04/03/2012 Sunday Politics South West


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In the South West. The law says this Cornwall Hotel should welcome


homosexual couples. The report from upper lip grip of Christian MP says


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1777 seconds


Has no, I am Lucie Fisher, coming up on the Sunday Politics in the


South West. The Christian MP fighting back


against recent decisions, which she says have been unfair to people of


faith. Lots of these decisions are been made by police officers or


judges or employers, who have no understanding whatsoever of people


of faith and the faith motivator. I will be joined by Anne Marie


Morris, the Conservative MP for Newton Abbott and Ben Bradshaw, the


Labour MP for Exeter. This week, a report is out


suggesting that Christians are been marginalised. Then, you are a


Christian and you are on the ecclesiastical committee in


Parliament. How do you feel? I feel I can practise my fate. You saw the


Queen making a faith extolling the virtues of the Church. I think


there are some Christians, perhaps the more conservative Christians,


who have problems with some of modern Britain, in particularly


with hour a quality legislation. I hope they will get over it. Anne


Marie, what is your view? I share then stew on this. I do not feel


marginalised. This report is looking at how Christians feel


internally. It is an opportunity for Christians to look externally


about what they can do in society and how they can be relevant to the


community. That is more worthwhile than too much introspection. Much


more on that later. The Coalition's plan to find jobs


for the unemployed, suffered another blow this week from one of


its own ministers. A leaked letter from defence minister Nick Harvey,


revealed his concern that an agency which delivers the Work Programme


in his constituency was about to go bankrupt. Getting their hands dirty.


The young apprentices at this recycling centre work for the


charity groundwork. The charity is one of many helping to deliver the


government's Work Programme, which targets the long-term unemployed.


Some charities are claiming that the scheme is not delivering for


them. The financial problems facing this charity was the subject of a


letter from Nick Harvey to implement Mr Chris Grayling. There


is a real worry that the companies are cherry-picking. They are


holding back the people they think they can place quite easily and


giving the people who are a long way from the labour market to local


charities to sort out. Local people taking part in the programme are


referred on to two large service providers. Depending on their


location or needs, some are referred on to sub-contractors and


these are often charities and voluntary organisations.


Contractors are only paid once a person has been placed in a


programme for six months. It is designed as an incentive for


providers to get people into work. It is difficult for charities, so


we have to be businesslike and smart about how we deliver this. We


work very hard beforehand to work out what our cash flow would be for


a year before we start to get paid. It has cost us a lot of money to do


it, but we hope the returns will help us to reinvest more money into


our charitable objectives. Adam Smith was on a work programme and


now has an apprenticeship. The training he has received were


hoping -- will help them to secure work. I am �100 more confident that


I was before I did this. I was not confident before. I do not know


where I would be without this opportunity. The Employment


Minister was in Truro this week and seemed to shrug off the criticisms


levelled at him. The voluntary sector is doing fine across the


South West. I have visited charities like Groundwork South


West which is doing great work. I have talked to a volunteer centre


about their work programme and I am comfortable with the role that the


voluntary sector is plain. Critics argue that some organisations are


under resource to shoulder the cause -- the cost of training. The


success of this government scheme could not be more important. He


this is the flagship government policy and here we have a


government minister saying it is in trouble. Should we be worried?


have Chris Grayling scene it is not in serious trouble. What makes me


sad is we are detracting from the important issue and the Work


Programme is a great way of getting people into employment. If it


works? Some ministers are saying it is not working. The that is a fair


point. If you clip showed there was no payment until six months in.


There is a payment up front and another payment at six months and


then over the next two years, their payments depending on the nature of


the programme. If there are sub- contractors are who are not


properly been respected by the main contractor, there are issues that


need to be addressed. Chris Grayling said he would not address


this. He does not think this needs to be looked into. The charities


are saying it does need to be looked into. He is saying that the


mechanisms are there, it is insuring that their work properly.


