The North East A Mayor for...

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The North East

Voters question the candidates hoping to be the first mayor of the Tees Valley.

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Good evening from Macmillan Academy in Middlesbrough. In two weeks of


voters choose the first ever elected mayor for Tees Valley. On the panel,


the four candidates who want the job. Ready with their questions,


people with questions from the local area. Join me as we debate who


should be the first mayor for the Tees Valley.


On our panel tonight, for the Liberal Democrats, Chris Foote Wood,


for the Conservatives, Ben Houchen, for Labour, Sue Jeffrey, for Ukip,


John Tennant. Audience have their questions ready. You can join the


debate at home, on social media. That begin with our first question.


It comes from Martin, who used to work in Redcar at the steelworks. I


worked in the steel industry for almost 40 years, starting straight


after leaving school. What I would like to know is, what would be your


plan for the steel site at Redcar? What would be the timescale and who


will fund the clean-up? Ben Houchen, Conservative candidate, there has


been some uncertainty about whether the Government will fund this, an


estimated cost of ?1 billion, who should fund it and what should be


done with the site? The Government are continuing to fund the upkeep of


the site. There is also the task force that has been set up to help


those affected by the closure back into employment, potentially


starting their own businesses. A big chunk of the money is still to


spend, because it was a significant amount. What would you do as Mayor?


We have the development corporation, which is key to the development. It


needs a full plan, which is in place at the minute. But the combined


authority have proposed, in conjunction with the corporation,


should be seen through. Sue Jeffrey, you have been involved as a local


council leader in this, what is your plan? There are three parts to my


plan. I am already trying to push them really hard, trying to get


moving. As a huge site of international importance, it


requires proper redevelopment to requires proper redevelopment to


bring jobs back. What I am interested is getting jobs back into


that site, and good jobs, not the sort that some of the steelworkers


had to take, which has not been the climate I would like to see. Getting


good jobs back, absolutely crucial. We have to do a number of things. We


need to secure ownership of the site from the official receiver, and that


piece of work are still ongoing. But I am pushing extremely hard to try


to ensure that that site comes back under our control as quickly as


possible, so we can start making use of all of those interested parties


who want to come and invest, because there are a huge number of people


who want to invest and create jobs. Ready to get it into a position


where we can do that. Third, we need Government to stand up to the mark


and if of the money that we need to ensure that the site is put into a


position where those investors can start to make that investment. John


Tennant for Ukip, what is your priority for the site? The rarity is


to secure the long-term future for all four more workers -- for


workers. It needs cleaning up, we have to get the funding for that. We


have to get the funding not just from the development corporations,


but we need to speak to the Department of communities and


industry. The way to secure the long-term jobs and future is to


build an infrastructure that is needed. The way to do that is to


attract investment, jobs and introduced the voluntary sector, and


that involved, of course there is a captive audience there, a captive


workforce that is crying out for those jobs. You need a mayor that


will stand up for that. Chris Foote Wood for the Liberal Democrats, how


do you work it? I would like to see more urgency. It has stood empty and


then it for 18 months. I am pleased that a good deal has been done to


help the people made redundant find new jobs and get retraining, but


there is nothing happening on the site, and it is disappointing to


hear, we are waiting for the receiver. I would not wait, I would


have seen the receiver on day one to get things moving. That is how I see


my role as Mayor. The development corporation cannot start until the


mayor starts it, and it should start on day one. We need to get things


moving. We all know what we want to do, and Sue has confirmed something


which I was going to mention, there are firms ready, willing and able to


move on to the site, why are they not moving on already? Things should


be happening now. Can I just make a point on the receiver? That is the


reality of the situation. What I am talking about is real life that is


happening now. I agree with the need for pace, there is no way we are


going to sit around for 25 years and just build a car park. There will be


movement as soon as we can, but we are dealing with real life. It is a


shame other people do not realise that. The Government could be


accused of dragging its feet. You talked about what it has done, but


there is a ?1 billion bill for the clean-up, it would help if the


Government said it would fund it. It is dependent on what the use of the


site will be. If we get more heavy industry, the cost of the clean-up


is different from if you are going to stick houses on it with retail


units. In a large sense, we are in some agreement. What the plan is


correctly and what the combined authority can do to assist is the


right way forward and it is seeing that through which is important. I


will go back to the question of Martin. You worked on that site, you


must feel very sad to see where it is. Are you convinced that this is


going to come back into meaningful employment? Considering that it is


still owned by the Thai banks, which needs a compulsory purchase, no.


Political parties have a chance to back the steel industry, not only on


Teesside nationally. They have not done that. We will come back,


because I want to get our second question in, which is relevant to


jobs. That comes from Joel. I am currently unemployed and taking


training in the hope of getting a job. With the Tees Valley region


having one of the highest unemployment rate in the country,


what will you do to bring it down? Chris Foote Wood, Liberal Democrats.


