12/01/2014 Sunday Politics West


Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news, interviews and debate.

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Good morning, welcome. 2014 is barely under way, and the


coalition is fighting over cuts Nick Legg says Tory plans to balance


the books would hit the poorest hardest. He will not say what he


will cut. That is the top story Chris Grayling called for a


completely new deal with Europe as he battles will rings from the


European Court of Human Rights. He joins me.


Labour promises to shift house-building up a gear, but how


will they get In the West, a backlog of benefit


claims. Families coping with serious illness


ambulance even when the incident may be serious. Have cuts left to the


service being overstretched? With me for the duration, a top trio


of political pundits, Helen Lewis, Jan and Ganesh and Nick Watt. They


will be tweeting faster than France or long scoots through Paris. Nick


Clegg sticks to his New Year resolution to sock it to the Tories,


the is how he described Tory plans for another 12 billion of cuts on


welfare after the next election You cannot say, as the Conservatives


are, that we are all in it together and then say that the welfare will


not make any additional contributions from their taxes if


there is a Conservative government after 2015 in the ongoing effort to


balance the books. We are not even going to ask that very wealthy


people who have retired who have benefits, paid for by the


hard-pressed taxpayers, will make a sacrifice. The Conservatives appear


to be saying only the working age pork will be asked to make


additional sacrifices to fill the remaining buckle in the public


finances. Nick Legg eating up on the Tories


a, happens almost every day. I understand it is called aggressive


differentiation. Will it work for them? It has not for the past two


years. This began around the time of the AV referendum campaign, that is


what poisoned the relations between the parties. They have been trying


to differentiation since then, they are still at barely 10% in the


polls, Nick Clegg's personal ratings are horrendous, so I doubt they will


do much before the next election. It is interesting it has been combined


with aggressive flirtation with Ed Balls and the Labour Party. There


was always going to be some sort of rapprochement between them and the


Labour Party, it is in the Labour Party's interests, and it is intent


macro's interests, not to be defined as somebody who can only do deals


with the centre-right. A colleague of yours, Helen, told me there was


more talk behind closed doors in the Labour Party high command, they have


to think about winning the election in terms of being the largest party,


but not necessarily an overall majority. There is a feeling it was


foolish before the last election not to have any thought about what a


coalition might be, but the language has changed. Ed Miliband had said, I


cannot deal with this man, but now, I have to be prismatic, it is about


principles. Even Ed Balls. Nick Clegg had specifically said that Ed


Balls was the man in politics that he hated. He said that was just a


joke. Of course, it is about principles, not people! When Ed


Balls said those nice things about Nick Clegg, he said, I understood


the need to get a credible deficit reduction programme, although he


said Nick Clegg went too far. The thing about Nick Clegg, he feels


liberated, he bears the wounds from the early days of the coalition and


maybe those winds will haunt him all the way to the general election But


he feels liberated, he says, we will be the restraining influence on both


the Conservatives, who cannot insure that the recovery is fair, and the


Labour Party, that do not have economic red ability. He feels


relaxed, and that is why he is attacking the Tories and appearing


pretty relaxed. He could also be falling into a trap. The Tories


think what they suggesting on welfare cuts is possible. The more


he attacks it, the more Tories will say, if you gave us an overall


majority, he is the one it. He keeps taking these ostensibly on popular


positions and it only makes sense when you talk to them behind the


scenes, they are going after a tiny slice of the electorate, 20%, who


are open to the idea of voting Lib Dem, and their views are a bit more


left liberal than the bulk of the public. There is a perverse logic in


them aggressively targeting that section of voters. In the end, ten


macro's problem, if you do not like what this coalition has been doing,


you will not vote for somebody who was part of it, you will vote for


the Labour Party. The Tories are too nasty, Labour are to spendthrift,


Lib Dem, a quarter of their vote has gone to Labour, and that is what


could hand the largest party to Labour. That small number of voters,


soft Tory voters, the problem for the Liberal Democrats is, if you


fight, as they did, three general elections to the left of the Labour


Party, and at the end of the third, you find yourself in Colour Vision


with the Conservatives, you have a problem.


