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Government policy 'will make the region poorer'

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 22, 2012

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Coalition policies will widen the gap between the richest and poorest regions in the UK, according to a report published by the Work Foundation think-tank.

The group argues new local enterprise partnerships (LEPs), set up by the Government as successors to regional development agencies (RDAs), are ineffective.

Devon and Cornwall have among the lowest wages in the UK – a point underlined by years of generous EU hand-outs to boost the economy.

Labour's regional policy targeted at the Westcountry included the Exeter-based South West Regional Development Agency, which pumped almost £1 billion into the seven-county-wide region in more than a decade. Abolished in May, it was effectively replaced by two LEPs – one for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, and another in Devon and Somerset – but they have only this week been granted significant funding for running costs.

A cluster of firms in Devon and Cornwall have been given money through the £2.4 billion Regional Growth Fund, though the cash is a fraction of what was available under RDAs.

Newquay has one of 24 Government "enterprise zones", which offers benefits to firms setting up there, including tax breaks.

Work Foundation report author Lizzie Crowley said: "While the Government has committed itself to rebalancing the UK economy, their hands-off approach is set to have quite the opposite effect.

"Current policies are likely to exacerbate regional economic differences via a 'winner takes all' approach, with poorer areas left to further decline.

"Doing nothing about deprived communities is not an option. The resulting economic decline is likely to bring about serious social and economic costs for individuals, local areas and national government.

"On the one hand, we need measures that allow more people to benefit from those areas that are more successful.

"But at the same time, we need targeted measures to ensure that struggling areas are not left without any support."

According to the report, policies such as Business Rates Retention, which allows councils to keep a proportion of the levy instead of handing it over to the Treasury, will contribute to the increasing divide.

The Government admits the policy will benefit wealthier authorities but insists poorer councils will receive top-up payments.

The report urges the Government to give greater funding and powers to LEPs.

Ben Bradshaw, Labour MP for Exeter and former South West Minister, said: "This report should come as no surprise to anyone in the Westcountry. Every aspect of this Government's policy appears geared to widening the gap between wealthy London and the South East and the rest of us."

A Department for Business, Innovation and Skills spokesman said: "The Government's top priority is to achieve strong and sustainable growth that is more evenly balanced across the country and between regions."

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  • Charlespk  |  September 25 2012, 3:36PM

    As long as people make the "career choice" as previously pointed out, the gap between the richest and the poorest in society will always widen. . That is the basic logic that can and will never ever change. Anyone who believes differently is being firmly held hostage by their politics of envy.

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  • josdave  |  September 25 2012, 12:32PM

    I see nothing in the article to make all the comments about the badger cull relevant still that never stops some people. The fact that the gap between richest and poorest is widening under a Tory government should come as no surprise to anyone.

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  • FruitcakeBaby  |  September 25 2012, 11:28AM

    The biggest problem the poor have is thinking they can make being unemployed and living on benefits a career choice and being backed by Labour in this view. If anyone is not helping the poor it is Labour policies from when they were in power, only the Lib Dems seem to think that these were golden days.

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  • Charlespk  |  September 24 2012, 8:33AM

    @badgeryou Quote:- "What it will almost certainly not do is limit bovine tuberculosis, even in the target zones of Gloucestershire and Somerset." I'll bet you haven't got the first clue about encephalitis or meningitis either!

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  • 2ladybugs  |  September 24 2012, 6:12AM

    Well knowing now that you don't even have the basic knowledge of badgers and their lifestyle anything else that you are now coming out with will be taken with a pinch of salt. You haven't read or understood any of the previous records stating that bTb had been more or less wiped out. There is no alternative at present to clear infected herds apart from culling cattle that prove positive, clearing those farms of badgers and putting massive bio security measures in place. People will continue to eat dairy products and eat beef and it is better that this meat comes from this country where at least we can have some knowledge as to how that meat is being raised and slaughtered. If it comes from abroad we have no knowledge as to what conditions the animals are bred for consumption or the conditions in which they are being slaughtered. We also have little or no knowledge as to how wildlife is being dealt with to stop TB getting into their herds.