The number one job for the mayor is to get jobs. Everything else depends


on that. The mayor will have quite a number of powers at his or her elbow


to do it. I agree, we do need improvements in infrastructure, road


and rail and bridges, as I have mentioned, but that will take time.


We need to get moving very quickly. It is easy to say, we want jobs, but


what did you do to ensure that jobs actually come to the area? One thing


that the mayor can do is to identify a land for development, that is one


thing. Another, the mayor will have responsibility for reviewing


education, training and employment right across the Tees Valley. That


is important. That could happen within a year. I do not want to see


a long drawn out report. If we can implement what is in the Tees Valley


agreement and the devolution deal, that will definitely improve the


situation and the infrastructure will also bring jobs. John Tennant,


do you believe that you can create jobs? There has to be a recognition


that the public sector and private sector both have different ways of


creating jobs. The private sector needs infrastructure that is built


by the public sector. That is what is needed in the Tees Valley, there


is no doubt about it, we need to attract investment, because we have


one of the highest levels of deployment in the country. What can


you do? Other parties have had their chance to build the infrastructure,


and what I would suggest is we need a metro system. We will come back to


transport. That is how I would create jobs, by building


infrastructure. Sue Jeffrey, you have an vision to create 25,000


jobs. It is easy to ban the figures around, how do you start creating


those? The work has been done to identify the sectors where the those


jobs will come. The way that we secure that growth is by different


investment, in both small companies, medium companies and large


companies, about ensuring we get inward investment into the Tees


Valley, that our children and young people get the skills to get the


jobs that we are going to create. You choosing what to invest in? Of


course we will pick winners. What qualification have you got to know


who will create jobs successfully? There has been a range of research


that has been done over the last year and a half to stop this is one


of my advantages, that work has been done, I have published a strategic


economic plan. It makes it very clear how those 25,000 jobs are


going to be created, and the sectors they will grow in. I am convinced


that if we apply the right investment in the right laces to


those sectors, that growth will come. One of the first things I will


do on election, if I am elected, I will meet with each of those sectors


and talk to them about those figures and about the reality of how and


where we will get those jobs from. Ben Houchen, how do we create jobs?


There are three sections to this. You have to grow the economy,


because only with a successful economy can be create jobs. There is


the education element, you have to increase a more co-ordinated


approach with businesses, apprenticeships, placement, there is


a raft of work that the authority and the mayor can get involved with


to identify opportunities, rather than saying what they should do.


There is nothing worse than when the state gets involved with creating


winners, we have to create an environment in which business can


grow. And business should step up to the plate. Businesses are happy to


say, we need these skills, but they are not willing to put in the time


and effort and resource. You prepared to tell businesses that?


You create a one-stop shop of information, but you can have


businesses going to it and say, we are looking for these skills, I am


looking for a job in this sector, and you create the environment. That


is a key role of the matter. I want to hear from the audience. A


gentleman with the blue suit and the tie. Sue said if she can get the


jobs, how come she has not started now? People have been unemployed for


years. A gentleman he. I am shocked to save the state cannot pick a


winner. Why is he tried to buy an airport?


There is a gentleman they are in the cold tyres. Recognising this


sincerity of the aspiration of each of the candidatess's answer, how on


earth do they think they can achieve this winning decision has been made


that Michael Heseltine described as the worst decision of any British


post-war government, by taking us out of the EU and going for a hard


Brexit out of the single murky and depriving the north-east...?


CHEERING The accusation as we can accuse the


government of perhaps creating a situation that we are there is high


unemployment relatively, although it has dropped, but labour authorities


have run the area for a long time, why have they not create jobs


already? We have been for the last ten years


and this is the huge advantage that we have, we have been working in


partnership with business all the last ten years creating jobs across


the Tees Valley and I think the figure is something around 20,000


created in that period, and these are real jobs, jobs that are


creating wealth, growing our economy and ensuring of our security in


terms of our economy going forward. I have no compunction about saying


that we can create these new jobs going forward because I have a track


record of already doing so and I think we can do so again and


continue to do so. John, why not trust Labour to carry on? We have to


be clear about this, jobs are not being created, they are being lost


here and we are not building the infrastructure needed to create


jobs. The point being only to the voluntary sector to get more


involved, to give young people... How would you explain that


unemployed has dropped significantly? I did not say


significantly, but jobs have been lost. We are not protecting industry


in this area. This is a strong industrial area, it is not being


protected. Creating jobs is about building the infrastructure you


need. That is the bond sector, the educational sector and giving


businesses an area that they can look at and say they want to invest


in there. That is how you create jobs. A lot more hands up in the


audience, I will come back to the panel and a second. I would like is


the one job taken away, and that is the job of the newly elected mayor.


About 14 years ago, we had a referendum on a regional assembly


that Labour tried to bring in. It was beaten by 80-20 in the polls.


