvement. In Cambridge City Council, the normal thing would be


that the planning application would go to an area committee. People


should have a say. Having said that, as we panned out from that image,


from further away I thought the solar farm it looked very much like


another farm. Bit is not growing food, though. It is not, and the


world does actually produce enough food to feed everybody, but we do


not produce it in at the right places. We can have a balance


between eight -- energy creation and food grows from. If people are


concerned about having these farms built near by, the only recourse is


going to the High Court. That is completely undemocratic. We said we


were going to bring in that localism, but local councils were


going to decide, and the recent White local councils are proving


these things is that because if they do not approve them, the


development will go to appeal, and the council will have cost awards


did against it. The Government has to do what it said it would do,


have localism. The reason we do not have it is because the Liberal


Democrats are in favour of this wishy-washy climate change rubbish.


Liberal Democrats claimed to be Democrats, but here it they want a


centralised Government, Stalinist control. Beta is wrong on this. We


are keener on that vocalist decision-making. The fact that we


have to generate energy and be in favour of localism. Are you in


favour of letting local councils make decisions? A set at the


beginning that I am keen that local councils should be involved. I want


to come back to our point that you made about the fact that you said


it looked like any other form. Some would say this is building on


greenfield and turning green field into brownfield. I can understand


their concerns about that. I thought the farmer's comment was


good. We have to supply food, and energy. We need to do far more on


energy efficiency, and that is not talked about enough. The best thing


to do is not to build accord plant, a gas plant... A gentleman, what is


to stop these solar farms from popping up all over the place?


does not matter what the local council says. If Gillian it was


right that local councils could turn these damn, that is fine. But


if they turn them down, they are automatically... A I think the key


thing is what level the subsidy is at. I would like to see a gradual


phasing out of subsidies. Hydro- Electric does not require a subsidy


now, because it is a mature technology. Peter Bone, it is your


Government that has brought in at the east terrace. It is the


wretched Liberal Democrats who are forcing us to do it. But am going


to campaign to have Tory values in this, and real localism. We also


have a responsibility to our cells and the planet to make sure we have


somewhere that is worth living in ten, 20 years. If we do not do


something about climate change, our grandchildren will have far worse


things than a solar farm are being built in the countryside. This


week's Autumn Statement. How was it for you? The Chancellor had to


admit that austerity will continue until 2018, and that will mean a


more spending cuts and a squeeze on all our budgets. But there were a


few crumbs of comfort. Super-fast broadband for Cambridge, and that


announcement about fuel duty. From college yards of


Northamptonshire to the isolated villages of the Fens, the rising


price of fuel has become a major issue. In a mini-budget which had


little to shout about, this was the announcement to delight MPs.


typical motorist in Kettering will from January be paying �5 less


every time they fill up at the pump. Can I thank my honourable friend of


my half of my colleagues for putting up the fuel back into the


tank... Be MP for Harlow has spent the last two years leading the


campaign against fuel duty. Finally he says, the Government has got the


message. The fuel duty affects everybody, especially those in


white vans who are trying to go to work. It also affects those taking


buses. But the price of fuel is not coming down. No we also want fuel


duty cuts, but I am happy that they have frozen fuel duty, a permanent


freeze, not just a three-month freeze. Two long awaited road


schemes were approved, one for the Afive in Bedfordshire and another


widening scheme for their M25. Cambridge will get ultra-fast


broadband, but there is also funding for research and biocides.


And extra money for the Regional Growth Fund. All this on top of


funding announced in it earliest -- earlier budgets for the Dr Foster


end of the meat and A14. We have to rebuild an economic model. I am so


excited about our science base, it will not create jobs overnight but


it will build a sustainable future. Do is was also the week when the


Chancellor had to announce further austerity measures, affecting all


of us. There will be less money for policing and local councils, and


benefits will rise less than the rate of inflation. In last week's


programme, we visited the Milton Keynes phone bank. There've -- food


bank. We have had a 20% increase on our demand and services this year,


I can see it being in the same next year if not more. There are people


who really want to try and find work at the moment, there are small


businesses struggling. That is what we should be prioritising, not a


tax cut for millionaires which seems to be George Osborne's out of


touch priority. Next year at bay will start work on a widening to


the A14 in Cambridgeshire. Peter Bone, are you happy about the


fuel announcement? I thought it was a pretty good autumn statement.


