12/01/2014 Sunday Politics South


Andrew Neil and Peter Henley with the latest political news, interviews and debate.

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Good morning, welcome. 2014 is barely under way, and the


coalition is fighting over cuts. Nick Legg says Tory plans to balance


the books would hit the poorest hardest. He will not say what he


will cut. That is the top story. Chris Grayling called for a


completely new deal with Europe as he battles will rings from the


European Court of Human Rights. He joins me.


Labour promises to shift house-building up a gear, but how


will they get a In the South: Are we spending enough


on flood defences to stop a repetition of scenes like these, and


will council`tax payers be serious. Have cuts left to the


service being overstretched? With me for the duration, a top trio


of political pundits, Helen Lewis, Jan and Ganesh and Nick Watt. They


will be tweeting faster than France or long scoots through Paris. Nick


Clegg sticks to his New Year resolution to sock it to the Tories,


the is how he described Tory plans for another 12 billion of cuts on


welfare after the next election You cannot say, as the Conservatives


are, that we are all in it together and then say that the welfare will


not make any additional contributions from their taxes if


there is a Conservative government after 2015 in the ongoing effort to


balance the books. We are not even going to ask that very wealthy


people who have retired who have benefits, paid for by the


hard-pressed taxpayers, will make a sacrifice. The Conservatives appear


to be saying only the working age pork will be asked to make


additional sacrifices to fill the remaining buckle in the public


finances. Nick Legg eating up on the Tories


a, happens almost every day. I understand it is called aggressive


differentiation. Will it work for them? It has not for the past two


years. This began around the time of the AV referendum campaign, that is


what poisoned the relations between the parties. They have been trying


to differentiation since then, they are still at barely 10% in the


polls, Nick Clegg's personal ratings are horrendous, so I doubt they will


do much before the next election. It is interesting it has been combined


with aggressive flirtation with Ed Balls and the Labour Party. There


was always going to be some sort of rapprochement between them and the


Labour Party, it is in the Labour Party's interests, and it is intent


macro's interests, not to be defined as somebody who can only do deals


with the centre-right. A colleague of yours, Helen, told me there was


more talk behind closed doors in the Labour Party high command, they have


to think about winning the election in terms of being the largest party,


but not necessarily an overall majority. There is a feeling it was


foolish before the last election not to have any thought about what a


coalition might be, but the language has changed. Ed Miliband had said, I


cannot deal with this man, but now, I have to be prismatic, it is about


principles. Even Ed Balls. Nick Clegg had specifically said that Ed


Balls was the man in politics that he hated. He said that was just a


joke. Of course, it is about principles, not people! When Ed


Balls said those nice things about Nick Clegg, he said, I understood


the need to get a credible deficit reduction programme, although he


said Nick Clegg went too far. The thing about Nick Clegg, he feels


liberated, he bears the wounds from the early days of the coalition and


maybe those winds will haunt him all the way to the general election But


he feels liberated, he says, we will be the restraining influence on both


the Conservatives, who cannot insure that the recovery is fair, and the


Labour Party, that do not have economic red ability. He feels


relaxed, and that is why he is attacking the Tories and appearing


pretty relaxed. He could also be falling into a trap. The Tories


think what they suggesting on welfare cuts is possible. The more


he attacks it, the more Tories will say, if you gave us an overall


majority, he is the one it. He keeps taking these ostensibly on popular


positions and it only makes sense when you talk to them behind the


scenes, they are going after a tiny slice of the electorate, 20%, who


are open to the idea of voting Lib Dem, and their views are a bit more


left liberal than the bulk of the public. There is a perverse logic in


them aggressively targeting that section of voters. In the end, ten


macro's problem, if you do not like what this coalition has been doing,


you will not vote for somebody who was part of it, you will vote for


the Labour Party. The Tories are too nasty, Labour are to spendthrift,


Lib Dem, a quarter of their vote has gone to Labour, and that is what


could hand the largest party to Labour. That small number of voters,


soft Tory voters, the problem for the Liberal Democrats is, if you


fight, as they did, three general elections to the left of the Labour


Party, and at the end of the third, you find yourself in Colour Vision


with the Conservatives, you have a problem.