The Tory Government have imposed on us with the help and support of five


Labour councils, to something in an area that does not exist called the


Tees Valley. They have brought Durham into our area. We do not have


Cleveland, we do not have Teesside, this is a complete nonsense. Give us


a referendum, let the people have their say and I think you would find


it would be overwhelmingly we do not want a mayor and we do not want this


devolution. OK, a fair bit of support for that in the audience but


let's see if anybody has got more points on jobs. I am amazed that


none of you have addressed the potential job creation of... Our


tourism, and heritage potential. We have got lots of unique inventions


in this whole region, including Durham, and tourism is a great job


creator. There was a gentleman over here in the grey shirt. I have a


question. I live in Hartlepool and I invest about ?1700 per year in the


council, the repayment rates, and the return I get on that is ruled


that are breaking up, decaying infrastructure and general... We pay


the seventh highest rates in the country, we invested the same amount


of money as resident in Chelsea and yet the return we get on it is zero.


What I would like to know is, this is a Labour-controlled majority


counsel, what are the Labour Party going to do when they have got


control of the whole region? It is bad enough with one council. I want


to raise with Ben, the Conservatives did take it in the nick of the SSI,


failing to see that fight. There is the impression of why should they


trust you to backs Tees Valley in the future if you let it down over


the steelworks? There are two Mac parts to that. The second part is


that while what happened at SSI was a tragedy, and it was a horrible


situation for all those affected directly and indirectly from the


culture, we have to look at what the government did and this Conservative


government did to rest on afterwards. The vast majority,


verging on all the people, either find new employment, albeit not


perfect, or have started their own businesses. Should more action have


been taken to keep it in your view? The other part we have got to


address as well is that Labour find themselves in this dichotomy in this


region because they want to see it is doing very badly, we are losing


jobs, we are not doing very well but because they control the region,


they're happy to turn around and the jobs are being created. We have a 3


million jobs created since this Conservative government scheme and


nationally, 1 million apprenticeships. Start-ups in this


region is the highest rate of any in the country. There is a lot of


things to be positive about when it comes to job creation... Respond to


that but also, why should they trust Labour if they feel they are let


down by the council already? First of all, in terms of job creation, we


have been interested and been delivering on the job creation


agenda despite the Tory Government and despite austerity. That is what


we have been doing and continue to do it and will continue to do that.


There is no doubt about that at all. The fact is that in relation to the


SSI site, and what we have seen a global jobs have been created and


people have been brought into jobs and the work of the task force has


been excellent in that regard, the average wage in Redcar and Cleveland


has gone from the highest in the region to the lowest and that


reflects the types of jobs that actually are being created in Tees


Valley. I want to address the types of jobs that we are creating,


ensuring that they are much higher value, paying better wages and are


more secure so that these sorts of jobs you can bring your family up on


and not have to depend on having the welfare system. That is my ambition.


The issue about the referendum was mentioned. I know one of the


candidates or you would have a referendum, would you? No. I think


we are creatures of the government. A Conservative government was


elected, with 37% of the vote. They became the government. That is a


wonderful system. This system has been imposed upon us. The fact is,


it is here now. The question is what do we do about it? Do we pretended


he did not happen or do we try to turn the clock back and stop


everything that has been made? The combined authorities has been


meeting for a year now. Do you want to scrap everything that they have


done? I think John Tennant is a remarkable man, the only guy I have


known in all of my long life involved in politics that said


please vote for me and if I am elected, I will resign. That is not


a very good thing to do! Is a pretty cynical to go into an election soon


you will have to referendum, but in my view, even though I am standing


for the job, I think it should be got rid of? Let's be clear, I am the


only candidate offering a referendum and if I was not standing for


election in this election, there would not be the offer of a


referendum on the Tees Valley combined authorities. The point


being there is so much voter apathy editor about the combined


authorities, nobody is interested. There is not enough PR about it,


nobody wants this thing. Nobody was ever asked about it and if I... Two


things. They signed up without your say so. One thing very clearly, the


fact if it is not possible to have a referendum so that is nonsense to


start with. The second thing... Anything is possible. Quickly. This


is a really important move for the 660,000 people why did you vote


against their mayoral position when it was in the council?








Conservative government decided it was not an offer for the Tees


Valley. I was not going to turn down the opportunity to create jobs,


bring in infrastructure, build houses and create a better place for


people to live and that is not... Let's discuss some of those issues,


because they cannot have a referendum until it is over anyway.


Let's go to a third questioner. Teesside has benefited immensely


from EU funding. When this is no longer available, what plans do the


candidates have to opt in alternative funding? John Tennant, I


am sure it was a great day for your and your party last year, and


obviously the people of... The north-east of course voted to leave


the European Union but there will be a hole left by the finding that


comes to the area. What will you do? The point needs to be said that it


is our money in the first place for as we leave the EU money is still


there. We will not be giving it to the European institutions. Only for


them to us to tell the defendant. We knew it was coming from Europe and


do not know it is coming from anywhere else. We are still paying


the same business rate and income tax. We will still get the same


amount into the government department will not be giving it


to... But we do not have a guarantee, and I know you're not in


government, that the government will replace that money in a long term.


