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one of those Tory MPs who wanted Europe in the Queen's Speech.
And ministers are told they must do more to protect our railway from
Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2161 seconds
Hello. Coming up on the Sunday Politics in the South West: The
warning that ministers are not doing enough to stop the region being cut
off by extreme weather. And for the next 20 minutes, I am
joined by the Conservative MP Mel Stride and the Labour peer Lord
Whitty. Welcome both of you to the programme. Let's start with this
week's jobs figures, which once again showed a fall in the number of
people out of work and claiming benefit. Significantly the claimant
count is down year on year in every part of the South West.
This appears to be good news. face of it, it is good news. But
there are odd things with the statistics. Employment figures are
going up and down. A lot of new jobs are very part time, even zero hours.
People are moving into self-employment. I think we should
welcome it strongly. We need proper jobs, serious jobs, better going to
be long-term for people of the South West and the of the country.
underemployment is a problem in your constituency? I don't think so. A
job as important, as opposed to being out of work. We have seen a
movement from part-time to full-time work as a trend. We have seen a
movement from temporary to permanent work as well. We have seen women in
work increase. That masks these figures of employment because
actually unemployment has risen and yet the numbers of people claiming
has actually gone down. If you look at the number that have been
unemployed over the previous period last year, the record has not been
too bad. Most economists have been slightly confused by that, but it is
one of the aspect of our record that I think has been more positive than
negative. Unemployment hasn't played as big a part in this recession as
the 1980s. Thankfully employers are hanging on experienced Labour. But
we also have these odd sort of choirs eyedrops the economy. --
quasi-jobs. But some of these jobs are vulnerable in terms of looking
after your family. The European drum has been banging
away all week at Westminster. Among the Conservative MPs pressing David
Cameron for a more solid commitment to an in-out vote were six from the
South West. Our reporter has been getting reaction to the row from
business people in Cornwall. Some politicians think it is the
burning question. Europe, in or out? In, out, shake it all about.
Entrepreneurs are meeting here to swap ideas, hungry to grow their
businesses. Export is a key theme. Europe is a hot topic. We have many
small businesses that need to collaborate together to get exports
anyway. To put anything that puts that at risk is crazy. More than any
other county in the country, we have 22,000 small businesses that need
all the help they can get. As far as having a common market is concerned,
it makes perfect sense for businesses to be trading on a bigger
field. Ultimately, what we have now is not what we voted for when we
first voted to join the Common market. We now have federal Europe
by the back door and the aspects that Europe bring our less
palatable. In Cornwall, Europe is not just about trade, fishing quotas
and farming subsidies. The Eden Project, combined universities and
Newquay airport I've all had a slice of �1 billion of European grants
since 1999. There is more cash on the way. Despite this, UKIP polled
15% of the vote in local elections in Cornwall. It is about economy and
jobs. I am not a xenophobic not. I am speaking for our country and the
vote for UKIP showed it. We have to wake up in this place. Richard Drax
was one of six Tory MPs in our region to join the gang of rebels
urging for a stronger position on the in out referendum. The Prime
Minister has beefed up his promise of a vote by 2017. It was clearly
not enough to make this question go away. The hokey corky. In, out.
That's what it's all about. Joining us to discuss this we have
Councillor Steph McWilliam, leader of the UKIP group on Cornwall
Council. I wanted to send the message that we could not have a
commitment from the Coalition Government in the Queens speech to
have legislation in this Parliament to undermine our commitment as a
party to have a referendum by no later than 2017. I think this issue
is extremely important. Hasn't Europe proved a disaster is issued
for the Tories generally? Especially for factor in the previous
government. Cameron has said in the past that he would like the Tories
to stop banging on about Europe. think we have arrived in a strong
position which is now that we have a clear sense of direction as a
party. The Prime Minister has made it clear that we have a commitment
to a referendum. If there is a majority government elected, we will
attempt to push for a referendum. I will send the message through my
voting and also with this amendment. It undermines the government. You
could have waited for the Private Members' Bill. I don't believe so.
There was not a 3-way split. People voted for it or abstained. It is all
part of getting that message across to the public. Be under no
illusions. If a Conservative government is elected in 2015, there
will be a referendum before the halfway point of that parliament.
