27/01/2013 Sunday Politics West


27/01/2013

Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news and interviews with the Europe Minister David Lidington and the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Rachel Reeves.


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The government department or where spending is booming. And the

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2287 seconds

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Thanks Andrew - welcome to Sunday Politics in the West with me, Steve

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LeFevre, in the hot seat while David's somewhere hotter. Talking

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of which - the climate and the economy may be wintry here, but the

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hotspot for government spending is overseas. We travel to Gambia with

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a Wiltshire MP and debate the big increase in the development money

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we're putting towards poorer countries. With me are two

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politicians, both with an international perspective. Jack

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Lopresti comes from an Italian immigrant family - he's now the

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Conservative MP for Filton and Bradley Stoke. And Marvin Rees has

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studied at Yale and travelled extensively - most recently he was

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Labour's candidate for mayor in his home city of Bristol. First to the

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big political story not just of the past week, but probably of the next

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five years. David Cameron's pledge to have an in-out referendum on

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Europe. This is the hokey cookie referendum, where do you stand on

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it? I think he gave a very good speech. If you look at the

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political world in the last 20 years, the pressure has been

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building to give the British people another save. -- another say. I

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think a referendum at some stage was inevitable so I'm glad we now

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have a timescale and the programme and a commitment that if you vote

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Conservative in the next election you will get a chance to vote on

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that. There will be a referendum if he is Prime Minister. Do people

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know what they are voting for? think that is one of the challenges.

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The concern is this creates more instability, uncertainty, which

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isn't good for business, not good for our need to attract inward

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investment. Without that certainty, it was perhaps an unwise time to

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say it and an unwise declaration to make. Uncertainty and debate for

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another five years. I am not sure it is something that is at high on

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people's agenda. Business people seem to enjoy it. There was a

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litter in the Times the other day, some business people wrote and said

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it they were happy that the referendum was happening. One of

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the signatories runs a local company, it is an issue that has

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been gaining traction on the doorstep in recent years. There is

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uncertainty about the European Union at the moment anyway, is the

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euro going to survive, or what shape will it be in, more fiscal

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control, tighter management of the European economies. I think it is a

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good opportunity to try and get the best deal for Britain and put it to

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the people. I also think we have promised that if you vote

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Conservative, I will be surprised if Labour don't make a similar

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promise. The question is how did you get that best deal for Britain,

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because our interests are tied in with a strong Europe. The question

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is, what is the best case Britain can take to negotiate that stronger

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Europe? And negotiating an exit is not the best policy. Or we will

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have five years to discuss this! We may live in an age of austerity,

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but one area of government spending has gone on rising - international

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development. Britain is pledged to increase aid to the world's poor,

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though critics say now is not the right time. One MP who's committed

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to the cause is Claire Perry of Devizes. She's just spent a week

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living without electricity or running water in Africa. Laura

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Lyons reports. From winter in Wiltshire to the

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heat, sights and sounds of Africa. Devizes MP Claire Perry and her 13-

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year old daughter Eliza spent a week in Gambia. They were amazed at

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the reception they got. They stayed with locals, experiencing life as

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they lived it. I haven't had a bath in hot water for a week, I washed

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my hair in a bucket. When you have to go and get water from a well,

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every drop a third of the Wash in has to be carried back on Sunday's

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head. It does make you think a bit about your resources. She paid her

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own way, keen to see the work of the Marlborough charity linked to

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this community for 30 years. Back home and the contrast between the

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two countries was clear - and not just in their climate. I just think

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it brought home to me how incredibly lucky we are to live in

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a democracy, with a rule of law, with the the judicial challenges

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they have at the moment, in a country where you can turn on a tap

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and good clean water. She also wanted to gauge the impact of aid.

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She officially opened a new market hall, built with help from the

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Wiltshire charity. As one of the world's poorest countries, Gambia

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also gets development aid from Europe. In was overwhelming, it was

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beautiful, it was saddening to see wonderful children with so little.

