29/01/2012 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


29/01/2012

Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate including Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the treasury, on the state of the UK economy.


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I'm here in the North East and Cumbria as council budgets are

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squeezed with the elderly and vulnerable priced out of using

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2027 seconds

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vital services. Hello. The warmest of welcomes to

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Sunday Politics in the North East and Cumbria. Coming up, how a

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squeeze on council budgets means the elderly and vulnerable having

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to pay more or lose out altogether on vital services. A special report.

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Giving us their views about that and the rest of the week's

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political news are Washington MP Sharon Hodgson and North East Euro

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MP Fiona Hall. First, is the health gap between

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north and south are back to widen? This region has already some of the

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worst problems of childhood obesity, heart disease and alcohol-related

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deaths. Now Labour says richer areas in the South are benefiting

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from the way the Government allocates money.

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Seven stops on Newcastle's matcha system but years away in life-

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expectancy. In South Gosforth, a man cannot expect to live to 81 but

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here it is just 71. That is compared to the national average of

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almost 78. I have mainly worked in Brehme areas and what I see is that

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patients who come to see me Barbara. I know that about them from their

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lives. They tell me. -- they are poorer. They are more ill at an

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earlier age. I see people whose material deprivation has translated

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into words health, compared to people who live a few miles away.

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This week MPs debated health equality. It has changed the

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funding formula, reducing the component designed to address

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health inequalities. I have been in Parliament for 19 months and I have

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raised this question directly with the minister's four times, not

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counting written questions. Would that accusation that Gregory has

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will get less, there is debate. -- that poorer areas will get less.

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will change, improve the chances of people, change their lives. We will

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do that by ring-fencing public money, which will be happening for

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the first time. With me now is Martin White, professor of public

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health at Newcastle University. We know there is some kind of health

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divide north side and even within the regions but where are we in

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terms of health inequalities in your vista? Health inequalities in

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Britain are some of the wild -- widest in the world, certainly in

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developed countries. They have widened over a prolonged period.

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The North East has some of the poorest health in Britain, as he

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have said, and that situation does not seem to be getting better.

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However, there is some positive news. If you look at, for example,

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rates of current heart disease, those appeared to be going down in

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the North East, bucking the trend elsewhere in the country. So it is

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a complicated picture and there are some positive bits of news. There

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is his political tram over funding and Labour say funding is cut in

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areas like the North East. -- this political row. It is really

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important part funded for public health is not clubs and that the

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total amount of budget remains as large as it has been. One of the

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key difficulties is that public health, it has been close that is

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moving to local Government. When you get any kind of we are

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organisation there is huge cost associated. -- the reorganisation.

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We cracked down on smokers and that has made some difference in the

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North East. Do we need to take the same approach on fast food and

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alcohol? This legislation help? ten people what to do does not work.

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They are all kinds of roses people have to make in regard to their

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behaviour but the evidence we have suggests that behaviour is very

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much determined by social environment in which people live

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and we have to make positive steps to try to influence that

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environment to help people make healthier choices. Thank you. Let's

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put this to our politicians. Fiona Hall, you cannot dispute that the

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Government has cut the waiting list on public health which benefits

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areas like the North East like -- with lower life expectancy. That

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will not help the North-South divide, with it? That money going

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to local authorities will be ring- fenced. Our problem is the issue of

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equality has gone on for a long time and despite the fact there was

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money put into the NHS under Labour, they eat more back for a long time.

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There are criticised by the Audit Commission for having not tackle

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the question of inequality. By ring-fencing the money and giving

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it to local authorities it is a means of actually coming in at the

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grassroots and doing something. this adjustment, which means that

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the waiting has changed, so that potential, those in the staff might

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do better. But if the money is coming in bandages ring-fenced,

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that is money we can use for that. -- the South might be better.

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do not put the money in for Prevention, we will have a huge

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problems later on and continue to have inequality. Sharon Hodgson,

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the money is being ring-fenced and the Conservatives say Labour cut

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the money. What the Conservatives have done is a change how the money

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will be shared out, and the North East will get less than his son

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would have done under Labour. will get more than last year.

