02/12/2012 Sunday Politics South West


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Hello. Coming up on the Sunday Politics, in the South West. The


man who says he can't afford flood insurance, and has little hope the


Government will help him. And for the next 20 mince I am joined by


the Conservative MP George Eustice and Anne Mallalieu. Welcome both of


you. Let us start with the plan for regional pay in the NHS. Three


weeks' ago the Government seemed to be standing firmly behind the South


West Health Trusts proposing this. Health Minister soub describe them


as mature. Her fellow Health Minister Dan Poulter appeared to


perform a dramatic U-turn. There is a general agreement we need to


maintain national pay frameworks, provided they are fut for purpose.


I think he will find that the South West pay consortium, who have been


heavy handed in the way they have conducted their affair, will also


see the benefit of maintaining national pay frameworks. So, George,


people ra going to be confused by this -- are going to be confused.


Does the Government support the South West looking into regional


pay or not? I think there is a pretty clear indication there from


Dan Poulter they feel the South West consortium hasn't handled this


very well. There would be agreement about that. What about as far as


Anna Soubry goes, saying it was responsible. There is a difference


of emphasis. The important thing to bear in mind it has been possible


for PCTs to negotiate their own terms and conditions with staff.


Since 2004 most have used the agenda for change mechanism, and


the majority will probably continue to do that. But I think it is


important to remember with 70% of all the costs that PCTs have, being


in staff costs, I think it is wrong to completely rule out any changes


at all to pay and conditions. appears to be a communications


break down, is it embarrassing for you? Where the consortium would


agree, the way this came out caused some alarm. They are not talking


about cutting pay, they are talking about changing shift patterns for


instance, which most people would think more sensible. People have to


ask the question if it is a choice between cutting frontline services


or having more flexibility in pay and conditions which should you do


it would be wrong to rule out flexibility in pay and conditions.


What is Labour's position? In is a good shambles. It is not just one


minister knowing what the other one is saying, the Government is saying


we want localism, people taking decision at local level and local


people making the major decisions as oppose to Westminster, and when


they do they say we don't like this at all, we think this should be a


central decision. The option to set pay at a local level did exist


under Labour, didn't it? This did. What is happening now the


trusts are being encouraged to do a great many things they were never


encouraged to do before, such as buy supplies and so on. I think


this trust has made a big decision which is a mistaken one, because I


think that if you do, if you offer lower wages here than elsewhere, in


the short-term you won't fill posts, and I don't think they are queuing


dough the road at the hospitals at the moment to come and work in the


South West trust, and secondly, in the long-term, I am afraid you are


not going to attract the highest quality of people and Health


Services will suffer here. Briefly George? It is important they carry


the unions and industry and employees with them on this. This


is where things have gone wrong. Anne says people won't be queuing


up for job, they may go elsewhere. What is more likely we are not


talking about paying people less, no-one will have a pay cut but


there might be more flex bill in shift patterns. If you can protect


the front line by having flexibility, it is not something


they should rule out completely. The coalition's flagship Welfare to


Work programme was heralded as a break from the past. The Government


says the not-for-profit organisations who help the long-


term unemployed find jobs are saving taxpayers thousands, but


Labour say the scheme is a flop and figures released this week make


uncomfortable reading bg here in the south-west the figures are


especially alarming. Roxanne is 22, and one of the lucky one, she has


started a full-time job with a housing association. Beforehand,


Roxanne was unemployed for over a year. What has helped her and 1300


others in the region get a job is the Government's new work programme.


You know, I have never had full- time work before, it has always


been part-time. To be honest, I never thought I would have a job


that I would enjoy so much as I do here. Roxanne has been taking part


in an experiment, where firms and charities are paid to help find


jobs for the long-term unemployed, while she has benefited not even is


so impressed as details of the work programme's first year emerged.


figures show the work programme isn't working, in fact it's a


miserable failure and the reason it is a failure is because the


Government is not showing its responsibilities to make the work


available for people. The scheme marked its first birthday with


figures showing that of the 8 -- 878,000 who were referred, 31,000


were employed for at least six months. The Government's minimum


target was 5.5% of the total to have been helped. The figures show


it is 3.5. It is worse in the south-west, where one of the main


providers Prospect has only found long-term employment for 2%.