They have said they will in the short-term but how do you do it in


the long run? Speak at the mayor is going to have to go down to


Westminster and fight and make the case to keep that funding going and


it can be done, because we already have that funding. It is just we now


have a situation whereby the EU is telling us to spend it, how to spend


it. We will not have that problem any more. The government have given


short-term guarantees. Ukip wants to see long-term guarantees. 'S ben,


the government did make some short-term reassurance of about that


but her vital is it that it is recognised that this money will need


to be replaced, because it did make a difference? It did make a


difference that I have to agree with John in that it does not mean that


we cannot nationally impose our own system in which to support areas of


the economy. We did not go far enough in that it is all very well


and did getting ?100 million to Europe for them to send back half of


it and tell you with strings attached how it should be spent. I


would rather an elected national government of the UK fed on a


platform we are going to spend this money and get to these regions in


this form and we will support local economy. I do not think there is an


issue from that point of view that we are all going to be in agreement


that there needs to be some support in the form


that it is going to take, and whoever becomes mayor, diffidently


and Robbie Findley that funding, to continue to support the economy. In


the longer term, I would suggest that we need to be able to grow the


local economy so we are less reliant on those funds than in the past.


Chris Foote Wood, Liberal Democrats and they enthusiasts for you, what


is the alternative? It is to make the most of the situation that we


have got. I was in favour of remaining but I am also a Democrat


and the country voted to leave, they are for as far as I'm concerned, we


are going to leave but make the best of that situation. It is quite


obvious that with what Theresa May has set out we are going to leave


and... What are you going to do as where to drive -- to try to fill any


gaps might be poised to become a bursting to do is to make sure from


government that European funding that we have previously got and the


north-east is one of the biggest areas to receive European funding,


that we want to make sure that all that funding still comes to us from


the government, because it will not be paying it to the EU. We still


made that equivalent of European funding to come here and that is


something which you need to negotiate hard and make sure that


you get it. I will. CHEERING


Brexit is coming, how do you deal with that?


45% of the investment pot that the combining authority have is made up


of the EU funding. You can see immediately the scale of what we may


lose. There is a clear investment process that we need to enable us to


replace that fund and that is a ?25 million additional amount from


government added to per year from 1919 onwards, and that will make up


from the deference that we were losing European funding. I hope, and


I would like to hear all of this panel, commit to ensuring that our


government, whoever it might be after the election, will give us


that ?25 million -- ?25 billion and ensure it is made up because of it


is not we will be losing out as a region. I want to hear from the


audience again, the gentleman there with his hand up in the middle of


the back row. On past performance, all that money not go to the south


east and not the north-east? Thank you very much for that comment. A


woman just there. That is exactly the point I want to make. When you


look at funding of the arts, for transport, per head of population it


is disproportionately biased towards the south east, we are in dire


straits without a European funding. It is going to get worse. I don't


know how much more money you have got to cut from your local authority


because of austerity, but in County Durham we have got another 100


million to cut. What are you going to do to make central government,


especially after this election, do something about that and treat the


north-east fairly? The point is, I suppose, you are a Labour


politician. Go down to London, try and talk to ministers, are they


going to give you much of a hearing with your gap in your hand asking


for more money? I am not going to go anywhere with a cap in hand. I am


going to go with an investment plan which shows why they need to invest


in the Tees Valley and by investing in the Tees Valley you will create


wealth not only by the people that live here but the whole of the UK. I


am very clear about what we did it. We need to see their distribution of


those resources repatriated to this country as a result of Brexit and no


more of this business of not distributing on the basis of need,


which the government is doing time and time again. We have just seen


the last revision of skills funding that severely disadvantaged schools


in the North of England, and that sort of thing has got to change. --


of schools. Some of the audience do not trust the Conservatives to


deliver for this region. You may well be in government again passed


this next election. Can you as a conservative influence them? The


devolution deal was given to the Tees Valley area by a Conservative


government, by the MP for Stockton South... Not as yet saying they will


replace the European funding. He was the Northern powerhouse visitor who


delivered on this page brought this additional funding.


Will you tell the minister you want the European money replaced? It is a


British money. It is coming back. If we elect a national Government,


there will be additional funds available, because we are not paying


to Europe, and it is up to the Government how we spend it. I would


influence it by electing more Conservatives in the region. On the


8th of June I am confident... What are you going to do at the mayor?


