23/06/2013 Sunday Politics East


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ahead to the spending review, and once again, it is all eyes on the


A14. Will the Chancellor finally find the money for a toll road


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2100 seconds


politics is in the East. Coming up - the spending review, will there be


anything in it for us? Upgrading the A14 through Cambridgeshire would be


the big prize. The business community is desperate for it to get


the green light. We want it to happen, it has got to happen. If it


does not, the planning will fall apart. We have asked business


leaders in the region for their wish list. Better roads topped the bill.


Also there were calls for improved railways and housing. First, the


latest examples of MP power in the region. On Friday, ahead of


children's services at Norfolk County Council stepped down


following damning criticism from all nine of the county's MPs. Lisa


Christensen has been under pressure over the quality of schools and the


protection of children in Norfolk. Earlier in the week, five all


members from the East of England Ambulance Service were named, whom


some MPs want to see resigned over the poor quality of service. Those


board members should be in no doubt whatsoever that we are disgusted


with what has happened. We are deeply distressed on behalf of our


constituents, members of the public, who have suffered. The current


status is not good enough. Let's meet our guests, the Conservative MP


for by recent Edmonds, David Ruffley Tom baroness Angela Smith, a Labour


peer. David, starting with you - do you echo those calls for those


people to stand down? I certainly do. There needs to be more


accountability in public life, and people should stand or fall by their


record. This is a set of non-executives on the trust who have


been there for quite a while and they should do the decent thing and


resign. Priti Patel is absolutely right. And this has been a big issue


in Basildon as well? It certainly has. The public have their


representatives in Parliament, and they expect them to speak for them.


If members of Parliament are not speaking to their constituents,


their constituents lose faith in the MPs. I do not think anybody is happy


with the service we are getting from the do you know service. If you


speak to staff there, they are under great for pressure because they


want. It is bad management. We are not talking about the staff on the


front-line. Is it right that MPs should join together and play


hardball like this? Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. Shooting off


quickly is wrong, but when there is hard evidence of wrongdoing, with


accountability which has not been fulfilled, then I think it is right


to call for accountability. Conservative MPs wrote at the


beginning of this month to David Cameron, that we were not up for


Syrian intervention, and I was one of them, and it certainly put a


check on the Prime Minister's enthusiasm for Syrian intervention.


So you can see hunting as a pack working. I am called a rebel, but I


say, I represent my constituents and reflect their views in Parliament.


It is collective action. Thank you for now. The big talking point next


week will be the Chancellor's spending review. Spending reviews


are more rare than budget and Autumn statements. The last one was in


2010, the one before that, 2007. The aim is to set targets for government


departments, normally for a number of years, but this time, just for


one year, 2015-16. It is mainly about cutting budgets, but the


Treasury says it wants to send a powerful message about


infrastructure. Good that mean that at last, we get the go-ahead for a


toll road on the A14? A road goes from Felixstowe to the Midlands, but


it is the stretch from Huntingdon to Cambridge which is the main problem.


Improving it has been on and off the agenda of successive governments for


years. The plan for a toll road has the backing of nearly all of


Cambridgeshire's MPs, with the exception of the MP for Cambridge.


But there is growing frustration about how long it is taking to get


anything done. Deborah McGurran has been on a road trip. Here we are on


the A14, on the stretch that is proposed for development, just north


of Cambridge, all the way up to Huntingdon. We pulled into the busy


Boxworth Services to see how bad the problem was. It means wasted time,


missed appointments, which have to be rescheduled. Generally, it puts a


drag on being able to plan your day if efficiently. The cost of


congestion is huge. It really is an issue which has to be addressed. We


are delighted that there is now some prospect of light at the end of a


very long tunnel. The cost of the scheme here to widen the carriageway


between Milton and Huntingdon is �1.5 billion. And that is why the


road could become a toll road. What would you think if they did that?


No, no, definitely not. No. It is a main road. We are already paying


taxes. There is a lot of taxes already. Our main headlines... I


would probably pay it, to make sure I could get to work on time. As a


business user, I probably would use it, when they name it the road from


hell, that is right. Traffic is very slow on the opposite carriageway,


not great on ours. The A14 is critical as the centre of growth for


the whole of the Cambridge area and beyond. I think we are now at the


point where it needs to happen. It has been going on for so long. This


time, if it does not happen, this country, which is relying on


Cambridge to a certain extent to get it got its feet through the research


cluster, will not be able to work properly. Despite its importance as


an engine of the UK economy, the man who has been at the forefront of the


A14 campaign still is not convinced that the Government will deliver.


