17/02/2013 Sunday Politics West


17/02/2013

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

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business after the horsemeat scandal for butchers, but can

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2121 seconds

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

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

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politicians say we should buy locally sourced British beef in the

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light of the horsemeat scandal. Consumer confidence has been rocked

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

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

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Conservative Neil Carmichael and Labour's came McCarthy. Came

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

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

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time when the Conservatives and the coalition decided to give tax

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

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

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

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

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But still the millionaires get their break. We are taxing

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

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level of income tax for wealthy people and various other measures

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Are the public were turning back to meet by contrast?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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least seem to be choosing local fresh meat instead of processed

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

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

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

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

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locally produced fresh meat. need to remember that Britain is

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

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

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

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

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

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

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run into millions. Restoring consumer confidence could cost even

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more. Joining the debate is a local food

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

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

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

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

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is effectively about commodities and profit and we have lost the

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

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data from Bristol that suggests people really do care where their

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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on our shelves. There is concern about organised crime being

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

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There is a balance. Your constituents can get four burgers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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fortnight. Most voters seem untouched by the cuts they are

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making. Taunton, Swindon, Bristol, Bath.

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

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reached a peak at Gloucestershire County Council, which set about

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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the atmosphere. It is completely different in the building because

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

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

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

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

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

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

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have taken on some of the responsibilities that it we have

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

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

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protecting services those most important for the most vulnerable.

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

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

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

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business practice is now becoming the norm in local government.

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are reducing our footprint as a local authority, bringing staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:54:58.:55:08.
:55:08.:55:08.

to scrap the homeless prevention sector. The basic living standards

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

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

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

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definitely seeing it in terms of individuals coming to me in

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

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

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

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Gloucestershire County Council is investing a lot of money in

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encouraging younger people to think about careers and give them

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

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and that is just Gloucestershire. Gloucestershire County Council has

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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:57:12.:57:12.

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

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

:57:22.:57:32.
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on walls? Thank you for joining us. -- spent on war. Let's go to the

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rest of the week's news in one minute.

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

:57:42.:57:45.

leaving the profession when government changes come in in April.

:57:45.:57:50.

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

:57:50.:57:54.

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

:57:54.:57:59.

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

:57:59.:58:04.

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

:58:04.:58:10.

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

:58:10.:58:16.

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

:58:16.:58:26.
:58:26.:58:27.

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

:58:28.:58:34.

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

:58:34.:58:41.

about among MPs against journalists and they won.

:58:41.:58:47.

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

:58:47.:58:50.

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

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

:58:56.:59:02.

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

:59:02.:59:09.

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

:59:09.:59:14.

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

:59:14.:59:20.

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

:59:20.:59:24.

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

:59:24.:59:29.

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

:59:29.:59:39.
:59:39.:59:44.

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

:59:44.:59:50.

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