24/06/2012 Sunday Politics South West


24/06/2012

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

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

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2000 seconds

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

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Should we replace a foreign farmworkers with people from the UK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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sometimes they coincide and sometimes they are different. In

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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not have criticised one person, because he immediately asked about

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

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

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

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and I think that is really important, especially in these

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

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

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another issue now. It MPs this week call for tighter

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controls in the park home industry. The Communities and Local

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Government Select Committee found evidence of widespread malpractice,

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while its chairman describes the is the existing legislation as beyond

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

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

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

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

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

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suggestion that this operator is engaged in Groeger practices.

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

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

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become dangerous because they have not been looked after. Residents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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minority of rogue operators had infiltrated the industry. There

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were some quite alarming stories about harassment, intimidation,

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

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

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

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

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to try and deter prospective purchasers. The person selling in

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

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The report's recommendations include removing existing rights to

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approve buyers to stop sale blocking and no upper limit on

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

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

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

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

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are talking about a criminal and the police should be targeting

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their resources on criminal activity in this sector. That is

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

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

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

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

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

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about tighter regulation of the industry will come before

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Parliament in October. Larry, is the lady from the

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

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

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

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covered by criminal law. You need better regulation and better

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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infiltration by the criminal sectors, because there is a quick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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have a ransom on what their tenants can do.

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

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

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

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

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point they are expected to skedaddle leading the fruit farmers

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

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

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

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The majority of migrant workers come into this country on the

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seasonal agricultural workers game, which allows farmers to temporarily

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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placements and accommodation sorted out and when the finished they knew

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

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them. The Government is being encouraged to get more British

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

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

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

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

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The so-called contract allows workers to have an indefinite

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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their youthful experience of working in the feels up and down

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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tell our agricultural industry what will happen after December next

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

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

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

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

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

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Miliband has announced that Labour would clamp down on immigration.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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relief, what else, at the suggestion the Government might

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abandon plans for regional pay. are pleased that the Government

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

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discussions. An ecclesiastical alternative to the full rest which

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

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business with the Church! Taunton MP denies talking down

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

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

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

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final. Apparently Nick Clegg is not

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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disappearance of large elements of regional policy, actually having a

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national pay scheme brings resources into those regions that

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

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regionalised benefits and regionalised pay, that is not a

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sensible policy. Will you be the only Liberal Democrat welcoming

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

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

:54:45.:54:48.

Andrew Neil and Martyn Oates with the latest political news, including an interview with the chief secretary to the treasury, Danny Alexander. Also in the programme, Respect MP, George Galloway and defence select committee member, Bob Stewart, go head-to-head on the future of the Falklands.


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