That is a problem for UKIP. Cameron is saying that the only way to get a
referendum is to vote Tory. Where does that leave UKIP? What I heard
on the doorstep throughout the campaign is that most of the voters
just don't believe anything they are told. At least with the UK
Independence Party, they know what they would be getting. We have the
European elections next year. That will be really interesting to test
public opinion. This idea that if there is a Tory majority, and if
they are successful at renegotiating, then there will be a
referendum in 2017 is not good enough. People are not happy with
that. They want a say and they want it now. Where do you stand on this?
I am a strong pro-European. I would vote yes in almost any
circumstances. What we have now is David Cameron committed to a
referendum in future and we don't know the outcomes of the negotiating
brief. It is meaningless. The exact position of the Labour Party will
probably not be determined until the time of the European elections.
Don't people want to know now? personal view is that the situation
amongst the public on Europe means we have to have a referendum at some
point. I suspect that will be the position of the Labour Party. But
not the referendum that either David Cameron or Mel and his gang on the
backbenches have left us with because that is pretty meaningless
to the average member of the fittest voting UKIP is that they will assist
labour and the Liberal Democrats in defeating Conservatives in marginal
seats. Will you vote in or out?I want to hear the debate. The
sensible thing to do, and this is where I think the Prime Minister is
right, is we need to have a full and proper debate about what it means to
be in and what it means to be out. Steph, from your point of view,
Cardinal has done very well out of Europe. �1 billion for projects such
as the University of Cornwall and the Eden Project. Surely it is not
the right thing for Cornwall to be out of Europe? What we have to
remember is that the EU doesn't have any money of its own. It only has
the money it has already taken from us. The way I try and explain this
is to hold up a �10 note and say it will anybody give me �26 for this
note? I have not yet had any takers. It relies on the government handing
the money in our direction, rather than to other parts of the country.
That is to do with the MPs that we send to Westminster. In Cornwall, we
have six MPs who are all members of the Coalition Government. That their
job to represent the interests of Cornwall and if they could keep all
the money here we would be able to do more. The other point I want to
make is that when we look at Cornwall's eligibility to all this
European funding, it is because we are below 75% of the EU average GDP.
We have been receiving this money for a very long time. We are still
eligible for it for some time to come. Because we are still below
75%. Whilst we are end, we are still eligible because we are still less
than 75% of GDP, even though a lot of other countries have joined so
the EU average has gone down and we are still not at 75%. This money is
being misspent. What would it mean for the South West? Cornwall have
had a much better reception in Brussels than in Westminster.
long as we are still in the EU, we will be fighting for is not European
funding as we can get. It is our money and we would like it back. It
is just that we would like all of it back. Farmers have done well out of
Europe. What would you tell them if they lost their funding? I think
there have been many challenges. If we are looking at this particular
area of this debate, it is about not whether assistance is given to
farmers, it is about who is giving it. It is quite conceivable that
after renegotiation we might end up in a situation we have control over
raising revenues for transport in the United Kingdom. We need to have
the debate to settle these discussions. We have doing that
particular debate just now. Thank you. -- we have to end.
The South West's transport links are looking a little more precarious
this week with Flybe announcing a possible sell-off of its runway
slots at Gatwick Airport. There was some good news for the rail network.
The Transport Secretary took the train to Dawlish and promised to
safeguard the mainline from the waves. But it is still not clear
what will happen to the line if sea levels rise and some say our railway
Stormy weather. Services along this track are often vulnerable to the
weather. But it is a matters valuable for tourism. Over the last
decade, Network Rail have invested �8.5 million on defences. They
invest �500,000 a year to ensure the sea wall at Dawlish remains intact.