Chris Grayling is a busy man, he has had to deal with aid riot at HM


Prison Oakwood, barristers on strike and unhappy probation officers


taking industrial action. Prison works. It ensures that we are


protected from murderers, muggers and rapists. It makes many who are


tempted to commit crime think twice. Traditional Tory policy on criminal


justice and prisons has been tough talking and tough dealing. Not only


have they tended to think what they are offering is right, but have had


the feeling, you thinking what they thinking. But nearly two decades


after Michael Howard's message, his party, in Colour Vision government,


is finding prison has to work like everything else within today's


financial realities. The Justice Secretary for two years after the


election had previous in this field. Ken Clarke. Early on, he signalled a


change of direction. Just binding up more and more people for longer


without actively seeking to change them is, in my opinion, what you


would expect of Victorian England. The key to keeping people out of


prison now, it seems, is giving them in a job, on release. Ironically,


Ken Clarke was released from his job 15 months ago and replaced by Chris


Grayling. But here, within HM Prison Liverpool, Timpson has been working


since 2009 with chosen offenders to offer training and the chance of a


job. Before you ask, they do not teach them keep cutting in a


category B prison. The Academy is deliberately meant to look like a


company store, not a prison. It helps. You forget where you are at


times, it feels weird, going back to a wing at the end of the day. It is


different. A different atmosphere. That is why people like it. Timpson


have six academies in prisons, training prisoners inside, and


outside they offer jobs to ex-offenders, who make up 8% of


their staff. It has been hard work persuading some governors that such


cooperation can work. I have seen a dramatic change positively, working


with prisoners, particularly in the last five years. They understand now


what business's expectation is. Timpson do not just employ


offenders, but as one ex-prisoner released in February and now


managing his own store says, the point is many others will not employ


offenders at all. From what I have experienced, on one hand, you have


somebody with a criminal conviction, on the other, somebody who does not


have one, so it is a case of favouring those who have a clean


record. Anybody with a criminal conviction is passed to one side and


overlooked. That, amongst myriad other changes to prison and how we


deal with prisoners, is on the desk of the man at the top. Ever since


Chris Grayling became Secretary of State for Justice, he has wanted to


signal a change of direction of policy, and he is in a hurry to make


radical reforms across the board, from size and types of prisons to


probation services, reoffending rates, legal aid services, and there


has been opposition to that from groups who do not agree with him.


But what might actually shackle him is none of that. It is the fact that


he is in government with a party that does not always agree with him,


he has to abide by the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights,


and in those famous words, there is no money left. We would like to go


further and faster. I would like him too, but we are where we are. If the


Liberal Democrats want to be wiped out at the next election based on


what they believe, that is fair enough. We accept there has to be


savings, but there are areas where we feel that there is ideological


driven policy-making going on, and privatising may not save any money


at all, and so does not make any sense. The question is, we'll all of


that means some of Chris Grayling's reforms need closer inspection?


Chris Grayling joins me now. Welcome. We have a lot to cover If


you get your way, your own personal way, will be next Tory manifesto


promise to withdraw from the European Convention of human


rights? It will contain a promise for radical changes. We have to


curtail the role of the European court here, replace our human rights


act from the late 1990s, make our Supreme Court our Supreme Court


they can be no question of decisions over riding it elsewhere, and we


have to have a situation where our laws contain a balance of rights and


responsibilities. People talk about knowing their rights, but they do


not accept they have responsible it is. This is what you said last


September, I want to see our Supreme Court being supreme again... That is


clear, but let's be honest, the Supreme Court cannot be supreme as


long as its decisions can be referred to the European Court in


Strasbourg. There is clearly an issue, that was raised recency -


recently. We have been working on a detailed reform plan, we will


publish that in the not too distant future. What we will set out is a


direction of travel for a new Conservative government that will


mean wholesale change in this area. You already tried to reform the


European Court, who had this declaration in 2012, do you accept


that the reform is off the table? There is still a process of reform,


but it is not going fast enough and not delivering the kind of change we


need. That is why we will bring forward a package that for the


different from that and will set a different direction of travel. We


are clear across the coalition, we have a different view from our


colleagues. You cannot be half pregnant on this, either our


decisions from our Supreme Court are subject to the European Cup or not,


in which case, we are not part of the European court. I hope you will


see from our proposals we have come up with a sensible strategy that


deals with this issue once and for all. Can we be part of the


Strasbourg court and yet our Supreme Court be supreme? That is by point,


we have to curtail the role of the court in the UK. I am clear that is


what we will seek to do. It is what we will do for this country. But


how? I am not going to announce the package of policies today, but we


will go into the next election with a clear strategy that will curtail


the role of the European Court of Human Rights in the UK. The


decisions have to be taken in Parliament in this country. Are you


sure that you have got your own side on this? Look at what the Attorney


General says. I would be asking Strasberg a


different question to that. If the best in class, he is saying is


enough is enough, actually somebody in Strasberg should be asking if


this has gone the way it should have done. I would love to see wholesale


reform in the court tomorrow, I m not sure it is going to happen which


is why we are going to the election with a clear plan for this country.


Would you want that to be a red line in any coalition agreement? My


mission is to win the next election with a majority. But you have to say


where your red lines would be. We have been very clear it is an area


where we don't agree as parties but in my view the public in this


country are overwhelmingly behind the Conservative party. 95


Conservative MPs have written to the Prime Minister, demanding he gives


the House of Commons the authority to veto any aspect of European Union


law. Are you one of the people who wanted to sign that letter but you


couldn't because you are minister? I haven't been asked to sign the


letter. We need a red card system for European law. I'm not convinced


my colleagues... I don't think it is realistic to have a situation where


one parliament can veto laws across the European Union. I understand the


concerns of my colleagues, but when we set out to renegotiate our


membership, we have got to deliver renegotiation and deliver a system


which is viable, and I'm not convinced we can have a situation


where one Parliament can prevent laws across the whole European


Union. So you wouldn't have signed this letter? I'm not sure it is the


right approach. I support the system I just talked about. Iain Duncan


Smith has suggested EU migrants coming to work in this country


should have to wait for two years before they qualify for welfare


benefits, do you agree? Yes, I think there should be an assumption that


before you can move from one country to another, before you can start to


take back from that country's social welfare system, you should have made


a contribution to it. I spent two and a half years working in Brussels


trying to get the European Commission to accept the need for


change. There is a groundswell of opinion out there which is behind


Iain Duncan Smith in what he is saying. I think we should push for a


clear system that says people should be able to move from one country to


get a job, but to move to another country to live off the state is not


acceptable. You are planning a new 2000 capacity mega prison and other


smaller presence which will be run by private firms. After what has


happened with G4S, why would you do that? No decision has been made


about whether it will be public or private. What do you think it will


be? I'm not sure yet. There is no clear correlation over public and


private prisons and whether there are problems or otherwise. Oakwood


is in its early stages, it has had teething problems at the start, but


the rate of disturbance there is only typical for an average prison


of its category. If you take an example of Parc prison in Wales a


big private run prison, run by G4S, when it was first launched under the


last government it had teething problems of the same kind as Oakwood


and is now regarded as one of the best performing prisons. Why would


you give it to a private company then? We have only just got planning


permission for the so we will not be thinking about this for another few


years. Some of the companies who run prisons are under investigation with


dreadful track records. In the case of G4S, what we have experienced is


acceptable and they have not been able to go ahead with a number of


contracts they might have otherwise got. They are having to prove to the


Government they are fit to win contracts from the Government again.


