30/06/2013 Sunday Politics West


Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news, interviews and debate, including the latest on fears of power blackouts with energy minister Michael Fallon.

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to go to Glastonbury? Think again. Is it only the older generation who


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the Sunday Politics here in the West. Coming up today: 135,000


ticket holders have been partying in the Somerset Countryside this


weekend. And if you thought Glastonbury was just for the young.


Then think again. As the festival has grown up, so has the audience.


But with more austerity measures announced by the government this


week, is it ONLY the older generation who can afford to party


these days as the youngsters pay for the mess we're in? That's coming up.


But first lets meet our guests today - they are the Conservative MP


Charlotte Leslie and Labour's Darren Jones who's hoping to unseat her at


the next general election. Thank you both for coming in. Are you going to


be able to hang on with the way things are going at the next


election? Absolutely.But that is not going to be easy, is it?


double dip recession did not happen but the recession in 2008 when


Labour were in power was much deeper than we thought. We need


Conservatives in power were to make sure we do not go back to those


days. Do you agree? No. I can see the impact he cuts are having on


local people. It is our job to make sure they have an MP that stands up


for them and that's what I'm going to be seeking to do. Is that why


you've agreed to make the same cuts as the Conservatives? Things like a


bedroom tax. Now we move on to our top story faster than the chancellor


can scoff a burger and chips! Yes, fortified by his late night snack,


he went to Parliament this week and imposed another dose of austerity on


the nation. He's done it before but this time West Country councils say


its really, really going to hurt. Here's Paul Barltrop. The rhetoric


has become almost routine, the announcements all too familiar.


of the biggest economic crises of the modern either. In 2015 spending


will be slashed yet again. Among the biggest losers once more, local


government. In North Somerset they've already shut libraries,


closed public toilets, and ended their dedicated youth service. The


Conservatives in charge are angry that they'll lose still more money.


You cannot go any further. We are already cutting things that we


should not the cutting. 61% goes on care services, we cannot cut back on


those. We have the lowest overhead for care services in the country. We


refuse to cut back on that. There is only so much you can do before you


start really hurting people. Policing is a very sensitive


subject. For decades crime has been falling but so too now are officer


numbers. Avon and Somerset predict this week's cuts will cost them


hundreds of jobs. Let's not kid ourselves, this is a very tough call


and we will have to take it very CDs leave. We have to prioritise. It is


money we've got. I have opened up the books for people to look at and


I am obviously going out there for consultation on council tax.


Politicians know these plans will kick in at election time.


Speaker, it does not have two be this way. But even if his side win,


they'll stick with the spending cuts. The country's finances leave


little choice. Joining the debate is Ric Pallister who's the leader of


South Somerset District Council. Can you envisage making the sort of cuts


the government want you to? We have two. It is as simple as that. The


money is not there. The overall share will lie with the bigger


unitary authorities particularly in relation to adult here. What cat --


what fat is left? It is not fat. We have to be more efficient than in


the past. So have you been spending money and wasting it? Now, we have


been encouraged to employ people, we got government grants over many


years and saw our workforce was much higher. We have had technology


coming in which is now enabling us to reduce our workforce. Are you


encouraged by the fact that at least one council thinks there is a bit of


fat that can be cut? I am all for finding efficiency for tax year was


Mike money. But these cuts are already hurting people right across


Bristol and our county. The question of bedroom tax is that it has been


said now one will be evicted who is subject to it. You see you would


impose those cuts but how much would be bedroom tax Seve? Be government


supported by Charlotte who have asked repeatedly to explain why she


thought it was appropriate to board for bedroom tax. People who live in


these houses have no other small houses to move to, it is linked


directly to infrastructure. We have to get real. The fact we are facing


a perfect storm, the money is not there. Wouldn't I love to be an MP


who did not have to make cuts but we have two. The amount the debt is


going up is slowing down. You said it would be a period of steady tea,


then everything would hunky-dory. That is not happening. We have got


an ageing population. What we are seeing is very interesting. We have


had the luxury of spending a lot, we are having to retract jobs in the


public sector, it is difficult for councils who have been wiser with


the money because they are already quite clean. It is often


Conservative councils who are suffering the most because they are


already so efficient. OK, we have to move on. If you think the


Glastonbury Festival is just for the kids, you might be surprised. Some


of the festival goers are drawing a pension and a few of the performers


are positively ancient. Nothing wrong with that, but are the older


generation enjoying the high life while the youngsters are priced out


of everything? I've been to Glastonbury this week to find out.


