04/12/2011 The Politics Show West Midlands


04/12/2011

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

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adviser tells striking Unionists that they have a very good deal. We

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2019 seconds

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after they Worcestershire town that How low from the Midlands. A little

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later we will visit the town in Worcestershire which doesn't

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particularly want to be lumped in with its heritage her neighbour.

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First, what made the bigger impact on the last week, the Chancellor's

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Autumn Statement, on the other hand it more austerity measures? As

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unions march across our towns over public sector pay we are here to

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answer those questions. Alongside me Margot James, the

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Conservative MP for Stourbridge, and Jack Dromey, the Labour MP for

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Birmingham, and former general secretary of the Unite union.

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Let's begin with our reporter he went out to the picket lines in

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Staffordshire. The union say it was the bigger

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strike for regeneration, the Prime Minister called it a damp squib.

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The action closed 5,000 schools in our region, disrupted bin

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collections, and disrupted burials. Thousands of people have taken part

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in demonstrations like this one in Stoke-on-Trent. We are here today,

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taking part in this... Many of us were inconvenience. We

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to have private pensions adviser, Richard Jacobs, to meet people on

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the picket line. The it is not to do the bankers. They have a

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fantastic pension, costing too much money. I'm a little bit angry about

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that. It is 4002 Niger pounds per year. That is not a golden pension

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at all. It is about �80 a week. have been in pensions for 40 years.

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I have a good pension. It is only eight -- �8,000 here. A teacher

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retiring now would have �18,000 a year. What we have just heard from

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Richard is that things are much worse than the private sector. The

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reality is that the government is telling us that these pensions are

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not affordable. There is an important point to be made here.

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The taxpayer is paying for this already. What will happen in the

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public sector is once people cannot afford to pay these increases, they

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will opt out of their pensions. I would like to know his views on

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that. There is a big problem with public sector pensions. We actually

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pay taxes. We are paying by our own pensions. The yard since continued

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-- the arguments continued. The unions are accusing the coalition

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of lying, and attacking their members. With opinion so divided,

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is there really any chance of a compromise? Students at

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Staffordshire University were hard at work covering the day's events.

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They said the strike was a game changer. The legacy of this strike

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is going to have serious repercussions for the relationship

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with the government. More seriously for the Labour Party he it is going

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to have repercussions for the relationship between the trade

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unions, and Ed Miliband. Because his failure to support the trade

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unions means they see themselves as isolated. It is going to be a very

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difficult year for both the government, the trade unions, and

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the Labour Party. Back on the picket line, that difficulty is

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evident, as they continue to debate what is fair when it comes to

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pensions. Then this, it is claimed by lots of

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people. It is an elusive concept. Margot James can you understand the

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frustration, the irritation that they felt on those big airlines? --

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picket lines. They are not on fantastic incomes. It is not to the

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gold-plated pension that has been put about by the myth machine?

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sure there are quite a lot of myths in circulation. One of the reasons

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that we have tried to protect the lower-paid workers is for that

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reason. We recognise that public servants are low-paid. It is not

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until they earn 20 per �1,000 here -- �21,000 here that those at --

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those effects come in. Shouldn't a baby putting pressure on the

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private sector -- shouldn't they be putting pressure on the private

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sector? We are asking people to work a little bit longer. Someone

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in the 60s is going to we living ten years longer. We have not

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caught up with that. We have no choice but to do that. That does

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not see me to unreasonable. We are living longer. People in the

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private sector are having to do that. A sensible negotiation is

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exactly what was happening with our government. An agreement on

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flexibility was reached. What is happening now is that the

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government is penalising public sector workers. It is not a viable

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in the long term. It is everything to do with their visit the suction

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-- the deficit reduction. A firefighter in my community is

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going to have to pay 20 by isn't -- �20,000 more to receive less. Or it

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is wrong, it is unfair. Are you embarrassed by Ed Miliband's buried

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unequivocal approach on this. He has failed to come out in support

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of the unions. He was very clear on Wednesday. He called for the

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government to start negotiating. There are mixed messages coming out.

