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The Look North Debate

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Good evening and welcome to Bradford. Unemployment is close to


a 17 year high, the cost of living is rising and as the Government


tries to balance the books we have all grown used to cuts. What hope


is there for Yorkshire's economy? We have come to the factory floor


at BorgWarner, they make turbos for engines. We have with us an


audience that reflects your chair's economy. And to answer their


questions we have key players from the world of politics, business and


banking. This is Our Economy -- The In two days it is the Budget and


the Chancellor will set out his plan for the economy. Many people


feel jobs that should be George Osborne's biggest priority. In


Yorkshire more than a quarter of a million people are looking for work


and one in five of those are under the age of 24. My name is Leanna, I


am 20 and have been unemployed for the last two years. I am qualified


as a youth worker, a child practitioner and I have got Level 2


nail technician as well. It has been hard. Since I had my son, for


the last two years I have been doing my hardest to find work. I


have been getting help from the JobCentre, recruitment agencies,


and I cannot find anything. At least three or four map times a


week I am looking for work, handing out CVs and I have not got a life


any more, it is just looking for jobs. It is getting me down because


I am trying so hard but I cannot find any work. Leanna is in the


audience with us tonight. First, Julia Smith, Conservative MP, what


is going to be in the Budget that will help Leanna? I cannot predict


the Budget, but I am looking for us much help for hard-working families


across Yorkshire. As much help were businesses like the one we are


sitting in today who are competing with 18 other locations across the


world. And as much investment as possible for the Yorkshire and


Humber region. What about young people? She seems desperate and


cannot get anything. The situation for young people at the moment is


very tough and everyone in Government and in opposition it


recognises that. We have recently introduced the youth contract which


is creating hundreds of thousands of work placements to give young


people work experience. This factory, as do lots of others,


employ apprentices. 67% up on last year. Hopefully these sorts of


measures will give people more work opportunities, but it is very tough


at the moment. You are youth worker and you were shaking your head.


is at times like this I feel my rebel rising up a bit. The real


issue for me is that work experience does not lead to jobs.


Young people are going round and round in these revolving doors with


nothing coming out. In the end it turns out it is their fault they


have not got a job and it is wrong. You did work experience. What has


happened to you? I was made redundant a few months ago and I


contacted allayed the at the Hilton Hotels and did a bit of work-


experience there. Through my hard work and determination I apply for


a job and I got it on Friday. I received a job. You found your own


job. Caroline Flint, you are a Labour MP, is that the way forward?


For some people where experience is good and positive, but it does not


work for everybody. If you are like Leanna who has got a child to look


after and bills to pay, and to is not living at home, where


experience is not enough in itself. We would like to see in the Budget


a repeat of the bank bonus tax so we can fund 100,000 jobs for young


people. To use the money for that to use paid work to get them seal


work-experience. More than anything else, but big picture is we need to


jobs and growth. We have seen jobs going and not being created and we


have seen growth stagnating for a year. For somebody like Leanna in


child care when parents are facing huge pressures on the cost of


living one of the things that will go well be childcare. You told us


Labour would have a screen at whether a guaranteed work and the


youth contract... He is not paid work, it is just work experience.


Quite a lot of schemes have been rolled out over the past few years.


What do you think? You feel like you are being let down. What do you


think? I feel like I'm being let down, I do not know what I should


do to go any further to get a job. Do you think it is down to


politicians? Yes, I do. What would you want in the Budget? What would


make your life easier after the Budget? For them to put more money


towards jobs for young people because there is nothing there. I


have been unemployed for two years and I have been doing voluntary


work and I cannot find anywhere, so there is nothing there. What did


the rest of you think about the way our young people are being treated?


Are we doing enough? No, I do not think any of the parties are


putting a realistic proposal forward to help youth unemployment.


