09/06/2013 Sunday Politics South West


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 09/06/2013. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



regional benefits cap would damage the local economy. And robust cuts


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2132 seconds


Hello, I'm Lucie Fisher. Coming up on the Sunday Politics in the South


West: A warning to bus passengers from campaigners who fear bus


funding is about to be cut by a further 15%.


And for the next 20 minutes, I'm joined by the Conservative MP Anne


Marie Morris and Labour Councillor Nicky Williams - welcome to the


programme. This week the Energy Secretary Ed


Davey unveiled measures giving local communities more powers to block


onshore wind farms. He said that far too often, people living nearby have


seen the wind farms but not the windfall - he wants to see companies


paying local people depending on how much energy is generated. But some


critics say the policy could mark the end of onshore wind farms.


Anne-Marie, have you given in on this one? Not at all. We need to


recognise that if we want beautiful countryside as well as green energy,


there needs to be a balance. The local people to be able to have a


real say in what that balance should be is absolutely the way forward,


particularly if they're going to get some financial benefit. You think


the financial benefit will make a difference? You don't think people


will just say, no, thank you. think people are far more savvy and


sensible, and that is why as a government we've looked at giving


them the opportunity to develop neighbourhood plans. This is part of


the same move to give local communities control and respect


their judgement. Nikki, what do you make of this? Could this be the end


of wind farms? I think it certainly could be. We only need to look at


the government 's plans for carbonisation. This is just another


measure that will make it more difficult for investment in


sustainable energy. Even if they get some kind of payment for having


those wind farms near the house? think it's good that there are


incentives for doing that, but actually, what we know by the


campaigns up and down the country is people will continue to say, not in


my backyard. They will actually oppose measures if they affect them


personally. Well, stay with those, we've got plenty more to discuss.


This week, Labour's top men set out to convince voters they can be


trusted to run the economy. The shadow chancellor's "iron


discipline" included the suggestion of a regional benefits cap, an idea


which is already dividing Labour MPs. Some argue it makes sense to


pay less housing benefit in places where rent is lower, but others are


warning the South West economy would take a big hit. John Henderson


reports. The war of words on welfare.


Fairness is also about being fair to the person who leaves home every


morning to go out to work and sees their neighbour sleep -- sleeping on


benefits. George Osborne said his cap of �26,000 on benefit would do


two things: yes, save him money, but, crucially, make work pay.


well as a tax system where the rich pay their fair share, we have to


have a welfare system that is fair to the working system -- the working


people who paid for it. The benefits cap came into effect in April. In


Cornwall, 114 families have had money taken away because of the cap.


This week, the man who wants Osborne's job set out his plans and


implied that true fairness could only be achieved by localising that


benefits cap. A fair cap on household benefits, not one that


costs more than it saves, but which takes account of housing costs in


different parts of the country, with an independent body advising on


whether the caps should be higher in high-cost areas like London, but


potentially lower in other parts of the country. So how would a regional


benefits cap work, and what would it mean for the South West? Exeter's MP


is optimistic. It's ridiculous to have a one size fits all cap


throughout the country when housing costs and rents vary so much. This


is what we're talking about, housing benefit. In an area like the


south-west and Exeter in particular, we have very high housing costs and


rents, said the benefits cap should reflect that. The bill for housing


benefit last year was a whopping �17 billion. The fear among some is that


Labour's plan to control that spending with a regional benefits


system could mean extra money to London claimants comes at the


expense of those here. The question will then be, it's certain areas are


going to receive more in terms of the benefits bill, how is this going


to be paid for? Does this mean other areas are going to be squeezed?


Labour MP in the North East has condemned his party's new approach.


