26/02/2012 Sunday Politics West


Andrew Neil and David Garmston present political news and debate, including former defence secretray Liam Fox in his first major television interview since leaving the cabinet.

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Is Labour's scaremongering on privatisation? And his first


television interview since quitting the Cabinet, a Liam Fox on why


George Osborne should depend on Tory properties - with Tory


policies. That is the Sunday interview. And our political panel


of the bright young things you to analyse British politics in the


week ahead and St -- tweeting and the programme ahead. In the West -


Swindon councillors become the first in the country to axe full


time paid union reps for staff. Will they set a precedent across


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2031 seconds


Hello. In the next 20 minutes in this week's programme, everybody


out - Swindon council votes to stop paying full-time union reps. Is at


the start of a war between the Conservatives and the unions?


The Conservatives voted through that changed faster than you can


say Arthur Scargill. We will be talking at through that with our


guests later. They are Chris Skidmore, a conservative from the


old coal-mining areas of Bristol, and Anne Snelgrove, are confident


of Gordon Brown. -- a confident of Gordon Brown. Chris, I want to talk


to you about health, first of all. You are on the health Select


Committee. These health reforms, will they go through? I think they


must. I think the key point Mike we need to start with this in the NHS,


we have an ageing population, and there is more pressure on the NHS


than ever before. The rumour is that the Prime Minister it does not


understand it, no one understands. That is not true, they are right


behind the reforms. Anne Snelgrove, do you agree?


There are rumours the Conservatives want to take Andrew Lansley out and


shoot him. The message is there is �2 billion being spent on an


unnecessary -- �2 million being spent on an unnecessary


reorganisation. I accept we need to make changes. We could achieve them


without this very wasteful and disruptive health reform. It is a


choice between management costs and putting patients first.


In our first story, union rights - the council is to stop paying full-


time union reps. It will save taxpayers money, but that is out of


a budget of almost �500 million. The Conservative authority is the


first to take the axe to paid union reps and other councils may follow.


Swindon is a council where they like to think they are ahead of the


game. With a solid Conservative majority they kept tax down and be


damned -- began cutting before the collision existed. Now their


clampdown on union representatives could set a national precedent.


On Thursday night unions mobilised, protesting as councillors assembled


to determine the fate of this man. We have people who have come all


the way from Dorset and Devon to support us and we appreciate that.


Bob Cretchley is facing the drop, as long -- along with his job share


colleague, Karla Bradford. They work solely on new matters. --


union matters. But the council reckons this arrangement is costing


too much. They are braced for a fight. If you are going to


effectively challenge the unions in any way you can usually it vet --


understand there will be a robust response.


It will not be easy, but is the principal right? Cost saving is


important. Should taxpayers be subsidising the union activity when


the union should subsidise their own activity from the subscription


they collect. Liam Fox has decided to speak it. He would like a return


to the union tackled approach of his political hero, Margaret


Thatcher. In the public sector, where money is coming from the


public purse, in this case from the Swindon council tax payers, I think


the council has a duty to ensure all the money they raise goes to


public services. In hard-pressed times, council tax payers should


not be paying the salaries of union officials. Some of his former


colleagues in Government agree. If there is a fight, unions are


already. What started this week in Swindon could go a long way.


Joanne Kaye is the regional secretary for Unison in the South


West. Is this a money-saving device, or is this about attacking the


unions? It is about attacking the unions. But it was about money, the


council could look to the �300,000 that goes to 38 councillors per


year on basic allowances, or the �20,000 that goes to the leader of


the council. �29,000 to give the people who do the work a voice is


not a huge amount. But they are having to make big cuts. Why should


the taxpayer fund union activities? It is not activities, but his


duties, legal obligations that councils have to find maternity pay.


It is a legal obligation, and most employers have centrally funded


posts which means they are not taking away from the frontline


services. It is a legal obligation, which the Conservatives introduced.


