27/01/2013 Sunday Politics South West


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In the South West: the MPs on the brink of a revolt over council


funding, And the international row which is worrying the region's


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2291 seconds


Hello, I'm Martyn Oates, coming up on the Sunday Politics in the South


West. The Tory MP who says the Government's failing his


constituents. Be expecting me to stand up a bus there and he and say


the government, irrespective, you have this long, you must look again.


And the international row that's worrying the region's mackerel


fishermen. For the next 20 minutes I'm joined by Stephen Gilbert, Lib


Dem MP for St Austell and Newquay and the Labour peer and former


minister Larry Whitty. It hasn't been a great week for the economy.


The latest figures show it shrank at the end of last year. The


region's unemployment figures seem to be holding steady, but on


Wednesday the airline Flybe announced a hundred jobs are going


at its Exeter headquarters. If we don't take the actions we have done,


we will not be have to return the business to profitability and


deliver services. Are you thinking you backed the


wrong horse in signing up to the Conservative prescription? That


isn't affair caricature or of how the government is trying to


rebalance the economy. Away from dependence on financial services,


spreading gross including the south-west and Devon we need to


make sure we are getting as much Infrastructure Investment as


possible and we must never lose sight of the fact every job loss is


a personal loss. Nick Clegg says it was a mistake for the government


not as Ben Moore. Nick Clegg says the shovel ready projects should


have been invested in at the time. The I am happy Nick Clegg's


analysis is more accurate than mine. The overriding issue is we have to


rebalance the public finances away from a dependence on French


services and spread prosperity across the county. So, it isn't


going terribly well but it is the best approach. It is neither the


best approach nor is it going well. The economy is too bumpy. The


output figures were disastrous. We are not getting the growth in the


economy we need. We need it for jobs and prosperity but also to get


public finances right. You went into the last election agreeing


with the Lowry, you are converted to the Conservatives the. It isn't


going well. I agree with lots of the analysis. The economy is


bumping along. We get the prospect of a double dip and triple dip


recession. There is little in it. 8% hearing there. The overall


prescription to make sure international markets have


confidence in the UK as a place to the business is one we have to


tackle. There was the largest deficit in peacetime British


history and we could be in a worse situation than today had the


coalition government not taken action. We could have been in a


similar situation to Greece or Spain. The prescription hasn't


worked. If you look up the debt and deficit, we are worse off than when


the coalition to Cover. We have cut back on public spending, on


investment and capital projects. We are now reaping the dividend. It


will take a lot to get us out of this and it hasn't rebalance the


economy in the wake he suggests. Osborne suggested it should have


done. We are deep in debt than before. The danger is we could be


in a worse position, we could have been in a situation like Greece.


There were angry scenes, yet again, at County Hall in Truro this week.


Cornwall councillors, like their opposite numbers across the country,


are struggling to thrash out next year's budget. A difficult job


which the government's made even harder with an unfair funding


settlement. At least that's what nearly sixty of its own MPs are


saying. Tamsin Melville reports. There's a revolt brewing in the


green fields of the south-west. constituents expect to be treated


fairly and they expect me to stand up as their MP and say to


government, irrespective of whether it is my own government, you have


got this wrong, look again. It's unbelievable after all that work


that it can get worse. Conservatives from rural


constituencies are breaking ranks and joining the Lib Dems to


question the fairness of a funding settlement that is branded a


bargain but communities Secretary Eric Pickles. It is not a bargain


for rural areas. Councils and MPs from row MPs across England. In the


summer the government did good work revisiting the question of whether


rural areas get a good question but a few months later the first


divvying up of the funds of the back of that and guess what the


rural areas could to kick in the teeth. MPs are banding together in


a campaign to overturn the deal they say it means ministers are


still offering urban councils to to some more per head. In 2004, Labour


moved significant amounts of money towards urban authorities so we


need a rebalancing. That is why we are cross and there is a peasant


revolt going on in Parliament because we want to see a fair deal.


Rural authorities across the south- west are struggling to balance


their budgets. Before Christmas, Cornwall was told it faces a 1.8%


cut in spending power. The authority says in terms of actual


direct government funding, it's more like 6%. But his �80 million.