am very pessimistic that we will get a firm commitment, because I write


regularly to ministers regarding the A14, and the latest correspondence


from them indicates that the real decision on the funding of the main


part of the A14 will not be made until after the next election. I do


not think that is good enough. do the 75,000 vehicles who use the


A14 every day. But after so many disappointments, will this


government finally bring an end to all this? Well, the MP for


Huntingdon, Jonathan Djanogly, has been at the forefront of the


campaign. Earlier this week I asked him what if any progress was being


made. About one year ago, the Government said they were minded to


support an A14 project, based on what had been consulted upon in the


past. What they said that firstly, a toll road element, and secondly,


they would want a significant contribution from the local economy,


from the region. Now, over the last six months, a lot of work has been


going on with local councils and local business representatives in


order to put a deal together. We have just heard last week, and this


is really good news, but they have struck a deal to put in �100 million


- half of that would in effect come from local businesses, through the


mechanism, and half would come from the local councils. But apparently


ministers have said there is still not enough money available, is that


right? We have the spending announcement in one week, and let's


hope that the Government is going to make that commitment. That is what


all of the Cambridgeshire MPs, - that is quite damning, isn't it? I


hope not. I am not holding my breath, but at the same time, I am


very hopeful. A lot of this, of course, comes down to lobbying.


Debates have been held about the A120, and similarly, the A11 - what


have you been doing? Let me add, the Afour to eight, where I, together


with Andrew Lansley and Alistair Burt in Bedfordshire, have been


lobbying. -- A428. On the A14, I have been regularly lobbying the


Government for changes, and dealing with the local media and organising


local people to have our voice heard. As far as I know, there have


not been any debates about the A14, there have not been any questions


about it in prime ministers questions - I wonder if you feel you


and the Cambridgeshire MPs have done enough to fight for this? I suppose


one could always do more, but I am regularly writing to the Treasury,


and other departments, to support the A14, and I can assure you that


it remains a very high local priority, for all of the MPs into


Bridget, bar the MP for the city of Cambridge. -- in Cambridgeshire.


Will it come next week? I certainly hope so, and we shall have to wait


and see. But the A14 seems to be mentioned every Autumn Statement and


any budget, so will we see something concrete? I think the Government's


position has changed, I think they now realise that austerity, in terms


of cutting government spending, is not to be matched in terms of


infrastructure, so they have realised that they do need to invest


in infrastructure, at the same time as pruning spending in Whitehall.


But even if we get an announcement next week, it could still be many


years before we see anything being built? I think the pressure is now


really building for those roads to get it is an important point to make


that the money which has been pledged from the region last week is


conditional full stop in one of those conditions is that the road


starts being built by 2016. I think that will put an element of pressure


on government, that they really have to get on with it. So there is only


a small window of opportunity? the current deal David Ruffley, it


runs through your constituency - what are you hearing? I would be


surprised if George Osborne does not give some more detail this week. I


have heard him say it is a priority, out of all of the infrastructure


projects nationally. He wants to see this happening. We do need a toll


road element to make it affordable, but I would also say that there are


concerns in Felixstowe docks that this could in a sense be a poll tax


on access to Felixstowe, further down the A14. I think there will


need to be discussions to make sure that whatever tolling we have does


not kill off Felixstowe, and I do not think it will. Jonathan Djanogly


was saying that we only have a small window of opportunity now - do you


accept that? I had stepped that, I agree, yes. -- I accept that. Rather


sensibly, they have put this time limit on how long this commitment


will be available, and if the Government does not give the green


light, then that money disappears. So, it is good to see local business


leaders putting the pressure on ministers. It is a very good bit of


news. From a South Essex perspective, how important is the


A14 do we obsess about it too much? From where I am, we would have to


negotiate on loads of others, even to get to the A14. It may we -- it


may be with the new Thames Gateway ports that it will become more


important in the future. But if you are asking for a wish list, from my


part of the country, it would not be the A14 first. We would have a


similar list, I think, from the Essex area, with huge problems.


Labour put a lot of money into the M25 in Essex - did it make a lot of


difference? It has, we have not got the same congestion problems which


we did have, one problem is that if you build more roads, you bring more


traffic in. From my point of view, we would have to look at the A127,


where we have been asking year after year, and the county council will


not make it a priority. If we got the money, then we could deal with


this huge problem. Of course, the A14 is far from the only item on


people 's wish list 's. We have spoken to local enterprise


partnerships and Chambers of commerce across the region to find


out what would be top of their wish list. Roads featured heavily. There


were calls to upgrade the A120 and the A12 in Essex. In Norfolk, the


focus was on the A47 and the A10. Link roads to the A1. The vote in


Bedfordshire and ginger. New bridges across rivers relieving town centre


congestion, we were told, in Lowestoft, among others. And also,


we were told about wishes for an extra track onto the line into the


Chelmsford area, to ease the commuter crush into London. A wafer


transport, there were calls for better housing, better broadband,


even better water storage support these -- water storage facilities.


