09/12/2012 The Wales Report


09/12/2012

The current affairs programme features a report on tax breaks and benefits cuts. Could the chancellor's Autumn Statement result in a cold winter for Wales's poorest?


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Transcript


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This week on the Wales Report, another squeeze on benefits, is the

:00:09.:00:12.

Chancellor's policy having a disproportionate effect in Wales.

:00:12.:00:16.

New questions about nursing standards, we explore claims that

:00:16.:00:19.

compassion is in short supply. And the unlikely saga of the badger,

:00:19.:00:22.

the soap opera, and the Government minister.

:00:22.:00:32.
:00:32.:00:35.

It's worth waiting for. Stay with Good evening, welcome once against

:00:35.:00:39.

to the Wales report. It is our chance to examine the issues that

:00:39.:00:42.

matter in Wales, tole challenge those in power, and talk to those

:00:42.:00:48.

affected by the decisions they make. The Autumn Statement will have a

:00:48.:00:53.

big impact in Wales, that much iser cloo. We can look forward to

:00:53.:00:57.

greater pressure on public spending. And those on lower incomes,

:00:57.:01:00.

according to the experts, will be the hardest hit. Most working age

:01:01.:01:05.

benefit also get a real terms cut, they include jobseeker's allowance,

:01:05.:01:09.

Employment and Support Allowance, income support, Child Tax Credit,

:01:09.:01:16.

Working Tax Credit, all of those, nearly 20% of working-age people in

:01:16.:01:20.

Wales are receiving some form of state pen benefit. The potential

:01:20.:01:25.

impact is clear. In a moment we will debate the case for and

:01:25.:01:30.

against the benefits cut. Port Talbot used to be a beacon in

:01:30.:01:34.

the Welsh economy, literally seen for miles. Nearly 20,000 people

:01:34.:01:40.

were employed in the steel works. The largest single employer in

:01:40.:01:45.

Wales. Spending money in local shops and local businesses.

:01:45.:01:49.

As the global manufacturing economy has changed beyond recognition. So

:01:49.:01:56.

too has the economy of the area. Well paid jobs have been lost, and

:01:56.:02:00.

now Neath and Port Talbot has one of the highest claimant rates in

:02:00.:02:04.

the country. One in four people receive a state welfare benefit.

:02:04.:02:10.

Including many people in low-paid jobs. For the families in this area,

:02:10.:02:15.

like many others across Wales, George Osborne's plans to cap

:02:15.:02:19.

increases on benefits, will have long-term consequences.

:02:19.:02:26.

Are you ready. Single mum, Diana Jones, is one person already facing

:02:26.:02:30.

the consequences of changes in the benefits system. Because of the way

:02:30.:02:33.

that housing benefit will be calculated from next year, she will

:02:33.:02:38.

have to pay an extra �50 a month. Now on top of, she will have to

:02:38.:02:44.

deal with the benefit cap. It's actually quite scary to think that

:02:44.:02:51.

just one person can just not have a thought about the individual and

:02:52.:02:55.

what we are doing to make changes and difference to our lives. We're

:02:55.:03:00.

not all just sat on our back sides doing nothing. We are actually

:03:00.:03:05.

making a difference. I just see it's going to devaste families.

:03:05.:03:08.

There's no care or thought gone into this at all, we are just a

:03:08.:03:14.

number. Debt advice centres all over Wales

:03:14.:03:21.

have never been so busy. In Neath, the Credit Union sees

:03:21.:03:24.

many more people who are struggling to keep out of debt.

:03:24.:03:27.

They didn't see much good news this week.

:03:27.:03:32.

It's just going to squeeze us even more. We're just, you know, food is

:03:32.:03:36.

more expensive already, and it's getting really hard, everything is

:03:36.:03:41.

getting really difficult. Organisations like us are going to

:03:41.:03:47.

become more and more important. Because if the economic growth,

:03:47.:03:52.

which is protect jected, isn't going to happen which -- projected

:03:52.:03:56.

isn't going to happen, which we know it isn't, we will be needed by

:03:56.:04:00.

more people, we have a lot of work to do. Steve is concerned about the

:04:00.:04:04.

growth of a local business in the area that nobody wants to see.