We survive on Electric, Kalidas and it's expensive. Those at this


JobCentre course know only too well the problems of living in rural low


wage economy. We have to factoring getting to the JobCentre, if you


haven't got the internet and she cannot afford the internet then you


have to go into the JobCentre to look for work. It affects


everything. With the increasing pressures on Cornwall Council, she


faces losing some of the help she gets to pay her council tax each


week. That extra few pounds, although it sounds like a paltry


sum is a daily struggle. If you take �5 of, it affects what you


have new shoes, if you need to buy yourself a new coat.


councillors say the cuts are hitting the poorest hardest.


They're challenging Conservative and Lib Dem colleagues to resign


from their parties in protest. are now gone past cuts in the fat,


we are cutting the muscle that is keeping the body going in Cornwall.


The government recognises there is a funding gap. With the finer


sediments imminent, the critics are not satisfied. What we want to see


his action and money, not just sympathy. Well, I don't think Neil


Parish will like the response we've just received from the Department


for Communities and Local Government. Their statement says:


"This is a fair settlement - fair to north and south, fair to rural


and urban areas and fair to shire and metropolitan areas. Councils


that cry wolf...are letting their residents down." Are you on the


side of the government or part of the Peasants revolt? The Peasants


revolt, some people may say who better to lead it. The reality is


all parties were the Labour, the Conservatives or the Lib Dems are


clear that we need to rebalance public funding across the country.


It is absolutely outrageous governments of all colours have


underfunded services in Cornwall and Devon and Dorset and across


other rural areas. What you make of the statement, you can hear people


saying it. I think it is frankly complacent claptrap to suggest


councils who were already struggling to balance the books and


cutting frontline services are able to easily make the savings he is


suggesting. Cornwall council says they need to put a council tax by


2%, you would agree? The councils have a different judgment call. I


would prefer them to take the offer from government to freeze council


tax, government has made available money to have a third year council


tax freeze. I know how difficult it is for my constituents have to make


ends meet. I don't know how some of the people who come to see me at my


surgery will find the extra money to pay council tax. This is a


difficult challenge and if Eric Pickles is a complacent in his


statement to say what he said and to be disdainful of his colleagues


is disgraceful. The council says the cuts would include libraries,


leisure centres and tourism support and transport. Vital services that


people absolutely depend on which is why I want to be clear that


Cornwall council has explored the option of getting the money for the


council tax freeze before I support an increase in council tax. These


are difficult decisions. We would not have to make such decisions if


we had a fair funding formula for rural areas something all


Government's promise but still we are lacking. This is something that


is Labour's support historically. Work, I don't agree that the


formula. A you did not move significant sums away from rural


areas. The form itself is by some time. To some extent the inner-city


areas are likely to score higher and on Labour's formula than any


role areas. Except on the grounds... Is it justifiable? It is not


justifiable if you are -- unless you're taking other measures to


help rural areas. Nobody understands the formula, suburbs,


in a city and rural areas complain about the cuts. The government


should recognise the problem and Rural Housing and businesses and


broadband. Room areas have a particular problem rather than play


one off against the other and also rather than leaving it a central


government to cajole, they allow councils to make a proper


assessment. On top of those issues, there is the transport problems


role areas face, getting to services when you live in a county


with communities but a disbursed -- Ruairi is. The use it in opposition,


David doesn't care Barbara areas. The head teachers I talked to say


the pupil premium is making a difference in helping those


children from disadvantaged backgrounds. I agree, the


government has to tackle this and it is utterly complacent for Eric


Pickles and his department to dismiss the concerns so many


coalition MPs from the south-west. I have been campaigning for a


fairer funding deal for Cornwall on education, health and transport for


the two decades I have been involved in politics. It is about


time government delivered on it. I don't care what the colour is of


the government but delivers it, we need to tackle this because it is


hurting people. And you have a junior government job, which voted


against? I am the bag career. consider voting against the


government? Let's be serious, let's be clear, I want see the final


settlement and I want to discuss this with ministerial colleagues. I


am as arranged as others from both parties in the region. Conservative


and Lib Dem MPs went in asking for fairer funding and it seems this


government is not prepared to deliver that.


Bad news this week about the cheap and cheerful mackerel. They may be


almost two a penny on the fishmonger's slab but


conservationists are warning it's a different story in the sea. And if


a decline in mackerel stocks is worrying for consumers, it's even


more disturbing for the people who catch them. Believe it or not, the


little stripy fellows are the most valuable species for the UK's


fishing industry as John Henderson reports.


