01/07/2012 Sunday Politics East Midlands


Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with the latest political news and debate including the Leader of the House of Lords, Lord Strathclyde, on plans to reform the second chamber.

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The company behind a proposal to provide 6,000 new jobs talks


exclusively to us. And why Liberal Democrats are


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1681 seconds


snubbing elections for Police I am Marie Ashby and my guests in


the East Midlands this week know what it is like to grapple with the


challenges facing our local authorities. Richard Blunt is the


Conservative leader of North West Leicestershire and Anne Western is


on the Labour Derbyshire County Council.


Coming up: A massive freights project that could create up to


6,000 new jobs. The company behind it give their first interview to us.


It is a big scheme, an important scheme. It is significant. We are


working hard with our technical team to assess all the impacts,


both positive and less positive. And why Liberal Democrat in one of


our counties are refusing to put up a candidate for elected police


commissioner. The Health Secretary is being asked


to investigate claims that patient safety was put at risk in hospitals


in Lincolnshire because of an obsession with targets. The former


chief executive of the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust has


been gagged from speaking to the media in a �500,000 pay-off.


Rising debts and ageing populations. Pressure on our hospitals is rising,


but what happens when it gets too much? In late 2008, Lincoln County


Hospital was experiencing a period of demand, and staff were being


placed under more pressure to meet targets without any additional


resources. Documents handed to the Sunday Politics show that bosses


had concerns about patient safety. They requested a review of the


situation but were turned down by NHS regional managers. My concerns


were that the pressures coming up on the trust from outside could


compromise patient safety. I stood up to those pressures and when it


got to the point where I could not stand them any longer, I resigned


and made my concerns about patient safety public. Lincolnshire MP


Stephen Phillips has written to the Health Secretary Andrew Lansley


asking for an urgent investigation. What we need is to see all the


documents so we can see whether or not the last Government's target


culture led to risks being taken with patient safety, added that is


right and give officials within the Department of Health were en


forcing these targets and giving rise to risks with patient health


and safety, they will have to be held to account. Both the Hospitals


Trust and NHS Midlands and East to say that patient safety is a top


priority and that more talent -- mortality rates have fallen in


recent years. It is too simple to say that targets are good or bad.


You have to look at the whole picture. The whole picture is that


the NHS is under more pressure today than it has ever been. It is


up to the Health Secretary to decide whether to reopen the row


that has Dr this trust in recent years. -- that has played to the


stress in recent years. Do you think the trust have acted


against the public interest by stopping and talking about what


happened? The difficulty is that none of us know the exact details.


The first fundamental principle is that this is public money and


people are entitled to know where it is being spent. There are


several potential scenarios. It could be about personality clashes,


it could be about other personal issues we do not know about. It


might not be relevant -- relevant for the public to know. It is about


patient safety, I cannot imagine that there are not routes through


the NHS hierarchy through which things could have been reported. I


would be very concerned if it is about patient safety. Somebody


somewhere, within the NHS all within the Department of Health,


needs to look at this to establish what the story is about. We know


there are concerns about patient safety. Surely patients have the


right to know what is happening on this case. The target culture is


always scary. If you have a certain amount of money, you will spend in


is certain way. What caught my eye in the story was the fact that the


person he was defending himself was put in his house on the line to


defend it. When you are fighting the NHS at that level, that must be


-- you must be incredibly strong. Our health of his more elected to


come forward because of this? -- our health bosses more out --


reluctant to come forward because of this? The safety issues have to


be the first thing to be established beyond doubt. If there


are significant patient safety issues, immediate action has to be


taken and if the things this person has to say contribute to that, they


need to be made available. A leading developer is planning to


build a huge new freight depot near Castle Donington. It will be so big


that the company, Roxhill, claimed it could create 6,000 jobs. They


have been speaking for the first time about the project to our


Political Editor John Hess. Another delivery, another heavy


lorry on our congested roads. This is junction 24 of the M1 motorway


near East Midlands Airport. It is tucked out of sight from passing


drivers. This is farmland which could make way for a huge


distribution centre linking rail and motorway networks. There have


been consultation meetings with local residents, but some are


outraged at the prospects of noise and disruption. The company behind


the scheme, Roxhill, is unrepentant. One of its directors, Kate Bedson,


gave her as its first media interview about its ambitions.


site will act as a kind of inland port for goods to come in from


overseas. We are expecting to develop up to 6 million square feet.


