The South East Today Debate Our Economy

The South East Today Debate

Similar Content

Browse content similar to The South East Today Debate. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



A the Brighton will, the city's latest tourist attraction, offering


you breathtaking views of the coastline. Tonight, we are asking


what the economic View is like. Not just for this busy seaside town,


but for the rest of the region as well. As the economy struggles to


recover from recession, we will ask how can we encourage economic


growth? Should we be making more things? Should we be selling more


brought? Are we doing enough to help businesses prosper? Here at


the Jubilee Library, we have gathered some of the biggest


players in the region to ask them what they are going to do? Can the


decisions made by those inside secured the future of Kent and


Sussex. Tonight we are going to try to find out. Welcome to our economy,


the South East debate. Hello, the loss of over 1000 jobs at Phizer,


the building of a new bridge across the Thames, a huge new airport,


High Street struggling to survive and rising unemployment. Kent and


Sussex are facing some tough challenges. Members of the


government, leaders of our local councils, businessmen and women and


people directly affected by unemployment join us. Let us talk


with Michael Fallon, from the Conservative Party. Your government,


how worried argue? Ow a job is to rebalance the economy to, to get


away from this over-dependence is on services, to back export-led


businesses, manufacturing and the jobs of the future. This region has


to compete, not just with other British regions, but regions across


the world. That is the role for government, I think. To improve our


education and training, above all, to provide the right infrastructure


which has been neglected here. you have touched on all the things


we wish to discuss in the next 40 minutes. Let us speak to Jeremy


Birch, your area is one of the poorest in the country, certainly


in the region. Is there any cause for optimism, economically


speaking? In Hastings we are always optimistic in our visiting economy,


creative industries and manufacturing. It is important to


us, but I don't think the government has a growth agenda at


all. They are cutting too quickly, too fast, going too far, even the


IMF are warning that you need at some stage to look at the state of


the economy and consider whether the austerity programme is really


working. We need some investment in Bic physical infrastructure


projects, some assistance for businesses which we are not getting


in the South East have sufficiently, and we need money in the economy or


we will all struggle. A that is it for now, we will talk to later.


Many would argue that economic growth means more office buildings,


roads and possibly more factories. But should business expansion come


at the expense of our beautiful countryside. At least one person


thinks so, this is the businesswoman and one of Alan


Sugar's perspective former business leaders, Kate. The countryside here


in the South East is absolutely beautiful. But, frankly, I don't


give a toss. Green fields, not important, oak trees, not important.


Rare insects, not important. I tell you what is important, people. That


is what is important. People need jobs, and it never fails to


astonish me that anybody wanting to build a factory or an office or a


motorway is given a hard time by the planning system. Is it going to


destroy some Green Belt, is it going to spoil the view? For God's


sake. This is what we should be doing. These are new offices being


built for American Express in the centre of Brighton to rehouse close


to 3000 workers. If this was a small business in the countryside,


imagine the difficulty they would have. The planning system really


annoys me. For instance, take a look at all the planning


applications last year for industrial buildings. More than


�100,000. In East Sussex about a quarter were refused or not yet


decided. In Kent's the figure is around a third. Don't get me wrong,


I love a tree as much as the next person. But, they should not stand


a new way of economic growth. The answer is obvious, put people first.


That was the tree huggers, Katie Hopkins. She is in our audience


tonight and so it is Caroline Lucas, the country's only Green MP. What


did you make of that? I think it is a really unhelpful polarisation, on


the one hand you have people and then the environment and they are


in opposition. It is through investing in green technologies,


for example, that we can create jobs. Look at what we were doing on


solar jobs, for example, before the tariff that the government scheme


came in. We had only four companies, now we have own earth -- over 30,


but now the government looks to destroy that industry. I would


really challenge the idea that there is some intrinsic


polarisation between the environment and growth on the other.