With sea levels expected to rise and more extreme weather events
predicted over the coming decades, the future of this route hangs on
some significant government cash. This week, the secretary of State
for transport travelled to Dawlish with the local MP. There are issues
in terms of safeguarding the flying. It is important and there have been
problems. Part of my visit here today is to speak to network rail to
ensure we put in the right resilience to make sure this line is
secure. It is vital we ensure this line is sustainable for the longer
term. Realistically, there is nothing else affordable as an
alternative. In terms of economic payback, it is crucial. A report
carried out by the previous government looked at an alternative
railway line. The scheme is estimated to cost �100 million and
it was deemed to be an viable. are powerful images. The work we
have done shows that that will be okayed for the next three or four
decades. My worry is should we be focusing every bit as much on
getting it right on other stretches of the line where Exeter can get
marooned? That is what happened last year. The line was closed for
several days. A �30 million programme to improve resilience is
underway. Network Rail see it will not prevent flooding. The visit of
the Transport Secretary has been seen as a positive sign that more
investment will follow. But should we be worried that the region will
get enough to ensure we are not cut off again?
There are further discussions going on about the longer term and the
kind of investment that may need to be put into the South West to ensure
that our railways are resilient to function effectively. In the shorter
term, but we have acute problems of flooding, there is a lot of
investment. 30 million will not solve the problems, but it will
improve resilience. When flooding occurs, the real we can be brought
back into use more quickly. We're taking some of the signalling
cabling and raising it so it doesn't get swamped by water. We were cut
off for several weeks from Exeter. This is very serious. The government
takes this very seriously. That is why the Secretary of State was down
here. Ministers are looking at Network Rail and DEFRA and this
whole issue. Do you think enough money is being spent to sustain the
railway? I think rather more systematic money is required by
Network Rail and rail operators in the terminating the resilience of
the South West rate. It is a particularly vulnerable one. Mel is
right that we should tackle the stress points on that line. That
will require quite a lot of money, but I think that is the way to do
it, rather than divert the line all the way around. Are we seeing enough
money in our region as opposed to projects like HS2? If you include
HS2 in your calculations, the answer is no. The volume of traffic is
substantially greater in the Midlands than in the South West.
There is a social reason for keeping better transport links with the
South West as well as the rest of the country. I think the South West
has missed out, to be honest. here would say we have missed out.
It doesn't seem right that a fraction of the money on HS2 could
not be brought down here. question is, who's what did miss out
on? 13 years of Labour government. And the previous 18 years of Tory
government. What about the other route that was looked into. That
would be good for your patch? would and I can't be selfish all my
life. I would love �100 million spent on a route in my constituency.
There are problems that could be done with the Okehampton railway.
But I agree that the level of investment involved there in the
short to medium term will be too onerous. Thank you very much.
Now our regular round-up of the political week in 60 seconds.
A year after the so-called pasty tax was watered down, bakers have been
counting the cost to their businesses. I am charging 20% VAT
when I reheat these but I am not charging the customers. Concern over
the loss of our search and rescue helicopter has been referred to the
ombudsman. Cornwall Council have launched an investigation into new
comments made by a councillor where he appeared to link disabled
children with deformed lambs. believe in the sanctity of life.
Dorset's Police Commissioner revealed he is talking to a private
company about sponsoring his force. There is no more money and we have
to think outside the box. Vault at 16 were proposed by the former
Cornwall MP Lord Tyler. The Police Commissioner of Dorset
has revealed he is talking to a private company about sponsoring his
force. We don't know yet which private company. What is your view?
The reason he is doing that is because the resources made available
to him by central government have been severely cut. They are thinking
of closing local police stations. I don't think it is a particularly
sensible alternative, but I understand the pressure he is under.
Even and Somerset did it some years ago. We saw the local for Threshers
off-licence on the van. Was that acceptable? It is better than
Threshers actually policing themselves. But I don't think it is
sensible. Police forces are doing a magnificent job in making more go
further. Crime is down 10%. Is it a good idea? Do you support this? I
haven't seen the specifics. It seems slightly daft to me in general terms
because I think the most important thing about the police is that they
have the confidence of the public and the public sees them as being
entirely impartial and answering to no private company. If you ask
people whether they would rather see a police van with a local ordinal
Andrew Neil and Martyn Oates are joined by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander and discuss Conservative UKIP electoral pacts with Conservative MPs Jacob Rees-Mogg and Jackie Doyle-Price. As well as all of the weekend's other political news, and debate with the weekly panel of journalists.