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tv   Inside Out South West  BBC News  October 20, 2019 11:30am-12:00pm BST

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requesting a brexit extension and a signed one saying a delay would be a mistake. the prime minister has done exactly what he said he was going to do. he has complied with the law, so parliament's request has been conveyed to the eu. labour's shadow brexit secretary calls the move "childish" and says whatever deal gets through the house of commons should be subject to a second referendum. the eu's chief brexit negotiator met representatives from eu countries this morning to discuss their response to the uk's request for an extension. in other news... further violence on the streets of hong kong as police fire tear gas at demonstrators who had gathered outside a police station. wales narrowly beat france to secure a place in the semi—finals of the rugby world cup. now it is time for bbc news inside out west.
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full steam ahead. to save this somerset beauty. we've had hurdles, we've had challenges. we are going to be open. also on the programme... the book boom in cornwall. cupboards full of dead kindles. people have gone back to books. and 3.5 billion a year, the pension benefits going begging. i didn't know a thing about it. hello. changes imposed by the bbc mean thousands of people over 75 are going to lose their free tv licence. that's controversial enough. but it's also highlighted how billions of pounds of pension benefits are going unclaimed. i've been investigating. time to tune into some familiarfaces. madeline mason finds comfort in watching her favourite tv shows.
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i like country file, some documentaries, comedies. you'll be watching something and you will suddenly find yourself having a good laugh and it makes you feel heaps better. but in the future, she'll have to pay to watch those perennial tv favourites, and any other programme. madeline's one of up to 3.7 million pensioners who will lose their free tv licence next june. why us? when you're a pensioner you don't seem to get anything. shows like bbc spotlgiht — and inside out for that matter — are a hit with older bbc viewers. you're a loyal audience. and until now the government has paid for the over 755 to have free tv licences. not any more. when the licence fee was renegotiated in 2015,
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responsibility for free licenses was turned over to bbc bosses. and they've decided most older pensioners are going to have to pay. don't switch us off! it's getting a bad rating. don't switch us off, don't switch us off. don't switch us off, don't switch us off. we've got to win this one because if they get away with this, what are they going to go after then? you tell us what they'll go after. go after then? they'll go after every benefit that's going. i would refuse to pay, on principle. i don't mind getting into trouble. the other half would be well pleased, i imagine, me being banged up for a while! it might not be what listeners want to hear, but the bbc says if it paid the licence fee for all over 755 it would cost hundreds of millions of pounds and it says that would mean drastic cut backs. and not just to tv shows. it would be unfair to take out services like bbc two or bbc four,
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5live, local radio, that would be necessary if we were to continue with the concession that the government has withdrawn the funding of. the government says the bbc should continue to pay for all over 755. the bbc doesn't agree. but it has put in place a plan for the poorest pensioners. this video by an advice charity is a heads up on how to claim a benefit called pension credit. it tops up the income of older people and the bbc has decided over 755 who receive it will still get a free tv licence. these guys are part of the men in shed5 group. it's a place where retirees can get together, drill wood, make friends and share views. what do they think about linking free tv licences to pension credit?
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fair enough for those who can afford it. some pensioners are on good money, but the majority of them are struggling like i do.|j money, but the majority of them are struggling like i do. i really do think it is not right and the government should really back to read and reinstate it. at least it's not disappearing for tho5e at least it's not disappearing for those on pension credit, the trouble i5 pension credit is one of them mo5t under claimed benefits. research by a campaign group suggest that up to a8,000 hou5ehold5 who are entitled to a don't actually make a claim. even though succe55fully
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claiming say it is not easy. it is a minefield. there is a form of about four or five minefield. there is a form of about four orfive pages. a lot of minefield. there is a form of about four or five pages. a lot of it is pride. i think a lot of it is do i really... am i really entitled to it? if you don't ask, he won't get it. the department for work and pensions a5 it. the department for work and pensions as it uses lots of ways to tell people about benefits, but campaigners 5ay tell people about benefits, but campaigners say too many are missing out. they almost stumble across the benefit, they might hear about it from a neighbour or hear it in pa55ing. we don't think it is right that that is how people are finding out about it and there needs to be much more concerted effort from government to understand the problem and sure people who are entitled to the benefit are getting it. and the more deprived part5 the benefit are getting it. and the more deprived parts of the country,
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it is more deprived parts of the country, it i5a more deprived parts of the country, it is a concern. up to 2700 families could be missing out here. at this church, they have exchanged tv for cup5 church, they have exchanged tv for cups of tea. is awful unfair. what if you watch mostly itv or something? they are free! within all of the groups, people are really worried about the implementation about how they are going to be able to afford it. we see some real difficult cases with idolization. for some people tv is the only company. i did not know anything about it and a lady came from the housein about it and a lady came from the house in to see what i had got and 5he house in to see what i had got and she said, oh that may look into it for you. and if you weeks later, i got 800 something pound5 back pay.
