03/02/2014 Inside Out Yorkshire and Lincolnshire


Have casual contracts and poor safety systems led to deaths on the railways? The impact of abolishing the spare room subsidy in Grimsby, and Newark's role in the English Civil War.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 03/02/2014. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Welcome to Inside Out. This week we are in Newark.


Good evening and welcome to Inside Out. Tonight, working long hours at


one of the most dangerous jobs, keeping the railways on the move,


our rail workers plural`macro lives being put at risk? One mother wants


to know who is to blame for her son's death. I was actually in a


daze, numb. Also tonight, we look at the reality


of living without the spare room subsidy. It is costing the Council


the best part of ?1 million that we could spend on other things.


And Horrible Histories author Terry Deary is here at Newark, where


royalists fought off three sieges during the English civil war.


Railway workers are out on the tracks at all hours of day and night


and in all weathers. Most of them have no job security, they are on


casual contracts. The death of a rail worker from Doncaster has


highlighted corner cutting and poor safety standards. Paul Murphy


investigates how lives are being put on the line.


Not once did Scott ever give to me that his job was a dangerous job. I


thought they were protected. It's December 2012, early in the


afternoon, on a railway line near to Saxilby in Lincolnshire, and a gang


of workers are repairing the track. One of the workers steps back just


as a train is passing. He doesn't survive. A report into his death


reveals a string of broken and ignored safety procedures. Network


Rail called the death of Scott Dobson a watershed moment and


promised new safety rules. But Scott wasn't a Network Rail employee. Like


the majority of workers maintaining and repairing our rail network, he


was employed by an agency. Scott was always the gang leader,


the reliable one that the office used to ring him.


Scott Dobson was in charge of site safety for a work gang repairing a


fault in the track that day. Scott and his gang were working on the


down line which was closed to trains. But the other side of the


track was still in use. For some reason, somebody somewhere along the


line has asked them to do the voiding.


They were filling in gaps under the track, a job which meant working in


the six`foot, the gap between the two rail lines. It's a job for which


both rail lines should have been closed. Scott would not then have


been able to step back into the path of an oncoming train.


As I walked into the kitchen, Thomas came running in, saying, you really


need to speak to Haysey, he's on the other end of the phone in tears. He


says, I think Scott's been in an accident, I think he's been killed.


At that, I was actually...in a daze. Numb.


A report into Scott's death lists many safety failings.


The report shows that he shouldn't have been working in that


safety`critical role that day. He'd been involved in two other


safety breaches in the preceding two months, and according to Network


Rail rules, he should have been moved to a less senior role. On the


day, no`one had asked for that second line to be closed, and no`one


challenged the lack of any risk assessment or safety briefing to


perform the job. So the question is, why were they there?


perform the job. So the question is, knew, all that gang knew, that


somebody would have been in danger working in the six`foot as there was


trains still running on the up side of the track.


Scott had been hired that day by a recruitment company called sky`blue,


a subsidiary of the engineering giant Carillion. Carillion express


their condolences but tell us they are unable to comment on specific


questions or issues related to Scott's death until after an inquest


and further inquiry. They do, however, say that they go to great


lengths to ensure their workforce know they can raise safety concerns.


They say their Don't Walk By programme encourages staff to raise


safety issues, and though they recognise some fear they'll be


penalised if they speak up, the company makes every effort to


highlight this is not the case. Since the incident, they say they've


gone beyond industry standards to put in place new safety procedures


and have developed a new barrier to be used in co`ordination with a


physical look`out when people are working on a rail line which is


closed but adjacent to a line on which trains continue to run.


Saxilby is a sad reminder of how dangerous the railway is. It's an


accident that could have been avoided, and the root cause is


Network Rail's usage, high usage of contractors and agency workers.


We've talked to track workers who've done casual shifts for renewals


companies across the north of England. They tell us bad safety


practices are widespread. I've turned up on site, driven two


hours to get to a work site. I don't hold the competencies that they're


asking me for to run that site safely. I've turned round, phoned my


agency up, and said, look, I can't do this, what do you want me to do?


Break the rules? Is it commonly accepted that if there's a safety


problem, you keep quiet about it? Some people do, because they are


that scared of losing work. Because you speak up, because you speak out,


that agency can't put you out. And if you're part of a gang, the whole


gang loses work. I lost work with one client or one agency for nearly


a year, because I wouldn't do work, because it wasn't safe, because the


paperwork wasn't correct. 81,000 people are registered to work


on the railway, only a quarter of them Network Rail staff. Scott


Dobson's death has forced the company to re`think the way they


manage this workforce. We will no longer expect safety`critical


workers to be employed by agency contractors. They will only be


employed in future by Network Rail or our principal contractors. We


need to make sure this is the last fatality that ever happens on the


railway, and we will make any changes necessary to ensure that's


the case. We've heard this before. Ten years


ago this month, four railway workers were killed by a runaway wagon at


Tebay in Cumbria. Crucial to the task now facing


investigators is the state of the wagon. It had brakes, and they'll


want to know whether mechanical failure or human error may have


contributed to today's loss of life...