In October I work from Jarrett down to London, which took five weeks,


330 miles, and we were trying to raise the issue of youth


unemployment. What is the issue of youth unemployment? Apart from the


numbers, what is it that you are concerned about? There is not


enough being given to youths in the way of training, in the way of


apprenticeships, or any of that. These schemes just seemed to be


exploiting young people. That is why we have said you should use the


bank bonus to have paid employment and you also need to jobs and


growth. You are a businessman and a farmer, what do you think about


what you have heard? First of all, we have to encourage people to come


and look for a job. We have to make it easier to get rid of somebody


who does not want to do the job. When I say that I do not say that


lightly. You can only help someone from a position of strength.


Businesses need their help so they can help the younger people and the


more vulnerable in society and we are not doing that. There is not


enough commonsense in Government to approach these problems. We will


have a chat in a moment. I know you cannot go into what is in the


Budget, but one of the things that has been mooted is a national pay


award whether civil service will be divided by a cost of living in


different areas. In Yorkshire it might fall. Is that likely? It is


something we should be looking at, but as a Yorkshire MP I would like


to see what those proposals are before commenting. Is it a good


idea? We should be looking at every opportunity to attract jobs to


Yorkshire. So you are from Unison union. What do you think about the


idea? Reflecting the standard of living in different areas. I heard


Vince Cable talking about this yesterday and justifying it on the


basis that it looks like giving more flexibility, allowing local


employment agencies to recognise the different costs of living in


different parts of the country. The there is enough flexibility within


the existing pay and grading structures in the public sector to


be able to deal with recruitment and retention. It is an attack on


public sector pay and that will damage our economy in Yorkshire.


it about making the public sector more attractive? If you are in the


public sector and have a guaranteed weight, you are not going to go to


a private sector? What do you think of the idea? Businesses employ


people, not Government. The media have got a lot to do with us, I am


sorry to say. I have got three manufacturing clients, I am in


marketing and advertising. 4th they can barely cope with the workload


and are exporting their products which they make in Dewsbury and


they are looking for more apprentices and they are not


getting Government help. You are in recruitment, what do you think


about what we have said and this disparity in what people are paid a


nationally? This is not a new problem. When the Labour Government


came in in 1997, Tony Blair came in on a ticket where he was going to


get a quarter of a million off the streets and into work. Go for it,


Tony. It is a problem that has been with us year upon year. Then used


to be radical rethinking about this. I believe we should have a much


closer liaison between school and work. Work should not be a dirty


word for people in school. They should bring down the school-


leaving age, not put it up. It is a little bit more complicated because


what about companies that are looking to expand, but he cannot


get the right staff. This is Tayub Amjad's story. I am Tayub Amjad and


I have been running Zouk for the last five years in Manchester. It


has been fantastic, we have had one of our best years ever because


there are still customers out there. Maybe they do not spend as much or


go out as often. We are looking at growing and expanded as a business,


but the biggest issues we have is finding the right people for those


jobs. Although you hear there is a lot of unemployment in the news,


the skill set is not there and the training those people need has not


been given to them. It is frustrating that if the Government


does not step in and do something, as businesses we have to take the


lead. We are looking at opening our own training college where we can


train chefs and front of house staff bought our own expansion. --


for our own expansion. He is with us this evening and we will hear


from him in a few moments. First, you are an employer, is that


something you recognise? Yorkshire economy and generally in


the UK it is recognised there is a mismatch between what the children


are taught at school, the kind of courses they are advised to take on,


the intelligence is there and that data is there. What I want to know


from politicians is why is it that these are mismatched policies, why


are we encouraging students to go to university and take these


courses when we know they are going to end up and not have the skills


to go to employers have to employ them? This is that the crux of our


debate today. It was infuriating last week when Tesco was castigated


for their scheme. Working in Tesco, shelf stacking with the foremost


logistics firm in the world would have been a great experience for


young people. We need to keep these real-life experiences to our young


people. Part of the problem at the moment is a lot of people are


presenting and not with those interpersonal skills. Are these


people going into these businesses without the personal skills we


need? We are not doing enough with technology or with the soft skills,


those things that employers want. There was a report that said we


should do more to give employers what they want, rather than target


You are putting young people off further education. You have trebled


tuition fees, got rid of the E M A, belittled the occasional


qualifications. If you go onto the education website and look at work-


related learning, after two years, they say they are devising policy.