:04:04.:04:09.

Unlicensed short-term loan companies offering a quick fix.

:04:09.:04:15.

you borrow �300, you will finish up paying sometimes as much as �3,000

:04:15.:04:19.

to get out of their clutches. It is illegal, but it is available.

:04:19.:04:25.

That's what we worry about. Any cuts in benefits take money out

:04:25.:04:29.

of the local economy. Less money left over after the essentials,

:04:29.:04:35.

like rent, food, and heating are taken care of. It means nothing to

:04:35.:04:40.

spend on the high streets of Port Talbot. One of the business faced

:04:40.:04:45.

with hard times are estate agents. They now depend on rental, not

:04:45.:04:51.

sales, and that's getting worse. In the last four years, people have

:04:51.:04:57.

been unable to get mortgages, due to bad credit, not having jobs, et,

:04:57.:05:04.

and the rental side has leapt up four or five fold. The new housing

:05:04.:05:08.

benefit changes out in April will make it more difficult for these

:05:08.:05:13.

people. To put someone in who has no money, in that position, is

:05:13.:05:17.

possibly one of the Government's worst decisions.

:05:17.:05:23.

In Port Talbot, there is a sense felt by many, that people 180 miles

:05:23.:05:29.

along the M4, don't really understand the day-to-day reality

:05:29.:05:35.

of the Autumn Statement of 2012. If I had a chance, the opportunity

:05:35.:05:41.

to meet David Cameron, then I would ask him to walk in my shoes. For a

:05:41.:05:45.

few weeks, before making the decisions that he's making, about

:05:45.:05:54.

people's lives. Joining me are the Conservative MP, Jonathan Evans,

:05:54.:05:58.

and the shadow Labour Secretary of State for Wales. Thank you four

:05:58.:06:01.

coming in. Are you comfortable with the notion presented by the

:06:01.:06:06.

Chancellor, which, in effect, says we are a society of shirkers and

:06:06.:06:09.

strivers and it is as black and white as that? I don't think it was

:06:10.:06:13.

presenteded in that black and white way. If you look at the record of

:06:13.:06:17.

the Government, since we were select electeded in 2010 and look

:06:17.:06:22.

at the film. Bear in mind everyone on welfare benefits, up until this

:06:22.:06:26.

time, have had those fully in line with inflation. Many people thought

:06:26.:06:30.

given the inflation figure in the course of the last 12 month, that

:06:30.:06:36.

was an extraordinary generous gesture. Why stop now? Because well

:06:36.:06:40.

perbenefits bill is exceeding all the money we take in income tax. We

:06:40.:06:43.

are having to borrow, we are challenged by the Labour Party

:06:43.:06:47.

about this, we are having to borrow each year �120 billion from

:06:47.:06:49.

international markets. What is being said, if everybody else has

:06:49.:06:52.

to make a contribution, and they have to, we have seen the way in

:06:52.:06:55.

which spending cuts are affecting the economy, we have seen ways in

:06:55.:06:59.

which tax is affecting the economy as well, if everybody is being

:07:00.:07:04.

asked to make a contribution, isn't it fair in those circumstances to

:07:04.:07:10.

uprate welfare benefits by 1%, for the next three years. So is it fair,

:07:10.:07:14.

the question of fairness, that is what it is? I think it is fairness

:07:14.:07:17.

question. Nobody is saying you are a nation of shirkers, it is saying

:07:18.:07:21.

that everybody must make a contribution. I don't know agree

:07:21.:07:25.

with Jonathan, I think the Chancellor did present it as black

:07:25.:07:28.

and white. Strivers versus this fictional figure who lies in bed

:07:28.:07:32.

all day with the curtains drawn, that we have heard trotted out time

:07:32.:07:36.

and time again by the Tories. The reality is, the film showed, is

:07:36.:07:40.

that the vast majority of people in receipt of benefits are working.