It is precisely through investing in green technologies that we can


create jobs, for example, jobs in green energy, that area is far more


labour-intensive than the fossil fuel economy. Let us put some of


those questions to Katie. If it is jobs building polar -- solar panels,


that is OK isn't it? It is polarised, people want to expand


businesses right here. Prof percent say they are looking for new


premises but cannot get hold of them. They would employ 2000 more


people if they could. It is all very well to love the countryside


and landscape, but the view has changed. The economy is not as it


was and we need growth. It is time to change the way we think about


the countryside and focus on jobs. Mike, you are a successful Suffolk


businessman, what do you make of the planning laws as they are at


the moment? There is a need for a balance. I am not for concreting


over the countryside. It should be conserved, I am also sharing the


view on so-called brownfield sites on town centres. The green lung of


the City should be kept. There is a case for all towns of cities to


grow, as they always have. There is too much emphasis put on, talking


about what life, but on wildlife. We must think of humans, this is


the human habitat. The towns and cities are the human habitat. That


is my view. I know the planning process is something which


frustrates many people. Leader of Kent County Council, here, that is


your experience. Paul quarter. also a housebuilder and property


investor in London. The planning system is far too protracted and


complex. It needs to be simplified, and I hope the government, when


they announce the plans for the planning framework, will have


listened to the initial consultation and will streamline


the process. In the South East and in Kent, there is a good supply of


red and the available land, in Thames Gateway or East Kent, and


almost advantages. It is the environment, the support from the


banks which is needed to get things to happen. To make sure they


planning conditions are not only us. We must develop sensible


propositions, because, we need available office space in most


parts. Be plans to overhaul the planning system are hugely


controversial. Hillary, from the Council for Rural England, talking


about individual planning applications, what about the


overall view on the expansion and the South East? I would say that


the public protection requires a robust planning system. If people


are planning to invest in development, they must know the


value of that will not be undermined a robust planning system


which affects the development we need, to the places where it will


do the most good and least damage, absolutely vital. I know many


people would like to talk about planning. You are the leader of the


county council in Hastings. His it is the centrepiece of our


regeneration strategy. We are going to spend some �500 million, the


link road is at the heart of that. What it will do, along with other


projects, is create new jobs. New homes. It will provide a huge


stimulus to the economy of our county. We want to liberate the


businesses of East Sussex, so they can thrive on an environment where


real economic activity is growing. I know Jeremy Birch would agree. I


know you cannot comment on specific issues, but having more roads and


railways, you would support that, wouldn't you? Since the coalition


government was formed almost two years ago, there has been a massive


investment in transport. We realise that cutting carbon and increasing


growth is vital. We have the biggest road building programme


since Victorian times, we have got road building going on selectively


across the country, why there is an unprecedented amount of money for


local transport, and the bus network. We recognise transport his


cave. It is also important for generating jobs. You are a keen


cyclist, you always wanted the railway reopens didn't you? Jeremy,


what difference would one little road make to your town? It is not


one little road, the opportunity it would provide to open up the


employment space and housing space is very important. Hastings is


surrounded by areas of outstanding natural beauty by the saved. The


only substantial area which has not got a designation for protection is


this area to the north of Bexhill, you can only open it up through the


link road. It is not a relief road, just to deal with traffic and


congestion, it is a regeneration project. The irony is that those


who are against it, which is legitimate, have come up with the


alternative road. They have this alternative road, which will go


right along the back of the properties. We have spoken about


one road in East Sussex, but if we want to kick-start the economy, a


huge airport would be brilliant wouldn't it? Why believe we should


maximise the opportunities around existing airports. Property


engineers and design should keep up with airport expansion. We must


remain competitive on air travel, London being the central hub of


mainland Europe we should do that. We would love to see Manston grown


into a regional airport and we believe that this could happen. But


let's look at this. As has already been suggested, we need the


appropriate infrastructure with the roads, public transport network, to


lead business to prosper in the economy. He mentioned


infrastructure at the beginning, Michael, and the Government is


introducing controversial planning reform, how will this help with


growing the economy? This will simplify the system and make it


more certain and speeded up. This is not about new airports or


bridges, it is about helping businesses where they want to


expand and adding a new unit sent businesses to make it faster to do


so. People are not certain what will happen, local councils feel


cut out of bed, that is what would be changed we hope in this week's


Budget. A Caroline Lucas? We need a more balanced approach to the


economy, the idea of this airport, we need to remember that aviation


in this country is subsidised to the tune of �10 billion every


single year, so each job created is being massively subsidised. If we


invested in infrastructure and local jobs it would be a good way


to increase in local economies. have to leave it there for now.


What exactly is the state of the economy? The BBC has commissioned


some research to find out and the findings have revealed some


The research shows that we have a lot of businesses compared to the


rest of the country, so surely we should be optimistic about the


future of the economy in the south- east? But it suggests we may not be


as well placed to grow fast, to create new jobs, as some of the


places around us. Researchers say that some of the growth in the next


few years would be in finance, media, professional services like


law firms and accounting. Our problem is that the places around


us like London and elsewhere in the South are stronger in these sectors


than we are. If you look at the top 50 local authorities across England


employing people in those kinds of businesses, not a single one of


them is here in the south-east. Also, although we have a high


number of businesses compared to many areas of the country, a reason


for optimism, new business growth is higher in the regions around us.


