21/04/2013 Sunday Politics South West


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 21/04/2013. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



And in the Southwest: will welfare reform devastate the local economy?


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2067 seconds


And well and you green energy Hello, I'm Lucie Fisher, coming up


on the Sunday Politics in the South West: Could the region follow


Iceland in creating thousands of jobs through geothermal power? One


MP says it could if the Government sets bold green energy targets now.


And for the next 20 minutes, I'm joined by Plymouth Labour MP Alison


Seabeck, the Lib Dem peer Robin Teverson and the Conservative MP


for Torridge and West Devon, Geoffrey Cox, welcome all of you to


the programme. Let's start with the benefits changes. Recent research


from Sheffield Hallam University shows welfare reform will take over


�500 million out of the region's economy. Torbay is the biggest


loser, but the areas represented in the studio today aren't far behind.


Alison's working age constituents are said to lose an average of �551


a year, in Robin's home county of Cornwall the figure is around �520,


and in Torridge the number is very similar. How can we cope in the


South West if we are losing this much money out of the economy at


this time? All regions are going to have losses. I do not think Alison


and her party are considering not cutting welfare, they are just


saying we should not cut it quite so much. It is people receiving


working tax credit and other working benefits, in those cases


they will benefit from the huge rise in the tax threshold. It is


going to be put back because they will have more tax in their pockets.


These figures are not met, they represent the amount of benefit


that is going out. I question to Alison is, what would Labour do?


The country is on the brink of economic and financial crisis.


Labour is not saying do not cut, just do not cut so much. We are on


the brink of an economic crisis caused by this Government's


policies. We would not argue there needs to be some control but if you


are going to bring in changes they have to beefier. This is not fair.


Taking �70 million out of the annual budget in Plymouth from


people we know spend their money in the local economy could be


seriously damaging to local businesses. We have said we would


look at controlling the welfare budget. At the same time we would


not be giving millionaire's tax breaks. Conservative MPs last week


were arguing we could not cut the bankers bonuses because it would


take money out of the economy yet here we are taking huge sweeps out


of the pockets of the poor. answer is the Lib Dem policy of


raising the tax threshold to 10,000. There is a myth put about that


these are different families but they are not. The majority of those


who get benefits are hard-working families. The figures here also do


not include pensions. Pensions are better under this Government. We


have looked after the elderly better than in the past. Do not


take my work for her -- my word for it, figures are out from ASDA the


supermarket today, people's disposable incomes are at �17 less


per week than they were in 2011. That is taking into account the tax


changes will stop -- tax changes. Where there is a problem, there has


been a shift in expenditure that has gone towards Bauben and against


the rural in the overall national budget and some of us have fought


against that. We have got to see that fear a deal between rural and


urban and this Government is not addressing it. What about these 500


pound cap we have been talking about, do you think that is fair?


People in the South West might get less wages than that to work yet


the benefits cap is set at �500 per week. I do not think Labour is


arguing for a regional pattern of benefits. The truth is, they have


no policies on this at all. We do have to move on, thank you very


much. It looks as though spring may have finally arrived, but it's been


a long cold winter and an expensive one for thousands of people across


the South West who can't access mains gas to heat their homes. This


week one of the region's MPs said the Government must do more to help


people who depend on off-grid energy. Tamsin Melville reports.


According to keep warm is a struggle for these pensioners near


Bude. And and 10 Thomson do not have access to the mains gas grid


so for heating the use coal and oil for deep radiators. They say their


heating has doubled in four years. It is something we cannot keep on


top of. It is not something that is going to go down. We have to keep


buying it. We do argue. I will say it is hot in here turn it off and


he will say he feels the cold and needs it on. Across Cornwall one in


five households are estimated to live in fuel poverty. Across the UK


4 million households are connected to the mains gas grid. Nearly half


of all homes in Cornwall are not connected. Many risk being left in


the darkness as reforms to energy happen. The cost can be up to 160%


more expensive. The Government has put a huge amount of effort into


getting fuel prices as low as they can be. The energy company have to


make sure people are on the lowest tariffs but off bread is not


regulated by off gem. There will be an inquiry to make sure all


households can get the best prices. This charity are frustrated by the


lack of progress. The fundamental is that Government and Government


regulators need to get off gas house holds on to their agenda.


They have been ignored. He says it is not just about customer


protection. The winter fuel payment is a great idea but it is paid at


the wrong time and they therefore do not have the opportunity to buy


oil when it is cheapest which could be during the summer months. There


are various schemes encouraging energy efficiency and there will be


cross-party discussions. Meanwhile, the gas networks are committed to


connecting thousands more warms to the dead by 2021. -- to the grid.


Is enough being done to help these people? Nor and I think my


Government did not do enough either. These are people not just using oil


but using bottles, gas, all these people are paying an extra


ordinarily a high proportion of their incomes just on keeping warm.


I do think the Government need action and I have a lot of sympathy.


You are the Lib Dem spokesman for energy and climate change in the


Lords, what is your take on this? It is not just the fact, I am off


the get myself and it means you cannot get from the energy


companies and joint tariff which are a lot cheaper so you're


electricity is more expensive as well in the rural area. The


Government has not paid enough attention to this. Ofgem the


regulator has been lackadaisical as well, it has not got involved. The


Competition Commission and Office of Fair Trading have really fudged


on this as well. What can the Government do? I completely agree.


I recall writing a letter to Alison's Government over the past


eight years and being told now is not the time. This is as real


problem. We have got and neglected army of people, pensioners, those


on low wages. So do you give them the money in summer when the fuel


is cheaper? Sir Italy we need more flexibility on the winter fuel


payments but what I found when I carried out an inquiry is that


there is very little competition. The contracts are very similar, it


easily similar in some cases so residents have very little choice.