Chris Grayling is a busy man, he has had to deal with aid riot at HM


Prison Oakwood, barristers on strike and unhappy probation officers


taking industrial action. Prison works. It ensures that we are


protected from murderers, muggers and rapists. It makes many who are


tempted to commit crime think twice. Traditional Tory policy on criminal


justice and prisons has been tough talking and tough dealing. Not only


have they tended to think what they are offering is right, but have had


the feeling, you thinking what they thinking. But nearly two decades


after Michael Howard's message, his party, in Colour Vision government,


is finding prison has to work like everything else within today's


financial realities. The Justice Secretary for two years after the


election had previous in this field. Ken Clarke. Early on, he signalled a


change of direction. Just binding up more and more people for longer


without actively seeking to change them is, in my opinion, what you


would expect of Victorian England. The key to keeping people out of


prison now, it seems, is giving them in a job, on release. Ironically,


Ken Clarke was released from his job 15 months ago and replaced by Chris


Grayling. But here, within HM Prison Liverpool, Timpson has been working


since 2009 with chosen offenders to offer training and the chance of a


job. Before you ask, they do not teach them keep cutting in a


category B prison. The Academy is deliberately meant to look like a


company store, not a prison. It helps. You forget where you are at


times, it feels weird, going back to a wing at the end of the day. It is


different. A different atmosphere. That is why people like it. Timpson


have six academies in prisons, training prisoners inside, and


outside they offer jobs to ex-offenders, who make up 8% of


their staff. It has been hard work persuading some governors that such


cooperation can work. I have seen a dramatic change positively, working


with prisoners, particularly in the last five years. They understand now


what business's expectation is. Timpson do not just employ


offenders, but as one ex-prisoner released in February and now


managing his own store says, the point is many others will not employ


offenders at all. From what I have experienced, on one hand, you have


somebody with a criminal conviction, on the other, somebody who does not


have one, so it is a case of favouring those who have a clean


record. Anybody with a criminal conviction is passed to one side and


overlooked. That, amongst myriad other changes to prison and how we


deal with prisoners, is on the desk of the man at the top. Ever since


Chris Grayling became Secretary of State for Justice, he has wanted to


signal a change of direction of policy, and he is in a hurry to make


radical reforms across the board, from size and types of prisons to


probation services, reoffending rates, legal aid services, and there


has been opposition to that from groups who do not agree with him.


But what might actually shackle him is none of that. It is the fact that


he is in government with a party that does not always agree with him,


he has to abide by the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights,


and in those famous words, there is no money left. We would like to go


further and faster. I would like him too, but we are where we are. If the


Liberal Democrats want to be wiped out at the next election based on


what they believe, that is fair enough. We accept there has to be


savings, but there are areas where we feel that there is ideological


driven policy-making going on, and privatising may not save any money


at all, and so does not make any sense. The question is, we'll all of


that means some of Chris Grayling's reforms need closer inspection?


Chris Grayling joins me now. Welcome. We have a lot to cover If


you get your way, your own personal way, will be next Tory manifesto


promise to withdraw from the European Convention of human


rights? It will contain a promise for radical changes. We have to


curtail the role of the European court here, replace our human rights


act from the late 1990s, make our Supreme Court our Supreme Court


they can be no question of decisions over riding it elsewhere, and we


have to have a situation where our laws contain a balance of rights and


responsibilities. People talk about knowing their rights, but they do


not accept they have responsible it is. This is what you said last


September, I want to see our Supreme Court being supreme again... That is


clear, but let's be honest, the Supreme Court cannot be supreme as


long as its decisions can be referred to the European Court in


Strasbourg. There is clearly an issue, that was raised recency -


recently. We have been working on a detailed reform plan, we will


publish that in the not too distant future. What we will set out is a


direction of travel for a new Conservative government that will


mean wholesale change in this area. You already tried to reform the


European Court, who had this declaration in 2012, do you accept


that the reform is off the table? There is still a process of reform,


but it is not going fast enough and not delivering the kind of change we


need. That is why we will bring forward a package that for the


different from that and will set a different direction of travel. We


are clear across the coalition, we have a different view from our


colleagues. You cannot be half pregnant on this, either our


decisions from our Supreme Court are subject to the European Cup or not,


in which case, we are not part of the European court. I hope you will


see from our proposals we have come up with a sensible strategy that


deals with this issue once and for all. Can we be part of the


Strasbourg court and yet our Supreme Court be supreme? That is by point,


we have to curtail the role of the court in the UK. I am clear that is


what we will seek to do. It is what we will do for this country. But


how? I am not going to announce the package of policies today, but we


will go into the next election with a clear strategy that will curtail


the role of the European Court of Human Rights in the UK. The


decisions have to be taken in Parliament in this country. Are you


sure that you have got your own side on this? Look at what the Attorney


General says. I would be asking Strasberg a


different question to that. If the best in class, he is saying is


enough is enough, actually somebody in Strasberg should be asking if


this has gone the way it should have done. I would love to see wholesale


reform in the court tomorrow, I m not sure it is going to happen which


is why we are going to the election with a clear plan for this country.


Would you want that to be a red line in any coalition agreement? My


mission is to win the next election with a majority. But you have to say


where your red lines would be. We have been very clear it is an area


where we don't agree as parties but in my view the public in this


country are overwhelmingly behind the Conservative party. 95


Conservative MPs have written to the Prime Minister, demanding he gives


the House of Commons the authority to veto any aspect of European Union


law. Are you one of the people who wanted to sign that letter but you


couldn't because you are minister? I haven't been asked to sign the


letter. We need a red card system for European law. I'm not convinced


my colleagues... I don't think it is realistic to have a situation where


one parliament can veto laws across the European Union. I understand the


concerns of my colleagues, but when we set out to renegotiate our


membership, we have got to deliver renegotiation and deliver a system


which is viable, and I'm not convinced we can have a situation


where one Parliament can prevent laws across the whole European


Union. So you wouldn't have signed this letter? I'm not sure it is the


right approach. I support the system I just talked about. Iain Duncan


Smith has suggested EU migrants coming to work in this country


should have to wait for two years before they qualify for welfare


benefits, do you agree? Yes, I think there should be an assumption that


before you can move from one country to another, before you can start to


take back from that country's social welfare system, you should have made


a contribution to it. I spent two and a half years working in Brussels


trying to get the European Commission to accept the need for


change. There is a groundswell of opinion out there which is behind


Iain Duncan Smith in what he is saying. I think we should push for a


clear system that says people should be able to move from one country to


get a job, but to move to another country to live off the state is not


acceptable. You are planning a new 2000 capacity mega prison and other


smaller presence which will be run by private firms. After what has


happened with G4S, why would you do that? No decision has been made


about whether it will be public or private. What do you think it will


be? I'm not sure yet. There is no clear correlation over public and


private prisons and whether there are problems or otherwise. Oakwood


is in its early stages, it has had teething problems at the start, but


the rate of disturbance there is only typical for an average prison


of its category. If you take an example of Parc prison in Wales a


big private run prison, run by G4S, when it was first launched under the


last government it had teething problems of the same kind as Oakwood


and is now regarded as one of the best performing prisons. Why would


you give it to a private company then? We have only just got planning


permission for the so we will not be thinking about this for another few


years. Some of the companies who run prisons are under investigation with


dreadful track records. In the case of G4S, what we have experienced is


acceptable and they have not been able to go ahead with a number of


contracts they might have otherwise got. They are having to prove to the


Government they are fit to win contracts from the Government again.