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  • badgeryou  |  September 23 2012, 11:37PM

    The licensed killing of badgers in parts of Gloucestershire and Somerset could achieve a number of things. It could further advertise the unwelcome existence of bovine tuberculosis in British dairy herds. It could polarise opinion in the countryside and unite political opposition everywhere else. It could cost the farmers involved more than they could gain. It will almost certainly provoke active protest and put even more pressure on already hard-pressed police forces. What it will almost certainly not do is limit bovine tuberculosis, even in the target zones of Gloucestershire and Somerset. It might be helpful to list those things that are certain. Human tuberculosis is a dangerous disease. Bovine tuberculosis is a real problem for dairy farmers – who in any case have been paid too little for their milk and who have been going out of business for decades – and the disease lives on in the wild badger population. But by 1996, a policy of identification and slaughter had reduced the incidence of bovine TB in dairy herds in England and Wales to less than half a per cent, and the risk of direct transmission to humans has – with the pasteurisation of milk – long ago become negligible. The last and most systematic examination of the link between badgers and bovine TB found that, indeed, there was transmission, and proposed a series of systematic, randomised controlled trials over a sustained period to see whether culling could provide an answer. In 2003, the government, farmers, public health officers and wildlife campaigners got the answer: shooting and gassing did not eliminate, and could possibly spread, the disease. That may be because badgers disturbed in one area could migrate, taking the infection with them. The answer, delivered by Lord Krebs and the distinguished statisticians and zoologists who examined the results, could hardly be clearer: killing will not solve the problem. Lord Krebs's scientific credentials are not in doubt. He was trusted by successive British governments to head the Natural Environment Research Council, and to chair the Food Standards Agency. And he has just described the latest plan as a "crazy scheme". http://tinyurl.com/bvjp9rv

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  • 2ladybugs  |  September 23 2012, 10:48PM

    In case you are still having problems with the life of a badger, they eat mainly earthworms and they also have a penchant for maize. They aren't going to get much in the way of earthworms when the ground is frozen. The maize will be ripe anytime from now until the middle/end of October. They will be more active now, hence the reason why the cull is due to start anytime now until the end of November.

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  • 2ladybugs  |  September 23 2012, 10:21PM

    @badgeryou More nonsense. A farmer is hardly likely to stand around wasting time and money, waiting for a hibernating badger to stick its nose out of the sett to see if it is frosty or snowing. Did you not realise that badgers hibernate?? This smacks of desperation and makes you look like right numpties when you don't even know the yearly life cycle of the mammal you are trying to save!!!!!!!

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  • badgeryou  |  September 23 2012, 9:18PM

    Please don't forget it is now legal to shoot pregnant and nursing badgers. We find this truly shocking. GABS has just done a press release, on an issue which both GABS and Vale Wildlife Centre have discovered during enquires, and which we would like to share with you here. If you would like to share and encounter problems sharing on Facebook, please copy and paste to your time line. People just don't realise the reality of a badger cull. Group fears Pregnant Badgers to be left to die Following enquiries by Vale Wildlife Hospital and GABS, it has become apparent that the planned cull in Tewkesbury and the Forest of Dean is likely to result in pregnant badgers being shot and left to die in their setts as shooting is allowed to take place until the end of January. There is also the possibility that cubs may already have been born and that nursing mothers could be shot, resulting in the cubs starving to death. If badgers are shot and injured then they will be tracked by trained dogs which are being used by the marksmen. However, it is likely that any injured badger will attempt to make its way back to the sett and could then suffer a slow, painful death. The government announced yesterday that the planned cull of badgers is due to start in the next few weeks in Tewkesbury and Forest of Dean area. The government is refusing to state exactly when and where the cull of thousands of local badgers will take place because they fear that local people will be outraged at the slaughter on their doorsteps. The government has confirmed that night time shooting must end by 1st February to prevent badgers being shot while they are nursing dependent young but this will mean that many will be killed while they are pregnant, and some cubs may be born in January. The Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting spokesperson Liz Gaffer said "Bovine TB is a terrible disease that must be stamped out but the government's planned cull of badgers is not humane and not based on science. It has just become clear to us that pregnant badgers will be shot and left to die and this cannot be right. We ask every caring person to contact their MP and county councillor to help stop this. All the national animal charities have joined together to stop the cull and we must give them our full support. Please do what you can by going to the Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting website and making your views clear to the decision makers". http://tinyurl.com/bvjp9rv

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  • Charlespk  |  September 22 2012, 12:15PM

    People are so short sighted, with such short memories. http://tinyurl.com/dbwfmp

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