Jon Sopel and Patrick Burns are here with the top political stories of the week.
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In the Midlands, a day of action on our own. Angers as a pensions
adviser tells striking Unionists that they have a very good deal. We
Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2019 seconds
after they Worcestershire town that How low from the Midlands. A little
later we will visit the town in Worcestershire which doesn't
particularly want to be lumped in with its heritage her neighbour.
First, what made the bigger impact on the last week, the Chancellor's
Autumn Statement, on the other hand it more austerity measures? As
unions march across our towns over public sector pay we are here to
answer those questions. Alongside me Margot James, the
Conservative MP for Stourbridge, and Jack Dromey, the Labour MP for
Birmingham, and former general secretary of the Unite union.
Let's begin with our reporter he went out to the picket lines in
Staffordshire. The union say it was the bigger
strike for regeneration, the Prime Minister called it a damp squib.
The action closed 5,000 schools in our region, disrupted bin
collections, and disrupted burials. Thousands of people have taken part
in demonstrations like this one in Stoke-on-Trent. We are here today,
taking part in this... Many of us were inconvenience. We
to have private pensions adviser, Richard Jacobs, to meet people on
the picket line. The it is not to do the bankers. They have a
fantastic pension, costing too much money. I'm a little bit angry about
that. It is 4002 Niger pounds per year. That is not a golden pension
at all. It is about �80 a week. have been in pensions for 40 years.
I have a good pension. It is only eight -- �8,000 here. A teacher
retiring now would have �18,000 a year. What we have just heard from
Richard is that things are much worse than the private sector. The
reality is that the government is telling us that these pensions are
not affordable. There is an important point to be made here.
The taxpayer is paying for this already. What will happen in the
public sector is once people cannot afford to pay these increases, they
will opt out of their pensions. I would like to know his views on
that. There is a big problem with public sector pensions. We actually
pay taxes. We are paying by our own pensions. The yard since continued
-- the arguments continued. The unions are accusing the coalition
of lying, and attacking their members. With opinion so divided,
is there really any chance of a compromise? Students at
Staffordshire University were hard at work covering the day's events.
They said the strike was a game changer. The legacy of this strike
is going to have serious repercussions for the relationship
with the government. More seriously for the Labour Party he it is going
to have repercussions for the relationship between the trade
unions, and Ed Miliband. Because his failure to support the trade
unions means they see themselves as isolated. It is going to be a very
difficult year for both the government, the trade unions, and
the Labour Party. Back on the picket line, that difficulty is
evident, as they continue to debate what is fair when it comes to
pensions. Then this, it is claimed by lots of
people. It is an elusive concept. Margot James can you understand the
frustration, the irritation that they felt on those big airlines? --
picket lines. They are not on fantastic incomes. It is not to the
gold-plated pension that has been put about by the myth machine?
sure there are quite a lot of myths in circulation. One of the reasons
that we have tried to protect the lower-paid workers is for that
reason. We recognise that public servants are low-paid. It is not
until they earn 20 per �1,000 here -- �21,000 here that those at --
those effects come in. Shouldn't a baby putting pressure on the
private sector -- shouldn't they be putting pressure on the private
sector? We are asking people to work a little bit longer. Someone
in the 60s is going to we living ten years longer. We have not
caught up with that. We have no choice but to do that. That does
not see me to unreasonable. We are living longer. People in the
private sector are having to do that. A sensible negotiation is
exactly what was happening with our government. An agreement on
flexibility was reached. What is happening now is that the
government is penalising public sector workers. It is not a viable
in the long term. It is everything to do with their visit the suction
-- the deficit reduction. A firefighter in my community is
going to have to pay 20 by isn't -- �20,000 more to receive less. Or it
is wrong, it is unfair. Are you embarrassed by Ed Miliband's buried
unequivocal approach on this. He has failed to come out in support
of the unions. He was very clear on Wednesday. He called for the
government to start negotiating. There are mixed messages coming out.