Try and elect Conservative MPs? Of course the mayor will have


influence, the mayor will walk into Whitehall with a new Conservative


Government after the 8th of June and knock on the open door and say, we


need additional funding. We will see what happens. A gentleman in the


middle, in the striped shirt. Yes, sir. The only people who are going


to make a profit out of this election and the forthcoming general


election are the people who are the Chief Executive 's, and therefore


the election officers, who will get a bonus of up to 15,000 just for


running the election. I am sure that is not


you not think this role has just you not think this role has just


created to deflect attention from the


delivering this deal, we have up to delivering this deal, we have up to


against other investment. I will against other investment. I


leveraged against the pension fund, which could contribute towards


investment. Half ?1 billion goes into this area. When there is a


Conservative Government, we saw it with the developer the Corporation,


the retail park, the Teesdale site revamp, that is all under a


Conservative Government, all funds that came through, and we will see


it again. The Labour candidate intends to create the jobs to drive


the market. That is a Labour candidate, we have five Labour


authorities, they have not created the jobs. The Northern powerhouse is


a complete failure. We had a Labour Government that ruined the economy


nationally and... They lost jobs. We must move on. The Labour councils


have been working with business over the last ten years creating jobs in


the Tees Valley and doing a sterling job, despite the economic


circumstances that we have had to work with. The next question. As a


student at Newcastle University I often come across transport issues


when travelling around the north-east. What plans do the


candidates have for improving the local infrastructure and the


transport connections within our area? Chris Foote Wood, I looked at


your statement. You have a thing at the top, talking about an hour test


track, which I worked out that if you went from hot to Darlington, it


would take two minutes, 800 miles an hour! What would you do? It is a


test track, it is to bring top-level technology to the area. It will be


somewhere in this country, why not in the north-east? Why should we not


build it? That will not help her move around. We need a metro. Every


cannot have one in the Tees Valley cannot have one in the Tees Valley


because the River Tees is in the way. We need a link downstream, it


has already been mooted that we should have a road link downstream,


let's have a road and rail link, I combined super bridge that will not


only improve the road transport right around the Tees Valley, but


also create a rail loop, and if you go to any... I have lived in


Tyneside, in London, the Metro is essential for getting people around


Wrigley, cheaply and easily. That would get everybody moving around.


