13/11/2011 The Politics Show South


13/11/2011

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In the South: It's port wars as Southampton and

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1997 seconds

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This is it? Yes, these are some of the mementoes from that particular

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trip. Say that is from San Francisco? Entering the Golden Gate

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Bridge, yes. It is an immense problem and it deters people from

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going on some of these cruises. More people from the North would be

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willing to come to Liverpool than go to Southampton's. This is the

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cruise terminal and we are walking along the Langley stage...

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The modest terminal was opened in 2007, for many visitors their first

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glimpse of Liverpool. It has attracted big ships. At the moment,

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whilst the visitors that do come spend a lot of money while they are

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here, they are only here for one day, a so what does multiply the

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economic impact if we can do that. It would also create more jobs

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because there would be a lot of servicing of the additional

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passengers coming through the cruise terminal if we got

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turnaround says to us -- status. letter has emerged from the

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European Commission saying it would want some of its original

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investment back. They would have a reasonable case that, if there was

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a partial refund to the UK authorities, they should be a

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parallel partial refund to the community so I have no idea how it

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will come out or what percentage that repayment might be, but they

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do seem to have a reasonable That is still being decided but if

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Liverpool wins, many people here would feel that the ships have

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returned home. Well, that's the view from Liverpool's perspective.

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But Newcastle and Southampton have reacted as angrily as a cruise

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passenger being told the kitchen's closing.

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There are lorryloads of fresh food and drink, coach firms and taxes,

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wages are earned every time a cruise ship docks in Southampton.

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It is the lifeblood of the economy. New businesses have arrived.

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Americans like to travel back and forwards on the ships so they bring

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that posh frocks and tuxedoes but when they get to the UK they might

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not need them so we send them back. The idea that Liverpool could take

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the Cruise Line work angers Colin. If they're going into a growing

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market, why do they need subsidy to enter it? We have set a new

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business up. We have not taken subsidies. We will take it out of

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our profits. Southampton port owners have shelved plans for a 5th

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terminal but they are worried that what they see as unfair competition

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from Liverpool City Council could hit them hard. The issue is not

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complicated. It is an issue of whether it is privately funded or

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state funded. Ports in general, are owned by private companies. We

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should be investing in crews terminals. That is what we do. We

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do not get grant aid to do that. That should be the case in

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Liverpool as well. They are Southampton Chamber of Commerce

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believes Liverpool should be able to stand on its own. They believe

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the Liverpool port is wealthy enough to pick up the tab without

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help from the city council. Why do you think they are not doing it?

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Would you pay for it if you thought you did not have to? Are they have

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got a business to run. It is a very successful business. If they

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believe that Liverpool could give them a cruise terminal worth

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millions of pounds for nothing, I cannot see many businesses turning

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that down. The Queen Mary 2 has been in port for just a few I was.

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Passengers are arriving for the trip to New York. How would you

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feel about going from Liverpool rather than Southampton? No, I

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prefer Southampton. It is the home of cruising, the Isle of Wight, the

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Solent, all the yachts. It has always been here. A bit like

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afternoon tea, it is part of the experience for us. Liverpool can do

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that to! I know. I have never really considered it to be honest.

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I do not know why any of us understand -- I do not think any of

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us understand why the Government is considering this. It was only a few

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weeks after the Coalition were elected that Liverpool Reece

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admitted their application. I cannot believe that a Conservative

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lead administration would even contemplate doing this. It was a

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Labour government in 2007 that initially rejected the waving of

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the subsidy. Joining me now here in Southampton

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is the leader of the City Council, Royston Smith, and up in Liverpool

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the leader of the city council there, Joe Anderson. You are not

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against them running cruises? think help the competition is a

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good thing. A lot of people in Southampton feel it is unfair

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competition. Yes, we have had public subsidy from the last Labour

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government. It was �8.5 million. We have negotiated with this

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government to pay back public support -- sub -- subsidy back.

