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  1. Philip Hornby

The Last Word, December 2016

This week, we look at the troubled Southern Railway: as Aslef pile on the pressure and join the RMT, it's the passengers who face even more strikes, more uncertainty.

And uncertainty, too, over Brexit: six months after the vote to quit the EU, the timetable and the detail are still unknown.

We look back over 2016, a year unlike any other, with that referendum, the election of Donald Trump, and leadership elections for Labour, the Tories, and UKIP. In fact, they enjoyed theirs so much, they did it twice.

Lively political debate for our final show of the year with:-

  • Tim Aker MEP - UKIP
  • Royston Smith MP - Conservative, Southampton Itchen
  • Baroness Smith of Basildon, from Sussex
  • Stephen Lloyd, until last year, Lib Dem MP for Eastbourne

Council plans to make more cutbacks

The council is proposing another round of cuts Credit: ITV

Despite having saved £65 million, Reading Council is proposing another £10.5 million in savings.

The local authority still faces a large funding gap. The council says that, by 2020, it would have been forced to make more than a £100 million of savings.

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Meet Harvey Matusow - 'America's most notorious liar'

They called him 'America's most notorious liar'. Harvey Matusow was once a professional witness in Senator Joe McCarthy's communist witch hunts, and then later admitted his testimony was false.

But this extraordinary character later came to the UK and his archives ended up at the University of Sussex. Now a one-man show is now being performed in his name.

Andy Dickenson speaks to Diarmuid Hester and Doug Haynes from the university, as well as actor and writer Robert Cohen.

A lecture 'Who is Harvey Matusow' will take place tomorrow and the performance 'The Trials of Harvey Mostow' on Wednesday at the Latest Music Bar, Brighton.

Council fined £250,000 after workers develop industrial disease

A council in Kent has been fined £250,000 after four employees developed an industrial disease. It affected workers who used pneumatic drills and diggers.

The sentencing at Canterbury Crown Court paves the way for dozens more former workers with the crippling condition to sue Thanet Council, which admits breaking health and safety rules.

Total payouts could run into millions of pounds - and the council's cash reserves are already said to be dangerously low. Derek Johnson reports.

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  1. Phil Hornby

The Last Word, November 2016

The Chancellor's Autumn Statement - are the purse strings about to be really loosened? And if so, who's going to benefit? And the changed world after Donald Trump's election in America: what does it mean for international relations, climate change, and the language of political debate?

And Mims Davies, the Conservative MP for Eastleigh in Hants; Baroness Parminter, Kate Parminter, from Sussex for the Liberal Democrats; and Anneliese Dodds MEP, the Labour Euro-MP for south east England, talk about makings plans for Nigel ... Farage.

Pay & display row near the Royal Berkshire Hospital

The Royal Berkshire Hospital car park at full capacity

Finding parking at any hospital can be difficult at times. Staff and patients at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading often find themselves parking on surrounding streets when the car park is full. However, that has caused frustration for some people who live nearby.

Now it is feared that new restrictions on roads near the hospital are going to lead to more stress for staff and patients.

Reading Borough Council has approved plans to introduce pay and display charges on Addington Road and Erleigh Road despite strong opposition - including a petition with more than eight thousand signatures.

The council says the scheme is designed to make parking easier for neighbouring residents, but campaigners say it is morally wrong.

The interviewees in Mel Bloor's report are Rob Wilson, MP for Reading West, Conservative; and Clare Goulbourn-Lay, the midwife who started the petition.

In response to the suggestion that the hospital move to somewhere with more space for staff and patients to park, a Royal Berkshire Hospital spokesperson said that relocating the Hospital is not a new idea, and has been discussed on a number of occasions.

They added: "A new build could cost in excess of £200 million pounds. Any decision to relocate the hospital is not one the Trust would be able to make alone, and would need in depth discussion with the wider health care economy serving the area, along with NHS England and other partners.".

Labour politics could split in Brighton & Hove

Brighton and Hove Labour Party, which was suspended amid allegations of intimidation and ballot-rigging, could be split into three local parties. The move would bring suspension to an end. But leading members of the hard-left group Momentum say they'll refuse to work with a leadership team being 'imposed' by the national party. John Ryall reports.

The interviewees are Greg Hadfield, Momentum supporter; James Ellis, Momentum supporter; and Peter Kyle, the MP for Hove.

Sussex cancer survivor makes film about 'right to die'

Sara Cutting raised money for charity and campaigned for cancer awareness

A cancer survivor from Sussex who was hailed by David Cameron for her charity work has made a film in favour of assisted dying.

Last year Parliament voted against allowing terminal patients the 'right to die'. However, Sara Cutting says the pain she endured during her treatment for the condition has made her believe more strongly in the controversial change. Andy Dickenson reports.

The other interviewees in the report are Sam Dick, from 'Dignity in Dying'; and Alistair Thompson from 'Care Not Killing'.

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