:07:40.:07:44.

These are the people who we saw in Port Talbot, they are on people on

:07:44.:07:48.

low pay, and for whom working-age benefits are the way in which the

:07:49.:07:53.

state enables them to make ends meet. 60% of children in poverty in

:07:53.:07:57.

Wales and across Britain are in working households. That's the

:07:57.:08:01.

reality. And the other reality, is, unfortunately, that those people at

:08:01.:08:05.

the bottom end of the income scale, the 30% with the lowest earners in

:08:05.:08:08.

our country, are the people who proportionate to their amount of

:08:08.:08:13.

income, are paying the highest price. �5 a week off the average

:08:13.:08:17.

family, if you like, at the bottom end of the income scale. �8 off the

:08:17.:08:20.

wealthiest, incomes at the top. That is an enormously different

:08:20.:08:24.

impact on the lives of those people. I will be asking what Labour

:08:24.:08:27.

intends to do about it in a second. Just coming back to the fairness

:08:27.:08:32.

issue, which has been developed there. Lots of people watching will

:08:32.:08:35.

have a difficulty understanding why some of the lowest paid, why some

:08:35.:08:39.

of the most vulnerable people in society should be bearing a share

:08:39.:08:42.

of responsibility for the wider economic picture and the kind of

:08:42.:08:46.

pressure we are under, why are you asking them to do it? What that

:08:46.:08:51.

question implies is that the welfare benefits budget must be

:08:51.:08:56.

completely insulate, no matter what we do elsewhere, in relation to

:08:56.:08:59.

welfare benefits in our country, we mustn't make changes at all. I

:08:59.:09:02.

don't think that is something the public accepts. Are you asking

:09:02.:09:07.

people to accept an unfair burden? If you ask the public, the public

:09:07.:09:10.

think it is fair that everybody be asked to pay. This isolation.

:09:10.:09:15.

public say lots of things, they want capital punishment, you don't

:09:15.:09:18.

give it to them? That is a different debate. What I'm a saying

:09:18.:09:22.

to you, if you are asking the public, as we are asking the public,

:09:22.:09:26.

to make sacrifices, it is fair that everybody has to make some

:09:26.:09:30.

sacrifice. The sacrifice that is being asked to be made in relation

:09:30.:09:33.

to the welfare benefits budget is really in the circumstances quite

:09:33.:09:39.

small, I believe, it is a fair, I didn't interrupt you, allow me to

:09:39.:09:42.

make my point. My point is that everybody has a contribution to

:09:42.:09:46.

make. It would be wrong to say that those who are on welfare benefits

:09:46.:09:49.

should make no contribution, for the people at the lowest level in

:09:50.:09:53.

work, those people have been helped significantly over what the

:09:53.:09:57.

position was when we came in, in 2010, because of the changes, in

:09:57.:10:02.

terms of tax personal allowance, many of them, taken out of tax, all

:10:02.:10:07.

together, that is already happening, when one is looking, as it,were the

:10:07.:10:10.

statisticians making figures, they did not bear in mind, already, the

:10:10.:10:15.

fact that for those people, already there has been some aleavation.

:10:15.:10:19.

have made the case about your notion of the unfairness of it just

:10:19.:10:24.

now, can I ask you directly, given thaw want to...I Want to come back

:10:24.:10:29.

on some of the other points. Before I you do that, given the strength

:10:29.:10:32.

of feeling, do you think Labour will simply vote against these

:10:32.:10:35.

measures when it comes to a vote in the House? We will need to see what

:10:35.:10:41.

is in the bill and the spes fisity of the measure, at the moment what

:10:41.:10:44.

we are contemplating is looking through it piece by piece and

:10:44.:10:48.

having a detailed response to it. If we decide it is unfair, I hope

:10:48.:10:51.

we do vote against it. That is an important line in the sand for us

:10:51.:10:56.

to draw. Do you think it is unfair. You have said that clearly?