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Francis Maude was coming up with warm words, then a George Osborne

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was declaring war. You have Michael Gove branding 2 million workers as

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tools of the trade unions. The government needs to focus on an

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agreement. Briefly, D feel the pain of responsible people, like

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ambience workers, police officers, being bad-mouthed by senior people?

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The issue is one of fairness. The average public sector worker would

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have to put one third of their salary in. They cannot go on like

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that. The tax payer cannot afford it. The average pension in local

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government is �3,000 a year for an overwhelmingly part-time female

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workforce. These are decent people who deserve security in retirement.

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These low-paid women, under �15,000 here, No change. Up to �21,000 a

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year, hardly any change. We are being careful to be as fair as

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possible. We have a lot to get through thank

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you very much. The Chancellor referred to our part

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of the country in a three separate sections of his statement. He

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talked about more variable speed limits on the M6. And a new bridge

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in Evesham. He turned a deaf ear to those at Birmingham Airport in a

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cut in taxes. The funding of a runway development is seen as a

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role model for our other major projects. Our correspondent gauges

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reaction. The IMF support our deficit reduction.

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An Autumn Statement, or was it more like a mini budget. -- a mini-

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budget? I can to affirm that allowances will try and encourage

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businesses in a Sheffield, the Black Country, the Midlands. This

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is a business park in Wolverhampton is an enterprise zone, and seemed

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to be the home a Jaguar and Rover - - and soon to be the home of Jaguar

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Land Rover. The plan to build new infrastructure seen to have been

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inspired by the new runway at Birmingham or poor -- airport.

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will mean 20 billion in pension fund money. The recession is

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continuing to grind many of us down, there was some better news on job

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fronts. They were encouraging more small businesses to take people on.

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In this Warwick Business Park, employers seemed underwhelmed.

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Would you employ young people to take a job? I don't upping that is

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a good idea -- I don't think that is a good idea. Escaping the

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recession is a top priority for the government. Opposition MPs still

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maintain the cuts are too deep. This is a reckless policy, that the

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government has stuck to. It is having a devastating impact on

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families around the country. Something needs to work, and having

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revise their spending plans, the government is hoping for it has

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done enough to get the UK, and the Midlands back on track.

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You can go to my blog for more on George Osborne's plan to cut

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traffic. There has been a lot of talk about

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gloom in the statement. Does enterprise zones, and

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infrastructure projects, a lot of that can be seen to be straight out

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of the Labour textbook. You have to look at the fact. The government

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cut a lot of investment in new homes. House building has collapsed.

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It has gone down 99%. That came between the gap between the

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previous government and this one. It is this government's cards. We

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have a budget that was a monumental admission of failure. Unemployment

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is rising, boring is rising, and living standards are falling. The

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consequences will be felt a to rout the Midlands. There will be 100,000

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more children in child poverty, unemployment will reach 3 million.

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Young people are out of work. Those policies are hurting, they are not

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working. The government is saying, full steam ahead. We heard in that

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report that it was devastating, it was not having an effect. She has a

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very high rate to unemployment in her constituency. I know how hard

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it is, there is a lot of unemployment in my constituency. I

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can be absolutely certain, that if there was not for our policies, it

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would be even harder. If we had stuck to Labour's proposals, the

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country would be even more in debt. It could only be worse by following

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their approach. The other problem about this Budget is that the

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impact falls upon the poorest in society, and for the great majority

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it is going to be seven years of austerity. They raised an

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alternative, why not repeat the bank is bonus tax, �200 billion.

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Build a more affordable homes. This was a Bollington budget. I refute

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that. We are trying to put young people back to work. I saw that

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clip, I did not agree with him. Most young people want to work,

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there are some who don't. I see no reason why he should be concerned,

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most people want to work. We are giving an incentive to employers to

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take young people on. They are looking poor work. -- they are

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looking to work. What to make about the idea of making public sector

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pay more responsive to regional variations in the private sector

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around the country? Is this a way of getting a good deal of the tax

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payer, or driving down public sector pay? I used to be a

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negotiator for public servants. What this will mean is that the

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people of the West Midlands will lose out to those found in the

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south-east. It is more than that, what they are proposing, is to have

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privatisations, you could have pay cut, sick pay cut, it is a dark day.