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and then i was on pension credit every week. the bbc reckons around 900 -- 9000 -- 900,000 every week. the bbc reckons around 900 —— 9000 —— 900,000 hou5ehold5 will qualify. but it is thought that another six hundred thousand are entitled but are not claiming it. some of them could end up facing a tv licence demand even though they are on low incomes. but will the thought of paying £154 for a tv licence inspire some of those mi55ing licence inspire some of those missing out on the pension credit making a claim? the bbc say5 missing out on the pension credit making a claim? the bbc says it wa nts to making a claim? the bbc says it wants to raise the visibility and pension credits and i5 wants to raise the visibility and pension credits and is writing to million5 pension credits and is writing to millions of people after how they can continue to qualify for a free licence.
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there are loads of people that need help filling the forms and if you a5k —— if you are asked for your birth certificate i don't know where it is. there are people who are hard of hearing if they are called over the phone. all this extra pension credit is left by the wayside really. the government used to have ta rg ets to get really. the government used to have targets to get more people to claim pension credit, but in 2007, they 5aid pension credit, but in 2007, they said they were failing to reach them and it would not represent value for money to repeatedly pre55 people to ta ke money to repeatedly pre55 people to take up the entitlement. is outrageous that three and a half pound5 outrageous that three and a half pounds is going unclaimed year. that this is a role that the government mu5t this is a role that the government must take action about it. it's early days, but there's some evidence new pension credit claims have increased since the tv licence decision was announced in the summer.
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but here at least, they feel the free licence scheme worked well and should never have been tinkered with. the old folks of england, the guys and the ladies who have done their bit for the country and themselves should get something out of it. when you are a pensioner, you don't seem to get anything. and we are always the last to be thought about and i think that's wrong. i think we should be thought about first. the historic west somerset railway is an abolute beauty. and it brings in millions to the local economy. but what happens when a great little line goes off the rails?
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is he behaving? indeed he is. jon jones—pratt has ridden this railway ever since he was in short trousers. now he's chairman of the board. it's a passion that i've had from knee high really. been engrained in me from the family. and his first task is to save the line he loves from going under. to the heritage movement we've been a laughing stock for probably five, six years. because we keep falling out. for much of the past decade, variou5 factions involved in the line have been at loggerheads. the wage bill 5oared. directors came and went.
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insolvency loomed. the ill feelings went public. 0ne wag even dubbed the railway the "dirty washing line". we're only in quiet somer5et, it's amazing, absolutely amazing. disgusting. we're past it, we're quite clear, that behaviour isn't welcome, we do not accept it. jon's got three months to turn things around before the tourist season kicks in. he's already made redundancies, brought in new directors, and sold an engine to pay the wage bill. he's also brought back the former signalling inspector to overhaul safety training. what i'd like you to do i5 demonstrate to me... ..who happens to be his father, chri5. both with the mechanical lock in and the electrical lock in... my passion is for western region signalling. signal number five on the diagram here...
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chris had worked on the railway for 26 years. but he left with a heavy heart three years ago, unhappy with the way things were being run. and can you show which signal you are able to clear now, please? when inspectors from the office of road and rail — the 0rr — visited the railway last autumn, they ordered the railway to improve or risk being shut down. chris is checking that everyone in safety critical jobs, like running a signal box, can prove they can do the job to the regulators' standards. like his son, he's determined to keep the railway going. i came back because i'd travelled on the last train on the branch on british railways days and i didn't want to be on the last train again.
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the railway has a handful of paid staff, but relies on its stalwart volunteers to keep things running. few have given more than mike wightman, who was badly injured three years ago while coupling a loco to its tender. everything is heavy and everything is dangerous. on this occasion while we were pushing the tender and engine together, i got in the way. he was very, very fortunate that the size that he is, that he managed to basically squeeze through. i mean it's this part here, if it was me i wouldn't have come out. at the end it would be eight or nine inches and i got out the way, but just not quick enough and i received a crush injury. the 0rr considered prosecuting
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the railway, but such is his love for it, mike didn't want a court case. safety procedures were tightened up. and after he recovered, mike came straight back. we are like a family. we squabble, we shout, we call each other names, but we're all here for the common cause. as long as i can keep going, as long as i'm compos mentis and sensible and as long as they want me, i'm happy to show up. part ofjon‘s turnaround plan has been to close the railway for three months to bring safety up to scratch. hello, looking forward to the trains coming back? next week, hopefully. the most urgentjob is replacing sections of worn out rails and sleepers that form what's called the permanent way — the track. all going all right then? it is, really good.