:10:56.:11:00.

absolutely think a lot of the measures implemented here are

:11:00.:11:03.

having a deeply disproportionate unfair impact on the most

:11:03.:11:07.

vulnerable in our society. I think the Conservative Party has

:11:07.:11:10.

deliberately chosen to demonise people who are on income support,

:11:10.:11:14.

and other forms of benefit. I think Vince Cable, in the newspapers this

:11:14.:11:17.

morning, is arguing that his coalition colleagues have been

:11:18.:11:21.

extremely unwise and very unfair to do that. I think it is

:11:21.:11:24.

fundamentally wrong for the Government to try to balance the

:11:24.:11:28.

books on the backs of the poorest in our society. Let as pause for a

:11:28.:11:32.

second. While we are on the theme of been fits and the hardship being

:11:32.:11:37.

expeer -- benefits and the hardship being experienced by households in

:11:37.:11:41.

Wales. There is one growth industry. We now have over 20 foodbanks

:11:41.:11:43.

operating throughout Wales. Charities providing free food for

:11:44.:11:53.
:11:54.:11:58.

people, we visited one of the busiest,.

:11:58.:12:03.

Last year we catered for 50 people in a two-day foot bank. On average

:12:03.:12:08.

we give one person -- foodbank, on average we give one person seven to

:12:08.:12:12.

eight kilos. Let's put some of these on the

:12:12.:12:17.

shelf. It comes in as donations, from church, and schools, we have

:12:17.:12:21.

just had our harvest collection. I must admit, all the schools in the

:12:21.:12:30.

area have given. The fod that we are receiving at

:12:30.:12:33.

the moment is from a national -- food that we are receiving at the

:12:33.:12:36.

moment is a national food collection from Tescos. A lot of

:12:36.:12:42.

the food will be redistributed to set up three new distribution

:12:42.:12:45.

centres in the area. Everybody is struggling, not just those at the

:12:45.:12:52.

called bottom of the pile. We are all struggling.

:12:52.:12:59.

The first foodbank in Wales started right here in Abervale in 2008, we

:12:59.:13:04.

have seen the foodbank increase dramatically both in numbers of the

:13:04.:13:07.

people visiting the foodbank and also the number of foodbanks in

:13:07.:13:11.

Wales, that currently total 23. We expect to feed 25,000 people in

:13:12.:13:16.

crisis throughout Wales during this financial year.

:13:16.:13:20.

Frontline care professional, such as social workers, health visitors

:13:20.:13:23.

and welfare officers hold emergency food vouchers for us, which they

:13:23.:13:27.

can give to people that they see face-to-face in a genuine crisis.

:13:27.:13:30.

People who have suddenly lost their job, people who have suffered

:13:30.:13:33.

domestic violence, or people who have entered into a sudden crisis,

:13:33.:13:38.

such as that they don't have enough money to be able to go to the

:13:38.:13:41.

supermarket and buy food to sustain their family, and meet the bills

:13:41.:13:46.

that week. The clients tell us if the

:13:46.:13:50.

foodbanks weren't here, that 100% of them would have skipped meals,

:13:50.:13:55.

they wouldn't have eaten, because they don't have food in their

:13:55.:14:00.

cupboards. I'm in financial at the moment, bankruptcy, because I have

:14:00.:14:07.

lost my shop. If it weren't for the foodbank, I

:14:08.:14:13.

wouldn't be here today. I wouldn't be able to have the food to give my

:14:13.:14:19.

wife and children. There is no jobs about. People are surviving. Trying

:14:19.:14:28.

to pay the bills, central heating, or starve to death. That's what it

:14:28.:14:35.

is coming down to. We are expecting foodbanks to continue to increase

:14:35.:14:39.

