17/02/2013 Sunday Politics South West


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In the South West... The row over how many new homes


should be built in Cornwall and rural MPs fail in their fight to


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2131 seconds


get more cash for councils. Hello. Coming upon Sunday Politics


in the South West. The Peasants revolt that never was, rural MPs


fail in their fight to get more cash for council services. For the


next 20 minutes I am joined by the Liberal Democrat MP Adrian Sanders


and Labour councillor and Jude Robinson. This week the Health


Secretary Jeremy Hunt unveiled proposals to end what he called the


ruinous costs of care for the elderly. It would mean you could


have assets of �123,000 before paying for care and no matter how


well the EU are, the amount you pay would be capped at �75,000. Is this


a good idea? I think it is. It is long overdue. It is something the


Liberal Democrats promised at the last election and that we wanted to


end the practice of people having to sell their homes in order to pay


for care. It will help, something in the region of 100,000 people who


at the moment have to sell assets in order to provide the funding for


their care and I think it is a much fairer way of in the future trying


to decide what contribution that people should pay given at the


threshold is quite high. �75,000 to match? There was a


commission that recommended the cap on spending to be set at �35,000.


There is a difference and I think that is a reflection of what can be


afforded. We mentioned people having it to sell their homes.


45,000 people per year are forced to sell their homes. Is this


something that should have been done it sooner? People having to


sell their homes in their lifetime was something of that the Labour


government did tackle and I do not think that has changed. People will


still have to sell their homes to pay for their care bills but it


will not happen until after they died. I think some of the changes


are welcome in the proposals, but I do have concerns about the cap is


too high and I have concerns about how this will impact on local


authorities. It will allow people to have �100,000 more in assets so


it is a big change. I think it is welcome. I think the proposals that


the Labour Party is coming out with about integrating and not just


health and social care but also mental health services would go


even further towards sorting out the problems that we have got with


the conflict with the NHS and social care. I think we could go


further. We have to move on with our next story which is that


councillors in Cornwall approved plans to build thousands of new


homes. Planning officers have recommended a target of 45,400


homes that members rejected that and voted in favour of just under


38,000. However, three communities came forward and said they could


take more so the final figure approved was 42,250. Some


campaigners say the numbers do not add up. The issue of how many new


homes should be built in Cornwall became clearer this week. The


council outlined its plans agreeing to a figure of 42,250. The debate


over the numbers continues. I am aghast at that figure. I am


surprised. It is about right because it has gone through the


consultation process. Planning officers had proposed to just over


45,000 new homes by 2030. The panel set up by the council proposed a


target of nearly 38,000 holders but three communities came forward to


say that they could take 4,300 more properties and that final number,


42,250 was approved. Were have almost got the same number that was


voted down at the beginning of the session. The 38,001. We need to


have something that is robust enough to withstand any challenge


from government inspectors. The original housing targets proposed


for Cornwall was 68,000 and we have come a long way down from that.


Some say the adjustment of the figure is a clear demonstration of


localism in action, giving communities more power to set and


the priorities for a local development through neighbourhood


planning but others are not so sure. Here in a manner, the parish


council went to judicial review to challenge plans for 25 affordable


homes. They felt only half that number was needed but the challenge


was defeated. And our experience is that localism has failed. The


general experience is that if you conduct a survey or take an action


that accords with what the next level of Tia of local government


has decided, like Cornwall Council, that is fine, but you cannot say no.


That Cornwall Council or for the area says the parish council needs


to accept the decision. Hopefully we will see people in the area


moving in that so that he can be handled to local families and local


people. That is what it is all about. That is the one thing


everyone seems to agree on, the need for affordable homes for local


people. Some may dispute how many of the 26,000 on the council


waiting list are really in need. The housing charity Shelter says of


the truer figure is almost certainly higher. It is great news


that the council is saying there will be new homes. That is


fantastic. The real issue is about whether those homes will be


affordable. If you look at house prices in Cornwall, they are nine


times more than average income, so will those houses be available to


the people who need them? Will lay the affordable? The council says it


hopes to achieve a minimum of 40% on affordable housing. The plan is


now out for consultation and if that proved it could be in place


early next year. Scott Bingham there. Jude Robinson, previous


building targets for Cornwall work for 60,000 homes, are all these


other figures meaningless? It does seem to be getting petty? I think


you are right. It is very difficult to establish what the housing need


is. There is certainly a slow down in a recent years of migration to


Cornwall which was one of the previous issues that as the economy


has slowed down at fewer people are coming here. Because we have got


the university and higher education, more young people are staying in


Cornwall so there is pressure within the county. Are you happy


with the target? I did vote for it. One problem we have got is that


people see houses going up but they do not see houses are that they


will be able to afford or that the children it can living. When you


are losing part of the countryside and part of your heritage and you


do not seem to be gaining much, it is creating a massive armies. We


have to get to the bottom of providing houses that are really


affordable. Will people be able to rent them? Can they buy them?