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necessarily, they are giving be money to the local authorities but

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they do not ring-fenced everything else in local authority budget,

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like the money for Sure Start and the local -- early intervention

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grant. That money went to things like and rage pregnancies and

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under-aged drinking. The councils have less money. Do your

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constituents really not know that drinking too much, eating the wrong

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kind of food, harms your health? suppose they do put none of the

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bodies... Like Cabot Circus afresh. It is paid for by a BBC Tees but

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PCT is have been abandoned. -- like the organisation Fresh, paid for by

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PCTs. More people in the North East die from smoking than other

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regions... We must move on. Fiona Hall, where did you stand on this?

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The Health Minister said individuals have to take

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responsibility for your own health. For that to happen they need help

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and they need good local schemes and that is what this money going

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into local authorities will help to do. I agree we have had some good

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pilots in the North East and now local authorities have the

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opportunity to put money behind them. As Martin White said, do we

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need more legislation, or stopping people smoking, drinking and eating

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too much? It is a combination. You cannot do it just by legislation.

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There are some things we can do at a legislative level but a lot of it

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is about the personal, face-to-face contact with people on the brand

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and that is why the money going into local authorities is important.

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Almost two-thirds of local councils are put in their social care budget.

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That is according to a survey published by the Commons health

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committee this week. They all said and that charges are rising for

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vital services. -- they also said. Norma and Jean are on a regular

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trip. They both look on their own in Darlington. Sometimes they can

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go weeks without seeing anyone but today is a good one because they

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are making a trip to see friends at a day centre. It is very important

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because otherwise I would not be getting out. But coming here is

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getting more expensive for Norma and Jean. Both are now paying their

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council more for use of the centre. A few months ago, Jean was paying

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nothing. Now she has to stump up �60 a month. Can you tell me why?

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If it goes a penny more I am afraid I will have to stop coming. Things

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could be a bad to get even more expensive. Many councils used to

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have weekly which emits -- weekly limits for services but that is

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changing. Darlington, Middlesbrough and North Yorkshire have already

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scrapped their care -- pack on day- care charges. As council budgets

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are squeezed, other councils want to follow suit. Cumbria Council

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wants to remove the cap in the next three years. I think it is a false

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economy. In the long run, the councils will end up and the PCTs

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will end up paying more. People will be isolated, lonely... They

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expect everything to be cradle to the grave and do not understand why

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they are having to pay for what they thought was help. What Peter

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does not understand is why his charges have gone up 400 %. He

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looks after his wife, who has Alzheimer's. Two years ago, the

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couple were paying �10 to Darlington Council for a session at

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the local day centre. Now it is �50. The councils look at us as the easy

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option. We all know panels are trying to save money but if they

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only stopped to think for a minute how it alters people's lives, going

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from �10 to �50 in six months, it is an average. But at the local

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council, they are facing large cuts. They say they have no choice but to

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increase charges because the Government is not giving them

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enough money. The money that has come from Government would keep us

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standing still. They are not making allowances for increased demand. We

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have people with very complex needs. They want people to remain in the

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community, in their own homes and as Boris possible, prevent them

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from going into hospital. Well, there is a cost to that. But the

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Government's says... The Government specifically committed over the

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life of this Parliament to put an edition -- additional �7.2 billion

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in to help social care. Always to help the quality of service and

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reduce the cost of service. Everyone agrees services like this

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are important. The question is, how do we continue to pay for them?

