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Thousands of stack and hen parties head for Brighton and Hove every
year. Many rent homes in residential areas. Should the
increase in party houses be curtailed? And his 11 to young for
Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1481 seconds
children to be set up -- sitting Hello, and welcome to the Politics
Show in the south-east. Coming up in the next 20 minutes. If more and
more Brighton and Hove houses are being rented to stag and hen
parties. Businesses welcomed the trade, but
some residents are less inviting. A if I was in a position to go out
and remonstrate or even attack these people, sometimes I feel as
if I would. The UN agency worker constantly
work -- moving from job to job. The new rule intended to give you more
rights may backfire. And his 11 too young for children
to sit exams that will affect the rest of their education? We will
discuss. Brighton and Hove is home to an
ever increasing number of party houses. There are rented out to
large groups, mainly stag or hen parties. Some residents do not
appreciate the non-stop partying of their temporary neighbours, and
once the authorities to rein them in. But stag and hen parties inject
millions into the local economy. To in a moment, I will be asking
councillor Ben Duncan, who is on Brighton and Hove city council. But
Brighton and Hove is the stag and hen capital of the South. Over
20,000 people come to the city every year to celebrate are coming
weddings. In turn, the area has a lot of party houses. These are big
properties like this purple one. The owners do not live at party
houses, instead choosing to rent them out on short-term lets, mainly
at weekends and maybe to stag and hen groups.
Local Conservative MP Simon Kirby is campaigning for tighter
regulations. More of them have opened recently, and some residents
are happy. As you can see, my dear -- my
garden is still being developed. This man has lived in one of the
most expensive parts of the city for 40 years. He has seen three
nearby properties turned into party houses in the last 18 months, and
is extremely upset. They do not all stay together in a
blocked throughout the night, they get split up. Therefore they get
coming back in an dribs and drabs. Say get woken up three or four
times. It is really sometimes quite distressing. If I was in a position
to go out and remonstrate or even attack these people, sometimes I
feel as if I would. If I had a baseball bat or something, if I was
that sort of person, I'm sure there would be injuries on the street.
Inside the hen house, there are five bedrooms sleeping 25 people,
and it rents out for up to �2,700 a weekend. There is an argument to
say that party houses and the people who stay in them are not a
bad thing. They bring money into the city's economy as well as
providing local jobs. This house on its own is a cottage
industry. It employs 23 people directly associated with this one
house. So you imagine how many people are employed across the city
with hour over 100 properties. Anything that would jeopardise any
measure that would stop this kind of growth for small businesses in
this economic climate, after all, we're in a recession, and this is
one segment of the wrist -- of the industry which is doing very well.
I think it would be a big shame to try and thought that.
Another company that employs lot of local people is this one. It is one
of the city's biggest stag and hen party organisers. Its owner
explains that it is not just the usual pubs and clubs that benefit.
The boost the economy is felt far and wide.
These weekends have been very key during the recession times when
people were coming out less, hens and stags have continued and kept
many businesses afloat. One of the things we organise his to keep the
guys and girls of the drink during the day, so we fill their time with
experiences and activities, so we spreads the economic benefits
around the surrounding areas of Brighton and the South Downs.
It is estimated that the total spend his �6 million a year. Simon
Kirby's proposals to tighten the rules may mean a drop in revenue.
It is the classic cost-benefit analysis.
�150 a head has been talked about as an average spend. That is very
good for the people of Brighton and Hove. It is good for the local
economy, but you have to balance that against the impact on local
communities, and the potential policing costs as well. This is a
new subject for an awful lot of people, and we need to have a
grown-up, adult debate about where the balance lies at the moment, and
that might change over the coming years. The decree in administration
has been in charge of Brighton and Hove city council for just under
six months. This is a test of the dilemmas felt
when in office. So where were they draw the line between residents
getting a good night's sleep and the economy getting much-needed
money? Joining us now is Councillor Ben
Duncan, green cabinet member for communities and equality on
Brighton and Hove city council. This is a difficult one. Would you
like more powers to deal with party has his?
I think you can have a debate about more powers, actually we already
have quite a lot. Particularly in terms of dealing with noise
nuisance and planning enforcement, where there are planning issues
around how properties are being used. But what we really need are
more resources. Let's go back to the powers, you
say you already have them. Is that purely the problem? Simon Kirby MP
would like an amendment in the localism Bell to give you more
powers. I do not know what powers he would
like us to have. We already work very closely with the police and
with other partners, if people complain about the noise and the
nuisance that party houses or any other activities are causing, we
can provide a noise patrol service on Friday and Saturday night. That
is all we can do. We would like to do more, but we have not got any
money. We are facing a 15% cuts over the next two years in our
budget as a direct result of government funding decisions.
