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In the South West, chair of the Transport Select Committee tells us
some white plans to cut cost card cover are seriously flawed.
Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2512 seconds
And the remorseless spread of Welcome to the politics short in
the South West. -- the Politics Show. The Government plans to
revamp the coastguard service received a major blow this week
will stop the transport select committee concluded changes would
put lives at risk. They were not confident the coastguard service
would be as good as it is no, let alone more effective, as the
Government claims. -- as it is now. Last December, here in Westminster,
the Government organised radical plans to change it the coastguard
service. Under the plans, the number of coastguard stations would
be reduced by half and the number of staff by almost as much. And the
South West, that would mean the closure of two stations. The
ministers insist these cuts along with the deployment of modern
technology would provide a better, more resilient servers, but that
has been hotly contested. -- more resilient service. The Transport
Select Committee was in Falmouth last month collecting evidence for
its own inquiry into the Government's plans. Ministers say
they are prepared to amend them, but Wally up to a point. We will
not deviate from the objective. -- but only up to a point back.
We will try to work effectively with coastguards to deliver an
effective 24-hour coastguard service, and I am sure the
proposals we come forward with with the result of this consultation
will fit with the 21st century. A meanwhile, Conservative
backbenchers are fighting individual closures in their
constituencies. This one has gone much further in demanding the
Government abandoned it -- its plans altogether. I hope the
Minister will take this message and realise this is his worst moment.
The public, the users of the sea, the small vote sailors, the
commercial fishermen, the people who bought in the front line, the
coastguards and lifeboat men, and some Royal Naval Personnel, even up
to the rank of Vice-Admiral, have all said to me that this
consultation is wrong. With the consultation closed and
Parliament's summer recess and beckoning, a decision is expected
soon. In the meantime, the Transport Select Committee has
given ministers plenty to think about. The committee says that no
station should operate without night cover, and that is just for
starters. It risks lives. It is a drastic reduction in the number of
coastguard stations reducing 18 to just three, and it risks losing
local knowledge and expertise come affecting the volunteer coastguard
rescuers as well as the centres themselves. There are question
marks about the new technology the Government is talking about and
these proposals should be withdrawn. The Government argues that the new
technology is crucial in making things more effective, but it also
claims that, at the moment, some centres are under-used, and others
are overworked, which suggests something needs to be changed.
There is a case for change, and there is a need for new technology,
but these proposals are drastic. They will not bring the right kind
of change. The committee is also concerned about a related issue -
the Government's decision to remove funding from emergency tug votes.
We are concerned about plans to withdraw funding from these. They
are important to stop major pollution incidents, and we are
concerned the Government wants to withdraw funding before finding an
alternative. The Government has also decided to remove funding from
the national body which co- ordinates rescues. Our concern is
that the Government wants to withdraw funding from coastguard
centres, withdraw funding from the tugboats, and from the Specialist
Fire Service. Combined with all of that, it will put lives at risk,
and increase the likelihood of major pollution events.
It has been said that this is literally inviting disaster.
Withdrawing funding from those emergency towing vessels is
inviting disaster. There is no evidence this can be done.
expressed concern during the inquiry that the Minister prevented
coastguards from giving evidence to the committee. The Minister said,
the rules stop civil servants giving this kind of evidence, they
are civil servants. The rule about civil servants is normally invoked
for senior civil servants, and the Minister assured Parliament that
serving coastguards could give evidence to the select committee, p
yet when we wanted to call them in front of the committee they were
told they could not come. We did find a way of talking to coastguard
officers, some came to us and their union capacity and where -- we were
able to visit coastguard centres. We were very upset because the
Minister changed his mind. The Secretary of State has made it
clear he will come back with different proposals, he will listen
to alternative ideas and to amend his original proposals, but you
seem to be suggesting he should tear up the original plan
altogether for. We wanted to concentrate on saving lives. We
agree that nationalisation can take place, but not the plans put
forward at present. The Minister has told us consistently he is
listing, and if he is listening properly he will withdraw those
proposals. Thank you very much.