I am opposed to regional benefit caps in the same way that I am


opposed to organising regional pay in the public service. It is unfair


on the North of England and the south-west of England. Labour's


conversation with voters on its new policies is only just beginning -


its idea for a regional cap on benefits could prove to be a hard


it a good idea? The devil is in the detail. It costs a lot more to live


in London and we need to address that. I do have concerns about how


it could impact Plymouth because we know rents are disproportionately


lower than some of the immediate surrounding areas. So we really need


to look at how they would intend to bring Latin and how it would affect


local people. Back to bring that in. To discuss this, Brian is here with


us. He has spent years working with people with benefits. Is this idea


workable? I'm old enough to remember when Margaret Thatcher made housing


benefits rocket. It was landlord is printing money. 13 years of the


Labour government did not stop that. Housing benefit has been


chopped. This idea seems to say we're going to limit housing benefit


locally but private landlords can still charge what they want in the


private sector. I'm not saying that is wrong for the landlord to do it,


they provide a service and demeaned in many ways when they shouldn't be


because many of them are very good. I can't see how this is going to


work. This is a Labour policy, and something you are not sure you


support. People are saying it is not even workable. Should Ed balls go


back to the drawing board? We have not had the detail yet and we had a


very broad announcement. What we do need to acknowledge is that people


in certain parts of the country are suffering disproportionately because


of the benefits cap. In Plymouth, we know that only 150 people have been


affected by the benefits cap. That is probably 150 people to many, I


would argue, but actually we do need to look at the more structural ways


we can target resources, bearing in mind that we have a huge economic


legacy which were going to inherit after that cutting of the


Conservative government. Anne-Marie, Boris Johnson had some


reservations about this kind of regional benefit, didn't he? What do


you make of it? Interestingly, although then in your clip focused


on housing, I think when I look back at what the policy was about, it was


more holistic. But I do share the comment that it isn't workable,


particularly if you start throwing in all the benefits, not just


housing. I have concerns about what this would do to the private renting


sector which we absolutely do need. It seems to be far too complex to


actually work. Say in Exeter the average rent is �1100 and Plymouth


about �800 for a family house. If the cap came in at �900, you might


see people having to move out of Exeter and into Plymouth. I would


worry about that, it is rather bizarre. It will just cause poverty


and rent arrears. People will not leave their jobs. But since the


spare room subsidy was introduced people have had to move out. I think


that is the council tenants. We have to remember Labour did this to the


private rented sector ten years ago. This exact same bedroom tax was


implemented ten years ago. What would you like to see then? We need


an investigation into the whole benefits system. In the 20 years


I've been in advance -- advice worker, I've seen too many people


living lives on benefits with no aspirations. Their children are the


same. That is not fair on the children. If housing costs are lower


in certain areas it does seem to make sense that they receive less


benefits. There are limits to say what landlords can charge in Exeter


and implement. Ed Miliband did not mention this in his keynote speech


on Thursday. So you think it's all talk? I think it is another sign of


dabbling. Boys and girls in the back rooms of policy people in London


with not much of a clue. I'm cynical and I've been in this game for 30


years. I wish they would ask is more. One fundamental point which


has been mist is what was spoken about in this speech by Ed has been


about making work pay. They would have more rights they been working


for a longer of time. People should be valued for actually having


worked. Is your benefit cap making work pay? Well, what's happening is


people are beginning to look at this very -- this necessary balance


between the two. In Cornwall, the average wage is 20000 and the cap is


26,000, so maybe it doesn't make much sense to not have a regional


cap. We all agree it is complex, but that is quite simple. It doesn't


seem to make sense. The challenge is that housing benefit is not simple.


It is not simply here is the amount you are paying and here is the


figure. The calculation is not just here is the cap. It just doesn't


work like that. Thank you very much for joining us.


As ministers put the finishing touches to their 2015 spending


plans, there are warnings any further cuts to bus funding would


decimate the South West's rural network. Many of the region's MPs


are lobbying the Treasury amid fears of 15% being slashed from bus


budgets. Tamsin Melville reports. Getting the bus to and from her job


at a Boscastle hotel would be a struggle for Sharon van der Linden.


In the mornings I have to get dropped off because I'd have to get


a three-mile walk to the bus stop anyway. And then there is a


three-mile walk when I get off. Sharon's boss says a reduced service


in the past year to a village reliant on tourism has been bad


enough - and he's worried things could get worse. If there was a


reduction in the service as it is now we would have trouble getting


stats and we already have trouble getting staff. It cannot appreciate


any more. Peter's fears aren't unfounded. The Campaign for Better


Transport is warning buses could be hit by a 15% cut in the Spending


Review at the end of this month, putting more rural services at risk.


In Cornwall, bus operators have already been hit by Government cuts


to a fuel rebate and a squeeze on the subsidy they get for over 60s


free passes. One campaigner says any further cuts could signal a major


decline in routes. In the last two years we have seen a reduction bit


by bit of some routes, but I think it's could be a major service


reduction, the likes of which in Cornwall we've not seen since 1971


when I think 75 bus routes were withdrawn with major consequences


for decades to come as a result. Some south west MPs representing


rural areas are lobbying the Treasury to create a new pot of


money to protect rural bus services. I think it is in the government 's


interest to see economic development. Report after report has


said the rural economy could generate far more jobs, could be far


more of a driver for the recovery of the economy. In order for that to


happen, people need to get around the rural areas. They can't all


afford a car. That is why this is crucial. Back in Boscastle in Dan


Rogerson's constituency, Sharon van der Linden finds the prospect of any


further reduction in routes ridiculous. Well, there would be


hardly anybody working because hardly anybody could get into the


town. The Government's spending review will take place on the 26th


June, when the transport budget for 2015-2016 will be revealed.


