17/06/2012 Sunday Politics East Midlands


Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Andrew is joined by Philip Hammond, the defence secretary to discuss troop numbers and Syria.

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Sunday Politics in the East Midlands... The head of the East


Midlands Ambulance Service response to claims that spending cuts are


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1615 seconds


danger ring leads. And how long Hello, I'm Marie Ashby. My guests


in the East Midlands this week are Chris Williamson, the Labour MP for


Derby North, who's Shadow Communities Minister - and the


chairman of Nottingham Liberal Democrats, Issan Ghazni. Coming


up... After an unborn baby dies following a long wait for an


ambulance, we ask if our regional service is being undermined by


spending cuts. Plus, one of our local dailies has become a weekly.


Are others facing the same fate? First, the Coalition is under even


greater strain after the Lib Dems abstained this week in a Commons


vote over the conduct of Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. The Tories


survived the motion. But at what cost? Do you think that Nick Clegg


was right to tell his MPs to abstain? Absolutely. The decision


taken by David Cameron was not a Coalition decision. It was a


personal decision. And as such, we felt that whatever happened in the


Leveson Inquiry, if Jeremy Hunt goes into the inquiry and we have


had issues that remain outstanding, and that these issues should be


legitimate be taken up to an inquiry. But is that not a cowardly


way out? Actually, it shows that we are independent. You cannot have


your cake and eat it. Some people have said that we are in the pocket


of the Conservatives. That we do what they want us to do but


actually we have proved that on an issue of principle, we are


independent. But is the Coalition intact? Yes, because that is the


primary focus and priority. The Coalition is intact but on


principle we felt that there was no need to support this. You might not


like it but the Coalition held firm and the Government was not defeated


on that motion. But what is the point of the Liberal Democrats?


They have had a long track record of sitting on the fence and


appearing to be all things to all people. We have seen that in local


and national government. The Liberal Democrats are enabling this


right wing and ideologically driven government to push through some of


the most right-wing and terrible economic and social policies that


we have seen since probably before the second world war. That is not


right, Chris. Let's talk about the Murdoch issue. When it comes to


that, we will not take any lessons from Labour. We have not got any


moral obligation to take a leaf from their book on that issue


because, let's go back to the way in which the Labour Party behaved


towards Rupert Murdoch. It was disgraceful, the way in which you


were bowing down to Rupert Murdoch. You have certainly upset some


Conservative MPs. One had to miss a funeral and another had to come


back early from honeymoon. It is no wonder you will find it hard to get


the House of Lords reforms. these issues are not compatible. We


have got a conservative and it -- commitment made at Cabinet level


about an issue of national importance, which is about the


democracy of the House of Lords. But this issue is about whether or


not a minister should be referred to an inquiry... And you abstained?


These issues are not compatible. Really, I think this illustrates


that they are not fit to hold public office. We will have to


Next, we all need to know we can trust the ambulance service in an


emergency. But are spending cuts jeopardising the service we get in


the East Midlands? A Retford couple certainly think so. Sarah Gould and


her partner, Gary, have blamed delays in response times for the


death of their unborn child. Their MP, John Mann, claims spending cuts


and shift changes mean fewer ambulances are available. The chief


executive of the East Midlands Ambulance Service, Phil Milligan,


joins me now. We must get one thing straight, how long did it take for


an ambulance to reach Sarah Gould from the time the children centre


called 999? First, this is a tragic case. My heart goes out to Sarah


and her partner. She had been 13 weeks pregnant and was looking


forward to a bundle of joy and it was a desperate situation. -- 30.


But how long did it take? We took the call and we were told she could


not hear the heartbeat. We treated at with the utmost importance. In


two minutes we had a response vehicle with a highly trained


paramedic out on the street. It arrived 30 minutes later it. She


had with her very quickly... paramedic but not an abeyance until


when? And a midwife looking after her. When did the ambulance


arrived? We then sent an ambulance. That was on the way very quickly


and arrived after 34 minutes. minutes before she got access. Are


you not supposed to response to an emergency within eight minutes?


