29/04/2012 Sunday Politics West


29/04/2012

Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news, interviews and debate including Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman.


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David Cameron puts his Culture In the West: It's been a week of

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resignations the Lib Dem leader of Bristol City Council stands down

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just days before the crucial referendum on a city Mayor. Join me

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1683 seconds

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Hello. Coming up in the West: There is to be another change at the top

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of Bristol City Council. The shock resignation of Liberal Democrat --

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Barbara Janke means they are searching for her yet another

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leader. Welcome to a local election special. There is under one week of

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campaigning to go and tell polling day. Then there is a meal

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referendum in Bristol. -- Mayoral. I am joined by the politicians. The

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Chief Constable of Gloucestershire has quit the saying he is unhappy

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with changes in the police. Not least the plans for elected

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commissioners will stop to leave on a point of principle is extremely

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rare for such a senior officer. Joining as his a former Chief

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Constable of Gloucestershire who is now considering standing for one of

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the elected police chiefs in November. What do you make of this

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resignation? It is unusual, as you say. I think he realises it will be

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a very difficult time over the next few years. We have not seen the end

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of the cuts yet. There are more to come. Whoever gets elected in the

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autumn is likely to be representing a political party and they will be

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under pressure to bring in local cut to policing as well. It is

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going to be a very difficult time for whomever is Chief Constable.

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Our other chief constables across the region are likely to follow

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suit? I doubt that is going to happen. There are some vacancies

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coming up already but I expect most people will be able to see it

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through four or a year or two. He knew these things were in the

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offing. They have been party policy since 2005 but parties have to get

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elected. He certainly has known for at least seven months. If you had

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been him would you have quit? over this issue, no. Where does

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this leave your policy on elected commissioners? As you have just

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mentioned this has been a party policy for seven years. In 2010 I

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stood on a platform of elected police commissioners. I think it is

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vitally important that the police can be held accountable to their

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local communities. It has worked in New York and crime fell

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dramatically. You do not seem to have won the argument with the

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police themselves. I am not sure there are many people on the

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streets walking up and demanding this change. The air is a case for

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change. Where we have seen these elected police commissioners in

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other countries the change has been fantastic. It will be the result

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that the police commissioners actually deliver which will prove

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their success. You are against this. If you are elected at the next

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General Election would use grab it? It is difficult when you inherit a

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situation to try to turn the clock back. Inflicting organisational

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change on big public services is a difficult thing and it is a

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question of priorities. You are right in saying we did opposed the

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bill. My main fear as a Bristol MP is that someone who is elected for

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the whole of Avon and Somerset will not have the interests of the city

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at heart. There is a danger that an elected police commissioner could

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very easily appealed to a populist vote. Unfree area as to claim that

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Bristol gets all the police. Bristol probably has a very good

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claim on policing. I think you have to see it as an overall package of

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political reforms which are designed to put more power in the

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hands of the people. We are collecting police commissioners and

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giving people a choice of having apnoea it here in Bristol. We are

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giving people reforms of the House of Lords as well. There is a whole

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package of measures to empower people. That is not what is going

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to happen with the police commissioner. This is nothing like

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the New York model. These jobs are going to be principally filled by

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party politicians. That is what is going to happen across the country.

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It is not about more power to the people but more power to party

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politicians. It is not just the chief constable who is packing it

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in. The chief of the council is off to. She is against an elected mayor

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but her resignation has given a boost to the Yes campaign. They

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have said that after seven leaders in 10 years it makes their point

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that the city needs a strong boss who will stay the course. Is this a

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final political mistake from the reader in Bristol? I do not see it

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like that at all. People have been given a chance here to vote on

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whether they want a mayor or not. There is a strong case for having

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the sort of dynamic political leadership that is provided by a

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mayor. I think we can see that in London for example. The concerns

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from the No campaigners is whether that takes too much power away from

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the councillors. That is our great debate to be had. They are not

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being imposed on anybody but people in Bristol will have a choice next

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week. It is a worthy idea and the hope is that an array of talented

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political leaders will come forward but the fear is that there will be

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to get politicians, political celebrities and random chances

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coming forward. We are giving people a say over how the city will

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be done. But do you accept that is the case? That is why we are having

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a referendum. If people believe what you say they can always bought

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know. But if they want to revitalise their city and create a

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bit of stability maybe they might want to have a charismatic figure

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which is not a bad thing if they can go and bid for funding and put

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Bristol on the map. I think there is always a danger that you will

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get the popular characters. I would not want the kind of situation in

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Doncaster or B Monkey they have in elsewhere. I think we meet

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stability and continuity. I think the fact we have elections every

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year so there is always a churn of councillors. I spent my preference

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would have been to go for all-out elections for councillors to every

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four years. I think that still needs to happen. I think an elected

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mayor would be a shot in the arm but it depends on who we get for

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the mayor. It is something we do not know until later. In Bristol

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since the 70s we have had a succession of Labour

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administrations up until recent times. We have seen Bristol fall

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behind other major cities. I do not think Bristol punches its weight.

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In cities such as Manchester there always seems to be massive change

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and regeneration, a sense of dynamism. You should be singing

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about Bristol at Westminster, shouldn't you? The Bristol City

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stadium was a cross-party approach. We stood outside in College Green.

