15/07/2012 Sunday Politics East


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In the East: Rain hasn't dampened spirits here at the Latitude


Festival in Suffolk, but we see dark clouds over the rest of our


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1799 seconds


arts scene after a revolution in Hello from the Latitude Festival in


Suffolk, I'm Etholle George. Later we will be looking at how MPs


from the East contributed to the Government's defeat on the reform


of the House of Lords. But first let's meet our guests for


this week, the MP for Suffolk Coastal, Therese Coffey for the


Conservatives, and Labour's Tom Watson, MP for West Bromwich East,


who's here at Latitude for the book festival. And as you're both


members of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, let's start


with a quick word about the Army having to be brought in to provide


security at the Olympics. Therese Coffey, two weeks to go. It


is not very impressive. Should we have known about this before?


clearly G four S have mixed up. But luckily the Armley are helping with


security. So we will make sure that the games of the Cure and we can


sort out some of the issues. -- the army. -- are secured. What kind of


impression does it leave people? is deeply disappointing. We owe an


extreme -- huge debt to the people. I am told that you have been


offered tickets. When you go? am an Olympic ambassador or on


behalf of the Government, so I will be hosting different activities on


their behalf. But are you taking up the tickets? Absolutely. I am


representing the people of Britain. We will come back to you both


short-lived. Let us hope the Olympics go off without a hitch and


gain the praise which has been heaped upon the Cultural Olympiad.


The festival was raised in the House of Lords went Lord Lloyd


Webber had this to say. Arts funding is under unimaginable


strain. Creative industries have been cut. A recent example is the


Film Council. And some university music departments are having to


close. So I want to be clear - our bus creative potential has been


strangled without any clear funding strategy. -- vast creative


potential for. Arts funding is now More then half the arts


organisations here have failed to get government funding in the


recent shake-up. And last year's headline figure of more than �11


million will drop to �10.7 million by 2014/15 under the new system.


Deborah McGurran went to see what all the changes have meant in this


region. Luton's annual celebration it is a


must-see event. Britain is the capital of the carnival in the


world. Thousands turn up to -- turned up to enjoy the in 81012


excitement, but it suffered funding cuts in recent years. Art cannot be


sustained without investment. For every �1 invested in the arts, �7


is returned back to the balance sheets for the Exchequer. To beat


the blog, she painted dried flowers...


It dark cloud descending over the portrait trust, when they were told


that their core funding would be ended. It was one of those weird 48


hours when on day one you get appalling news, and on date two you


get a phone call at 9:30am from the Arts Council, saying, although we


do not think you can be in year round organisation, we really think


your core activity is brilliant and we want to see it continue. Boehner


have lottery funding for three years and are -- they now have


lottery-funded for three years. After three years, and I have not


got my crystal ball...! 40 miles away, all might look well at the


Colchester Mercury Theatre, but the future there will still be


challenging. We have got to be more entrepreneurial, so that the core


function of this theatre, serving the community is of Colchester and


Essex, is supported by new income streams.


Of all it is -- its grant is in real terms a cut, it is one of the


lucky ones. It will retain its core funding, because it made its list


for the national portfolio of arts organisations. Out of 60


applications from the east, on the 30 was a -- has selected. In April


this year, regular funding was replaced by a national port for


Neil organisations. There is also grants for the arts and national


strategic funding for things like touring programmes, as well as


renaissance in the regions for museums. But in the final touches


to the set for its latest production, Norwich Puppet Theatre


was one group which lost its core funding two years ago and had to


stop productions. There was lots of staff, reduction of hours, pay


freeze. We survive the first year, we wanted to start again. We


secured an 18 month grant which secured two new productions. You


cannot plan into the future, but you need to. By that is a sentiment


shared by a Norfolk dance, who have a 25 year history.


organisations to be strategic, but to be funded on a project by


project basis, is a huge problem. How do you pay for the office, for


the telephone, for the photocopier? It is very complicated and very


difficult. A working budget of �120,000 two


years ago had dwindled to �30,000, and with no discernible funding


stream outside of the local authorities, work like this faces


an uncertain future. And since that report was compiled,


Norwich Puppet Theatre have heard they've got another 18-month grant.


Joining us now is the festival founder and organiser, Melvin Benn.


I presume the minute this weekend is over, you start preparing for


next year, but if you had to live a hand-to-mouth, how difficult would


that be? It is really difficult. But is one of the things that the


funded organisations do suffer from, but short term outlook. If they get


a three-year grant or subsidy, they do not hear about the follow on and


so quite close and sell that termination is due. Therese Coffey,


we heard about an 18 month grant. If you had to thrive on an 18 month


grant, it would be tricky. So some organisations may feel it is hand


to mouth, but what we feel is a continuation of grants for


successful people, and we have seen that with the National Board for


Neil organisations... But not all of the organisations that were on


regular funding, are now. I do not think anyone is surprised that when


the Government decided to reduce public spending, arts would take


that share. But the lottery funds have been redirected towards arts,


and after the Olympics there will be a lot more. But 2015 per we be


if 4% real cut, but more money is going to the high quality diverse


arts of rings that our region enjoyed. -- enjoys a. Do people


have to accept that this is the way of things, and lived with this


uncertainty. One of the key things for arts are organisations is about


organisation -- audience development. You do not get an


audience of the night. Some organisations need to be


sustainable over a long period. -- overnight. You need a bit more


space than 18 months. What about, Melvin Benn, general policy? Lord


Lloyd Webber said there is no clear funding strategy for the long term.


I think that is an issue. We have discussed this a number of times.


The arts will not be immune from the general economic climate. In


the main, be cuts they have had they have administered pretty well.