This was not an eight-minute emergency. Why not? Because when we


take a call we asked if the patient, if their heart has stopped. Then we


can send out a vehicle straight away. But this woman was 30 weeks


pregnant and bleeding. Was that not a top priority? Within two minutes


the vehicle was on the road with a paramedic and with the right


equipment to go up and help the midwife. But it still took 34


minutes. You said you did the best you could under the circumstances


but it is well short of what you are duty bound to do. Last year we


were told he responded to 72 % of emergency calls in eight minutes


compared to a national average of 35 %. Back in December I saw that


we could do better and I was not happy with performance. We have


made changes and we are achieving that national target and I want to


do better in the future. I want us to be confident that we have got a


sevens people can trust. -- service. Some people have said spending cuts


are hitting the ability to respond effectively. What evidence have you


got that this is happening? We have got a �3 billion top-down


reorganisation which the Government said that they would not implement.


We understand the East Midlands Ambulance Service will be closing


60 ambulance stations across the region. It appears that with


spending cuts which will effectively happen as a consequence


of this are necessary reorganisation, and the closure of


these stations are bound to have an impact on the service to the wider


public. That is why I think that he is absolutely right to have


spending cuts... Spending cuts? First, can I say that I offer my


condolences to the family. It is a very tragic case. It is something


which is not very nice to hear about. In terms of spending cuts, I


did not think it is a case of spending cuts. We have got other


issues that the Chief Executive will get to the bottom of. You are


talking about 3 billion in terms of the cost of the up eagles. It is


actually 1.2, the actual cost. -- are people. -- reorganisation. The


net savings... Day of 4.5 billion. If you were talking about wastage,


let's talk about... You have wasted �12 billion on a useless data


system which has not done anything. Let us turn back... The number of


hospitals that we have built... would like to bring Phil Milligan


back in. Gentlemen, please! Let's bring him back in and talk about


the closure of the stations because you had been discussing these bans


as a way of saving money is. Unions have said that ambulances will be


further away. This is not about saving money. I have got to use the


money I have got to support the best service I can. The reduction


is not about saving money. We will continue to operate from 100 bases


around the East Midlands. More than 100 yesterday and they will be more


than 100 tomorrow. But how can we be certain that with these changes


people like Sarah Gould will get the service when she needs it? They


will be further away. We are investing in the front line. Not


cuts which have been mentioned. 44 more front Line staff, last year,


more than �9 million spent on services and �8 million on


ambulances. I am protecting the but line and making sure we are


responding to patients. We must move on, gentlemen. Next, they're


part of our daily lives, but for how much longer? Jane Dodge


investigates what the future holds for our regional daily papers.


now the presses roar into action. The rush and bustle of producing


millions of newspapers is on again. Those were the days. Everyone it


seemed had their nose in a newspaper. Can't we get those


papers out quicker? Sales now are tiny in comparison. Many


advertisers have gone elsewhere and thousands of jobs have been lost.