Subcontractors had used a chock of wood instead of a brake to stop a


railway wagon rolling downhill. The two rail contractors involved


were jailed for manslaughter, but the recommended safety measures have


yet to be introduced. Those who survived have been campaigning ever


since. They want track workers to have access to a simple warning


mechanism that would fit onto a rail and trigger an alarm if anything


approached. To say I'm disappointed would be an


understatement. I'm so upset with Network Rail, who say safety is


first. And here we are maybe going to go into tenth anniversary and yet


we're still fighting for second protection. Do you think that any


lessons about safety have been learned from Tebay? It frustrates me


all the time when I get word back that there's been accidents where we


could look and think, well, that could have been avoided.


Tom's campaign may be about to succeed. What we've come to realise


is that there is an additional level of protection required, and we've


been trialling that protection with the RMT up in our Carlisle depot,


and the intent is that we roll that out nationally during the year.


The main contractor involved at Tebay, like at Saxilby, was


Carillion, one of the biggest companies tendering for major


railway engineering works. We've had long conversations with


Carillion because of the incident that took place at Saxilby. I


personally have been to Carillion's board to make it clear our


expectations and to understand what plans they have in place to improve


safety. We are comfortable Carillion are very committed to improving


their safety record. Carillion say health and safety is


central to all their operations and they create a culture of openness


and continuous improvement in their workforce. When accidents do occur,


they tell us, they leave no stone unturned to ensure that the causes


are thoroughly investigated, any learnings are adopted and actions


taken. Meanwhile, Scott Dobson's family


must wait for a coroner's inquest to resolve questions about his death.


There was a duty of care towards Scott and his team that day. Who


failed? I don't think anyone wants to claim that liability. Whether or


not it's protecting Scott, whether or not it's protecting themselves, I


really don't know. The gangs that are working on the rail and the


managerial staff, they need to be as one. Any fatalities is horrific,


devastating to families. And it's never, ever the same.


Did you have got any views on that story, or indeed know about a story


we should be covering, please get in touch with us through Facebook or


Twitter. Coming up on Inside Out, we find out


why this castle was the king's last bastions during the English civil


war. Now, labelled by the press as the


bedroom tax, changes to housing benefit have definitely been


controversial. But what is the reality on the ground for those who


have to live with or indeed without the spare room subsidy? We have been


to Grimsby and Cleethorpes to find out.


Grimsby and Cleethorpes, isn't it great? We've got the fresh sea air


and the wide open spaces. But away from the sea front, for


some round here, it's not so sunny. It's all because of the changes in


housing benefit, what's become known as the bedroom tax. Since the cuts


came in last April, there's been a massive rise in the number of social


housing tenants getting into debt. And this bit of northeast


Lincolnshire is one of the worst`hit spots.


Nationally, one out of three people affected are in rent arrears. Round


here, it's two out of three. Officially, it's called the


abolition of the spare`room subsidy. Anyone in social housing with a


spare bedroom either has to move somewhere smaller or pay a


contribution to their rent, round here about ?11 a week, which can be


hard to find. I have cut back on shopping, on


washing, so my Water Bill goes down. And it's just... No treats for the


children. Lisa's one of the few who's managing


to keep up with her rent payments. What gets me mad is that I've worked


since I've been 14 years old, and I've not been on benefits before,


and I'm on benefits now for the first time. And I put in my national


insurance, you know, and I paid my taxes, and I'm getting penalised for


it. As more people are affected by this,


more are turning to the local council for help. We had the odd


incident when a person gets into trouble and we can work with them


and the landlords to get it resolved. Now it's not just one or


two cases, it's hundreds of cases. So how much is this costing the


council? It's costing the council the best part of ?1 million a year


that we could be spending on looking after the elderly, children and


schools, highways. But we're not, we're having to support a policy


that doesn't work. There is notable person, it is affecting all walks of


tenants. It's affecting those who we call work poor, those on low incomes


using housing benefit to make ends meet. It's affecting those who are


on means`tested benefits. So it's a real broad spectrum of people. One


of those people is Denise. She's disabled but couldn't find the ?25 a


week that would let her stay in the specially adapted three`bedroomed


home where she'd brought up her family.


How much arrears did you get into? I think it was about ?600. And you've


never been in debt before, have you? No. So how do you feel? Angry,


because I started self harming. Because of this? Yeah.


