07/07/2013 Sunday Politics East


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leads the way in the government 's plans to reduce reoffending. A


private company is now paid by results to keep former prisoners out


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2166 seconds


programme. I am Etholle George. It has been described as a revolution


in the way that we manage offenders. Forging the way ahead is


Peterborough Prison. Probation officers warn that the government is


gambling with the public's safety. This could be cataclysmic. The speed


at which it is being done is not good. There is no evidence that this


will work. Plus the referendum vote on EU


membership. We speak to a business who thinks we would be better off


out of it. If we are not in the EU, they will still want to trade with


us and their businesses will still want to trade with us.


Let us meet our guests. Richard Howitt, MEP for the East and David


Campbell Bannerman who as a Conservative MEP. Let us talk about


this bill that passed its first hurdle on Friday to allow a


referendum on whether or not we want to leave the EU. Our region has a


lot of links with Europe. Not only is it geographically close, it is a


big trading partner and the home for more short-term migrants than almost


anywhere else in Britain. Not surprisingly, a lot of our MEPs were


present for Friday's debate. Luton's Kelvin Hopkins got a loud


cheer when he said he would be supporting the bill. Many other MPs


for the East made their views clear. This is an issue about trust between


politicians and general and the British electorate, giving that too


many promises have been broken in the past, including Labour's


promises about a referendum when it came to the EU constitution on


Lisbon. Richard Howitt, is this a serious attempt to give more say to


the British public or is it about that bench pressure and pressure


from backbenchers in the East? was little over one year ago that


the David Cameron march through the same division lobby saying that this


referendum could be damaging. Mr Hague told the Commons on Friday


that a referendum would not solve anything and it would be damaging to


jobs in business and southernly because of that pressure they have


been forced to rush through this Private Members' Bill which as an


absorbed way to deal with the issue. They all went off to a barbecue at


the Downing Street to have their sausages and burgers. This is all


about David Cameron seeing a split Tory Party under threat from UKIP


and rewarding has Eurosceptic backbenchers! You represented UKIP


before you defected to the Conservatives. Is it about heading


off the threat from UKIP? I do not think it is. What Richard has not


said is that the great majority of the British people want a referendum


and Kate Hoey in the debate on Friday said that the majority of


Labour Party members want a referendum. It is not just about


Conservatives and this is why I have come back from UKIP because I think


a referendum is the correct way forward. Why can it not be a


government bill? The in-house referendum is officially their


policy but they have blocked it so we have to do it by a Private


Members' Bill. I think it is very important, it is what the majority


of people want to see and I am delighted by it. Thank you. More on


Europe later but let us move on to the pilot scheme for former


offenders at Peterborough Prison. It is part of a huge shake-up going on


in the probation service. As part of the government's reforms, private


companies and charities will supervise rehabilitation for


prisoners. They will receive payment by results if reoffending falls. The


national probation service will only manage high risk offenders. Official


figures stroll a slight drop in reoffending but critics believe this


is putting the public at risk. You are on job-seeker's allowance?


Making his mentor to help him with life on the outside, former prisoner


Michael served time for attempted robbery and smashing a shop and


though so he could go back to behind the bars to avoid being homeless. He


is one of hundreds of repeat offenders on a pilot scheme to help


them stay on the straight and narrow. If they had not been here,


where do you think you would be now? Prison. It is a vicious circle. I


would have come out and had nowhere to go, back onto the streets when I


do not want to be. I would do something shifted like smashing shop


window and get back into prison. More than half of all prisoners end


up back in jail. The government is banking on this pilot to work so


that it can be rolled out nationally as part of its so-called


rehabilitation revolution. Inside the Bregier, prisoners identified to


go on the pilot are talking -- are told about this new service and how


it is aimed to break the cycle of reoffending. The pilot has recorded


a slight drop in reoffending so far. The plan is for businesses and


voluntary organisations to be rewarded with payments if they


succeed. They can try to help people who are addicted to alcohol and


drugs. They will be given mentor 's for emotional support. It is all


part of a bigger picture. Privatisation of the probation


service, with companies like G4S supervising the 200,000 or so low to


medium risk offenders and the state-run probation service handling


the 50,000 most dangerous offenders. I think this is cataclysmic. It is


the speed at which it is being done. There is no evidence that this will


work. The government is playing a dangerous game and the public will


be put at risk. The risk should never be a contractual matter and


those other plans from the government to actually privatise the


majority of the probation service in order to fund these supervisions of


short-term custody. As long as you have people doing it for profit


there is the real potential of risk being compromised by financial and


business reasons. The danger is that risk changes all of the time and it


is very difficult to tell when someone moves from being a low risk


to a high risk. The probation service has expertise in that but


they will be working for people on the lower end of the risk and they


will not be able to recognise when that change happens.