Everyone knows fish is good for you but could too much of a good thing


the bad for the south-west? From our own fishery we are concerned


because last year it was the first -- worst year we've had. It could


be the overfishing has caused the poor season. Macro, Fashanu,


healthy and popular. It's been removed from the Marine -- mackerel.


The stocks as they stand are above the level they need to be to be


sustainable whole of the trend is downwards. The graph is pointing


downwards. If the pressure continues it will give below a


trigger point and the stock itself will be unsustainable. And this is


the pressure point. Boats from Iceland and the Faeroe Isles are


catching mackerel like never before. A million tons were taken in 2011,


double what scientists say it should have been caught. For UK


fishermen bound by quotas, it is frustrating. Plymouth is the second


biggest fish market and mackerel is only a tiny percentage of the catch.


In the south-west, it affects the local fishermen, south-west


interests and processes and everyone associated with the


industry. It is worth a lot of money. West Cornish liners like


David need mackerel to. We work a 30 hooks on a line, very


sustainable way of catching fish. There is no way you could over-


fished stocks with this method. Conservation is and the minister


had said catching them mackerel the traditional way it is not part of


the problem but David is worried. It is unfair we should be targeted


-- tarred with the same brush. A letter biggest London and people


may be are not as well educated and might decide not to buy it. There


is more international courts on mackerel next month.


Conservationists were asked not to eat his money.


I think when you were the minister you were involved with Brussels.


The EU is in agreement and the argument is with Iceland. Fish


stocks do need protecting. Part of the problem is the numbers are


going down and it is moving. Probably because of the warmer...


The North Atlantic is becoming warmer, fish are moving north. The


Icelanders are closer to the mackerel than they used to be.


There is a balance. The EU needs to renegotiate on our behalf with


Iceland and the Faeroe Isles to make sure we are not overfishing.


We are not yet in danger point, it's important to recognise that


but we might be in a couple of years. This stand-off has been


going on for about three years. Should Britain look at sanctions to


push this? Negotiations are not going anywhere. At this point I


would say they need to negotiate hard, harder than I have been doing.


The other. Is a lot of the south- west fishing his hand line. That


doesn't pose any serious threat to the stocks. As for consumers in


London, if the mackerel tins were labelled hands like a lot of the


concern of consumers who are keen on mackerel and it's good few would


tend to purchase the hand like stop that side of things is also


important. I can see you agree with a lot of that. In terms of


resolving this huge international dispute,... It is negotiation and


firm negotiations. It's a run like this is the week the Conservative


Party put Europe on the agenda and it is the European Union and the


ability to negotiate with 27 other countries supporting the British


position with Iceland and the Faeroe Isles will give strength in


numbers. We need to bring negotiations to a conclusion and


negotiate hard. The point he makes about consumer education is a vital


one. There were talks about tuner getting sucked up in factory which


-- vessels and there is more sustainable ways of fishing. It is


a sustainable way to source fish. OK,. Now our regular round-up of


Cornwall council plans to pursue council tax cheats with lie-


detector technology. It will put people off dealing with us and


making more difficult to root out fraud. More pressure on the


government to stop a repeat of this. We need a clearer idea about what


Network Rail is supposed to do, a time frame and the impact they


think the work will have. The MoD admits a 1000 pieces of military


equipment have gone missing from the base. They have to be better


procedures to stop it. It has to be tackled nationally. At the moment


this job can only be done by a man. Some say the new succession to the


throne should apply it to the Duchy of Cornwall. It is held by the


Crown pending the arrival of the future male heir.


We talked about Cornwall cancer, they think one way to save money is


through lie detection approach to counter tax benefits. It is


nonsense. It has been tried by government departments and shown


not to be effective in doing what they want it to do. Cornwall is


going down a dead end on this one. It might be more appropriate for


you to try the guests here. Not in time for you today. There does need


be a crackdown on fraud on social security. If lie-detector has can


help, I am not in principle against them. It is how you do it and


interpreted because they're not very accurate. I am concerned if


it's a private company rather than the police or social security


officials and that side of things needs to be addressed. As a


possible to fool I would not rule it out. The situation with the


energy equipment, it's a long standing mess. -- MoD equipment.


used to work for the oil ministry 40 years ago and it was always a


problem. And are you concerned about the succession? I am very


concerned was that I want to make sure it is done on the same


principles we have successions to the monarchy so there is equality


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