Andrew Neil and Peter Henley with the latest political news, interviews and debate, including an interview with Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls.
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In the South: Taking out the trash. The
government's offering councils extra money to bring back weekly
bin collections. But will that encourage us to recycle more or
Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1827 seconds
Welcome to Sunday Politics South. My name's Peter Henley. On today's
show: It may be rubbish to you and me,
but to councils, it can be a real headache. We've had umpteen schemes
trying to get us to recycle more and throw away less, and now the
government's offering extra cash to bring back weekly collections.
More on that later in the programme. First, let me introduce you to the
politicians who'll be with me for the next 20 minutes. And in a small
break with tradition on account of the Budget, we have three this week.
George Hollingbery is the Conservative MP for Meon Valley,
Gerald Vernon Jackson is the Lib Dem leader of Portsmouth City
Council and Richard Williams is the leader of the Labour group on
Southampton City Council. A senior Conservative told me what
I thought was quite a good one liner after the Budget. He said,
the reason that that they are getting rid of the warnings on the
back of cigarette packets and making it a blank packet, it is not
a healthy thing, it is so that they have got trim for the new policies
the accolade -- the Coalition are dreaming up. The freeze on
pensioners allowances did feel a little bit like that. I think times,
as we know only too well, are very tough. There was a very complex set
of release at the top of the tax system for pensioners. After quite
a number of decades, is there any real reason why a pensioner should
have a different personal allowance? So, it is revenue rising,
not simplifying? It is clearly a combination of both. I do not think
anybody would be wise if they said it was not about raising money.
they make a mistake by not saying that? They think it might have been
advisable to put it more on the table, but if you look into it, it
does seem to me that pensioners have been protected in many ways
across this budget on the previous few. And to take away a small have
added that top end does not seem wildly unfair. There is a point in
that. The baby boomers who are coming to retire now had a relief
on their mortgages, have their tuition fees paid at university.
Conveyor for this tax? I think it is completely the wrong choice at a
time when we have, as a Government, the Government appears to be
reducing tax for the very richest people in the country. Nothing
against Wayne Rooney, but does he really needs another 50 of thousand
pounds in every million pounds that he earns? One pensioners and people
struggling are going to be hit. We were at the other day and it was
raised by many people. They went out on Thursday. The amount of
people who said, that is just the way this Government is. I think it
is a wrong choice that a wrong time. If Labour is not like that, why
would the 50 pence rate not go back in the manifesto? I'm sure when I
speak to him, I will be suggesting that. Even if it raises more money?
Would you say, no, go back to 50p? It certainly needs to be raised and
discussed. The Liberal Democrats have been saying, we have got the
mansion tax. We have got the tycoon tax. They have not. What
concessions have you got? Are a thing two concessions. The first is
taking 2 million people out of tax, the people at the very bottom of
the pile Hoare of learning... Conservatives like that? Absolutely.
I'm glad we have been able to persuade the Government do that. We
have also persuaded the Government to reduce taxes for 21 million
people in are the country. I think that is extremely good. I do not
like everything in the Budget. what you not like? A I would have
cut the 50 pence tax rate. If you have done that and maybe offered
him more to people at the end of the scale? In all these things, you
have to have a debate. The issue, even though it is important for the
image of the 50 pence tax rate, so that people realise everybody has
to pay it, but it actually was not a very effective tax. It did not
bring in very much money. If we are going to increase the stamp duty on
homes, very expensive homes, to 7%, that is probably a reasonable thing
to do. But the image of it is the problem. Is the Coalition and
stronger after this Budget? I think it is stronger by default in that
everyone has nailed their colours to the mast. They are part of the
Government. This is not a difference between, we have got
this out of the Government. They are part of the Government. Adair
would say about the 45p tax rate, instinctively, all politicians at
the moment want to leave it where it does. But I really want to go
out and talk about people -- talk to people about reducing the top
rate of tax? No, I do not. But, surely the right thing to do is put
the tax rate at the point where it raises the most money. That is the
problem we are facing. Politically, it would have been terribly easy
for George Osborne to turn round and say, it is not the right time.
It is raising �500 million. Has he done the brave thing here? I think
it is the wrong thing to do. The humour of the optimum level for tax,
I believe that is �48. everybody seems to have a different
version. I think the �50 level sent a message that if you were more,
you pay more. That people want to avoid tax, this is what no one has
talked about, why are you wanting to be part of the United Kingdom?