You could get to school, college, whatever, and that is what I want to


see. I will come back to how we will fund this. John Tennant, you have


talked about a metro as well. If we look at the success of the Metro


system in Tyne Wear, it has helped the airport, both for people to go


abroad and for people from abroad to visit, we do not have that in


Teesside, but we could have it. How would you find it? You get ?15


million a year and a transport budget, a metro costs hundreds of


millions of pounds. The Last Panthers was mooted, thrown out by


the coalition Government, they said no, we can bring it back to life,


the last time it was priced at ?220 million, and a lot of private


investment was interested. Could you do it yourself or is this something


you would have to go to the Government for? Who would have to go


to the Government, but we need the infrastructure. People have to


travel from Hartlepool to Darlington and work, we have to get people


travelling around. Businesses can go, we have a captive workforce,


they are prepared to travel, and there is a system in place to help


them get there quickly. It will also help the airport. It needs its


infrastructure. I know you support the idea of the metro as well, but


what else can be done? We need to see where we are. Because the local


authorities have been working together collectively, we have a


stronger position with an organisation which has ensured we


will get Government funding for a number of big projects, not least


the new crossing across the river Tees, which is really important,


improvements to the railway tracks to ensure we can get freight from


the port and out onto the main lines, and ensure that the road


network is more effective going forward. One of those things are


happening anyway, that is really good, and we are doing it because we


have a collective voice, and if we had not stood together, we would not


have had it. What is also important is we start getting public transport


right, especially the buses. We have a new opportunity with the bill that


will give us the option to start speaking to the bus companies and


start thinking about how we can apply public subsidy in a way that


ensures that we have got bus routes that get people to and from work,


town centres, and around the region, to encourage our economy to grow,


and that is crucial. Ben Houchen, how would you help people get around


that? There are practical things. There is already an effort structure


plan. Improvements to the a 19, Darlington station, track


improvements, which would improve passenger numbers, as well as


freight. We have the legislation of the line which links with the


trans-Pennine. That is already going on. Would you go the same way? I


think the buses is a shocking idea, and I would like to rule out the


idea that a combined authority would run a bus franchise, but was


otherwise the authority would become a bus franchise. It is all right for


them to run an airport, apparently! Interesting! Tyne Wear looked at


this idea, and a transport Commissioner decided it would not be


able to afford to do it. Ready to look at the powers that the act


gives us, because that was not available. I do not think the


combined authority would wonder bus services, it would work with


business and industry to work out where public funded bus services


would support economic growth across the Tees Valley and use that


selective investment to ensure we get services where we do not have


them now. The next question, it is pertinent to transport. In light of


recent controversy surrounding the airport, what with the candidates do


to ensure a viable future for the local airport? There is one


candidate who has been very clear about what his plans are, we will


question him about it. Firstly, I quality side airport, the idea we


call it Tees Valley anything is ridiculous, this made up in the


deep. It is a positive, because... What is your plan? Who want to buy


it. We could talk about infrastructure, transport to and


from, how fantastic the local economy would be, but the biggest


problem with the airport are the owners. Until it is addressed about


what we do about the current owners, who are not interested in running it


as an airport, and are holding all five Labour run authorities to


ransom on pension contributions, and houses that have been approved,


until we address the issue of ownership, and the only option is


taking them out of ownership, the airport will not be here in five


years. There will be no money left. It is an important issue. The


company are not here to defend themselves, they want to carry on


running services. If you are committed to this and this is your


policy, you have to deliver it, they just keep raising the price to sell


it to you. They have you over a it to you. They have you over a


barrel. I disagree. There is a plan that would mean that is not a's that


that would not happen. There are compulsory purchase powers that have


been devolved to the Mayor, which would be used as a last resort. We


resolution around the table. There resolution around the table. There


are other powers that could be set up. There are partnerships in


Newcastle Airport and Manchester Airport that have seen them thrive.


There are plenty of options available, but until they come


around the table, rather than picking the pockets of the


authorities and asking for more and giving nothing back... They have


only committed to keeping the airport open for five years, because


the local authorities said there would take on the responsible the


pension, and they have given houses in Darlington. That at least is a


plan for revising an airport that is in bad trouble. About the planning


system, it is unacceptable for the candidate to sit there and say that


the planning system in some way is skewed towards secure objectives


that are not planning objectives. The system is was a judicial, run in


a fair way. We need to know that. It is wrong... You are not in favour of


taking them into public ownership. I would not buy an airport that is


losing ?2 million a year and pass that debt onto every single one of


you. You just sold one for ?500,000. You would take a piece of


infrastructure that is so important and give it away. That is what


Labour did in the early 2000. Will not listen to the answer! Let her


speak. I will not buy the airport, I will invest in it and turn it into


the thriving international gateway that we should have in the Tees


Valley if our economy is going to grow. You not doing the company's


job for them? Everything I will do is about growing our economy,


creating jobs and making is a thriving community, and this is a


key part of that. I am not doing their job for them. I am working in


partnership with a major business in the Tees Valley, as I am doing


across the Tees Valley, physical the best possible outcome. There are a


number of things that need to be done. I do not want to go into all


of them. Are you confident it will revive the airport? There are real


opportunities, not least with the third runway at Heathrow, we will


get direct flights. That bring the rest of the panel in. The one thing


that is stopping us having a thriving airport that we need this


the recent decision by the Labour-controlled Darlington Borough


Council to give planning permission for 350 houses right next to the


airport. That decision has to be reversed if the airport is to have a


proper future. Here we have Sue Jeffrey sitting here talking about


the airport, she is a member of the airport board applied for the


planning permission. She has a conflict of interest, she should not


be on the board and on the combined authority. I will let you come back


in one minute. It is not often that I agree with the Liberal Democrats,


but having said that, the most important thing is as regards the


airport, it needs the infrastructure around it. It needs the ability for


people to get there and it will attract investment. 350 houses built


next to an airport is an absolute shambles, it is a terrible idea,


because if the airport gets its investment and it expands, those


houses will have to be pulled down. We need a longer term plan. Let's


stop wasting taxpayers' money. Labour cannot be trusted on the


economy. 13 years of Government... The suggestion that there is any


influence but I have over a planning decision in Darlington is completely


and absolutely wrong... You applied for at! You applied for the planning


permission. And yes, I do have an interest in Durham Tees Valley


airport. I have an interest to make it grow and thrive and be


successful. Letter from the audience because there are a lot of passion.


Just to put this into perspective, what happened on the 29th of March


was that the Labour-controlled council in Darlington gave Peel ?25


million. Prior to that date, the Peel Holdings were telling you that


the port was losing ?200,000 per month. It was effectively worthless.


Since they got the planning approved, it is now worth ?25


million minimum. But look at it this way. The port, that ?25 million


value is the land at about ?1 million per hectare. There is 338


hectares of land there. How are you going to resist any further planning


applications for housing? I will tell


you, if I go for? Wake up, you lot. We have already talked in terms of


the cost of the board. Fundamentally, it is because we did


not get regional theatres when we had a Labour government. Why did the


Conservative Government not give it regional status and allowed to raise


funds and expand? We talk about costs, it is rather surprising that


Sue Jeffrey is not mentioned that the council just got cost for a


millions of pounds pension make up for appeal all in October the outset


it was 300,000, and no one point of a million is to be found for me, you


and everybody else in this room to pay for that. Let's take the


gentleman in the golden tie. The shambolic management of the entire


Teesside airport is a demonstration of why we need devolution, to have


an authority that is big enough to manage the critical fight off the


value itself and, above all, and under no circumstances should this


be an extension of the 1-party state by the Labour Party that has brought


this region to its knees over decades. One more coming from the


audience. This whole issue about the Tees Valley airport, or Teesside


airport, has been brought about because of the combined authority,


they sold it for a pittance. They owned 11% of the airport right now.