in new projects. We are opening a new project every three days at the

:14:39.:14:42.

moment. We expect that to increase over the next three years, we also

:14:42.:14:45.

expect the number of clients visiting food banks to continue to

:14:45.:14:49.

increase as well. What we are keen to do is let people to continue to

:14:49.:14:52.

support their local foodbank to meet that demand and provide that

:14:52.:14:57.

food to people, who find themselves in a crisis. Although it is a very

:14:57.:15:02.

sad thing to see foodbanks grow, and that people need this very

:15:02.:15:06.

important service, however, it is really good as well to see

:15:06.:15:09.

communities coming together to help people locally in crisis. We don't

:15:09.:15:13.

get a choice as to what we put in people's parcels, we have a list

:15:13.:15:20.

that we work to. We have to work with the donations that we get. I

:15:20.:15:24.

will say that people do give nice things at this time of year. So,

:15:24.:15:29.

yes, we can put the Christmas, the odd Christmas pudding in. Or box of

:15:30.:15:35.

biscuits and things like that. So Santa does visit, but we also

:15:35.:15:45.
:15:45.:15:50.

remember that, for us, Christmas a very special time.

:15:50.:15:54.

Let's start with you, isn't that, David Cameron's Big Society in

:15:54.:15:58.

action, isn't that exactly what the Prime Minister wants people to do,

:15:58.:16:03.

which is to reach out and help people? No, unfortunately it is a

:16:03.:16:06.

sad indictment of where we are in this country, so many food banks,

:16:06.:16:10.

23 in Wales are required. I have two in my constituency, we were out

:16:10.:16:15.

gathering food only last weekend, outside Tescos, it is a terrible

:16:15.:16:18.

tragedy that we need so many foodbanks. What is really awful

:16:19.:16:23.

about it, I think, is that when you look at the sort of people going to

:16:23.:16:29.

them, for example, the mine in pond prid, they are not people who --

:16:29.:16:31.

Pontypridd, they are not people who are couingers and shirkers, people

:16:31.:16:38.

who have fallen on hard -- scroungers or shirkers, they are

:16:38.:16:41.

people who have fall on hard times and who have been in secure jobs,

:16:41.:16:45.

and they are ashamed of having to go to food banks. Do you see them

:16:45.:16:49.

as a statement of people's willingness to help or an

:16:49.:16:53.

embarrassment? I'm a strong supporter of foodbanks. Let's make

:16:53.:16:56.

the point the first one started more than 50 years ago, they

:16:56.:17:00.

started in Europe in the 1980s. They are not a new concept. I

:17:00.:17:04.

certainly accept that they have increased, ever since the financial

:17:04.:17:07.

crisis in 2008. It is not, frankly, since the Conservatives came to

:17:07.:17:13.

office, the growth in them, we have been able to track ever since 2008.

:17:13.:17:20.

All of the analysis shows that has been the case. During the Tory era.

:17:20.:17:25.

OK, they have may have been since 2010. I can tell you as an MEP, I

:17:25.:17:30.

went along it help our foodbanks whilst I served in the European

:17:30.:17:35.

Parliament, I left there in 2009, don't put the line that they are a

:17:35.:17:39.

completely modern phenomenon. They started at the time of the

:17:39.:17:43.

financial crisis to see this expansion. I think that they are an

:17:43.:17:49.

excellent thing. You saw on the main person talking there, the

:17:49.:17:55.

Trussle Trust, they are a Christian charity and the main player in the

:17:55.:17:58.

scenario. They are basically giving effect to what their Christian

:17:58.:18:01.

values are, in trying to encourage people, if they are shopping to

:18:01.:18:04.

come up with something that can help other people. Gentleman, we

:18:04.:18:09.

are out of time, thank you both for coming in.

:18:09.:18:13.

Those of you, following Prime Minister's Questions, at

:18:13.:18:19.