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we are going to get ready for friday, then. excellent, good stuff. with the busy easter weekend nearing, jon's given the permanent way gang a deadline. the last three miles to minehead — the end of the line — have to be open in ten days time. we are going to be open. you know, we had hurdles, we've had challenges. but yeah, if you look over the last three months, what we've done, it's down to those guys. it is their dedication, as dave said, we are going to be open friday. even with its army of unpaid volunteers, the railway costs around £3 million a year to run. its yearly income is around £3 million. the track alone needs half a million a year spent on it. hello. hello, paul. how are you? jon has asked the fundraising association to help.
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paul whitehouse is the chairman. we started the £250,000 push. and the really important thing is that we are emphasising gift aid and you get 25% from the government. that will make an enormous difference. they hope people will buy shares even though the company pays no dividends. heritage railways are a passion. and people are willing to put money into it and they don't expect a return. i'm not perfectly confident, what i'm saying is that we will do our damnedest. and if you don't? well if we don't, then we will cross that bridge when we come to it! i'm not going to give up now. i'm going to assume that we shall be successful. easter‘s arrived — and the railway‘s reopened bang on time. where can you go and do this! brilliant! after months of work, jon's doing what he loves most.
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this is where we've been doing all the relays. literally up until last night we gave up possession of the track. so people are pulling together. west somerset at its best, really. it has proved what we can do. the west somerset railway has survived to celebrate its 40th anniversary. it so very nearly didn't make it. it's a wake up call. we inject about 5.5 million to west somerset. we are an important lifeline for this economy, this town. so it's much wider thanjust running a heritage steam railway. withoutjon we'd not be here. he brings a breath of fresh air. his enthusiasm is great and i'm confident his businesslike approach will make a difference. it did seem an unsolvable mess, quite frankly. but where are today is that we are solvent, we are in control of our destiny and we've got the railway back on track.
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happy days are here again! god save the queen! our high streets are in crisis. the number of empty shops is at a record high. is there anything to be done? well, for those of you who like to dip into a good book — a real book — you could be helping one industry to start anew. the sad story of our struggling town centres is yet to find a happy ending. so here's an unexpected kink in the tale. book shops have been hanging at death's door. but after 20 years of decline, their fortunes are changing.
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for the second year running, the number of independent book stores on our high streets is growing. ronjons has four book shops in the south west, one of them here in falmouth. he isa he is a right old horrible looking toad. i hope he is not watching. for him, life is looking up. cupboards full of dead kindles. you hope! no there are, definitely. batteries are dead. people have gone back to books. so how's he succeeding where the big retail brands are failing? well... once upon a time... the tide turned for the humble bookseller. to weather a stormy economy, they learnt they had to do more than just sell books.
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where would you put that? i think we have a good space just in the corner there which would work wonderfully well. the shipwreck museum near st austell is the venue for ron's latest venture. an image like this really brings that back alive. tragic though it is, the story is there and has to be told. the south west‘s rich history of wrecks is being turned into a new book. there are no photos. instead, modern oil paintings illustrate the fateful events. curator dan is keen to put them on show. we have some signage for that. so get the name of the ship on there. ron has published 40 books about the south west, using talented local illustrators and authors. it gives his customers something different. stories about where they live. and who doesn't love a good story? the person steering the ship got his leg caught in some control. he fell over and
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knocked himself out. this is a submarine, she was on an exercise out of plymouth. and she got stuck in the mud. this is a particular favourite of mine. the flying enterprise. the captain hanging on to the railings and waving. it now appears, if you read the book, that his cargo was some secret sort of plutonium metal. for the first nuclear submarine. but it's notjust ships that sink. in the mid ‘905 tragedy hit many booksellers. a deal that prevented discount books was broken up. it meant supermarkets and chain stores could slash prices. small indies were battered by the fierce competition. and just as they were coming up for air — the recession hit. followed by the rise of amazon and e—books. more than a thousand independent book shops went under.