Let us talk theoretically. It does not sound like you would get more
money. If you did, what would you I mentioned the noise patrol. We
can send Our officers out who can immediately intervened in
situations that are causing disturbances to residents.
Will that be enough? We would like to do a lot more.
Again, it comes down to money. We can use the planning rules of
people doing what they want to do with their house. If the planning
rules say they are using a residential property as a business,
there are some circumstances in which permission is required. We
have got powers in that regard. Again, we would like to be able to
do more, but it is how we fund our work.
It sounds like you would what like to clamp down on these houses.
You have to remember that there was a figure of �6 million contributed
to the economy by stag and hen parties. Brighton does have a
reputation as a fun and diverse and safe place. That is why so many
people come here. Of course, the real key is the balance, and we
have to balance the interests of those who are resident here,
particularly when it comes to noise nuisance, because it is absolutely
clear that it is a community safety issue. We have heard about
residents solving the problems with baseball bats. It is also clearly a
public health issue. This is the problem. It is a boom
industry, a very rare thing in a recession. You talk about the
balance. How are you achieve that? What is your priority? The
residents or the economic benefits, the huge benefits that this brings?
I would say, and I am sorry if this sounds like an not answering the
question, that balances the answer. We have to be more strategic about
it. It is not in our interest for bits of the economy not to grow in
a recession, it might be in some residents interesting to see no
stag and hen groups come to the city, but it is not in the
interests of the residents employed servicing those visitors. We have 8
million visitors a year coming to Brighton and Hove. Only about
20,000 are associated with stag and hen parties. We do not specifically
say Stack and hen parties come to Brighton, of course we don't, but
anyone is welcome, and Our job is to balance interests of visitors
with those of residents. This is a big problem. You have
already upset residents by seeming to encourage travellers to the city.
But this visitor is bringing in economic visitors. So if you are
saying yes to travellers but discouraging stag and hen parties,
it will not work economic aid. I agree. We are not encouraging
more discouraging them. Our role is to ensure that those people that a
resident in the City do not suffer undue nuisance as a result of the
visitors that do come. Ben Duncan, Freddie for joining us.
If you are employed by an agency, you are probably paid around two
thirds of the salary of your permanent colleagues. But a new EU
directive comes into force this month giving agency workers the
same rights as permanent employees, as long as they have been working
for 12 continuous weeks. It is proving controversial, and
politicians are divided on the impact it could have on businesses
here in the south-east. Supporters including this Labour MP, set think
that it will make things say -- fairer. But others say it will just
make agency workers more expensive. Henry Smith is in the studio and
Peter Skinner is in Brussels. Mr Skinner, you support the changes.
Why? I think it is fair and balanced up
to the way in which employers want to employ staff flexible, and it is
also fair for the staff who can enjoy the benefits of their
colleagues around them. Mr Smith, lots of agency workers in
your constituency. This is good news, surely?
On the surface it might appear like good news, but ultimately it could
mean that those agency workers are not employed at all because the
cost of employing agency workers was this the directive comes in,
which is about to take effect, will make it too expensive for employers,
and so the ultimate result may not be more Venice in the workplace,
but no work at all for those workers, and that is my concern.
I am sure that is a concern you have heard before, Mr Skinner. It
has been estimated it will cost businesses for �0.5 million to
implement this legislation. A lot of talk was made about the
minimum wage losing jobs, that proved not to be the case. The fact
that the economy is stagnant and jobs are not being put on and we
cannot find that growth really is not the fault of low-paid workers,
it is the fault of economic governance in this country. I would
not want to blame the directive coming in for causing loss of
employment, frankly. One problem that surely you must
have anticipated, as well as the increased costs to business, is
that a lot of employers are going to want to terminate contracts
before that 12 week contract -- 12 week period is up. Had to stop them
doing that? You have got problems with all
sorts of laws when they come in. Some employers, and most are good
employers and want to stand by their work force, I think these are
only basic conditions with inside the employment sphere, I think most
employers would not want to see their staff, as good as they are,
wants to go out revolving-door. It is a waste of an asset for them. I
am hopeful that this could be better -- bedded in quite well with
support of employers who wanted to work.
Back to you, Henry Smith. Mr Skinner makes a point about the
recession. This is the time to give people guaranteed income.
