01/04/2012 Sunday Politics West


01/04/2012

Andrew Neil and David Garmston present. Including an interview with health secretary Andrew Lansley about his proposed reforms to the NHS and what they would mean for patients.


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In the West: From 1,000 pages down to about 50,

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what will the new planning rules mean for councils, campaigners and

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2302 seconds

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conservationists? Join me later to It demonstrates they are out of

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touch with what people consider the priorities right now it with

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economics, the environment and social policy. Back to our top

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story. The changes in the planning rules. The system has been

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simplified to try to remove some of the hassle with getting anything

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built. Is that good for us here in the West Country where the scenery

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is so beautiful? Are radical streamlining of the regulations.

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But one controversial phrase was still there.

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The presumption in terms of sustainable development where hell

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-- holding up sustainable development dock many of the people

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believe their original proposals were slot.

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Westcountry MPs wanted to know more. Studying the new rules is the

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director of planning at Stroud As a top-level document is is very

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good. It sets out what planning should be about. It should be about

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the environment, people and the economy. From there on, we lose

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quite a bit of the detail which we have relied upon in the past.

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Effectively we have a game of Monopoly when nobody knows what the

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original rules were and we are making them up as we go along.

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Near by he shows me a major new development. There are 90 houses

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going on there. There is a doctor's surgery.

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The project was slowed by the economic downturn and the planning

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process. This site has taken seven years to come forward. His analysis

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is that the new rules may favour builders. In the initial stages

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they will be more relaxed to allow more development to occur. As all

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the parties come together and start to negotiate new rules to be game,

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it will slow up again. It's certainly will not go to a

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standstill. Those who fight to keep England Green have found few faults

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with the reforms but it is early days. It may be some time before we

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know the full consequences for the beautiful countryside, reducing

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more than 1,000 pages to about 50 means there is nothing like the

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detail there was before and any ambiguities could end up being are

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due out in the courts. Sustainable development, any idea

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what that means? I am not sure if anybody is too sure what it means

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that the moment. As it said on the peace, we will have to wait and see

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what happens. What concerns me is that we have a housing crisis and

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we need jobs and homes and we need developments for those things that.

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The concerning thing was that the proposition that we start out by

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assuming that development will happen and we then work backwards.

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You would prefer to start by saying development should that happen...

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prefer a system that ordinary people can understand and take part

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in. That is what is concerning me. I have tried to grapple with the

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regulations myself and I know many people are interested in planning

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and are concerned about what is going to happen in a neighbour put

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but they will not have timed to get involved. You have lived in Bristol

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for a long time, as have by, and it takes an age of things to happen.

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Yes, we have seen that with the football club and it is a problem.

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Nobody wants planning decisions to go on interminably but what happens

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is the reason southern was going to be built has been disappeared. The

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concern to me is that the default is towards development rather than

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preserving the countryside. People say this could lead to more Green

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development, which is something you would be of April. We do not want

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excessive development on greenfield sites. If you want Green

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development, why are you a posing a windmill on land in your

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constituency? Actually, there is one windmill that I have come --

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supporting and it will go ahead because it is exactly the right

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place. There are two schemes, one in sharpness which I think should

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be supported and there is another one which I think is questionable

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because it is too close to an area of outstanding natural beauty. It

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is simply getting them in the right place. The right place the you

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think his up in Northumberland where you were building four.

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think the right place for windmills is in areas where they are actually

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going to get the right kind of wind and they do not offend too many

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people. He won them build on your land in Northumberland. You are a

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pose in the one in your constituency. I put an application

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in for that but it was not successful. That is not really the

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point. The point is that we want to see wind farms and renewable energy

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being promoted. It is necessary to do that. But you're not supporting

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the one on your doorstep. I have just said I am supporting the one

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in shop mess because it is a good side and it should be supported.

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But locals up in the Northumberland say your farm is not the right

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place to have it. They might be right about that in certain terms

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of the current application but be that as it may. The fact is that we

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need to put windmills in the right kind of places. You can argue about

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where those places are and that is what the planning system should do

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but it should not say we are against wind power.. Local

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elections are coming up in May and hundreds of candidates will fight

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for the privilege of representing us ungrateful lot. There is very

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little pay and almost no appreciation of long hours. For

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years people have been encouraged to take part in the system but most

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councillors tend to be white men of a certain age.

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Take two contrasting councillors. Jackie Fletcher has been one for

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nearly two decades and Joe Harris is one of the youngest councillors

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in the West. He is the odd one out. Let us look at the make-up of our

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councillors. We will stop with age. The National age is quite high but

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in the west it is even higher. On the issue of gender, males dominate.

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In the West, it is even higher. With the issue of ethnicity, the

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majority of white. In the West Country it is even higher. She has

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been coming to meetings he at Cheltenham Borough Council since

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the 1980s. As well as being ward councillor, grand mother Jackie has

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been mayor and chair committees. For those who may follow in her

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footsteps, she warns it is not an easy kick. It is many hours. You

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have to come in for different things. There may be just a minute..

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In her time in the chamber she has seen young counsellors come and go.

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I remember when he said they would love to do it and did it and got

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involved for a while and then said, my children are growing up and I

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want to go out with them. It does take a lot of time so you have to

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think very carefully before you take that step. One who stepped

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into the local government Arena last year it is Joe. He is not your

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average teenager. He has not yet decided which career path to follow

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and in the meantime, while juggling council meetings, he is

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supplementing his income working in a local bar. I have always

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maintained that people who make decisions for the Community should

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be representative of the people that they serve. Attracting a wider

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range of people to stand for election seems to be a common aim.