Had they not sold it for next to nothing, the council would still own


it and we would not have this problem of no houses being built on


it and we could invest in it. It is totally disgraceful what these


Labour run councils have done over the years. The councils have been


working as hard as they can over the last numbers of years to secure the


future of Durham Tees Valley airport. We continue to do that by


ensuring... By building housing on it. By ensuring that there will be


investment going forward and that investment is going to do a number


of things that will secure the future of that airport and the fact


is, without doubt airport, our economy will not succeed and it is


in all of our interest to get pains plans to see its future secured. Is


there anybody in the audience who has got a comment on buses, trains,


any other element of transport? Gentleman in the middle. On the


metro, be careful of what you ask for, because the Tyne... Tyne and


Wear Metro. Yes, every now and again, about once in seven days, it


announces that there are no problems on the metro. The reason it has to


announce it is because breakdowns are so frequent, because there is


not enough investment to keep the metro going properly. Anybody else


with views on transport? My comment is not about the metro, actually,


but what I find very often... Issues being discussed by people who are


not by a large transport users. I do not drive until I on public


transport and sadly over the years, the years, the subsidies to bus


services have been cut. I live in East Cleveland and it is extremely


difficult to travel around East Cleveland on a bus after five


o'clock in the evening and that is fundamental to people's quality of


life, and that is the kind of integrated transport plans that we


need for ordinary people who actually... Whose lives are affected


by lack of public transport. Applause


Slight problem with the sound. I take the train every day to


Middlesbrough where I work and frequently between dialects. The


trains that we take were built when I was six years old, 30 years ago,


there is no connection. When my dad was ill in James Cook, if you go


from Saltburn to Middlesbrough you have to wait for ageing. There is no


connections between the different train companies or if you need to


take a bus. They do not come at the same time. Everybody has to wait and


there is now joined up nice and that is why Transport for London works


because they do that with lots of private companies as well as the


public once so what are you going to do about that? John Tennant, what


would you do to help some of these problems? Basically you're making


the same point that I made earlier on, we need to have a metro system


with frequent services. And those services, and each station needs to


have its bus service so it is fitting it to. It has got to be


integrated, as the lady said earlier on. Chris Foote Wood as well. I am


well old enough to have a bus pass and use it frequently and I think it


is one of the best things that ever happened. The only thing is, having


a bus pass is no good if there is no buses. So you need to find some ways


of improving the situation, because it is quite true. The subsidies on


buses have all gone, and that is why the services have been cut back. It


simply means that if you want better services, you're going to have to


find some means of getting money into them, whether it is from


wherever it comes from. The other thing is of course escort mission. I


quite agree. Having travelled widely on the continent, you go to cities


on the continent, what do you find? The buses and trains actually


coincide with one another! Is it not wonderful? Why can we not do that?


Just on the trains. We are running short on time so I am going to run


it on to our next question, Yvonne Richardson. Much of our older local


housing stock is being bought up by private, Providence accessed


landlords who have no interest in the community and do not carry out


proper repairs. -- profit obsessed. What will you do to tackle this and


ensure investment goes into these homes? We are starting to run short


on time but Sue Jeffrey, on housing, how would you answer that? Housing


market renewal funding ran out into those in sex. That was the money


that was going to regenerate communities right across the Tees


Valley. It was lost, it does not happen, we need to get that money


back into those communities to ensure that those areas are


generated. It cannot just be about building houses on greenfield sites.


It must be about putting the heart back into our town centres and our


communities, as I say, like the place that I represent, South bank


in Middlesborough. For too long, we have the money going into, as I say,


just building new homes. We need money going into regeneration and


proper regeneration, not just in terms of bricks and mortar but also


the people and communities that live there. What would you do on housing


if elected mayor? There must combined authority has a land


commission and to be able to address the housing issue, we need more


affordable housing and for me across the set, Denton and Hartlepool we


need more housing generally and one of my key policies is to allow the


land commissioner, as part of the combined authority, to find a viable


sites for a new village, a new town with a master plan so it has the


infrastructure... Have you got any idea of where that would go?


Mol-mac, I am not an expert on land planning. So is this to avoid the


knot in my backyard issues will you park it in the middle of nowhere?