This is a time to have the most flexible employment situation that
we can to ensure that jobs are available. The British economy has
also -- always been very successful by having a flexible jobs market.
As it, we see the eurozone crisis, unemployment going up in the United
States of America, and everything affecting our economy, and the
difficulties we see, Elise time to have more flexibility to be able to
employ people and have them in work, not greater red tape and greater
restriction which will damage job growth.
But this will help your constituents, the people on short-
term contracts to have no guaranteed that they will get any
of those rights as their colleagues have. This a good thing, surely?
I do not think it will help. As I said earlier, it may look on the
surface to be a good thing, but we need to have as much Venice as
possible in the workplace, but it means the difference between an
agency job or no job at all, I think the bars majority of people
would want to be in work and earning and not unemployed.
Mr Skinner, how do we go from here? You said we need to help businesses,
had you propose doing that in practice? Stopping them from
terminating contracts? That is a purpose of the advice
from government as well as anything else. If you have employment law,
you should be able to make sure that this this is no had operated
fairly. One of the key things would be to say, look, yes, it is fair
and good use agency workers when you need to, and indeed they fulfil
a great part of our economy, and in this respect, though, if they are
sat next to someone doing exactly the same job for more than 12 weeks,
you have to consider whether you are employing an agency worker or
you are employed someone full-time, which is precisely what this law
has come about, so we do not see the abuse in the workplace which
has sometimes been seen. Have you got any suggestions for
the government to make sure this works?
And advice package would be excellent, especially for small and
medium-sized businesses. All the agencies would like to demonstrate
that they are behind one needs to be done.
Henry Smith, it is here now, that legislation. He cannot oppose it it
it is being implemented. Have you make sure it benefits both
employees and employers? You're right, we do have this 12
week period of which I think create some flexibility in the system. I
think it is not perfect. I think there is a wider issue, and that is
the way it that directives are taken on from the European Union in
this country. One of the committee's I sit on is the
European scrutiny committee, where it is quite eye-watering, the
amount of regulation that comes to every single week. I think what we
need to startling is saying, why are we not making these decisions -
- these decisions locally for the best interests of our economy?
That is a discussion we could continue, but we must stop it there.
Thank you very much. Medway Council has offered a full
apology after lot of school pupils were inconvenienced by errors
during their 11 plus exams. One fifths of Medway's exams were
affected at, and parents were angry. The chaos has revived the debate
about selective schools in Kent. His 11 to a young to sit an exam
that will it affect the rest of a child's education, and wet our
political parties stand on the issue? The professor of journalism
at Kent University joins me now. This was a huge issue for parents.
Why was it not one for politicians? That is the extraordinary aspect of
the selection issue. It has become so contentious that political
parties barely wants to talk about it. Parents distressed, pupils are
stressed. You would have thought that Medway's Labour opposition
councillors would have been going to the Conservative council and
going to the jugular. But they did not. Politicians do not want to
talk about it because it is something that national political
parties have all got the wrong policy on. They are all opposed to
something that parents want and support.
It is interesting for the Labour Party, because they invented the
grammar school system. Yes, they did. In 1944 they
inherited a planet from the war, which they could have thrown out
instantly. But they did not. The Secretary of State in 1945
introduced selective education, and generations of leading politicians
went to grammar schools. Gordon Brown was the most recent. He was
the product of a very selective system. But the Labour Party has
got into his head that selection is not a socialist principle as not a
democratic principle, which in many parts of the world it is seen to be.
I think Labour has got that wrong in Kent. It was to appeal to
aspirational voters, to appeal to those people to but -- who voted
for Tony Blair in 1997. What better way to do it than to return to
support for something that gives working-class children a genuine
opportunity to aspire for success and social mobility.
They need to if they are going to have any chance of success!
They do next time. If they are to restore their reputation, they need
representation in the south-east. It is losing its reputation in
Scotland and Wales, so it really need support and the south-east. To
get that support, it is to get back in touch with the voters, like
Labour, that want Labour to be aspirational, not old fashioned.
So you think the reason why political capital is not being made
out of this is purely because there is confusion in the party about
where they are? There is confusion in all parties.
The Conservatives used is a poor selection and are now not in favour
of it. The Labour Party are opposed to it, and the Liberal Democrats
have always been opposed to it. The only part seem prepared to talk
about it are the Greens, as they are hostile. The party's lead to
find a position so they can debate the issue which is of real
significance to parents and children.