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The East Midlands Today Debate

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You might wish to jet away from it all but there's no escaping the


The closed shops on our high streets tell the story. Job cuts


and recession, rising unemployment and a growing number of people


queuing for food parcels. We could not survive without them. We've


witnessed the struggle for survival at factories like Bombardier, the


lack of hope when giant firms shut up shop and we've listened to the


sound of protest as cuts in the public sector have started to bite.


A real shock. It is closing down. It might appear there are no


reasons to be cheerful. And then there are places like this... A


construction college where they're building for the future, is it here


we'll find the green shoots of Welcome to this BBC East Midlands


Today special on the state of the region's economy. This evening


we're the guests of West Nottinghamshire College and here at


their construction academy at Kirkby in Ashfield they really are


building for the future, providing the training and skills needed for


the next generation of plumbers, brickies, chippies and decorators.


Joining me, a group of invited guests including politicians,


business men and women and people Give yourselves a round of applause.


Asha Khemka, you are the principle of this college, we are talking


about jobs, how do the courses you round here translate into jobs? How


successful is it at finding work? First, let me say welcome to my


college, we are proud to host this event. Moving on to what we are


doing at the college... As you know There is a link between education


and economy. Just like in health, people used a measure of infant


mortality to judge a nation's health, similarly, education and


youth employment a sensitive measures of how an economy is doing.


How successful are you doing? successful. You can see what we're


doing in terms of giving people skills. I have three examples...


What we are doing in addition to giving people skills and allowing


them to progress into jobs... We are providing a job vacancy service


at the college were students are prepared to apply for those


particular jobs and we have seen 700 young people progress into jobs


last year as a result of that initiative. Secondly, we have


worked with Mansfield District Council on a summer job shop and


trained people on employability skills, on a five-week course, and


out of 60, more than 30 progressed into employment, the rest have


progressed into other studies and so on. Finally, we showcased the


work of students and invited employers and others to look at


what they will be employing. Becky, you have been running your own


business. But you have come back here to re-train, why? I was


running a domestic cleaning business but a lot of professional


clients could not afford to actually have my services. So why


decided to retrain and I found a cause of professional painting and


decorating. Do you see more of a future in that? I do. More of a


future and the course is so detailed that it literally will


give me the skills I need to get employed. Why are you here? Rather


than follow your education through school? I came here because I am a


hands-on kind of guy. When I was at school I did not really get to do


the practical work I can do here. I was in a classroom, doing work, but


here I can develop skills and hopefully go on to become an


apprentice. Are you optimistic? hope so. I have gone for a few


apprenticeships but due to my hand, because I have had some


difficulties with it, I have been let down. I hope it gets better for


you. Julian, you see many students like Ryan come through the course


and we know there is a shortage of housing, about 124,000 families


waiting for new homes, but will people like Ryan get jobs? If they


work hard and get the qualifications, there are


opportunities for them. As you can see from the facilities you are in,


they are fabulous and the staff work very hard to make sure that at


the end of the course they have industrial standard skills and have


a good chance when they get out there. The couple of days to go


before the Budget, what is the true state of the regional economy? What


are we looking at? The economy is growing but very slowly. It is not


growing in all sectors, all four companies. So it is a mixed picture.


-- or four companies. We need to see a further boost to that.


know people are claiming unemployment, in fact, the number


claiming has doubled since the start of 2008, with thousands of


job losses, 17,000 which came from council cuts. Martin, you are out


of work. You have been out of work for three years and your


volunteering at the moment. What is it like? Very difficult to find


jobs out there. You go into some Job Centres and the staff they do


not seem to be very helpful. It did not appeal to me, they can be


intimidating places as well. many jobs have you applied for?


Over 50. In how long? A very period of four years. Have qualifications,


Business Admin, IT... I just want to work. I just want a job. We have


people here like Martin who have been trying hard. A over three


years, which is very sad. But he wants to work. I know. I am very


surprised what you say about your experience at Job Centres because


certainly the one in my constituency is a welcoming, good


place. I was told last week they can place people, often it takes


time and they need to improve people's CVs, they also know you


have to apply for a lot of jobs before you finally get the one you


are looking for. How many have you applied for? 50. I should imagine


somebody who would want to help you would be wanting you to apply for a


lot more than 50. Presumably one the government to help you? I would.


