26/02/2012 Sunday Politics South


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N D south: A new local food bank is being opened every four days. There


are over 3,000 in Salisbury alone. Is this really the affluent south?


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2041 seconds


The management of our civil Waterways is about to switch to a


group of volunteers. Is that any way to run it? I am joined by two


MPs. A lot in the news this week about work experience and Tesco's.


You did some work experience for the Chancellor, was that


intimidating? Well I had been asked the at home mum with my children


and it is very daunting going back into the workplace. I volunteered.


I think the All thing about getting up in the morning, getting dressed


and travelling and going into the office. I think it is very good to


get work Experience and have absolutely no problem about unpaid


placements. The I think the problem is they have people in supermarkets


stacking shelves, it is a minimum wage job and they should be paying


them. People went to count land and a quarter of them left the course


because they were able to get jobs elsewhere. I think it is very good


for our young people. The minimum wage is actually very small for


young people. It is not exactly going to break Tesco's profit


margin. I do not think it is to help Tesco's, it is to help people


into jobs. The people behind this campaign are all Unionists. I have


not heard any people themselves saying we do not want to get out


and get work experience. I do not think that is true. In Oxford we


have had people come to us to make exactly those points about slave


labour. Food prices up 4% last year, worries about cuts to benefits,


rising unemployment, hardly surprising that the number of the


food banks is on the increase. One charity based in Salisbury is


hoping to get one into every major town in the country. We are joined


by a representative from then. It would be a great success if it was


not for the fact that people were in such poverty they have to come


queue for food. A because people are finding themselves in difficult


situations all the time. Food poverty can strike almost anybody.


If you only need one change in circumstance and a job this appears.


Your wages get cut, you are on a minimum income and suddenly you do


not have enough money to cover the basics. People have lots of


possessions go, don't they? Can't the sell things in order to make


sure that their children eat? suspect you could but can you get


out there and sell your television for a few pints in the time you


need to get your children fed that day? It is not be the realistic.


There needs to be a safety net in place. -- very realistic. Your


offer in the first place a few days' supply. Do people keep coming


back? We are crisis support. We offer a 3D supply and we offer it


up to three times and thereafter it has to be an association to ensure


that we have the stocks we need and we can meet the crisis need. We are


not there to be some form -- some form of system for people. The


whole point of food bank is to allow a professional and that


family to work together to get themselves out of that problem that


the RN. We are therefore be initial support and then it is down to the


system to come up with a solution. -- they are in. How much worse do


you think this is going to get with cuts in benefit? There are changes


to benefit and I think there is a huge risk of welfare reform at the


moment. There is always an issue when benefits change. That will


take some time I am sure. You have the housing benefit, Universal


credit as well and the confusion around that is likely to bring


people to you sort of charity? could do. If universal credit is to


work and it is something we would support in theory, the support


systems that go in it for the changes, as long as it is not to


the detriment of people, the need that support. Often we are dealing


with people who find it most difficult to deal with that kind of


change. And how do you feel about these benefit changes that are


coming through? Is there a good bank in Oxford? Yes. Do you feel


that sort of thing is the right thing or should we be paying people


benefits so that they can afford to eat? Rental values in Oxford are


very high so we have had significant impact from the dead


child benefit changes. We are finding people are increasingly


coming to as for additional benefit which we can pay on they are


dipping into their basic income to pay higher rents than they would


otherwise have to do. As a consequence, the food banks are


being very heavily used. By 2015 have a million people in the


country could be using food banks, and that is the forecast, and you


we are one of the most developed countries in the world. It is a


brilliant charity, it is very well supported. Hats off to them, but


isn't it a terrible situation? fact that you could not get a meal


together for your kids that evening is a very terrible feeling. People


do not have savings to fall back on which is something we should work


towards. The proposed benefit cap is 50% more are in pre-tax terms


than the average earnings in my constituency. The week the benefits


system is so complicated I think that a third of the people who come


it is because of confusion and of in error in the benefit system.


think the benefit cap has to be looked at in a context. In Oxford


for example the cap will going in housing costs giving or only �6,000


for everything else in life. People could make a decision perhaps not


to live in Oxford. We have distorted the market giving people


a benefit to live in high-cost areas. We do need to increase the


supply of housing but it has always struck me as strange that we pay


people on benefit to live in very expensive parts of the country


where people who have mortgages cannot afford to live there.