You have let down young people and after two years they are getting


nothing. What about the increases in apprenticeships in this region


since the coalition? 70 apprenticeships in this factory, at


friendships across the region, how do you account for that? That is a


small minority, very highly skilled people. It is academics, this


country have got a good academic structure but if you're not willing


to go through the structure, go to university, there is nothing for


you. It is great in Rotherham there is a highly skilled engineering


work area to be built but they are for highly skilled people, people


at university. There's nothing out there if you don't go to university.


What do you think about what to have heard, you have been ruled out


of higher education? It is a difficult thing in getting to that


stage. You are led through the school system, normally from a


young age people say do you want to go to university, and as you get


higher up in the system, then you see the other side, there are other


options you can take and since the coalition came in, and tuition cuts,


you get put off. You really do. I got put off going to university. I


thought I would not go. It led to meet not getting in because I did


not believe I could. Your films started us off, how many people


apply for jobs and how many are suitable? We get quite a few people


applying for the jobs. When they turn up for interview is another


thing. And how many are suitable? Not a lot. It is good sending


people to university but not everyone needs to go. We need to be


working closely with businesses, schools, colleges and businesses to


see what skills they need. And that is the way to get rid of


unemployment. It is right but it's not a trade-off between university


or further education. We need all of those skills at all those levels.


If I look it energy and low carbon is the future, there are all sorts


of jobs from people putting solar panels on the roof to the offshore


wind farms and carbon capture. The Yorkshire and Humberside, there's


huge potential but there has to be a... You said you would like to set


up a training college to meet your business needs, other businesses in


the restaurant trade in Bradford would also benefit from that. What


are we doing to assist you to do that? And making sure we are doing


that in other areas. The regional growth fund, people are awarded


money but are not getting it. And the future jobs front was cancelled.


In this whole debate we tend to lose the point at which is that we


must raise the productivity levels across all sectors and what's so


alluring for politicians and the media and the business support


sector is they all want to go for the top companies, Tesco, Asda and


multinationals but the family companies, the small companies,


they are too busy creating wealth, nobody it connects with them,


please connect with them. You have abandoned the Business Link, that


was the political philosophy gone stupid. As you are suggesting, we


have heard people believe small and medium businesses are the key to


the recovery in the economy. The BBC research shows an entrepreneur


spirit in Yorkshire with thousands setting up new companies. But do


they get the support they need? My name is Bernie, I run a business.


I employ eight people. We have cleaned the theatre, and restored a


number of large males. Cleaning and restoration is what we are about.


Today, we are back at the University of Bradford, finishing


off be cleaning and restoration of the buildings around the principal


entrance. From 2010 to 11, our sales doubled. On three occasions I


went to my bank to say, I could do with a short-term increase in my


overdraft to cover wages and material purchases. I did say, an


extra 5,000 for five days. The response was know. Currently it is


as bad as it has been in my experience. A because you have a


triple whammy, if it isn't regulation and HMRC, it is the


banks. It is the burden on the back of small businesses that makes it


extremely difficult to move forward. Bernard Coleman is with us. We have


somebody hit, Martyn Kendrick from one of the top banks. I do not


think the future is currently with the existing banks. Most are


secretly insolvent, and they do not have the resources or inclination


from my judgment, to back small businesses. Backing small


businesses is complex, 12 years ago most clearing banks got rid of


their experienced managers because they found they could make more


money in the City of London. We now face a situation with a huge


financial black hole and no bank currently in my opinion is capable


of tackling the job. There is merit in the Vince Cable merits --


proposals to set up a regional bank, it would be worthwhile and some


form of loan guarantee scheme from the government may be used for.


