27/01/2013 Sunday Politics South West


27/01/2013

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

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

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2291 seconds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday the airline Flybe announced a hundred jobs are going

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

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

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deliver services. Are you thinking you backed the

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wrong horse in signing up to the Conservative prescription? That

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

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rebalance the economy. Away from dependence on financial services,

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

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make sure we are getting as much Infrastructure Investment as

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

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

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

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

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

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rebalance the public finances away from a dependence on French

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

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

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

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

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

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public finances right. You went into the last election agreeing

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

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

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

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

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prescription to make sure international markets have

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

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tackle. There was the largest deficit in peacetime British

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Cornwall councillors, like their opposite numbers across the country,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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that it can get worse. Conservatives from rural

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constituencies are breaking ranks and joining the Lib Dems to

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question the fairness of a funding settlement that is branded a

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

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

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summer the government did good work revisiting the question of whether

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

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

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

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

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

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moved significant amounts of money towards urban authorities so we

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

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

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Rural authorities across the south- west are struggling to balance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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everything. With the increasing pressures on Cornwall Council, she

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

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

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

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

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councillors say the cuts are hitting the poorest hardest.

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They're challenging Conservative and Lib Dem colleagues to resign

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

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

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

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

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

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

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for Communities and Local Government. Their statement says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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It is absolutely outrageous governments of all colours have

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underfunded services in Cornwall and Devon and Dorset and across

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

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

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councils who were already struggling to balance the books and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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difficult challenge and if Eric Pickles is a complacent in his

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

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

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leisure centres and tourism support and transport. Vital services that

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

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

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

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

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we had a fair funding formula for rural areas something all

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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help rural areas. Nobody understands the formula, suburbs,

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

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should recognise the problem and Rural Housing and businesses and

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broadband. Room areas have a particular problem rather than play

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

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government to cajole, they allow councils to make a proper

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

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

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

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

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the pupil premium is making a difference in helping those

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children from disadvantaged backgrounds. I agree, the

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

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Pickles and his department to dismiss the concerns so many

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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government is not prepared to deliver that.

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

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almost two a penny on the fishmonger's slab but

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

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

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

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

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fishing industry as John Henderson reports.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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downwards. If the pressure continues it will give below a

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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interests and processes and everyone associated with the

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

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

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

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fished stocks with this method. Conservation is and the minister

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

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

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

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

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is more international courts on mackerel next month.

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Conservationists were asked not to eat his money.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ability to negotiate with 27 other countries supporting the British

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position with Iceland and the Faeroe Isles will give strength in

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numbers. We need to bring negotiations to a conclusion and

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

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

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

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

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Cornwall council plans to pursue council tax cheats with lie-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Crown pending the arrival of the future male heir.

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

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through lie detection approach to counter tax benefits. It is

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nonsense. It has been tried by government departments and shown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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principles we have successions to the monarchy so there is equality

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