If you take the top 50 areas for the whole of England for new


business growth, we only have one place in this list of top


performers and that is Dover. Perhaps surprisingly, despite being


the region close as to where we export the most, Europe, only a low


proportion of business here sells abroad. If you look at the top 50


areas and the country for proportion of businesses selling


abroad, only Crawley in our region makes the grade. So, our economy


with its sizable number of private enterprises, is possibly well


placed to do just fine, but there is little here to suggest a spur to


be a growth and lots of new jobs are coming any time soon. Unless of


course, our leaders decide to do something to change that.


We have several of these leaders to choose from now, but I would pick


on one of them, Paul Carter, we're just a chugging along at the moment,


should we be picking one sector and going for it? That was a bleak


picture that does not represent the three fact of the Kent and East


Sussex economies. -- the true facts. In the south-east, significant


parts of east Kent and East Sussex do suffer from significant


deprivation, but we must play to our strengths and the unique


opportunities in the Thames Gateway as London expands down the estuary.


Massive opportunities for commercial growth as well as taking


some of London's housing growth in the Thames Gateway and the plans we


have for coastal renewal in Essex, Kent and East Sussex, really can


play to their strengths and it comes to infrastructure again. The


opportunity of getting high speed trains into East Kent in under one


marriage gives the virginity to work and live in east Kent. -- in


under 16 minutes gives us the opportunity to work. Do you think


we should go for one sector over another when it comes to looking


for growth? Governments have a bad record of picking winners. If you


look back at the 1970s and the pickings certain sectors and really


backing them, and I would like to see the Government fostering the


right conditions for enterprise to flourish. To do that they need to


review the tax system and simplify it. Investing in Key Infrastructure


which links the small businesses together over time. You think the


Government should back winners? Should not back winners. Would you


think growth will come from? -- where do you think? You need a


balanced economy, so I have one sector struggles, another can pick


up the slack. You want to build on the strengths that exist here, but


that you regulation is a red herring. The problem with many


businesses across Kent and Sussex has a lack of demand in the economy


so the Government needs to stimulate demand and growth.


teacher Carol, I know you were known as a campaigner for fuel tax,


you are also a proponent of exporting more. -- Peter Carroll.


week to not make things in this region. -- we do not make things.


We have got to lawyers, accountants, retail, we have got infrastructure,


when you travel on high-speed Bamber won at 100 mph, this is a


Japanese train. -- high-speed number one. Turbines are brought in


from Italy and Germany, why are we so frightened to say that we need


to do what some of the most advanced economies have done in the


world and start to build things and be proud of them. And he went like


to answer that? Suzanne would? make things, I do not sell that


many abroad, but we have got many opportunities abroad because we're


close to the rest of Europe. We hope that it would be nice to see


the economy growing by exporting, but some of us to make things. --


do make things. The rep companies across East and West Sussex, and a


new company that started 10 years ago has just won a concession to


make badges for the Olympics. You have that American Express here. We


have got some of the best manufacturers in the world. We do


not employ lots of people, we do the clever stuff and generate


wealth that generates tax to pay for the public sector. We need to


get regulation out of the way and speed up the planning system so


that we can get those people back to work. A lot of consensus on this.


Katie Hopkins. We need to focus on tactical things. People, small


business owners will be saying, that's all very well, but tomorrow,


what city-wide due to make my business grow? We need people have


been people to say this is how you can export tomorrow. Just because


we live near Europe doesn't mean anything. I live near my mother-in-


law, I do not want to see her! agree that weekend talks this down


unnecessarily. We are creating the right conditions for investment,


interest rates are low, the economy is more stable than other countries


and we are deregulating where it is sensible to do so. There is a lot


of money going into capital projects and we are concentrating


on renew will be a energy, so we are doing the right things, I think.


-- on renewable energy. Some people harp playing it down unnecessarily.


Are we doing enough, Tom? No, the future of the economy rests larger


with speech smaller and the biker businesses. We have found we're


going around talking to people and they are worried about business


rates, they are worried about the VAT rate and fuel costs. You can


talk about growing through employing apprentices, but they do


not have the time to nurture these people. If we look at the banking


system and finance, you might get some money, but on what terms? What


happens if it goes wrong? There is not enough and regulation is far


too high. We have discussed business expansion, infrastructure


and were to find growth, but in the end, for many people, this is about


jobs. Can you get one? Can you keep one? What happens when you lose 1.


