02/10/2011 The Politics Show Wales


02/10/2011

Jon Sopel and Aled ap Dafydd with analysis of the political scene shaping Wales.


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Transcript


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Later in the programme: The Secretary of State for Wales

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defends the coalition. We assess the merits of charging

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2137 seconds

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for bags with the Federation of Good afternoon and welcome to the

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Politics Show in Wales. Coming up: The carrier bag levy and the Welsh

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Government's draft budget. But first, the Conservatives are

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gathering in Manchester this week for their annual UK conference.The

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economy will be the main talking point but Welsh eyes will be on

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what's said regarding the relationship between the

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Government's in Westminster and Cardiff Bay. The Secretary of State

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for Wales has some strong criticisms of the Government here

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and we'll hear for Cheryl Gillan in a moment but Adrian Browne looks at

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how the Conservatives view themselves in Wales.

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And Andrew Davies, the new leader of the Conservative group in the

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Assembly enjoying himself meeting shopkeepers.

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There are still a spring in his step after his party leapfrogged

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Plaid Cymru in the Assembly election to become the official

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opposition to Labour in Cardiff Bay. He believes there is plenty of

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scope for further Welsh Conservative advances.

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I want to be offering a positive embracing manifesto that people

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resonate with her and put us in the position we can govern here in

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Wales and implement the changes required to lift Wales of the pot

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of the economic performance table - - the bottom. The only way you will

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do that is by voting Welsh Conservative.

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This early Tory campaigning in towns such as poor call for the

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local elections promises to give powers to Communities so they can

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do more to himself -- Porthcawl. you are talking about this

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particular time, there is an incredible number of people

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involved in the regeneration story who have been fighting for years to

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get things like swimming pools here. That level of local contribution to

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political argument is essential. One of the things about the

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Conservatives is we listen to that rather than just go, the government

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knows best, let them sorted out. How likely of voters facing rising

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prices, job losses and UK government have been spending cuts

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to keep the Conservative Party as their cup of choice?

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We did perform quite well in 2010 and coming second in the National

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Assembly elections was a step forward but we could do better. We

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haven't yet reached the height of the Conservative party's

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performance in Wales in the 1980s and your right to say the economy

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will be the crutch of the East -- crux of the issue.

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Our correspondent spoke to the Welsh Secretary of State Cheryl

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Gillan in Manchester. Hello from Manchester where the

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Conservatives are holding what is their second UK conference in

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coalition with the Liberal Democrats, very much a Conservative

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affair this week. I am joined by the Secretary of State for Wales,

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Cheryl Gillan. 16 months into coalition, but it looks as if the

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Liberal Democrats don't trust you to deliver on devolution for Wales.

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16 months into coalition and I think we have got a very proud

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record for what we have delivered in Wales and you will hear that in

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the conference speech this afternoon. First of all we are

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delivering on infrastructure project. We are putting almost a

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billion pounds into South Wales. �60 million going into broadband,

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delivering for individuals. Taking 52,000 of the lowest people out of

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tax and I have been delivering on devolution itself. Not only

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delivering legislation the last Labour government held up which

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people tend to forget, but also delivering on the referendum which

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allowed the people of Wales to make a decision on the future of the

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Welsh government and the Welsh Assembly. Why is it your coalition

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partners forced by the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats say can

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we rely on the Conservative Secretary of State, the

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understanding of devolution is too shallow, your account ability to

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tenuous and the wells of this believes in giving power away is

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simply non-existent? She is allowed any future ones. The

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coalition government is working very well -- any views she wants.

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The Lib Dems think so. We have worked very successfully in

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coalition. It decided to put aside party differences and have a

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programme for government in the country's interest, in a contest of

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Wales and in the interest of the economy. She is entitled to her own

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opinions. Is she right? Quite wrong, completely wrong. You are talking

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about some of the things about delivering on devolution in a

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speech later today, focusing on the Cameron Commission that will look

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at the Assembly government, the powers -- Kalman. You talk about

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getting accountability, it you say there isn't accountability at the

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moment? Everybody appreciates under way in

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which the Welsh government is currently funded a large sum of

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money, �15 billion is simply handed over to the world government to

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spend how they see fit. They are not accountable for raising those

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funds. There has been a secret as to what the commission will be

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looking at in terms of the future of Wales and the future of

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devolution. He will be spending some time looking at accountability

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-- it will be. It will be looking at what the future of devolution

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holds for Wales. I did want to pre- empt too much of that because I

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know they rob people there are people purported to know what has

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been going on and have been blogging quite shamelessly. I am

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going to announce that properly in a bubble passion to art -- properly

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in the proper fashion to Parliament when we return. Now the number of

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MPs is being reduced there will be more list members and fewer

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constituency members? I will remain where I was when I

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was questioned on that in the House of Commons by a Plaid Cymru MP who

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put forward 31st past the post and the 30 list members and the shadow

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Secretary of State has nailed his colours to the mast and said he

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wants 61st past the post. Soon after supporting a fee was quite a

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surprise. At the moment all things considered we are going to look at

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the commission first and look at the shape of the electoral process

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at a later stage as I agreed with the First Minister when we agreed

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to decouple on the changes that were being made to the

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parliamentary boundaries. Smallest members would not be more

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accountable, would it? I will not have the discussion here and now

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but I am interested in the case being put forward and I can issue

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and will allow people to put their views forward. He talked about the

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big infrastructure projects that the UK government is bringing

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forward. One goes through your constituency, the high-speed rail

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link to which your constituents are by and large the post. Some are

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campaigning outside. Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, says

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opponents of the high-speed rail link are insane. Are you insane?

