03/02/2013 Sunday Politics South West


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In the South West: The pro-hunting MPs who are say the at SPCA has


become too political. $:/STARTFEED. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. In


the South West: The pro-hunting MPs who say the RSPCA has become too


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2399 seconds


$:/STARTFEED. Hello, I'm Lucie Fisher, coming up on the Sunday


Politics in the south-west: the cost of childcare and the warning


government plans to make it more affordable could be bad news for


the region's poorest families. And for the next 20 minutes, I'm joined


by the Lib Dem MP for North Cornwall, Dan Rogerson. And Nicky


Williams, a Labour councillor in Plymouth, welcome, both of you, to


the programme. We start with the cost of fuel. This week the Office


of Fair Trading assured motorists they were not being ripped off. Its


report acknowledged pump prices in the countryside are often two pence


per litre more but said the market was working well. Motoring


organisations are outraged. This is a wide watch. The Office of Fair


Trading said there is no problem with prices rising like a rocket


and falling like a beer. What we need is more transparency. Why not


publish the wholesale prices so that consumers can decide whether


they are being taken for a ride or not. What do you think of this?


has brought in at a discount in terms of fuel duty for areas like


the Isles of Scilly. I would like that extended to areas like


Cornwall in my constituency. Some say 60% of the pump price is the


fuel duty and VAT. I think also the reliance of the car is much


stronger in a rural area as. They also need to protect the rural


independent filling stations. what can you offer motorists? Can


Labour do anything? What we need to do immediately is do what we have


been talking about, ask the Chancellor to propose a cap on VAT.


Is that feasible in this economic climate? I think it is essential if


we want to boost the economy and make sure people have more money in


their pocket. We need to make this cut. A temporary cut in VAT would


take three pence off per litre in petrol. OK. The row about the


hunting ban returned to Westminster this week. Several South West MPs


accused the RSPCA of being too political. Last year the charity


attracted strong criticism from country sports enthusiasts after it


successfully prosecuted a hunt in David Cameron's constituency.


Johnny Rutherford reports. Boxing Day on Dartmoor. The busiest day of


the hunting calendar. A tradition that has been around for centuries


but these days it has a modern twist. Since the hunting ban was


introduced nearly eight years ago, the hounds now follow a scent


instead of an animal. We are carrying on a hunting but doing our


best to stay within the law. Most people there are no fault in this


are law abiding people. When you take your hounds out it is just


like taking your dogs out for a walk. There may be times when the


chase something they should not but that is not against the law if that


was not your intention to do so. Just before Christmas, a hunt in


Oxfordshire was taken to court by the Royal Society for the


Prevention of Cruelty to animals. The RSPCA spent over �300,000 on


the case against the Heythrop Hunt. It is the first time the charity


has brought a case against a traditional hunt and it happened to


be right in the heart of the Prime Minister's constituency. Some


south-west MPs say the charity has gone too far. We chewed agree with


me that this is just another very sad case? -- would you agree with


me? Into 2011 RSPCA inspectors submitted more than 2,000 cases to


their prosecution department, only eight resulted in charges under the


hunting act, none of which were in the south-west. The RSPCA has now


become England's most prolific prosecutor. If you compare it to


other charities which have not put forward private prosecutions since


1983. We are seeing a major charity acting in a way that is acting


differently from other comparable Tata days -- charities. The RSPCA


had every right to prosecute de Heythorp Hunt. Those seeking to


criticise the role of the ad SPCA and ultimately defend hunting as a


sport -- the an essay -- the an SPCA, it is completely unfair to


criticise them when going for a prosecution. The charities spend


one-third of �1 million of its funds bringing the Heythorp Hunt


case to court. The fines totalled just under �7,000. Some MPs said


that was grossly disproportionate, others defended the law enforcing


role of the RSPCA. If it were not be an S PC we would to be expecting


the police to put together this case and they do not have the


expertise or resources. charity's critics say it's close


working relationship with the police makes it even more important


that it does not get involved in cases that could be seen to be


politically motivated. Johnny Rutherford reporting. Earlier I


spoke to the chief executive of the RSPCA, Gavin Grant. I asked him if


his decision to bring a case against the Prime Minister's local


hunt was indeed a political one. all we prosecute on the grounds of


animal welfare. Those criticising the address PCA want to see a


return to bloodsports. You can see it looks political. This is then


David Cameron's constituency, he has been on the hunt in the past.