It is, but it is a Conservative council who are attacking that


legislation from 1992. The reality is, that work will have to be done


and someone else will have to do it, so it will not save money but it


will mean two people end up out of work. Let's bring in Chris Skidmore


and our guests. Do you agree with Liam Fox that unions need their


wings clapping? I think a lot of viewers will be very angry.


Hard-working council tax payers want their money spent on frontline


services and not subsidising the unions. Unions are pretty wealthy,


they have money. Anne Snelgrove was given �12,000 by


union representatives... I do not think that is right. They did not


give me any money personally, will you apologise? I will not apologise.


A you have to get your facts right. Swindon Borough Council, when they


were talking about cuts, �29,000, on the same day this came through


my letterbox. It is the Swindin news, a glossy, full-colour, 28


page magazine and it is an election path.


Do you also think that Swindon Borough Council should have paid


400 �1,000 to our local businessman...


Were a need to make savings... The that get back to the issues. --


we need to get back to the issues. Liam Fox had to pay �20,000 on his


mortgage, he had to repay that money. I did not take any


allowances in the last year, how much did you take this year?


�400 on food, is that right? They us is the politics of the


gutter. They are union-bashing, spending thousands of taxpayers


money on things like this. A his point is that there is a


perception that Labour is in the pocket of the unions.


I don't think that is true, and you can hear that is not true from the


unions. So people need to accuse you of


double standards. You don't seem to be worried about other public


services workers, those who work in banks who have bonuses.


I think banks need to take responsibility, as well.


We have to look across the board at how we can save money and make


money. Why have you not clipped their


wings? We have begun to.


The bankers' bonus tax, but you have put young people in your


constituency into real jeopardy. You stopped the bankers' bonus tax,


which would have paid for 366 -- which would have paid to combat a


366 % increase in use on employment in your constituency in the year --


in that youth unemployment in the year up to 2012.


You are union members will still get the same service from other


representatives in the council? That will still cost the council


money, and these arrangements have been put into place not by us, but


by employers. People are interfering in the arrangement


between employers and representatives, because they have


found it works. If you have a union rep who is a frontline social


worker, and you take them away from their duties to carry out those


legal obligations, that is destructive. Local managers and


human resource people know that these arrangements work best.


I support the rights of unions. Private sector union reps are in


place. Probably not on the scale, public


sector rips are a more prominent. If it has been proportionate in the


way they are making cuts elsewhere, I think it will have been


acceptable. However, there are hundreds of people whose jobs are


being cut and it will be a false economy in sacking union reps.


There was a 40 % reduction in public sector workers...


That was 12 years ago. Joanne Kaye, we will have to say


goodbye to you and leave these two to have a fight.


More of us are turning to cosmetic surgery to keep us looking younger,


but the scandal over breast implants shows it is not something


to be undertaken lightly. Some of the implants have burst, leaving


patients with big bills to have them removed or begin the NHS to


pick up the tab. What should politicians do about this industry?


Our correspondent has been to meet two West Country Women who have had


burst implant. Tina and Steffy paid thousands of


pounds to clinics to have their breasts enlarged. Sold for �50 each,


these are the French PIP implants that were used.


This is a PIP implants. There -- they are made from


industrial grade silicone, which is now burnt -- which is now banned.


A my glands would relate Swarland. Other women were having similar


symptoms. Private clinics have refused to offer free replacement,


despite the Government saying they are morally obliged to.


It is important not to exaggerate the reasons to be worried, but if


women are worried we will support them. We expect private providers


to offer that same standard of care. To there is no private insurance


scheme for the industry, so Steffy has paid almost �6,000 to have


powers replaced. A if you bought a car, and it was


faulty, no one would question it. The number of people I know and we


are the first to complain and take things back, and to do not support


this motion that women should be fixed by the clinic...


The NHS hospital in Taunton will foot the bill to remove Tina's


implants after concerns over her general health. The private clinic


said they would not operate on her. I found lumps underneath my arms


for quite a few months. I did not alter the doctor straight away. The


doctor said, possibly you have a reaction to the silicone.


Tina has turned to Hull local MP, Tessa Munt, for help.


