27/05/2012 Sunday Politics West


27/05/2012

Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news, interviews and debate, including shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna.


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Is And here in the West: will the Government be forced to do a U-turn

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on plans to put VAT on static caravans like these? The campaign

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is growing amid fears that the poor damage the tourist industry. --

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1666 seconds

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that it would damage the tourist Welcome to the Sunday Politics in

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Bristol. The Sun has been shining. Perfect excuse to pop down to the

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caravans. But the Chancellor is putting VAT on static caravans like

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these, and is it another pasty tax targeting the working-class? I am

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joined by the Conservative MP from Bristol NW, Charlotte Leslie. She

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knows about tourism from her time as or Life Guard, and Dan Norris,

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former Labour MP for one stake who has had more time for holidays by

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the sea after losing his seat at the last election. But his

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political vacation could be over if he secures the Labour nomination

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for mayor of Bristol. Welcome to you both. Westthorp about the

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Olympic torch, which is going through our patch. Is that feel-

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good factor going to reflect politically, kindly, on the

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Government. Yes, the feel-good factor has been fantastic. The

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torch went past my office. It felt like this is a special you. This is

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an historic event. I hope that the Olympics leaves a legacy of

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optimism and sporting opportunity for young people. An important

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event in a time of austerity? has been gone well, people have

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been happy to spend the money, but what's lovely to see was Blair

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Hannan coming along with the torch, they were cheering, it was a

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wonderful event. You cannot put a price on that. It will be a

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brilliant advert for Britain a round the world. It has certainly

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been a special week. The main story this week, the caravan tax. If you

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won a caravan that can be towed, he will have paid VAT on it, and the

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Government is extending VAT to static caravans that you see by the

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1,000 in West Country all the parts. The accusation is that the

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millionairess who already in the Bahamas are hammering the working-

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class who take their be occasions in places like a Bream. These two

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couples are not well the and buying more belongs has been a big

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commitment and they are stunned that VAT may be imposed. We will be

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looking to produce a new one, but that could restrict us and the

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purchase of a new van. definitely will. It will make a big

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difference. We would not have been able to afford a new caravan. It

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has taken all other savings. From on high, you get an idea of how

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important static caravans are on the stretch of coastline. The vast

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majority are second homes, which the Budget is sitting with the tax

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hike. It is the contrast between the different styles of holiday

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warm that upsets people. If you have the money for a real house u p

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stamp duty at 1% but that you can only stretch to a new mobile home,

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next door, from October, you will be Payne VAT at 20%. The says a

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typical example of the caravans we sell. Opposition has mounted.

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almost �30,000 and from the 1st October this will be almost �36,000.

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It will be priced out of the market. She showing a representative around

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from Somerset tourism is Alan House, most of this static caravans in his

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park are privately owned. The Government admits that the industry

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will be hit. So my sect is the second largest camera van

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destination after Skegness in the UK. We think that the industry will

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be hit by 50%. If you take that market a way this is going to have

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a massive impact on the local and national tourist economy. He pulled

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do not budget for that sort of thing that is entirely arbitrary.

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Which people are not going to be affected. David Cameron's whole

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holidays are not going to be disrupted. The controversy has

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reached the Prime Minister. Think again about this tax which will

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Kapoor and already suffering industry. It MPs of all parties

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opposed it. I do not think it is fair that immortal caravan pays VAT

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but a stationary caravan does not. -- that I'm mobile caravan. At an

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event aimed at boosting the local economy, this Somerset MP was

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unapologetic. The Government does not expect anybody to like it, but

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frankly, we are short of money and we are trying to get a more

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rational, sensible VAT system and close the massive gap in the public

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finances left by the last government. The so called caravan

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tax should start in the autumn, unless it is blown off course Barry

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government changes of backbench rebellion. -- by government changes.