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It was frustrating because the whole issue of how you deliver

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international aid in a way that helps people rather than create

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dependency was there, but overall it was the most friendly, beautiful

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place I have ever visited. But it's not just one-way - the twinning

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brings many Gambians to Wiltshire. So before she went there was plenty

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of advice for the MP. One thing I will always you proud of is the

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religious tolerance of people in Gambia. Our community spirit is

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very strong. That is why when you are poor in the Gambia, you still

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have a roof over your head and you still have something to eat and you

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still have something to do and somewhere to go, because a brother

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somewhere, ACAS in somewhere, will always be willing to share the

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little he has with you -- our cars in it somewhere. For Claire Perry

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and her daughter, Gambia left a lasting impression. A think it was

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a sense of community and structure and values that some might say we

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have lost and we are worse off for it. How life is very different, but

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some of those messages are very good ones of the people to see.

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She's confident the help given here has made a real difference.

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Ensuring Britain's growing aid budget is well-spent everywhere

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will be much harder. Well, joining us is the Marlborough GP who set up

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the link with the Gambia, Nick Maurice. You said last year it

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nobody wants to see any reduction in armed forces, so why are we

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protecting spending on international development, which

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has seen a 30,000 service jobs lost. I think what we have done in

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international development for the last decades in the UK, we can be

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proud of the generosity of the British taxpayer and the good work

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we have done, I think aid spending has gone up by over a billion. My

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problem is that we are pledged to increase that by another 3 billion

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the next couple of years whilst in the week where the promise says set

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-- Prime Minister says we have to be deployed in Africa and continue

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the fight against Al-Qaeda and extreme terrorist groups, we are

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making 5000 troops redundant, while cutting the defence budget and it

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disproportionately increasing the aid budget. The first

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responsibility of any government his defence of the realm and the

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security about people. What we have spent so far is fantastic, we can

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continue to do their body disproportionate increase over the

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next couple of years while we are cutting defence is something I am

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uncomfortable with. It is a phenomenal amount of money. We can

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talk about whether it is going up or not because we have present our

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commitment to good to be 0.7%... But you have to understand, aid is

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not just a moral case, it is a key part of our foreign policy to stop

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political stability overseas, when you get too hot beds for terrorism,

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for Migration, I used to work for an aid agency years ago, we were

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looking at countries where people were turning to the production of

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drugs because they didn't have viable alternatives to make a

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living. It is not a question of what we delays and nice things...

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This is also about British interests overseas, it is a key

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part of that. But it is where the money goes. Aid can transfer cash,

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all very well helping the people who really needed in the film, but

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is the money actually going there? It is the increase, it has been

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increased by over a billion. We are putting troops numbers, the Home

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Office budget, is it sensible on a strategic basis to increase the aid

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budgets are disproportionately while making soldiers redundant?

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Having set up that link, when we see what has happened over there,

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it is a two-way street. It is not just the money going into places

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like Gambia, it is what we can get back from there. I think it is true

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to say that we have learnt as much from the relationship we have had

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with the Gambia as people there have learnt from us. We have

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exchange 1600, particularly young people, between our two communities,

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we have them coming to visit us, learning from our way of life just

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as we have young people from Marlboro and a white districts

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going out to the Gambia, working alongside Gambians on projects --

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wide districts. I was delighted when Claire Perry agreed to come

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and spend a week in that community, and experience first hand up what

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development aid can be about. a big price to pay what we hear

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about what people are living on, I'll be getting our money's worth?

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Of course we are. It is and how are our own self-interest. The wide

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disparity between the very rich and the very poor, the greater the

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conflict is likely to break out. I don't think it is either or,

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defence spending, the two things are absolutely related. My very

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strong view is the more we can assist and work alongside, and I

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stress alongside, people in so- called developing countries, the

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better. When I was last in the US, one of the meetings I had took me

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by surprise. It was meeting a couple from the US Army. They were

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in Afghanistan, they were involved in forestry, this was aid work, it

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was about helping farmers take care of the forests so they could take

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care rather than be seduced by the Taliban. It is not just morals come

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it is a self interest. Power to the people. It was once a battle-cry

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for revolutionaries, but in recent years it's been a call to arms for

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the Conservatives. From the "Big Society" to localism, David

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Cameron's talked repeatedly about devolving decision-making down. One

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important change has been encouraging neighbourhoods to set

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out their own plans. But does it really work? Paul Barltrop reports.