They are having to pay compensation to the Government and the taxpayer.


What has happened is unacceptable. So why would you give them a 20 0


capacity mega prison? Or anyone like them? It cannot be said that every


private company is bad. In addition to problems at Oakwood, you are


quite unique now in your position that you have managed to get the


barristers out on strike the first time since history began. What


happens if the bar refuses to do work at your new rates of legal aid


and the courts grind to a halt? I don't believe that will happen. When


the barristers came out on strike, three quarters of Crown Courts were


operating normally, 95% of magistrates courts were operating


normally. We are having to take difficult decisions across


government, I have no desire to cut back lately but we are spending over


?2 billion on legal aid at the moment at a time when budgets are


becoming tougher. You issued misleading figures about criminal


barristers, you said that 25% of them earn over ?100,000 per year but


that is their turnover, including VAT. 33% of that money goes on their


expenses, they have to pay for their own pensions and insurance. People


are not getting wealthy out of doing this work. I don't publish figures,


our statisticians do, with caveats in place explaining the situation.


Where you have high-cost cases, where we have taken the most


difficult decisions, we have tried hard in taking difficult decisions


to focus the impact higher up the income scale. But do you accept


their take-home pay is not 100, 00? I accept they have to take out other


costs, although some things like travelling to the court, you and I


and everyone else has to pay for travelling to work. That is net of


VAT. We have had a variety of figures published, some are and some


are not. Let's be clear, the gross figures for fees from legal payments


include 20% VAT. On a week when even a cabinet minister can be fitted up


by the police, don't we all need well-financed legal aid? There is no


chance that as a result well-financed legal aid? There is no


changes people will end up in court unable to defend themselves. We have


said in exceptional circumstances, if you haven't got any money to pay,


we will support you, but there is no question of anyone ended up in


court, facing a criminal charge where they haven't got a lawyer to


defend them. Let's look at how so many dangerous criminals have


managed to avoid jail. Here are the figures for 2012. Half the people


for sexual assault found guilty not jailed. I thought you were meant to


be tough on crime? Those figures predate my time, but since 2010 the


number of those people going to jail has been increasing steadily. If you


put the figures for 2010 on there, you would see a significant change.


We will never be in a position where everybody who commits violence will


end up in jail. The courts will often decided to his more


appropriate to give a community sentence, but the trend is towards


longer sentences and more people going to jail. That maybe but it is


even quite hard to get sent to jail if you do these things a lot, again


and again. In 2012 one criminal avoided being sent to jail despite


having more than 300 offences to his name. 36,000 avoided going to jail


despite 15 previous offences. That is why we are taking steps to


toughen up the system. Last autumn we scrapped repeat cautions. You


could find people getting dozens. As of last autumn, we have scrapped


repeat cautions. If you commit the same offence twice within a two year


period you will go to court. You still might end up not going to


jail. More and more people are going to jail. I cannot just magic another


34,000 prison places. You haven t got room to put bad people in jail?


The courts will take the decisions, and it is for them to take the


decisions and not me, that two men in a bar fight do not merit a jail


sentence. These figures contain a huge amount of offences from the


most minor of offences to the most despicable. Something is wrong if


you can commit 300 offences and still not end up in jail. That's


right, and we are taking steps so this cannot happen any more. Nick


Clegg said this morning you are going to make 12 billion of welfare


cuts on the back of this, he is right, isn't he? People on the


lowest incomes are often not paying tax at all, the rich... But these


cuts will fall disproportionately on average earners, correct? Let's look


at the proposal to limit housing benefit for under 25s. Until today,


after people have left school or college, the live for a time with


their parents. For some, that is not possible and we will have to take


that into account, but we have said there is a strong case for saying


you will not get housing benefit until you are some years down the


road and have properly established yourselves in work. And by


definition these people are on lower than average salaries. Give me a


case in which those on the higher tax band will contribute to the


cuts. We have already put in place tax changes so that the highest tax


rate is already higher than it was in every year of the last


government. The amount of tax.. There is no more expected of the


rich. We will clearly look at future policy and work out how best to


distribute the tax burden in this country and it is not for me to


second-guess George Osborne's future plans, but we need to look at for


example housing benefit for the under 25s. Is it right for those who


are not working for the state to provide accommodation for them?