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The House been a consultation and it is difficult. People who have

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mobile caravans and will be looking at static caravans and thinking

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that that is unfair. Will people be thinking it is unfair? It is always

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difficult when you ask people to pay any tax. We are looking at what

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it is doing to the industry, and the sadness of it, that has to be

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looked at. I would ask the Government to look at it. You have

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a Cabinet of millionaires. Static caravans are not on David Cameron's

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radar, or George Osborne. That is not it at all. There are many

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anomalies in the tax system. The minute you start to tackle those,

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it becomes difficult, because the people who have had a good deal, it

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hits them heart, and there is a case to be made about whether this

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will save as much money as we think. For 45 million come over five years,

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I think. What hundred and 70 million, but there is a point about

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the entire Minister. I think it is 170 million. Diane Lawrence, any

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sympathy with the Government over this? The Government has got to be

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imaginative and this is not a way to raise tax effectively. It is a

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nonsense that somebody who works in the city can buy a second home for

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240 doesn't towns and Payne much less tax than someone who buys a

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static caravan for �13,000. That is nonsensical. That is just not

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thinking things through properly. You have got to use imagination and

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energy and think things through carefully. Consultation, great, but

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these are two very daft ideas, at the beginning and I bet you that

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this does not go through. Can we see Ed Miliband pretending to take

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caravan holidays and eat Cornish pasty is? I cannot answer for that,

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but this is a serious matter. Caravans are associated with moving

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around and these are more like second homes, and that is the best

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comparison, therefore, it is unfair. People who enjoy a static caravans

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see them as good for families, retired people, all the rest of it.

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Well they see this as an attack on the working-class? People save for

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them, they a modest, they enjoy him, and now they are being hammered.

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Nobody is going to like tax being raised on it. I completely

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sympathise with people. I agree that it might need to be looked at

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again. We must look at the effect on the industry. If we need growth,

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we need to be proud of British Industry, it is not intuitive to

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clobber one of our indices. I agree. Somerset does have a

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disproportionately high number of these static caravans. Why isn't

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the Government's radar working? It's Conservative and Lib Dem

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members in places like Somerset, why are the alarm bells not ringing,

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because it is not worth the trouble for them to do this? As a

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government trying to raise money in difficult times, you have got to

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look at unfairness in the tax system. But you are giving

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millionairess a tax break. difference between static caravans

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and proper homes is a bit of an issue. We should look at it. That

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is why the consultation is there. you're not going to commit whether

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you going to vote against it. issue is when people can only

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afford a static caravan they cannot afford a second proper home, and

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that is why it is unfair and we need to put pressure on the

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Government to do something about this. I will be making

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representations. For thousands of people all over the West Country,

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catching a bus is the only way to get around. But as Somerset county

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council struggles to balance the books, it has taken the axe to

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around 40 bus was. We spoke to campaigners who are refusing to

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give up the fight over their bus was. Queuing for the bus. For

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Eileen and her friends, it is the weekly trip from Jeddah to Bristol.

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She has been catching this bus for more than 20 years -- from Cheddar.

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But this is the last time they will be catching this bus. Their

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lifeline is being cut. The council is stopping paying for the 490, so

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this is its final run. For years, councils in rural areas have paid a

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bus companies subsidies to one bus was like this. It will not make a

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profit but the council says that it is socially necessary. Somerset

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County Council is cutting the amount of its subsidies by more

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than 50%, meaning dozens of bus routes like this.. It you try to

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get private transport it is �75 return, and I cannot afford that.

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Shopping and going to hospital. am diabetics why need appointments

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in hospital at Bristol. I cannot drive. The buses packed for his

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final voyage, that sometimes only gets ample passengers and with

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almost all of them being over 60 they used free passes, making it

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more difficult for the sums to add up for a bus company. That is why

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it has fallen to the council to underwrite costs. This woman, Terry

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King, has become the then leader of the passengers from Cheddar. Don't

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cry. It is our last on at the moment, but do not give up hope. I

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have got friends in high places. I have a friend on Somerset County

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Council and she is working for us and she said, tell them all not to

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giver yet, and hopefully, this will come back eventually. Thank you for

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listening and thank you for coming out. APPLAUSE. The Conservative-run

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council said that this route costs more than �10 per passenger and the

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council is spending �2 million, still, on bus subsidies,

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prioritising Bruce for students in rural areas. But one Lib Dem MP

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says that the council priorities are wrong. The council has got �34

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million in his bank account this year, for a rainy day. It is

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raining. I know that it is sunny right now, but in financial terms,

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it is raining, it is pouring, and they should be spending money on

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this. The bus might have stopped on now, but, for these passengers, the

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wheels are still in motion. They are put in the best route forward,

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and refusing to give up the fight. I am joined by Tim Gardner,

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managing director of a company that Bonn's some of the subsidised bus

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routes in Somerset that have been cut. Do you have a moral duty to

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keep the services going, subsidy or not? I think so, but you have to

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bear in mind that these cuts come up in addition to cuts in the bus

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service operators grant, particularly with in Somerset

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County Council, a reduction in the concessionary reimbursement scheme.