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I am not insane. Quite frankly the project that was put forward by the

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previous Labour government -- Labour government is something

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might objections to a one of on what is important is there has been

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a major consultation period -- are well known. He says you're all

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insane. A I am sure some of my colleagues already have their minds

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made up but the government will be looking at that consultation and

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the responses and making a decision in the light of those responses.

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The Prime Minister has always given me an insurance this is an open

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consultation. You could vote against the government and stay in

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office? I am in office because it Bannister has allowed me to

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Secretary of State for Wales -- to be Secretary of State for Wales.

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You want to carry on. I would love to carry on. I have never been

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prouder of the job and doing for Wales. Enjoy your week. That is it

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from Manchester for the moment. The conference runs into Wednesday.

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That is the end of the conference party season, at last.

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Last week, the big event was Carwyn Jones' programme for Government

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over the next five years. This week, all eyes in Cardiff Bay will be on

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Tuesday's announcement of the 2012/13 draft budget. This year,

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the First Minister doesn't have an outright majority so will need some

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form of opposition support to get his Government's plan through.

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I've been speaking to our political editor, Betsan Powys, who outlined

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the challenges facing the Welsh Government.

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There are some key points to be made this year. Labour doesn't have

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the numbers. They have got 30 members, they need one more to

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ensure the budget goes through so we talk about a draft budget, that

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is exactly what this will be because there will have to be some

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compromises, picking off one Assembly Member or bringing a group

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to get the numbers to get it through so they will be changes.

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The other key point is this is a purely Labour draft budget. There

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are some indications of how they plan to spend the money over the

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next couple of years but they were drawn up by Plaid Cymru and Labour

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so any changes will be because Labour have made those changes so

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that will be interesting to see what they have decided to change

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for this draft budget. When it comes to bargaining what

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can the other parties possibly expect?

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Well, we know where the money has gone down, it is in capital

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spending so we need to look at whether they change that balance

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between day-to-day spending, Revenue had big capital Betjeman --

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budget. Plaid Cymru have been arguing development spend has been

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suffering because there is capital in that. The Liberal Democrats

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would want to see more money going into education spending. That is

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there a number one priority. The Conservatives took about half the

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lot and they say in cash terms it is pretty much flak lining, in real

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terms that means the health budget is going down by �1 billion. They

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would be pressing for more expenditure on health. He is Carwyn

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Jones going to listen to? He only needs one person to come over and

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support his Budget. Or will there be a whole group that will agree

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some compromise and they know where they are heading already I suspect.

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If you went about the weekly shop yesterday I hope you remembered to

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take some reusable bags with you! If not, you probably had to pay for

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the bag as this weekend has seen the start of the compulsory carrier

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bag charge in Wales. Although many support the scheme, others says

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it's too confusing. We sent our reporter, Lee Madan, shopping in

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Cardiff Market. It is a small charge that is making

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a big impact. Shoppers in Wales now have to pay at least 5p for every

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single used carrier bag. The new law that is receiving eight mixed

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response in Cardiff market -- single-use. They should have done

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it a while ago. It is for the best. I get why they are doing it. It is

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mad. We are taxed on everything as it is without being taxed on

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carrier bags as well. It is good, only 5p. Really good. Perhaps some

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pensioners can't afford to pay for about like this. Shoppers can still

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avoid paying the charge if they buy certain exempt items, things like

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loose fruit and vegetables -- and vegetables. If others not exempt

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items are placed into the same carrier bag, pre-packaged fruit,

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the five p charge applies and it is down to individual retailers to

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make sure it is paid -- the 5p charge. People don't expect it when

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they turn up to the fruit and veg stall. People are quite aware of

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where the boundaries lie with the knack. It can be a bit confusing at

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times. We have had a lot of problems this morning with people

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wanting to pay 5p, but what is happening, the customers think we

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are having the money but we are not. It is fine, but if the product you

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are selling is expensive it is a bit cheeky asking for 5p for a

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carrier bag. So far it has been pretty good. A

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lot of people have been bringing their own backs lately. Russell

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runs a men's clothes shop and says he is refusing to ask customers to

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pay for bags. Absolutely not. I will continue not

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to charge. I will stand up in front of the judge and say I disagree

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with it, I don't see why you should find me, I don't think I am

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polluting the planet by supplying these bags and I know myself I have

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always got four or five that I used for multi-purpose things as ensure

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that of my customers do. Former Labour Assembly members sat on the

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committee in Cardiff Bay looking into the new law, a law she support

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in principle, but says has gone too far. When we were on the committee

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I think most of us had in our minds that we were talking about

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supermarkets in the main. Those are the big corporates. I do have some

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concern the way the policy has developed in its final form, and it

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does need tweaking and I would like the minister to have a look at some

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of those issues around butchers, fishmongers, and clothing shops.