Francis Maude was coming up with warm words, then a George Osborne
was declaring war. You have Michael Gove branding 2 million workers as
tools of the trade unions. The government needs to focus on an
agreement. Briefly, D feel the pain of responsible people, like
ambience workers, police officers, being bad-mouthed by senior people?
The issue is one of fairness. The average public sector worker would
have to put one third of their salary in. They cannot go on like
that. The tax payer cannot afford it. The average pension in local
government is �3,000 a year for an overwhelmingly part-time female
workforce. These are decent people who deserve security in retirement.
These low-paid women, under �15,000 here, No change. Up to �21,000 a
year, hardly any change. We are being careful to be as fair as
possible. We have a lot to get through thank
you very much. The Chancellor referred to our part
of the country in a three separate sections of his statement. He
talked about more variable speed limits on the M6. And a new bridge
in Evesham. He turned a deaf ear to those at Birmingham Airport in a
cut in taxes. The funding of a runway development is seen as a
role model for our other major projects. Our correspondent gauges
reaction. The IMF support our deficit reduction.
An Autumn Statement, or was it more like a mini budget. -- a mini-
budget? I can to affirm that allowances will try and encourage
businesses in a Sheffield, the Black Country, the Midlands. This
is a business park in Wolverhampton is an enterprise zone, and seemed
to be the home a Jaguar and Rover - - and soon to be the home of Jaguar
Land Rover. The plan to build new infrastructure seen to have been
inspired by the new runway at Birmingham or poor -- airport.
will mean 20 billion in pension fund money. The recession is
continuing to grind many of us down, there was some better news on job
fronts. They were encouraging more small businesses to take people on.
In this Warwick Business Park, employers seemed underwhelmed.
Would you employ young people to take a job? I don't upping that is
a good idea -- I don't think that is a good idea. Escaping the
recession is a top priority for the government. Opposition MPs still
maintain the cuts are too deep. This is a reckless policy, that the
government has stuck to. It is having a devastating impact on
families around the country. Something needs to work, and having
revise their spending plans, the government is hoping for it has
done enough to get the UK, and the Midlands back on track.
You can go to my blog for more on George Osborne's plan to cut
traffic. There has been a lot of talk about
gloom in the statement. Does enterprise zones, and
infrastructure projects, a lot of that can be seen to be straight out
of the Labour textbook. You have to look at the fact. The government
cut a lot of investment in new homes. House building has collapsed.
It has gone down 99%. That came between the gap between the
previous government and this one. It is this government's cards. We
have a budget that was a monumental admission of failure. Unemployment
is rising, boring is rising, and living standards are falling. The
consequences will be felt a to rout the Midlands. There will be 100,000
more children in child poverty, unemployment will reach 3 million.
Young people are out of work. Those policies are hurting, they are not
working. The government is saying, full steam ahead. We heard in that
report that it was devastating, it was not having an effect. She has a
very high rate to unemployment in her constituency. I know how hard
it is, there is a lot of unemployment in my constituency. I
can be absolutely certain, that if there was not for our policies, it
would be even harder. If we had stuck to Labour's proposals, the
country would be even more in debt. It could only be worse by following
their approach. The other problem about this Budget is that the
impact falls upon the poorest in society, and for the great majority
it is going to be seven years of austerity. They raised an
alternative, why not repeat the bank is bonus tax, �200 billion.
Build a more affordable homes. This was a Bollington budget. I refute
that. We are trying to put young people back to work. I saw that
clip, I did not agree with him. Most young people want to work,
there are some who don't. I see no reason why he should be concerned,
most people want to work. We are giving an incentive to employers to
take young people on. They are looking poor work. -- they are
looking to work. What to make about the idea of making public sector
pay more responsive to regional variations in the private sector
around the country? Is this a way of getting a good deal of the tax
payer, or driving down public sector pay? I used to be a
negotiator for public servants. What this will mean is that the
people of the West Midlands will lose out to those found in the
south-east. It is more than that, what they are proposing, is to have
privatisations, you could have pay cut, sick pay cut, it is a dark day.
