The North East A Mayor for...


The North East

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


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Transcript


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

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

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

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

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should be the first mayor for the Tees Valley.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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those affected by the closure back into employment, potentially

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

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

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

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

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authority have proposed, in conjunction with the corporation,

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

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

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

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moving. As a huge site of international importance, it

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requires proper redevelopment to requires proper redevelopment to

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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but we need to speak to the Department of communities and

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

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

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attract investment, jobs and introduced the voluntary sector, and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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having one of the highest unemployment rate in the country,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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thing. Another, the mayor will have responsibility for reviewing

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

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

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

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agreement and the devolution deal, that will definitely improve the

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

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

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

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creating jobs. The private sector needs infrastructure that is built

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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investment, in both small companies, medium companies and large

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companies, about ensuring we get inward investment into the Tees

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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approach with businesses, apprenticeships, placement, there is

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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winner. Why is he tried to buy an airport?

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

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

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

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that Michael Heseltine described as the worst decision of any British

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

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

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CHEERING The accusation as we can accuse the

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

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unemployment relatively, although it has dropped, but labour authorities

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

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already? We have been for the last ten years

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

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partnership with business all the last ten years creating jobs across

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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here and we are not building the infrastructure needed to create

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

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

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unemployed has dropped significantly? I did not say

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

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

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protected. Creating jobs is about building the infrastructure you

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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situation for all those affected directly and indirectly from the

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

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government did to rest on afterwards. The vast majority,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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million jobs created since this Conservative government scheme and

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nationally, 1 million apprenticeships. Start-ups in this

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

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

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

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

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have been interested and been delivering on the job creation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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we are creatures of the government. A Conservative government was

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

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

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

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

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everything that has been made? The combined authorities has been

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:20:19.:20:22.

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

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referendum on the Tees Valley combined authorities. The point

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being there is so much voter apathy editor about the combined

:20:30.:20:32.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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against their mayoral position when it was in the council?

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PEOPLE SHOWED OVER EACH other and YOU SHOULD HAVE GIVEN THE PEOPLE OF

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THE TEES VALLEY THE CHANCE TO SEE WHETHER WE WANTED IT. YOU HAVE DONE

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IT AND THEN POSTED ON US. IT IS NOT DEMOCRATIC. It is totally wrong. The

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Conservative government decided it was not an offer for the Tees

:21:30.:21:33.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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amount into the government department will not be giving it

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

:22:48.:22:50.

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

:22:51.:22:53.

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

:22:54.:22:57.

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

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

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

:23:06.:23:09.

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

:23:10.:23:13.

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

:23:14.:23:17.

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

:23:18.:23:21.

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

:23:22.:23:24.

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

:23:25.:23:29.

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

:23:30.:23:31.

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

:23:32.:23:35.

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

:23:36.:23:40.

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

:23:41.:23:44.

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

:23:45.:23:47.

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

:23:48.:23:51.

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

:23:52.:23:54.

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

:23:55.:23:58.

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

:23:59.:24:01.

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

:24:02.:24:04.

that there needs to be some support in the form

:24:05.:24:23.

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

:24:24.:24:27.

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

:24:28.:24:29.

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

:24:30.:24:32.

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

:24:33.:24:35.

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

:24:36.:24:37.

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

:24:38.:24:40.

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

:24:41.:24:43.

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

:24:44.:24:46.

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

:24:47.:24:48.

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

:24:49.:24:52.

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

:24:53.:24:55.

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

:24:56.:24:58.

government that European funding that we have previously got and the

:24:59.:25:02.

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

:25:03.:25:07.

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

:25:08.:25:11.

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

:25:12.:25:15.

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

:25:16.:25:18.

something which you need to negotiate hard and make sure that

:25:19.:25:21.

you get it. I will. CHEERING

:25:22.:25:25.

Brexit is coming, how do you deal with that?

:25:26.:25:30.

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

:25:31.:25:33.

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

:25:34.:25:37.