You said you lived in the countryside, should we say that


living in the country is perhaps a luxury and the taxpayer should not


subsidise that. For many people that is where the Levante have no


alternative to live somewhere else. One of the things that to be done,


if everyone had energy-efficient houses it would not be too bad but


these ones tend to be the worst. Government programmes around


energy-efficiency, perhaps rural houses could be given a priority.


Should be bring in means testing for the winter fuel payments?


starts getting very messy and expensive if you build in extra


bureaucracy to deal with that. leave things as they stand? OK, we


have to move on. Now sticking with the energy theme, this week the row


about renewable energy targets returned to Westminster. One of


Cornwall's MPs said the South West could attract millions of pounds of


investment if only ministers would provide certainty about the


Government's energy plans beyond 2020, but he says the Treasury is


still reluctant to do that. John Danks reports. Things are on the up


for the solar energy trade. The cost of producing energy panels has


come down. Firms like this one are confident the next seven years


should see subsidies continue. Investment and growth will depend


on what the Government do next. is a positive thing and allows us


to invest and look at developing into different periods. We do need


the long-term vision in order to know what we want to do. A forecast


of South West renewable energy over the next 10 years sees Solar Power


generated electricity rising by 103%. Onshore wind rising by 201 %


and biomass and marine could both grow by around 1,000%. This will


only happen with the right long- term investment climate. We've and


title are a significant for the South West. Really for them


extending the targets would be very helpful indeed. Getting money to


flow into renewable technology has not been easy. Best hub in Cornwall


designed to test devices has remained unused since being placed


on the sea floor or in 2010. Geothermal power was to be


developed at this site but the plans fell through after failing to


obtain investment. The opportunity will be missed, investors will go


and put their money in other parts of the world, let alone in other


sectors of the UK economy. The renewable sector will simply miss


the opportunity altogether. There will be thousands of jobs and


billions of pounds worth of investment lost. The Lib Dems are


keen to set a target for low energy by 2016. Billions are already


earmarked to overhaul the infrastructure. Renewables will be


part of the plan but as the cliff edge of Twenty20 approaches, many


will already have walked away. Are you approach green energy or not?


This headlines which caught you does not sound very green, does it?


Only if you take a look at similar packages. There is ample range of


renewable energy which we are not putting investment into. It is


going to these pointless pieces of industrial garbage which are being


strewn across the countryside and upsetting rural communities up and


down the land. Marine is in place outside of Cornwall and that is not


being used. What we need to do his accent the system towards the


development of younger renewable energies so that the money goes


into those. At the moment the easy way to get a renewables Certificate


is to build a wind turbine 300 metres from someone's house. There


was going to be 6 million matched funding which the Government has


backed out of. Is that because you do not believe this is something


the Government is probably backing? I think the problem is that we are


end a recession, the banks are not lending, it might be a good idea


for us to send clear signals that we want Marine Energy, tidal, Soler,


these devious forms of the renewables that are a good. The


problem is that these wind turbines are switching people off in the


tens of thousands. Just to remind people think he's they have just


tuned in, you are the Lib Dems spokesman for energy and climate


change, are we doing enough? could always do more, particularly


on the research side. We need to bring on the technologies of the


future but also get on with the ones we have at the moment. The


cheapest forms of renewable our Solar and onshore wind. They are


more efficient than offshore wind. The wind is at free fuel resource.


It is the upfront cost that is significant. That and people like


this man do not want them. It has been shown in they are at minority.


Where they are being put the majority are against. I expect that


would be the same for communities where there are not nuclear-power


stations. In some countries like Denmark you have a co-operative and


local people actually owned these turbines. If you ask people if they


would like a turbine Daisy know unless you ask if they want to part


Ornette then they say yes. -- part owned it. Indeed. There are


corporate of wind farms in the UK as I understand it, that is a


thoroughly good thing. More interestingly, we should be asking


the Lib Dems exactly where the sect in all of this. At their conference


they come up with one question for Government and say we must have


targets. I think we should have targets, our business needs have to


come back to that. At the same time as you have got a Liberal Democrat


head of State to is not pushing targets. It is typical. Can I


briefly touched on business? The CBI have recently put figures out,


one third of all business growth is around green businesses. A


significant proportion of that is around the renewables. They are not


onshore wind South West, Mary and, yes. Are you pro or are you not?


Liberal Democrats are four or the deep harmonisation target going


into the bill. What we have is a Treasury that does not want one but


has agreed to an increase in resources for renewable energy


which is important. It is have it! It is a very important one. Sorry


we have to stop there. Now our regular round-up of the political


week in 60 seconds. It will be worth it! Debate about cuts to the


Devon and Somerset Fire Service has been extended after a meeting in


Torbay. A second fire engine will occasionally arrive a little later


than it would have done to date. is absolutely imperative. Over


1,000 contaminated birds were washed up on our beaches according


to D and S P B who want pollution controls tightened up. By


continuing to use the three schools menu there is a widening of the


poverty gap says an MP in Devon. Thousands lined the streets to say


goodbye to Margaret Thatcher including the women who used to cut


her here when she was on holiday in Cornwall. I feel very privileged to


have helped her and I am delighted to be here to be my last respects.


-- pay my last respects. Let's talk about the dead seabirds, some say


it could be the result of perfectly legal tank washing regulations.


think there should be tighter pollution waste. If you cause


damage you should be liable for that. Often on slicks there is a


DNA trace where you can trace things back. If you cause problems,


you should pay. We do agree? Yes, it is a very see his issue. There


have been a spate of these incidents in recent months. What


did you take on this? I think the liability is there. I do not think


the lot needs tightening. I think the issue is on enforcement. We


have has been coastguard and devious agencies who would carry


out this enforcement having their budgets savaged by the Government.


Download Subtitles