But they do need to know what they are looking at long-term. We are a


civilised society - civilised societies need to put money into


their arts. And we need, as a structured society, as poor as we


think we are at this point, we are one of the wealthiest the site is a


rant. The Government wants to get more business involved, morph


philanthropists involved, like in America. -- mayor or philanthropic


trusts. Taxes here are lower in arm -- higher than in the States. This


is a pie-in-the-sky policy, isn't it? No, the Government has changed


its tax policy on charitable donations, and organisations have


developed -- benefited. On a organisations are not going to be


able to be able to raise that type of cash, but I still think there is


good quality funding for organisations. You will get more


people out Snape Maltings for a quiet taste performance --


performances than at the South Bank. Melvin Benn, what do you think of


this at that -- idea of philanthropists and business is


stepping up to the plate? I don't think it will happen. I do not


agree with this point. I do not think the Government have any clear


idea what they are doing with this. There is no tax incentive for be in


the arts, and in truth, we ought not to be relying on that. We ought


to be relying on public subsidy rather than private subsidy.


understand you are involved in an organisation in the dance. Do


people who want to get involved have to accept they will have to


leave their county and go elsewhere? No, dance East has been


remit to deliver a dance around the region. I hope what will happen is


that dance East will be able to look at some of the work that


Norfolk bands has been able to do, and support the organisation's --


the audiences. But it is disappointing to see locally based


schemes. I do not think some -- people will necessarily come for


artists and -- saved the smaller groups. Are you concerned about the


future of the arts, Melvin Benn? Yes. We are still in good shape,


and the cuts have not hip as as hard as people thought they would,


but we should still be afraid. knew concerned, Therese Coffey?


have a strong arts body across the country. Oh I think the future is


bright. Melvin Benn, thank you. Now to the vexed question of the


reform of the House of Lords. The Government has confirmed it's now


planning to introduce a timetable motion for the Lords Reform Bill in


the autumn, after its plans were thwarted earlier this week. Many


Tory backbenchers from our region were leading figures in the revolt,


and it doesn't sound like they will be easily persuaded. Here's Andrew


Sinclair. Reforming the House of Lords is in


big deal for its number of our MPs. The atmosphere here at Westminster


this week has been quite a febrile. It's is very important that we


modernise our democracy. This is not a priority for my constituents.


Of the 91 Conservatives who have appalled, 13 came from our region.


-- rebelled. The normally loyal Louise Mensch, the reliable Richard


Fuller, were among them. This is not the usual suspects of extremes


among the Tory party, this is much more to do with the fact we want


good Government. Most of the people in these -- this place would be


elected under 15 Gia terms, and they would represent a region


rather than a constituency. -- 15 year terms. It cannot have one


party sticking to it everything. Voting for -- because we have


committed to the Coalition agreement, and then allowing a


whole lot of rebels voting against the Prime Minister. He has made it


very clear he wants this reform. Let us now just make it happen.


This Bill is it dead duck without a referendum. It would die in a sad


and lonely death in the Lords unless there is a firm commitment


to a referendum at the time perhaps of the general election. But is a


strong message for many Conservative backbenchers to Number


Ten Downing Street. We need a referendum. This is the grand


entrance to the House of Lords. Downing Street says it has already


started talks with the rebels, and says it is holding them in good


faith, and accepts that some people will be a moveable. But it insists


that it wants the issue debated in Parliament before Christmas.


Therese Coffey, they could not be further apart. Where are you on


this? I was happy to see it Procedure Committee, in order to


have it detailed debate, but I believe ten days is not long enough.


-- it to proceed to committee. I hope people who feel strongly come


up with something we can get consensus. There is an appetite I


think for reform. Very few people only want to leave it just as it is.


Neighbours say they want reform, but they do not vote for it. --


Labour's say. They would say to you that there are a lot of other


issues concerning the public, and to see the Coalition squabbling


about this is not very edifying. where do you stand on this? I want


to see reform of the House of Lords, a would be happy to see a


referendum, but I think there are huge issues about welfare and the


cuts, but perhaps the public would rather we spend more time on for.


Therese Coffey what about all the other changes and the impact of


them on David Cameron? It seems to be the sum of changing his


leadership -- testing his leadership. -- summer off. I think


the strength of feeling was not quite so well known. It is coming


to the end of another long session of Parliament, and I think there


are a lot of MPs saying we do not want to spend a lot of time


debating this, but it is very important to our Coalition partners.


David Cameron has already said if we were elected it would be a third


term issue, but we have to work on the court -- on at this. I think


this shows that work relationships are not as strong as we would like.


Now it is time for our final political round-up before the


summer break. Now the Cambridge MP wants to make


it harder for developers to turn a former pops into homes or


supermarkets. You get very sterile communities. -- pubs. If it is milk


which takes your fancy, dairy farmers fight for a fair price.


This is the second price cut in three months. The European Union is


providing almost �4 million of funding to improve rail services at


Ely, but the Colchester MP could not persuade the Prime Minister to


pump more money into the armed forces. If history is not kind to


prime ministers who are perceived to have left a mark country without


a strong defence capability. least you can console yourself with


a glass of water. Now that the drought is over and a hosepipe ban


has been lifted across the region. Have a great summer.


Do you think measures like this would help pubs in the future, or


is it that the tax on beer, supermarket pricing and the smoking


ban have all done their bit to not help publicans? There are lots of


regions why pubs succeed or do not succeed, but I think they're


already measures around community are at their protection which means


we can save pubs. I think some would say that if the pub does not


work, there might be better used for the community than serving


drinks. Mandy bus macro Therese Coffey, are pubs even more


important in a rural communities? It certainly acts as a community


hub. I have been to 98 of my 108 pubs in my constituency. Bate have


closed in that time, but it is right, the Government has already


brought in legislation to protect community assets.


Ben Dumo so much for your time. Are you going to see some music now?


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