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

:25:38.:25:47.

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

:25:48.:25:52.

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

:25:53.:25:57.

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

:25:58.:26:00.

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

:26:01.:26:05.

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

:26:06.:26:10.

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

:26:11.:26:14.

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

:26:15.:26:18.

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

:26:19.:26:22.

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

:26:23.:26:27.

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

:26:28.:26:33.

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

:26:34.:26:37.

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

:26:38.:26:42.

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

:26:43.:26:47.

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

:26:48.:26:51.

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

:26:52.:26:55.

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

:26:56.:27:00.

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

:27:01.:27:05.

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

:27:06.:27:13.

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

:27:14.:27:18.

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

:27:19.:27:21.

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

:27:22.:27:26.

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

:27:27.:27:29.

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

:27:30.:27:32.

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

:27:33.:27:35.

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

:27:36.:27:39.

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

:27:40.:27:43.

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

:27:44.:27:46.

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

:27:47.:27:49.

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

:27:50.:27:52.

the last revision of skills funding that severely disadvantaged schools

:27:53.:27:57.

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

:27:58.:28:02.

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

:28:03.:28:04.

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

:28:05.:28:09.

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

:28:10.:28:15.

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

:28:16.:28:19.

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

:28:20.:28:25.

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

:28:26.:28:28.

delivered on this page brought this additional funding.

:28:29.:28:33.

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

:28:34.:28:41.

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

:28:42.:28:45.

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

:28:46.:28:50.

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

:28:51.:28:54.

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

:28:55.:29:00.

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

:29:01.:29:08.

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

:29:09.:29:13.

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

:29:14.:29:16.

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

:29:17.:29:20.

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

:29:21.:29:27.

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

:29:28.:29:36.

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

:29:37.:29:44.

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

:29:45.:29:52.

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

:29:53.:30:14.

running the election. I am sure that is not

:30:15.:30:14.

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

:30:15.:30:22.

created to deflect attention from the

:30:23.:30:22.

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

:30:23.:30:22.

against other investment. I will against other investment. I

:30:23.:30:27.

leveraged against the pension fund, which could contribute towards

:30:28.:30:32.

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

:30:33.:30:38.

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

:30:39.:30:44.

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

:30:45.:30:47.

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

:30:48.:30:54.

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

:30:55.:30:57.

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

:30:58.:31:02.

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

:31:03.:31:11.

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

:31:12.:31:16.

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

:31:17.:31:23.

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

:31:24.:31:26.

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

:31:27.:31:32.

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

:31:33.:31:42.

student at Newcastle University I often come across transport issues

:31:43.:31:44.

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

:31:45.:31:49.

candidates have for improving the local infrastructure and the

:31:50.:31:51.

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

:31:52.:31:59.

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

:32:00.:32:04.

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

:32:05.:32:08.

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

:32:09.:32:15.

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

:32:16.:32:20.

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

:32:21.:32:26.

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

:32:27.:32:32.

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

:32:33.:32:38.

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

:32:39.:32:43.

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

:32:44.:32:50.

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

:32:51.:32:55.

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

:32:56.:33:01.

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

:33:02.:33:08.

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

:33:09.:33:12.

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

:33:13.:33:17.

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

:33:18.:33:22.

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

:33:23.:33:28.

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

:33:29.:33:32.

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

:33:33.:33:37.

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

:33:38.:33:44.

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

:33:45.:33:48.

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

:33:49.:33:54.

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

:33:55.:33:57.

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

:33:58.:34:06.

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

:34:07.:34:11.

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

:34:12.:34:14.

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

:34:15.:34:18.

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

:34:19.:34:23.

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

:34:24.:34:26.

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

:34:27.:34:32.

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

:34:33.:34:36.

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

:34:37.:34:43.

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

:34:44.:34:47.

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

:34:48.:34:52.

authorities have been working together collectively, we have a

:34:53.:34:57.

stronger position with an organisation which has ensured we

:34:58.:35:00.