Welcome to Glastonbury 2013. About 200,000 people are here. Including


artists, workers, and of course, festival goers, are packed onto


these fields here. This is as big as the City of Bath Now in its 43rd


year, the festival started from small beginnings. In 1970 it cost


just �1 for a ticket and around 1,500 people came. I would not see


it was a disaster but there have not been as many people as I would have


hoped. I thought be beat have about 5000 but it was only a couple of


thousand. The post World War II baby boomers were the target audience. No


oldies allowed! All these revellers got free was the worthy farm milk


given away at the gates, not a TV licence or a bus pass. Back then the


Rolling Stones were selling albums like sweeties. They were too big for


this little festival. But as they've grown up, so has Glastonbury.


Today's festival is almost unrecognisable. Ticket prices have


risen enormously - a bit like house prices in that time. Now, at over


�200 a pop, that's a 20,000% increase, many youngsters simply


can't afford to come here. Add in the cost of booze and food and it


probably costs you nearer �500. So have the baby boomers priced today's


teenagers and twenty-somethings out of the Glastonbury market, just as


they have the housing market? Take a look around here. There are still


thousands of youngsters. But the baby boomers, who enjoyed it in the


early years, are still coming back today with some putting the average


age of people here nearer 40 than 20. So with the country gripped in a


period of austerity, with youth unemployment at its highest for a


generation, is it the kids of the 80's and 90's who are missing out?


And you both working? Yes.Do you have kids and a house? No, not yet.


As you get older it gets easier because you enjoy life more. I did


not have a job for about seven months and then I suddenly got one


and I'm so happy. It's permanent. It's all right. I'm having to


continue working just to make ends meet. Is it harder than five years


ago when Mark I don't think so, no. You just have to take a look at the


line-up on this - the pyramid stage - many are not exactly spring


chickens themselves. Mick Jagger, well he's old enough to collect his


pension and get his winter fuel allowance, although it wouldn't be


much use in one of these tents! So Bruce Forsyth is also coming here


and he could use his free bus pass. I guess what it does show is that if


you have got your health, you can work into old-age. Elvis Castella,


Billy Bragg, they argue too. Is it time for them to step aside? For the


rumours to give something back to the next generation? Maybe starting


with the winter fuel payments and television licence. A couple of


young things are still here to discuss all that. You think it is


right that Sir Bruce Forsyth should get a free television licence?


not think it is by the administrative costs to strip these


things out cute actually cost more than you are saving. I think there


is no reason that Mick Jagger should be getting a winter fuel allowance


really. Well why don't you act? Why give these things to older people


who don't need it? administration costs at too high.


The baby boomer generation dead shaft the younger generation.


Pensions were designed at a time when it might be the last ten years


of your life. Now there are a lot more of them and it is the younger


generation who are being for these generations pensions. Who is going


to pay for the younger people is my pensions? There are a lot of


complaints about raising the pension age but it has two be linked to life


expectancy. Pensions were linked to when there were a lot of young


people paying for a lot of old people. Now there are small number


of young people being for a lot of old people and that is not


sustainable. The younger generation have it really tough. What about


labour, do you believe in universal benefits or should they be means


tested? We need to be pragmatic about what we have and what we can


do with that. Charlotte has the habit of saying one thing in Bristol


and doing something else in Westminster. Rich old people tend to


vote Tory so I will forward to discussing that later. I have quite


a good record actually, that is probably why I'm not a minister.