Affordable has become a bit it devalued. An awful lot of people


who will never be able to afford to buy a house at the prices we have


now. There are plans for thousands of homes in Torbay. Where is the


space for them going to be? I think Torbay has come up with a figure of


up to 10,000. That is part of the consultation. The question is the


type of housing and if they have done the right kind of research


work to find out what sort of homes are needed. We know we have


thousands of people on a waiting list and we know we have a lot of


local families in work who are inadequately housed in a private


sector accommodation, often with absentee landlords. Will it be


mainly green field sites? A great deal can still be found on a


brownfield sites. What about about shops? You see that in places like


Barcelona. It means town centres are maintained. Torbay has done a


bit of that and I am sure the councillors will have plans to do


more. There are quite a few buildings that are empty, that


could be used, sides that could be clear that that had buildings on


them at the moment. Is this likely to be done? The real issue is


making sure that the type of homes that the supply in the future need


local housing need and what we do not want his private developers


coming in, then advertising in national newspapers for people to


come down here for homes that they never thought they wanted in the


first place. Especially when we have so many local people who


cannot afford to get house. Where previous Labour targets wrong?


does seem very high. A lot of the previous housing targets were put


together by a regional Assembly and I think devolving that decision


closer to Cornwall is probably coming up with a better figure. I


agree totally with Adrian. We have got to build the right kind of


houses and make sure we're getting to the people in need and that is


the big question. Moving on. In recent weeks that the region's MPs


have been voicing objections to the government's funding of rural


councils. It is unfair that urban areas get 50% more cash per head


but when it came to the crunch on Wednesday night, not a single


coalition MP from the South West voted against the local government


settlement. Some council leaders are now very concerned about the


future. You pay your council tax and you expect your rubbish to be


collected, but in rural areas, providing essential services like


this costs more than it does in towns and cities. It is twice as


expensive to do a country route because of the travelling around


than it is to do a town Rich. It is a couple of miles and you collect


about five times as much. There are more sheep than people in West


Devon. It is a thinly spread community and if you live here, you


pay �200 more in council tax per year than if you live here, three


miles over the border in Plymouth. People in rural areas pay more in


council tax her head than people living in urban areas and because


of the cost of delivering services in these areas, they get less for


their money so they are hit twice. Countryside campaigners say urban


areas get 50% more funding per head despite recent lobbying, that gap


is not likely to change any time soon. Councils like West Devon are


disappointed with what the government has given them to spend


next year. This week, the leader put up council tax ignoring pleas


from Eric Pickles to freeze bills. We do not want to do this but next


April, we have to find another �720,000 against what will then be


something like a 7.1 million pound budget. We need every single penny


that we can in order to continue to provide a good quality service the


to the residents that we are here to serve. Earlier this month, the


government announced a grant meaning of that Devon councils will


get nearly a million pounds to make savings. That did not stop an angry


backbench debate on Monday, calling for more cash. Both Torridge and


West Devon are small, highly rural councils. Each of them are facing a


threat... In recent weeks there have been strong words from South


West MPs are angry about the lack of government money.


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 role. It is unbelievable


after all that work that it can actually get worse. Despite the


strength of feeling, none of the region's coalition MPs have voted


against the local government finance settlement. The government


says it is a fair deal at in West Devon, the council leader disagrees.


