17/02/2013 Sunday Politics West


Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news, interviews and debate, including Conservative Chairman Grant Shapps and Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan.

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In the West, it is an ill wind that blows nobody any good. A boom in


business after the horsemeat scandal for butchers, but can


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2121 seconds


politicians restore our faith in Welcome to the part of the Sunday


Politics that is just for us in the west country. Coming up,


politicians say we should buy locally sourced British beef in the


light of the horsemeat scandal. Consumer confidence has been rocked


and we speak to farmers, butchers and food producers who say they


could benefit from the scandal. Let's welcome our two guests, the


Conservative Neil Carmichael and Labour's came McCarthy. Came


McCarthy is a vegan. Let's talk about Labour's announcement to


bring back the 10 pence rate of income tax. Labour doing this at a


time when the Conservatives and the coalition decided to give tax


breaks to millionaires. Have they got the upper hand? What we have


done is taken a lot of people out of tax altogether. 38,000 people in


Stroud are not paying as much tax as before because we have lifted


personal allowances. It is not a 10 pence tax, it is a 0p tax for us.


But still the millionaires get their break. We are taxing


wealthier people much more than Labour ever did, we have a higher


level of income tax for wealthy people and various other measures


to improve tax collection from sales of houses and so forth. The


fact is we are actually netting more tax. Is this here or there,


the 10 pence tax rate? I you're admitting that you got it wrong


when you scratch did? -- are you're admitting. Some people did not lose


out but about half a million people did and, as we know, there was


quite a fury about that. It is quite right to look at reducing the


tax burden on the lower paid but this government is wrong to say


they have a higher rate of tax than Labour did. We but the tax rate up


to 50p for the higher rate earners just as we left office and they


have put that down to 40 pence in the pound. It means that the richer


people are not paying as much tax as we would have liked them to pay.


You say that is what you're going to do but you did not do it.


financial circumstances demanded. They did not in 1997 because it was


an economic boom time. It will soon be -- soon be time for a spot of


Sunday lunch. Would it be chicken, lamb, beef, or perhaps a few tender


sort -- slices of course? The scandal has shaken confidence in


the food we eat, so much so that 98 % of butchers locally but we have


spoken to have reported an increase in trade. -- that we have spoken to.


Are the public were turning back to meet by contrast?


The start of the food trade. There is no mistaking these local cows


for horses. But after slaughter, as meat is process, it can be nearly


impossible to tell the difference would be -- without a DNA test. For


cattle farmers like these outside Weston-super-Mare the scandal could


be good news if consumers vote with their wallets and decide to buy


more locally produced but it -- British beats -- beef. It could be


good if people go back to bind from butchers and move away from


processed foods. -- buying from butchers. Farmers like Simon are


backed by senior politicians, who say that consumers need to take


responsibility for what they are eating. This is the time we should


be buying British beef from British butchers, farm shops, and when you


buy from the supermarket go for farm assured track to assign for


showing that the meat is completely able to be traced. Does local


always make it safe? Bees Bristol- based to pie makers say that you


get what you pay for. 60,000 pie is a role off the production line here


every week. -- pie is a role off. At �3.50 up I'd they are pricier


than a supermarket own-brand but they say that consumers need to get


real if they want good food. -- �3.50 for a pie. You have to be


careful about how you buy it and what cuts you use force. We would


not economise on that. Bristol butcher David Giles agrees. We try


to sort everything as locally as we can. Everything within 50 miles of


this shop. This local butchers has been busier than normal in this


last week. They say business is up 10 %. 16 out of 18 local business -


- but just say their profits are up. Customers in the short term at


least seem to be choosing local fresh meat instead of processed


food. We saw step from this Budget because we know where it is coming


from, it is all labelled. If you buy it in a packet you don't know


where it is coming from. Four you know you will get good food, good


quality, so that is why it is so busy. In reality we can't all eat


locally produced fresh meat. need to remember that Britain is


not self-sufficient in food, it is not self-sufficient in beef, so we


have to import. If we import we need to work out how we can make


sure we can trace meat across borders, so promoting British meat


is important and legitimate but it should not distract us from the


need to work out how we make sure our supply chains are able to be


traced and transparent. Four the cost of testing beef products has


run into millions. Restoring consumer confidence could cost even


more. Joining the debate is a local food


expert and the author of, who feeds Bristol. It is quite simple, it is


the supermarkets, isn't it? You are right, it is. How much to people


trust supermarkets? It is a good question. It is interesting to


remember, since World War II, we have developed a food system which


is effectively about commodities and profit and we have lost the


transparency and connection. But actually people do care. We have


data from Bristol that suggests people really do care where their


food comes from. To they care about what is it quits -- what is in it?