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With depreciation we have agreed to pay �5.3 million back. If you buy a

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new car you do not expected to retain its value. We have agreed a

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fair price. That is what we intend to pay back. If we pay any more

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back, all it does is go to the Exchequer and it punishes Liverpool

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city ratepayers which is where the money would come from. That is not

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fair for Southampton to ask us to do it. It is a curious thing to say

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you have an agreement from the Government. As somebody said you

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can go up ahead with cruises? have agreed at her -- we have

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agreed a price. It is going out to consultation. Who has agreed the

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price would you? The central government. The mandarins in

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Whitehall have spoken to us and calculated how we repay the money

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back in terms of the amount we pay back. That is what we have done and

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we think it is a fair price. It is only �3.5 million short of the full

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asking price but we think it is there. Liverpool has a crews

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facility here. We are not talking about building a brand new one. We

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have got one and we used to have a 5% of the cruise liner trade.

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Because we have an antiquated system with the lock system, we

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think it is a restraint. We want to resolve the hit state aid issue and

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it is only Southampton that is dissatisfied with it. It is other

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ports as well. Southampton will be hard hit. We must acknowledge it is

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not just Southampton that is not happy about this there are other

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ports around the country. The port alliance was headed by Southampton

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and myself but it was not just Southampton. Why do you want them

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to pay more money? The depreciation point is and reasonable one. A want

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them to pay it all back because of a private operator will make a

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profit from this money. Public money will be used to allow a

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private operator to make money. Do not forget that even if Liverpool

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pay this money back in its entirety or partially, they will be paying

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it back from public money. Public money will be used to compete with

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a private-sector company and that is where we disagree. It is an

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unfair playing field. Let me deal with those points. Royston is not

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telling the truth here. The issue is that from our point of view, we

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have had, like Southampton, a lot of support from government in terms

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of grants. Southampton has had a lot of money in terms of the road

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and traffic infrastructure... is not the same as the ports!

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course it is the port. If you enhance the availability of the

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road and improve the road system to -- support the port then that his

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state aid. Let us go with the issue where he claims that a private

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company will make money out of this. It is run by Liverpool City Council

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and we would run it. It would not be any private company. I have

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offered to meet Royston and come down and discuss the issue. It

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benefits nobody. It does not benefit Southampton or Liverpool if

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we have to pay money back to the Exchequer. Let us deal with the

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European issue. He wants us to pay all the money back and I find that

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totally unfair because what he expects me to do his knock on the

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European Commissioners door and ask them to take the money off me. They

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have not approached me or the council and asked us to pay their

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money back. I am quite sure that other Portswood be in a similar

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position. I would go so far as to say that I think it is obscene that

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Southampton are demanding that we pay the money back when nobody has

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asked for it. It is obscene that you asking for money! I am

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disappointed that he has said that what I am saying is not true. I am

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not a liar. You cannot pick things in isolation. We have not had huge

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investment in our roads. We have recently secured a regional growth

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fund the bid and that is not for the port, that is for Southampton

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and the water run -- waterfront and it is for redevelopment and

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tackling a specific congestion problem. There are containers that

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do not need to go on the road and that neutralises any of the subsidy

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that Joe talks about. We simply do not have one. This is not fair.

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we you go to lawyers? We may still seek a judicial review. If it goes

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against you will you continue to aim for cruise liners? Yes we will

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fight it all the way. If we pay all the money back, up Royston would

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have no objection and especially if the European Union do not want the

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money. If he is asking us to find another �3.5 million then he would

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have no objection? You are trying to put words in my mouth. If you

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pay it all back I will have no objections at all. If the European

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Union do not ask you for the money, then that is for them. The only way

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for this to be there would be if you pay it all back. Thank you very

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much. As we mark Remembrance Sunday, this

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year is rather a special one for the town of Carterton in

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Oxfordshire. It recently became the new route for military