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

:35:01.:35:05.

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

:35:06.:35:08.

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

:35:09.:35:13.

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

:35:14.:35:15.

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

:35:16.:35:19.

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

:35:20.:35:23.

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

:35:24.:35:29.

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

:35:30.:35:32.

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

:35:33.:35:37.

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

:35:38.:35:40.

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

:35:41.:35:45.

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

:35:46.:35:52.

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

:35:53.:35:55.

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

:35:56.:36:02.

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

:36:03.:36:07.

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

:36:08.:36:10.

improvements, which would improve passenger numbers, as well as

:36:11.:36:18.

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

:36:19.:36:21.

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

:36:22.:36:29.

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

:36:30.:36:34.

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

:36:35.:36:39.

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

:36:40.:36:45.

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

:36:46.:36:50.

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

:36:51.:36:54.

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

:36:55.:36:59.

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

:37:00.:37:03.

combined authority would wonder bus services, it would work with

:37:04.:37:09.

business and industry to work out where public funded bus services

:37:10.:37:11.

would support economic growth across the Tees Valley and use that

:37:12.:37:16.

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

:37:17.:37:19.

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

:37:20.:37:26.

recent controversy surrounding the airport, what with the candidates do

:37:27.:37:29.

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

:37:30.:37:33.

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

:37:34.:37:40.

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

:37:41.:37:44.

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

:37:45.:37:49.

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

:37:50.:37:55.

it. We could talk about infrastructure, transport to and

:37:56.:38:00.

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

:38:01.:38:03.

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

:38:04.:38:09.

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

:38:10.:38:14.

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

:38:15.:38:17.

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

:38:18.:38:22.

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

:38:23.:38:26.

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

:38:27.:38:30.

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

:38:31.:38:36.

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

:38:37.:38:40.

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

:38:41.:38:46.

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

:38:47.:38:47.

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

:38:48.:38:54.

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

:38:55.:39:02.

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

:39:03.:39:04.

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

:39:05.:39:08.

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

:39:09.:39:13.

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

:39:14.:39:16.

Newcastle Airport and Manchester Airport that have seen them thrive.

:39:17.:39:20.

There are plenty of options available, but until they come

:39:21.:39:24.

around the table, rather than picking the pockets of the

:39:25.:39:27.

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

:39:28.:39:34.

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

:39:35.:39:38.

the local authorities said there would take on the responsible the

:39:39.:39:42.

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

:39:43.:39:49.

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

:39:50.:39:56.

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

:39:57.:39:59.

the planning system in some way is skewed towards secure objectives

:40:00.:40:03.

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

:40:04.:40:10.

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

:40:11.:40:19.

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

:40:20.:40:22.

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

:40:23.:40:30.

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

:40:31.:40:35.

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

:40:36.:40:40.

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

:40:41.:40:48.

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

:40:49.:40:53.

the thriving international gateway that we should have in the Tees

:40:54.:40:57.

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

:40:58.:41:03.

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

:41:04.:41:07.

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

:41:08.:41:11.

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

:41:12.:41:16.

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

:41:17.:41:21.

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

:41:22.:41:26.

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

:41:27.:41:31.

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

:41:32.:41:36.

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

:41:37.:41:41.

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

:41:42.:41:47.

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

:41:48.:41:50.

the recent decision by the Labour-controlled Darlington Borough

:41:51.:41:54.

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

:41:55.:42:04.

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

:42:05.:42:10.

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

:42:11.:42:13.

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

:42:14.:42:17.

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

:42:18.:42:20.

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

:42:21.:42:28.

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

:42:29.:42:31.

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

:42:32.:42:36.

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

:42:37.:42:41.

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

:42:42.:42:47.

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

:42:48.:42:52.

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

:42:53.:42:55.

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

:42:56.:43:01.

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

:43:02.:43:03.

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

:43:04.:43:14.

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

:43:15.:43:17.

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

:43:18.:43:23.

