Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news, interviews and debate including Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the treasury, on the state of the UK economy.
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In the West: Too small and not enough of them. Couples are
struggling to find a house they can afford that's bigger than a rabbit
Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2025 seconds
hutch. Can our councils finally Welcome to the Sunday politics here
in the West. If you are thinking of buying a home in the West it will
cost a fortune if you can get a mortgage in the first place. Today
we are asking if you need to be building begat and more houses for
the growing need. We talk to one councillor he says we must build to
protect our children's future. Talking of houses, welcome to my
humble abode. Let me introduce my tenants. They are both grammar-
school boys. The Conservative MP for Tewkesbury. Donald used to be
on shaky ground in Bath, but in the last election he doubled his Lib
Dem seat. Now they are in government together. You are like
brothers, really, aren't you? A big debate I want to talk about this
week. The proposed cap of �26,000 on benefits. Don Foster, do you
think it is a good idea? I think it is a good idea. I think the public
at large except that it cannot be right for somebody on benefits to
be getting substantially more than a family that goes out to work. The
problem we have got is, how do we get from where we are now to the
imposition of the benefit cap. There will be a number of problems.
So Lord Ashdown is wrong when he says it should not be imposed? Yes,
I think it is wrong. The issue for me is transition arrangements. What
we have not had enough from the government is what they are
planning to do to resolve undoubted difficulties. There seems to be
large public support for this? is something that has been building
for decades and nobody has done anything about it. I get a lot of
letters from people saying they have worked all of their lives and
fought in the war and are so much worse off than people who have done
nothing and on benefits. A lot of people on benefits through no fault
of their own, but we have to make sure that nurses and teachers are
not worse off. Do you know rich people on benefits? It depends what
you call a benefit. Housing benefit is termed as a benefit so yes,
there are some. The important thing to remember is someone has to earn
�35,000 per year and, only 26,000. There are many teachers and nurses
that do not and that money. This is what the debate is about.
First, let's cut through estate agent will fall. If you want to buy
a new home it will cost a bomb and that is if you can get a mortgage.
For years, prices have been going up and rooms have been getting
smaller. Local councils are now trying to sort out this problem by
allowing new homes to be built. Jem and Gordon of first-time buyers.
Like many, they cannot get on the housing ladder. We were mainly
looking at two bedroom houses around �250,000. There are not many
of them and not in very good locations. I just don't understand
why they have to put them so that everyone is so on top of each other.
I feel that all of the new estate, you are literally living so close
together with no parking. From Whitehall to a village hall may you.
Councillors across the West are now deciding where over half a million
new homes will be built in a way region over the next 20 years.
People say, what does sustainability mean. It means many
things. The one thing it does mean is do not cheat on your children.
We do not have a robust plan and a cheating the children of the future.
We should not do that. For those living in villages where new
housing developments are planned, there are real concerns. We are not
NMB because what we are more concerned about is the potential
for such a development on these green fields throttling the life
out of Stroud town which is where we are all attached. We have had
from our couple. They are worried about the size and price of these
homes and this is something a former West MP is warning
councillors to think about when drawing up plans. We need homes.
There are people desperate to get into homes. The danger is, if you
go for a large-scale development, they are not popular and often you
are building the wrong sort of houses in the wrong places. I have
always been in favour of dispersal. We need to make sure that we get
housing for older people and younger people in the right place.
What we are being asked for our views on us and plums, chairman and
Gordon's search for their first affordable home goes on.
An experience shared by many couples. Derek Davies is there
councillor in charge in cheeks brief. At a stately age of 81, he
is one of our most senior politicians. What can you do to
help young couples in your area? They want a nice affordable house
and not too small. Yes, well it is a case of haves and have-nots. If
you live in a house, you are and how. If you are homeless, you are a
have not. What we are trying to do is cut down and build more housing.
The only way you can do that is by having a 20 year plans which we
have. We have been talking about this for years. Why has this not
happened? Perhaps you can blame previous governments. Not your
government? Our government has made amazing move so far. So far they
have taken 1000 pages of planning guidelines and scrap them and
replace them with about 50 pages. These guidelines are to give
planning permission. Very often it is difficult for local councillors
because there is a lot of local opposition. Not a lot. Few have not.
