19/02/2012 Sunday Politics East Midlands


Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with the latest from Greece on the debt crisis, John Prescott on police commissioners and an interview with Scottish secretary Michael Moore.

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Here in the East Midlands: Ken Clarke and Graham Allen on 70


being the new 50, legal aid cuts, and how we can revive our cities.


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1716 seconds


Hello, I'm Marie Ashby, and my guests in the East Midlands need


little introduction. Justice Secretary Ken Clarke and the Labour


MP for Nottingham North, Graham Allen.


I've got to start with your Oldie Award, Ken. Last week Liz Kendall


said in your case 70 is obviously the new 50! Music to your ears!


Yes! I would like more and more of that, if possible! I was very


surprised it was so soon and my reaction was, me so young?! There


is no Merit to it. You just grow older! A very good lunch on the


Strand and the problem was, I was the only one doing a job. So I left


all these celebrities of yesteryear having a very good afternoon's


post-prandial talk! It was fine! Rather good! I must look at the


magazine more often. I think they got it wrong. My money was on


Dennis Skinner! He has been called a dinosaur! So you don't think it's


time to write your memoirs just yet! Well, I have often stayed to


avoid writing my memoirs. When I have got absolutely nothing to do


and I suddenly find myself not in politics, not an MP or a minister


or anything of that kind, I suppose I shall have a go. I do read


memoirs. Historic ones. They are all so self-justifying. Your


Rushcliffe constituency disappears at the next election, when it'll be


swallowed up by the new Coalville and Newark seats. Well, there will


be people like me in every walk of life. The thought of retiring has


never crossed my mind but the problem is, it does cross the mind


of others. You will let us know what you're up to, went to? I will.


I will that my association are in good time as well. But there are


separate associations to be set up first. I am at an age where I have


decided I am rather nearer the event! I don't think that the


Conservative Party will ever let Ken go. He is the acceptable face


of the Conservatives. Red in tooth and claw! He always comes across so


reasonably... Weight! We haven't started discussions yet! If --


wait! But you are not going. Let's move onto an issue which is


very much the Justice Secretary's brief - the Legal Aid Bill. It


reached its committee stage in the House of Lords this week and it


aims to cut �350 million from the �2 billion legal aid budget. How


can you slash that amount without causing more hardship or injustice?


We are not depriving access to any body in terms of justice. We are


retaining the most generous legal aid system in the world. There is


no other demographic country where the taxpayer should spend this


amount of money in financing litigation or anything like it. It


is actually about how many lawyers, how money expert witnesses, how


many claims managers, etc, are paid by the taxpayer for resolving their


battles, and we are actually asking the question, what should the


taxpayer pay for? The taxpayer should pay for those brushes with


the law that people who are not able to afford their own


representation have when it is on vital, important matters affecting


their freedoms. He is not wrong about the generous legal aid system


we had in our country. Ours costs �39 per person, compared with just


�5 in France and Germany. Well, Ken is so good at these wafting


statements and everything flows by. Real people are being heard by


these cuts. They are my constituents, people on low incomes,


people on housing, landlord and tenant issues, people with problems


with debt. You need to get your advice early and this is the


strange thing. And Ken knows this, he is a former Chancellor of the


Exchequer. If you can help people really early on, you don't pay


loads and loads of money downstream when they have got to go through


much more expensive litigation or they need extra healthcare. You are


basically saying those who need help but will not get it? They


don't lead litigation for most of those things being talked about.


For debt, the Government puts money into debt advice of various kinds.