Evidence suggests that will generate 6,000 jobs. An existing


freight line linking Nottingham and Birmingham would be extended to the


proposed site. Junction 24 is very important for the region. It is


close to capacity at the moment. The work we are hoping to do there


will improve junction 24. We are proposing to give way to judge in


23 and puts in a new bypass. That sort of talk is attracting


influential backing. It is an opportunity for us to link both


rail and air transport. This is the second largest air transport


freight in the UK. The opportunity of linking rail to it would be an


enormous strategic advantage for this area. It would put over �10


million of business race into the local council. We need jobs and


economic growth. That is a major factor. In a time of recession, he


would have thought that the prospect of 6,000 jobs would have


been welcomed with open arms, but not here, it seems. I don't think


for a minute it can be 6,000 permanent jobs, and even if there


are 6,000, unemployment here is very low, so that will be 6,000


people coming into here when we are already under strain on the busiest


motorway junction in the country. Residents from nearby villages are


fighting the development. village itself will be completely


ring-fenced by a railway system and continual freight traffic movement.


This part of the M1 might be the shape of warehouses to come. 50


miles further South, near Daventry rail terminal wants to expand.


he wants -- if you want, get the development Denham and reassess


what is actually required in his immediate area. The Government


wants a network of such rail interchanges to take more freight


off the roads. Justine Greening says the Government is considering


taking measures to what she calls and block obstacles in the way of


construction. She means the Government may consider planning


powers to approve rail and transport infrastructure projects


deemed to be of national significance. I support the


Government's policy a strategic rail freight into James's. --


interchanges. It will be good for business. This woman is planning


the next stage in her Facebook campaign to block the scheme.


have had 5,000 leaflets printed and we will get them out to every


household in the area. This form of transport remains a welcome sight


in the village. The proposed rail freight interchange is set to be an


end Markham neighbour. The residents say it is not a done deal,


but the economic case may prove to be too powerful and persuasive for


government. There are a number of hurdles to


clear, but you must welcome the prospect of new jobs. If there were


no villages anywhere near junction 24, it would be easy to say, yes,


we will have the jobs and the business rates and we will plough


the money back into the economy. Unfortunately, there are four


lovely villages there. There are ancient villages and people have


lived there for a long time. Their lives and their future is now under


threat. But we have lost a lot of jobs in the East Midlands including


redundancies from Bombardier and Thorntons. This could be great news


for our economy? Yes, and in principle, you have to welcome jobs


and investment at times like these. The issue is that this particular


area is not an area of high unemployment at, as areas further


the M1 R. When you are looking at this daughter of -- this sort of


strategic site, this has many advantages that her sides do not


have. You would struggle to find as many advantages at another site.


This scheme could bring in �10 million in business rates. I'm sure


you would like to get your hands on that money. The Government said


they would give business rates back to councils. We get about 10% back.


The are the thing that is quite clever with the proposal is they


have taken the pressure of the M1. They are going to provide a bypass


for Kegworth. The Government will never be able to afford that in the


next 20 years. It was only in March last year that your council said


you were proposing to allocate any land -- to not allocate any land


for strategic distribution. Is that still the case? Decisions will not


be taken by our district. Decisions will be made in Bristol, which is a


concern for local people. We have to try to win as many concessions


as possible. I told the applicants that they had to sit down with


every parish council and borough councillor and everyone in the area


and convince them that they can put this in there and mitigate the


damage to the villages. Say you are seeking assurances from Roxhill?


That is our job as local politicians. We do not have to look


at the whole of the colony of the UK. We are looking at one area. We


are not desperate for jobs, but give jobs to come, I know in


Derbyshire, where there is more unemployment, it is a different


position. Areas within 10 miles to needed jobs. You mentioned the


concerns of local residents. Residents to say that before the


proposal gathers more momentum, you should look at the expanding depots


at Lutterworth and Daventry instead of swarming up more farmland.


is true, and within the immediate area, there may not be greater


levels of unemployment, but within the band beyond that, and


employment is an issue, and if you get in Nottingham, Derby and beyond,


it is a significant issue. For me, if that is the site which is chosen


and developed an Beragh 6,000 jobs on offer, we have to look at


transport networks to allow people to access those jobs. Justine


Greening has championed these integrated rail schemes. The


coalition is already talking about taking measures to speed up the


planning process to allow these things to happen. There is a


difference between the strategic national importance of this and


making it accessible to locals. It is the next year down of highway


development and improvement that needs to be looked at to make sure


we deal with the immediate site and the connections that needs. Can I


give you one number to think about? 500 metres. We live in villages.