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We are looking at what is affordable. We are borrowing too

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much in this country. We have a eurozone crisis. There is a threat

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of another recession. We have to cut our cloth accordingly. We

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cannot go on spending so much more than we are collecting in tax

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revenues. Thank you very much for the moment.

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Pay attention, this is a question. Are you absolutely sure you know

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where you live? Is Newcastle under Lyme in stone. Could Malvern really

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be said to be along with Herefordshire. These are the

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questions that the Boundary Commission have been asking in the

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last three months. They are redrawing our constituency

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boundaries to cut the number MPs by five. We have been investigating an

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interesting recommendation. Formed from some of the oldest

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rocks in England, the glorious now than hills, they act as a natural

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boundary between Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

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Look at what is on the horizon. With apologies to Elgar, and Julie

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Andrews, these hills are not allied with the Sound of Music, the

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discord. There are plans to renew a man made a boundary. -- a new man-

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made boundaries. In efforts to make our parliamentary boundaries more

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democratic. They are planning to split boundaries here. We have

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concerns about our sense of identity. Not only would it

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disenfranchise the Botha, I think it would lose that sense of

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community. We would have to deal with two district councils. For the

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SNP, it was see her constituency disappear. -- this MP. I have

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written to the Independent barry constituency or -- the Independent

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Boundary Commission are saying that our constituency would like to

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remain there were houses -- remain how it is. The government wants all

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constituencies to remain roughly the same size. In practice that

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means the West Midlands and Gloucestershire will lose five

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constituencies. From 63 to 58. When the commissioner's roadshow turned

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up in the West Midlands, there was a protest. The Boundary Commission

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have got this wrong. They have split a historic town into four

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different parts. In his defence, the Boundary Commission is doing

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the job they were told by an Act of Parliament. Previously the

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commission would have been able to give a much greater weight to

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existing local identity. They cannot do that, they have to

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deliver the numbers. What happens when you start mixing things up?

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The apple is the symbol of Herefordshire, while for

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Worcestershire it is the pear. We could end up with a fresh fruit

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salad, or a dog's breakfast. think it is disgusting. I do not

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see the point in any of this messing about whatsoever. It is

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probably better. You will have more punch? I would have thought. Just

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this week, and in harmonious row was reported between the Tories and

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Labour between the boundary of lead-free. -- Ledbury. Whatever the

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boundaries, they will be used for the first time in the 2015 election.

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Margot James, if you look at the constituencies in your area,

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Stalbridge, and Lyme Regis, you along with two other MPs are

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chasing two seat between a three. agree. We suggest that they respect

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communities. Of will have to see what they decide. You would it gain

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a bit of Caroline Spelman's area. How is that going down with you?

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Like a lead balloon. Sutton was coming to Erdington. Both

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communities are unanimous in their opposition. He does not make any

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sense. -- it does not make. There are 100 more members in the House

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of Lords. Does it harm the Tories less than other parties? Jack does

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ignore the fact that it takes more votes to elect a Conservative

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government than a Labour government. That cannot be fair. A more even a

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constituency base is more fair. commission are hell-bent on getting

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that numerical number right. That Malvern example, the part of the

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community, they are 32 miles from Evesham. What do they do with that?

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They have only just reported. There will be a consultation. When they

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come back to look at it. They will iron out some of those numbers. It

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does not seem to make sense, that one in Worcestershire. I'm sure

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they will listen, and trying get things better than they were.

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have Labour MPs sitting on, in effect a rotten boroughs, they have

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to be something done? -- there has to be something done. Yes. We need

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to get more people registered. We need to get people registered to

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vote. What we should not be doing is going down the path of their

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party political motivated a exercise -- go down the path of a

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party political, motivated exercise. I'm going to challenge might go to

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a very brief response. -- Margot. It cannot be right can it.

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