Critics argue the plan changes mean that provision will be on the cheap


and that it is too rapid and the system is ill thought out. The


government is looking for the Peterborough pilot to champion its


case and said there is no going back, Spike Allam voiced in


Parliament this week that the Justice Secretary has adopted an


aggressive timetable. Earlier in the week, Andrew Sinclair


met Jeremy Wright, the Minister for Prisons to discuss the changes to


the probation service and he asked Mr Wright about the Peterborough


pilot. With the intervention of a variety of different organisations


and voluntary organisations with some mentoring, we can see a real


change in the way in which reoffending is being brought down


among that group, and that is very encouraging and gives us a good


indication of what can be achieved across the country with our


rehabilitation reforms. There is no extra funding for this project. You


are relying on charities and volunteers to do this work. Is this


the best way to deal with something that is a serious problem? We spend


�1 billion each year on custodial disposals. I think that money could


be spent better and I think it could be spent in such a way that we are


able to bring in a very important and overlooked group of offenders


with the highest reoffending rates. If we do that we will be able to do


a great deal for the tax payer and we will be extending rehabilitation


to more people. That must be the right approach. You are outsourcing


low and medium risk offenders. The others will be retained by the


public sector. Those in the now tell me that someone can go quite easily


from being able to a high risk prisoner. With so many organisations


involved is there not a danger that someone will slip through the net?


It is true that people can change their risk profile and we must


design a system capable of dealing with that. The public sector


probation service must look after those who are at a higher risk of


causing serious harm. If someone becomes of a higher risk they will


be transferred to the other except probation service. If the provider


dealing with them at the time... you sure this will happen? Yes it


will. The assessment process will be done by the public sector. If that


assessment changes, if there are warning signs or a change in


behaviour, we will require the provider who is dealing with them


more time to revert them back to the public sector probation service for


another risk assessment. What kind of staff will these private


companies recruit? It takes two years to train a probation officer.


Will this mean the job will be downgraded? Anyone who would like to


bid for one of these contracts and there are 21 areas in the country


where these contracts will be available, anyone who wants to bid


for this work will need to satisfy us that they will start with the


appropriate skills and training. No one will get this work until they


satisfy us in that regard and they will have to demonstrate to us that


they are fit to take on this work. This is happening very quickly with


an ambitious timescale. You want this in place by the end of next


year. Is this realistic? There is a sense of urgency and this is a


challenging timetable but it has been designed because the urgency


here really is that every year at the moment 600,000 offences are


committed by people who have previously committed eight offence.


What about that timescale. We heard the former provision of us are


saying at is cataclysmic, do you agree with that, David? You can see


from the results there has been a drop in reoffending as opposed to a


national average of a 16% rise in the offending. This is a successful


pilot, let us see how it does. I think it is going in the rate


direction and it could be a national model. Richard Howitt, fewer


prisoners reoffending for less money, a good deal for the taxpayer?


I know the people at Peterborough Prison and I have helped them some


time ago and they have done some really excellent work where on


literacy training for prisoners which can most often stop them


reoffending. Privatising probation services, these are the people who


the hole society, they are the people who monitor child abusers and


sex offenders and this will begin to G4S, the people who made errors at


the Olympics, they have completely failed. We should not focus on that


particular company, they are not here to defend themselves. We are


talking about a low-risk prisoners and medium risk prisoners. What is


the problem with that staying within the probation service itself?


Prisoners do not uniquely fit into different categories and we all


remember the Soham tragedy where one police force did not share


information with the other one. One of the real concerns about this


arrangement is that of the will not have the proper information sharing


and that dangerous people in our society may slip through the net.


you disagree with that, David? does not apply to serious


offenders. I would not call those serious offenders in that category.


These are lighter offenders, not in that serious category and I think it


is worthwhile overseeing this. crimes are you talking about?