500 metres is the distance to neighbouring villages. Say you


would like people in Bristol to take that into account? 500 metres


is not a big difference. We have to leave it there. Now we look at the


other political stories in the East The police are investigating the


European travel expenses of Leicestershire Conservative leader


David Parsons. He has already been censored by the standards committee


for breaching a code of conduct. Nottingham South MP Lillian


Greenwood is urging the Government not to cut its grant for social


housing improvements. She claims those already in -- completed have


saved pensioner's blue mac lives by making them warmer in winter.


hope the Minister will confirm the funding and enabled Nottingham city


-- city homes to finish the work. The new college has been praised as


one of the country's top 10 improving schools. She warned


Michael Gove that plans to reintroduce O-levels would creche


motivated students. Liberal Democrats in Derbyshire


will not be put in a anybody to stand for elected police


commissioner in the county. The crime spokesman for the counter --


County said it was a stupid idea and will come back to bite the


The man in question, Tony Rodgers, is here. Colourful language. It


will come back to bite the Tories. How exactly? It is fraught with


danger. I am totally opposed to party politics within the police


force. If you have just one person he was totally responsible, can


hire and sack the chief constable, the only people in my view which


will be able to afford to stand for the police commissioner our


political parties, which is to say the chances are... So you don't


want them and you don't think we need him? Is the Prime Minister


saying that our police force in the past and police authorities have


been rubbished? I don't think so. Richard? They have done a good job.


There is no doubt in my view that everyone associated with the police


at a local council level has gone native. I do believe me


accountability is not working at the moment. Mrs a high risk


strategy. It is a little bit like Boris Johnson in London, it all


depends on the character and Canada of the person who get the job.


know that we are getting elected commissioners as a result of


coalition legislation, so you are defined by party. Our own party is


opposed to the policy of police commissioners. It just happened to


be one of the Tory policies that they could not keep out of the


coalition agreement. We have kept a lot of right-wing Tory philosophy


out of the agreement, but this is not one of those things. Ed Davey


said this week that he would expect Liberal Democrats to field


candidates or at least get behind one. What the party nationally has


decided is to let it go to the regions. The regional parties can


do what they want to do. We will be standing one in Northampton because


we actually have a person there who I think is highly suitable to be a


police commissioner and will probably win the seat. His one


enough? It is really up to the individual counties. That is the


only county that really wants to stand a candidate for Police


Commissioner. A I think there is a difference here between reality and


what is being said. We are where we are. Police commissioners are


coming in whether we agree with it or not. In Derbyshire, and our


candidate, the rest of us don't agree with it, but we are stuck


with it. Do you walk away or fight it? We have to fight it to


represent our communities. I have known Tony for several years. He is


a realist and he is very shrewd. He comes here and stands on the moral


high ground, but basically, they can't win, the Lib Dems can't win.


Why would you want to take the backlash of all the negative


feelings against the Lib Dems in government and risk losing your


�5,000 deposit? Why would you what to do that? If the Liberal


Democrats were to stand a candidate and we thought we could take on the


Labour Party and the Tory party or -- Tory party, we can prove that we


could win. It is a problem that we didn't know how this will work out.


It is all a bit of a stab in the dark. I am concerned about the


politics in this, because these - but the Conservatives in this are


not put in for a political person, they have chosen a retired RAF


senior officer for Leicestershire. I applaud that, because they are


bringing in somebody who is far more non-political. You don't look


happy with that. That is not the case in Derbyshire. The


Conservative candidate there is the current deputy leader of the


Conservative group on the council and a political operator. I don't


think you can take politics out of this because of the way it has been


set up. The whiskeys you either get somebody who knows something about


how the police service operates or you get somebody who comes in with


no knowledge. It is an almighty gamble. And has raised an


interesting point. It has been a big surprise to another of those he


will be the Conservative candidate and that itself is fraught with


danger. I'm sure we will find out soon enough.


Thanks to all my guests. If you want to stand for Police


Commissioner, you have until mid- October to submit your nomination.


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