We are looking at what is affordable. We are borrowing too
much in this country. We have a eurozone crisis. There is a threat
of another recession. We have to cut our cloth accordingly. We
cannot go on spending so much more than we are collecting in tax
revenues. Thank you very much for the moment.
Pay attention, this is a question. Are you absolutely sure you know
where you live? Is Newcastle under Lyme in stone. Could Malvern really
be said to be along with Herefordshire. These are the
questions that the Boundary Commission have been asking in the
last three months. They are redrawing our constituency
boundaries to cut the number MPs by five. We have been investigating an
interesting recommendation. Formed from some of the oldest
rocks in England, the glorious now than hills, they act as a natural
boundary between Herefordshire and Worcestershire.
Look at what is on the horizon. With apologies to Elgar, and Julie
Andrews, these hills are not allied with the Sound of Music, the
discord. There are plans to renew a man made a boundary. -- a new man-
made boundaries. In efforts to make our parliamentary boundaries more
democratic. They are planning to split boundaries here. We have
concerns about our sense of identity. Not only would it
disenfranchise the Botha, I think it would lose that sense of
community. We would have to deal with two district councils. For the
SNP, it was see her constituency disappear. -- this MP. I have
written to the Independent barry constituency or -- the Independent
Boundary Commission are saying that our constituency would like to
remain there were houses -- remain how it is. The government wants all
constituencies to remain roughly the same size. In practice that
means the West Midlands and Gloucestershire will lose five
constituencies. From 63 to 58. When the commissioner's roadshow turned
up in the West Midlands, there was a protest. The Boundary Commission
have got this wrong. They have split a historic town into four
different parts. In his defence, the Boundary Commission is doing
the job they were told by an Act of Parliament. Previously the
commission would have been able to give a much greater weight to
existing local identity. They cannot do that, they have to
deliver the numbers. What happens when you start mixing things up?
The apple is the symbol of Herefordshire, while for
Worcestershire it is the pear. We could end up with a fresh fruit
salad, or a dog's breakfast. think it is disgusting. I do not
see the point in any of this messing about whatsoever. It is
probably better. You will have more punch? I would have thought. Just
this week, and in harmonious row was reported between the Tories and
Labour between the boundary of lead-free. -- Ledbury. Whatever the
boundaries, they will be used for the first time in the 2015 election.
Margot James, if you look at the constituencies in your area,
Stalbridge, and Lyme Regis, you along with two other MPs are
chasing two seat between a three. agree. We suggest that they respect
communities. Of will have to see what they decide. You would it gain
a bit of Caroline Spelman's area. How is that going down with you?
Like a lead balloon. Sutton was coming to Erdington. Both
communities are unanimous in their opposition. He does not make any
sense. -- it does not make. There are 100 more members in the House
of Lords. Does it harm the Tories less than other parties? Jack does
ignore the fact that it takes more votes to elect a Conservative
government than a Labour government. That cannot be fair. A more even a
constituency base is more fair. commission are hell-bent on getting
that numerical number right. That Malvern example, the part of the
community, they are 32 miles from Evesham. What do they do with that?
They have only just reported. There will be a consultation. When they
come back to look at it. They will iron out some of those numbers. It
does not seem to make sense, that one in Worcestershire. I'm sure
they will listen, and trying get things better than they were.
have Labour MPs sitting on, in effect a rotten boroughs, they have
to be something done? -- there has to be something done. Yes. We need
to get more people registered. We need to get people registered to
vote. What we should not be doing is going down the path of their
party political motivated a exercise -- go down the path of a
party political, motivated exercise. I'm going to challenge might go to
a very brief response. -- Margot. It cannot be right can it.