17/02/2013 Sunday Politics East


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$:/STARTFEED. In the East, how much bottle do our Local Enterprise


Partnerships have? And the Labour leader in Bedford echoes another


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2122 seconds


leader's historic speech, but is he $:/STARTFEED. Hello and welcome to


the local part of the programme, I'm Andrew Sinclair. Coming up:


Have our Local Enterprise Partnerships got the bottle to


deliver growth in the region? They're being asked to do a very


big task by the Government, but with one hand tied behind their


back. And why the Labour leader thinks


Bedford speaks for Britain. Far from never having it so good,


millions of people think, are we going to ever have it so good


again? But first, let's meet our guests,


the Labour MP for Luton South, Gavin Shuker, and Julian Huppert,


the Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge. And I guess the main


talking point this week has to be that we're getting all these new


ambulances for the East of England ambulance service. 15 extra


ambulances, 75 new paramedics, 124 more emergency care assistants


across the region, and this follows a long campaign by MPs. This must


be very welcome, Julian Huppert. is fantastically welcome. I have


had trounced -- tragic cases of constituents, one who died because


a number this did not get there in time, and I used to be in ambulance


crew with St John Ambulance, so I have dealt with some of these


ambulance cases. I vividly remember my first blue light run-up to


Addenbrooke's. They have listened to the pressure and the outcry?


They have also realised they were not hitting the target. There were


too many cases of people being left too long with no treatment. Have


you are also had issues in towns about response times? New also her


-- in the rural areas it has been particularly acute. I have been out


with my own ambitions technicians, and I think we need to properly


resource these technicians as they go about their jobs. How is all


this going to be funded? Go as always the devil is in the detail,


but the trust have responded to the concerns being raised by MPs and


different communities, and they need the backing to get on and


improve those response times. Talking about money, have we got


the right mechanism in place to get our businesses to grow, and help


the region back on its feet? The Government's grand plan was to


scrap the Regional Development Agency that used to be in charge of


stimulating business growth in the East, and replace it with Local


Enterprise Partnerships, or LEPs. They were set up 18 months ago, but


questions are now being asked about whether they're really up to the


job. The economy is lacking fizz, but


here in Northampton they are investing big to get things going.


�60 million to revamp Carlsberg's UK headquarters. A new bottling


plant in the Northampton Enterprise Zone, run by the local LEP. It is


one of four the commission has created to boost growth. Some


Carlsberg has been created across Europe, now we will be able to


produce everything we need here in Northampton. We have brought 30


people in from the jobs zone. That would not have perhaps happened


without that confidence the Enterprise Zone creates.


The Government has shaken up the economic development. Long overdue


say some, lousy timing, say others. But is this new framework working?


Out went Labour's East of England Development Agency, and in came six


Local Enterprise Partnerships or LEPs. They bid for cash from the


new Regional Growth Fund. So far the East has backing for seven


projects, fewer than most other regions. The LEPs also won our for


enterprise zones. -- they run our for enterprise zones.


The zone in Yarmouth aims to cash in on the wind energy boom.


Seajacks has bought -- built new offices in the zone. There were no


real restrictions on planning. It enabled us to move in and build


some were without a long drawn out planning process. We needed to act


and move quickly, and we were able to do that.


More George VI had an annual budget of �140 million. -- East of England


Development Agency. LEPs get money towards their staff costs. Our am


doing my best to support local Enterprise Partnerships, but when


you add up the cost of them, they have still got less money and fewer


personnel banner the smallest of the old development agencies. You


can see how they are being asked to do a very big task by the


Government, but doing so with one hand tied brinded -- behind their


back. LEPs get more money for a specific


things. But they have struggled to raise money from the private sector.


The Cambridge and Peterborough LEP says it lacks the cash to carry out


its role properly. The Northampton LEP is better placed. It says it


has created 1000 jobs in 18 months. We are lucky that the local County


Council funded us �2 million per annum over three years. Do you


think the new structure is working? It works for us. We work at a very


local level and understand our patch incredibly well. We know


where we can make the most impact. LEPs may make more -- get more


money if the Government accepts a report by Lord Heseltine and the


vaults the Budget to the regions. - - divorced national budget to the


regions. -- defaults.


So, although our LEPs are in their infancy, how effective are they


really? Research by this programme has found that the six LEPs in our


region have received a total of �125 million from the Growing


Places Fund, but more than a third of that money is yet to be


allocated although various projects, we're told, are in the pipeline.


The Northamptonshire LEP has a �1.9 million underspend, the South East


Midlands �18.5 million. New Anglia, which covers Norfolk and Suffolk,


has a �2.2 million underspend. The South East LEP, which Essex is in,


And the Hertfordshire LEP has a �6.2 million underspend. That's a


total of �45.8 million waiting to fund schemes in the East. We also


found that none of the LEPs, except for the one in Northamptonshire,


have created any new businesses. Local Enterprise Partnerships also


came in for criticism from Lord Heseltine in his report on economic


strategy. He called for changes, because, he said, "LEPs at the


moment do not have the authority or resources to do what is needed."