Thank you for being with us. All three major parties at


Westminster agree there's an urgent need to build more homes for


Britain's growing population. But how they get built, and where, looks


set to become a major battle ground in the run-up to the next general


election. Although 16% more house-builds were


started in 2012/13 than the previous year, the number actually completed


fell by 8% - the lowest level in peacetime since 1920. The Office for


National Statistics estimates that between now and 2021 we should


expect 220,000 new households to be created every year. At his party's


conference last autumn, Ed Miliband promised a Labour government would


massively increase house-building. I will have a clear aim but by the end


of the parliament, Britain will be building 200,000 homes per year


more than at any time for a generation. That is how we make


Britain better than this. The Labour leader also says he'd give urban


councils a "right to grow" so rural neighbours can't block expansion and


force developers with unused land to use it or lose it. The Government


has been pursuing its own ideas including loan guarantees for


developers and a new homes bonus to boost new house-building. But David


Cameron could have trouble keeping his supporters on side - this week


the senior backbencher Nadhim Zahawi criticised planning reforms for


causing "physical harm" to the countryside. Nick Clegg meanwhile


prefers a radical solution - brand new garden cities in the south east


of England. In a speech tomorrow, Labour's shadow housing minister


Emma Reynolds will give more details of how Labour would boost


house-building, and she joins me now. It is not the politicians to


blame, it is the lack of house-builders? We want a vibrant


building industry, and at the moment that industry is dominated by big


house-builders. I want to see a more diverse and competitive industry,


where self build plays a greater role. In France over 60% of new


homes are built by self builders, but small builders build more homes


as well. 25 years ago they were building two thirds of new homes,


now they are not building even a third of new homes. That's because


land policies have been so restrictive that it is only the big


companies who can afford to buy the land, so little land is being


released for house building. I agree, there are some fundamental


structural problems with the land market and that is why we have said


there doesn't just need to be tinkering around the edges, there


needs to be real reforms to make sure that small builders and self


build and custom-built have access to land. They are saying they have


problems with access to land and finance. At the end of the day it


will not be self, small builders who reach your target, it will be big


builders. I think it is pretty shameful that in Western Europe the


new houses built in the UK are smaller than our neighbours. But


isn't not the land problem? France is 2.8 times bigger in land mass and


we are and that is not a problem for them. There is a perception we are


going to build on the countryside, but not even 10% is on the


countryside. There is enough for us to have our golf courses. There is


enough other land for us to build on that is not golf courses. The


planning minister has said he wants to build our National Parks, I am


not suggesting that. The single biggest land border is the public


sector. It is not. There are great opportunities for releasing public


land, that is why I have been asking the government, they say they are


going to release and of public land for tens of thousands of new homes


to be built, but they say they are not monitoring how many houses are


being built on the site. When your leader says to landowners, housing


development owners, either use the land or lose it, in what way will


they lose it? Will you confiscated? This is about strengthening the hand


of local authorities, and they say to us that in some cases,


house-builders are sitting on land. In those cases, we would give the


power to local authorities to escalate fees. This would be the


compulsory purchase orders, a matter of last resort, and you would hope


that by strengthening the hand of local authorities, you could get the


house-builders to start building the homes that people want. Would you


compulsory purchase it? We would give the local authority as a last


resort, after escalating the fees, the possibility and flexible it is


to use the compulsory purchase orders to sell the land on to a


house builder who wants to build houses that we need. Can you name


one report that has come back in recent years that shows that


hoarding of land by house-builders is a major problem? The IMF, the


Conservative mayor of London and the Local Government Association are


telling us that there is a problem with land hoarding. Therefore, we


have said, where there is land with planning permission, and if plots


are being sat on... Boris Johnson says there are 180,000 plots in


London being sat on. We need to make sure the house-builders are building


the homes that young families need. They get planning permission and


sell it on to the developer. There is a whole degree of complicity but


there is another problem before that. That is around transparency


about land options. There is agricultural land that


house-builders have land options on, and we do not know where that is.


Where there is a need for housing, and the biggest demand is in the


south-east of England, that is where many local authorities are most


reluctant to do it, will you in central government take powers to


force these authorities to give it? We have talked about the right to


grow, we were in Stevenage recently. What we have said is we


want to strengthen the hand of local authorities like Stevenage so they


are not blocked every step of the way. They need 16,000 new homes but


they do not have the land supply. What about the authorities that do


not want to do it? They should be forced to sit down and agree with


the neighbouring authority. In Stevenage, it is estimated at


?500,000 has been spent on legal fees because North Hertfordshire is


blocking Stevenage every step of the way. Michael Lyons says the national


interest will have to take President over local interest. Voice cannot


mean a veto. The local community in Stevenage is crying out for new


homes. Do you agree? There has to be land available for new homes to be


built, and in areas like Oxford, Luton and Stevenage... Do you agree


with Michael Lyons? The national interest does have to be served,


will put the five new towns? We have asked him to look at how we can


incentivise local authorities to come forward with sites for new


towns. You cannot tell us where they are going to be? I cannot. We will


have to wait for him. When you look at the historic figures overall, not


at the moment, Private Housing building is only just beginning to


recover, but it has been pretty steady for a while. The big


difference between house-building now and in the past, since Mrs


Thatcher came to power a and including the Tony Blair government,


we did not build council houses. Almost none. Will the next Labour


government embark on a major council has programme? We inherited housing


stock back in 1997... This is important. Will the next Labour


government embark on a major council has programme? We have called on


this government to bring forward investment in social housing. We


want to see an investment programme in social housing, I cannot give you


the figures now. We are 18 months away from the election. Will the


next Labour government embark on a major council house Northern


programme? I want to see a council house building programme, because


there is a big shortage of council homes. That is a guess? Yes. We got


there in the end. -- that is a yes? We will be talking to Patrick homes


in the West Midlands in a moment. You are watching the Sunday


Politics. Coming up in just over 20 minutes, I will look at the week


ahead with our political panel and Jacob


Welcome to Sunday Politics South. My name's Peter Henley. On today's show


it's been water, water everywhere this week. But why do so many places


keep on flooding? Is the Environment Agency getting the funds it needs


for flood prevention, and are councils being properly compensated


for clearing up the aftermath? More on that in a moment. First, let's


meet our two guests of the day. Rowenna Davis is Labour's 2015


parliamentary candidate for Southampton Itchen. Chris Chope is


the Conservative MP for Christchurch. You were campaigning


on rail fares this week, Rowenna Davis, saying it costs ?5,000 a


season ticket, do you say the increase is unreasonable? The price


is already too high for people in Southampton and the South East.