In January in Sheerness, the steel company went bust making many


people redundant. My name is Mark Jones and I worked at 10 steel for


nine years. -- town's steel. This is my part that we had been


together for 10 years. I found out on the Times and Guardian website


that it was announced that we were closing down. In the space of seven,


eight weeks, on the verge of losing everything and possibly going


bankrupt at the moment. Just on the mortgage itself, and you onto


ground, just on that, but with everything else, it could be close


to 10 grand. -- new year on the two Grande. When we have run out of gas,


we take the children up to our Nance to have a bath because we


have no hot water. Clearly his four and Callum is seven, and they do


not really know what is going on, but the older one is noticing


things going missing around the house. We're sitting there one


night, and then Kalen came down with his money box and gave it to


me and said I could have it. He said, you can have that, but this


guy back on, because he likes TV. You have a Turin you ride because


he does it with the cheeky smile. - - you have a tear in your eye


because he does it. I would like to know and can have with my situation


in trying to get this mill back Open and who is responsible for


helping people out? I do not know who to turn to.


That was Mark Jones and he is here with us now, and you have got some


family news for us? My wife has found out she is pregnant.


would normally be celebrating, how are you feeling? OK, we will get


through it, it is not perfect timing. You're happy about the


pregnancy. A Yes. Congratulations. This is heartbreaking. Yes, and it


is the Government's job to have done then at the Department of


Business and the local MP has been looking to see what help can be


provided at the site. A good example at what Kent County Council


does to get more investment into the Pfizer side when that company


was closed. Still a lot of people lost their jobs. Yes, but the


Government went in with a task force to see what they could do to


attract more investment and secondly, the Government has to


come along and see what we can do to retrain people and improve


prospects in the labour market. is not just people that have lost


their jobs, it is be bowled trying to get on the job ladder and the


first place. -- it is people trying. Laura, who graduated recently, what


is your situation? I graduated in 2010 and I went to work abroad in


America working very hard, and I came back and I could not find any


job that is sustainable without the odd temporary call-centre work here


and there for Christmas slack and retail and being told you're over


experienced to work in retail but you do not have enough experience


to work in the industry that you want to, so it is a vicious circle.


I cannot seem to get anywhere. you regret going to university?


and No, it was a great opportunity, but I did not have I any other


option. I was told to go to school, get your great, good university, I


never had the option of, hole, what about a career? He did not want to


work in a call centre but that is what you ended up doing. No. Call


centres, a big success in Hastings, it is not going to employ everyone


in Hastings, not the answer for a There is nothing wrong with call


centres, we have Hastings Direct, we have businesses the we want to


develop, and you can get accreditations and skills.


Recognised qualifications. But they are not for everybody, we want


higher quality skills and jobs, but every redundancy, every redundancy


is a personal tragedy. Across Sussex we have got 8000 youngsters


unemployed. 8000 young people, with the future jobs front of the


previous government, they were the accountable body for it, a very


successful project, six months' paid employment for young people to


give them a real taste of employment. I would like to get an


employer's perspective on getting loads of people chasing jobs.


Suzanne, is this your experience? think that what people are lacking


coming from university is practical experience and skills which would


make them employable. We need to be looking at, too late for Laura


perhaps, but looking at developing skills from 16, so people more


employable. Are our expectations wrong? Probably yes. A I think


people like this lady are fantastic, they are determined. If you are


determined and a worker, and none of the shirkers, which I cannot


stand, she needs to get out there, put her own job out there.


might not find the job she wants. Fine, but small and medium-sized


businesses are nervous, she can convince them. I will stay by your


business, take me on. Don't sit at home in your pyjamas e-mailing out


CVs, that will not work. His it is good advice, I go out as much as I


can and tried to get experiences, I have done internships, the odd


thing in the sector I want to go into, which is fantastic. You do


all the little jobs, why not a sustainable job? I don't really


have the choice, it is rate difficult and it is disheartening a


lot of the time. It is hard. What advice would you give, Norman?


advice is "stick with it", it is the Government's job to make sure


the conditions are right. We must build for the future. Investing in


jobs which will be there in the future, rather than propping up


want which will disappear. We can compete, but people were rather


sniffy about media jobs, or call centre jobs, but they are important.


Similar to green energy jobs, we are not going to be able to work


without these jobs in the future. Ryan, nodding your head, are due in


agreement? A I am, but you must ask about the barriers in taking people


on. You must look at costs, contributions in tax, and


employment law. Are there risks associated with taking people on,


is it easy to move people in and out of jobs to match their skills?


John, you are here from the night, representing many workers. People


have touched on the regulation, is relaxing these issues the answer?


If it were the case, then German and Dutch and French employers


would flood into Kent and Sussex to establish their workplaces here.


