13/02/2018 London News


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13/02/2018

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Good evening - I'm Riz Lateef.

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An investigation by BBC London

reveals how much the government has

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made by raising the cost

of becoming a British citizen.

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It's collected more than £800

million over the past six years.

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It can cost eligible applicants -

including children born in the UK -

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about £1000 to register.

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But we've learned it only costs

the Home Office around

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£300 to process it.

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They've told us the money

is reinvested to fund

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the wider immigration system.

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As our Home Affairs Correspondent

Nick Beake reports -

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it's left some young Londoners

struggling with debt.

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Samson Adiola was born

in Nigeria and came to London

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with his family when he was five.

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He was entitled to British

citizenship, but never took it.

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But when he turned 18

he decided to apply because

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if he went to university

as an international student,

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he'd have to pay much more.

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He then found out that

officially becoming British

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would cost nearly £1,000.

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It was very difficult,

definitely for my mum,

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having to go around looking at where

she could get the money from.

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One of the main places we got help

from was the church and they put

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a substantial amount together just

to help us out.

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BBC London has learned the cost

of processing applications such

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as Samson's was only £260,

a quarter of what he was charged.

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It's really kind of upsetting,

actually, that they are

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actually doing this.

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And for other people who may not

even be able to scrape

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that money together,

who are entitled, or have the right

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to British citizenship and who can't

put forward the application

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because of the cost.

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It's really frustrating.

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We came for a workshop.

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Some charities which help families

gain British citizenship condemned

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the rising Home Office fees.

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To know that you have a right

to register as a British citizen,

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Parliament has given you that right

and the Secretary of State is trying

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to profiteer and sell the benefit

that was given by Parliament as far

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back as 1983.

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It is a complete scandal.

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The Home Office told us it has not

been making any profit

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from these rising fees.

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It said any income generated

above the actual cost of processing

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an application goes into the budget

which helps protect the UK border.

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And so it actually reduces

the burden on the taxpayer.

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One thinktank labelled this yet

another stealth tax, although it did

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argue that applicants would benefit

from British citizenship

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in the long run.

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These people are coming in to become

British citizens and I suppose

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they should get used

to all these stealth taxes.

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One more big one like this maybe

won't hurt if they get the benefit

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of the National Health Service

and everything else.

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Ministers stress that

for the likes of Samson,

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taking British citizenship

is not compulsory.

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But he wanted a guarantee he'd

be able to stay here,

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although he now fears

others may also struggle

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to pay for that assurance.

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Nick Beake, BBC London News.

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17 - that's the number of people

in the capital who've

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lost their lives to knife crime

since the start of the year.

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Today in a bid to help

tackle the problem -

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the Mayor's promised millions

to fund youth services

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in an effort to steer young

Londoners away from violence.

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Charlotte Franks reports.

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Some of the Londoners

who lost their lives last year

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after being stabbed to death.

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There were 80 victims in total.

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Many were just teenagers.

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For 19-year-old

Gabriel knife crime is

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For 19-year-old

Gabrielle knife crime is

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an issue very close to home.

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Not long ago one

of my close friends on

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his way home outside

the hospital got stabbed

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in his face and in

the

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back of his leg.

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When I was on my way

to the hospital to see him I was

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so scared.

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I didn't know what to expect.

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There has been a 23% increase

in knife crime across the capital.

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Today, the Mayor met young

people at a centre in

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Bermondsey where he announced he'll

be investing £45 million over the

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next three years into youth

services, in the hope it

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will help tackle the issue.

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Having a youth centre gives young

people a place to go.

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So, they're not on the streets like

getting influences from maybe

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bad places.

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People have the option to come

here and people have the option

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to have a safe zone

to go if they need it.

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The money will come from

a combination of council tax and

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business rates.

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But the news comes just a day

after a warning that Met

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Police officer numbers could drop

to as low as 27,000.

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Does it make sense to be

spending £45 million on

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projects like this when we've just

heard police numbers are going to be

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reduced in London?

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I'm not going to apologise

for investing in young people.

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I think this is an investment

for the future.

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What I'm doing is investing

in policing as well.

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We've had the biggest roll-out

of body-worn videos in the

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world last year.

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Across London.

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I announced additional sums

to the police last week.

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We've also ring fenced

some of that was

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dealing with knife crime.

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In their fight

against knife crime the

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Metropolitan Police carried out dawn

raids this morning across

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Westminster to confiscate

knives and target repeat

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knife crime offenders.

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This is about keeping our young

people safe during half term and

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that's the focus of this

week's activity for us.