They are having to pay compensation to the Government and the taxpayer.


What has happened is unacceptable. So why would you give them a 20 0


capacity mega prison? Or anyone like them? It cannot be said that every


private company is bad. In addition to problems at Oakwood, you are


quite unique now in your position that you have managed to get the


barristers out on strike the first time since history began. What


happens if the bar refuses to do work at your new rates of legal aid


and the courts grind to a halt? I don't believe that will happen. When


the barristers came out on strike, three quarters of Crown Courts were


operating normally, 95% of magistrates courts were operating


normally. We are having to take difficult decisions across


government, I have no desire to cut back lately but we are spending over


?2 billion on legal aid at the moment at a time when budgets are


becoming tougher. You issued misleading figures about criminal


barristers, you said that 25% of them earn over ?100,000 per year but


that is their turnover, including VAT. 33% of that money goes on their


expenses, they have to pay for their own pensions and insurance. People


are not getting wealthy out of doing this work. I don't publish figures,


our statisticians do, with caveats in place explaining the situation.


Where you have high-cost cases, where we have taken the most


difficult decisions, we have tried hard in taking difficult decisions


to focus the impact higher up the income scale. But do you accept


their take-home pay is not 100, 00? I accept they have to take out other


costs, although some things like travelling to the court, you and I


and everyone else has to pay for travelling to work. That is net of


VAT. We have had a variety of figures published, some are and some


are not. Let's be clear, the gross figures for fees from legal payments


include 20% VAT. On a week when even a cabinet minister can be fitted up


by the police, don't we all need well-financed legal aid? There is no


chance that as a result well-financed legal aid? There is no


changes people will end up in court unable to defend themselves. We have


said in exceptional circumstances, if you haven't got any money to pay,


we will support you, but there is no question of anyone ended up in


court, facing a criminal charge where they haven't got a lawyer to


defend them. Let's look at how so many dangerous criminals have


managed to avoid jail. Here are the figures for 2012. Half the people


for sexual assault found guilty not jailed. I thought you were meant to


be tough on crime? Those figures predate my time, but since 2010 the


number of those people going to jail has been increasing steadily. If you


put the figures for 2010 on there, you would see a significant change.


We will never be in a position where everybody who commits violence will


end up in jail. The courts will often decided to his more


appropriate to give a community sentence, but the trend is towards


longer sentences and more people going to jail. That maybe but it is


even quite hard to get sent to jail if you do these things a lot, again


and again. In 2012 one criminal avoided being sent to jail despite


having more than 300 offences to his name. 36,000 avoided going to jail


despite 15 previous offences. That is why we are taking steps to


toughen up the system. Last autumn we scrapped repeat cautions. You


could find people getting dozens. As of last autumn, we have scrapped


repeat cautions. If you commit the same offence twice within a two year


period you will go to court. You still might end up not going to


jail. More and more people are going to jail. I cannot just magic another


34,000 prison places. You haven t got room to put bad people in jail?


The courts will take the decisions, and it is for them to take the


decisions and not me, that two men in a bar fight do not merit a jail


sentence. These figures contain a huge amount of offences from the


most minor of offences to the most despicable. Something is wrong if


you can commit 300 offences and still not end up in jail. That's


right, and we are taking steps so this cannot happen any more. Nick


Clegg said this morning you are going to make 12 billion of welfare


cuts on the back of this, he is right, isn't he? People on the


lowest incomes are often not paying tax at all, the rich... But these


cuts will fall disproportionately on average earners, correct? Let's look


at the proposal to limit housing benefit for under 25s. Until today,


after people have left school or college, the live for a time with


their parents. For some, that is not possible and we will have to take


that into account, but we have said there is a strong case for saying


you will not get housing benefit until you are some years down the


road and have properly established yourselves in work. And by


definition these people are on lower than average salaries. Give me a


case in which those on the higher tax band will contribute to the


cuts. We have already put in place tax changes so that the highest tax


rate is already higher than it was in every year of the last


government. The amount of tax.. There is no more expected of the


rich. We will clearly look at future policy and work out how best to


distribute the tax burden in this country and it is not for me to


second-guess George Osborne's future plans, but we need to look at for


example housing benefit for the under 25s. Is it right for those who


are not working for the state to provide accommodation for them?


