04/12/2011 The Politics Show West Midlands


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.


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