24/06/2012 Sunday Politics South West


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In the South West, demands to tackle the rogue element in the


parking industry and should we be getting people off the dole and


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2000 seconds


Hello and welcome to the Sunday Politics in the South West. Coming


Should we replace a foreign farmworkers with people from the UK


dole queues? Well, I am joined this week by a


pair of peers, the Liberal Democrat Robin Teverson and Labour's Larry


Whitty. Tax avoidance, a big story this week. The Prime Minister says


it is immoral, what do you think? Are absolutely. The basic they need


is people... That does not mean that we should all go out and do


everything that is why the -- right up to the line of legality. One MP


said leave that to priests and moral philosophers. We are in


politics because we believe in things, not just because we make


laws, but we believe them. If you think something is wrong, should


she not change the law? That would be dangerous. Absolutely what we


should not do, we have a moral code and we have a legal code and


sometimes they coincide and sometimes they are different. In


the taxation area, we should pay what we do, particularly if we have


good incomes. These two codes do not seem to coincide as far as Ed


Miliband is concerned. He has held back a bit. The issue on which


there may be some criticism. He should not have picked on one


person. The Chancellor previously said it was immoral. The general


issue, almost all politicians would agree is immoral. If highly paid


people abused loopholes in the lot to maximum effect to maximise their


post-tax income, then I think most of us would agree that is immoral,


even if it is not technically illegal. I think the other issue


that we should not focus on individuals, is a moot point. It


was not the Prime Minister who raised it, but he probably should


not have criticised one person, because he immediately asked about


someone else. Do you think it was possibly something that he might


have regretted? Possibly. I think he thought it was a good wheeze at


the time, but it was not entirely of the cuff. In it raised the issue


and I think that is really important, especially in these


austerity times. It may not have been clever, it may have been


slightly clunky, but good to get it on the agenda. We need to raise


another issue now. It MPs this week call for tighter


controls in the park home industry. The Communities and Local


Government Select Committee found evidence of widespread malpractice,


while its chairman describes the is the existing legislation as beyond


inadequate. Jenny Kumah's has been to Exeter where residents are


unhappy with the way the site is maintained. Duly sold up her flat


to downsize to this park home and enjoy her retirement. It seems the


ideal move, but she says it has been frustrating as she feels the


side's owners are not doing enough to maintain it. There is no


suggestion that this operator is engaged in Groeger practices.


it is looking scruffy. There are potholes in the road and as anyone


can see, the gardens look messy, fences are falling down, trees have


become dangerous because they have not been looked after. Residents


are having to get resurgence into deal with those problems. Generally,


if you walk around the site, apart from people's actual properties,


the general parts, the roadways, are a mess. There are a number of


bottles, but the site managers did not want us to fill him and did not


want to do an interview. When I was last at the site, the site manager


sent me a statement. It says that they do take a maintenance very


seriously, they have on site and floating maintenance teams and all


issues reported were dealt with as soon as possible. There are around


2000 park home sides in England, mainly in rural and seaside


locations. Many residents are retired or elderly. This week, a


select committee report found that most sites are well run, but a


minority of rogue operators had infiltrated the industry. There


were some quite alarming stories about harassment, intimidation,


threats, there had been one or two prosecutions of people involved in


the sorts of activities. One of the serious issues is when someone


comes to sell one of their homes, they have to get permission from


the site owner for that sale to go ahead and all sorts of ways we used


to try and deter prospective purchasers. The person selling in


the end had to sell to the owner of the site, often at a lower price.


The report's recommendations include removing existing rights to


approve buyers to stop sale blocking and no upper limit on


fines for those bound to be breaching their licences. At the


moment the maximum that could end up paying his �2,500. The industry


feels that the report has missed an important point. The legislation is


not the answer, enforcement is the answer. A lot of the activities we


are talking about a criminal and the police should be targeting


their resources on criminal activity in this sector. That is


what Parliament should be focusing. Back at her home, it duly feels the


report is a step in the right direction. I at least there is a


report there, people will have to act on it and it will not be swept


under the carpet. More people are thinking that something needs to be


done here. All we can do is hope. Private Member's Bill to bring


about tighter regulation of the industry will come before


Parliament in October. Larry, is the lady from the


industry got a point there. Are these criminal matters and they


should be perceived within the existing law? Some of them are. If


you go through the report, some of them are intimidation and that is


covered by criminal law. You need better regulation and better


enforcement. In this area, it is clear that there is a loophole in


regard to owners of park homes and there are a lot of vulnerable


people in them. I think we do need to tighten up and therefore, I


think all parties are likely to support a Private Member's Bill on


this. They might support are now. Clive Betts, the chairman of the


committee, said the existing legislation was stuck in the 1960s.


