17/06/2012 Sunday Politics South West


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


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


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1621 seconds


Good afternoon. Here are the headlines: Retail expert Mary


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


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


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


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


you ever come under pressure from news organisations to follow an


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


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


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


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


an easier ride from a Conservative government. Rupert Murdoch is


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


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


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


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


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


briefing in regarding the protective wall of sound for David


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


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


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


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


commentator predicted a surge in the number of children living in


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


changing the way child poverty is measured.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


are heavily targeted towards children and families. We have


heard predictions from the Institute of Fiscal Studies that


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


that communities have the skills. Well redefining poverty help?


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


in the city. Shopkeepers in want south-west town


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


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


scheme they say that if ministers are serious they must reform


business rates. In its video bid to become part of


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


offer advice to smooth any bureaucratic problems.


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


cameras arrive. But retail groups believe that issues such as


reforming business rates are much more important. That strikes a


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


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


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


In the North Devon there was disappointment when their pilot but


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


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


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


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


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


winners in that initial selection. Ministers say they were so


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


bid. If there is a serious problem with


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


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


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


retail offer that will attract people to come into our town


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


lot of local authorities could make some of the decisions for


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


high rates that they are driving businesses out of their town


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


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


illegally is going up according to researchers at Plymouth University.


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


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


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


preparations for the Olympics. Grand parents to care for their


grandchildren ask ministers for more money.


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


grandson. He has been failed by the whole


system. The fishing minister says the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


But those who take formal adoption and formal guardianship of the


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


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


yes I agree. Grand parents are helping in a big


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