Government ministers though are still up beat. This scheme isn't a


failure. It is getting people into work, off benefit, that is what the


scheme was designed to do. We need to get the providers to work harder,


to share data, to improve their performance. But in the past,


ministers have had their doubts about whether the programme can


deliver. This charity was one of several providers in the region


that has gone into administration. And earlier this year North Devon


MP Nick Harvey questioned the scheme. He wrote to Chris Grayling


saying the funding model is in trouble. All of this alarmed some


of those desperately looking for work. This Plymouth man expects to


join the scheme after being out of work for 11 months. I do feel that


the large amount of money they are spending would better creating new


jobs instead of trying to get people into jobs that don't exist.


The work programme has been described as a giant dating agency


for jobs. Trying to match the long term unemployed with a long-term


job. True love rarely runs smooth and some argue the programme is on


the rocks. But in Redruth things are going strong for Roxanne. Good


news for people like Roxanne, we saw ta, but in the south-west only


2% of those people who signed up for this scheme have got a job for


longer than six months. George, is it working? Well, I think if you


focus on the figures over six months you are going to get the


figures you have reflected. That is the idea, back in to long-term.


There are 200,000 people, one in four have done some work and come


off benefits for a period. Which is the first step. These are people


who have been long-term unemployed. It is... But they are back


unemployed now. One of the things I have raised with ministers myself,


is that because we are in a challenging labour market, where


there is high unemployment, we may need to tweak and refine the way


the programme works and particularly the payments that go


to the providers, but the scheme's ultimately a good scheme. Better


than the new deal scheme the previous Government had. Why? Only


2% of people are getting a long- term job. Actually, Government


modelling suggests that 5% of people would get a job any way, so


at 2%, you are better off not to sign up to this scheme. You are


keep going on about the 2%. One in four people have done some work,


and that is the first step to them getting back into a long-term job.


It works, because it is payment by result, what happened in the past


you had providers going through the motions, ticking box, not helping


people. Because is payment by result it challenges providers to


think carefully about who they engage and the support they offer


people. Anne, George is saying your scheme didn't work, under Labour


the scheme isn't working, is that fair? I don't think it is fair. A


great many people benefited, particularly from the new deal. But,


this scheme, we all want to work, we all desperately agree people


shouldn't be long-term unemployed and we shouldn't have generations


of people and in families who have never worked. We shouldn't have


people better off not working than working. All that that Iain Duncan


Smith has tried to do is right. isn't it working? Why are only 2%


of people getting a job? The first thing I would want to know what are


the explanation for the difference, up in Thames Valley it is 5%.