What do you mean? What I mean by that is that if you ask anybody
that says we do not want these houses all sorts of various reasons,
I call those the haves. The weaker minority, and they are the minority,
they are homeless or without a satisfactory home, they do not have
a voice. I get it. Let's bring in the MPs here. You often the same
patch, how many homes do you think I needed? It is difficult to put a
figure on the next 20 years. I used to work with homeless people before
I went in Parliament. It is not a bad enough houses, it is about the
economy. What happened at to the credit crunch building societies
and banks lend far too much money. That had the effect of pushing up
the price of property to an unsustainable level. That is one of
the problems and needs correcting. Don Foster, how do you build houses
in Bath? One of the things that we have had is that the government has
provided additional financial support. We have already heard
about the support in terms of planning. They have also made
government land available so in Bath we are going to have three
disused MoD sites where a lot of housing, probably around 1500 homes,
will go there. We are developing Western Riverside as well. If you
go to a place like Bath, at the moment it will cost you 14 times
the average salary to be able to pay for the average price house.
That puts the finances out of the market. Let's bring you back him.
Is it that there are not enough houses or people cannot afford
them? Well, we have not built in of houses over the last 20 years. That
puts the price up and as a result, developers have been stagnant, that
is what we are taking on now, a stagnant position. What we have to
do is use innovative ideas on top of what the government has done.
someone complains about a housing estate on a green belt, are you
going to say on your bike? Or are you going to say yes, I support
she? Of course we have to build in the right area. Coming from
Tewkesbury and though the damage that can be done to the green belt
and the flood risk area. We had terrible floods four years ago
where people were living in caravans as a result. Derek is
right, the number of houses being built did drop off and it started
at the point of the credit crunch. There were no changes in planning
at that time, it was a change in the economy. That caused the
problem. Derek, you are right. We will leave it at that last word.
Thank you for coming in. For anyone angry anti-Europeans
meddling in our affairs, it has been a big week. David Cameron
toured Europe including a stop in Strasbourg to put the Court of
Human Rights in its place. At least that is one version of events.
They laid on a red carpet in Strasbourg this week even if the
visitor was threatening to give them a carpeting. David Cameron
spent two hours at the Council of Europe which controls the Court of
Human Rights. Some of his MPs were here all week. Joining
representatives from 47 countries which are members. These West
Country Conservatives are aware of sceptical views back in their
constituencies. We are just talking about press coverage in the UK.
pieces in the Mail and Telegraph. Bob water leads the British
delegation. He only started a year ago and reckons reform is overdue.
The cost of this place is astronomical. If you say to people
in Somerset or Bristol, what do you know about the Court of Human
Rights, the experience for them is pretty Honourable. You see clerics
who should not be allowed out, you see a lot of other things and think
it is mad. It all comes from here. The message that we have to put
across as the British is that this has to change. But Wednesday, David
Cameron was accompanied by Bob water his role is even more
significant at the moment. Prime Minister asked me to be
leader of the UK delegation. The important work that needs to be
done. Now with the British chairmanship, the important work
that is going to be done on the reform agenda. Britain is in the
chair for six months which is why David Cameron was here making his
big speech. The court should ensure the right and not act as a small
claims court. Some of those watching were not impressed.
Prime Minister has gone for a GP it. He has come here looking for
favourable headlines because we agree with the. He is making, but
it does not advance the agenda for human rights in our continent for
one single centimetre. But there was warm applause, not just from
West Country Tories. David Cameron's performance seemed to go
well because he talked about making things better and not pulling
Britain out. The government are talking to two
very different audiences. At home they want to sound tough, over here
it is about diplomacy -- diplomacy. Twilight in Strasbourg and Bob
water is among the big no trees in this service to honour the war dead.
This area was badly effected by World War Two. To help prevent
future conflicts, the country has resolved to work together.
Council of Europe brings together the whole of Europe and the whole
of Europe on the basis that we never want to see as having to
create war memorials like this a game. No one would argue with the
ideals, but there is disagreement with how best to achieve them.