Martyn Kendrick. The Merlin scheme was designed to get money out to


small businesses. The five banks failed. Perversely, eight out of 10


lanes and request for credits are agreed. -- interestingly. The


Aquino is I have a team across Yorkshire, and 90 it relationship


with managers. When a customer wants credit, to insure we support


the customer in their application for credit to move the business


forward. It's about investing and sustaining businesses. But Burnet


is desperate to make his company work -- Burnet. All the reports


show they are loads of companies -- companies in the same boat. 80% of


loans and requests we agree, 20% we don't. The tipping point is... It


wouldn't lend -- help business if we lent money we cannot repay. Of


we want to help if we can. Everybody wants to help, but one of


the weaknesses in the economy is we need long-term finance. We need


people that understand it is this is such that we can commit to a


long-term business development. All we have is overdrafts and we have a


banking system utterly dominated by the City of London whose view is


short term. What do you make of what he says? It is a trend coming


through from our members and access to finance and it isn't happening


on the ground. We have a banker here, he is very brave. Nobody


wants to go back to days well our tour is in debt. What is the


experience of people running businesses? Three years ago, the


bank attempted to... Yorkshire Bank.... The overdraft situation


the government instructed the banks to strengthen the balance sheets


and help small businesses. You cannot debate. They cannot serve


two masters. They have to lend money to make money. But the pride


on small businesses to make up their losses, they lost across the


world. You help small businesses and people sorting out their


finances, what do you make of the debate and the fact the banks say


they approve as much as they can. People like Martin are genuine


people and try to help customers. At the top end of the banks, you


have people who have allowed the investment bankers to go to the


casino with their depositors money which is why we have ended up with


the crisis we have. My experience of running my own firm for eight


years and advising clients is the banks are zero help in any kind of


situation where you need them. Bankers want to see me, they sit in


front of me and the pitch was send us your platinum customers and we


will give them 3.5% above base rate. What do you think about what's been


said? A rock and a hard place, people on loans and she were not


giving them. Casino banking as he defines it, we should not get mixed


up between that and what we are doing with small businesses in


Yorkshire. What we're trying to do for businesses in Yorkshire is


support them and help them understand their business and if


there is in need to support them through overdrafts and finance and


also other schemes, but get the money and the funding out there for


the ride is this is but a sustainable. You run a small


business, what is your view about the way well-supported? In terms of


the bank, I am not reliant on the bank at all for my finance and


structuring. I have a bank account for suppliers to pay money in.


says he is interested in your account. I am the ideal client at


the moment. The thing I am really disappointed at is the loss of the


Business Link and having the practical support of Business Link


running courses, providing practical support for businesses


like myself. I jumped on every course possible before it ended


last November. Anybody setting up since, there is an internet site


but not much help. It's a real shame. There's a huge amount of


help. There are 48 business support schemes, tomorrow there will be


announced the national guarantee scheme to make the lending issue...


She says there is a nun. I have run my own business under Labour, it


was increasingly difficult. It was a five-man business. Is that the


future, individual MPs going around the country! Every MP, Conservative


MP, is working hard with every business. Initially we start to the


debate about the skills agenda, I bet the 20% of the people that you


rejected were small to medium-size companies, setting up a business


because they are a good business, they grew and at that level they


did not have the expertise. And believe me, we do not have the


support, help and support, for small businesses to actually raise


their capacity, their expertise so they can put up a better business


plan and expelling the formalities to do business institutions because


it a moment nobody wants to know them. Business Link has gone, the


Regional Development Agencies has gone. What's important is Julian is


saying you are wrong, there is support but the fact is this


government came in and in one fell swoop got rid of the support and


has been tried to make it up and invent it again. In the meantime,


when I represent businesses in my constituency in Doncaster, they


have order books -- order books to fill but they need the bridging to


take them to the next stage and The banks seem pretty sensible in


the way forward, but people feel let down. It is the other stuff


that gets in the way. They do not know the support you are talking


about. What is your response? have a special interest in small


business and I am happy to talk to people about these issues. There is


a fantastic website for any viewers watching. There are schemes at the


moment offering business support. Let's stop bashing the banker,


financial-services provide over 100,000 jobs in Yorkshire and


Humber. Yes, we have to move on. Should the Chancellor cut taxes or


cut benefits? Maybe you think you should do both. On Wednesday the


Chancellor could reduce income tax for people earning over �150,000.