Is it the distaste of eating a different kind of animal? I think


it is all of those things, but this taste but also wanting to know that


when you buy something with a label it is what it says on that in. --


this taste. Do you think people will go back to the cheap food


easily available? That is the worry. We have had food scares before and


for a period people go to buy food with a farmer's face on it, food


they can trust, and then they refer to different habits. That is the


fear but it is always helpful and we need to encourage our families


and friends to be a bit more interested in what we eat. You said


this was the tip of the iceberg. It seems it might be right. A lot of


the concern has focused on the fact that there has been horsemeat found


in the food chain and whether it is contaminated with the painkiller,


but I think, if we don't know how it got into the food chain, there


are other questions to be asked about what else is in the food


chain. It is amazing, the number of steps... Some of these products are


seen to have travelled around the hall of Europe before they end up


on our shelves. There is concern about organised crime being


involved and the fact that the food is so cheap makes you wonder...


There is a balance. Your constituents can get four burgers


for a food. I think they can get paid for at -- eight for a pound.


That is a good value Mead. -- meal. A lot to be ball was saying people


should be prepared to pay more for their meal and they can know where


it came from, but a lot of people are not in a position to do that,


they don't have the money, they are on a tight budgets -- so they will


go for the value range, so that is why it is important that people


know what is in them. Neil, you used to be a beef farmer. You know


a thing or two about food. This is another failure of the markets,


isn't it? First we had the bankers at letting us down, now it is the


supermarket. This is an example of gross deception and people breaking


the law. That is the market. have to make it more transparent


and make sure that the supply train works more efficiently, but the key


thing is that when people buy something it should be what it says


on the tin. That has clearly not been happening with burgers or


other processed food. We have to get that right. And the other thing


I said in the House of Commons is we need random testing, not just


across the supply train but right down into it as well, to penetrate


areas where the spotlight has not been. For the politicians are


saying take more interest in your food, but is that if a bid mill at


-- middle class, is it really going to make a difference? It is not


what most people do, go to farmers' markets. That is the perception.


The food system is like dominoes, if you not want it has an impact,


and cooking is at the heart of making a change. We have a problem


as a nation, we have lost our cooking skills. Perhaps they don't


teach it so much in schools. It is being brought back onto the


national curriculum, which is a good thing. Thank you very much for


joining us today. Have the cuts really heard our councils or is the


age of austerity catapulting town halls into the 21st century? By


West's councils will be both setting their budgets in the next


fortnight. Most voters seem untouched by the cuts they are


making. Taunton, Swindon, Bristol, Bath.


There have been demonstrations and anger at many of our council's. It


reached a peak at Gloucestershire County Council, which set about


cutting a thousand staff and �100 million. Two years ago, as councils


set -- met to set their budget, there were Big Eck -- bigger


protests, but this time people don't seem to have noticed. It does


not really affect us. Personally I have not noticed any difference.


Not personally, no. They have not really affected me. Not at the


moment but you know it will come. have not been aware of it. Only on


the TV. There was much coverage of library cuts. The feared closures


have not happened. This is one of seven run not by council staff but


by volunteers. Already we have had some fantastic feedback in terms of


the atmosphere. It is completely different in the building because


it is not a local authority run service. All of the people here are


local so they know half of the people who come in. The model we


have here actually could be the model for other areas. The cabbie


at, he adds, is that finance is an on going challenge. -- can be at.


At this youth centre of volunteers have made up for what the council


cut. Gloucester's's -- Gloucesters leader feels vindicated. Volunteers


have taken on some of the responsibilities that it we have


given up but there is far more focus on the really important


services. Yes, we have so -- reduced staff numbers but we are


protecting services those most important for the most vulnerable.