The fact is they are much more regulated, more job security, and


people have more of a sense of ownership of the company. The


problem with Britain is that it already is very easy to get people


to find it very quickly. The idea that we need less regulation is a


complete misnomer. Okay. You are making Katie very cross. We have


respect, that is a nonsense. We are well over regulated. Young people


are led to believe if they get a qualification they will become a


brain surgeon, or something. It would be no good for many of us to


be trained as a brain surgeon, we need to promote education but we


need to promote two young people how apprenticeships in


manufacturing to. A great shortage for that in the south. I would like


to talk to Steve Langley, a teacher. Talking about employment prospects


for those in education. As a teacher what is your perspective?


First of all, every single student I teach has a right to be employed.


They need money to earn a the right to live. The gentleman over there,


it is a tragedy he has lost his job. He had the right to have that


education, as teachers we then have to provide that. We have to really.


You must make sure people are choosing the right dream, though.


Exactly. I work with in the creative arts, as we mentioned


before, I think all aspects of education are equally important. We


talk about vocational qualifications, people need to be


trained as carpenters, labourers but we need academics as well. We


must produce well-rounded individuals from education to allow


them to gain the skills for the jobs they want. It is right,


absolutely. We don't yet know the jobs that our children will do.


Some of those jobs have not been invented. What we have to think


about is how to create a person who is ready to enter the workforce.


They may lose their job, therefore, what skills do they have to enable


them for work. We must give them the gift of knowledge. They can


take experiences they have got, take their skills and put them into


the workplace. Whatever that turns out to be. We do not yet know.


Caroline. This Government's policies are making this crisis


worse. This is a government which are has ruined jobs for millions of


public sector workers, then they think the private sector will


miraculously fix it. The government needs to change direction, also,


crucially, they need to with the small and medium-sized enterprises,


the backbone of this country, we need to change things like


procurement. I have spoken to a lot of small businesses in Brighton and


Hove who say it is difficult for them to bid for contracts because


they are quite small. Let's look at ways to involve them more. Centres


for apprenticeships as well, money for the companies for


apprenticeships. Peter Jones. we have been trying to do it is


reorganise the economy to give people the skills they need for the


modern industry and commerce. That means giving them the mass of IT


skills for the digital age. We have restructured their lot of our


cooling system, brought higher education into places like Hastings


and supported the creation of relevant colleges. That is how you


provide opportunity. The there have been some great things said about


education, grinning people for jobs, but what creates the jobs is demand


in the economy. I appeal to the government, you have got to put


demand back in. I will give you one example. The job I represent, they


need fuel duty cut, you will create 175,000 jobs if you do that. You


know what, there is the frustration, you are just not listening. Norman,


you are in government but not listening. We are investing heavily


in job creation. Whether it is through exports, to regulate the


banking industry properly and getting them to lend to small


businesses, we have seen in the last 12 months under this


government, whether it is a capital project across transport we are


investing. We must recognise as well there is a big problem in the


wider world which is causing us difficulties, because of problems


with other European economies which are part of the major export market.


We have a great example here of a young person who is doing it all


himself. Not asking the government or his mother or anybody. I am


running a record Labour, I am employing people around colleges to


give them experiences. I had a meeting with my college about


trying to give experience, so they could so do photography, they could


play, they could put posters up. I am not allowed to do that so I have


not got a C R be checked, but what is that in terms of giving people


experience. What you think about what you have heard? Some of his is


positive, but, we were told that there would be training for us. I


have only had a two phone calls, one from an agency, and one was a


meeting where somebody did not turn up. I know everybody here hope you


get good news on the work front soon. Going back to the politicians


we started with, Jeremy Birch, after what you have heard, are you


any more optimistic? A I am an optimistic person, always


optimistic. We have an opportunity with the budget for the government


to give a lot of optimism. It is incumbent on them not to cut the


top rate of income tax. We get cut up about whether it is 50p, but


back and put money into the economy. We need to see the government


giving out optimism. Only a couple more days to wait. Michael Fallon,


what would you take back to government? I will take back Laura


and James, that is what this debate is about, making sure they have


jobs. A third of unemployed in this region are under 25. We inherited a


lot of this, people without the right skills yet to cannot get into


the labour market. We must cut some red tape to get people through to


the college campuses. That is a good example of how you do get


through. We must be competitive, to make sure jobs really laughed. We


must get the economy right, sort out the public finances, to make


sure we have the infrastructure to support people. You can take Katie


back with Dyche, she would sort out -- with you. There is so much we


have not been able to discuss, the debate continues tomorrow morning


Download Subtitles