This reporter and her photographer are a sign of the times. They work


for an online newspaper - The Lincolnite. It competes with the


Lincolnshire Echo - which after more than a century as a daily


newspaper - has become a weekly. The changes have come at a cost


according to the leader of the city council. We had more specialism and


in-depth knowledge. We had a more political knowledge. I am not


saying that is entirely lacking now. But it is less evident and we have


got to work harder to make sure people understand the content and


what we are up to. This used to be the offices of the Lincolnshire


Echo. Probably three years ago. Jon Grubb is all too aware times are a


changing. He used to be the editor of the Lincolnshire Echo but left


when its owners - Northcliffe Media - part of the Daily Mail Group -


decided to make it a weekly. If you consider that Tesco's has a profit


ratio of 8%, many businesses will be quite happy in the East Midlands


to have a ratio of 5%. Daily newspapers are doing pretty well in


comparison but it is not enough for the shareholders and what we are


used it. They are nearer 20 %. at The Lincolnite they're


discussing this morning's story. The online newspaper has a


permanent staff of just three, but a monthly online readership of


50,000. We have done the same job as any other journalist, whether it


is going to council meetings and reporting accidents or daring to be


County Council, it is the same job but a different medium. In the days


when newsrooms were dominated by men with moustaches, papers like


the Leicester Mercury were selling 200,00 a day. It now sells around a


quarter of that. The Derby Telegraph has seen its circulation


plummet to just under 31,000. But sales of the Nottingham Post have


fallen by 17% in the last year making it the worst performing


regional newspaper in the country. Later this month The Post is due to


move to smaller offices. It's also got a new editor who's already


overseen the switch from a daily to a weekly on his last paper - the


Scunthorpe Telegraph. So is the Nottingham Post also set to become


a weekly paper or even disappear altogether? Not according to its


new editor Mel Cook. He says the paper constantly leads with stories


other media follow, is number one in the community for news and


information, and will remain that way. It will stay as a daily and


has already made an operating profit of �965,000 this year, up


bomb last year. But according to the National Union of journalists,


the owner has not committed to the long-term survival of the regional


newspapers. I think we have to have a different look at the ownership


structure of the media. There is nothing this government has done so


far that suggests that they are doing that. We approached the


editors of the three local day the papers but they all declined


interviews. In a debate in Westminster, a local MP called for


government subsidies to keep provincial newspapers a plate.


they are supported at a rate payer expense and local television


stations are individually supported by the BBC to buy their content,


why should open newspapers not at his advantage when they offer an


irreplaceable function? Any such action must be swift. More than a


dozen jobs have gone at Leicester Mercury and Nottingham Post this


year. This week, 10 start at the Derby Telegraph have been told


their jobs are now at risk. -- What do you think? It is a


phenomenon across the country. The advent of the internet and social


media, I think the economic downturn we have experienced is


also contributing because we have got less businesses expending money


on advertising in the local newspapers. What impact have the


cuts had already on editorial staff? We have had a big reduction


already at the Derby Telegraph and that has a knock-on implications


for the reporting of democracy. When I was in local council, 20


years ago, the coverage of the local democracy was a significant


feature of what they did. Our local newspapers facing an overwhelming


pressure from new media, or are they being defeatist? I think Chris


is right and it is not just British, but a worldwide phenomenon. We have


spoken about the demise of the printing press in some countries


and actually the demise in the UK has been the quickest out of all


the countries. And it is all connected with the media and the


recession. But most importantly, it has got to be, and I think we have


got some scope to look at subsidies for the media. His Louise Mensch


right? I think we have got room for exploration. I am not saying that


she is right. But we must link some of that with the way newspapers


behave. For example, continuing with the democratic function of


news delivery in the community and cohesion and social values. These


could be linked to subsidy. Would you support subsidy? I am not sure


it is the right way to go. Particularly at a time when we have


got massive reductions in public services. If we are going to


prioritise public spending, and putting money in local private


organisations effectively, I do not think that is the right way to use


that money. It would be better to create jobs. I think support needs


to be given were of a possible to newspapers and the industry. Is it


a problem, is it acceptable for Northcliffe Papers to owned so many


newspapers in the area? Should we be looking at that? We should look


at how news is made available online because a lot of people do


not buy newspapers because they can read that online for free. That is


their choice. We can give people an introduction and if people want the


rest of the story, they can pay a subsidy. I think we need a more


pluralistic offering. That would ensure that we continue to have


print press. But we also support the internet and the way in which


News has been circulated a mine. Do not forget -- online. We must make


sure that we continue with print press. Time for the round-up of the


The leader of Leicestershire County Council David Parsons will face the


standards watchdog on Tuesday. That will rule on allegations that he


broke the code of conduct after expenses for trips to Europe. The


Audit Commission is investigating claims that the previous Labour


majority in Corby acted unlawfully when it sold a quayside at Tesco


for �80,000. The BBC has seen an e- mail stating the land was worth up


to �8,000,000.10 year later. Leicester MPs Liz Kendall and John


Ashworth had seen of representatives of British Gas


after the axing of 300 jobs in the city. They are pressing for


redundancies to be kept to a minimum. In the Commons tomorrow,


Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Andrew is joined by Philip Hammond, the defence secretary to discuss troop numbers, changes to the armed forces and the crisis in Syria. There is also a look ahead to what happens after the Greek elections, how the markets might react and what it will mean for the UK economy.

And the regular panel of journalists look back over the week's politics and in particular the Leveson inquiry.

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