27/05/2012 Sunday Politics South West


27/05/2012

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In the South West - as the school building programme is cut, one head

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1688 seconds

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teacher says he needs a cash boost Hello and welcome to the Sunday

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Politics in the South West. Coming up in the next 20 minutes: The

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school with a leaking roof and the head teacher who says the

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Government needs to fix it. can't open windows in some and

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can't close them in others. The heating system had a new boiler put

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on but the a pipework bleu all the joints. The roof doesn't keep the

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rain out. It makes life very difficult. My guests this week are

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Sheryll Murray, Conservative MP for South East Cornwall and tireless

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campaigner for the fishing and maritime communities and Tudor

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Evans, the Labour leader of Plymouth City Council. The pasty

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tax back in Parliament this week. Stephen Gilbert had a debate. The

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Government says it is listening, Nick Clegg was here a week ago

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pushing the line they were listening. If the Government does

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backtrack, can the Liberal Democrat say we have used our leverage to

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nip a nasty Tory policy? No that amendment was supported by all

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three serve MPs for Cornwall and the three Liberal Democrats. We

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have all been lobbying equally on this point. I have to say that we

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have just had a skutation, the consultation has only just ended. I

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myself meat with the Chancellor this week in a different capacity

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and I can assure you they are looking at it and I hope that we

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will see a very clear line, so that the tax can be enforced properly,

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if it is introduced, because ambient temperature is so ambiguous.

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In a sense, not taking in pasties in the way they're usually sold. I

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can't remember whether you were taking a leaf out of book of Ed

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Miliband and taking a picture outsaid pasty shop. Will the pasty

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prevail. I'm not one for hanging around pasty shops to be honest.

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But I do... Should they have been? Well you know, the worst thing in

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the world obviously is to have a photo opportunity that goes wrong.

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I think they raised the issue quite well. Everyone's talking about it.

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Don't forget it slipped through in the budget almost unnoticed. If it

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mpbt been for Cornwall and Devon, I don't think anybody would have made

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anything of it. But it is a lifestyle tax, certainly for us in

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the west Country. Kafr Yar is still zero rated as far as I remember. --

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calvier. It is not just pasties, there are meat and potato pie

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makers, so it is a nationwide. is a big issue in the north of

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England. The Government's welfare to work programme - which aims to

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cut the welfare bill by getting more people into jobs - is having

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all kinds of problems. One of the scheme's biggest providers

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nationally has been stripped of its contract and is facing a fraud

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investigation. It was also, incidentally, founded by somebody

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who until recently was an adviser to David Cameron. Here in the South

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West, one of our major contractors has gone into administration and

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two others have mysteriously dropped out of the scheme. John

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Danks has been straining every sinew to find out more. It is the

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Government's �5 billion project to get more than three million people

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into work. But is it working? Almost a year into the scheme and

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figures suggest it may be underperforming. The aim of work

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programme foirs providers to find sustained work for 36% on scheme

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after two years. This week the body that represents Welfare to Work

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providers said on average 22% of those on the programme have start

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work. The Government says it is a good start. I tried to find out how

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many people in the South West had found work, but was told this

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information wasn't available. Three organisations who had signed up to

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deliver the programme in the region were no longer doing so. Grand work

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South West had been praised for their work by the employment

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Minister. The voluntary sector is doing fine in the programme in the

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South West. I have visited charities like Ground Work.

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they're in administration. The BBC understands challenges relating to

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its work programme contributed to this. The North Devon MP raised the

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problems facing another contractor, in this leaked letter to Chris

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Grayling. The funding model is in trouble, he wrote. The work

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programme was plooned when the forecast for UK growth was 2.6%.

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The forecast for this year is just 0.8%. The longer the economy flat

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lines, the more difficult it is is for organisations to do their job.

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And what about those other two proidviers - providers who Left the

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schemement would they tell me why? No, they had all signed contracts

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with gagging clauses. The department for work and pedgess

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The providers that remain say they're increasingly concerned by

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the state of the economy. A Government spoke person said it was

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inevitable that some contractors will fall by the way side. That is

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not good news for job seekers who are furtherest from the labour

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market. Sheryll Murrray we heard the minister saying that the

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voluntary sector is doing well in the South West in this context. I

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was tempt -- that was temperaturing fate wasn't it? Yes I think it was.