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The Environment Minister is adamant that charge in its current form is

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here to stay. A lot of work has gone into working

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up this policy and there has been a lot of consultation with retailers,

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a lot of discussions. We are confident we have got it right.

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Overwhelmingly the people I have spoken to understand the need for

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the charge. They don't want to see our streets and countries that

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littered with plastic bags and understand the need to be less of a

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throwaway society. Shoppers and retailers have three months to get

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used to the charge. After that the wash government says it will take

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action against anyone not complying. Obviously is there is well thought

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refusal to enforce that must be dealt with and the penalties are

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there to make sure the charge is absurd.

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The message to shoppers is clear. If you did want to pray, bring your

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own backs with you. For those who don't, it is time to budget for an

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extra cost at the tail. -- if you don't want to pray -- pay.

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Iestyn Davies is the spokesman for the Federation of Small Businesses

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and joins me now. It might be too early to evaluate

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the long-term success of this policy but what have the businesses

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you represent been telling you about how it went on the first day?

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The vast majority are clearly supportive of any idea that stops

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waste, as the minister says it ends this throwaway culture but their

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feedback over 24 hours has been sometimes at the shop staff have

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been insulted and shouted at, sometimes they have been encouraged

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so very variable. Lots of people who I spoke to last

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week when preparing an item and be heard from the package complaining

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it is far too confusing a policy, people don't know when this charge

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will apply. Is that something you have had as the back? If you read

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the guidance, there is owed 70 two- page document, and they have

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changed in many ways. It is easy to say it I have less than 10

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employees so I am exempt from record-keeping but if you are a

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small trader and you have to keep records for VAT you have to do a

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judicious check on how many bags to tell the fact man. There are some

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grey areas -- the VAT man. We urge our members to be supportive and

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this has a positive impact on the environment. If it does that to the

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detriment of small businesses that wasn't intended.

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In terms of small businesses, the, it by Lorraine, she had big

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supermarkets in mind when this policy was first thought about. Are

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you disappointed it also applies to small businesses? Yes, I am. Small

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businesses by their nature are generally part of a more

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sustainable way of shopping. We believe in keeping trade local for

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so we would encourage people to travel less and walked to the local

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town centre and purchase what they need when they needed rather than

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filling up their trolley from a large supermarket. This is about

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saving the environment, not about saving local businesses. It is, and

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local businesses are key to reducing the carbon footprint

:54:02.:54:06.

intend of retail travel and the journeys we make more often in our

:54:06.:54:10.

cars to larger out-of-town centres. It is not a simple yes or no issue,

:54:10.:54:14.

it is very complicated and small businesses have an important part

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to play in creating a sustainable retail environment.

:54:17.:54:22.

Some would argue if the government was 100% behind getting rid of

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single used carrier bags then all bags, no matter what was being put

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in them, should be charged. The government which had, you have

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to remember, had support from all the opposition parties was intent

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on taking this route. We managed to negotiate exemptions for small

:54:43.:54:46.

businesses, bringing a charge down, but ultimately this is the way they

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went about it and we don't think it was misguided in what it intended

:54:50.:54:55.

to bring about but some of the implementation are slightly

:54:55.:55:00.

misguided. In terms of the enforcement aspect

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we know that companies who employ less than 10 people will not have

:55:03.:55:09.

to keep a record two. Provided they are not VAT-registered.

:55:09.:55:13.

I am sure you represent organisations which do have more

:55:13.:55:21.

than 10 employees. Why do you think the government has made it an

:55:21.:55:25.

enforcement part of this policy that people keep a record, however

:55:25.:55:29.

they are not compelled under the law to pass the money on?

:55:29.:55:33.

It is a difficult equation. You cannot use the word tax in the

:55:33.:55:38.

context of this carrier-bag Levy, levy being the operative word. It

:55:38.:55:43.

is a strange mix. We are trying to use a bit of carrot and stick. At

:55:43.:55:46.

the end of the day there are questions to say why not ban all

:55:46.:55:50.

forms of plastic carrier bags, promote biodegradable, it is very

:55:50.:55:55.

complex. However you go about it you will leave some people confused.

:55:55.:56:01.

We are very supportive of this as an initiative. Do you think the

:56:01.:56:04.

companies will pass the money on to good causes, they don't have to.

:56:04.:56:09.

I'm confident they will. The people we Speedie, local traders, are very

:56:10.:56:16.

community-minded. -- we speak to. They want to keep their money local.

:56:16.:56:21.

Speaking to the co-operative Retail Society earlier, they are looking

:56:21.:56:26.

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