It is a staggering amount to spend on a prosecution which resulted in


only a �7,000 fine. Any individual who was involved, if anyone thought


there was something wrong with the case they could go to the Crown


Prosecution Service's. Occasionally some of the animal abusers we


prosecute car or referred. The Crown Prosecution Service have


never intervened in an address PCA case. The Crown Prosecution Service


can only prosecute the case is taken to them by the police. I


understand the police force are hard pressed, we all know that,


often when they have these sorts of crimes they do not give them the


importance they deserve. If that is the case Howard many horses, cats


and dogs could you have saved from cruelty with this money? The RSPCA


spent 96p of every pound contributed to it in animal welfare.


In many cases people plead guilty to gratuitous violence against


wildlife. We will continue to bring to justice those people who abuse


animals and break the law in that way. Listening to that is the


director of campaigns at the hunt alliance. What is wrong with what


the RSPCA are doing? What has changed is that the an SPCA has


developed a much more aggressive agenda. Against farming, racing


other activities involved with animals. It could be described as


an animal rights agenda rather than animal welfare. But they are


working within the law? There are two sides to this. They are making


objective judgments about which cases should be prosecuted and


which should not. It is very interesting. The debate on Tuesday


was not about hunting specifically. All the MPs were asking for was


proper accountability. They are saying that if it was not for them


prosecuting these cases it is unlikely anybody would because the


Prime Prosecution Service would find it too expensive. I think that


is a myth. This fund has been prosecuted by the CPS previously.


What is the problem with putting cases to the CPS for them to decide


whether a prosecution should take place? Are you comfortable with the


address PCA bringing these prosecutions? They are a charity.


They are using their money to take up the issues people are raising


with them so I think it is tricky ground for the Government to step


in and say to charities we think you have overstepped the mark. If


they are bringing unfair things the courts will see that and take a


view towards it but it does not seem to be the case so far. Have


you picked the wrong fight do you think? Most polls in the country


seemed to suggest that people are against fox-hunting generally.


laws are voted for people expect the police to prosecute Square


there it is fraud or rate cases. Quaye in this one area of the


criminal law do we have no accountability or scrutiny? This is


not just about hunting but a whole range of issues. It is an issue


that needs to be addressed. I hope it will be considered whether it is


a question worth asking. What do you think of that? I have had that


debate in these past. The whole point of the justice system we have


is twofold. The CPS is there to do things in the interest of public


safety. There are assertive judgments using public money.


they can focus on other things like murder cases? I do not think we can


criticise the charity at the moment for doing something that they think


is important. What is your position? The Association of police


forces says that if the address PC did not do this work no one else


would so when they see it as being in the public interest to prosecute


they should go ahead and prosecute. Has this high profile case had a


long-term impact on hunts, do you think? I think hunts will continue


to operate within the law, they are doing their best to do that. If any


organisation chooses to bring Massa prosecutions then it is going to be


very difficult for anyone to defend. -- massive prosecutions. Labour


councillors say the Government's new plan for childcare could have a


devastating impact on some of the poorest families in the south-west.


But Conservative councillors who run the children's services in one


of the most economically deprived parts of the region says increasing


numbers of children looked after by each adult is a good idea. Our


reporter has more. The best start in life. It's what parents want and


it's what the Government wants. But many families find childcare


expensive and some mums have to decide whether it makes financial


sense to return to work. Mums who return to work on a part-time basis


like I did, a lot of their salary will just go to childcare.