What would you like to happen? need help. That is exactly what the


programmes are there to do, specifically designed to get people


into work, or back into work, whatever their circumstances. When


I visit them they tell me they are doing a very good job that that.


Chris, Your leader says he will guarantee six months' work to


people aged between 18 and 24 and sadly you told me your age earlier


and I am sorry you do not quite fit into that bracket! There is a catch,


you can do it, but you will lose your benefits, is that fair? It is


important we address this national scandal of youth unemployment. We


sort happened in the 1980s and studies have shown people who have


a long-term period of unemployment in the 1980s had their lives


blighted as a consequence of that. I don't want to see another wasted


forgotten generation as a result of the policies which the George


Osborne is pursuing which are not working, they are hurting, but not


working. We have seen demand being taken out of the economy, thousands


of people losing jobs in the public sector, unable to spend that money,


it is no surprise we saw there that shops were closing because people


have not got money to spend in retail outlets. It is important we


recreate demand in the economy by investing in it and investing in


our construction sector, the manufacturing sector, the


construction sector is on its knees. When the government came to power


this scrap the building schools for the future programme. He wore on


that, went to? -- you were on that, were you not? It has been taken


away. How does that make you feel? It really knocks your confidence.


It makes you feel down. Jason, we know in this part of the world it


is hard to find work. You worry student at this college. But when


you wear a student there were more jobs and it was easier to find work.


Now there might be 300 more people chasing one job. That is true. But


we need to rebalance the economy. You will have noticed there has


been around 59,000 more part-time jobs and people with rebalancing


the tax system a bit, so lifting some of the poorest people out of


tax and lifting millions of people out of the higher paid tax bracket


with more disposable income. If shops have disposable income, they


are spending it, investing it, people with small businesses have


been able to take on an extra member of staff. I think places


like this college Ira beacon of hope for the future because they


show exactly what can be done when you link skills with the community


and have some ambition. Finding jobs and getting people -- Finding


jobs and getting people into work is key to growing the economy but


the cuts have left some people feeling like second class citizens,


like the Reverend Jane Lyon from Ashbourne. By having this effective


care package it has enabled me to be a full member of the community


and take an active part in life. I was pretty concerned about having


to go through being reassessed and I just felt like I was on trial.


Almost as if the people who were coming to assess the were trying to


catch me out. I think the problem is they sit in their office and see


easy targets, but they need to actually look at what people are


doing with their lives. It is so important that I and other disabled


people contribute to society. We have so much to give but we need


Reverend Jane Lyon, you are currently getting �500 a week for


care and you have been told that could be slashed to about �40. This


dress, as we can see from that film, it is not doing you any good?


have certainly been times when I have had suicidal thoughts because


I had been so desperate. Some but not all practitioners seems so


driven by the cuts agenda, that I feel they cannot see how vulnerable


I am. They have stopped caring because they have to make these


cuts? That is how it feels. Not everyone. I am glad to hear that.


This was always going to be one of the worries though, wasn't it? We


accept that these cuts are being made but this was always one of the


worries, that the people most vulnerable would become victims yet


again? A they shouldn't be, and nobody makes cuts because they do


not care. Everyone who goes into politics goes into politics because


we do care and one to make changes to make things better for everybody.


I do not know this case at all but I am hoping there has not been a


determination. I believe it is Derbyshire County Council and they


would arch party going see her Member of Parliament. If she was my


constituents, I would be fighting like a tiger to make sure that


whatever has gone wrong goes right. I would like to think that this is


a very unusual case and we have not got the determination. Cuts would


be imposed by whichever government one of the last election and we all


know why. That is the deficit. We have to bring down the deficit


because, in simple terms, our country was on the verge of


bankruptcy. People in need in our society should not suffer more.


say they shouldn't... We don't know yet because this case has not been


determined that she has not gone through the process. She has of the


worry. I totally reject what and that is saying because in my view,


and on all the evidence, this government is using the deficit as


a fig-leaf for what is actually an ideological assault on public


services. We are seeing huge and that justified cuts on public


services which actually define the kind of society in which we live.