?5,200 to go to London for an annual ticket. What it means to many people


we spoke to is they cannot afford to continue working in the capital or


not looking for jobs there in the first place, which is bad for the


economy because people cannot take the work that is there and it is bad


for individual suffering already with the high cost of living. The


coalition have realised this is a problem because they capped


increases? They capped some of them so they would not go up as much as


otherwise would have been. It is holding the economy back, huge fare


rises? Who else will pay? We need to invest in the railway. People look


at the improvements between Southampton and London, they are


amazing, compared to when I went to Parkway station. It is an enormous


station with massive investment and likewise the rolling stock. The


question is, who will pay for it? The people he use the railways were


smacked the people who are not? 1990, when Chris Chope was transport


Minister, John Prescott grumbled in the House of Commons that the cost


of a standard return ticket from London to Brighton had gone from 565


up to ?16 20 in 1990, compared to the first in 1978. ?16 20 in 1990.


It must be about ?30 now. But, for 20p more, you can get the off`peak


return which is ?16 40. Flexible fares? If we talk about the problem


of people not being able to work, those off`peak tickets are not


available to those working. We were told that privatisation would bring


prices down and they never have. And we still have companies making


millions and expecting to make more profits this year if you look at the


South West trains report. That is unacceptable when people are


suffering and the economy is suffering. Why should commuters pay


for this only? We all want good railways. Likewise, why should we


pay for the roads? Why should it just be rail users who are


privileged. You may be forgiven this week to feel it has been chucking it


down for 40 days and 40 nights already. It has seemed like an


endless cycle of high winds, high tides and rising floodwaters. And as


our Oxford political reporter Helen Catt now reports, there's hardly a


place in our region that has escaped a soaking.


It started with high winds and waves battering our stretch of the coast.


In Dorset, this home Park was evacuated for the second time in a


fortnight and the residents' plight was mentioned in the House of


Commons by a Bournemouth MP. Given the changing weather patterns, what


more could be done in the long term towards improved river and sea


defences? As my honourable friend knows in Bournemouth and Dorset we


had 290 homes flooded. I agree with him that the worst `` the work of


the emergency services and Environment Agency has been


excellent. Local authorities have had good plans and put them into


place competently, but not every local authority does as well and


lessons will be learned. In Christchurch, it was a similar


story. The properties may become impossible to live in. People might


be thrown out of their homes. Many of the residents are elderly. It


might fall to the local council to house these people, maybe at


considerable cost. Inland, the rain kept falling and the water kept


rising, and even getting to the shops was a major effort. The


majority of houses on this stretch of the River Thames are adapted to


cope with something like these conditions, they are raised on


stilts. For those that are not, this is a disaster. Just getting in and


out. The currents are pulling along the road and getting dangerous you


feel that you will get swept over. In Purley near Reading there was


anger as residents used paddle power to get around. Promised work on


flood defences which they say could have saved houses has not been done.


It is precarious, but it seems to be levelling out. We have been worried.


How about getting to school? This is the first day trying to get them


out. We did not have the boat before. As the week closed, concern


was on the River Thames South of Oxford, where two people died. Seven


days of alerts, warnings and severe warnings have left councils, the


Environment Agency and home owners contemplating the cost of that


water. Joining me now is a member of the


Loddon Valley Residents' Association. Long Valley is working.


How has it been? It has been terrible, but we were fortunate ``


Lord and Valley. It is not as bad as 2007, but it has been hairy for


people over the Christmas period with people woken up at 5:30am, with


a warning saying water was coming there day and spending Christmas Day


worrying about whether the house would remain dry. The report from


2007 when we had a lot of flooding, it said warnings were important,


have they been better? In principle, warnings are fantastic because it


allows people to protect their property. Not once the warnings have


happened and the floodwaters have abated, you have people who have


their lives decimated, trying to put it back together. So having the


upfront stuff is fantastic, it is what happens afterwards that is the


problem, having things in place which might prevent flooding in


future, maintenance, those things. We heard about people getting


together to get diggers to clear culverts. Is it self`help that is


important in this situation, with help from the experts, or are there


people who cannot do things? It is a mix. We have a group in Swallowfield


who are fantastic in doing self`help. It is not always the


case, and not always safe to do that. Often, it is expertise.


Self`help might be putting up a barrier, but where does the water go


if you do? You could cause problems downstream. And it is so


unpredictable. The experts look at it and you do not know if your


individual house you may have bought recently is liable or not, do you


think we need more information? Or do you just accept the rain will


fall where it falls? We need to have the flood assets, more preparation,


ditches, culverts, they have to be cleared. You have to make sure the


river is maintained. You do not want points along the river occurring and


spilling out the water. The key is preparation. What is your feeling


about Environment Agency cuts? The cuts are worrying. I have had phone


calls and conversations with residents who are worried. Going


back to the river and the idea it has to be maintained to make sure it


does not choke up and cause flooding, will the cuts impact


that? Think of cuts with local authorities, who have to maintain


flood assets, the being prepared type of thing which we are worrying


about going. If you think further afield, you have hard engineering.


Morpeth. The big capital investments. You will maintain that


after the Environment Agency cuts? Thanks very much. Although heavy


floods seem to be almost an annual event now, they are hardly something


that anyone can budget for. So who exactly pays for the clear up?