It puts money into the Citizens Advice Bureau. Often, it is more


general advice they require. And in Nottingham, they are possibly going


to have to close the Nottingham or send. That does affect those things


talked about. People pop into those things needing lawyers and they get


great advice. They get advice from relatively cheap means and they can


access extra legal advice if they then needed. Ken, your own


department says there of 45,000 fewer cases where Bobby Ball would


be represented? We are putting that money into not-for-profit general


advice centres, including the Law centres. That is not really the


case, Ken... What are you saying to George Osborne? I knew cutting your


budget or not? This is about lawyer's... I am cutting 350


million and it should be more. This is the best we can do. We have a


staggering bill, as has already been said. All the common law


countries are the same. Nobody dreams paying lawyers out of can --


the amount of taxation that we do. One area we will cut on his


criminal negligence. The health service is in crisis. The billions


of pounds it is having to make provision as claims managers


advertise on buses to get people to bring claims at enormous expense


and bring actions against the health authorities and those have


to be settled and insured against the costs and it comes out of their


budget. We can see why the government is determined to take


action on this because you get people appealing and appealing and


appealing? I don't think you do. People hate lawyers like they hate


MPs but they like their own lawyer. Their own lawyer helps them when


they are desperate and often people come to me as a final Court of


Appeal and they are really desperate. Often because they are


not able to access the legal system as it stands. It is a closed club


as it stands, so taking away legal aid will make it much worse for


those people, particularly on low incomes. But what about defending


themselves? They come to me and they come to Graham in surgeries.


They need help of social security claims and so on. We help them and


we have staff that help them - case workers. Not on the scale people


think but they help sort them out. Or they go to the Citizens Advice


Bureau. Some go to a solicitor who gives exactly the same advice as we


do. With great respect, the solicitors icy don't know as much


about the social security system as we do or of workers, and they send


a large bill have for a fee - legal aid. There will be some who


desperately need this service to one no longer able to access it.


Next, this week's unemployment figures showed 188,000 people in


our region are now out of work. But one of our cities isn't waiting for


the Chancellor to do more to boost the economy. It's ploughing more


than �100 million into schemes, which it's hoped will create


thousands of jobs, as Chris Doidge reports.


Derby, like anywhere, has seen a few changes over the years. Almost


nothing in the picture survives. But with the economic gloom hitting


the City particularly hard in 2011, the council in trying to intervene


in 2012. To give the city a kick- start. This is the council's


headquarters. 500 staff moved out last year. By Christmas, 2000 will


be able to move back in. We are now standing in the middle of what will


be the council chamber. They were sceptical at first him what we were


trying to do but I think they are beginning to understand that by


investing in this building, bringing in 2000 staff instead of


500, is the best use of resources. The council also showed me the


first fruit from the city's innovative regeneration fund. A �10


million pot designed to nudge businesses into creating jobs.


is an enormous, iconic scheme for the City and the first office


development out of the ground for 30 years. But its council money


that has convinced the site's developers to get cracking. I guess


at a time when there are sensitive pressures on budgets, it is


difficult to justify spending money on this instead of day care and


home care centres? I think what local of bodies have got to do is


take a wide approach to what they're doing and if we


concentrated on the very narrow aspect of the day-to-day aspect, we


would lose sight of the wider picture, which is making the City


for up -- thrive. And then this car-park. Perhaps the most


ambitious part of the plan. It is set to become a Velodrome with his


sporting and musical ambitions. So how does the council judged --


justified that added time of austerity? You are right, it is a


tricky balancing act. But we have got to do these things to make


Derby a good place to live and work. The Investment has cross-party


support but the refurbishments have met with scepticism from the


opposition. We think there are better things to spend money on


that and that we should be spending money on council housing. We have


7,000 on a waiting lists. But we do support the swimming pool and we


think there is a need to do that. We would support it. Doing up this


building will cost taxpayers �90 million in mortgage payments over


the coming decades. It is a decision made around the same time


as the spending cuts began. Some argue this and other big project in


Derby are strange things to be doing at a time of austerity and


those who stand to benefit the most say the changes can't come soon


enough. The last two years, I have seen a change in the attitudes and


be far more positive role played by the authorities are encouraging


activity and regeneration. I think that is a good thing and everybody


welcomes it with open arms. council says the project they have


started on up on budget, on time and likely to overbore form. But


this Duration of politicians could be long gone by the time their


Grand Designs can be properly judged. -- this generation.


Graham Allen, the message from Derby is clear. Whatever party you


belong to, you can make things happen locally. It's not just Derby.


Yes. I wrote a little piece about giving local government much more


freedom. The answer to our economic problems is not some super brain in


Whitehall telling us what to do. It is local projects like this. We


have seen a loss of innovation in shopping and retell and our towns


and cities across the East Midlands, if we let them loose and freer, as


every Western democracy is, to run their own affairs, I think we will


find out there is so much creativity out there. I like the


spirit of the Derby operation and the leaders turning their energy


into how to help businesses and regenerate the economy. I would


like to know more about Derby's ballot sheet. And have not seen the


business plan and I don't know the effect on the overall situation.


