17/06/2012 Sunday Politics South West


17/06/2012

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Ben the South West - the plan to save our high streets. And as

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ministers seek to redefine poverty one mother says she cannot see a

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1621 seconds

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Good afternoon. Here are the headlines: Retail expert Mary

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Portas has has been sent to save one of the high streets, but will

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have a plan help other towns. I am joined by Ben Bradshaw and Oliver

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Colvile. Welcome to the programme. This week we have seen are the

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prime minister questioned at the Leveson Inquiry. Ben Bradshaw, did

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you ever come under pressure from news organisations to follow an

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agenda? I had a meeting with James Murdoch at which we disagreed on a

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more things. A -- on the most things. The Prime Minister today --

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this week said he was not aware of the BSkyB aspect. Were you lobbied

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about that? I was not. The lobbying was held off because they hoped for

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an easier ride from a Conservative government. Rupert Murdoch is

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logical business aim was to take full control. Nobody can come into

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this debate without having some kind of a vested interest. If

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you're a broadcaster or a newspaper you have a few. -- the EU. This is

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an issue that does not have too much attraction with those who are

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seeking to make sure their economies are fine. Did you get a

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briefing in regarding the protective wall of sound for David

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Cameron? I did not. We have to cut our arguments across properly. We

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do not get involved in it the other aspects. One of the questions the

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Prime Minister faced was whether he was proud of that big rise in the

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number of people using Plymouth's Food bank. Later in the week a

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commentator predicted a surge in the number of children living in

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poverty because of welfare cuts. The government is now talking about

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changing the way child poverty is measured.

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Plymouth -- this Plymouth mother says that getting by is a daily

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struggle for her and her son. She is on benefit and after her rent is

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paid she has �150 per week. We cannot do things that most people

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do on a weekly basis. We cannot do anything apart from go to a park

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which is for me. We can exist, and nothing else.

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This situation is not unusual. It is estimated one in three children

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in this area is living in poverty. At the moment this person is

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defined as living in poverty because of her income. This week

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the work and pension Secretary said he wanted to change this. We need a

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measure that looks at people's lives. Taxpayers want to know their

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money is spent in a process of getting people out of welfare and

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not just wasted on just trying to hit a target which is moving all

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the time. This person is being helped to manage a budget by a

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local charity which says defining poverty is hard. People have an

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expectation. This person tells me she has not got a lot of hope in

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where her future lies, but she is surviving. The city has seen a 400

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% rise in the number of people using its Food bank in one year.

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The use of food that has gone up to 4,000 in one year. This Plymouth

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Labour MP this week asked the Prime Minister if he was proud of this

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fact. We have had to make difficult decisions but we have protected tax

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credits for the least well-off. We have protected benefits for the

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least well off. The Government is working to eradicate child poverty

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by the year 2020. It says the Labour policy was not hitting the

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targets. A poverty campaigners say the strategy was working. But

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official figures showed a two % fall last year. We are concerned

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that this will not continue. The cuts in that the austerity agenda

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are heavily targeted towards children and families. We have

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heard predictions from the Institute of Fiscal Studies that

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child poverty will rise by 100,000 children per year between now and

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the end of this Parliament. When a city council is now drawing up a

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child poverty strategy. One Labour Party member says it is not all

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about targets. We cannot touch issues of welfare. Those issues

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must be made by a national government. We will be doing what

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we can locally to mitigate it. Nicola says she wants to stop

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relying on benefit but feels trapped. There is no way out.

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stuck until he can go to school and I can get a job. The Government

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says it wants to help people like Nicola into work. The consultation

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on how to redefine Child poverty will start in the autumn.

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Argue redefining poverty to make the figures look better? There was

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always going to be a tightening taking place. My guess is that the

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Minister is taking a fresh look at what is happening. The key thing is

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that communities have the skills. Well redefining poverty help?

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have to take a long-term view so that children -- so that people

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have better support. In that report we heard that the policy is likely

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to put more people into poverty. have to make sure that the get the

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economy sorted out. We inherited a mess when we took power. We need to

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make sure we get that right. That is the top priority. You cannot

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afford to do anything unless you have the economy right. Did you get

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it wrong? That is a disgraceful sleight of hand by the Government.

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We got one million children out of poverty. But is now going into

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reverse. Iain Duncan Smith is saying that you got one million

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children out of poverty but you pumped �13 billion into the welfare

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state and that is not including money that was good and the tax

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credit. They are seeing you cannot continue to throw that amount of

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money at it. But we had more people in work. We had more single mothers

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getting back into work. That is all my going into reverse. There are

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cuts in tax credits. Every country in the world measures Child poverty

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at the 60 % median in measurement. To change that means you are giving

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up on any real idea of targeting child poverty. We know that having

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relative poverty is bad for society. Should poverty be measured in

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relative terms? The key thing is making sure that people have the

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skills to get jobs. That is a fundamental issue. When Labour was

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in power for 13 years this issue went on. We still remain in

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Plymouth a low skills and low wage economy. Saying that parents have

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to get the job when a five people are chasing every job - surely that

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is not answer. 38 % of people who work work in the public sector.

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That is unsustainable. We need to make sure that the structural

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budget deficit is sorted out, but we also have to make sure that we

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can bring more private industry into the city. Maybe you redefining

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poverty is not going to help all those things that you are

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suggesting. Ben Bradshaw, the Coalition is saying that you failed.