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Sharon Hodgson, the dangers appear to be finding ways of raising extra

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money by charging some of the most vulnerable people? I would hope

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councils are not using people as easy targets. The reality is

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councils have lost 25 %, in most cases, of their budget. Councils

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have this money. They have had huge cuts and are having to make these

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decisions. I would hope my cancer will not be doing things like this

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aren't I will be looking closely at that. But a lot of people would say

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there are lots of things you could tackle rather than increased

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charges. The Government is putting in �7 billion. But at the same time

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they have taken so much out on other budgets, so when the

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councillors are looking across the whole budget it is how they can

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make everything add up. It is robbing Peter to pay Paul all the

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time so I would wish that this was not the situation. I think it is

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incumbent upon all politicians to work and look closely at their

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local council to ensure it is not the most vulnerable people who are

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suffering. So this is a product of Government cuts rather than

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councils making these decisions? Councils have motorways? What you

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can see is different local authorities are approaching this in

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different ways. One has put a cap on daily charges for people below a

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Downley -- a certain income. Below about Ready �3,000. So the poorest

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people, those least able to be able to cope with our charges... But the

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majority of councils are putting charges up. Councils need to look

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at how, in very difficult times, with cuts we would not want to have

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put have to have, and all parties agree, we would make sure these

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people least able to cope on the one that of protected. So in

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schemes like Northumberland, where they make sure that the least well

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off people are not the ones who suffer at the big charges. We are

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all having to pay more for all sorts of things. Some older people

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probably can afford a bit more. That is what Fiona is saying, as

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long as these charges are means tested to the certain extent and

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the most vulnerable or poorest have the smallest proportion to pay, I

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think we would say that was fair. But is that happening? I do not

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know. We have do go away and make sure it is. The main problem is we

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are all living longer. As a society and a Government, we need to look

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at this grisly for the future going forward. In 20 years' time there

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will be another 2 million pensioners requiring social care

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and... Nobody has wrestled with this problem. We tried in this last

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Parliament but the talks broke down, as we know, famously, between the

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three parties. The Tories did those all for billboard posters with

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tombstones... That is the key point, but we need answers because this is

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the problem but will continue. is why it is so good that some

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councils are being innovative in the way they are tackling this.

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you mention Northumberland again I may have to stop you! There are

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councils looking into ways of keeping people in their own homes,

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looking a long and hard at some of the facilities which were under-

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used and seeing that they can help people better. What else has been

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Sunderland has come but some of the league table for new business

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start-ups. Four times as many businesses were started by a person

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in London and on the Weir. The verge of a Lords committee wants to

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avoid repeated scenes like these. North East firms are doing a bit

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for the Olympic Games according to the Culture Secretary, in Gateshead

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this week. Companies in the North East have been entrepreneurial. If

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you take some of our most iconic Olympic venues, in the stadium, the

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group was kept from a company in Newcastle. Elections for

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Newcastle's a new city mayor have been brought forward to November

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15th but first they have to be a yes vote in the referendum. And

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motorists in the North East are frustrated by the failure to draw

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the A1. They are told to take the Sharon Hodgson, have any companies

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in your constituency managed to get any work out of the Olympics?

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is certainly one from Sunderland, handsome building products. There

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is one from Gateshead, International Paint. They have

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supplied the paint for the aquatic centre. Is it enough? Nowhere near.

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It is only �100 million worth of contracts out of �16.2 billion.

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Fiona Hall, the allegation is that we are not really getting... It is

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crumbs on the table. It is a big event and we need to look at the

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big picture. Until now I have kind of turned my back and thought, this

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is all happening in London, but I was there on Monday and it is

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impressive and I think it will boost the image of the country as a

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whole and that is good for North East businesses as well. It is not

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all happening in London. There are football matches up here. But there

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are places where there are concerns that rather than their being a

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tourism bonanza, it will put people off. I think it might be people of

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going to London. Let's hope they come to the North East instead.

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Really? Isn't the reality that if you go to London you go to the

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Olympics? Some people are not sporty at all and probably will go

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to other parts of the country but I think the vast majority of people

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going to London will stay in London and not venture anywhere else.

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you got tickets? Not yet. I had to get some through the resale prices.

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I am trying to ban the resale of tickets on the secondary market.

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have heard the top tip is applied for tickets for the Paralympics

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because there was still some of those available.

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Thank you. I have got tickets. I am not

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looking to smoke, and why? Did take a look at my blog. More on elected

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mayors and other issues. You can also follow me on Twitter. My blog

:54:55.:54:58.

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