Let's be clear then, do you accept the young people need more of a


helping hand at the moment rather than the all to have them pretty


much protected through this recession? I think young people need


to have help. We have hundreds of young unemployed people in Bristol


and the south-west as a result of the failed economic policy. Will you


as we pulled to board for you and you will stop the winter fuel


allowance for pensioners? We will be seeing two people are economic


policy is focused on fairness. am the grumpy old fellow on the


doorstep seeing you are going to cut my winter fuel allowance even though


I have a Mercedes on the drive report will use a quest Mark we have


two tell them how it is. If you've driven through the countryside


anywhere south of the M4, chances are you'll have glimpsed a solar


farm. They're fields full of hundreds of solar panels and they're


becoming more and more commonplace. But as well as being viewed by some


as a blot on the landscape, there are concerns that too much land is


being taken out of food production. Ruth Bradley reports. Jonathan


Hoskyn's family have farmed near Crewkerne for a quarter of a


century. He's got 80 acres of apple and pear trees. But on one part of


the farm, Jonathan's gone from harvesting fruit to harvesting


sunshine. I tried to grow fruit trees here but it would not grow


because the soil is very shallow. rents five acres to a solar power


company. It makes enough electricity each year to run about 200 homes. So


whip you could turn the whole farm over two solar panels, with that be


viable? The overheads would disappear so it would but I am a


fruit farmer and I would not want it any other way. The last couple of


years have seen a huge rise in solar farms. The number of planning


applications in this part of Somerset has more than doubled since


2011. Cashing in on the current climate are companies like this one


near Ilminster. They've gone from putting these solar panels on


peoples houses to filling fields with them. Particularly for the


landowners, a lot of times they are not using particular fields and it


is an income for them, they do not have to work particularly hard for


it and it can help sustain the business. It is typically between


�801,000 per acre per year, that is index-linked. As well as MORE solar


farms, they're also getting bigger. This one near Ilminster's going from


five acres to 50. Countryside campaigners are worried they're


taking up land which should be growing food. The offer such


guaranteed inflation proof fees that make it more attractive for the


farmer or landowner to let the land for 25 years. I do not blame them


but I do blame the government. I blame to some extent the planning


authorities for not doing more than they could do to protect


agricultural land, particularly here. For now, these fields are


growing the wheat to be baked into our bread. If solar developers have


their way, they'll be making the power to run bakers' ovens instead.


Still with us is Ric Pallister who's the leader of South Somerset


District Council. When these applications come before you, what


do you think? Absolutely yes. Someone has got to wake up and


realise that when you turn the light switch on you want the light to come


on. We have got all sorts of issues that the moment over EDF. Whether it


is going ahead or not, if it does not our whole policy is in tatters


for the future. You will see Mr Putin sitting in an armchair in


control of our energy. We cannot have that. A couple of solar panels


New York will is not going to make a difference, is it? -- you will.


it won't, but when you have failed school of them you can. You cannot


store the electricity. What every time you turn the panels on and you


are gathering energy from the sun you can turn the gas down. You can


turn the gas power stations down when the sun is providing the


energy. Hasn't there been an appalling performance from both your


governments when there is not enough power there to keep the lights on?


think you are right we are facing an energy crisis. I do not want to be


dependent on the Middle East and Russia for energy. We have to become


as self-sufficient as we can. We have to be very careful about how we


subsidise things. It is an issue of biofuels will be at over subsidised


and often it is not a green response. We have to look at nuclear


if we want these lights to stay on. You think people should be prepared


to pay a subsidy for green electricity? I think it all comes


down to a cost for homeowners. There is a great corporative initiative


for solar panels for residential homes. For business to invest in


clean technology we need a government that has conceded policy


that restores confident. We cannot have people voting against clean


clean energy. There is a subsidy, isn't there? We have to get it


right. We cannot be pragmatic. If we do not get this right we have two


import energy from countries that have a monopoly on energy sources.


OK, thank you. Time to take a spin through this week's other political


stories in our 60 second round-up. One of the main commuter routes


through the west is to be widened thanks to the governments plans to


invest in new infrastructure projects. The A303 through Wiltshire


and Somerset will all be made dual carriageway. The Chief Constable of


Avon and Somerset police appeared to give away a little more than he


should about the badger cull this week, indicating it wouldn't start


till August. Our sources say DEFRA were very upset. Few issues have


provoked such controversy in Bristol as the Mayor's resident parking zone


roll out. This week he promised to listen more after drastically


scaling back the plans. I'm very pleased. I clearly kicked up a


hornet's nest. Last weekend I thought I had to take the sting out


of this. She's on the programme today and this week she made the


headlines for taking on Labour's record on the NHS. Will be Prime


Minister support a root and branch review of the cover-up within the


last decade? How worried are you about those cover-ups that we in


healing about? I think it is appalling. Three reports in 2000 and


a warning of a culture of fear and bullying within the NHS. That


actually cost lives, people have actually died because of cover-ups.


The more you look at it either that Mafia like network whose key aim is


to stop any bad news coming out of the NHS, I think it is a massive


scandal. Do you think people have lost confidence in the NHS because


of this? I hope not. We must not use the NHS to get reform as a fig leaf


of privatisation. We have to look at how we can reform public services to


be cost-efficient. People are dying. Exactly, that is why be need to get


this right. The last secretary of state for health was talking about


reports last weekend in the Sunday newspapers. We have two have public


services that deliver for people in this country and across Bristol.


That's all we've got time for this week. Thank you to Charlotte and


Darren for joining us. Don't forget if you want to get in touch with


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