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It's easy to say in opposition - before becoming Prime Minister,

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David Cameron talked a lot about empowering local people. That same

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approach lies behind our plan to encourage people to come together

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in neighbourhood groups so they can work together to make life better.

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We are going to give communities the chance to take control What we

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got was the Localism Act, allowing the creation of so-called

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Neighbourhood Plans. It'll revitalise local democracy and put

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power back where it belongs - in the hands of the people. But swap

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the Westminster hothouse for the cold West country and things look

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rather different, particularly to the people of Malmesbury. What

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happens in these fields is a big test of government policy.

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Developers want to build 180 houses here, Wiltshire council has said no,

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but what's most significant is that locals have got together and become

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among the first in the land to produce a Neighbourhood Plan. Under

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new rules that should mean they have more control over development.

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They're not saying no to any development in their own, beautiful

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back yard. It's just they have a different view of where houses

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should be built. It's all been set out in a 100-page Neighbourhood

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Plan worked up over many months by local residents. Of workshops and

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reduce, I think that makes it sound good. They had to look at

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everything from national and local planning strategies to human

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rights' rules. It's been a mammoth task. This is heavy duty volunteer

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work, it is not floating about in meetings, it is heavy duty, at your

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desk, in front of your word processor, writing document,

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reading planning documents, studying, trying to understand to

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stop it is one of the hardest things I have ever done to stop we

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have done absolutely everything and we can. If we are not allowed to go

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forward with our plan, it would make a mockery of the government's

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policy. Because we can't possibly do any more, so it if it doesn't

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work for us, it is not going to work for any body! They'll soon

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find out. It is 26 that we originally started from. This week

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they came face to face with the developers at a planning inquiry.

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An inspector will decide whose plans come out on top - after the

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evidence has been heard and tested by lawyers. It is daunting for the

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people, the residents who have never been involved in this kind of

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process before. They're coming to almost a judicial process, being

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cross-examined, being pushed and pushed, which is the job of the

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lawyers, and that is an experience for local residents who feel

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passionately about what they want for their communities but aren't

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used to that very bureaucratic legal system. Winning this appeal

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isn't all. For their neighbourhood plan to take effect, these

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residents must also get it approved by a local referendum. Only then

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may there be a bit more power to the people.

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We're joined by someone who knows all about this - Alison Bromilow

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runs a Neighbourhood Planning Network here in Bristol. Thank you

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for joining us. It looks incredibly hard work. The Eighties, both -- it

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is, people have been putting hours and weeks, people went for the same

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system in Bristol, for two years, they haven't been getting to the

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stage yet, it is an enormous commitment. This is a group of

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people who know what they're doing, they have applied themselves, you

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have got to know about be you law, you have to know about strategies,

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core strategies, 100 page documents, is this how localism it works?

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is not just the planning, it is the whole business of running a project,

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organising your time, programming it, organising volunteers, never

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nut job. Working out how to communicate and to consult with the

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public, it is not just you sitting in a room, you have to bring your

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whole community along, otherwise it will get thrown out at referendum

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staged to stop is this what the government means by localism?

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about empowering people, making sure they are part of the process.

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It can seem a lot of work. You can use local groups like your town

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council and neighbourhood group as a conduit. I think it is great that

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people come to surgery and say, we don't feel part of the process,

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people don't listen to us, this would be a great way when it gets

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going to actually empower people to get involved in local decision-

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making. Can this work through communities right across our

:56:16.:56:20.

region? De always a challenge if when institutions say they are

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going to empower people but come across the threshold. It is not

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empowered to people have to jump through hoops, we have seen it

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repeatedly as well. What I'm hearing is that there is a real

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danger would you could end up with the most advantaged communities,

:56:40.:56:45.

with great resources, being able to navigate these bureaucratic

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nightmares where is the most disadvantaged are left behind, not

:56:48.:56:52.

having as much of a voice. So it is critical to say we are going to

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give a voice to local communities but we have to be real about

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looking at the processes they have to go to and the support will be

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offering them up. You have the communities department to give you

:57:05.:57:09.

a hand at Ayr. If there is a frail little guidance here, we make it up

:57:09.:57:17.

as we go along. -- very little guidance. We have the planning

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network, all the groups have got together, Bristol is tighter