Denise has now moved to a smaller property and managed to clear her


debts, but the new home has taken her away from her support network of


family and neighbours. I didn't want to move, but obviously I had to


move. I mean, this property is nice, but I'd rather be in my own place.


So what's stopping other people from moving somewhere smaller? This is


the East Marsh area of Grimsby, officially in the top ten most


deprived areas in the country, with some of the cheapest rents. Driving


around, you see the problem. Streets of three`bedroom social housing,


what we used to call council houses. The idea of the change in benefits


was to get people to move out of houses like this and into smaller


properties. But I can't see any smaller properties to move into.


Fewer than one in ten tenants have been rehoused, even with the local


housing association putting them top of the list. Emma managed it, and


bizarrely, has come out better off. They came and measured it a couple


of times to see if it was a decent size but they still say it was


classed as a three`bedroom house. Ever's new two`bedroom house is


bigger than the old one. I have lost a bedroom but I've gained a dining


room. So I am quite pleased in a way. It has given us a little bit


more space downstairs. You'd think that moving people on would help


resolve the situation. There's no`one queuing up to take on the


rent on those three`bedroom houses they're leaving behind. Take this


desirable semi. Three beds, off`road parking, up and coming area, and


empty. So here we are into what is causing the problem. This problem is


causing the problem, tell us what is happening. These three`bedroom


properties with a box room, we are not able to rent. We are astonished


that in this day and age, we think it is a reasonable expectation to


have a spare room in this day and age. They have equipment they might


want to keep in it. But some of these are now standing empty. ??


WHITE As the biggest social landlord in town, the benefit changes are


Tony's most pressing problem, and one he can't see resolving any time


soon. What numbers are we talking about? We have thousands of homes


and it is a huge proportion of them that we cannot rent. We are set


aside ?4 million which we would otherwise be using for services or


building new homes with. The impact on us as a charity are dramatic as


well. It is interfering with our need `` with our ability to meet


housing need. These welfare changes were made to deal with a proper


problem. We have a problem. Council housing is a precious resource and


if affordable homes have not been built over the next few years, we


are in this situation. North`east Lincolnshire Housing Association


told us that they have 153`bedroom houses standing empty. This is not


working, is it? There are places in Hull where families are crying out


for commendation and want to change over. There are websites available


for people who want to get bigger houses. People swap houses.


Naturally we wanted to speak to a government minister. We asked three


different government ministers to talk to us about this problem, but


they were reluctant to come forward. However the Department for Work and


Pensions did tell us the changes were a necessary reform, they are


still paying the majority of most claimants' rent but the taxpayer


could no longer afford to pay for spare bedrooms. They also tell us


that they are increasing the money they give to councils to support


vulnerable tenants. North East Lincolnshire will share an ?500,000


with North Lincolnshire. So in your opinion, Tony, are there any


benefits to these changes? Many of the reforms make sense, but with any


big policy, when you bring his onto the local level, the personal


level, you have difficult situations which are created unwittingly. We


have perverse things going on and families in real distress as a


consequence. 370 years ago, England was a nation


at war with itself. The Roundheads and Cavaliers battled it out over


this very cavalier Dasher was very Castle. But ordinary people suffered


to. No more here `` no more than here in Newark. Terry Deary, who


knows only too well what happens when history turns horrible.


The battered remains of Newark Castle are a stark reminder that


things haven't always been as peaceful as they are today. On the


face of it there's nothing too remarkable about the market town of


Newark. But there was a time when this place was at the very epicentre


of one of the most crucial moments in British history. In the middle of


the 17th century, Britain was in turmoil. For four years, war had


raged across the land ` a desperate struggle between King and


Parliament. Now all eyes were on this north Nottinghamshire town.


Besieged, starved and bombarded, Newark was the last stronghold of


Charles I in the North, and was all that stood between Oliver Cromwell


and victory. But there was nothing civil about this war for the people


of Newark, for whom there'd be a heavy price to pay. It is hard to


visualise what it must have been like in those dark days of the


17th`century. Here we have a very rare siege man from the time. It


gave us an idea of what the population must have been up


against. `` is very rare siege map. These lines show the parliamentarian


forces circling the town. Within that bring, there were massive


earthworks which pulled an even tighter news around the town. The


population must have been wondering and worrying what would happen if


the parliamentarians broke through those defences. And sacked the town.


By the end of 1645, Newark was surrounded by 16,000 troops. The


Royalist defenders were out` numbered ten to one and the 2,000


townsfolk had every right to be terrified as the parliamentary


artillery set its sights on the town. Solid shots can do a lot of


damage. We are not talking about explosive devices. You have to


remember that they heated up shelves are pushing cannons so that when it


landed on fat it was set fire to it. They heated up the cannonballs? Oh,


yes. And at the get mortars were even bigger and they were fired into


the air and into the castle itself. Once it hit a building, it would


flatten it. Newark's archives give a flavour of what it was like living


through the siege. Supplies were running out and the citizens had to


be resourceful. You have an absolute wealth of corridors. `` of relics.