And the Greater Cambridge and Peterborough LEP told MPs recently


that it was finding it hard to attract funding in the present


climate. Well, earlier this week I put some of these points to the


Business Minister Suffolk MP, and I began by asking him if he was


disappointed that only one of our LEPs has so far created any new


businesses. It is not the job of the Government


to launch new businesses. It is the job of people. Let me explain my


point. The way that you create wealth in this country, in fact all


across the world, it is for the Government to help create the


conditions for new businesses to start, and then it is people who


have ideas about how to start a business, how to create jobs, had


to create wealth. You do not want the Government going round starting


businesses left, right and centre. That has been tried in the past and


does not work. My call Heseltine refers to the fact that you are


expecting LEPs to do a lot more without much money. A I am in


favour of things running efficiently, but where they are


asked to do more, of course there needs to be the appropriate


financing, but we also have to make sure that we get every bit out of


every pound that we spend on other behalf of taxpayers' right across


the East of England. Michael Heseltine says they need more money.


Will they get it in the budget? his report he both proposes a more


things the LEPs can do it and at the same time he says that in order


to do those things they need more financing. That is why the report


is written... They will get more money in the Budget, them? You will


have to wait and see what is in the Budget. He isn't one of the big


problems that we had a perfectly good system beforehand, we had the


East of England Development Agency, and you replaced it with all these


LEPs. Could we not have kept the old EEDA? De Gaulle is to make sure


money is spent efficiently -- the goal. And that it reflects the


economic activity on the ground. we now have six LEPs, not one


Development Agency. That is more bureaucratic, is it not? We have


had at a regional development agency that borders inefficient in


the wake that it spent Monday, and it cost a lot more money to get


support to businesses, and did not particularly reflect the economic


geography - macro economic geography is, what happens on the


ground. The East of England covers all the way from Britain through to


Norwich, and instead LEPs of focused as I said on the areas


where the economic geography is on the ground, the areas where -- are


the areas where business is done, and at the same time they are one


efficiently to make sure that money is not wasted. Regional development


agencies were widely recognised, including East of England


Development Agency, for being inefficient in the way public money


spent -- was spent, and for not particularly reflecting any


particular look -- particular geography. Matthew Hancock, thank


you. Julian Huppert, are LEPs really a


better replacement than the East of England Development Agency? I had a


bit to do with EEDA as it was, scrutinising what it did for the


regional assembly, and it could be extremely bureaucratic. There were


some very good people there, but a lot of things was stuck in


bureaucracy. So I like the Loch list idea of saying, we know that


the different parts of the East of England do behave differently Andy


DEFRA help. He in Cambridgeshire and Peter Brooke, they are somewhat


different. So I like the idea of having local areas which can push


local priorities. But we are talking about the delay in getting


project started. In dismantling EEDA, surely that led to the delays


in bidding for the money and spending the money? It is alarming


to see that a lot of the LEPs have not yet spent the money they have


been given. And there are interesting things that LEPs can do


which are not just taking money from Government and taking them to


businesses. In Cambridge and Peterborough we have a science


innovation council which tries to make sure we do the creative things


as well. They make things happen. But you happy with LEPs? Our local


LEP is doing some great work, and we need some regional structure


that works at unlocking growth. I don't personally think it is as


effective as the system we had before. We had some good


experiences of EEDA, but the one thing you did not want to do at the


last general election is coming in and rip up the one infrastructure


delivery structure that could get things growing across the region.


It will be a long time before these LEPs settle in.


What more do these LEPs need so that they can be more effective?


More Michael Heseltine was correct that the quality of LOCOG -- local


leadership is key. I would like to see George Osborne accumulating


more money for these LEPs, because if we can invest locally we can


make a difference across the East. My Julian Huppert, the bidding


process is far more competitive. Can our region, which is largely


rural, compete with the large LEPs in at Manchester and Newcastle, the


large urban LEPs? You do not want to go too far down a competitive


group of people putting in pointless bits, but the idea that


you find things that are good where ever they are, seems the right


thing. Rather than just handing out money in a not very efficient way.


There are extremely exciting projects, I think some of the Local


Enterprise Zones like Alconbury and Peterborough will make a difference.


There is the potential to show just how creative the East of England


can be. The bottom line is we have a flatlining economy, and we have


to get resources in, infrastructure projects. Let us use the


infrastructure that is there, by stimulating the local economy


through spending money through these LEPs.