Thank you for being with us. All three major parties at


Westminster agree there's an urgent need to build more homes for


Britain's growing population. But how they get built, and where, looks


set to become a major battle ground in the run-up to the next general


election. Although 16% more house-builds were


started in 2012/13 than the previous year, the number actually completed


fell by 8% - the lowest level in peacetime since 1920. The Office for


National Statistics estimates that between now and 2021 we should


expect 220,000 new households to be created every year. At his party's


conference last autumn, Ed Miliband promised a Labour government would


massively increase house-building. I will have a clear aim but by the end


of the parliament, Britain will be building 200,000 homes per year


more than at any time for a generation. That is how we make


Britain better than this. The Labour leader also says he'd give urban


councils a "right to grow" so rural neighbours can't block expansion and


force developers with unused land to use it or lose it. The Government


has been pursuing its own ideas including loan guarantees for


developers and a new homes bonus to boost new house-building. But David


Cameron could have trouble keeping his supporters on side - this week


the senior backbencher Nadhim Zahawi criticised planning reforms for


causing "physical harm" to the countryside. Nick Clegg meanwhile


prefers a radical solution - brand new garden cities in the south east


of England. In a speech tomorrow, Labour's shadow housing minister


Emma Reynolds will give more details of how Labour would boost


house-building, and she joins me now. It is not the politicians to


blame, it is the lack of house-builders? We want a vibrant


building industry, and at the moment that industry is dominated by big


house-builders. I want to see a more diverse and competitive industry,


where self build plays a greater role. In France over 60% of new


homes are built by self builders, but small builders build more homes


as well. 25 years ago they were building two thirds of new homes,


now they are not building even a third of new homes. That's because


land policies have been so restrictive that it is only the big


companies who can afford to buy the land, so little land is being


released for house building. I agree, there are some fundamental


structural problems with the land market and that is why we have said


there doesn't just need to be tinkering around the edges, there


needs to be real reforms to make sure that small builders and self


build and custom-built have access to land. They are saying they have


problems with access to land and finance. At the end of the day it


will not be self, small builders who reach your target, it will be big


builders. I think it is pretty shameful that in Western Europe the


new houses built in the UK are smaller than our neighbours. But


isn't not the land problem? France is 2.8 times bigger in land mass and


we are and that is not a problem for them. There is a perception we are


going to build on the countryside, but not even 10% is on the


countryside. There is enough for us to have our golf courses. There is


enough other land for us to build on that is not golf courses. The


planning minister has said he wants to build our National Parks, I am


not suggesting that. The single biggest land border is the public


sector. It is not. There are great opportunities for releasing public


land, that is why I have been asking the government, they say they are


going to release and of public land for tens of thousands of new homes


to be built, but they say they are not monitoring how many houses are


being built on the site. When your leader says to landowners, housing


development owners, either use the land or lose it, in what way will


they lose it? Will you confiscated? This is about strengthening the hand


of local authorities, and they say to us that in some cases,


house-builders are sitting on land. In those cases, we would give the


power to local authorities to escalate fees. This would be the


compulsory purchase orders, a matter of last resort, and you would hope


that by strengthening the hand of local authorities, you could get the


house-builders to start building the homes that people want. Would you


compulsory purchase it? We would give the local authority as a last


resort, after escalating the fees, the possibility and flexible it is


to use the compulsory purchase orders to sell the land on to a


house builder who wants to build houses that we need. Can you name


one report that has come back in recent years that shows that


hoarding of land by house-builders is a major problem? The IMF, the


Conservative mayor of London and the Local Government Association are


telling us that there is a problem with land hoarding. Therefore, we


have said, where there is land with planning permission, and if plots


are being sat on... Boris Johnson says there are 180,000 plots in


London being sat on. We need to make sure the house-builders are building


the homes that young families need. They get planning permission and


sell it on to the developer. There is a whole degree of complicity but


there is another problem before that. That is around transparency


about land options. There is agricultural land that


house-builders have land options on, and we do not know where that is.


Where there is a need for housing, and the biggest demand is in the


south-east of England, that is where many local authorities are most


reluctant to do it, will you in central government take powers to


force these authorities to give it? We have talked about the right to


grow, we were in Stevenage recently. What we have said is we


want to strengthen the hand of local authorities like Stevenage so they


are not blocked every step of the way. They need 16,000 new homes but


they do not have the land supply. What about the authorities that do


not want to do it? They should be forced to sit down and agree with


the neighbouring authority. In Stevenage, it is estimated at


?500,000 has been spent on legal fees because North Hertfordshire is


blocking Stevenage every step of the way. Michael Lyons says the national


interest will have to take President over local interest. Voice cannot


mean a veto. The local community in Stevenage is crying out for new


homes. Do you agree? There has to be land available for new homes to be


built, and in areas like Oxford Luton and Stevenage... Do you agree


with Michael Lyons? The national interest does have to be served


with Michael Lyons? The national will put the five new towns? We have


asked him to look at how we can incentivise local authorities to


come forward with sites for new towns. You cannot tell us where they


are going to be? I cannot. We will have to wait for him. When you look


at the historic figures overall not at the moment, Private Housing


building is only just beginning to recover, but it has been pretty


steady for a while. The big difference between house-building


now and in the past, since Mrs Thatcher came to power a and


including the Tony Blair government, we did not build council houses


Almost none. Will the next Labour government embark on a major council


has programme? We inherited housing stock back in 1997... This is


important. Will the next Labour government embark on a major council


has programme? We have called on this government to bring forward


investment in social housing. We want to see an investment programme


in social housing, I cannot give you the figures now. We are 18 months


away from the election. Will the next Labour government embark on a


major council house Northern programme? I want to see a council


house building programme, because there is a big shortage of council


homes. That is a guess? Yes. We got there in the end. -- that is a yes?


We will be talking to Patrick homes in the West Midlands in a moment.


You are watching the Sunday Politics. Coming up in just over 20


minutes, I will look at the week ahead with our political


Welcome to the first Sunday Politics in the West of 2014. Coming up this


week, what's the point of receiving disability benefits after you have


died? That is what is happening because of delays in the system We


will hear from a Somerset mother with terminal cancer who still has


not received her disability allowance eight months after first


applying. Joining me on our first show, we have Tessa Munt, the


Liberal Democrat MP for Wales, and Clare Moody, who is hoping to become


a Member of the European Parliament for Labour in the next elections


this May. Just got to be elected first. Let's start if we can about


the restrictions that were relaxed on Bulgarians and Romanians coming


into this country. It turned to be not much at all, didn't it?