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What do you say to that? We had the best record of any recent

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government. The economy was growing when we left office. We are now

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back in a double-dip recession. Of course we need growth in the

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economy. We have not got growth. We have not got jobs. To try and get

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rid of child poverty by changing the way you measure it is a scandal.

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It is condemning those children and their families to a life of poverty

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with no hope for the future. Could be continued just putting money

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into the welfare state? A you can always review the welfare state

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system. That is what we did. At us now gone into reverse. I have

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constituents who are leaving jobs because it no longer pays for them

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to go to work because of the cost of childcare. But is a madly of

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getting people out of poverty and into work. We need to make sure

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that be rebalance our economy. We can go around with statistics until

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the cows come home, but we need to make sure we have a vibrant economy

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in the city. Shopkeepers in want south-west town

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are waiting for the arrival of retail guru Mary Portas. Liskeard

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is taking part in a Government pilot. While residents welcome the

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scheme they say that if ministers are serious they must reform

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business rates. In its video bid to become part of

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this pilot Exmouth used at science fiction theme. It did not win.

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Liskeard promised to inject fun back into the town centre and it

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did when. Now they have to turn those ambitious plans into reality.

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It is a roller-coaster. It can be overwhelming at times. There is a

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lot of fun. We have a strong arts and crafts scene. This is a

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fantastic backdrop for a lot of very creative and diverse people.

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We emphasise that in the bed. terms of the hard cash this is not

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like winning the lottery. It will mean �100,000 for the town to spend.

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But it does mean be able have a special contact in Government to

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offer advice to smooth any bureaucratic problems.

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There will be plenty of advice from a Mary Portas and her team when the

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cameras arrive. But retail groups believe that issues such as

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reforming business rates are much more important. That strikes a

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chord here. Once Maryport has is over it will be gone. The Mary

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Portas project is a short-term project. We need to bounce on from

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there. Business rates is something that will always be there.

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In the North Devon there was disappointment when their pilot but

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was not chosen. But the town's champions believe that schemes such

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as the regeneration of this scheme -- that to regeneration of this

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square means they can succeed. are worn out with their constant

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battling to get a customer through their door to spend a pound. It is

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incredibly hard. �370 applied for the pilot. There can only be 12

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winners in that initial selection. Ministers say they were so

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impressed by the quality of the birds they found some more money

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and announced a second round of the competition. This time there will

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be 15 pilots up for grabs. It will be a catapult. We are on the

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starting blocks ready to go. We need somebody to say goal and we

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will do it. It is a huge thing. I believe we have got something to

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offer here. I hope people will buy into it. It the deadline for the

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second round of the Mary Portas pilot bed is the end of June. --

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bid. If there is a serious problem with

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our high streets why is this money being offered up as part of a

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competition with Mary Portas? Why is she spearheading it? It is a

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gimmick is it not? It is not. We need to make sure that there is a

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retail offer that will attract people to come into our town

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centres. There is not an enormous amount of money going into it. A

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lot of local authorities could make some of the decisions for

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themselves. Is it right to do it as a competition? You have got a

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winner and a loser. What will happen to the losing time? There

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are thousands of people to live in those losing pounds. It is not such

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a fun thing for them is it? Towns can do a lot of things that Mary

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Portas has suggested. There are things that can be done in

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regarding car parking. If I go wide of town I do not have to pay for my

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car parking. A lot of shopkeepers said they would like business rates

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to be reduced. That would help them they say. If all the shops closed

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down they will be no business rate anyway. Anything is better than

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nothing. I have a lot of sympathy for what they are seeing, but it is

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not just about business rates. It is about the offer that is made to

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people to do their shopping in town centres. What do you make of this

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idea, Ben Bradshaw? We have a more fundamental problem. We have a

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vibrant city centre in Exeter, but it does not like that in many

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places. The bottom has for me to the economy. People do not a

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confident. -- do not have confidence. This government has

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abandoned their labour policy on town-centre development. We want

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the development of shops to come back into the city centre. Would

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you reduce is the straight? But has to be a judgment for the local a

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authorities. It is madness for a local authority took charge such

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high rates that they are driving businesses out of their town

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centres. Now for our round-up of the political week.

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The number of and pre-teens who use the internet to buy alcohol

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illegally is going up according to researchers at Plymouth University.

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An MP asked for a government investigation. I'd like to see

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changed so that you can only use a card that is available to a person

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over 18. The Transport Secretary went to Dorset to check on

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preparations for the Olympics. Grand parents to care for their

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grandchildren ask ministers for more money.

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This Exeter-based grand parent says she gave up work to look after her

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grandson. He has been failed by the whole

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system. The fishing minister says the

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European Union decision to end cards was a bad move. There will be

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a benefit. That was our round-up of the Week in 60 seconds.

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Grandparents that give up work to look after their grand children,

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often stop them being taken into care, why is there no financial

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support for them? Why ever not entitled to paid leave? I suspect

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the reason is whether there is a formal adoption. If the arrangement

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is informal it is difficult for the state to judge whether it is

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permanent, whether the child may eventually go back to their parents.

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But those who take formal adoption and formal guardianship of the

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children should have the same rights as those who adopt or foster

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or have children at birth. Is this an anomaly? Yes and the degree. --

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yes I agree. Grand parents are helping in a big

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Andrew Neil and Martyn Oates with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Andrew is joined by Philip Hammond, the defence secretary to discuss troop numbers, changes to the armed forces and the crisis in Syria. There is also a look ahead to what happens after the Greek elections, how the markets might react and what it will mean for the UK economy.

And the regular panel of journalists look back over the week's politics and in particular the Leveson inquiry.


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