It has not been clear that this is a flexible programme and that is


one of the distinctions between this and the previous government


programme. We do need to insure that sub-contractors are properly


supported, but that can be done within the present system. Let us


bring them in here. Would you agree? And not at all. The work


programme is in real trouble. It is not just people like Nick Harvey


who is putting criticisms in a letter. If you have a problem with


government policy, usually talk to someone. We have some of the major


employers threatening to withdraw from the programme in the last few


weeks and the government having to rethink it. You have the scandal at


the employment... Or all sorts of problems. I hope that Chris


Grayling doors listen to some of these valid criticisms to improve


the scheme. What about your own constituents, have you heard


complaint? The charity that featured in a car the's letter also


operates in my constituency and it was my office that received this


letter in a brown on the look. Whether that was deliberate,


because of the impact on my constituents... There is a problem


in the west Country which Nick Harvey's letter highlights, like


low wage economies, these charities and enterprises have a great record


at getting people into work and they are threatened with going to


the wall. Have you heard any complaints? Every one is happy. Ben


is confusing the issue. I have had no complaints.


Should people who run businesses be allowed to use their religious


beliefs as grounds for rejecting customers who are gay? That is one


of the questions considered by a report from a group of Christian


MPs in Parliament. It says the judgment, which and against the


hotel owners in Marazion was unfair. It recommends that the quality lot


has changed and calls for more education about the role of


Christianity in Britain's political life. Critics say the report is


confused and can look to the erosion of basic human rights. This


hotel is at the centre of a row over religious freedom. The


Christian couple who run it refused a gay couple a double room. The


courts have twice ruled this was the discrimination. But Peter Bull


and Hazelmary Bull believe sex outside marriage is a sin and argue


their rule applies to any a married couple. What happened today was a


collision of two lifestyles. I would have thought in this country,


our democratic society he is big enough to be able to encompass two


different lifestyles. I do not want to see a return to the days of


persecution and oppression that certain groups in our society


suffer, but I would like to make sure that we are not going to


exchange it one lot of oppression for another. Judges told the couple


that religious belief does not offer exemption from equality laws


that businesses have to follow. This has angered some Christians.


Then MP lead report is claiming that what happened to the couple


who owned the hotel was unfair. There are calls for changes to the


law. The inquiry was set up after an number of high profile at


religious freedom cases. Across party group heard from dozens of


mostly Christian groups on the case South West Devon MP he chairs


Christians and Parliament. He says that the owners should have won


their case and thinks the law needs tweaking. There is a problem with


the a quality act. It was introduced in 2010 in a hurry. It


lists a number of protected groups, but does not say what happens when


those groups are clashing with each other. What happened in the last


few years is almost as if people of, sexual orientation have been given


a trump card which trumps everything else and that was never


the intention of the Act. Critics are accusing the MP of trying to


turn back the advance of a quality. He seems to want to try this back


to a place we were before. We have made a lot of progress and got rid


of a lot of horrible things. The findings of this report would be


putting us back in that direction. Another case in the report is the


High Court ruling on formal prayers at Bedford Town Council in Devon.


It is seen as another example of Christians being squeezed out of


public life. The government is stepping in, scene councils will be


given the power to decide from themselves. Those bringing the case


are not happy about the argument. The let us not forget that Britain


can be proud of the freedom of religion that it extends to


everyone in this country almost probably the best country in the


world and the I think that the MP is trying to impose religion on


other people when he should not be. Gary Streeter says his committee


intends to take the inquiry further to hear the opinions of other faith


groups and minorities. Back in West Cornwall, Hazelmary Bull says it


some are been seen as more equal than others they are prepared to


take their fight back to the courts for a third time.