Absolutely. Yes, after all the coverage and certain elements trying


to big this up as being a huge influx of people coming from


Bulgaria and Romania, it turns out there were actually less coming into


the country on the 1st of January than there was last year. It is


still early in January, of course. You could see more. Would that be a


bad thing? The people who come here come here to work and play fair If


they are part of our society and contributing to our society, as the


majority are, then no. Tessa, did politicians ramp this up? I think


some people got fairly hysterical about it. But as has been proven,


there are fewer people coming in. And people do come to work. There


are number of people in my constituency who do come to work,


and that is what they do, they work very hard and very often. They do


the jobs that people locally do not feel able to do. So you would not


like to see a cap? No. From a business point of view, it is


sensible that people should have access to work. There are large


numbers of people from this part of the world who go abroad to work Not


too many from Romania. Possibly not too many from Romania, but to the


rest of Europe. Well, it has been the wettest


Christmas and New Year that I can remember. It has been just a bit


depressing, frankly, for most of us. But for some communities, the


results have been devastating. The floods have turned parts of the West


Country into giant lakes and ruined some homes. Everyone is trying to


point the finger of blame. One thing is certain, Government funding is a


big issue. Here's Paul Barltrop The West Country has been watery for


weeks. Gloucestershire and Wiltshire have suffered but nowhere has been


hit as hard a Somerset, just as it was one year ago. It has brought a


flood of complaints. They should be protecting us. You're not happy are


you? No, I am very angry. We have been pushing and pushing for


dredging to be done and they will not do it. This has become an annual


event. Something must be done over dredging the River Parrett. Two big


rivers flow through the Levels. All agree that the Tone and Parrett


would drain beter if regularly dredged, but the Government's


Environment Agency is under financial pressure. `` dream better.


The challenge for us is how we best use our funding. River water floods


the fields, floods out roads and threatens properties. One of the


solutions to manage that is to dredge sections of the rivers. That


can cost up to ?4 million. It is a challenge for us to justify funding


the whole of that. The Environment Agency gets its money from the


Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Defra sets out how


that money should be spent. Ministers boast that over four


years, funding to tackle flooding will rise to ?2.3 billion. But the


big increases are for capital projects. More routine work like


keeping rivers flowing will fall. So the Tone and the Parrett may yet


again miss out. Local politicians have been preoccupied with problems


on the ground, but they are preparing to put pressure on the


Government. We have got to get to the point where we clear the main


watercourses. We are launching a lobbying campaign and will be


lobbying MPs, Defra, central Government. We will ask for help. We


need money into the Environment Agency to get these watercourses


clear. Floods in Muchelney two winters running swept away the


belief that this was a once in a 100 year event. Politicians ranging from


the Prime Minister to MEP Graham Watson, who lives nearby, fear it


may happen more in future. We do know that the onset of climate


change means that weather patterns will be less predictable and the


regularity or frequency of something like this might be greater. That is


why we need to prepare for less predictable weather patterns in the


future. After the deluge comes the clean`up. Only when the waters


subside will the full scale of the damage be known. In Gloucestershire,


they are once again based for a big road repair bill. At the moment I


couldn't envisage what this current flooding will cost us, but what I


can say is the 2007 flood, which was considerably more than this one


cost the county ?20 million in road repairs and maintenance to put the


infrastructure back right. The water should be gone within weeks. The


argument over who foots the bill will last much longer.


Joining us in the studio now is Dr Richard Johnson, a senior lecturer


in physical geography at Bath Spa University, who specialises in


flooding. We'll come along. Is there a formula


the Government uses? We will spend ?1 million if we save 100 homes from


flooding? They would assess whether it is worth while defending those


particular assets and risks. It is not only a financial decision. They


must consider the implications of actions on the physical environment


but also the college as well. It is complicated. The allegation is that


the big eye`catching projects seem to get the funding but the dirty


routine work, dredging a river, is not such a high priority. Is that


fair? Dredging is a complicated issue because, by dredging eight


river, you can cause issues in the river system that can cause problems


elsewhere and you can impact the ecology of the river. It is not just


an economic decision. It is not as simple as we might like to think?


OK. Is it fair to expect the taxpayer to protect every property


in the country? It is fair to expect the Government to implement flood


defence protections. And not, when you see situations like this, where


you have flooding of houses and that flooding, you know, the defence


might have cost one eighth of what the costs of cleaning up the


consequences of the flooding. You are investing to save money and very


much like your earlier point about the cost benefits... If there is


enough houses, I guess. But if you buy a house on the Somerset Levels,


shouldn't the first question you ask me, is this place going to flood,


and if it does, can I afford to clean it up? We need to have


accurate flood maps. We also need to recognise, you know, quite a lot of


the Somerset Levels is on a flood plain. It is the extended periods


and the fact you take that what happened last year, it was wet snow


and it is still wet in April. The Environment Agency has a much `` has


aims and objectives which relate only to wildlife and the prediction


of that kind of thing. It does not recognise property and people, which


is what the Government has to do. More importantly, in my area, they


need dredging to, the rebels. `` the rivers. But it is not justice of the


question of dredging. There are other things coming into play. But


if you look at the way it works on the Somerset Levels, when a dredge,


they take a bucket load out of the river and everyone has to stop work


while the measure oxygen levels to make sure the fish have enough


oxygen in the water. This means dredging a few miles can take years.