They have had �10 million from reserves. Yes, but we have to get


something back from that. I presume they have worked out how the


Velodrome will pay and how the money will be saved by closing down


these satellite office blocks. And also they are not put in too many


officials in their great new headquarters. I don't want to sound


churlish because they have a great businessman supporting them. But


the idea that any big prestige project is a good thing to be seen


doing can be very short term. And the history of this country is


littered with local authorities investing sometimes him very, very


ill-advised things. -- investing in. I would love to see a partnership


between entrepreneurs and business leaders, with those who run


businesses, not just property developers. Businessmen as well.


we were to listen to central government of all colours, they


don't exactly have the best record of economic prudence over many


decades. In the local area, you find you have counsellors, leaders,


mayors, who are very much in touch and sensitive to what they can do


locally and need to win over their electorate. I would like to see our


cities saying whether they would like to raise revenue in different


ways. They would have to explain it very carefully that if you want to


run a tax of any sort or a money- raising thing, a bond issue, let


them have that freedom. And I am afraid we have had localism and the


rhetoric of that, but what they're saying now is that let's define


local government as a separate entity so that it can get on with


life rather than Mr Pickles deciding how many things can happen.


We are cautious. There is a Localism Bill and we have greatly


extend the powers councils have to do things. Instinctively, I find


this attractive. I am probably scarred by my recollection of the


disastrous times we used to have with Liverpool and Moseley and


Lambeth and those corrupt sort of bankrupt oligarchies that we used


to have. That was in the 1980s. We need protection against that. You


let people do this and I have no reason whatever to doubt that the


people in Derby know what they are doing. Every local authority can do


whatever it likes. You have some City boss you will reduce the play


is... They are a conservative Lib Dem coalition, which is rather


familiar! -- Conservative-Lib Dem coalition. They are spending more


to get the country growing. Sheffield went bankrupt in the


1980s by trying to do its own thing. One at a time, gentlemen!


mistake an individual Prime Minister makes affect everybody.


Whereas if you have ideas out there, people are bright enough and we can


learn from each other. You don't have to have one size fits all. And


if you listen to what is going on in other places, you will have much


better economic development. Budget is only a few weeks away.


What should be done to create jobs? I think George Osborne would do us


a great favour if he were to allow local authorities and local people


to Willette who they felt almost appropriate in their areas and let


them get on. -- local people to elect. George Osborne knows all the


answers! I don't think he was saying that! A lot of people are


going in for a vast prestige project. They have got to try to do


something to help investors and businessmen in small and medium-


size enterprises in particular create jobs and develop their ideas


and for goods and services to be marketed. I don't think any


politicians anywhere think that huge glossy project will help.


hear you! Time for a round-up of our other political stories in the


Spot the mistake. No! East Midlands MP did. At Strasbourg, he was


incensed to discover if the Union Jack flying upside-down! After 33


years, we should by now have learned which way up to hang the


British flag! Thank you! And the European Union is being accused of


pulling the wool over from as' eyes. They have to tag all the sheep.


They say doing this to over one million in a region is unrealistic.


And it has been said a Home Office should pay towards the �1 million


it cost to police this month's EDL march in Leicester. They are going


to court to press their case. And if you're wondering who was


responsible for the upside-down flag? I am blame it on the French.


I am glad we flag that up for you. But more seriously, should the


Government stump up some money for the EDL protests? There are rules


about it. Anything that costs the local police service quite a bit of


money, there will be other disorders and demonstrations.


Exporting events. These things just happen. You cannot say it comes as


a surprise. I will leave it to the Home Office to argue with Leicester


as to whether this crosses the threshold where you get a national


contribution. If the police have had two EDL marches in the last two


years. It is money they could spend on police officers. If it is


exceptional, I am sure the Home Office will pay. There are very


strict rules... Should this change? I think we should send the bill to


EDL and then they might crawl back under the stone they came from!


it looks like they won't get any government help. Should that


change? It just means the taxpayer pays more through central


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