Here's Helen again. Local authorities often pick up the


bill for dealing with this kind of unexpected event. There is a


government programme to provide compensation that says that once a


local authority has spent 0.2% of its annual budget on eligible


mopping up arrangements, it will be reimbursed from central government.


The government even has a table for how much authorities have dispensed


before they trigger the grant, so in Bournemouth, if the council spends


just over 400,000, it can claim of the extra and in West Berkshire it


is the same. In Wiltshire, with the flooding around Salisbury, it is


just over 1 million. Oxfordshire County Council, it is almost 1.5


million. It is not all good news, the government only hands over 85%


of what they say is eligible, so councils might have to dip into


reserves kept for a rainy day. And thanks to all South Today


viewers who provided those amazing photos. Joining us from our Oxford


studio is Rodney Rose, who's the deputy leader of Oxfordshire County


Council. Facing quite a clear`up bill from the looks of it. Are you


going to have to pay for it out of that rainy`day money you have saved?


We certainly are, the formula is totally unfair to big county council


's like us. It will not give you enough money? It will not give us


any money, it did not in 2007, anyway. We have to get above the 1.5


million which is extra spend on the emergency before we can claim. Do


you feel it is a lottery because of the size of the authority, when


others get help? The bigger problem is it is based on the revenue budget


of the local authority. We have so many extra miles of river and road,


but also we have bills such as 34 million for school transport, adult


services and the children's budget, which create a cut`off point for


this scheme. So you feel it is unfair in that some get help and you


will not, but what would be a better way of doing it? I think it's


somehow relates back to the number of people employed in the highways


and local fire service, which in Oxfordshire is county council run,


it should not relate to other budgets we are involved in. And


places, such as Oxfordshire, which is more susceptible with the Thames


Valley, to having these problems where other authorities might not


have these issues? We have a longer length of the River Thames. We have


3000 miles of roads which have problems with flooding and that adds


to the cost. Coastal communities, Christchurch, Chris Chope, facing


more problems with the high tides this time. Do you think there should


be a better way of ensuring central government supports individual


authorities? Nobody has found a better way than the formula. Which


Rodney Rose says does not work. It might not work for him because he


does not benefit, but it is an insurance policy with the government


saying the national taxpayer will intervene if your losses are more


than a particular percentage of the budget. If I have an insurance


policy, I know what I will get for the premium. It is not quite the


same, but there is no certainty. He knows that his outgoings will not be


sufficient to qualify for the formula money, which shows that the


costs in Oxfordshire as a percentage of the budget will be below the


threshold. That seems, to me, a perfectly reasonable way of having a


policy sharing expense sharing between national taxpayers and local


taxpayers. That is what the formula was designed to achieve. Do you


think it is working? Know, and it does not deal with preventative work


the local authorities have to do `` no. It is about clearing up the mess


and national government has an incentive to get involved if a local


region is effective because press attention is there and they need to


be seen to be doing something. But more dangerously, they are removing


the preventative work and we know about the cuts to the Environment


Agency and job cuts, and that is doing damage to particular areas. If


I take Southhampton, it would be fantastic if we could develop the


west side of the river itching, which is honourable to flooding, but


we cannot do it because the money for flood defences has not been put


in place and as a result the investment and insurance costs are


too high for businesses and local people lose out on jobs and homes.


Are there things you would like to do in Oxfordshire that you do not


get money for? More important is stopping gridlock in the city, when


roots in our blocked due to flooding, which leaves me trying to


find 120 million, one scheme in mind, and I do not know with deficit


reduction where the money is coming from. For the tax payer, it makes


economic sense to put this investment in, because there are not


the costs of the community has to bear? Yes I would not like to think


of the economic cost to Oxford city in the past days. That is something


we have to face and we have to raise that money, and at the moment, and I


certainly support deficit reduction, but we have to keep those aspects of


public spending going. And you can see more on how the floods have hit


the South in tomorrow night's Inside Out on BBC One at 7:30pm, including


Jon Cuthill making milk deliveries in a kayak to cut off households.


The Prime Minister began the New Year with a trip to the South Coast.


He came to promote the Help To Buy scheme, but his visit included a


photocall that some felt had rather backfired.


Sharon was the 30`year`old single mother chosen for David Cameron to


visit. Just before Christmas she exchanged contracts on a ?135,000


two`bedroom flat in Southhampton. We are not helping people to buy homes


they cannot afford, we help people who do not have wealthy parents that


cannot get a big deposit together, and we are helping them to realise


their dreams, which is good for them and the economy. I would not have


been able to afford childcare and to save at the same time, so it has


helps me to get onto the ladder. Sharon's two`year`old was on hand as


David Cameron had a tour, standard publicity stuff, even the pose with


a cup of tea. But press coverage and online comments made huge play of


personal details picked up from Sharon's Twitter account, that she


had bought a BMW convertible and was sales director of the estate agency


that sold the flat. It became a witchhunt. People were


saying this is an estate agent, why does she deserve... She has a flash


car, why do she have help from the scheme? I do not want to continue


the victimisation of her and it really was, I think she has recently


divorced and has gone through a lot and seems to work hard, and she was


not deserving of that criticism because she was picking up on the


policy available to her, she was not breaking rules. There might be a


deeper question about the nature of the policy and who it is open to,


but that is the government's responsibility. Do you think she


should get help with her mortgage? I am saying nobody should blame her


for applying for a benefit open to her. She did not break any rules.