It is horrifying when you find how many of these implants have


ruptured. Then I discover from people who have written to me, it


is not just Tina, but other people as well, that it has this in it, it


is a carcinogen, it has Mercouri in it, things that are known


irritants... -- it has knackery. This scandal has rocked the heart


of the billion pound cosmetic industry, and these campaigners,


Tina and Steffy, are determined to change the law to protect women


like them in the future. With us is one of the West's


leading plastic surgeons, Nigel Mercer.


How can we prevent a repeat of this?


Were have to tighten up the regulatory system for implant. --


we have to do. The problem we have is that the company that owned PIP


implants have done something criminal. You cannot legislate


against that, but you can prevent it by having mystery shopping of


implants, so that the manufacturers don't know when you well tested. We


have to beef up the testing, we need safety testing within medical


implants. Why have the professionals involved not God this


sorted out already? If you go to a cosmetic surgeon you expect to see


a professional with professional standards. We have a problem in the


UK where we have big business involved in the provision of


cosmetic surgery. The clinic's are not providing it a good service to


the patient, and the practice they have been given is really very poor.


We have good tighten up, not just doctors and the regulators, we all


need to tighten up how we provide minister and -- how we provide


medicine. In the meantime, should the NHS to


pick up the pieces? That is very difficult, if the


clinic has gone bust, yes. But actually that clinics route need


profit really should step up to the plate, as Andrew Lansley suggested.


Why is there much better regulation in this industry?


I do not think you can regulate for fraud, that is the problem. I think


what the Government could do is lean on these companies a little


bit more. They are not stepping up to the plate. It is a tragic


situation for women such as the lady we saw in the report. My heart


goes out to her and we must put more pressure on them. It is not


good enough for women who are currently waiting to find out


whether they have this silicone gel inside them.


Some clinics are stepping up to the plate.


Absolutely, there are three who are the bad guys.


Do you think there are concerns that regulation has not strong


enough? As a Conservative regulation is not really your thing.


A cross-party report has been put into what is going on. I agree with


Nigel that we should probably bring back some kind of register a bit --


register because some of the women do not even know if they have this


implied in place -- this implant in place.


There have been 300,000 extra appointments on the NHS -- in the


NHS as a result of this. That is a big burden, isn't it?


We are enormously overstretched, so if these ladies are being dealt


with by the NHS, someone else is not being treated. That is not fair


on the general patient. Andrew Lansley has said he would go after


the money to treat these patients from the clinics.


We saw that women in the report and you do not want them waiting that


amount of time, I think he need to hurry up. -- we saw that woman.


Sculls weekly round-up of West Country politics in 60 seconds.


-- time know for our weekly round- The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick


Clegg, announced -- announced details of a �1 billion business


Support Fund. He want to make it children working factories.


Wiltshire's Constable -- Chief Constable is leaving for a job in


the Border Agency. Brian Moore will leave at the end of the month.


Known for his distinctive turn of phrase, Jacob Rees-Mogg spoke for


more than an hour on parking charges. He wanted to stop the vote


by talking it out of time. Protesters in the North Somerset


failed to stop their council meeting cutbacks.


And the Cheltenham MP, Martin Horwood, was one of those who took


place in the parliamentary Pancake That Was the Week in 60 seconds.


What Pickup on one of those stories, Nick Clegg tries to make


manufacturing fund and fashionable. Chris, why did you not going to


manufacturing? I am not very good with my hands,


but I agree with what the coalition is saying about rebalancing the


economy to produce more manufacturing industries. The


Bristol-Bath Science Park has a potential 3,000 new jobs in my


constituency. Anne, this has been a problem since


I left school, that people have been encouraged to go into banking


rather than manufacturing. We need of the jobs, and banks are


not lending to small and medium- sized enterprises, which are the


engine of manufacturing in this country. It is all very well coming


to Bristol and making big announcement, but where is the


meat? I do not see much happening with these local enterprise


partnerships. No money has come into Swindon from those.


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