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

:43:24.:43:26.

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

:43:27.:43:31.

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

:43:32.:43:37.

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

:43:38.:43:40.

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

:43:41.:43:47.

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

:43:48.:43:51.

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

:43:52.:43:56.

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

:43:57.:44:01.

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

:44:02.:44:06.

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

:44:07.:44:11.

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

:44:12.:44:15.

applications for housing? I will tell

:44:16.:44:25.

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

:44:26.:44:35.

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

:44:36.:44:37.

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

:44:38.:44:41.

Conservative Government not give it regional status and allowed to raise

:44:42.:44:45.

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

:44:46.:44:48.

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

:44:49.:44:53.

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

:44:54.:44:58.

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

:44:59.:45:02.

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

:45:03.:45:07.

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

:45:08.:45:12.

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

:45:13.:45:18.

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

:45:19.:45:22.

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

:45:23.:45:28.

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

:45:29.:45:32.

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

:45:33.:45:44.

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

:45:45.:45:48.

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

:45:49.:45:52.

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

:45:53.:45:56.

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

:45:57.:45:59.

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

:46:00.:46:04.

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

:46:05.:46:06.

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

:46:07.:46:15.

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

:46:16.:46:18.

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

:46:19.:46:27.

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

:46:28.:46:31.

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

:46:32.:46:34.

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

:46:35.:46:39.

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

:46:40.:46:43.

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

:46:44.:46:48.

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

:46:49.:46:55.

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

:46:56.:47:00.

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

:47:01.:47:13.

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

:47:14.:47:18.

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

:47:19.:47:24.

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

:47:25.:47:29.

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

:47:30.:47:37.

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

:47:38.:47:44.

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

:47:45.:47:54.

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

:47:55.:47:59.

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

:48:00.:48:02.

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

:48:03.:48:05.

difficult to travel around East Cleveland on a bus after five

:48:06.:48:09.

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

:48:10.:48:14.

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

:48:15.:48:18.

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

:48:19.:48:26.

by lack of public transport. Applause

:48:27.:48:31.

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

:48:32.:48:34.

Middlesbrough where I work and frequently between dialects. The

:48:35.:48:38.

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

:48:39.:48:46.

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

:48:47.:48:49.

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

:48:50.:48:53.

connections between the different train companies or if you need to

:48:54.:48:56.

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

:48:57.:48:59.

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

:49:00.:49:03.

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

:49:04.:49:06.

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

:49:07.:49:13.

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

:49:14.:49:15.

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

:49:16.:49:22.

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

:49:23.:49:26.

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

:49:27.:49:29.

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

:49:30.:49:37.

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

:49:38.:49:40.

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

:49:41.:49:44.

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

:49:45.:49:48.

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

:49:49.:49:54.

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

:49:55.:49:59.

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

:50:00.:50:02.

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

:50:03.:50:06.

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

:50:07.:50:13.

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

:50:14.:50:17.

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

:50:18.:50:20.

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

:50:21.:50:27.

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

:50:28.:50:31.

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

:50:32.:50:38.

housing stock is being bought up by private, Providence accessed

:50:39.:50:40.

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

:50:41.:50:46.

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

:50:47.:50:50.

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

:50:51.:50:56.

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

:50:57.:51:00.

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

:51:01.:51:03.

that was going to regenerate communities right across the Tees

:51:04.:51:06.

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

:51:07.:51:10.

back into those communities to ensure that those areas are

:51:11.:51:13.

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

:51:14.:51:20.

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

:51:21.:51:23.

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

:51:24.:51:26.

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

:51:27.:51:31.

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

:51:32.:51:34.

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

:51:35.:51:37.

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

:51:38.:51:42.

if elected mayor? There must combined authority has a land

:51:43.:51:45.

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

:51:46.:51:50.

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

:51:51.:51:53.

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

:51:54.:51:57.

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

:51:58.:52:02.

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

:52:03.:52:06.

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

:52:07.:52:10.