Supermarkets have been spreading their tentacles far and wide
throughout the region over recent years, bringing tempers to the boil
in some places. One of Devon's MPs has lent his support to campaigners
in Ashburton on the edge of Dartmoor, who are fighting plans to
build a large Co-op. MP Mel Stride is backing those who think the shop
will damage the town's town centre. There are those who think there is
room for big shops to exist happily alongside small trainers. Our
correspondent reports on the South West's latest supermarket row.
The tone of Ashburton on the edge of Dartmoor has built up a
reputation for its thriving independent sector, but some fear
what would happen if and out of town supermarket is given the go-
ahead. Like the owner of this shop. I am devastated. This town has been
founded by a group of individuals like myself who have put everything
they have worked for into creating this bespoke little place full of
individual shops. The owner of the off-licence is not
happy, either. People will head there to do their groceries, and I
cannot see them making a second trip to come down into town when
they can get everything under one roof. The Co-op already has a store
in that Ashburton town centre, but it wants to open an additional one
here, near the A38 Linhay Exit. The Co-op says this will create jobs
and will not impact of the traders in the town centre. It will be
around the size of a football pitch and have around 20 football --
parking spaces. The call puts it -- the co-operative group is the
fifth-largest food retailer in the country. It is looking to expand
its business in the a rare -- in the area.
Our store is top-up shopping for people who have forgotten a few
items when they are cooking dinner. We do not compete with the stores
in the town, and I do not Frank that people come to visit Ashburton
because there is a quarter in the middle. -- There is at Co-op in the
middle. People come to visit because of the shops. Some shoppers
have mixed views. The would you use the Co-op? No.
all choppier, we all that, and I think it will spoil the town. -- we
all shop here. I steered clear of the big supermarkets and do all my
shopping locally. Supermarket growth is spreading in
the South West. Tesco has the strongest presence in the region
out of the big four. Recent figures show retailers have their it -- the
biggest retailer has made twice the number of planning applications
than Sainsbury's, and nearly five times more than Morrison's. The big
four supermarkets have given a our local authorities more than �5
billion in the last few years to put towards community projects and
infrastructure. East and the Devon received around �2.5 million each,
and Torridge received around �250,000 for schemes in the area.
Residents wrote this letter opposing plans for a Tesco store.
And it, they warned it would severely undermine the vitality of
the High Street, where most food shops used locally sourced food. I
have come to find out what they think the impact has been. It is
more vibrant than it has been for the decade I have been here.
Dmitri runs a business from the high street and to six on the chair
of the Chamber of Commerce. -- and sits on the chair. I do not think
it is vibrant because Tesco has opened up. For some shopkeepers, it
has been a big negative on their trading, but for others they have
thrived for other reasons. Just this week, plans for a Tesco and
Dawlish were rejected. Councillors have already given the go-ahead to
a Sainsbury's, which will open later in the summer, and they felt
another big store would be too much. Earlier this year, councillors in
Cornwall throughout applications from Morrisons and Sainsbury's who
wanted to build stores in Weybridge. They felt the stores would have an
unacceptable impact on the town. Dartmoor National Park authorities
say they will make a decision on the Co-op proposals in August.
I asked Mel Stride earlier why he was sore against the plans for a
supermarket in Ashburton. -- why he was so why against fulls of a
Ashburton is a vibrant town in Dartmoor, and part of that success
has been built upon the strength of its local retailers on the high
street. There are a whole variety of shops
there, specialist bakers, fishmongers, butchers, and the fear
it is that, with a large supermarket appealing on the
outskirts of Ashburton, that will take trade away and some of those
traders will suffer. We may see a situation in the to -- in the
future where the 10 said it was into decline, as I am determined to
fight against that. It is true that it would offer more
choice to people, with perhaps a cheaper selection of food. If you
are a family in these times on a budget, it would be very useful.
They are very important points, and I do not see any increase in choice.
Independent retailers already provide a very high-quality service.