Obviously not murder and serious crimes. Which ones? Burglaries and


so on. If you are a victim of a burglary you do not regard that as a


light crime. I am just think that is another category. What about the


aspects of training? It takes two years to train a probation officer,


are you confident the training as resilient enough? As the Minister


has made clear, there are standards and you will not lower them. The


idea that you cannot make things work better in the public sector and


public services as ridiculous. Unison or others should not be


dictating the agenda. We have got to make these kind of initiatives


because we are under enormous pressure. The Work Programme said


give it to private providers, they will do it cheaper. Two years later


they cannot do it and have come back to the government. That will happen


on this issue as well. Back to Europe. The Dejan's


Conservative MPs and one of its Labour MPs have voted for a


referendum on Britain's membership of the EU. If it makes its way onto


the statute books that could have that in or out referendum within the


next four years. A few weeks ago we looked at the case for staying in


the European Union. This week we have met some of the arguments


against it. Andrew Howard runs the Peterborough logistics company PC


Howard Ltd. They told us why he has changed his mind about staying in


Europe. One of the biggest changes the


impact on our industry is the upgrading of the emissions


requirements for vehicles in the United Kingdom. We are going from


Level five to six which means that for every vehicle you purchase at


ten to �15,000 onto the top cost. Bearing in mind the number of


vehicles we have that is a significant cost over the lifetime


of the vehicle. Not only as we as an industry could do without it, the


country could do without it. I just try to come out of the worst


recession that we have ever had and here we are actually putting more


costs onto the businesses and moving goods around the United Kingdom. My


view has completely changed. 20 years ago if you had been talking to


me I would have been in favour of being in the European Union and the


potential that could give us. I only see one we know, to be honest. I


cannot say negotiations working. There are 28 members, lots of them


are small members and we are net contributor. Can you see on a


majority voting basis that the jollity of them are going to vote to


support us? It does not work and I cannot see how it will work for UK


companies. Those who scare us with the stories that we will lose trade


are misleading. We are the fourth or fifth largest economy in the world


and the Europeans and the Southern Europeans were the market is


limited, are they really going to put out a market on one-sided? Of


course they are not. If we are not in the European Union they will


still want to keep with us and their businesses will definitely want to


take with us. All the time new things are coming into play. Whilst


these new rules may be well intended and in principle may be OK, the


timing is just unbelievable not only for our business but everyone who


works for us because we must get the economy running and, again, we


cannot afford to put barriers in place that slows everything down.


There are changes in lots of different holiday pay, things like


that. They all come into play and have an effect on a small business


when someone is off and the rest of the team have to cover it.


Definitely adds to the red tape and I have not seen any reduction in


that over the recent years. Richard Howitt, we heard some of the case


for coming out of Europe, what about staying in Europe? What are your


main reasons for wanting to stay in Europe? The idea that we should have


lower environmental standards that people should not have holidays or


take time off to have a baby, these are great advantage is that we have


for working in the European Union, and that is the shortcut way to


dealing with this issue. Of course, things must change if we are going


to continue to trade. But if we are going to trade with European Union


we will pay the price if we are not part of it. It always costs more per


capita so we will get all of the costs but none of the benefits.


know about red tape and legislation and that it costs time and money.


you have a heavy lorry running outside your road and the fumes have


been the in by your children, you want higher environmental standards.


That distribution company, we have to listen to them and I respect


their point of view, it was only a few weeks ago we looked at a company


in Norfolk that wants to export to the European Union and understands


that every exports to the European Union are outside of it, we still


must comply with the rules as far as exports go, so we will have one


company meeting high standards and one not. There are high costs of


that. It is �75 billion that we put into the pot in 2011 than the took


out, that surely is a good reason for coming out? That is 1% of public


spending. You can make it sound a large but look at the money that


central government spends. That money should be well spent at


whatever level. It is my job as a Member of the European Parliament to


make sure it is spent in Europe but when I was talking last Friday at a


meeting with the businesses and the enterprise partnerships in


Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire about how we will spend nearly �1


billion of European funding in our region... Excuse me, let me bring


back David Campbell Bannerman. did you make of that? There is a sea


change. There has been ace change in the attitudes and I think the


Referendum Bill as part of that. Personally, I would like to leave


the European Union and I have argued for that. Have just come back from


Norway and it is doing incredibly well. It has the lowest unemployment


in Europe. It is the richest country per head in Europe and it has a


welfare fund of 700 million dollars. Do we not want to be like that? We


could have all of those advantages and still trade with the European


Union. According to the polls at the moment, more people want to stay in


the European Union than come out, so if there was a referendum you would


lose. It depends on what polls you look at. We are trying to


renegotiate but if we cannot get what we want, then we can negotiate


an out deal in Switzerland and Norway. Switzerland is the third


largest trading partner in the EU. It has full access to the EU market


as we would, as Mr Howard's company would. Should people not have a


choice? It is a huge mistake for us to leave the European Union. Why go


down the road with something you disagree with.


Talking of changes, nowadays it is all speed dating and action on


Twitter. Deborah has been trying to keep up.


This speed dating in Norwich was for social housing tenants hunting for


new homes, so no romance in the air but signs of growth for the


Chancellor on a visit to Northampton. They are making signs


for other businesses that are opening new premises. That is


encouraging. Encouragement for children to take up sport, the


government is putting in �150 million as part of the Olympic


legacy fund social media whipped up a storm this week when the MP for


Harpal called for aid rector at Tesco to resign after he wrote a


message on Twitter. The tweet was incredibly callous and almost sick


because it basically says it celebrates the closing of the depot


in Harlow. The only way is Essex it would seem


as Sir Bob Russell as Heald as a style inspiration by another


tweeter. Good Sir Bob Russell catch on? It could be a welcome addition


to others or perhaps not! David Campbell Bannerman, would you


consider that sort of your card? really! Richard, what about those


Tesco workers in Harlow? Do they have the right to complain about


that tweet? Yes. 800 people losing their job and Havel, I was


devastated by the decision made by Tesco's. It has nothing to do with


what! If you are a family unemployed in Harlow today the idea is


revolting. Do you do business by Twitter, David? I do tweet. I think


there has been a mistake made here. It has come across appalling and I


deeply regret the loss of those jobs.


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