Government's hoping that proposals announced this week will help bring


down prices. One idea is to change staff to children ratios so


nurseries and childminders have more flexibility to take on more


children. What I am worried about now is that we are moving from the


model of high quality to lower quality and I think the outcome


will be much lower. Minister know that if you get the first five


years right in a child's development, it can make a crucial


difference to how well they do as adults. A report by a think-tank


called policy exchange shows that children in deprived areas aren't


getting the best childcare. The government's also announced this


week that it wants councils to focus more resources on


disadvantaged children. But Labour- run Plymouth city council says the


government's initiative risks creating more inequalities. Will


some nurseries choose to continue with the present ratios and some go


with the higher ratios? If that is the case the only ones who will get


the better ones are of the people who can afford it. In Plymouth's


poorest areas, only 5% of nurseries are rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted.


Compare that with conservative-run Torbay, where 33% get top marks.


And on paper, the Bay is more deprived that Plymouth. It is about


working very closely with our partners in the nurseries. We have


done a lot of work on their early intervention for troubled families.


Councillor Lewis also thinks the recently announced changes will


benefit children across the country. We have already put in a mechanism


to make sure that provision for our youngsters is always there and is


good. That is not the same throughout the country. The problem


we are looking at is that you cannot take one area like ours on


its own, we have to look across the board. There are other authorities


not doing so well and I think these measures are there to help them.


This September around 300 of Torbay's 2-year-olds will benefit


from free government-funded nursery places. The Bay's conservative run


council insists the government is moving in the right direction AND


improving childcare for everyone. This is an issue I know concerns


you. I will ask by asking Dan for his possession. Is it right having


a higher ratio of children to adults? It is not just nurseries


but childminders, too. I think you have to look at both sides. First


we need to increase the money going in. It is already money for two-


year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds but secondly we are


talking about child minder qualifications as well. If we want


more qualifications we will have to pay them more it. A lot of people


find it very hard to understand how it could possibly be better to have


less adults her child. A lot of these people are paid very low


wages so what you want to do is to bring better people in, to


encourage those who already work in the organisations to achieve higher


qualifications. I think they failed to realise that there is already a


provision so that there is ongoing training in these nurseries. Quite


often people working in those nurseries are qualified to degree


level. While I welcome that there would be a starting qualification,


that is not really going to solve the problem. The racial is going up


to one adult to six children. I was talking in my local Nasri and B


were seeing the other day, it could take them a whole hour just to do


intermit here. -- saying. -- intermit here. I am interested in


seeing the budgets and how they think they will get money through


to nurseries. We only have to look at sure starts where 400 have


closed across the country. We have to increase the number of places


that are out there. We also want to drive up wages in this sector. We


have some very skilled, very hearing people who are giving a


start in life to these young people but at the moment they are paid low


wages. Now our regular round-up of the political week in 60 seconds.


The plan to close Brixham coastguard was again questioned


after stormy seas took the lives of two men. By how can the Prime


Minister reassure local fishermen with increased amounts of catch --


tax on beer catches that the risks they take will not increase with


the closure of the coastguard? the PM was asked to save the


Portland search-and-rescue helicopter by sending his ministers


to Dorset. Two of the south-west's elected police commissioners said


they are going to put up their part of the council tax. Controversial


proposals for a new parliamentary seat crossing the Devon/Cornwall


border were thrown out by MPs. And a hairdresser from Liskeard was put


on a Cornwall council blacklist after his campaign against traffic


wardens. Traffic warden alert! Proposals for a new cross-border


constituency have been thrown out, this would have been your seat, are


you pleased? Many people were opposed so why am really pleased we


were able to throw this out. We won the day. A relieved man. And we saw


at the end a hairdresser being blacklisted for warning about


traffic wardens, what does that mean? We have to insure that


measures are put in place to keep our staff say. It is just being


sensible really how we look after our staff. That's the Sunday


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