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repatriations and as Emma Vardy reports, many people have begun

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turning out to pay tribute. For four years the bodies of

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military personnel passed through the Wiltshire town of Royal Wootton

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Bassett. Hundreds of people began to line the streets to honour

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fallen soliders and these scenes of silent tribute became famous around

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the world. Now RAF Brize Norton in West Oxfordshire has taken on these

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duties. This week the local town of Carterton hosted its fourth

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repatriation and here too people have been turning out to pay their

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respects. We decided we had to go. We are glad we did go. We hope we

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do not have to go to aid the poor. I went up for two of them. I have

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been brought up with the army life and the RAF life and to me it is it

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nature to go up there. It was something out of the ordinary and

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you would not want to be the family stood there. It is gut-wrenching

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singing that. It sends shivers every time. When you speak to

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people in Carterton you get a sense of how seriously the community has

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embraced its responsibilities. This memorial garden was built by the

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local council alongside the repatriation route and it is here

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that the family's stand to watch the cortege passed by. We have

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never tried to be the equal of Wootton Bassett. They did it our

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way and we have done it the Oxfordshire Way. It is a community

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event and it is working well. Oxfordshire has also pledged its

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support for the military in the form of a new government --

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covenants and by the county council. The agreement aims to encourage

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local charities and businesses to offer support to service personnel

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and their families. The government is offering financial grants to

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encourage other authorities to do the same.

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Tom Hedges is president of the Royal British Legion in Ramsden,

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and says now the repatriation route has moved to nearby Carterton he's

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proud to see the community turning out to mark each one, and hopes the

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tributes will continue. I do not see why it shouldn't. It is quite

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wonderful. As we mark Remembrance Day, for Tom

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the modern repatriations are also a reminder of how much things have

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changed since the First and Second World Wars. It is vastly different.

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We did not have television. We had the radio. You can see things

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happening there. You actually see the terrible conflict. It is

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brought in to your homes. Homecomings like this may become a

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familiar sight for the people of Carterton. And many say they'll

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keep up the tradition, gathering to acknowledge each life lost. It is

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something we can all do as a community without there being

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really no reason behind it. Hopefully it will stay exactly the

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same as it has been, if not more successful. There is not many of us

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oldies left that were in the war. There are not many of us. It is all

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the sons and daughters and their grandson's and their granddaughters

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that a really becoming involved. Last week the Government announced

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it was halving the feeding tariff made -- paid to those who had

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installed solar panels. It is the subsidy for feeding electricity

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into the national grid. The government said the original price

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was unsustainable and the industry says it will cost jobs. People who

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have signed up for this tariff will continue to get it for 25 years so

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it is a generous scheme and very successful, just what you wanted.

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It has been very successful. It always was the idea that the amount

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provided for under writing would go down over the years and there is a

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review coming up next year. Do you think this is damaging? It is very

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damaging because the Government has stated that the price for the

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underwriting is going to be half that within six weeks time and that

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is too short a period for anybody who has got their scheme under way

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at the moment to get it completed an end in time. There are

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businesses who have got solar panels on the break from Tyne and

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they will not get them in in time so the orders may be cancelled.

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was talking to one of those companies yesterday. They have a

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large number of solar panels on the sea as we speak and they will be

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completely redundant and there will be a large amount of job losses in

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the industry and a number of people who will simply not be able to get

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their schemes finished. There is indeed a further reduction for

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community schemes over and above. Some of the schemes in places like

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Southampton will not be able to happen. It really is and are

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necessary catastrophe, I think. It is something that even now could be

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rectified. The anger is growing. Do you think they will have to back

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down? The least they would have to do is make sure there is sufficient

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time to get their schemes under way. They have got to review the whole

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way of doing this in the future because if we keep having these

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policy lurches, it will create complete uncertainty and mistrust

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for the future. No one will ever believe what is said about

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renewable energy schemes and that could be quite disastrous. Thank

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