need control systems to have a proper balance. It is a difficult


system. Some people who come to the food banks are living chaotic lives


but there are increasingly middle- class people who have been


organised up until now it? We are seeing more people like that


recently. If you are a husband and wife and you are both self-employed


and the jobs that you do feed off some other industry that has cut


back you might go from being able to support yourself quite happily


with the nice house and the car and on a certain level of that being


through debt which has always been manageable. If your income falls


away it does not take very many months, people do not have savings,


you can get through �3,000 very quickly and then you find yourself


with all those bells stacking up. We live in a beautiful part of the


world but behind those chocolate box villages there are people


living in poverty. There are people in the country out there with a


higher cost of fuel, having to drive to work, these things can


make a huge difference. Family breakdown is a major cause of


middle-class poverty. That often affects men very much as well. We


are have got to bring this to a close but best of luck. Keep up the


good work. This summer a new charity will be formed which will


become the 12th biggest in the UK with a land and property portfolio


of �12.5 billion. It is British Waterways who will move from being


a public body employing civil servants to become a trust. Senior


staff are taking pay cuts but there is also controversy with many users


of the waterways in the South worried about the impact of the


change on then. The still waters of the canal in midwinter. Here


Dunbartonshire bought owners and businesses are expectantly looking


forward to a new era on the canals. A charitable trust is about to


emerge from British Waterways. Funded in part for the next 15


years by the Government, as a charity it will also be able to


raise its own money and will call on volunteers to help out. This


man's business depends on it. want our business -- I do not want


our business depending on the work of volunteers. If they do not do it


took that certain standard, what comeback have we got? I am not sure


how it is all going to work. 200 year-old canal links in Bristol


and Reading. In 2003 fundraisers completed its full restoration


using the National Lottery's biggest-ever grant. From this April


the Government has promised the new waterways charity 39 million a year


and an ownership of a property portfolio. Will it be enough? Some


remain to be convinced. Our biggest concern is capital investment,


large capital investment from lottery heritage funding. It will


be easy for the British Waterways Board trust to gain access to that


but we do have concerns that the trust ensures that the whole


network stays open. You cannot shoot it down until it has had a


chance to fail. Let's see how it goes. And what of the Kennet & Avon


Canal Trust? If you look at what the new charity has to do, it has


to raise money locally as well as nationally, it has to do things


like run cafes because that is a good source of income. Our trust


does that. We presently run for up public trip boats which generate a


good source of income. -- four public trip boards. I think to this


day we are still not convinced that the consideration has really been


understood. Creating a charitable trust from what was a Government


department is not without its risks and challenges. Funding will be in


place for the next 15 years but what is worrying some is that there


is still much to do and it is still very much a work in progress.


Things like the pay of its chief executive and the future of paid


lock keepers and how in time it might take under its wing navigable


rivers like the Thames. They never has had major flooding occasions,


water supply occasions, it cannot be seen as just another 120 miles


of waterway. British Waterways are under no illusion about the passion


of their stakeholders. Already the trust is definitely the way forward


that his best. I think it is the best thing to happen to the


waterways for 60 years. Your only untapped resource is the goodwill


of the people. This is about enhancing the enthusiasm and good


feeling and we are going to do it. So funding is secured a law


questions remain about how the money will be spent and there is no


shortage of opinions on that. -- Balbo questions remain -- although.


There are questions and the tens is -- Thames is a water way that would


be in question. It would have to be still run by the Environment Agency.


There are a lot of volunteers already on the canal. There is a


huge Volunteer Force doing work around the Oxford area to improve


the barge areas and the environment around it. As we have been seeing,


we are all volunteers now, whether working at Tesco's or in a trust or


whatever. If they are competing for those volunteers, that could be a


problem. You can continue for a while running it on the current


basis and then there will be a big need for capital investment to


maintain and repair. If that is going to be gained through


charitable purposes or voluntary contributions that could be


difficult. Thank you for showing the jewel of the Crown in my


constituency! The huge renovation project came from a Lottery grant.


One of the things mentioned was that half a billion pound of


property assets will be transferred into the charity. It will be very


well-funded. The opportunity to manage that portfolio and put money


aside to extend his beer. It is challenging. It is always a chef in


mentality but there is so much enthusiasm. -- chef in mentality. -


- shift. I think people are very excited about the changes. A good


analogy is the National Trust which has over a million members and


maintains a very large estate. If it goes down that track potentially


it has enormous potential. A now our weekly round-up of politics


squeezed into 60 seconds. This week it is all about D3 -- the three R's.


It is about reading and writing and arithmetic. There were questions on


community library volunteers. vast majority of volunteers have


rolled up their sleeves and got on with it. Bracknell in peak Dr


Philip Lee laid out his scheme for NHS patients to get an annual


statement showing the cost of what they have received. It would be


itemised. This place wants to be known as Abingdon on Thames. It is


very nice, so long as the river has water, with a drought! We are


talking about droughts and we are talking about flooding! The Vale of


Whyte Horse got that name but it is actually a dog on the hell! What do


you think of the idea of the NHS giving people a statement of


account? I think it is a good idea but it could have a persuasive


effect on people who have a long- term chronic illness. I am a great


one for letting people know how much these fantastic assets are.


People who do not show up for appointments. If you have an


injured service person or something these slightly dispiriting plot of


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