Every time you fill your tank, you will be saving �5. That is a real


significance saving for hard- working families. For many people,


especially people on benefits, it was not a good autumn statement.


Benefits are going up. The idea they are being cut in cash terms is


wrong. I listened, and because of the Labour Party we are in this


mess. Given the cards that the Chancellor had, I think it was a


pretty good statement. Why of the best things about the Autumn


Statement was what was not in it. I have been pushing hard against the


idea that David Cameron proposed, I think it would be lucky but much


look lovely that people could live in -- live in a stable family, but


I am pleased we have cut back on the number of cuts. Are you not as


a party claiming a lot of credit for the parts of the Autumn


Statement that are benefiting lower income families? That is not


terribly coalition? There is no surprise that we have different


priorities from the Conservatives. Peter and I disagree on a number of


things. We are very pleased about reducing the amount of money that


is being raided from welfare, we are very pleased we have managed to


go further in terms of lifting poorly paid people out of income


tax. Does that mean you are the good guys and the Conservatives are


the bad guys? He always thinks that! We have a set of things we


try to fight for, and that will continue through future Autumn


Statement. Peter, you said it was a good statement. What about the


gentleman at the food bank, he said a 20% increase in people wanting


help. What about the language of the Chancellor, talking about the


jobless being feckless and workshy? He made it clear that was a


misrepresentation of his views. We are in a complete economic mess,


that is for sure, and it is difficult for everyone. I am not


saying we will not be having food banks in Wellingborough. But the


coalition Government but doing their best to get us out of this


mess in that the most equitable way. To be fair to the Chancellor, I


think the Government have done a pretty good job this time. What


about this ultra-fast broadband for Cambridge? I think that is exciting.


Parts of Cambridge already have good Connectivity, and working


together with the County Council we should be able to roll out better


connections with some of the rural areas. That is a good thing from


the Autumn Statement. The idea of Wi-Fi across Cambridge City means


that people will be able to work anywhere. Then there is the �6


million in the research and innovation budgets. B Tech, a new


road to link the Afive to the M1. When I drove past the huge new link


road to Corby, I bought a serious effort into getting the bypass


built. The Chancellor is recognising that are important


infrastructure projects that are now going ahead which previously


have been stopped. That is a good sign. A I have criticised the


Chancellor before for not putting enough investment into capital, and


it is good that he is making good steps.


By now, it is all up in the air. 60 seconds. A new call for a second


runway to be built at Stansted Airport this week came from the


boss of Gatwick. And then, in due course, to have a second runway at


Stansted. A more traditional form of transport for Matthew Hancock,


named as Sports Parliamentarian of the Year for promoting horse racing.


Welcomed by his fellow Tories, MP Richard Bacon used the ten-minute


rule to argue that it was time to scrap the Human Rights Act.


supranational court can impose its will against ours, and in my view


this is fundamentally undemocratic. Good news for a school in Essex,


nicknamed Shed City by its own head teacher. Does he share my delight


that the Essex County Council has allocated �8.4 million to build a


new school, and may I thank him for his support for that campaign?


bad tidings for 50 disabled workers in Norwich, whose jobs are under


threat after news that the Remploy packaging plant failed to find a


B Tech, what about Stansted Airport? We do welcome a second


runway? We need much more aviation capacity. A second runway, I am not


so sure. I do think we need to increase airport capacity as soon


as possible, as Stansted I am not so sure. Let us see it closer to


capacity before we think about that. Is it any more pie-in-the-sky it


than that Boris Ireland? Stay Unsted simply -- Stansted is


running at half capacity. People don't seem to be, there are other


schemes, but this one is sticking a round. By air is currently space


for 60% increase in passenger numbers around the country without


building any new terminals or runways. It does not make sense to


start building new runways in an airport that is not being used.


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