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But the reason that perhaps a lot of people are flagging up the

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difficulties now with the system is that we are paying by results. The

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last Government threw a lot of money into this scheme and they

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were paying the money up front, or now... A lot of people, including

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Nick Harvey say one of problems is you are paying by results. The

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small charities in the rural South West can't survive under the system

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where they have to wait six months to get most of their money. You're

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saying that is a virtue of the system. We were left with a huge

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amount of debt and we have a responsibility to get value for

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money for British taxpayers' money. You want to get people into jobs.

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We want to get people into real, long-term jobs what. Was happening

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under the other scheme was somebody could join a scheme for a month and

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then they would fall off the way side. And it wasn't producing real

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results. I have to say to you that the reason we're paying by results

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is to make sure that people are getting real training, they're in,

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it is going to lead to real employment and we owe it to the

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British public to provide a value for money for taxpayers. Tudor,

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value for money, not paying people up front that is not value for

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money. That is the standard operational line from the

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Conservatives. Anybody who has had anything to do with the voluntary

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sector can you tell you it is not in a position to cash flow and wait

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until the end of a programme before is receive -- receiving money.

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Partly because there has been a squeeze on voluntary sector for a

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long time. The last decade and a half has seen transformation of

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voluntary sector funding into project and results of orientated

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work. That has not left a lot of surplus in bank accounts of

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voluntary organisations to get from A to B. The tragedy is that this

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was flagged up at the start of the work programme. We said that this

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would happen. And the contrast between Labour's first two years in

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office... It doesn't seem to be working that is the key thing.

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scheme has been in place for 12 months. It's not doing very well.

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The figures that there's no accuracy to those fi,, because it

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hasn't been running for long enough. But some of these, you highlighted

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the investigation, the fraud investigation case, that was down

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to the last government scheme and at the end of the day we haven't

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got a cedid card any more. We have the Chief Secretary of the Treasury

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leave a message when he left office saying the pot is empty, there is

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no money left. The first two years of the Labour Government compared

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with the coalition Government, the idea that we were left, weren't

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left a deficit in 1997 is prepos Prowse. You weren't. We're tray

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straying into an enormous debate. We haven't got time to move into

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that. Ten Devon schools were told they'd get new government funding

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to update dilapidated buildings this week. Cornwall, Dorset and

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Somerset though were all sent away empty-handed. The money for the

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lucky schools comes later than promised and it's part of a massive

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reduction in the Government's budget for new buildings - which is

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depressing news for head teachers still desperate to see the back of

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their crumbling classrooms. Tamsin Melville reports. Look at and have

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a look at this, the state of window ps... Dealing with leaks and jamed

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win do is is part of -- jammed windows is part of job for the head

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of Cornwall's biggest community college. That wire is exposed. It

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is a real difficulty. Built in the fits with a flat roof and riddle

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with asbestos, this block is well past its sell by date with the

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budget slashed by 80%, it is a battle keeping the classrooms safe.

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This teacher says it is not uncommon for water to come through

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the ceiling. By the end of the day there were buckets filling with

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water. I wouldn't -- couldn't empty them quick enough. The problem was

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the drips I kept walking into and a cold. When the first floor was

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found to be crack five years ago, temporary classrooms were brought

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in. The head said the whole thing needs knocking down and rere - o'

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rebuilding. But he says they have been left in the lurchly the

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Government. I have been in schools in the third world with better

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classrooms. Hope of new classrooms were dashed within weeks of the

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coalition take power, a �55 billion by Tony Blair to rebuild or

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refurbish all the secondary schools were scrapped A move that triggered

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national protests. The coalition pro re deuced this to a �2 billion

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pot of private finance and this week announced where it will be

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spent. Ilfracombe arts college is one school to benefit. Critics say

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the scheme is not enough. When I was schools minister we were

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spending �7 billion on school capital, about half was on building

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schools. This is only a �2 billion scheme. That money will fast

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disappear, huge as it may seem on first hearing. While missing out on

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other funds this head teacher play have hopes the local authority

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could help, but central government cuts means Cornwall's spending has

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been slashed by more than a third with �10 million to spent across

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the whole count y. Not enough for a rebuild here. This school isn't

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enough in struggling with crumbling classrooms it is thought the back

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lag log is nearly �80 million. The education Secretary has been

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invited to see the state of some building, but he has had a reply

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saying Mr Go is too busy. They're teaching children in cloak rooms

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and special educational needs children in corridors. This is 2012.