What I am saying, if you go back to the old way it was done, I have


people who worked in my constituency doing this by hand and it was a


gentler way of doing things. One gentleman looked after 11 miles of


river every year. That is what he did. We have to get round the fact


this work has not been done in 0 years. We need to bring it back up


to speed and have a programme of maintenance. With Labour reverse the


cuts in environment? I cannot give you a guarantee that we would


reverse the cuts. Mariette Eagle, the Shadow environmental Minister,


has said she would look at departmental spending very, very


carefully. With regards to flooding, I go back to the point I made before


that you save money by investing. That is very much, I believe, the


view of Labour. Is this particularly unusual this year and can they


expect more of the same order just that it just happened this winter?


It is significant. People have gone through a lot of trauma as a result.


There are many incidences in the recent past of things according I


am afraid it will happen again. Jackie. `` thank you. If you have


been diagnosed with a serious illness, you would hope to receive


the sickness benefit in title to as soon as possible.


Here in the West, some people are waiting months with no word as to


when money may come through. Delays appear to be down to extra medical


tests brought in to try to control the rising bill for welfare.


There is never a good time to be told you have terminal cancer, but


the 30`year`old Rebecca McCafferty, it happened when she was pregnant


with her baby daughter. She had to relay the news to her five other


children. That was the worst part. I think that was the most difficult


they, sitting them all down and telling them was hard. The older


ones particularly, because they understand. Our illness and title


totally new Personal Independence Payment from the Government. The


money could be as much as ?430 a week to help with the extra costs


with a condition. Eight months on and very little correspondence


later, she is waiting to be assessed by the Government's chosen


contractor. It is just frustrating we are in the situation we are in,


and having cancer the Joe Hart, as you can imagine. Having six children


with cancer is doubly different We're having financial


difficulties, and that makes it ten times harbour. It is avoidable. If


the were doing what they were meant to do, we would not be in this


situation. The Government says it is too early to release figures about


how long people are waiting for Personal Independence Payments. But


they admitted is taking longer than expected. At this advice centre in


Bristol, just one in 20 claims received since last June and have


actually gone through the system. They were expecting it to take 2`15


weeks as opposed to six weeks under Disability Living Allowance, but


that is stretched out even further. The process of people being assessed


has obviously been far more order this than they realise. The


paperwork is far more complicated than they expected. In a statement,


the Government insisted it was trying to make the process


smoother, but added that claimants had not received money would do so


eventually and that exceptional cases were being fast tracked. The


firm responsible for the assessments has apologised for the delay and


says it is hiring more staff, although training takes six months.


Underlying all this is a controversial programme of welfare


reform. The Government is keen to control the increasing costs of


benefits and is after more rigour in the system. That is why it is asked


the organisation to do more assessments and paperwork, but


delays are mounting up. People in the West have the longest wait in


the country to be assessed for employment and support allowance.


Labour wants Atos out, but this Gloucester MP believes more the


petition is the answer. The bottom line problem is the contract we


inherited from the previous Government was with a single


supplier. Atos were the only people doing these work capability


assessments. Markets do not work well with a monopoly at provider.


You need competition. The Government has said it will change this and


introduce regional dividers to provide the competition and better


service. `` regional providers. They have said this should become


operational during the summer of this year. That is a big step


forward. Back at home, Rebecca's wait for her benefit goes on, not


knowing how long she might have left. Until you are actually in the


thick of it, you cannot fully comprehend how difficult it is. It


has such an impact on your life To have the Government feel others


which is how I feel, they have failed us by putting us in this


situation, it makes me so angry It upsets me to think these things


should be put in place and they are not put in place for people like us.


And we needed. It is a very moving story. That is


better news for Rebecca and her family. Since we alerted them


actually to her case, they have carried out her assessment, so


hopefully she will hear from them soon. We asked for a minister or


indeed anyone in terms of people who are newly


diagnosed, I do not know them personally very much at all.


My organisation is for people who define themselves as a disabled


person. I cases such as husbandry? `` I cases like this rare? No, not


at all. There are huge delays in the roll`out of this benefit for


first`time claimants. They have admitted they just did not


appreciate how long the process was going to take to do properly. You're


part of this Government, Tessa. How difficult can it be to get a letter


from the Government saying this person is dying and they need help?


This is the problem. They will not accept the letter from the doctor.


It is barmy. It is completely with a kiss. I have people who come to me


and are still waiting from March. `` completely ludicrous. It should not


take for an MP to intervene for someone to get fairness and justice


in this system. We must sort this out properly. You are part of the


Government. I spend a good deal of time with my staff... This is to do


with Atos. It is a poorly written contract. We need to get people who


specialise in doing proper specifications for these contracts.


What about the 2% of people? It is a 2% that matter. The lady we saw


there was under stress. When you're severely ill, the last thing you


need is more stress because it makes you more ill and brings people into


a situation where they have mental health problems. What would you do?


What would Labour do? We would end the contract with Atos. They have


proved time and again, like so many people, that they are incapable of


delivering a benefit to people when the `` when the absolutely needed


most. Do you accept the Government is right to make it more rigorous in


their assessment of people claiming disability benefits to try and cut


the bill? No, they should make it more effective as an assessment


which is not the same thing. At the moment, enormous amounts of money


have been wasted on unnecessary appeals. It is estimated 32 people a


week are dying while waiting for the result when they have been told that


they should be able to work either immediately or in the near future.


You're going along and John being assessed by people who know what the


impact of having impairments is a black person's day`to`day life.