No. There is a serious point. For too long, across the area we have


got local authorities that do not have up-to-date local plans and so


haphazardly approving planning proposals across the region that are


affecting our market towns and villages and hamlets, that are being


attacked by ad hoc planning applications from developers. A


chunk of those ad hoc housing requirements could be soaked up by a


new site, that is one of the key reasons for it. On top of that, the


combined authority, and I would be looking at funds of additional


funding to bring back into use some brownfield sites were in previous


years that funding has not come in. John, on housing, short of time, one


idea? The thing is, we have to look at... Bringing a lot of indie houses


back into use. There is a lot of them in the Tees Valley. -- empty


houses. That is how we solve the social houses crisis we're having


because the Right to Buy scheme destroyed social housing. We have


got to put a stop to that and to protect people, particularly


vulnerable and people who cannot afford to get onto the housing


ladder. That is what we should be doing and not what Labour or the


Conservatives or the Liberal Democrats are offering you. Chris


Foote Wood, what would you offer? I would like to see, when I was a


Council Leader, we emphasised renewing houses, repairing houses,


renovating and bringing up to modern standards. It is almost always


better, instead of knocking a house down to modernise it. It costs less


and it keeps the community together. That is the principle I would like


to see done, particularly whereas in Middlesbrough, where I used to live,


vast areas in dereliction of where it has been flung clearance to stop


when you clear the slums, you're not just clearing houses, the people are


making out and you are losing your communities. I agree it is silly.


Let's keep the community together by making sure that housing is brought


up to modern standards. -- I agree with Sue Jeffrey is. It saves a lot


of money. Let's move onto our final tonight. This is a lot of response


ability. What experience do you have that makes you best suited for the


job? Let's go to Ben. I think I've got a lot of experience. I am


currently reading the Conservative group on Stockton Council, so I have


a good understanding of the pressure that local authorities face but also


some of the opportunities that local authorities are possibly not taking


advantage of that can be done by the combined authority. I also run my


own business, started my own business just over 12 months ago. I


grew that with myself -- from myself and a couple of other people to more


than 20 employees. I understand the pressures faced by the business


community over skills, training, access to funding, business rates. I


was also in private practice as a solicitor for a number of years and


so have seen the same problems from clients across the Tees Valley, who


are facing both finishes. I have got not just the public experience but


also the private experience of what is happening on a daily basis. John


Tennant. Your qualifications? I am the leader of the UK opposition


group on Hartlepool Borough Council and that experience at a local


level. From ordinary people, I understand about the Tees Valley


combined authority and most people do not like it. They do not support


it. As somebody who has been involved in Ukip for a long time, we


were the party that brought to there the pressure on the government to


offer the referendum. We can do the referendum. We can do this in here


and I have that experience. I have heard you talk about career


politicians, but what do you have talked about having no career


politicians, but you are a career politician. Of course not. I have


been Ukip for a long time. The point being we have always been turkeys


voting for Christmas and we have achieved far more as a party in 23


years... You are not really getting personal qualities. I am going to


move it on. Chris Foote Wood, your personal qualities? I am not a


modest guy. I know my capabilities and I would say without doubt I am


the best qualified person of the four to be mayor of Tees Valley. I


have been a Council Leader for six years, making real decisions. I have


also been, more important, a member of all-party bodies. I make a point


here. We already have five out of the six members of the combined


authority are Labour. If we have a Labour mayor, it will be the


equivalent of a 1-party state. The way that this should be run, this


should be run to be successful on an all-party basis and I believe when


you go to government, and I used to go to government, lead a delegation,


but I made sure that delegation included representatives of the


other parties on the council, because when you go to government,


it is much better to say we are representing on an all-party basis,


the whole of the Tees Valley, and that is what I will do. I need to


get Sue Jeffrey on. You might want to answer that. It is a labour cabal


of you're the head of this. The command my personal qualities, first


and foremost, I have only the leader of Redcar and Cleveland Council.


Before that, I was a housing professional. I work in planning,


development and the regional level. I have written authorisation that


after Madrid was the Tees Valley and more. More than that, I am a


resident in Southbank. I know about my community and work on it.


And how about the causes of you sitting with five Labour councillors


questioned a big Mac and I am a mum and grandmother, which I am proud


of. In terms of being a Labour cabal, as you call it, what it is


about is a partnership of local authorities, the mayor, business and


the community and the whole of the Tees Valley, 600,000 -- more than


600,000 people standing together, fighting for the Tees Valley thing


we are going to do things for ourselves, make a difference, grow


our economy, create jobs and be a better place. That is what I am


standing for. I would love to have time to go back


to the audience but unfortunately, it is against us and has run out. My


thanks to the panel, to our audience here at the Macmillan Academy and,


of course, to you at home for tuning in. The debate goes on. Just


remember that the Twitter # is tease me if you want to have your say in


what you have heard and there is much more about the mayoral


conflicts coming up over the next few days with more online. It has


been a lively debate and it is a pretty big job ahead for whoever


wins this election on the 4th of May but for now, it is good night from


Middlesbrough. Spring is arriving -


in a whirlwind of pink. We're in Japan to celebrate


the sakura. So join us on Friday,


21 April at 8.30 on BBC TWO. TV: He's not your father.


WOMAN GASPS so why not pay your TV licence in


weekly instalments, too?


Voters quiz the candidates hoping to be the first mayor of the Tees Valley.