Fewer staff in few offices and they work differently. Yes, I can


probably find a number for the centre itself. This is the


council's call centre. Much more is done by phone or online. Modern


business practice is now becoming the norm in local government.


are reducing our footprint as a local authority, bringing staff


into this building and making sure that people are working better in


teams. We are modernising, making some changes but frankly we should


have made a long time ago. -- that frankly. Foster's council meeting


is not expected to be as he did this time. - Matt Goss de's. --


Gloucester's. If you don't repair the windows and don't repair the


front door, finally you have to do it more expensively. We are at a


stage where some of the impact will not be felt for two or three years


down alone -- down the line. councils cut further without the


public feeling the pain? This year's funding settlement is not so


draconian but all expect the next few years to be much tougher.


Join in us today is the and the cuts campaigner, Jerry Hicks. --


and he cuts. Have you been crying wolf against these cuts? No, I have


been campaigning against them. The bedroom tax will be the coalition's


poll-tax. That was smashed as well. Let's look at Gloucester, where


they have axed 1,000 staff and nobody seemed to be any the wiser.


I don't know about wiser, I think people need to be inspired to fight


back. Fight back against what? you cut 1,000 staff, shops close,


people do not have the spending power. For your argument was always


but the cuts would affect members of the public directly. So far it


is not clear to see where this is happening, unless you can put me


right. It is very clear to see where it is happening. I spoke to a


Unite member this morning, a branch official from the hospital, and


they are calling for a national campaign to say that cuts affect


everybody. The budget for the NHS has not been cut. The other think


it is important dimension, you know we talked about Labour early on --


labelling early on, it is the label that cuts are the only alternative,


and the difference between Labour and the Tories is on a pinhead.


There is an alternative to cuts, cutting Trident... Let's bring in


Kerry. We have heard so much about the cuts but it is hard to see


where they are affecting people directly. I would not agree.


Certainly in terms of the casework I am getting through, increasingly


we are getting people to -- who are in desperate situations. The


bedroom tax will hit a lot of people and the council is planning


to scrap the homeless prevention sector. The basic living standards


of people, you have people who are subject to the public sector pay


freeze for several years, their overtime is being cut, child care


costs are going up, food and fuel bills are a huge issue, and I am


definitely seeing it in terms of individuals coming to me in


desperate straits. Neil Carmichael, let's look at the other side of the


coin, you are not really cutting public spending a tour, are you?


Not in significant ways. -- planned -- public spending at all.


Gloucestershire County Council is investing a lot of money in


encouraging younger people to think about careers and give them


opportunities for further training, low. �1 million worth of investment,


and that is just Gloucestershire. Gloucestershire County Council has


a really good story to tell in economic development so I think it


is important to get this in but it -- in perspective. We now employ


nearly 30 million people for the first time in Britain and for the


last few years we have increased the number of people at work in the


private sector. Coulter of those extra jobs are part-time, poorly


paid jobs. -- a lot of those. of the jobs are in the


manufacturing and engineering sector. The good news is we are not


just getting more jobs but we are getting more orders for export.


There are 800 job losses, job losses at Rolls-Royce, if people


are so well off, why are the Tories so poor in the polls? People's


spending power has been reduced, it is probably worse than it was in


1997, certainly than 2003. In Lewisham, with the hospital cart,


25,000 marched. -- the hospital cut. How many billions have been spent


on walls? Thank you for joining us. -- spent on war. Let's go to the


rest of the week's news in one minute.


Almost half of GPs in the West say they will continue -- will consider


leaving the profession when government changes come in in April.


A local survey of nearly 3,000 doctors found that 48 % and may get


a different job or retire. A former colliery and the Forest of


Dean which has lain derelict for nearly 50 years is set to become a


business park, creating 200 jobs. Councillors voted in favour but


wildlife experts are unhappy. It is the event that made western


Sudan call. T four on the beach saw thousands of youngsters flocking on


to the beach but the event has been axed. -- made Weston-Super-Mare


Cormack. -- cool. There was Pat -- pancake flipping


about among MPs against journalists and they won.


Let's pick up on one of those stories. GPs threatening to leave


the health service or to retire because of the changes. Do you


believe that? I don't, because I have talked to a lot of GPs who are


happy with the changes. We have 360 GPs in Gloucestershire but not all


of them are ecstatically happy but most of them are. We need to talk


about the scandals... That is a good point. Are you conscious of


low morale amongst GPs, many of whom are earning above 100 grand?


Money is not everything. Certainly when I spoke to them about the


changes, but GPs consortiums are taking over primary care trusts, I


could not find much enthusiasm. -- the GPs' consortiums. Thank-you to


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