But in two weeks time thousands of people will get less money from the


Government. Mining is Katie and this is my husband Martin. We have


got three children. I work in bad thing in the NHS and I have done


for eight years. Martin quit his job seven years ago to look after


the children because we could not afford childcare. I was working


full-time until around 18 months ago and to spend more time with the


children I went down 2 1/2 hours. We thought, we are OK because we


have working tax credits. We got a letter in December saying they will


be stopping for our family because we are not working between us 24


hours a week. We try and do the shopping together and we are


getting the cheapest stuff now because it is too expensive. Bread


is one pound 50 a loaf now. It is a joke. We will get some sweeties


later. It has put a huge strain on us, we have been arguing. Not


because we hate each other, but because we do not know what is


going to happen. We are worried about the future and how we are


going to cope. Katie and Martin are with us this evening. Let me ask


you a straight question. If we face really hard times, why should we


give money to you so you can choose to stay at home? It is not a choice


to stay at home. You reduced the hours to stay at home. It was only


supposed to be for a year because I wanted to spend more time with the


children. Martin was supposed to be getting a job in September, but he


has not been able to find anything. We did not want to sponge off the


state, it was there as a lifeline to fall back on and that has been


taken away from us. Is that what you think? The whole thing is a


joke, really. I have applied for apprenticeships. Because I am over


25 it does not work in my favour. It is not beneficial for me, to be


honest. Katie and Martin have a tough time of it. You deal with


lots of cases, is that quite common? Yes, it is and it has


become a political football. In my experience 98% of people need to be


on benefits and they deserve what they get, in fact they deserve a


better deal. They are being let down by the state which has not


found a way to get them into more productive employment. You have got


2% whose ambition is to stay on benefits all their life and they


will never change. That will be difficult to change. But I do not


think we should go down the route of beating up people on benefits as


those that will solve the problems of the economy. It was not people


on benefits he were running Goldman Sachs and lemurs. But the country


is facing hard times. There are things we are being hard on people


on benefits? Who thinks we need to be a little bit harder? The change


to working tax credit hit 250,000 of the poorest families in our


society. These are people who are working and finding it really


difficult. It cannot be fair that we hit the poorest in our society


at the same time the Chancellor is contemplating cutting the tax for


the most rich in our society. do you make of that? I want to be a


bit revolutionary. Their governments cannot solve the long-


term job problem. The private sector can. In order for it to


function we need to shrink the public sector. Yes, there will be


hardship, but you have to face the fact that we are broke. To make our


way in the world in order that we can afford some of the luxuries


like education, health and benefits, we need a bigger, stronger, more


vibrant private sector. I am a retired public servant and we want


the Yorkshire economy to grow, but our incomes are being depressed and


frozen. We are public enemy number one, irrespective of the political


party, whether it is the coalition or Labour, we are public enemy


number one. The next thing Francis Maude and die Alexander will be


issuing bells so we can walk around leaves and ring the bells at


shouting, and a clean. We do not have the extra money to spend in


the economy on the small businesses that some of these people he


represents. People are saying we are being squeezed and the benefits


are being squeezed and the economy is being squeezed, is that the


right way forward? It is at half- time with energy prices and fruit


prices going up and that tough situation at Labour left us in...


We get a bit sick and tired. We were told we were not to talk about


the past, let's look to the future. You say that but a �1 in every four


because of the mess we were left in... I do not like the ping-pong


between the parties. The people who are not affected by this are the


very rich, the people who created this problem. George was burnt is


going to get rid of the 50% tax and there is massive tax evasion. --


George Osborne. Why don't we concentrate on people evading tax?


There is no need to shout and a million people have been taken out


of tax... I am shirting because I am annoyed. -- shouting. Lots of


people have been taken out of tax by this Government. We are talking


about people earning more than �150,000 a year in the highest tax


bracket. Who agrees with the 50 pence tax rate disappearing?


Anybody here? What do you think? When you hear that statistic that


1% of the nation pay 30% of the revenue in tax, 1% pay 30% of the


revenue that gets received by HMRC, it is those people we should be


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