It was the pound in your pocket or the lack of it that was on Ed


Miliband's mind during a visit to the region. He went to Bedford to


announce his plans for 10p tax rate and to remind us about another


important speech made by the then Conservative Prime Minister Harold


Macmillan. Mr Miliband decided to attend his speech on its head.


talked about higher wages, great opportunities that people had had.


And the speech became known as the speech where he declared, you've


never had it so good. Now, today in Bedford, and today in Britain,


things feel very different. Small business people including many


people gathered here, of working harder than ever before. People are


working harder than ever before. But for far too many, wages are


falling, and prices are rising. And they feel worse off, not better off.


Far from feeling they have never had it so good, millions of people


are thinking, will we ever had it so good again? Is he right? I spoke


to Robert Joyce, as Senior Research economist at the Institute of


Fiscal Studies. I asked him how for living standards have fallen


recently. There has been an unusually long period in which both


the earnings of those in work have been falling, and also there has


been a large fiscal consolidation in the post-recession period, so


that means takeaways from households in the form of tax rises


and benefit cuts. They will be about to have 0.5% of national


income. So we are worse off than when, ten years ago, 15 years ago?


At least in the middle of the last decade if not towards the beginning


of the last decade. Even before the recession, although incomes was


still growing, they were growing relatively slowly. The Government's


official measure of household incomes, incomes again at the media


and crewed by an average of just 0.5% in real terms, whereas over


the last 50 years it has been more like 2%. But a combination of quite


slow growth in living standards to the recession and the sharp fall


during the recession, and the slow recovery we have now, all combined


to create this unusually long period in which living standards


will not overall be growing. there any sign that things will get


better? The period of fiscal consolidation is due to continue


for some time, at least another four or five years and possibly


more, to paint -- depending on how the economy evolves. So will it


will be 2020, at this rate. could well be the latter half of


the decade. Be a sun, if the new campaign


strategy is to talk about the fall in living standards -- Gavin Shuker,


you will get rid of the little confidence that is out there.


a reality for many families. When I talked about a lost decade, I


thought I was scaremongering. The reality now is that it is more or


less certain. The economy should have grown by 13 or 14%. This


Government said they would grow the economy by six or 8% by the time of


the next election. Without that, it is impossible to raise living


standards. If you were in power, you would be making similar cuts.


we recently talk about all the pieces being thrown into the air


because the Conservative Government thought they could go back to


Thatcherite policies. We need a new set of policies which is what Ed


Miliband was talking about. macro, this has happened on at your


watch. -- Julian Huppert. We saw slow increases on house called


incomes, and then a catastrophic collapse. It was a heart attack in


the British economy because of the massive problems in the banks, ask


anybody who is trying to recover from surgery in Papworth Hospital.


I am pleased that Pete -- Weber has acknowledged the areas that they


have worked in. They took a our mansion tax idea, and... What do


you think are signs of hope at the moment that things may get better?


In Cambridge we have unemployment going down, youth unemployment down,


in fact it has never been as high as it was at the time of the


general election. There is lots of excitement happening, and I think


LEPs and all these things can make a big difference. But if we do what


we can to help people and lift them out of income tax, to make sure


they have better jobs. That will make a big difference. A in this


region we have the highest rate of employment in this country. Surely


this must be good for living standards? Were we are probably


more insulated than many, but there are parts of the region such as


Luton where we are really struggling. What I would say is


that by acknowledging the problems that we have had in the past,


mistakes such as over 10p or whatever, really people want us to


come together and come up with a solution. But is not working for


people right now, and we need a new set of policies. When will things


get better? In the next Parliament. Big depends what happens in the


United States and Europe. -- it depends what happens.


Well, politicians commemorated, cold shouldered and criticised. The


political week has got the lot this week. Here's our 60 second round-up.


New runways at Stansted Airport are still one of the Mayor of London's


favoured options, he told a committee of MPs this week. $YELLOW


Stansted is really replete with potential. Meanwhile, Basildon


Council thinks its Craylands Estate is a potential site to erect a


statue of Margaret Thatcher. think it's really silly, cos it


won't last five minutes in Craylands. And after her stay in


the jungle, no good news yet for MP Nadine Dorries, who's waiting to


have the Conservative whip restored. My constituents don't really care


whether I have the whip or not. And whereas I've been working very hard


in the constituency, I've been keeping a low Westminster profile.


A spat's broken out between two Essex MPs vying for Europe's


Capital of Culture Award. Southend should be the City of Culture.


Colchester is clearly the cultural capital of Essex. And Speaker John


Bercow was forced to intervene over a question from Dr Julian Huppert.


Order! It's very discourteous of the House to issue a collective


Gavin Shuker, why is there a collective groan that when he


speaks? I do not express one. seemed to come from your side!


was there speaking about the fact that Cambridge as goals have been


underfunded for decades. It was a shame that the house did not want


to listen. -- Cambridge it scrolls. There is far too much of this


bullying in the house. I wish we would have a more grown-up adopt


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