Claims for disability benefit have gone up hugely. But now, this


statistic is about Disability Living Allowance. Where it has gone up most


is in the two sections of claimants are not affected. That is children


and older people. Working age population, although the period


described, their own figures say 4% increase. Do you accept the


Government is right to examine people very carefully before being


allowed to have disability benefits? We saw in the Olympics just what


disabled people can achieve. Absolutely. I can not agree more


about the disabled Olympics and the demonstration that gave about


disabled people's achievements. There has always been a test process


around getting benefits associated with disability. That is not the


issue. The issue is the competence and the level of test that people


are being put through. I must say, it is not just them actually. I had


the same issue with the Department of work and pensions. I filled out a


form saying I cannot walk because I have problems with nerve pain. I


would get a response saying, you're not good to get it, you could have a


walking stick. So you have had similar problems with the state as


well? Now it is time for a look at the


week just gone in 60 seconds. A charity has claimed that each


badger shot in the West last autumn cost more than ?4000. Care for the


Wild produced the figures. The Government insisted the costs were


outweighed by the expense to farmers by bovine TB.


Supporters of the English Defence League clashed with antifascist


groups in Bristol on Tuesday night. They were protesting after


permission was granted for a mosque. A big beast in West Country politics


is to step down at the next election. Don Foster, the MP for


Bath, has decided that 23 years in the House is enough. He also warned


me he might be looking for a career in broadcasting. What happens to you


next? I have no idea. One of your BBC colleagues has just invited me


to come and take over your job, so I will look all forward to doing that.


And a new political arrival has already sparked controversy. Debate


is raging over whether the baby of Chippenham MP Duncan Hanes and


Government minister Jo Swinson should be allowed in the voting


chamber. So much to talk about it. Is it the


right time for Don to hang up his hat? It is clearly a time when Don


thinks it is the right time. Is he getting out while the years ahead?


He is getting out while he has had a good run. He has had a fantastic


time as the MP for Bath and Diaz had a crack at getting things right as a


minister. Now he is my Chief Whip. He is a man with a sense of humour.


Got to do what you're told? I would not go that far. Let's talk about


babies. This idea about having your baby in your arms in the houses of


commons. `` House of Commons. Should this be allowed? It is great that as


a society, we have got a lot of moderate setting `` a lot more


accenting of women having babies with them in all sorts of


environments. Equally, the House of Commons is a particularly bizarre


work lace and does not keep normal hours. It is almost inevitable. .


What you think, Tessa? Should babies be welcome? We have to have some


common sense. At 10pm on Monday night whenever we go through the


voting lobby, which is not on the television and completely out of


your the public, I do not think I would get excited if they chose to


walk through the lobby with her baby. Taking children into the


chamber, completely not. I would not have taken a child to work. I was a


teacher. I never took my children into the classroom. I think


moderation in all things, but let's be practical. Babies are very


welcome here. Thank you. That's all we have time for this


week. Thank you to our guests. If you want to see more on the


flooding, tune into a special report tomorrow night on BBC One. This


programme is available again on their BBC iPlayer. Now back


will not be revoked. And I wouldn't want it to go. Thank you, back to


Andrew. Can David Cameron get his way on EU


migration? Will he ever be able to satisfy his backbenchers on Europe?


Is Ed Miliband trying to change the tone of PMQ 's? More questions for


the week ahead. We are joined by Jacob Rees Mogg


from his constituency in Somerset. Welcome to the programme. You one of


the 95 Tory backbenchers who signed this letter? Suddenly. Laws should


be made by our democratically elected representatives, not from


Brussels. How could Europe work with a pick and mix in which each


national parliament can decide what Brussels can be in charge of? The


European Union is a supernatural body that is there for the


cooperation amongst member states to do things that they jointly want to


do. It ought not be there to force -- to enforce uniform rules on


countries that do not want to participate. It is the vision of


Europe that people joined when we signed up to it and came in in 973.


It has accreted powers to itself without having the support of the


public of the member states. This is just a way of preparing the ground


for you to get out of Europe altogether, isn't it? I do not big


so. There is a role for an organisation that does some


coordination and that has trade agreements within it, I do not think


there is a role for a federal state. Europe seems to be dominating the. I


remember your leader telling you not to bang on about Europe, your


backbench colleagues seem to have ignored that. Would you like to


restrict the flow of EU migrants to come to work in this country? Yes. I


think we should have control of our own borders, so we can decide who we


want to admit for the whole world. What we have at the moment is a


restrictive control of people coming from anywhere other than the EU


There is a big decrease in the number of New Zealanders who came in


the last quarter for which figures are available, but a huge increase


in people coming from the continent. Does it really make sense to stop


our second cousins coming so that we can allow people freely to come from


the continent? I do not think so, we need to have domestic control of our


borders in the interests of the United Kingdom. There are still lots


more people coming from the rest of the world than from the European


Union. That has been changing. But there are still more. A lot more.


The permanent residence coming from the European Union are extremely


high. In the period when the Labour Party was in charge, we had to put 5


million people coming here, of whom about 1 billion were from Poland. --


we had 2.5 million people coming here. We have no control over them.