It is also important to remember that in cutting public services in


the way the government is trying to do, that is having a knock-on


effect on the wider economy because people do not have the money. 20%


of the region's workforce work in the public sector and are being


decimated by this government's policies. Attacking public services


and the social security benefits that the in place because, as a


compassionate society we should look to help people who cannot look


after themselves. For every �8 this Government has cut, Labour would


have cut �7. It is not growing the economy, that is the problem. The


economy needs to grow. The mess we're in is because of the deficit


we have inherited which has brought two political parties together to


sort it out. Jane, you have your hand up. What they wanted to say is


that by having the right support, I have been able to study for an any


degree and do my ordination training. I can serve the community


as an ordained person. That is what you want to do, serve the


community? We have changed the system so people have control of


their own budgets to make their own decisions.


Alan Lloyd, you are trying to offer help and support of vulnerable


people in Mansfield but you feel you have been caught between a rock


and a hard place? I do, but in this particular case, it would be


interesting to see who is carrying out the assessment and I believe it


is a company we use, and they will point out that with us, a 90% of


our appeals had been successful. The original verdict had been


overturned. I think you're talking about people on disability. Tell us


of the effect at the cuts have had on the people you're working with.


Since 2009, the cuts started to hit us. We have gone down, our core


funding, gone down from 53,000 to 10,000. It will be nothing this


year. We work with the most disadvantaged on things like the


Work Programme. Some come to us and we introduce them for the first


time in their lives to toothpaste and soap and towels. Very basic


stuff. What is your experience of this, Helen, from Unison?


represent people employed in the delivery of public services and


what strikes me about this debate is not only are we putting people,


currently an employment and delivering services, I did work,


but it then has a negative impact on the people the use those


services, people like the Reverend Jane Lyon and that those you have


described. It has a negative impact on the local economy because for


every �1 spent on local services, 61p of that gets to be spent on the


local economy. Do the cuts not have to be made? They do not. There are


alternatives to the spending cuts that we have never had a proper


debate about. Even if you except the spending cuts have to be made,


you can make different choices about what they have to be spent on.


You can make tax more fair and cut the deal less than this economy.


Before he say anything else, I want to bring in Phil Matthews of the


Police Federation. We know very clearly that police forces across


the country have been severely affected. How many officers from


Nottinghamshire had been made redundant and what has been the


impact? We have lost over 300 already and we are scheduled to


lose another 100 or 200 before we see the end of these cuts, which is


approximately one in five of our numbers. We have seen about the


equivalent other civilian staff bowlers well, about one in three.


Is that the same story in Derbyshire and Leicestershire?


Nottinghamshire had the fourth highest reduction of all the police


forces in the country. Derbyshire have lost something like 8% and


Lincolnshire something like 12%, Leicestershire something similar.


We have seen massive cuts on an unprecedented scale. You're not


alone. There are a lot of big companies in this area, such as


Bombardier. Tough times, Kevin Owen. How hard has it been that


Bombardier? Since we lost the Thames Link order, we have lost


nearly 1200 staff. A lot of agency staff but they believe some of them


would have been kept on if we had got the Thames like. -- Link. It


has been devastating. What is it been like for colleagues with all


this uncertainty hanging over them? -- has it. They really did not know


what to do because they thought government was going to back


British industry and manufacturing in Britain but it does not seem


like we had the backing. Backing and support is what we need to get


this economy growing. You're from Leicester where you chair the Asian


Business Association, what is your experience? What -- I think we buy


into the localisation agenda. Let's have support for the start-ups and


social enterprise, but one group of men and women we have forgotten his


those already in business, and have been in business, and suffer


because they have a bad credit rating on a bad banking record


through no fault of their own. Might the two of the politicians


here and of the three parties and the banks, is to it, going forward,


creator road map for these men and women to bring up their credit


record, and start creating those additional jobs and profitability


so we can have prosperity again. I would welcome any support in that


area. Because the business does not do well first time around does not


be it cannot do well in the future with support? And trying times,


everything is scarce. The biggest asset we have in this country is


entrepreneur's. If men and women, through no fault of their own, have


on the side through bad debt are bad credit rating, we ate create a


mechanism, and this is a plea to George Osborne as well, let's


create a road map so these men and women can rebuild their credit and


start creating a just no jobs and profits. We need entrepreneurs and


need to support them. One way to help those who have lost their jobs


is to support them but going alone can be very daunting.