Putting them out of business would not increase choice. The second
point go you raise, there are supermarkets not far away, and
there is free transport to take people from Ashburton to those
shops. I do not feel that either of those points are pertinent.
Back in April, Labour put forward an amendment to the Localism Bill
which would require local planning authorities to adopt retail
diversity schemes, they say, that would protect local shops and
provide diversity. You voted against that. Was that a mistake,
with hindsight? Not at all. The Labour Government abolished the
means test, which the Conservative Government brought in, which placed
a strong test for planning authorities to apply to to make
sure these supermarkets do not damage traders in this situation.
This Government has said they will look at that again, and I will
support reintroducing that. The second thing is, the major push
here in the localism agenda through Parliament, which will empower
local communities... What about jobs, will?
This supermarket will provide 15 jobs.
A There is a big supermarket in Exeter, Sainsbury's, that is 450
jobs, supermarkets bring jobs and people need jobs. In the case of
Ashburton, the planet state and put forward by the Co-op has suggested
there will be 15 jobs created. My question would become a 15 jobs
would be good and welcome, but what about the jobs that will be lost in
the middle of town? In that piece, we saw that Crediton
has a supermarket and jobs have not been lost, shops have thrived. It
does not mean that the two cannot co-exist, does it? A not at all.
As a Conservative, my very being feels that competition is important,
but not unrestrained where it has these social consequences. You
mentioned Crediton, and speeding two traders there, there are many
traders who believe it has had an effect on their business.
The Government is calling for mortgage lenders to back a self-
build revolution by lending more to people who want to build their own
homes. The Government's community right to build proposal is part of
the Localism Bill, but will it have a solid financial foundation? Our
correspondent has been visiting one success story in Cornwall.
I looked out the window the other day come at the average price now
is 900,000. That is three times your income. This, as you know,
will save me. It is a nice little place to start. 25-year-old David
has lived in Rock all his life, he is a carpenter by his -- by trade
and is building his own home. He is taking advantage of a community
scheme which enables people to build a home for around �95,000.
It is as -- it is a self build. I think if you were building them --
if they were built and you were buying them, I think they would be
fine. But they did not know what was going to go on, when getting a
mortgage. This is the second House to be
built by the St Minver Community Land Trust. 12 Houses were built in
-- since 2008. The value of builders' Labour was taken on, but
now it is no longer valued by mortgage providers.
There is only two companies that have been providing that, one is
the Halifax and the other is Ecology. There is very little on
self-build. With conventional mortgages, a lump sum is
transferred by the lender at the point of sale. With most self build
mortgages, the lender transfers to to the borrower in blocks as
different stages of the buildings are completed, providing they are
happy with an inspection. Some lenders may be put off by the
planning restrictions associated with affordable homes. For instance,
the Houses at St Minver can only be sold to buyers with a certain
criteria. For others not involved in community projects, there are
options out there. Many plots tied builders into two hears so they are
unable to switch to a cheaper rate which building is complete.
I think the Government could be doing more, and lenders could be
doing more come up to come up with the forms of mortgage that will
make sure we create a flourishing sector across the country, in the
way the scheme in Rock has done for that community. This is all about
sustaining village life, maintaining the numbers in school
and keeping local organisations going. That is what is so important.
One of the first to move into the new estate was Charlie. He believes
other could -- others could benefit from similar schemes.
This works. It is a blueprint for other projects to happen. It is all
very well to come up with different ideas, we could do this, we could
do that, you do not need to. This works, it can get people into
Houses now. But, if the self build revolution
is to start here, some say greater investment is needed to get
projects like this off the ground. What we need is a couple of million
pounds floating around the county for two schemes to be running in
parallel and in the 12 months the money gets paid back, then it can
move onto the next parish that wants to build a dozen Houses. I
honestly think we would get of the Houses we needed. If it worked in
this country, I cannot see why it would not worked in every county in
England. The price of land is still a major
barrier to many self builds. If the farmer had not sold his land at a
knock-down price, then crops would be flourishing, instead of a local
community. That is all we have time for today,