Westminster, will have seen a rather tearful Ann Clwyd, the --

:18:19.:18:23.

complaining about nursing standards in Wales, and saying her husband

:18:24.:18:27.

fell victim to a culture of coldness and lack of compassion.

:18:27.:18:31.

There are increasing complaints about nurses who fail to show care

:18:31.:18:37.

and compassion. To their pensioners, what factually will the Prime

:18:37.:18:40.

Minister do about that? honourable lady speaks for the

:18:40.:18:44.

whole House and the whole country in raising this issue, and I know

:18:44.:18:49.

how painful it must have been with watch she has witnessed in her own

:18:49.:18:53.

life with her own family. I am, as she is, a massive fan of our

:18:53.:18:57.

National Health Service, but we don't do our NHS, or indeed our

:18:57.:19:01.

nurses any favours if we don't point out there are some very real

:19:01.:19:07.

problems in parts of our health and care systems. The week -- The week

:19:07.:19:14.

brought a new training strategy in England, there needed to be less

:19:14.:19:17.

emphasis on technical expertise, more on compassion and care and

:19:17.:19:21.

those kinds of skills. The director of the Royal College of Nursing in

:19:21.:19:24.

Wales is with me now. Thank you for coming in.

:19:24.:19:28.

What on earth were you thinking when you say Ann Clwyd, who is one

:19:28.:19:32.

of our most prominent Members of Parliament, in that state, in that

:19:32.:19:35.

emotional state, asking the question, did that really cause you

:19:35.:19:39.

a lot of pain? Of course, any time you see any relative who is

:19:39.:19:44.

grieving the loss of a loved one, that does, it irks something within

:19:44.:19:47.

you to say, well if things have gone wrong, they need to be

:19:47.:19:55.

investigated and put right. So, my initial impression was, I hope that

:19:55.:19:58.

Ann has raised that with the local Health Board, so there is an

:19:58.:20:03.

investigation. We need to be absolutely clear, as a professional

:20:03.:20:06.

nurse myself, making sure we have the standards, which are akin to

:20:06.:20:10.

how we were trained, and want to care for our patient, is the utmost

:20:10.:20:17.

for us, as individuals. We cannot engage in the nursing profession

:20:17.:20:21.

without having compassion and care, that is the very reason that we are

:20:21.:20:24.

nurses. What can give rise to these

:20:24.:20:30.

situations? Is it to do with attitudes, or is it to do with

:20:30.:20:33.

something maybe more practical, which is that there are too few

:20:33.:20:36.

nurses around at certain times of day, to be able to provide the kind

:20:36.:20:40.

of level of care needed? I think it is important to note where we are

:20:40.:20:44.

as the royal college. Two years ago I found it necessary, within Wales,

:20:44.:20:50.

to issue a Time To Care Campaign. I didn't do it on the back of a hunch

:20:50.:20:54.

that things weren't going right. I did it on the back of the fact that

:20:54.:20:57.

a big number of our membership in Wales have told us they didn't have

:20:57.:21:01.

time to care. They didn't have the time to undertake the duties which

:21:01.:21:04.

they were trained to, it caused them distress. What we don't see,

:21:05.:21:08.

is the effect that something like this has on the nursing profession

:21:08.:21:12.

in Wales, and indeed, in the ward or hospital, whereby these

:21:12.:21:16.

complaints have come from. That will affect those individuals,

:21:16.:21:20.

believe me, it will affect them. That is understood, does the fact

:21:20.:21:23.

we are hearing, in this prominent case, being explained to us, does

:21:23.:21:27.

that mean that the kind of campaign that you launched, is yet to bear

:21:27.:21:32.

fruit, hasn't had any effect? think it is on going. We have

:21:32.:21:36.

launched it, we are in it for the long-term. Sadly to say, I'm

:21:36.:21:40.

concerned about the staffing levels in many of Wales hospitals, at

:21:40.:21:43.

particular times. When we are looking at our staffing levels in

:21:44.:21:49.