Why did you not do something about it when you were in government?


There were a few problems in part cones which we did deal with, like


charging for its electricity and so forth. Actually, this report has


revealed a rather more and we need a more positive approach.


Personally, I would say we did failed to regulate and one of the


reasons this is a big problem is that old people are moving out of


their homes, so that their children and grandchildren can move into


them and they are moving to part cones. The reason they're having to


move is a shortage of housing were generally. It is a not pleasant


situation in the private rental sector. It is the end of the chain


of problems in the housing sector, but it is one we can tackle and we


can tackle fairly straightforwardly. Should we be tackling this in that


way? Are you ask about the criminality sides and I think the


whole point is what has happened recently is there has been an


infiltration by the criminal sectors, because there is a quick


buck to be made out of intimidating vulnerable people and that is why


they make a lot of money, sometimes by forcing sales. We absolutely


need to do something about this and I welcome the fact that we're into


consultation and I hope that it's this Private Member's Bill is fully


backed by the government. We have got to get some of this through, if


the Labour Party come through the lobbyist that is good enough.


about sale blocking? It is complicated, because the owner of


the site along as the road and the pitch itself, were as the resident


owns the house. You have got two owners. The air is an argument


there. In rural areas, there quite a few and adopted roads and you


have similar cinched -- situations. We need to get a balance there,


because they're a lot of site owners out there that there are


excellent landlords and there are a lot of park home sides that are


some of the best areas that you can find. There are beautiful places to


live up, so we must not put everything in that one way. We have


got to revolutionise baps, so that people -- so that owners do not


have a ransom on what their tenants can do.


Picking fruit and vegetables is apparently a job which next to no


one would actually choose to do. Farmers rely on workers from


Romania and Bulgaria who do not have the choice of something better.


Next year, though, they will get full EU working rights, at which


point they are expected to skedaddle leading the fruit farmers


in a predicament. Here at this farm in Cornwall they grow vegetable


plants. In the past, they have struggled to find enough local


Labour at busy times. That is why they have relied on foreign workers.


The majority of migrant workers come into this country on the


seasonal agricultural workers game, which allows farmers to temporarily


recruit overseas workers. He in 2007, the scheme changed to apply


only to migrant workers, coming from Romania and Bulgaria. They are


restricted a migration levels until 2013, when they will get full EU


working rights. The scheme will be phased out at the end of next year.


The James Hosking here on this farm is concerned. Something needs to be


done, because it is so crucial, the scheme needs to be continued. The


reason the scheme is so successful is because it is so well organised,


both for the work are coming in and ourselves. If that scheme was


available for English students are people out of work, where the had


placements and accommodation sorted out and when the finished they knew


they could go on somewhere else. That would make things easier for


them. The Government is being encouraged to get more British


people into agriculture. This Week in Westminster, there were calls to


get people on benefits at working it on the farm. The are schemes and


other countries, like Spain, which allows those in benefits to retain


their entitlement while undertaking seasonal work on a daily call basis.


The so-called contract allows workers to have an indefinite


contract with a farmer or, but his colt work only when there is


suitable work. On those days when there is no suitable employment,


the worker is allowed to claim unemployment benefit. If in my


lifetime, we have always started of employing local casual workers.