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

:52:11.:52:16.

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

:52:17.:52:20.

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

:52:21.:52:25.

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

:52:26.:52:28.

haphazardly approving planning proposals across the region that are

:52:29.:52:32.

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

:52:33.:52:35.

attacked by ad hoc planning applications from developers. A

:52:36.:52:39.

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

:52:40.:52:45.

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

:52:46.:52:48.

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

:52:49.:52:52.

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

:52:53.:52:57.

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

:52:58.:53:02.

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

:53:03.:53:06.

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

:53:07.:53:11.

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

:53:12.:53:14.

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

:53:15.:53:18.

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

:53:19.:53:21.

vulnerable and people who cannot afford to get onto the housing

:53:22.:53:23.

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

:53:24.:53:27.

Conservatives or the Liberal Democrats are offering you. Chris

:53:28.:53:33.

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

:53:34.:53:38.

Council Leader, we emphasised renewing houses, repairing houses,

:53:39.:53:41.

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

:53:42.:53:47.

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

:53:48.:53:51.

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

:53:52.:53:56.

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

:53:57.:53:59.

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

:54:00.:54:03.

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

:54:04.:54:09.

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

:54:10.:54:11.

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

:54:12.:54:17.

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

:54:18.:54:22.

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

:54:23.:54:29.

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

:54:30.:54:38.

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

:54:39.:54:41.

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

:54:42.:54:44.

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

:54:45.:54:47.

some of the opportunities that local authorities are possibly not taking

:54:48.:54:52.

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

:54:53.:54:55.

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

:54:56.:55:01.

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

:55:02.:55:05.

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

:55:06.:55:08.

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

:55:09.:55:13.

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

:55:14.:55:17.

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

:55:18.:55:20.

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

:55:21.:55:23.

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

:55:24.:55:30.

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

:55:31.:55:33.

group on Hartlepool Borough Council and that experience at a local

:55:34.:55:36.

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

:55:37.:55:39.

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

:55:40.:55:42.

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

:55:43.:55:46.

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

:55:47.:55:50.

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

:55:51.:55:53.

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

:55:54.:56:04.

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

:56:05.:56:06.

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

:56:07.:56:09.

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

:56:10.:56:13.

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

:56:14.:56:16.

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

:56:17.:56:20.

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

:56:21.:56:25.

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

:56:26.:56:31.

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

:56:32.:56:35.

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

:56:36.:56:40.

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

:56:41.:56:44.

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

:56:45.:56:50.

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

:56:51.:56:55.

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

:56:56.:57:00.

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

:57:01.:57:04.

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

:57:05.:57:09.

but I made sure that delegation included representatives of the

:57:10.:57:11.

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

:57:12.:57:17.

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

:57:18.:57:20.

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

:57:21.:57:24.

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

:57:25.:57:28.

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

:57:29.:57:33.

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

:57:34.:57:37.

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

:57:38.:57:43.

development and the regional level. I have written authorisation that

:57:44.:57:46.

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

:57:47.:57:49.

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

:57:50.:57:54.

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

:57:55.:57:59.

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

:58:00.:58:02.

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

:58:03.:58:09.

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

:58:10.:58:13.

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

:58:14.:58:16.

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

:58:17.:58:19.

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

:58:20.:58:22.

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

:58:23.:58:25.

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

:58:26.:58:30.

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

:58:31.:58:34.

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

:58:35.:58:38.

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

:58:39.:58:43.

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

:58:44.:58:46.

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

:58:47.:58:49.

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

:58:50.:58:52.

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

:58:53.:58:55.

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

:58:56.:58:58.

Middlesbrough. Spring is arriving -

:58:59.:59:04.

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

:59:05.:59:07.

the sakura. So join us on Friday,

:59:08.:59:10.

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

:59:11.:59:15.

WOMAN GASPS so why not pay your TV licence in

:59:16.:59:27.

weekly instalments, too?

:59:28.:59:41.

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