Wales, based on about 85% bed occupancy, quite a number of our

:21:49.:21:55.

wards are running at 100%. That doesn't leave time for nurses to do

:21:55.:21:57.

the issues certainly about preparing a bed space, it is more

:21:57.:22:00.

than that. It is the time to actually sit down to talk to a

:22:00.:22:03.

patient. When you are doing an admission, when you are doing their

:22:03.:22:08.

observations, when you are actually wanting to know with what they need

:22:08.:22:11.

to rehabilitate, and get them back into the community. That takes time.

:22:11.:22:15.

If you are running against time, and constantly pressurised. It does

:22:15.:22:18.

give the impression to patients that you don't have time for them.

:22:18.:22:21.

A difficult question to end on. There are people, and we have heard

:22:21.:22:24.

people over the last few years say that they have come across nurses

:22:24.:22:28.

who are, you know, OK they may be under some pressure, but they seem

:22:28.:22:33.

to lack something, they seem to lack a willingness to show

:22:33.:22:37.

compassion, or to be caring. They are cold, in their attitude. How do

:22:37.:22:42.

you get to a stage where you can encourage people like that out of

:22:42.:22:45.

the profession, and get people in who maybe have different qualities?

:22:45.:22:52.

I think when you get complaint of that type of approach, is made

:22:52.:22:56.

aware to the management staff or indeed to other professional groups,

:22:56.:23:00.

every single nurse has a duty to report unprofessional practice,

:23:00.:23:03.

that is why we are registered and regulated professional. I think it

:23:03.:23:06.

is down to every individual to make sure that when you are observing

:23:07.:23:10.

care, which is less than what you would expect to be giving or

:23:10.:23:20.
:23:20.:23:20.

receiving, then you have a duty of care to report that. Now for

:23:20.:23:24.

something rather different. And who would have thought that this would

:23:24.:23:34.
:23:34.:23:39.

Yes, our very own political soap opera, based on that real soap

:23:39.:23:43.

opera, last week, the vulnerable institution, featured a discussion

:23:43.:23:46.

on badgers, and the Welsh Government's attitude towards a

:23:46.:23:50.

badger cull. What followed was revealing, to say the least, the

:23:50.:23:53.

office of the First Minister asked for the offending episode not to be

:23:53.:23:57.

shown again. The broadcasters rejected that appeal. But is there

:23:57.:24:03.

more to this curious spat than meets the eye.

:24:03.:24:05.

David Williams has his own personal take.

:24:05.:24:10.

The economy is flatlining, or worse, more benefit cuts are on the way.

:24:10.:24:16.

The health system in Wales is unfit for purpose. Our education system

:24:16.:24:20.

doesn't pass muster, climate change is blamed for devastating floods,

:24:20.:24:25.

which have left hundreds of people homeless. What are they talking

:24:25.:24:32.

about in this place? Badgers. Badgers. In television soap operas.

:24:32.:24:38.

Yes, badgers. You couldn't make it up, well, actually you could, and

:24:38.:24:44.

they did. The script writers for the popular S4C soap opera "People

:24:44.:24:53.

of the Valley", in a recent edition, had the temerity to suggest that

:24:53.:24:56.

the Welsh Government didn't have the backbone to cull badgers. Now

:24:56.:24:59.

the culling of badgers is an emotive issue in Wales, which has

:24:59.:25:05.

seen a rise in TB in cattle. Apparently these pesky little

:25:05.:25:09.

creature, much-loved by Queen munitions, are to blame. Any way, a

:25:09.:25:14.

fictional character, called Cadno, there is a joke there somewhere,

:25:14.:25:19.

because that means in Welsh "fox", he put the boot into the Welsh

:25:19.:25:23.

Government's lack of bottle in failing to put these nocturnal,

:25:23.:25:30.

black and white earth dwellers, to the sword.

:25:30.:25:33.