You know a bit about lobbying, you successfully fought for a jewel


carriageway on the A11, but looking at that list, it always seems to be


roads first? I think that is because of the sheer number of people who


make use of roads. Pretty much everyone has a car, and the road


network is everywhere, or at least it should be. Rail infrastructure is


important, but lobbying for particular rail lines has always


been challenging. The green lobby would say we concentrate too much on


cars. Yes, and I think a lot of people would include public


transport improvements on their wish list as well. We have included


public transport on our publications this week. Also, cycling routes, and


also, using your own shoe leather. But looking at that list, which you


published, it included six T5 schemes, but you are not going to


get those funded for ages. Will you have to think about the private


sector? It is accommodation. -- 65 schemes. We have to be realistic -


infrastructure, there is a lot of it needed, and it is really about


prioritising. Our focus is about what delivers the best economic


return, rather than just hobbyhorse projects, what are the priorities


which really deliver jobs. We have been speaking about lobbying today,


but how do you actually do it, is it all about long lunches? It is a lot


more subtle than that. It is really about building and evidence case,


building a consortium of MPs, of business leaders, all around a case


which is strong, which shows that if you make the investment, that this


is the economic return and the jobs that it will deliver. On Fort,


having of all the MPs are singing from the same hymn sheet, does that


really help? In Norfolk and Suffolk, it has been tremendous. Over the


past few years, the work that the MPs are doing together, uniting


around common issues which do not necessarily benefit their own


constituency, at which benefit the area generally, has been


tremendous. It could be argued that this is all the fault of your party,


because we had very little investment in the East during 13


years of Labour government. We have lots of investment in hospitals, in


housing and transport, but there is always more needed. In my area, the


A14 would not figure in the same way. I was interested in those list


being put up by those enterprise partnerships, and very few of them


were affecting South Essex. If we want to have a cohesive region, we


need to look across the region. We are not the kind of region which has


a regional identity, we are like three regions in effect, and I think


that is a problem for us. We punch below our weight as a region,


because we do not have a regional centre, we do not have that


identity. If you lick -- look at Yorkshire, Wales or the south-west,


they respond very differently. is an interesting point, it is very


hard to say what this region is, when it comes to lobbying? I have a


working definition - the Golden Triangle, which is Norfolk, Norwich,


Ipswich, Cambridgeshire, which is clean tech... That means you have


left out Essex. Absolutely, and no disrespect to Angela, but that is


what East Anglia and MPs understand as the engine of growth, that golden


triangle. I think they have done a good job in arguing for roads and


public transport. This is the point, we are arguing for part of the


region, rather so, when we talk about the region, there are three


different sets of lobbying to go on. Except, of course, if you


improve the A11 or the A14, it will benefit Essex, won't it? In the


longer term, but if you speak to people in Essex, they will say, our


priorities would be slightly different. I think you are never


going to get across the Eastern region one coherent view of what


benefits the region, it will be three views. We all know that we are


pushed for money, so are you more optimistic or less optimistic for


the future? Well, it is a tough time, but the Government does


recognise that investment in infrastructure is important, and we


have to keep watching the coherent business case for our area. Yes,


there is still more to do, but there is still this overall problem of how


we lobby as a region. George Osborne understands the Golden Triangle and


I think he will put money into help us. Let's take a look at what has


been happening this week, in our political round-up in 60 seconds. We


will start on the railways, and plans to improve the Thames Link


service, with more trains. Not every MP has confidence over the


timetable. Civil servants have a tendency to elongate contract


management, to get procurement wrong, to take an enormous amount of


time to do the things that they think they can do very quickly.


Next, the long-running argument over plans to build an incinerator in


King's Lynn. It has been put off again, but it was the right result,


according to Labour. Corby Council had a rap on the knuckles over how


it handled big regeneration projects like The Cube. Significant failings


and poor management, said the auditors. Finally, AstraZeneca gave


us more details about its move to Cambridge and its new headquarters.


We will be able to take the knowledge which comes from our


laboratories, and we will be able to convert that knowledge into better


patient outcomes. That announcement about the city, it is a big coup for


the region. I think it is, and the engine of growth in the East of


England will be around Cambridge and the great science facilities we have


up in Norwich. It is a real driver. No disrespect to Essex, because they


have got the Thames Gateway. I think we are quite a vibrant region, with


huge potential. I think this is just a symbol of how forward-looking we


are. The science base here is world-class, which is wily city have


come. You have both been representing this region for many


years, and the region is changing a lot, isn't it? It is, and for the


better, in many ways. David has spoken about the science, but also,


if you look across Essex, you can see the cardiac unit we have got,


and the research which goes on there, in Basildon. We have got the


new port developments in Thurrock, as well as logistic developments. It


is a vibrant region, while it may not be a cohesive region, and that


vitality adds to our strength. I think we are punching below our


weight and we could do better. quite exciting, isn't it? It is, and


it always has been, but it is a region which attracts people with


skills. The danger is now that the Government has been so focused on


cutting the deficit and debt, and we have lost out a bit on growth.


Hopefully we will now see some emphasis put on growth. We are not a


backwater any more? As somebody said, we could be the California of


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