I'm joined by transport campaigner Richard from London. Welcome to the


programme. Tel is your concerns, what is making you think cuts are on


the cards for bus services? The big worry we have is what is happening


to the whole transport budget. Funding for London and the highway


maintenance will be squeezed, and particularly funding for buses.


We're worried about what will happen to the main grants for buses. It


could lead to a major reduction of services in rural areas. What do you


want the government to do the government to safeguard the funding


this time round. We know it is difficult, but it is a gentle --


essential that we don't rush into changes. In the long-term, let's


look at more efficient ways of funding bus services. But a real


reduction in terms of services would be disastrous. Should we be worried


about these bus services? Well, if that prediction comes true then of


course and I'm very concerned about Rob buses. I've made in a bob


representations to the government over the years. But there are two


pots of money, one goes to the bus services and one goes to the


council. In my concern is because of the cuts to the councils, put the


two together and you will have a problem. So I think we need a fairer


way of ensuring the raw part of our community get a fair part of the


funding. At the moment, the funding part which is used


disproportionately puts rural people at a disadvantage. I want a fairer


funding formula so we take account of the role issue. -- rural. That


could work. The real worry is about short-term cuts in the same time as


making changes to funding. That happened in Wales and they have seen


a significant reduction in services and a rise in pairs. Let's look at a


better way of trying to find funding but in the short-term let's not rush


into it in a desired to find spending cuts. Labour would be in a


similar position, wouldn't they? There would have be cuts? Yes, but


they need technology transport is vital to a growing economy. So we


need to invest in our bus services to ensure people can access work and


opportunities, not only in rural areas but in our cities. I'm deeply


concerned about these proposed cuts in funding because there is a


limited pot of money available to councils to subsidise bus services.


Where would you see cuts be made instead? I'm not going to


second-guess that an answer that here. Wouldn't people living in


Devon rather see things like overseas aid cut them bus services?


Things that are important to them and might make the economy grow?


think we need to look strategically long and hard. I cannot give you an


answer on that, I'm not a government minister so I don't have charge of


those finances. But we do need a fundamental review of the spending


that is going on. But you may have an opinion. Is area -- is overseas


aid in area that you see as a possible cut? These suggested


proposals on the grapevine - we don't know whether or not these cuts


will actually be made - but in terms of whether cuts should fall, I don't


think anybody enjoys cuts. As to where the right places, I think that


is a very difficult call to make. Should bugs -- bus passes for the


over 60s be means tested? Showed some of them be given to young


people who are looking for work? issue of bus passes is a good one. I


think it is important that the older person as the bus pass. What if they


are very wealthy? Just a me out. -- just hear me out. If it makes them


go out, then it is a good thing. But if they are wealthy, it is essential


that they have the chance to not use it. I think we needed charity said


that those who want to can give that benefit up. Richard, do you think


the over 60s bus pass is working? think it is working. There are


worries about underfunding. But if you want diverse communities then I


think it's really important you support the independence of older


people. I think there are changes you could make to the transport


budget. The government is trying to push money into infrastructure and


capital expenditure, and actually not all that is needed. More buses


would reduce congestion, so I think that is where we should be looking


at savings. Now, our regular round-up of the


political week in 60 seconds. The Prime Minister was asked if he'd


retire judges who didn't imprison convicted paedophiles. We have clear


laws we passed in this country about how serious Parliament thinks


offences are, and judges should pay heed to those laws.


Lawyers protested about cuts to legal aid. The government cuts will


make it untenable to continue. The badger cull was debated in


parliament, while the St Ives MP advanced plans to give badgers in


his constituency a TB vaccine. two pilot areas run the risk of


making the devastating problem of bovine TB significantly worse. The


vaccination programme would be significantly cheaper according to


the report. And a council official in Dorset


explained why it's taking so long to reopen the Beaminster Tunnel.


you can see the guys up there are having to abseil. It is very steep,


so it is difficult. Let's look at the badger cull.


Anne-Marie, do you think this could cost U-boats? Is it an unpopular


measure which could cost U-boats? have to recognise the damage this is


doing to farmers. Every time there is an outbreak, that is �30,000 they


have to pay. We cannot allow it to go one. Half the outbreaks of bovine


TB are in this region and it would be negligent to sit here and do


nothing about it. Every country that has had this problem, the only way


they have resolved it is by dealing with the wildlife. In Ireland they


did it recently and there was a third reduction in infection. We


need to look after the livelihood of our farmers and our community.


you support the coal? I think the jury is still out as to how


effective it might be. Other people are looking at vaccination is a


problem. What about the idea that we are allowed to shoot rabbits and


nobody seems to mind about that, and yet a badger seems to somehow go to


the heart of people and they don't want to see that happening? Is there


a difference? I think the issue is the amount of resources we are


spending. Police policing the badger cull, that is a huge issue in its


self. So we need to look at the pros and cons and how much it will


Download Subtitles