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