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different from the parish plans because we don't have parishes, so

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we don't have a precept, none of the money comes to the community,

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aid ghost of the local planning authority. So we have to work to

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the local planning authority to get money raised at various stages in

:57:35.:57:40.

order to continue our way through the process, and it is a lot of

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stuff for people to get on board and have to learn. You have really

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got to go for it, you have to want to have the skills we have seen, it

:57:49.:57:54.

isn't going to happen. People do feel passionate about this,

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Planning in their local areas, I agree broadly about it is a

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question of people having the resources, I represent an area of

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pounds and Paris is, so there is another layer which could help,

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this is an early stage of this process. You said localism is an

:58:15.:58:20.

allusion, do you think that? said it could be. It depends on

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what we are talking about. Government institutions can speak

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with forked tongues. If you are going to say it, you have to mean

:58:29.:58:33.

it, back it up with the resources and we have to look at how the

:58:33.:58:38.

processes at work, do they exclude people? Thank you. It's time now to

:58:38.:58:41.

take a look at the political stories of the week in our 60

:58:41.:58:51.
:58:51.:58:52.

The Conservatives are losing members as MPs prepare to vote on

:58:52.:58:56.

controversial plans for gay marriage. The chairman in Somerton

:58:56.:59:00.

and bream quit, claiming them it would be more resignations. Almost

:59:00.:59:05.

all the people you talk to feel the same way, not necessarily to the

:59:05.:59:09.

point of resignation, but there is an enormous feeling of anger and

:59:09.:59:13.

frustration. The Mayor of Bristol City was relieved after recruiting

:59:13.:59:18.

three more councillors did cabinet. He found him so stretched after

:59:18.:59:24.

trying to cover three portfolios. The new line-up is temporary. There

:59:24.:59:28.

was one of Oktay Mahmuti, Lib Dem campaigning paid dividends as they

:59:28.:59:36.

held on to the seat of... If this Bristol MP get his way voters will

:59:36.:59:40.

in the future be younger. His backbench motor was supported in

:59:40.:59:46.

the Commons but it may stop there. The Prime Minister is supposed to

:59:46.:59:56.
:59:56.:59:57.

bodes for 16 and 17-year-olds. -- votes. A busy week. His 16th too

:59:57.:00:01.

young to vote? I have got a 16- year-old boy, and an 18-year-old

:00:01.:00:08.

daughter. I am comfortable with my daughter voting, not my son at

:00:08.:00:12.

probably. We talk about politics, she takes a genuine interest, I am

:00:12.:00:18.

not sure that at 16, you cannot buy tobacco, alcohol, stand for office,

:00:18.:00:22.

I am not so sure about 16. It is all about getting political

:00:23.:00:26.

majority and education, knowing about politics, that is the idea?

:00:26.:00:30.

I would be supported by a vet, I think it is an investment, I think

:00:30.:00:35.

it is about engaging more people in politics. That is about the

:00:35.:00:39.

responsibility of politicians and broadcasters as well, in the way

:00:39.:00:43.

they tell stories but maybe we can talk about that off-air! Always

:00:43.:00:48.

comes down to the media! How would it change the political landscape,

:00:48.:00:54.

it you had 16 and 17-year-olds, do you think it would make politicians

:00:54.:00:59.

think more about what they're doing? It is not obviously a

:00:59.:01:07.

parallel. We try and engage with all levels, I'm sure. We have to. A

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16-year-old today will be 18 in a short space of time. I'm sure you

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can find 28-year-olds who sit on and play stations all day and are

:01:16.:01:20.

politically unengaged. I think it would draw people into the process

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and give people an opportunity in schools to start with some hard

:01:26.:01:34.

issues. It is important to talk about children -- talk to children

:01:34.:01:40.

of all ages about politics, it is whether you can make a judgment at

:01:40.:01:50.
:01:50.:01:51.

16, to cast of Brake. A lot of them are switched on. At all stages...

:01:51.:01:58.

I'm sure my son isn't typical of all 16 year-old! I was being ironic.

:01:58.:02:05.

I'm just beginning to think about that now. Thank you to you both.

:02:05.:02:12.

Good to have your company here. That is just about it for this week.

:02:12.:02:19.

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