is possibility the jobs aren't here. That is a possibility. What is


important is growth F there is growth in an area and jobs are


being created there is much more opportunity to find people to fill


those jobs. George?. The frame with the two contractors have taken


different approaches. Prospects have tended to sub contract the


entire package to smaller charities, group, whereas Working Links have


take an different approach. They take each of the clients through


the programme and buy in specialist support from small charity, who


focus on individual areas. This is to do with the training. Now we are


saying there aren't the job for people in the south-west, so may


you are barking up the wrong tree. Maybe you need investment for the


jobs in the first place. I don't accept that, the work programme is


designed to help the long-term unemployed. We have to recognise


the fact that in the last ten years, where we had rising employment, the


jobs were being filled by people coming in from abroad and from


immigrants because we weren't managing to get the long-term


unemployed back to work. So let us put that to Anne. In the last ten


years we weren't able to get people back in to work. Maybe the level of


investment in the south-west needed wasn't happening during the boom


times. I think you are right on that. I think there has been a lack


of investment in infrastructure, that is apparent now, but I think


what is crucial is that we look to how we avoid the problem we have


got into, with the welfare state generally. This was part of the


scheme, your Government has produced. These figures are


disappointing for everybody. What a minister should be doing now is


saying we have got to make sure we understand why this is not


happening, as we hoped it would. If it is not going to work, we have to


pull the plug on it and not let it run for five years and we have to


be looking at what the alternatives are we should be doing at the same


time. That means investment. Moving on then to the floodwater, the


floodwaters may be going down but the issues they raised are still


high on the political agenda. On Friday, the Government announced an


extra �120 million for the flood defence budget but council leaders


in the South West say the region needs more money for roads and rail


network. Flood victims are still waiting to find out whether the


Government will help them get insurance. This package was put


together before the announcement on flood defences. The storms that hit


the south-west haven't just left hundreds of properties in deep


water. The Government's come under inceeing pressure over its funding


of flood defences. -- increasing. The Prime Minister visited Devon,


he had this to say. We have to make sure that the Environment Agency


put in place good flood defence, there are lessons to learn and I


wanted to come here and hear it for myself. Some say that was a bit


rich. The Government has cut 30% from investment in flood defence,


one of the biggest cuts it has made to any area of Government spending.


I said when it did this this would be a false economy, because for


every pound you spend on flood defences you save �8 in avoided


flooding and the cost and misery. Ben Bradshaw says his constituency


is a case in point. The flood defences here worked this time, but


there are warnings that the 50- year-old system is? Urgent need of


a �25 million upgrade. The question is, where all this money is going


to come from. David Cameron's encouraging the idea of private


money being used for flood defences, and some councillors in Exeter say


local businesses will have to find the missing �6 million the city's


project needs. But the Prime Minister's coalition colleagues in


the south-west believe the region does need extra Government support.


Not just for flood defence, but for repairs to our roads and railways.


We have the needs down here as much as everywhere else. What we don't


always get is a fair share, in my view, we have got to lobby better


for ourselves, so that we get the support down here, that we can


improve. We are very much the end of the line, in some respects.


Government's also under pressure over flood insurance. Lost


withyell's's owner Joe's shop flooded and he can't afford the


flood cover now. The Nobody will touch me for flood unless a pay a


lot. I have none. That is it. deal between the Government and


insurers that means flood victims are offered cover, even if it is


pricy runs out next year. The industry says with state help it


could offer cheaper premiums to people like Joe. We call it flood


Rewhich provides for affordable and available flood insurance for those


at highest risk. We need Government support. Over the long-term there


will be enough money in this flood in insurance fund but we need their


support in case a large flood happens in the first year, before


there is enough to pay for the claims fully. Negotiations over


this are said to have reached deadlock, David Cameron said he


will take a tough approach. Joe is worried if he is flooded again he


will lose his business. Last weekend he says all he could do was


watch the swollen river with his fingers firmly crossed. George,


this �120 million for flood defences announced on Friday, is it


the mission by the Government that it was wrong to cut the flood


defence budget? No, I think it is adding to what we are doing. It is


worth bearing in mind that flood defence and capital spending is the


singer in DEFRA, huge amounts. There was going to be about 2.2


billion going on flood definances to give new protection to 140,000


homes. The additional money today in the the most pressing areas,


allowing another 50 or so schemes will protect another 60,000 homes.


I know Ben Bradshaw says it was cut, you have to put that in con tect


tect, the Labour Government said they were going to cut spending.