They go back to the paly lithic age. Of the siege, we have items such as


the iconic Newark's each piece. This was at the period when people are


having to mend their own money. So they can pay the soldiers. Where did


they get the silver? The silver came from the ridge of the town but also


some of it came from when Newark plundered Leicester. So it is done?


So it is still in? Some of it. This is a ?30 cannonball. A mere ?30.


That is quite heavy. It gives you an idea of the tribulations of the


local populace. If that hits you, it cut you in half. It wasn't just


cannonballs that were killing the royalist defenders. In the winter of


1645, the bubonic plague took hold. Remarkable records have survived


which show how the townsfolk tried to combat the disease. They strongly


believed that plague was called by my asthma, bad smells. `` miasma. So


those who are affluent enough would have tried to get antidotes. They


consisted of masking smells. Hawthorne, marigold flowers, and


these will be burnt to give off an incense. I think, looking at these,


these were bought to make sure that the corporation and the offices of


the town continue to meet. They would burn this in the council


chambers to stop the council members from catching plague. Of course


these measures didn't work. And for those who caught the plague, relief


was minimal. They are shutting their homes to die, but they are fed. They


are fed, but they are physically boarded up in their home. Yes.


Pretty brutal. The plague was hard to avoid, but could something be


done to dodge the shelling? Some local historians are convinced


people sheltered in cellars. Legend has it that King Charles himself may


have used a secret underground network to move around the town.


There are some tunnels very close to Newark's marketplace but they were


built in the 18th century. It fires up, bounces off his mirror...


Archaeologists are now using a laser scanner to detect changes in the


brickwork to see whether a much older network can be found. These 3D


images of what's underneath the centre of Newark could hold the key


to whether the legends are true. What we are hoping to find is that


some of the sellers join up. There are tunnel legends in Newark and it


would be nice to find some truth behind at least some of them.


Eventually, you might be able to prove whether this story about King


Charles escaping is true or false? Hopefully, that is what we try to do


as archaeologists, sift the truth from the fiction. Back above ground


` Newark's multi`million pound National Civil War Centre will open


this time next year. It'll be housed in the town's Magnus building,


itself a relic of the Civil War. Visitors will be able to experience


the conflict in all its deadly detail. One in four of the


population are dying. It was perishing the cold. Rivers are


freezing over and yet they asked holding out, fighting for the King.


The king's surrender at Newark in May 1646 marked the end of this


phase of the Civil War. The town was bloodied but it hadn't been taken.


Around 1500 soldiers marched out of the castle but for the civilians of


Newark, it was about to get much, much worse. The archives reveal one


final twist to this story. The siege may have been over, but Newark was


in a desperate state. A sixth of its buildings were destroyed and disease


was rife. The survivors fled to nearby villages. But as these rare


parish records from East Stoke near Newark show, they also brought the


plague with them. The location of trying to flee the plague are shown


in this devastating testimony to the absolute destruction of the village


and the community of East Stoke. The crosses represent plague victims.


Every victim is a plague victim. You see whole families wiped out. As


you get to this register, you will see pages and pages of deaths. It is


visually stunning. But what it must have meant for the community must


have been absolute devastation. It tells us here that 159 people died.


History is always more fascinating when it is about more than just the


stories of kings and queens. This is the story of what the population of


Newark endured all those years ago. For the survivors that `` it was not


history that was horrible, it was everyday existence.


We have got news of a story we have covered in the past. In Lincolnshire


teenager convicted of killing Rosie May at a party. We had information


that a pathologist for that the death could have been an accident.


But it was said that it was unrealistic. At a hearing in


December, Paul Smith was refused leave to appeal against his


conviction and sentence. That is all from here in Newark.


Join us next week. We will be looking at the truth about real


Whitby. Finding out how children getting good nights and following


efforts to to bring the eel back to Lincolnshire rivers.


A longer day, more exams and tougher discipline. That is what the


government wants for pupils in England's state schools. Ministers


believe it would bring standards closer to those in private schools.


There is a warning over a social network raise after it was linked to


guess in Ireland. It involves drinking and filming a stun. The


body of the young man was found in the River. Tributes have poured in


for the actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. It is thought he died from


a heroin


Toby Foster looks at the stories that matter in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. This week Paul Murphy investigates whether casual contracts and poor safety practices have led to deaths and accidents on our railways, Toby asks what the abolition of the spare room subsidy really means for people living in Grimsby and Horrible Histories author Terry Deary finds out about Newark's key role in the English Civil War.

Download Subtitles