Like the clock behind you, you are behind the times on these figures. I


have stopped the clock for your benefit, because it was going to


chime otherwise! I thought that might be distracting! Only a Tory


backbencher could stop a clock! Helen, when you at this up, it is


preparing to get out, is it not We have had this one bill about a


referendum that seems to have tied us up in knots for months on end. If


Parliament could scrutinise every piece of EU legislation, we would


never get anything else done. It would be incredible. Even Chris


Grayling said earlier that you can not have a national veto on anything


that the EU proposes. I am surprised that Jacob Rees Mogg is talking


about dismantling one of Margaret Thatcher's most important legacies,


the creation of the single market, and the person sent there to dream


it up under Margaret Thatcher said the only way you can run this


sensibly is by not having national vetoes, because if you have that,


guess what will happen? The French will impose lots of protectionist


measures. It was Margaret Thatcher's idea that national


parliaments should never veto. How could you fly in the face of the


lady? Even the great lady makes mistakes. Excuse me, Jacob Rees Mogg


says even Margaret Thatcher makes mistakes! No wonder the clock has


stopped! Even be near divine Margaret made a mistake! But on the


single market, it has been used as an excuse for massive origination of


domestic affairs. We should be interested in free trade in Europe


and allowing people to export and import freely, not to have uniform


regulations, as per the single market, because what that allows is


thought unelected bureaucrats to determine the regular vision. We


want the British people to decide the rules for themselves. If this


makes the single market not work, that is not the problem, because we


can still have free trade, which is more important. If David Cameron is


watching this, I am sure he is, it will be nice for you to come on and


give us an interview, he must be worried. He is beginning to think, I


am losing control. It is a clever letter, the tone is ingratiating and


pleasant, every time, you have stood up to Brussels, you have achieved


something, but the content is dramatic. If you want Parliament to


have a veto, you want to leave the EU, because the definition is


accepting the primacy of European law. The MPs should be clear about


that. It is almost a year since the Europe speech in which David Cameron


committed to the referendum. The political objective was to put that


issue to bed until the next election. It has failed. David


Cameron is going to have to pull off a major miracle in any


renegotiations to satisfy all of this. Yes, it makes me think how


much luckier he has been in coalition with the Liberal


Democrats, because there is a bit of the Tory party that is


irreconcilable to what he wants to do. The Conservative MPs are making


these demands just as David Cameron is seeing the debate goes his way in


Europe. Angela Merkel has looked over the cliff and said, do I want


the UK out? No, they are a counterbalance to France. France one


the UK to leave, but they do not, because they do not want to lose the


only realistic military power Tom other than themselves. Just when the


debate is going David Cameron's way, Jacob Rees Mogg would take us out.


Let me move on to another subject. That is nonsense. The debate is not


beginning to go David Cameron's way. We are having before us on Monday a


bill about European citizenship and spending British taxpayers money so


that Europe can go and say we are all EU citizens, but we signed up to


being a part of a multinational organisation. The spin that it is


going the way of the leader of a political party is one that has been


used before, it was said of John Major, it was untrue then and it is


now. It is, for the continuing deeper integration of the European


Union. I want to ask a quick question. Chris Grayling said to us


that the Tories would devise a way in which the British Supreme Court


would be supreme in the proper meaning of that, but we could still


be within the European Court of Human Rights. Can that circle be


squared? I have no idea, the Lord Chancellor is an able man, and I am


sure he is good at squaring circles. I am not worried about whether we


remain in the convention or not PMQ 's, we saw a bit about this week,


Paul Gorgons had died, so the house was more subdued, but he wants a


more subdued and serious prime ministers questions. Let's remind


ourselves what it was like until now.


What is clear is that he is floundering around and he has no


answer to the Labour Party's energy price freeze. The difference is


John Major is a good man, the Right Honourable gentleman is acting like


a conman. Across the medical profession, they say there is a


crisis in accident and emergency, and we have a Prime Minister saying,


crisis, what crisis? How out of touch can hate the? You do not need


it to be Christmas to know when you are sitting next to a turkey.


It is not a bad line. Is Ed Miliband trying to change the tone of prime


ministers questions? Is he right to do so? The important point is this


was a special prime ministers questions, because everybody was


really sad and by the death of Paul Goggins and in the country, the


legacy of the floods. That was the first question that Ed Miliband


asked about, so that cast a pall over proceedings. When it suits him,


Ed Miliband would like to take a more statesman-like stance, but will


it last? That is how David Cameron started. His first prime ministers


questions, he said to Tony Blair, I would like to support you on


education, and he did in a vote which meant Tony Blair could see off


a naughty operation from Gordon Brown. But it did not last, they are


parties with different visions. Jacob Rees Mogg, would you like to


see it more subdued? I like a bit of Punch and Judy. You need to have


fierce debate and people putting their views passionately, it is


excellent. I am not good at it, I sit there quite quietly, but it is


great fun, very exciting, and it is the most watched bit of the House of


Commons each week. If it got as dull as ditchwater, nobody would pay


attention. Three cheers for Punch and Judy. Ed Miliband is going to


make a major speech on the economy this week. You can now define the


general approach. We had it from Emma Reynolds, we have seen it over


energy prices, this market is bust, the market is not working properly,


and that will therefore justify substantial government intervention.


Intervention which does not necessarily cost money. It is the


deletion and reorganising industries. It constitutes an answer


to the question which has been hounding him, what is the point of


the Labour Party when there is no money left? He says, you do not


spend a huge amount fiscally, but you arrange markets to achieve


socially just outcomes without expenditure. It is quite serious


stance. I am not sure it will survive the rigours of an election


campaign, but it is an answer. Is that an approach, to use broken


markets, to justify substantial state intervention? Yes, and the


other big plank is infrastructure spending. The Lib Dems would not be


against capital investment for info structure will stop Emma Reynolds


talking about house-building, the idea of pumping money into the


economy through infrastructure is something that the Labour Party will


look at. Jacob Rees Mogg, you once thought Somerset should have its own


time zone, and today, you have delivered on that promise! Live on


the Sunday Politics! I try to deliver on my promises!


That is all for today, the Daily Politics is on BBC Two every day


this week, just before lunch. I aren't back next Sunday here on BBC


One at 11am. -- I am back. If it is Sunday, it is the Sunday Politics.


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