The new Government hasn't cut any furtherment we have gone out of our


way to find new money for infrastructure. These cuts would


have had to happen any way because they had to find the savings and


the last Government were going to do the same. The keelings


Government is doing a good thing now? It is doing a good thing in


putting money in on Friday, thank goodness, but we have been


underspending for years on flood defence, everyone has to accept


that. We have been building in places we shouldn't have been. We


have not been spending money on infrastructure to deal with getting


water away, and the result is not just people who have got know no


insurance, can't afford the premiums but people who can't move


because no-one will buy their houses because of the insurance and


the flooding position. What should the Government be doing? They have


to get a deal in place with the insurer, there were questions last


week in the Lords. Is that why this money is announced. As a bargaining


tool with the insurers: I am not sure I am on the DEFRA Select


Committee. We have been pressing the Government on this for the last


18 month, they need to get a new deal in place when the one that was


set up in 2008 that ran for five years expires. Why is there a


problem? There appears to be deadlock over the detail. Perhaps


bring man ship going on. The Government is going to make sure


there will be some deal in place to replace the old one when it expires


next year. You mentioned the issue of billing on flood plain, we have


problems with the railways we have seen last week, the railways were


closed, why have we seen such a lack of investment in things like


the railway, what should be done about that? I can't answer that. I


don't think anybody can. We ought to have been channelling more into


long-term investment and allowing what were boom year, and there is


no way round that. I don't just point my finger at the Labour Party


and the Labour Government for that, it has been going o on for many


many years. We face this problem, particularly in Cornwall, where


they say we can't make the business case stack up to do this investment


in rail. I don't think... It does come back to the discussion about


the jobs, you have to have the infrastructure in place if you are


going to bring more businesss to the area. I would like to see a lot


more rail investment in the far south-west. We have billions of


pounds going into high speed rail links. What are you going to do


about it? I have been putting pressure on the franchise to get


agreement. Cornwall Council are going to work with Network Rail and


the franchisees on this. Do you think we will see... What upsets


people is they see money going elsewhere, and it is not coming


down here, is it. That is very upsetting. It upsets me as much as


anybody else. That is why I and all the other MPs in Devon and Cornwall


push it, we meet regularly to talk about rail infrastructure in Devon


and Cornwall. We are pressing the case, with the new franchise coming


up there is an opportunity to think creatively and work with Local


Authorities, using European money we can qualify for as well,


sometimes. We have move on, now we have our regular round up of the


The Campaign to Protect Rural England was alarmed when the


planning minister said we should build homes on another 3% of the


countryside.. If they want to have people able to bring up their kids


in a small house with a garden, they have got to accept that we


have got to build more on some open land. The plan to put a minimum


price on alcohol moved forward. The launch of the consultation was week


welcomed, but Ben Bradshaw said it would never happen and said he


would buy Sarah Wollaston a crate of cider if it did. MPs said


National Park member should be directly elected. If we want


thriving businesses, communities in our National Parks, then we need to


make sure that decisions are taken by people chose been by the local


communities, and there was a wee problem in Parliament for Ben


Bradshaw. Urine pouring through the ceiling of his commons office.


Mr Bradshaw. It's a new meaning to flooding. Minute mull pricing for


alcohol, do you think it will happen? Ben Brad Shaw says not.


What is your take on it. It is a very powerful drinks industry at


work, I know people think it makes a huge difference, you look at


countries where alcohol is cheaper they don't have our binge drinking


culture, the problem is the culture rather than the cost. You think it


will happen or you don't? I think it is doubtful. The drinks industry


is very powerful. OK. George what do you think? Will this happen?


mean I think it could happen, the Prime Minister has indicated he is


keen on this idea. I think it is something we should look at,


because you know over the last ten, 20 years we have put up beer duty


and duties on alcohol, being detrimental to pubs, that is a bad


thing, we should encourage people to drink socially, in pubs when


sometimes perhaps if they have to drive they have to limit to one


drink any way. What we have encouraged by having too high


duties in pubs is a culture where people go to the supermarket and


buy cheap alcohol and preload. Drinking before they go out? They


get hammered before they go out and you end up with fights and all


sorts of problems. This is a major issue for people operating


nightclubs, they have people turn up... We need to encourage a quick


bet in the studio who will it happen, won't it happen? I think it


will happen. If I will have to buy cider because Sarah won't drink it.


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