What I have concerns about is the policy itself, and why it is open to


those people. We know it is open to buying houses up to ?600,000 in


value, a huge amount. In Southhampton we have a waiting list


of 14,004 council homes and it will never be open to those people to


apply this scheme. It does nothing to solve the problem of a shortage


of houses. If you want to tackle this, look at supply. Why does


taxpayers' money goes to help people with decent incomes, rather than


those suffering without appropriate housing? I would like to see a


system that gets the housing market moving, which means reducing the tax


on transactions. That is why I think it is better to invest in reducing


stamp duty on all house purchases and sales in the lower range. Less


than 600,000, presumably? That would help everybody and get the market


moving. The trouble with this policy is that it picks a few winners and a


lot of other people do not benefit. I have argued that levels of stamp


duty are too high on relatively modest house purchase transactions


and reducing that would be a better thing. Do you agree we need to get


the market moving, not just those at the bottom, but to get confidence?


This policy artificially inflate house prices and gives us another


bubble when prices rose by 11% in Southhampton already, and it does


not deal with supply. People build more houses. Prices are rising


massively already. It only helps a small proportion of people. Do you


think we will have a housing bubble? I hope we do not. There is a


danger but I think the Chancellor is watching that. Now our regular


round`up of the political week in the South in 60 seconds.


Diving in the deep end. Portsmouth MP's political opponents thought she


was in hot water after signing up for a reality TV programme splash.


She said she gave the ?10,000 fee to charity. I work hard for Portsmouth,


like me or loathe me. Too much water was the excuse of Gatwick for


cancelling flights on Christmas Eve, telling MPs that flooding led


to power cuts and police were called to call order. The chief constable


of the Thames Valley said they were not fiddling crime figures. We need


the public to trust the police to tell the truth. Criminal lawyers in


Oxford protested about plans to cut legal aid, with fees potentially


being cut by 30%. The unions at Bournemouth University are insulted


by a 19% increase in the Vice Chancellor's salary when staff who


are teachers were offered a 1% rise. A variation on who is getting an


increase in salary and most people are not. Lawyers getting less money,


the legal aid budget, does that concern you? It is a serious


concern. There are so many people who do not have access to justice


because they feel they cannot afford it. The system must be based on the


righteousness of your case and not power and I am worried that is no


longer going to be happening. But when money is tight, surely saving


money given to lawyers has to be a good thing? You have to make a


distinction between legal aid lawyers who work for little money


and lawyers who work in other sectors. To cut those who are giving


up time for legal aid cases is criminal. You are a barrister. Have


people always complained about the money available on legal aid? A cut


of 30% seems huge. There is an issue about the quality of the advocacy.


We have two encourage good quality advocates to litigate on behalf of


the people. If we cut it too much, we might end up with inferior


quality advocates which will have a knock`on effect in taking longer in


court and be counter`productive, so I am sympathetic with the case. It


is fantastic, he disagrees with the Conservative party on so much!


That's the Sunday will not be revoked. And I wouldn't


want it to go. Thank you, back to Andrew.


Can David Cameron get his way on EU migration? Will he ever be able to


satisfy his backbenchers on Europe? Is Ed Miliband trying to change the


tone of PMQ 's? More questions for the week ahead.


We are joined by Jacob Rees Mogg from his constituency in Somerset.


Welcome to the programme. You one of the 95 Tory backbenchers who signed


this letter? Suddenly. Laws should be made by our democratically


elected representatives, not from Brussels. How could Europe work with


a pick and mix in which each national parliament can decide what


Brussels can be in charge of? The European Union is a supernatural


body that is there for the cooperation amongst member states to


do things that they jointly want to do. It ought not be there to force


-- to enforce uniform rules on countries that do not want to


participate. It is the vision of Europe that people joined when we


signed up to it and came in in 973. It has accreted powers to itself


without having the support of the public of the member states. This is


just a way of preparing the ground for you to get out of Europe


altogether, isn't it? I do not big so. There is a role for an


organisation that does some coordination and that has trade


agreements within it, I do not think there is a role for a federal state.


Europe seems to be dominating the. I remember your leader telling you not


to bang on about Europe, your backbench colleagues seem to have


ignored that. Would you like to restrict the flow of EU migrants to


come to work in this country? Yes. I think we should have control of our


own borders, so we can decide who we want to admit for the whole world.


What we have at the moment is a restrictive control of people coming


from anywhere other than the EU There is a big decrease in the


number of New Zealanders who came in the last quarter for which figures


are available, but a huge increase in people coming from the continent.


Does it really make sense to stop our second cousins coming so that we


can allow people freely to come from the continent? I do not think so, we


need to have domestic control of our borders in the interests of the


United Kingdom. There are still lots more people coming from the rest of


the world than from the European Union. That has been changing. But


there are still more. A lot more. The permanent residence coming from


the European Union are extremely high. In the period when the Labour


Party was in charge, we had to put 5 million people coming here, of whom


about 1 billion were from Poland. -- we had 2.5 million people coming


here. We have no control over them. Like the clock behind you, you are


behind the times on these figures. I have stopped the clock for your


benefit, because it was going to chime otherwise! I thought that


might be distracting! Only a Tory backbencher could stop a clock!