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Why do we need a Mayor then? Aside from MPs at Westminster, we

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represent our parties and a mayor will ensure that for a certain

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period of time we will have a figurehead who, regardless of party

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politics, will be able to stand there for Bristol. We will look

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forward to it. Now on Thursday we will be having elections held

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against the backdrop of the first double-dip recession in many years.

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Our reporter has more. The bleak weather it suited the news on

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Wednesday that we were officially back in recession. For the

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opposition parties that is ammunition. Cutting too far too

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fast has made a difficult situation worse. Jacques Stron knows the

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national picture matters in local elections. This shows that the

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Government's's economic policy is failing. They said it was a plan to

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bring Britain back to a growing economy. It has not happened. One

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major reason is the fall in construction. Here in Swindon we

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can see exactly why this has happened. In Gloucester the Prime

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Minister visited and tried to look on the bright side. This lens maker

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is doing well but there is not enough of this success. He went on

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to see another prospering West Country farm. I want to rebalance

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this economy and have more of what we have right here, less reliance

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on financial services and less reliance on one corner of the

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country. The Government is engaged not only on a rescue mission but

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balancing our economy to create worthwhile jobs for the future.

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There was a similar approach by his coalition partner. He visited and

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Engineering firm that is faring well. I'm very much hope that it is

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recognised as a sincere but difficult attempt to clear up the

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mess inherited by Labour. I hope people recognise that what Liberal

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Democrats have been doing in Cheltenham, tirelessly now for over

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two decades, is serving dead people of Cheltenham. Stroud is the best

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place in the West for the Greens. The environment is a big issue here.

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There is no visit yet from the party leader who is thinly

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stretched trying to hold on to seats. We are certainly hoping to

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make some increases. It is about consolidation as well. There are

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some challenges ahead but we are doing really well, I great response

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on the doorstep. I think people are genuinely disillusioned by the

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other parties. In Swindon there are local important issues insists the

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UK Independence Party. Visiting the site of a controversial new school

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is their only councillor. Their cause is Europe which they see

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matters at this level. People do not realise that the EU is in every

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one of our lives today and especially in local Government.

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it is not mentioned at the street politics at the town centre. With a

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steady drizzle coming down it is impossible to escape the economic

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climate. Let's talk about the economy. You are a clever guy, how

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long will it take you to work out that the Government growth plan is

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not working? I think you will find that if you look at the situation

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we are in it has been two years since the General Election. At that

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time we had a budget deficit of 12.5 %, bigger than Greece. We are

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working on growth but even if you look historically, it took Margaret

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Thatcher four years to achieve growth. Plan B two would be

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bankruptcy. We had a situation where �1 in every four was borrowed.

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It is all your fault I guess. The Prime Minister said this week that

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Labour's answer to the debt crisis is more debt? As the result of

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George Osborne's failed economic policies the Government is having

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to borrow more than it originally thought. That is a direct result of

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the failure of growth. George Osborne said himself before he took

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office that you cannot cut spending during a downturn. That is exactly

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what they have been doing. This approach to public spending is what

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has caused the economy to go into the second wave of the recession.

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Many people want to lock you in with the Conservatives in

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Government and there is nothing between you so if people do not

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want to support the Government this Thursday they can or only vote for

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Labour or one of the smaller parties. Labour says that the

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Government is borrowing too much but at the same time that the

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Government should be borrowing more. The fact of the matter is that we

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inherited an economic catastrophe. A complete disaster. We are still

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borrowing �300 million every single day. It is a long haul to get us

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out of this mess. If you want political parties that cannot apply

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themselves for more than a few weeks before the lose their nerve

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you have got to vote for Labour. I think people should respect our

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Government because it is important that our country has a functioning

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economy. There are all kinds of concerns related to international

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politics. When will it work? It is going to be a long haul. If you are

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massively in debt. We hope that the economy will grow as fast and as

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soon as possible but we cannot go on borrowing more and more money

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and spending what we have indefinitely. We have now cut

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corporation tax to the lowest level in the Western world. It takes a

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while to bring in business. The Bristol Bath signs park is bringing

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in companies internationally but it is the low tax that will bring them

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in and bring new jobs to this country. Stick with us because it

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is time to take a race but through this week's political highlights in

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just 60 seconds. Gloucester council has launched a pilot scheme this

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week to repair potholes around the city. Bristol city council has

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applied for a court order to remove squatters from the former Bristol

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North Poole sighed. Some say they are acting illegally while the

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squatters claim they are providing free security for the development.

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A youngster from Portishead has launched a bid for a judicial

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review into the decision to cut youth service spending which the

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local authority insists is necessary. The case is being built

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around the idea of the council breaking be a quality act. Ofsted

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inspectors have found the early stages of Wiltshire child services

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to be inadequate. The council and police say they are working to make

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improvements. That Was the Week. How it flashes by. Just 60 seconds

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left to talk with you three. Your predictions for the thirsty

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elections, what do you reckon, how well or badly will Labour do?

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Expect us to make some decent gains in some of the local elections

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across the country. My fear for Bristol is that there will be a low

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turnout. Are you expecting a Lib Dem way out? We know, I am not. I

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think people will support as in the local elections in Thursday and

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that we will do better than last year. I think Labour will make some

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gains. I hope in places like Swindon be Tories will nick it.

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accept that Labour is going to do quite well? Mid term governments

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always do get a hammering. It will be a crucial test of Ed Miliband's

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