It is at this point we have to remind ourselves that all of this

:25:33.:25:39.

is the stuff of TV soaps. Even here in the fictional location for the

:25:39.:25:43.

soap opera, this is the old set, I digress. The point is, that a line

:25:43.:25:49.

about badgers in the script would hardly cause a ripple in a themable.

:25:49.:25:53.

Its significance or otherwise for people in other valleys in Wales,

:25:53.:25:59.

would probably be lost all together. But such audacious script writing

:25:59.:26:05.

did not escape the eagle eyes of the Welsh Government. And its ever-

:26:05.:26:09.

watchful media minders. Perched high up in their ivory eerie in

:26:10.:26:14.

Cardiff bay, they don't miss much, especially if it is at all critical

:26:14.:26:17.

of their political masters. Those are the people who run Wales, by

:26:17.:26:21.

the way. Shocked by what their cone-eyed media observers had

:26:22.:26:26.

discovered, the Welsh Government swung into action. And without any

:26:26.:26:31.

fear of the consequences, attempted to have the offending repeat

:26:31.:26:35.

episode of the soap opera hauled off air.

:26:35.:26:40.

This week, in the political circus ring that is the sen ned chamber,

:26:40.:26:49.

we found out who had attempt today silence the lambs in cym deri, it

:26:49.:26:55.

was no less than the First Minister himself. We will await to see the

:26:55.:27:00.

BBC and Ofcom's response to the issue raised. The First Minister

:27:00.:27:04.

had seen the offending episode, not only had he seen it, he had read

:27:04.:27:08.

the script as well. How is it that the First Minister of Wales has

:27:08.:27:15.

time to watch soap operas, read the script, and edit, otherwise known

:27:15.:27:19.

as censorship, and run the country. There are producer guideline that

:27:19.:27:22.

is have to be observed, there was an election on Thursday, on the day

:27:22.:27:27.

the programme was broadcast, that is an issue that has to be resolved.

:27:27.:27:32.

I am not aware, I will offer the opportunity to give me example, of

:27:32.:27:35.

any soap opera, where direct criticism of a Government has been

:27:35.:27:39.

included in the script of a soap opera, ever in history in the UK.

:27:39.:27:46.

Give me an example. We all know that the soap opera is popular, it

:27:46.:27:52.

has English subtitles, but would an episode about badger culling in a

:27:52.:27:56.

TV soap opera in Wales, threaten a democracy in bliarks in England. No

:27:56.:28:01.

it wouldn't, and it didn't, all three Labour candidates won

:28:01.:28:06.

comfortably. And the badgers were safely put back in their Seths,

:28:06.:28:14.

television sets that is. Thanks goodness that is all over.

:28:14.:28:21.

Or is it? There is a nasty Rumour doing the rounds, that, in an

:28:21.:28:27.

upcoming Christmas Special of Gavin and staysy, Smitty is openly

:28:27.:28:32.

citkaflt Welsh Government's failure to build a relief road around Barry

:28:32.:28:36.

island. I'm told the Welsh Government is on the case and are

:28:36.:28:40.

considering pulling the plug on all comedy viewing at Christmas time.

:28:40.:28:43.

Understandably they are very concerned that there is far too

:28:43.:28:47.

much hilarity about, when we should be concentrating on the economy,

:28:47.:28:57.
:28:57.:28:58.

health, education and building flood defences.

:28:58.:29:01.

That was the battle of the badgers, that is the last Wales report

:29:01.:29:06.

before Christmas, we will be back in January, with new stories and

:29:06.:29:15.

interviews, any suggestions please Get in touch. Thanks for being with

:29:15.:29:19.

The current affairs programme features a report on tax breaks and benefits cuts. With a bleak economic forecast and a stagnant jobs market, could the chancellor's Autumn Statement result in a cold winter for Wales's poorest?

Plus, do nurses care? The programme speaks to the Royal College of Nurses about compassion on the wards.


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