I had to go home and tell my family that mum had lost her job. I did


not think it would happen. The last eight years, I had been helping


disabled people. Last March, I was told I was going to be made


redundant and it came completely out of that move. It was completely


terrifying and what they realised was the council were looking to


other avenues to provide services to disabled people, and they


realise that divided not fill the gap, somebody else would. I could


UN look to others to help me as a cat to get up and the morning


myself. It was a if I had to take. I started at college three years


ago and managed to get into an apprenticeship. My employer was


selling the business and they got the opportunity to buy. A lot of


hairdressers and salons in the area are closing. It is a big recession


but you have to take the risk to move forward.


It has not been easy, has it? has been a very challenging 12


months. The irony is that the council that make you redundant is


buying back your services. I knew that was going to happen because I


knew that the government agenda was to empower people to purchase their


own services. I knew that in Derby there was a gap in the market. I


felt that I had the experience and the knowledge to deliver effective


social enterprise in Derby. In some ways, are you glad that this has


happened? Yes. I would not go back to employment. I am glad I am self-


employed. Jodie Whitemoor, it took some guts doing what you did,


starting a business in the middle of the recession? A lot of people


have said so. It is a big weight but I believe that ambition is the


key to building any business. A lot of supporters out there if you want


to tap into it but I feel there should be more support for growing


businesses. You would agree with that Uday Dholakia, that there


should be more support. In the middle of a recession, starting a


business like Jodie has, you can make it anywhere, can sue? It is


fantastic to see that. The important point to remember is that


the private sector has created more jobs than the last two months than


the public sector has led Gorbals up we are seeing a rebalancing of


the economy which is very progressive. Senior people setting


up new businesses is just what we want. We have seen in a survey done


by expedient for us that the biggest rise in business set up in


the last couple of years has been in Leicester. UN in less than one


of those business people - how has it been for you? It is going very


well. The support unless there has been strong. Coming from university,


I had an opportunity to go on a programme which offered �5,000 as


well as support. The support unless there is actually very good. I


think without that support moulding you it into what you expect it


would be very difficult and daunting without. Does it take a


certain kind of person? I was asked that her son by a young student for


the BBC school reports show this week. What they refer to his, at


Chase here passion, not your pension. Passion is the key thing.


Becoming in Bedford brewer, you learn over time. Had he said to me


12 months ago, it is totally different. It makes you better as a


leader as up -- and as a person and you grow in your skills. For people


who don't know, you sell items at 99p and the internet? You're very


good at it because you have won lots of Lords.


Not everyone wants to know what these people were doing.


everyone wants to and not everyone can. Until we address the


fundamental problems in the economy, which as far as I'm concerned is


about growth and creating employment, you're not going to


grow the economy and address the problems of unemployment, when you


have a great hole where it is going out the back door. We are


continuing to make people unemployed in the public sector


with 15,000 jobs lost in the public sector last year. That will be


created this year and next year at the year after that. We're not


seeing the sort of compensated mechanism of jobs being created in


the private sector. Adam, let me bring you in here because you say


you're creating jobs? You employ 50 people? I want to put up something


George said. Debbie has gone out and created a business which is


fantastic, but it is essentially replacing the public service.


thing is missing. The private sector absolutely has to be


responsible for creating jobs and wealth for the economy, but they do


not think you can claim success if we are essentially just privatising


elements of the public service. this to do with the right people


for the right jobs? We looked at the college creating people with


the skills. We employ people generally with degrees. I have had


a challenge for years. There is no I apprenticeships the answer?


They're important. -- are apprenticeships the answer? We have


to grow the economy, that is key. An economy that is flat lining, and


the government having to borrow even more money, they came to power


saying they were going to cut the deficit. If I was asking about


apprenticeships. I think they are very successful, there is a lot of


positive feeling about the number of apprenticeships which cross


across the board. Then they end up just being cheap labour? Not at all.


That is an unfortunate way to describe it. A non my description,


but what some people say has happened to them. I somebody


looking at deploying an apprentice in my office, I can assure you they


are not cheap labour. It is the most wonderful balance of hands-on


work experience, plus going to college and getting skills as well.