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A lot of young people

and children are off school

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and it's about keeping them safe.

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But workers here in Bermondsey say

the answer to solving knife crime

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begins at grass roots level

with outreach programme

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begins at grass roots level

with outreach programmes

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key to their success.

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Charlotte Franks, BBC London News.

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Ayshea Buksh has got more on this -

so how will this work in practice?

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Charities and youth groups will have

to bid for the money and they will

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receive a grant. The £45 billion

fund will be available over three

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years, so 15 million each year, but

this isn't just about knife crime,

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the mayor already has a £7 million

knife crime strategy that he's

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invested in. What City Hall says is

they want to look at communities

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where the cuts to the youth

services, they say, were the most

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severe and also what will be central

to any successful bid is a focus on

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sport, culture, citizenship,

education and volunteering.

You have

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spoken to youth charities. What are

they saying to you about this?

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That's right, this will be welcomed

undoubtedly by grassroots

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organisations and I spoke to an

incredible youth project in Hackney

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earlier this evening and they say

that while three years is great,

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five years would be better because

they want to have a really good

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chunk of a young person's

adolescence to be able to work with

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them. Let's not forget, out of

London youth services are also under

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extreme pressure as well. Sian Berry

from the London Assembly says this

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is great and she hopes this will

start to repair some of the damage

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that youth services across London

have suffered.

OK, Ayshea Buksh,

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thank you.

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Parents of up to 70 pupils have been

told they'll have to find new places

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for their children this September.

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It's after a free school

in West London - which has only been

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open for three years -

is to close.

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Emma North has the story.

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A half-term get-together,

a chance to have fun

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and see your friends.

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But at the end of this year,

this group will split up.

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Their primary school,

Floreat Brentford, is closing.

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When I found out that my school

was closing, I was speechless.

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The only word I said was, why?

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I miss my friends and I

miss my teachers also.

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Theirs is a so-called free school,

it's paid for by the government

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but run by a group called

the Floreat trust.

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Floreat say they They have to close

the school because they can't find

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it a permanent home.

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And as a result, they

can't make the finances work.

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Some parents aren't convinced.

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This was where it

was all meant to be.

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We have been fighting with planning

permission, with the borough,

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the Department for Education

and Floreat Trust for

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the last three years.

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This car park was earmarked

for the new school but a planning

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application never went in and now

there are claims that the children

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are caught up in an

entirely political row.

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I think they have been a financial

guinea pig in all of this.

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It was a business opportunity

they tried to make work.

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They have decided that it hasn't,

so they shut it down.

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The trust are blaming the Council,

the Council are blaming

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the Department for Education.

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We have no idea where blame

lies, but at the end

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of the day it is our

children that are suffering.

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No one from Floreat would

be interviewed today,

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but they said a statement.

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We showed this to Hounslow Council.

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This is outrageous,

factually incorrect.

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Had this planning application been

submitted, do you think it

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would have been approved?

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Subject to the planning committee

approval, yes, because it had

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the support of the council.

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So, were you surprised

when the application

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form didn't come in?

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Yes, we were expecting it

January or February.

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So why are the arguments flying?

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Free schools have often been

the source of bitter

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political battles.

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It's been very interesting watching

the free schools programme,

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to see such a mundane aspect,

you might say, trying to find

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premises that are suitable

to have a school being

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such an obstacle.

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This is a story that

simply hasn't gone away.

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Government, which has a big interest

in making this look successful

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and be successful as a programme,

hasn't been able

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to help solve the problem better.

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The parents have been

promised meetings with both

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the governors and the council,

but whatever the reason

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for the school's closure,

these pupils seem more keen

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on playing proper games and less

on playing politics.

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Time for the weather now -

so I'll say goodnight

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and it's over to Phil Avery.

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How is it looking?

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Not great today, I will have two

Buck up otherwise you will have my

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job, lots of leaden skies, a loss to

the tourism board of Bromley, it

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looks like that through my window

and I suspect 3 euros, that is going

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away to the east, beginning today,

and as a consequence, after all it

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is mid-February, the temperatures

will dip away and we will scrape the

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car is first up but there will be

some sunshine away from the remnants

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of the cloud in the east to start

the day.. Before that by that

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because we are going to end up

losing the sunshine from the west by

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the latter part of the morning and

in the early part of the afternoon

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at some point I think we will see a

bit of rain. It will stay dry in the

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east, temperatures five, six, seven,

8 degrees, something of that order,

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I would have thought, and I leave

you with a look at the weekend,

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which looks to be just a bit warmer,

double-figure

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