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Jo believes there are a number of factors that deter people. The key

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issue, especially with our district council, the meetings are in the

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morning. That does not just affect people who want to run for council

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but people who want to raise a legitimate concern or if they want

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was a question about something like recycling, if it is on a Tuesday

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morning, they cannot make it. It seems ludicrous that the majority

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of people cannot make our meetings because they are working.

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Cheltenham, Gloucester, Stroud, and Swindon, or have elections coming

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up but there are not a lot of people who want to become

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councillors. I do not know enough about politics. This is not

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something that really appeals to me. I work about 68 hours a week so I

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would not do it because I do not have the time and I have a young

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family. Definitely not. I do not have the time. It does not interest

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me whatsoever. So, a typical council is a white middle-class

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male over 60. Is that truly representative of people like this?

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We should salute everyone who steps up to the plate and serves in

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public office. Tom runs a Bristol- based firm in H R and knows a lot

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about of what jobs are worth. Councillors get anything from

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nothing up to �30,000. Is that a fair return? Perhaps not. It is

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very difficult to compare it to a private sector organisation.

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Perhaps if that type of role and duties were out within the private

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sector business they could expect a bit more. What sort of figure might

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attract a range of candidates with the skills necessary? That is the

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thing. It is about the skills. You have the example on the previous

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take about a young gentleman, through to the average age of

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people being over 60. The reality is probably that if that was in a

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different circumstances and a private sector business, it would

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attract the range of up to �40,000. Is it a bad thing that most people

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are -- councillors are white men? It does not represent what Bristol

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is about. It is issued multicultural society in Bristol

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and it should be part of what we all embrace. We should have members

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of the community actively representing those interests.

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private business would the boss's be tried to alter that? Probably

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not, on the basis that at the end of the day you also have to make

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sure that you have the right people for the right roles. The issue

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around trying to get more people involved as councillors is

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something that has been a problem for a while and there are quality

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legislation that make sure everyone is treated fairly. Used it last

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year and were not successful and you are trying to stand again for

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Labour. Why? Long hours, no paid and abuse from the electorate.

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Absolutely. Fairly simply, somebody has got to. Tom was mentioning

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their whether a private firm would want to open up its doors to a wide

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spectrum of people, I think the smart private firms, like the smart

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council, once a wide diversity of people or you were not taking your

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talent from the old ball. The problem is that most local

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authority politics is not just about the money, it is about the

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conditions and as you saw on the film, people feel they do not have

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the time. Most people do not realise just how much hard work it

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is to be a councillor and how it interferes with your ability to

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hold down a job which you would need to on a comparatively low

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remuneration. You have to do that too. I think there is a case for

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paying people in local government. I think we should have a fewer

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councillors and that is why in Stroud we are promoting a reduction

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in numbers. The important thing is to focus on skills. That is where

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we really do have a deficit. If we are asking local people to make

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decisions them we want councillors who were able to challenge officers

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and say... In that case do you not want people who have been around

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for a bit and perhaps run their own companies and perhaps worked in

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medicine or whatever and can come and offer some expertise. Yes, you

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want better as well but you need a representative cross section of the

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public if you are to represent the needs of the people you are serving.

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I am proud that in the Labour Party in Bristol we will have a majority

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of women candidates... That is the case for Stroud as well,

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incidentally. The what do women bring that men can't? It is not

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about having a different personality it is that if you do

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not have women involved, you are being run by people who do not have

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the same understanding of things that affect women. At the moment

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the cuts that are being imposed by the coalition government affect

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women and children worst. They are losing services and tax credits.

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You still have to make cuts. You do still have to make cuts. One of the

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thing their local council has to do is cope with the things that are

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rising because of the strain people are under. That makes important

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that we have a representative selection of people serving on the

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council who understand those things and know what is needed to fix it,

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not to spend more money but Spender Spain money more wisely. We must

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have people at the local level who are really aware of what is going

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on and can make the bold and necessary decisions which a lot of

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people are crying out for, like in the planning system but we were

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talking about earlier on, the slowness of it, we need people who

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can do it. Thank you very much for coming in. I understand you are

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planning a wedding as well. Romance is all over the studio!

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Let us change the tempo for a quick canter through the other political

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news in just 60 seconds. Plans to build a new nuclear power

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station on the banks of the River Severn have been mothballed. The

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two companies who were in the running has pulled out. What is

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proposed is much bigger, it is for calling towers and a blot on the

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landscape. A year since charges were introduced at some recycling

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centres in Somerset there is a warning further charges could be on

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the way. It annoys me a bit so why do not come to offer. Home care

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workers fighting for their jobs have won a small victory. The

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council has put -- postponed making a decision on whether to privatise

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the service. A Liam Fox's agent is in hot water

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because I another councillor did not pay his council tax. He was

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taken to court. The Chief Constable of the police

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gave evidence at the Leveson Inquiry. He denied of the record

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briefings were given by his force during the Jo Yeates investigation.

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What a week! Let us pick couple one of those

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stories before we go. Nuclear power and the decision by the two big

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companies not to get involved. It means we may not get a new nuclear

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power station after all. Has the boat sailed for nuclear power?

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has not sailed away because first of all, if we are going to have

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enough energy for the future we have got to have a base load and

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that will really be provided by nuclear power. It is important that

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dot who will be it -- who will build it? No subsidies? We will

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have to look for more investors. We have to upscale our workforce.

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this the end of nuclear power, the beginning of the end? We need to be

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looking at how we will manage over the next 30 or more years and one

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of the things that has happened is that under Neale's government, the

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subsidies for Green power and alternative forms of energy have

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been moved and instead of being like India and China... You know

:57:05.:57:09.

perfectly well the feat in tariff of abolished and people have

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withdrawn from that market -- feet in its tariffs. We are now flagging

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behind. Thank you very much. The Sunday politics continues with

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