If you would be part of the United Kingdom and the won �150,000 a year,
you have a legal and moral responsibility to pay their tax. If
you want to have provided, then live abroad. What we need to be
making sure is that the attack that -- cut down on tax havens. People
should be paying tax on everything. That has been a real feeling for
decades, that we have not cracked the issue of tax havens. What about
regional pay? Do you think that is a good idea that we should be able
to pay more on the south from we have got shortages? It is a real
complexity. There are going to be at odds effects throughout the
country if you put that in place. They have been talking about the
difficulties we have more depressed areas like a bigger cities against
wealthier areas and how that most staff around. But the simple fact
is that in parts of the north-east, the public sector is the but for --
biggest employer. It depresses private business. They cannot
compete to get the best people because the public sector pay is
higher than they can afford. provide flexibility. Would you be
in favour of it gravlax certainly. But we have to be careful how we
implemented. It is a very dangerous policy to step on. The hall purpose
-- the whole purpose is that we try to work together in local
Government so that for the worry health worker or a social worker in
Newcastle or Portsmouth or Southampton, you will pay for the
same job. That is what this is about. Is someone in Newcastle poor
is looking after vulnerable children worth less than somebody
looking after vulnerable children in Portsmouth? They are being paid
more in Newcastle because the cost of living is less. Everybody should
be treated the same for the same job. There are other factors. There
are housing differences. There are economic differences. Where do you
draw the line? Is the wrong thing to do. It is sending the wrong
message that you what was more in this part of the country than in
that part of the country. It is the job that they perform which is
equally important as in Newcastle as anyone else. The practical
problems with a target when you break things into small units and
negotiate, the employers tend to be pushed up to pay more.
Buckinghamshire broke away from the local-government pay deal which all
councils are normally done, and they have ended up paying more than
the surrounding areas. I think is good news for people who want to
push up pay for people in the public sector, it is bad news for
those who have to run the businesses. If you keep up pay
rates high in places like the north-east, you make that sector
much larger and in difficult times like we are facing, the public
sector has to pay less and spend less and you automatically make
things more difficult. Do you devalue the work that people do in
different parts of the country if you give them different pay rates?
How do you judge house prices? According to Eric Pickles, having
your bins emptied every week is a basic right. He's so keen on it
that he's offering �250 million to help councils bring back weekly
collections. But the department won't say how many have expressed
an interest. The deadline for that was ten days ago. And anyway, as
Tiffany Foster reports, there are almost as many different schemes
for taking out the trash as there It is all rather a mess. A lot of
people do not know what is going on. The beauty of local Government is
that each council, and they are locally elected and are able to
choose which system of collection may think their residents like.
just wish that we could do it a In the past 20 years, what we throw
away and how we deal with waste has changed dramatically. Things like
landfill tax, improved ways to recycle rubbish has meant big
changes in the way we think about It's exceedingly confusing,
especially if you live in Berkshire. Here, the unitary authorities act
independently of each other. Every one has a collection and disposal
system slightly different to the neighbouring one.
In Reading, they're sticking to fortnightly collections. So it's
general rubbish one week and recycling the next. So you get a
grey bin, a red bin and a green bin, and it's free.
In West Berkshire, they also collect on alternate weeks. So one
week it's the black bin for general rubbish, the next it's a green box
for bottles and glass, card and paper. A green sack for plastics
and tin, a green bin for food waste and a green bin for garden waste.
And it's all free. In Wokingham, it's weekly
collections. So it's black bags, soon to be blue bags, black boxes
for recycling, green sacks, soon to be brown bins, for garden waste,
but this will now cost you �60. There's no food waste collection or
Long-time residents like Peter Teague in Wokingham have embraced
the changes. But the latest round is a step too far. It is ridiculous.
I cannot believe that something that was working so well, they
divided into three separate sections and three different bits
of organisation. It seems madness. The solution is simple, the council
insists. Households should just throw away less. We need to reduce
that down to about 8.8 kilograms per property per week. We have
introduced our blue Agnes scheme which gives a residents' eight blue
bags, 6,400 litres a year that they can use throughout the year. That
is equivalent to more 8240 litre wheelie bin ends at every fortnight.
-- emptied every fortnight. What a lot of numbers. But do the
figures really add up? Local opposition group councillors think
not. The intention is right but I do not understand it how just
providing people with a tea bags a year for their normal rubbish is
going to make the rest of the rubbish away. They are predicting a
20% reduction in the amount of landfill waste, but they are not
saying how they're going to get people to will throw us away.