We are joined now by the Ravenhill from Clement -- Plymouth Methodist


Community Hall. Do you agree that the law is unfair. I think there is


a strong bias. People feel that the dice is weighted against Christians,


when it two issues are weighed one against the other, they feel the


dice is weighted against the Christian. Were examples can you


give me? In a secular society, as the report said, there is a


religious illiteracy among people who have decisions to make. The do


not understand how Christians feel, what makes them take. The Christian


faith is increasingly seen as a hobby that people enjoy doing. It


is what we are. It is our whole being. When you are a Christian, it


shakes everything. The idea that been a Christian it should be a


private occupation and not in Athlone should judgments at all is


quite foreign to us. Ben Bradshaw, turning to the case of the hotel


owners. What is your view? Should she be allowed to deny it a service


to customers on the basis that their belief that has not agree


with yours? I welcomed the legal raining in that case. By and for


freedom of religion and freedom of faith and freedom to practise my


face. That freedom cannot impinge on the fundamental human rights of


others. We have a quality legislation and we do not


discriminate against gay couples. If you want to provide goods and


services, you have to obey the law. As a Christian, I fear that is the


right decision. A Anne Marie, do you agree with this? Both need to


be looked at equally. I share them's view. We need to remember


that the couple in question were in business. It is not a said it was


their private home. The challenge here is not the legislation, it is


the way it is interpreted. There are some challenges to get the


judiciary to take a more balanced approach. Do you believe there is a


case that if the hotel owners were Muslim or seek or Hindu, this would


be treated differently? In terms of their perception? Inevitably.


Because 44 million people in this country are Christians, there is a


greater sensitivity. Do I think they are they are right? Know. It


has to be equal. If the Muslims had stopped a single woman, it is about


the national law. I love we live in a Christian country, but we also


have a lot that respects other faiths. That law is based on


quality. I think that is a Christian principles. Reverend Paul


Smith which you agree with that? feel there is a growing feeling


amongst Christians that the equality legislation takes Muslims


are seriously. Or other faiths. Or secularism. Does it take him far


more seriously and given more credit than the Christian faith.


The law has to make a point. Were the case had been brought if the


owners had been Muslims? People are perhaps more sensitive to the use


of other religions then? Absolutely. At group of young Muslim men have


just been prosecuted for distributing homophobic literature.


You cannot say that. The case is not about homophobia. It is about


the rights of conscience of individual people. Thank you. Our


regular round-up of the political week. Paul Conroy has been rescued


from Syria. The Prime Minister praised his courage and those who


help to get him out. Many of whom have paid a high price. Lib Dems


worried about regional pay in the public sector call for a report


into the impact it would have on Torbay's economy. Animal-welfare


groups launched a legal challenge over the badger cull. They say the


plan to control TB breaks European regulations.


Drivers on the Isles of Scilly are to benefit from a five pence


discount on fuel. Danny Alexander said rural motorists elsewhere


should not get their hopes up. is for this area. We are pleased we


are benefiting them. This children's Playhouse on Dartmoor


has to move. The National Park Authority says it breaks planning


rules. That was our round-up. Ben Bradshaw,


concerns and Torbay about introducing regional pay. Should


public sector workers in the South West's suffer pay cuts as a result


of trying to even out the paid? Know. That would be a bad move for


the economy in the South West. If it happened, our wages would be cut,


because private sector pay here is relatively low. We already have the


biggest gap between what people earn and house prices, so it would


make the house price affordability problem worse. This is an idea that


George Osborne raised at the last Budget and I hope he drops it at


the next Budget. The were due supported? We need to look at it.


If there is any suggestion that people take pay cuts, we need to


recognise a... The private sector earn less. To even that out, you


would have to give the public sector less money. That is all


about implementation. That is something you do every time. You do


not suddenly give people a pay cut. You do have to look at it to get


the balance right. We have high a housing costs, but some other costs


are lower. The salary house to meet the cost. We need to look at that.


There is speculation that it in the South West it would not necessarily


fall, because public sector pay is relatively low. It would be done on


the basis of what you have to be able to meet with that sum of money.


It is a fair point. If housing costs are lower, you should be paid


slightly less. They are not law. They are the highest in the country


compared with wages. Transport costs, a lot of people rely on cars


and petrol costs have reached record levels. You either but wages


up in London and the South East and the Chancellor will not


recommending that, or you put them down in areas like the South West


were private sector wages are lower. I think it is a bad idea. I'm


amazed the Liberal Democrats did not stop it coming out in the first


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