biggest issue has always been in benefits and it it is not just the


weekly thing, it is all the fringe things like housing allowance, that


they had been so frightened to lose if the sign of an come and work for


one month. It will actually cost them, because of the do sign of it


takes so long to get back on to it. The government says by 2014, there


will be major changes to the benefit system so this could make


it easier for people on benefits to take on seasonal work. So, will the


scheme to be replaced? Death is says it is working closely with the


Home Office and the Department for work and pensions, but no decision


has been taking yet on whether a successor scheme will be put in


place. One good thing though, this week's debate may have found a


solution to the problem. So many members of parliament had declared


their youthful experience of working in the feels up and down


the land, myself included. I think so many had declared their great


experience and that during the summer recess we might be able to


fill this shortage and ourselves! These two are on the edge of their


seats about this! Setting aside of a rather unorthodox hands on


political solution, how do we get people to do this job that


apparently no one wants to do? most important thing is that


farmers must be able to do it, they must be able to look after their


crops and we would all like our own residents and citizens to be at the


front of the queue. Maybe one of the things that will change with


the Universal Credit, where you do not have order benefits taken of


you if you start to increase the amount of work you do. Maybe that


will help. From a practical point of view, I am sceptical and I think


it is important that DEFRA it does get its act together and starts to


tell our agricultural industry what will happen after December next


year, because we have to gather those crops. Should that involve


opening up the scheme to immigrants from outside the you? Be if we


cannot get enough people from inside, then I would advocate that.


Whether it is Ukraine or Croatia, they will be under similar


restrictions to Romania and Bulgaria now. Yes macro. A Ed


Miliband has announced that Labour would clamp down on immigration.


How would this kind of proposal -- proposals it but that? This is a


fairly well run scheme for a limited period. Most of the people


on it come and go and are well organised. The farming Minister


said if we extend this, how do we make sure those people go back?


under this scheme, the vast majority do go back, because it is


well-documented. There are other schemes, whether his exploitation


of workers and some very nasty practices. They do affect the


agriculture industry. Under this scheme, it is usually pretty well


run. The issue therefore is is this a particular area that will


continue to fail to attract a British Labour, were we need to


have some posted 2014 it scheme? They are right, if the Romanian is


over here and this is the only work he can try to undertake and


suddenly he is free to take any job, which you will in it two years'


time, then made are going to take a job elsewhere. It is an issue. The


scheme it did previously have some non- EU people in it, because prior


to them joining the EU, a lot of polls and Lithuanians were here.


The key issue is that farmers need, in a very restricted period of time,


quality and quantity of labour in order to get the harvest in.


Prisoners? I think we should have prisoners working when we can.


There are serious issues about who is outside the prison walls and how


ought that is looked after. I have absolutely no problem with that at


all, in principle, but there are a lot of practical things that will


have to be sorted out. This is in terms of safety and making sure


incarceration continued afterwards. Time now for our regular round-up


of the political week in 60 seconds. Reports that the Education


Secretary wants to bring back O- levels let the MP for North


Cornwall fuming. There will be some sort of division between two groups


of people about what they can do and what they can study and what we


can hope to achieve. Union leaders in he debt collective sigh of


relief, what else, at the suggestion the Government might


abandon plans for regional pay. are pleased that the Government


seems to be retracting on this and we can now get back to sensible


discussions. An ecclesiastical alternative to the full rest which


this woman finds hideous. I believe there is a man doing a bit of


business with the Church! Taunton MP denies talking down


England's chances in Euro 2012. I said that England had never


reached a final of the tournament that been held outside England.


This was reported as the predicting that England would not reach the


final. Apparently Nick Clegg is not


ecstatic about the idea of bringing back O levels, will this be the


next big coalition bus-stop? have discussions, usually in the


back corridors, but this has come out other publicly! Nick is


absolutely right, we do not want a first and second class students at


the age of 11. All levels, I dread of them and I got through them, but


I think having that divide was bad news. The is could be a red line?


think there will be an amicable solution it somehow. As always!


am sure there will be some. Larry, even Kenneth Baker, the father of


the GCSE, has admitted that it has been dumbed down. What do you


think? I think there are issues of quality and I think the key issue


about these proposals is that they are deeply divisive and I am afraid


it is of a pattern, Michael Gove's educational reforms, he is


attending to divide schools, divide academic achievement. It is a


deeply divisive strategy and I think his starkly, we will look


back and see Michael Gove as the -- as a disaster as Education


Secretary. Regional pay, some people think it is dead in the


water anyway, you already won the argument by the time you had the


debate this week. We probably have because of the practicalities of it


and I think that one thing has to be recognised, with the


disappearance of large elements of regional policy, actually having a


national pay scheme brings resources into those regions that


have lower incomes and low economic performance. I think, to have


regionalised benefits and regionalised pay, that is not a


sensible policy. Will you be the only Liberal Democrat welcoming


this? Isle do not welcome it. It is a bigger issue will be had a


country that does have such big disparities in his regions. I would


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