01/04/2012 Sunday Politics West


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,


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


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2302 seconds


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


touch with what people consider the priorities right now it with


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


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


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


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


is so beautiful? Are radical streamlining of the regulations.


But one controversial phrase was still there.


The presumption in terms of sustainable development where hell


-- holding up sustainable development dock many of the people


believe their original proposals were slot.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


The project was slowed by the economic downturn and the planning


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


know the full consequences for the beautiful countryside, reducing


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


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


due out in the courts. Sustainable development, any idea


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


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


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


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


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


assuming that development will happen and we then work backwards.


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


prefer a system that ordinary people can understand and take part


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


regulations myself and I know many people are interested in planning


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


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


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


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


Nobody wants planning decisions to go on interminably but what happens


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


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


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


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


excessive development on greenfield sites. If you want Green


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


think his up in Northumberland where you were building four.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


little pay and almost no appreciation of long hours. For


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


councillors tend to be white men of a certain age.


Take two contrasting councillors. Jackie Fletcher has been one for


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


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


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


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


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


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


been coming to meetings he at Cheltenham Borough Council since


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


maintained that people who make decisions for the Community should


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


of people cannot make our meetings because they are working.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


about of what jobs are worth. Councillors get anything from


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


very difficult to compare it to a private sector organisation.


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


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


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


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


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


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


different circumstances and a private sector business, it would


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


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


is about. It is issued multicultural society in Bristol


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


of the community actively representing those interests.


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


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


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


around trying to get more people involved as councillors is


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


decisions them we want councillors who were able to challenge officers


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


about having a different personality it is that if you do


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


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


the cuts that are being imposed by the coalition government affect


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


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


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


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


that we have a representative selection of people serving on the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


landscape. A year since charges were introduced at some recycling


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


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


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


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


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


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


taken to court. The Chief Constable of the police


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


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


What a week! Let us pick couple one of those


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


subsidies for Green power and alternative forms of energy have


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


perfectly well the feat in tariff of abolished and people have


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


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


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