Hopefully a job at the end, too. definition, apprentices are doing a


job, learning skills, earning a wage. In my college alone we saw


last year 5000 apprentices going through the system and progressing


into employment. I think we have to remember the solutions, not the


problems. What are they? If is about maximising potential. Yes,


the right attitude, positive energy, the right skills set so people


think creatively, think about opportunities, let's think about


the big countries and how the economies grow there, because


people are entrepreneurs. We have to take lessons and do things


differently. According to the report commissioned for the BBC,


our region ranks 4th best in its export potential. Is that somewhere


we should be looking at more? But his potential enough, if you're not


maximising potential, what you feel? We're a lucky to have a


strong manufacturing base in this region. A is is still strong?


We have major companies like Rolls- Royce, Toyota, an engineering and


rail sector. It is important we give a balanced position here.


There are job losses in the public sector but the private sector is


creating new jobs, particularly in relation to exporting because we


still have parts of the World where growth is of eight, 10%, there is I


areas which companies are getting involved in -- those are the areas.


Martin Taylor, you sell British cheese abroad, Stilton. Yes,


Stilton and other cheeses, we are very proud of it. We sell to 39


countries and we focus on the British nature of Bee Gees and the


product. His that what we should be doing? Promoting the best of what


we do -- the cheese. We need to focus on the value end of the


production and say yes, it is British, the quality and everything


that goes with it. One of the businesses that understands the


need to sell skills abroad is the University of Nottingham. I spoke


to Professor Nick miles from Yarm We use and the phrase soft landing


spots, so in Nottingham we have a soft landing spot for East Midlands


companies, National companies interested in China, and this is


replicated here. So we know with the landscape here it has come in


by her cars in Nottingham and vice versa, Chinese companies are coming


to us and asking how can we get to the UK? So there is a movement in


both directions. But fundamentally what companies and organisations


are looking for a talented people, which is what we are producing. So


what we find as a university is that our employment rate is one of


the highest in China. These companies want our talented


graduates. To me, that is a real measure of success. Young people


are coming to us, getting education and moving on. It seems to work in


China. But we have the eyes of the world from us this year. We have


the Olympics, the diamond jubilee, if we cannot do it now, we really


are going to miss the boat. You are training students that demand for


university for a career in fashion. How important is it to seize the


day? When are we going to be in such a position again? We will have


the world's spot light on us. Now was the time to export our product


and encourage our students to carry on with that optimism they need to


believe we can do it here. certainly need optimism. You work


in the bioscience industry in Nottingham, what are the dangers if


we do not exploit what we do best? I think we will just be overtaken.


It is frightening if you take a trip to China to see the rate of


expansion and investment over there. At the moment we have a great big


advantage in life science, we have the know-how here in the UK. Are we


in danger of losing some of the skills it? It depends on a -- skill


set. Hygiene factors are very important. You can get a good


education here in the UK, if you don't spend too much time in


traffic going to work and the weather gets better, I think you


would be more inclined to stay here than move over to a city like


Shanghai, which is fairly foggy and polluted at the moment. I think it


is a question of time. I just hope we can grow our knowledge economy


here in the UK so that we are not in a position where we see a great


brain drain. Debbie Williams, we have to blow our own trumpet here,


don't we? You promote than East Midlands as a place to come and


make films and television. It is quite a powerhouse for making TV,


film, digital products, including games. We have a great number of


games developers in this country -- this part of the country. The same


issues apply to be a creative -- the creative industries so we are


looking at how better our products can be exported. There are a couple


of barriers that the creative sector, it is still not seen as a


proper sector in some senses. That is partly because the measures are


not a place to demonstrate its significance. In terms of promoting


activity, we lack confidence, we know what makes a good...


Confidence and positivity. Other reasons to be cheerful? There are.


We are seeing developments come forward and we are seeing new jobs


being created and new companies being formed. We are talking to


manufacturers about bringing production back from China back


into the UK. The budget is a couple of days away. If there was one


thing you could have, what would that we should be? I would like


George Osborne to give the banks fiscal rebate if they are prepared


to take a chance on existing business men and women who need


their support. Adam? I am nervous about asking banks for money


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