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A considerable amount of money. people over 65 automatically get

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free trouble? That is an interesting question. We have to

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bear in mind that many people who used concessionary cards regularly

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are the elderly. I does not mean they cannot afford the bus there.

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Yes, but at the end of the day, these are vulnerable people. They

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might have just decided not to run a car. It is a universal benefit,

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isn't it? Yes, but what about the environment? Should all these

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people jump into their car and start polluting the Abbas you?

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subsidies have doubled in recent years. -- polluting the atmosphere.

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Let's bring in most other guests. Dan Norris, surely councils have to

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save their money. I saw the unit cost their trip, and I thought, why

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don't because will try to get that empty bus filled with other people,

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unemployed people who want to sign on for example. When I was an MP,

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that was something that people want it. They wanted to get around, go

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to a hospital, whatever. But the elderly is a bust they can use the

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free Pass. We should aspire to give all people dignity in retirement

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and should give them a system where they might do not have to pay for

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buses. They happy tax all their lives. Retired people make up the

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poorest in society but also some of the richest. That is done through

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the tax system. You should not stigmatise people by saying that

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some people pay and some people don't. You should give dignity of

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Europe -- dignity to older people, and this is a good way of making

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sure that this need is met, because it there is often vulnerable people

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there affected. Some people cannot get around any more because of

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buses have been cut. It is tough, and brought communities suffer, but

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the councils are struggling for money, buses require subsidies. I

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agree with Daniel. You must protect the elderly, who are vulnerable,

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from having to pay bus fares. If there was any change, it could not

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come from politicians. It would have to come from them, themselves,

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saying that we would rather have a bus and peer a little poorer, than

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not, but that is not something that politics can do. Do the bosses

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often an MP? Some of them do -- do the buses often when MC? -- run

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empty? One of the first questions we asked Somerset County Council

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was, what is the strategy, what are you trying to achieve? And the

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response was, to save money. That is not unreasonable in these hard

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times. We have a longer term objective to provide services to

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the public. So what is the solution? Some bus services are

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being paid a lot of money to one a red empty, particularly in role is.

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There are community transport schemes. Buses which do not one at

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regular times but do one regular routes. There are a host of

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different schemes that can be used. We have to think of the bus service

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as a mask transport solution. should be about meeting a genuine

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need, efficiently as possible. we want to have a nationalised bus

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industry? I don't, but... The if we had a decent will restructure the

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buses become valuable to link up. We're back in the South West at

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getting our fair share of that cash. Let's take a look back at some of

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the other political highlights of The Bristol Lib Dem Stephen

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Williams got an unexpected reaction at Prime Minister's Questions. He

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wanted the Government to commit to more investment in housing and

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infrastructure. After catcalls from the Shadow Chancellor, the Prime

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Minister launched this attack. hard-won credibility that we would

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have not had if we listen to the muttering idiot sitting across from

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me. He was then asked if he would retract the statement by the

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speaker. Conservative MP Clare Parry has called for more help for

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people with epilepsy. She broke down in tears talking about the

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death of her ten-year-old in her constituency the stock there is

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nothing that I can say that will bring Charlie back, or give his

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Some of the other stories. Let's talk about that muttering in the

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remark from the Prime Minister to Ed Balls. -- muttering idiot. Do

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you agree? Whether Ed Balls is a muttering idiot? I could not

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possibly comment! Prime Minister's Questions is a funny old place. It

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is something of a bear pit. It summarises the contest that goes on

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in politics. It is not always that help poor, but you saw some genuine

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passion there from Claire Parry. Balls deliberately wins up the

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Prime Minister. You have to look at policies going back over a long

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period, and prime ministers, and none of them are lost it, the way

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that David Cameron does. He told Dennis Skinner to retire early when

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he asked him a question. Labour represents a good cripple people

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Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news, interviews and debate, including shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna.


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