Looming large over all of this is the Secretary of State Eric
Pickles' promise of cash for councils who bring back weekly
collections. Since even some Tory councils have rejected this, it
begs the question, is this all a You are going to tell me that the
way they collected in Portsmouth is the best way, but, you are, aren't
you? A I'm going to say it is right for Portsmouth. It might not be
right for somewhere else. But Sydney is not right for Wokingham.
Surely all these ideas are always full. But everybody adopted the
same, it would be more efficient. But Manchester is a rural area.
Portsmouth is different. We are a city. We have got terraced streets,
block of flats. They have got to work out a system. In Portsmouth,
we have cut the weekly rubbish collection. I take the point about
the city and the country, but that man said it is wasteful, ridiculous,
badness. Difficult for people to get their heads around. I do not
think it does. People manage to make it work reasonably well. In
each local area, we can work out what is right. While it is a Eric
Pickles spending all this money, so determined to get the weekly
collection? Is it one of those promises he made that has come to
regret? I agree this is a local matter. It is entirely down to
local councils tooth of the issue of the way they see fit. That is
what local Government is for. While this does -- Willey's different
schemes? It is down to local councils to resource and spend the
money the way babies it -- they said, the way they see fit. If Eric
Pickles wants to make money available to help them make choices,
let them make their choices. But what I have to say, when I was a
councillor, it was put in by a weekly collections. One is
recycling and won his domestic refuge. There were a few teething
problems, but on the hall, everybody thinks it is fine.
know how much people care about their rubbish. During the strike,
it piled up. People in Southampton would like the council to collect
the waist. They have not done that. The Tory administration has been
rubbish about it. They have caused so much anger and dissatisfaction.
I think it was the strike. He will -- we will decide whether your
wallet to the strike or not. There are some leaflets around
Southampton. They are not made by us, they are made by the Tories.
They are pointing out that people were very unhappy about the strike
when the pins were not collected. They quite rightly want their bins
emptied. This council cannot guarantee to do that. But the
Labour take control, we will take the bins when there should be taken.
Are they being properly corrected? What you think about weekly
collections? In Southampton, there are more ready weekly collections.
We are excluded from that process already. But as a bit of a non-
issue. We bid to get some money out of it on the basis that we went to
keep the weekly collections. dear. Competition.
Now our regular roundup of the political week in the South in 60
Well to police brought in night- vision goggles this week to crack
down on the spate of midnight vegetable threat -- fest. The
parish council paid for the far- sighted solution. Winchester City
Council had to apologise after a 1000 people were sent someone
else's personal information along with council tax bills. And
Wiltshire and Dorset buses are struggling with a fuel bill of
nearly �1 million. Fares will rise substantially. The three Armed
forces combine to sign a covenant on Wednesday for better treatment
from Portsmouth council. It can be about getting on to the local GP
waiting list of getting to see a dentist. And sometimes, that can be
more difficult for servicemen and women and their families.
Dorset MP for got his military training. He was late on parade.
But the Speaker called in for a question about rescue helicopter
When you have got a complaint to the boss on his big day on budget
day, it is best to be in the right place. A indeed. I was sitting
right next to him. Slightly awkward moment. He was a bit embarrassed.
The military Government. The roll- out was plain that. It was not the
case at all. Surely, if you are signing an agreement with these
people, what you're doing is saying, we will give you some extra
treatment. A no, it is saying we will work hard with the military
and military families to try and make sure that they get the
services. They are different from other people. But we need to be in
tune with that and work with them. A whole series of things we can do.
We can try to make sure all schools across the country recognise that
same this families and children need different things. Put a line
in the Ofsted report on every school things, how what we working
with service families? You are not doing that with other groups of
people. He won not saying you will find a special way of dealing with
them. We have lots of different groups and we work for them in
different ways. Council house tenants are a different group. We
would be them differently. The elderly get a different service. It
is Trent Bridge sure we do not provide exactly the same for
everybody because that does not work. Service families have
particularly needs that we'd be recognised. There was extra money
for the military in the Budget. Indeed. There was money for
refurbishing service accommodation and dealing with Council Tax what's
the men are a way fighting. There is a clear recognition from the
Government that more needs to be done. He managed to get a good play
again for the Labour campaign and the local election in a Southampton.
His the effect going to make a difference? Obviously. A very
tragic situation. All credit to everybody involved in overpowering
what was obviously a very deranged individual. All credit for people
involved. Just thinking about this local elections which are coming,
is it going to be difficult? They are never easy. You have good days
and you have not so good days. Thank you very much for being are