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We can afford the Olympics, but we can't afford something for our

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children and their future. If this continues of course, our backlog of

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�80 million in maintenance will shoot through the roof. Cornwall,

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Somerset and Dorset all missed out this week, but Mr Gove says by next

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autumn a survey by of all schools means that those in need of

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renovation will be addressed. But this is subject to funds, so leak

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roofs are likely to be a part of lessons for a while. It is all very

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well for Jim Knight to talk about what you were spending in office,

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but the shadow Secretary said you would be cutting and he has

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conceded thated bying schools for the future was great for the lucky

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schools, but it was inefficient. is ironic, we're being accused

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today of fixing the roofs while the sun was shining. Lurbl I... But it

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wasn't the most efficient way. have got a system now, let me put

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this point to you, Plymouth didn't apply. Tory Plymouth, which I have

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taken over from, did not apply for this funding. Because it is only

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for those schools where the cost is 70% of a rebuild cost. In other

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words it is not about the state of the skoorblgs it is not even about

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the deprivation around it. It is all about this formula that they

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have created. That meant that Plymouth didn't bother. And it is

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outrageous when you see schools in that state and there are schools

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like that in Plymouth that don't qualify for this funding. I have

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got a picture on my wall of Ed Balls given a cheque for �78

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million for building schools. That would have been been able to

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transform a school and it was taken from us by go and instead we have

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got -- Gove and instead we have got King James Bibles. We used to cut,

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but this is one of biggest cuts I have come across, a 55% cut in the

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school building budget. Well the thing is again if the money's not

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there you can't spend it. Nobody wants to see children go to

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school... You're taking one of biggest cuts. Nobody wants to see

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children going to school in poor school buildings, but we saw a lot

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of waste under the last Government's PFI programme. It was

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way under budget and eight years behind schedule and something had

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to be done. What we have done is... Cutting the budget?Y school on the

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list was surveyed by a qualified surveyor. That is how it was done.

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It was done in a practical way and the Secretary of State himself has

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said that as there is more money... As it is available. It is not much

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of a guarantee. Efficient councils like Plymouth, I commissioned she

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vn new schools when I was in charge. We have had a structured

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maintenance problem are being punished by this new funding regime

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of Gove's. They're punishing those who have been fixing the roofs.

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Which schools, which new schools in Plymouth did you build? All the

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ones that were opened to a fanfare two year ago were commissioned on

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my watch. They may have been, but unfortunately the last Government's

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PFI building schools for the future scheme was hugely overbudget and

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eight years behind schedule. Stkpwhra we're overtime. But we

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have got time for a rund up of political week in 60 seconds. Peers

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called for the new superwatchdog to have more teeth. The adjudicator,

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the large retailers... Lord tevson listed the number of people who

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need to be consulted before a fine can be impose. One or more person...

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In the commons Gary Streeterer was back on message after his local

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election revolt. Does this not demonstrate that our commitment to

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increasing health funding and our health reforms are beginning to

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bear fruit. One or more personing appearing to represent the

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interests of consumers. Richard Drabgs told the Government to

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rethink its coastguard cuts. And Dan Rogerson said the Olympic

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committee should apoll jies for snatching the flag from this --

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apologise for snatching the flag from this torch bearer. We're up to

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nine billion at that point. Sheryll Murrray, I'm intrigued, as to the

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circumstances in which you may find yourself at Prime Minister's

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questions and come up with a variant of the question I wonder if

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my friend would agree he is doing a wonderful job running the I country.

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I have that is something that... The kind of question you would ask.

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That needed to be high light. If I wanted to get a point across, yes.

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It wasn't a constituency irissue. The message we want to get across

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is that we have a very united Conservative Party, whose

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priority... Do you think he wrote it himself? I think he did. I know

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Gary and I'm sure he would, because he cares about health. But it shows

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the message we want the get across is we're a united. Quickly, if we

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saw Tudor Evans on the Labour benches would you ask a question

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like that? Clearly I do it all in the time in the council chamber.

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But I must say that was one of some question. It was a triumph and if

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he doesn't get a job in the reshuffle I would be surprised.

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he making amends. I don't think there was amends to be made and

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Gary does care about the NHS. If 0 look back, he has concentrated on

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the NHS all the time. So yes, if somebody that we're doing as a

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Andrew Neil and Martyn Oates with the latest political news, interviews and debate, including shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna.


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