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we kept thinking is the book finished? is it seriously the end? it did feel quite bleak for a number of years. we shut in plymouth which had nearly £1 million turnover, it went down to a quarter of that. until ron discovered that he could do something the big stores couldn't. the personal touch. publishing books tailored for the tastes of his customers. a sea of storms is ready for the shelves. the book trade has a remarkably cohesive structure and very friendly trade to be in. everyone worked together. everyone didn't just want to order books from amazon. a faceless, american global company. your lip snarled as you say that! did it really! amazon with its cut—price offers, does have its place, of course. some towns don't have a book shop. but for those who thought the book would go the same way as vinyl, they couldn't be more wrong. the uk is the world's
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top exporter of books. print sales are rising and consumer e—books declining. meryl hall from the booksellers association believes we're suffering from digitalfatigue. i think people have had a sway away from digital. i think they want to have an antidote to screen time and i think a lot of publishing now is about beautiful books. so book shops are obviously the best place to do that because you go into a real book shop and you smell the books and get to pick up the gorgeous book that you didn't know you wanted. and you can have a conversation with the book—seller and get great recommendations. so i think it is partly about a sort of swing away from a digital life that we all spend most of ourtime doing. michael foreman is putting the finishing details to the main character in his new book. he is one of the nation's best loved illustrators.
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i get encouraging letters from pa rents i get encouraging letters from parents who say i remember your book when i was a child and now my children are reading it, and thank you so much. i get a lot of... reward, i guess, from that. according to the reading charity book trust, children prefer to settle down with a print book over an e—book. when it's finished, the mermaid's christmas adventure will go on sale in the shop in falmouth. this is one of the early pictures. the mermaids and herfriends following the fishing fleet into the harbour. this may not make it in the final books. so we have just had the proof for michael's book in. here is santa
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with the beach shorts on. don't give the whole story away. he apologises to the mermaid for the accident. he says he will be back. we said we can't say that because you just think of arnold schwarzenegger. will it sell? i hope so. it's a very old medium, but, but it has made it to where we are now. i don't see any reason why it won't carry on. that is all for now. to join us for more stories close to home. well, on the whole, the weather is looking pretty good across most of the uk.
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sunshine on offer, a chance of a shower. most likely in northern and eastern scotland and the northeast of england. that is because we are fairly close to the low pressure which has been bringing the unsettled weather for the last few days, but this big gap in the cloud, you can see it here on the satellite across the mid—atla ntic, that is part of the high pressure that is building and all the way from the azores. it is called the azores high. that is going to settle things down from later on today and into tomorrow. not everywhere. a bit of a fly in the ointment. there are cloud gathering around the near continent heading toward the southeast, but that is not until later on. so, a fine afternoon for many of us. temperatures around 11 or 12 degrees. pretty nippy out there, especially after that chilly start to the day for some of us. tonight, the showers eventually clear away from the north, but then we have got this complication, this weather front trying to squeeze in. yes, the high pressure is building, but we have got this weather front sneaking in and clipping
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in the southeast. it means that anywhere from brighton, london to ipswich and norwich here, you might need your umbrella in the morning. the chances are it will stay quite damp through the morning and possibly into the early afternoon. it is just that far southeastern corner of the country that could have a damp start to the day. the vast majority of the uk tomorrow are in for a dry start and a fine afternoon as well. temperatures tomorrow, nothing spectacularly high. we are talking about around 12 for most of us. single figures in the north maybe in the mid teens there in cornwell, devon and london. tuesday, high pressure is still over the uk. there is low pressure to the north of us, which is quite often the case. thicker clouds, more of a breeze for our friends in the western and northern isles, south of that, the weather is looking fine. certainly sunshine i think for edinburgh, newcastle hull and birmingham too.
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plymouth is looking sunny as well with highs of around about an average of about 13 degrees. the outlook for the next few days, looking pretty steady on the weather front towards the end of the week, perhaps things are going to turn a little bit more unsettled.
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afternoon. this is bbc news. the headlines. borisjohnson has sent the eu an unsigned letter, requesting a brexit extension, and a signed one saying a delay would be a mistake. the prime minister has done exactly what he has said he is going to do. he has complied with the law. so parliament's request has been conveyed to the eu. labour say whatever deal gets through the house of commons should be subject to a second referendum. whether it is this deal or any future deal, it has got to go back so the public can say, do you want to leave on these terms, if so, then we do. if not, then we remain. in brussels — the eu's chief brexit negotiator met representatives


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