The East say it is their. I disagree. I cannot comment on the


divide, I do not know enough about it. It is not fair in my opinion,


it is not fair on the electors and the council tax payers, the


residents of West Devon and other rural areas. It is not fair. The


figures prove it is not fair. Earlier I spoke to the Conservative


MP Neil Parish and asked him why, despite his serious concerns, he


decided to vote for at the local government settlement. Because I


believe the government is going to do something about it. I did say in


the House of Commons that I can mobilise the local people in I need


to and I have taken and the government at their word that they


will look at it. If they do not, they will have trouble in the


future, because many of us who represent rural constituencies are


not happy, we're not getting our fair share. You did it promises us


that there would be a Peasants revolt and it has not amounted to


that? We did get a little bit more money, not enough, and we did get


promises. I have said it to the Minister that you cannot but the


promise in a pocket, you want money and he is very aware that there is


quite a gang of us. Do you believe there will be more money? How much


more are you likely to get? There will be a little bit of funding


around the edges for particular projects. What we are very


interested to see is that they have not close the that son following


years. The problem with this settlement, if it is set in stone


and this year, the following years when we move towards district


council keeping it more, it will have a real effect on their future


funding. Why should authorities like East Devon and made it Devon


have a cat of 6% and Greenwich a cut of 3%? This is not sustainable.


This makes people cynical about politics I have rebelled in the


past. Ice especially rebelled over the referendum in the Europe. I am


not adverse to rebelling that there are times, when it you can do a lot


of work behind the scenes and sometimes a threat of a rebellion


can be better than an actual rebellion. If you will not defeat


the government, then they have got away with it. If you threaten a


rebellion, perhaps they will look again and that way you get more in


the way of a negotiation. Thank you very much. Jude Robinson, what does


this boat mean for rural councils? Are they facing disaster? Yes. It


is difficult to see how councils will cope in the coming years


because not only have they faced the huge cuts in the past four


years but it looks as though the next funding round will be worse.


Cornwall Council has saved �170 million, it is still having to put


money from reserves into the budget next year. Councils are at the


front line of service delivery, whether it is libraries, care for


the elderly... That is the equation we need to be looking at, what is


the need out there? What other services we are trying to deliver


and what funding do we need? voted for this. Have you got any


sympathy? The bottom line is that the money is not there and


everything is having to be tightened up, whether it is a


government department or a local government a authority. Some of the


cuts include things that could affect beaches, funding for beaches,


tourist information centres also the safety alarms and that people


wear around and their next. mayor of Torre Abbey spoke before


Christmas asking MPs if we can approach government so that he


could pay back �50 million that the previous Conservative mayor had


taken out for projects that they have not spent. The idea that this


is an impoverished council is not true. You have now got �50 million


to spend. If that money was invested in an income stream, it


were bring in money that could be used. How should it be spent?


not that clear cut, but certainly investing in social housing to


ensure a rentable income, investing in Workspace it to build on the


good news of the bypass so that we can find premises as -- premises


for businesses. This would bring in income that would be greater than


what the council is having to pay in interest on those loans. Is it


unfair the balance between rural and urban areas? There are a lot of


increased costs in rural areas. In Cornwall, you have urban areas as


well that have the additional costs on top of that. The are in a


difficult position because the labour wants to give urban areas


are more money but yet you are in a rural council. Labour's decision is


to try and match the funding with the needs and there is a whole


range. For too long we have had this argument while it Labour was


in power. We need a funding mechanism that that is fair to all


areas that is based on local need and we need to allow councils to be


freed at to have income streams in themselves. They have more freedom,


fiscally in order to look after their own areas. Perhaps that is


where the coalition is coming in. Now our regular round-up of the


political wing in 60 seconds. -- The Week in 60 Seconds. Seven


seaside towns were promised cash to revive their weaker economies. In


Torbay, the mayor said the money could mean a 350 new jobs. We are


delighted to have won at this ground. The Prime Minister said in


Devon it would get a chunk of European funding, news which


delighted in the county council leader. We're getting back some of


the money we are putting in. Almost half the region's GPs say they


might quit because of NHS reform according to a survey. Here,


councillors rejected plans to build wind turbines. We are confident


that any objection to this application will give us the right


result. David Cameron was pressed on horsemeat. It is the still


eating are processed beef? Horse rugs may have entered the food


chain via a Taunton abattoir. Let us look at horsemeat. Who is to


blame in this? Is the government, is that the supermarkets or


consumers were being it too demanding for a cheap goods? The it


is probably a bit of all of that. We need to discover if the food is


safe. That is crucial. The secondary element is we want to be


sure that when we buy something that says it is beef is that it


actually is the. Should meet at like this at the taken off the


shelves? Take it off the shelves and people should go to their local


butchers. We are looking forward to a revival in Cornwall. Do you think


that is likely? Yes. The last time someone said to me that they went


to the local picture, it was below. There was a queue. Processed meat


is the problem and we do not necessarily have local processed


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