Today we are joined by Caroline BT, then manager of Bristol refugee
rights. Why do we need the European Court
of Human Rights, do you think? think it is crucial to have some
kind of independent oversight of areas where the perceived national
interest might clash with the rights and freedoms are very
vulnerable people living in this country. There is a perception it
is used a lot. The Prime Minister talked about the European Court of
Human Rights in the tribunal. Is that your experience? Not at all.
It is very difficult to get a case to European Court. What is
important now is that immigration judges have a mind to the European
Court rulings and will make decisions ultimately to support
people with those rights. For instance, in the last quarter there
were two Rawlings to show that detentions of mentally ill people
was not only unlawful, but inhuman and degrading. That his article 3.
What people are concerned about is that human rights can become a
tyranny whether rights of the individual are looked after by the
rest of society has to lump it. The example of that is the cleric he
wants to cause damage but cannot be deported. It is a pity that people
see it like that. The point of human rights is that they should be
accessible to everybody. It is about freedom and safety for all.
Why does David Cameron launched this against the European Court of
Human Rights? I think he feels that it is involving itself in what our
individual and small cases that nobody would have an objection to
the articles in the original declaration. It was a noble aim.
But what has happened is that it has gone way beyond its original
remit. So we have all these cases which have been heard and they set
a precedent. It is very frustrating. In the original articles, there
were the rights of governments to determine their own policies.
Foster, how did you feel when David Cameron went to Strasbourg this
week and let loose at them? He was absolutely right to say that we
need to reform it. It has 150,000 case backlog. We need to have
higher quality judges. We need to give it more resources and would
probably need to have more cases dealt with in their own countries.
Having said that, nobody is saying we need to get rid of it. It is
crucially important we have a body covering 47 countries that ensures
we can do something, after all we invented the thing, it was
Churchill pushing for it, that we have something where countries less
good on Human Rights, foreigners since Russia and former Soviet
countries, can be held to account. The point is that if we say we do
not want to obey that particular role, when Russia breaks one, they
can say the same thing. The court was set up to oversee what was
going on. What has happened is it is getting involved in small
matters which it was not set up today. Nobody would disagree with
the original article, but it has gone way beyond that now. This
tends to happen. Don is absolutely right, it is to focus on what it is
there to do. It has 150,000 cases waited to be heard. They say they
are a victim of their own success. The third point is also enforcing
it. When it actually comes to decisions. That is another weakness
of present arrangements. Thank you for coming in and talking to us
today. So what has been the top of the
political charts this week? Here is our 62nd round up.
This is the West's own spaghetti Junction. It is getting and �90
million facelift. The government says it will make journeys safer
and shorter. These are some of the 13,000 campaigners who are against
a new nuclear power station being built in Somerset. They submitted
objections this week. Policing in Gloucestershire will be
pushed to a cliff edge if the force of forced to make more cuts.
risk is that it starts to impact on frontline policing.
The power of the Bristol Channel help generate energy of the future.
Companies in the West are being encouraged to lead the way in
designing new age technology. And politics is all about finding a
voice. We say a final farewell to Western's town crier. He won the
town crier complete tissue and with his distinctive voice. -- town
crier competition. Another hectic week. Let's talk
about one of those issues that came up there. Policing. That warning by
the Chief Constable, they are heading to the clifftop because of
cuts. You are the party of law and order, aren't you? We are. By meet
Tony regularly and he says what he said on the film. I say to him that
we have to make cut somewhere. I know Conservative politicians keep
going on about that, but it is a fact of life. What Tony has been
active in doing is making sure there are more police on the beat,
on the front line. He has been very successful. Don, people will be
cross if they lose visible policing. I think people will be cross if
they see crime rising. One important thing is that we try to
address the causes of crime. One thing I raised following the riots
with the Prime Minister on the floor of the House was that we all
know that a high percentage of crime is caused by totally
dysfunctional families. Instead of saying, yes that is true, and doing
nothing, the government has bought a vast amount of money in the to
work with various agencies to deal with that. We all suit need to do
more smarter policing. Half of the policing still does not have the