Helen, when you at this up, it is preparing to get out, is it not We


have had this one bill about a referendum that seems to have tied


us up in knots for months on end. If Parliament could scrutinise every


piece of EU legislation, we would never get anything else done. It


would be incredible. Even Chris Grayling said earlier that you can


not have a national veto on anything that the EU proposes. I am surprised


that Jacob Rees Mogg is talking about dismantling one of Margaret


Thatcher's most important legacies, the creation of the single market,


and the person sent there to dream it up under Margaret Thatcher said


the only way you can run this sensibly is by not having national


vetoes, because if you have that, guess what will happen? The French


will impose lots of protectionist measures. It was Margaret


Thatcher's idea that national parliaments should never veto. How


could you fly in the face of the lady? Even the great lady makes


mistakes. Excuse me, Jacob Rees Mogg says even Margaret Thatcher makes


mistakes! No wonder the clock has stopped! Even be near divine


Margaret made a mistake! But on the single market, it has been used as


an excuse for massive origination of domestic affairs. We should be


interested in free trade in Europe and allowing people to export and


import freely, not to have uniform regulations, as per the single


market, because what that allows is thought unelected bureaucrats to


determine the regular vision. We want the British people to decide


the rules for themselves. If this makes the single market not work,


that is not the problem, because we can still have free trade, which is


more important. If David Cameron is watching this, I am sure he is, it


will be nice for you to come on and give us an interview, he must be


worried. He is beginning to think, I am losing control. It is a clever


letter, the tone is ingratiating and pleasant, every time, you have stood


up to Brussels, you have achieved something, but the content is


dramatic. If you want Parliament to have a veto, you want to leave the


EU, because the definition is accepting the primacy of European


law. The MPs should be clear about that. It is almost a year since the


Europe speech in which David Cameron committed to the referendum. The


political objective was to put that issue to bed until the next


election. It has failed. David Cameron is going to have to pull off


a major miracle in any renegotiations to satisfy all of


this. Yes, it makes me think how much luckier he has been in


coalition with the Liberal Democrats, because there is a bit of


the Tory party that is irreconcilable to what he wants to


do. The Conservative MPs are making these demands just as David Cameron


is seeing the debate goes his way in Europe. Angela Merkel has looked


over the cliff and said, do I want the UK out? No, they are a


counterbalance to France. France one the UK to leave, but they do not,


because they do not want to lose the only realistic military power Tom


other than themselves. Just when the debate is going David Cameron's way,


Jacob Rees Mogg would take us out. Let me move on to another subject.


That is nonsense. The debate is not beginning to go David Cameron's way.


We are having before us on Monday a bill about European citizenship and


spending British taxpayers money so that Europe can go and say we are


all EU citizens, but we signed up to being a part of a multinational


organisation. The spin that it is going the way of the leader of a


political party is one that has been used before, it was said of John


Major, it was untrue then and it is now. It is, for the continuing


deeper integration of the European Union. I want to ask a quick


question. Chris Grayling said to us that the Tories would devise a way


in which the British Supreme Court would be supreme in the proper


meaning of that, but we could still be within the European Court of


Human Rights. Can that circle be squared? I have no idea, the Lord


Chancellor is an able man, and I am sure he is good at squaring circles.


I am not worried about whether we remain in the convention or not PMQ


's, we saw a bit about this week, Paul Gorgons had died, so the house


was more subdued, but he wants a more subdued and serious prime


ministers questions. Let's remind ourselves what it was like until


now. What is clear is that he is


floundering around and he has no answer to the Labour Party's energy


price freeze. The difference is John Major is a good man, the Right


Honourable gentleman is acting like a conman. Across the medical


profession, they say there is a crisis in accident and emergency,


and we have a Prime Minister saying, crisis, what crisis? How out of


touch can hate the? You do not need it to be Christmas to know when you


are sitting next to a turkey. It is not a bad line. Is Ed Miliband


trying to change the tone of prime ministers questions? Is he right to


do so? The important point is this was a special prime ministers


questions, because everybody was really sad and by the death of Paul


Goggins and in the country, the legacy of the floods. That was the


first question that Ed Miliband asked about, so that cast a pall


over proceedings. When it suits him, Ed Miliband would like to take a


more statesman-like stance, but will it last? That is how David Cameron


started. His first prime ministers questions, he said to Tony Blair, I


would like to support you on education, and he did in a vote


which meant Tony Blair could see off a naughty operation from Gordon


Brown. But it did not last, they are parties with different visions.


Jacob Rees Mogg, would you like to see it more subdued? I like a bit of


Punch and Judy. You need to have fierce debate and people putting


their views passionately, it is excellent. I am not good at it, I


sit there quite quietly, but it is great fun, very exciting, and it is


the most watched bit of the House of Commons each week. If it got as dull


as ditchwater, nobody would pay attention. Three cheers for Punch


and Judy. Ed Miliband is going to make a major speech on the economy


this week. You can now define the general approach. We had it from


Emma Reynolds, we have seen it over energy prices, this market is bust,


the market is not working properly, and that will therefore justify


substantial government intervention. Intervention which does not


necessarily cost money. It is the deletion and reorganising


industries. It constitutes an answer to the question which has been


hounding him, what is the point of the Labour Party when there is no


money left? He says, you do not spend a huge amount fiscally, but


you arrange markets to achieve socially just outcomes without


expenditure. It is quite serious stance. I am not sure it will


survive the rigours of an election campaign, but it is an answer. Is


that an approach, to use broken markets, to justify substantial


state intervention? Yes, and the other big plank is infrastructure


spending. The Lib Dems would not be against capital investment for info


structure will stop Emma Reynolds talking about house-building, the


idea of pumping money into the economy through infrastructure is


something that the Labour Party will look at. Jacob Rees Mogg, you once


thought Somerset should have its own time zone, and today, you have


delivered on that promise! Live on the Sunday Politics! I try to


deliver on my promises! That is all for today, the Daily


Politics is on BBC Two every day this week, just before lunch. I


aren't back next Sunday here on BBC One at 11am. -- I am back. If it is


Sunday, it is the Sunday Politics.


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