Andrew Neil and Richard Moss present the latest political news including an interview with Alex Salmond, and Quentin Wilson on his campaign for lower petrol prices.
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Will the coalition agreed to scrap red tape in the Budget to making
And in the North East and Cumbria: Do it yourself - from village halls
to libraries to swimming pools, the hard-up councils asking local
Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1780 seconds
people to take over their services. Coming up, no quick fix for the
North East economy, warns Lord Heseltine. And are you up to you
run your own library or a swimming pool? We report on people taking
over from hard-up councils. And with me Newcastle MP Chi and Ian
Swales. PC Rathband was found dead at this
week at his home in live. He was shot and wounded and blinded by
Raoul Moat in 2010. This is what the Prime Minister said on Thursday.
David was an extraordinarily brave man and after his horrific injuries
he did an enormous amount for charities and other injured police
officers and for families who had lost members in the line of duty.
We have to do everything we can as a country to make sure that those
who are wounded or fall in the line of duty, that the families are
properly looked after and they are properly commemorated. Chi Onwurah,
it is hard for us to know the circumstances behind this but what
does this say about the support we have for people like PC Rathband
who at the simplest was himself a victim of crime? He was a tragic
victim of crime and his death is the responsibility of Raoul Moat
and Raoul Moat primarily but we have to see if we can do more to
support those who do need such tragic circumstances in the line of
duty, and also victims of crime generally, because he had a very
dark journey to face. He faced it with tremendous courage. He did so
much for others with charity. But in the end it seemed he could not
face continuing with his suffering, and that we really need to make
sure we can do everything we can for aeons Wales, there has been a
suggestion of a memorial, perhaps in a Newcastle, it for PC Rathband.
A memorial is an excellent idea. He was an extremely brave man. He has
effectively fallen for the community of the North East. Just
as we Brits in memorials for others who give their lives in the service
of the area, I think we should in I hope that his charity, the Blue
Lamp charity, continues and continues to do good work, which is
so needed for people who find themselves in those circumstances.
This is a tragedy for his family, friends and colleagues.
Some businesses in the North East did quite well last year bidding
for money for the Government's new Regional Growth Fund, yet ten
months on three-quarters of the firms have not got hold of the cash
yet. According to Labour, that is holding back the creation of vital
new jobs. I spoke to Lord Heseltine, in charge of the fund, and asked
him first on his view of the current state of the region's
economy. The my own reading, we are beginning to see a rather more
optimistic note for the rows, but the important thing is that when
the growth comes it comes from the private sector. The Iraqi
Government schemes -- and there are Government schemes which will
create jobs in the private sector in the North East. We were able to
make some very good awards. We have now got another �1 billion and I'm
sure we will get good bits from the North East for that that there is
not a short fix and it is a complete delusion, and I have seen
politicians pretend an opposition politicians always say, we would be
doing this or that, but they got us into this mess in the first Test.
It would help the North East if those grants had actually been paid
out. Around 75 % have not been paid out. This is a complex issue and I
am concerned about it. First, the Government money follows in private
money, so it the private money gets suspended for a lot of the public
money goes in afterwards. So the real test is how many schemes have
actually started? Some months ago I came up to Newcastle and saw
schemes that were getting under way. But when you make these grants
Committee you really sit there and think that ten minutes down the
line three-quarters of the businesses you were giving grants
to would not yet have got the money? They're very important point,
and it was all of us. I spent a lot of time looking at it. The
companies themselves are often either hesitant or have not really
worked out the detail or just want to delay, or in some cases, have
not get permission from their parent companies. So it is taking
longer and I am the first to say it. I do not like that, but it does not
basic -- alter the basic underlying point that the money will flow and
it will improve jobs in the private sector.
Paul Woolston is here from the North-Eastern Local Enterprise
Partnership. Lord Heseltine suggests some of these delays are
down to the businesses themselves. Is that fair? We would all like the
money to be flowing quicker. However, when you ran a competition
and you have to decide who is going through the next phase, you need to
do diligence and for some businesses, they will be having to
profile when they spend the money before they can take the grant, so
I would like to see it coming through quicker but it is not a
straightforward process. Is it holding back the generation of
jobs? It will if it continues to have delays, but I think the
important thing is back particularly for the North East, we
did better than we thought we might, more than our fair share, and we
wanted to get it coming through as soon as possible. We were not to
involved in Stage 1 and 2 and we would like to be more involved in
stage three. A lot of people will not know what the role of the Local
Enterprise Partnership is. I would tell you about who we are and what
we are trying to achieve. And we are a business-led bought and we
are committed to the concept of partnership so that might be
business-to-business, but business to public services, to local
authorities, on our board we have the leaders of each of the local
authorities and the elected local mayor for North Tyneside and they
have been fully supported -- supportive of what the board
members wanted to achieve. I have to hurry you a little bit, but I
suppose one of the accusations against you, even by the DEC
picture of this fund, is that Teesside has got ahead of the game
and there has actually been quite a bit of squabbling within your Local
Enterprise Partnership. I am not sure where he gets the notion of
squabbling. I have not seen that. The board has been very United and
focused, working exceptionally hard. I do not think it is very helpful
to compare ourselves with Tees Valley. I would like in 12 months
he to be comparing us to an equivalent in Germany or the United
States. Teesside has been helpful to us but I do not think that is a
useful comparison. Ian's Wales, returning to the
regional growth fund, Lord Heseltine, he expressed concern
about some of the delay. There is absolutely no delay in the
Government spending the money when the companies are ready to receive
it. The biggest problem, as Lord has There are two and Lord -- large
chemical plants and one of them there are holes in the ground and
it is now ready to go up and the other one hasn't even started. It
is his stage the companies are at in making the investment so I have
no doubt that all those schemes that were awarded many will get is
as fast as they needed. Chi Onwurah, given that there is not as much
money around as before, it is already creating jobs, isn't it?
is creating very few jobs, because of the delay. I think it is really
wrong to Glenlee companies. These are often small companies who are
not in the business of doing due diligence themselves. To blame them,
compared to Whitehall, who have a very small number of people working
on getting the money out to them is so wrong. You have to be careful
how it is spent and do the Czechs slow. You have to have the people
to do that and the resources. One of the problems small businesses
have in getting funds is that there is so much of his bureaucracy
associated with it. Whitehall should be doing much more to speed
that flow through. We have had some criticism of the North-Eastern
Local Enterprise Partnership, what marks out of ten would you give it?
I think Paul has been doing a fantastic job with very very little
resources. When the LEP started it did not even have an office. I am
not sure if it still does. When you compare that with the two Brits for
billion pounds at the RDA North East had -- �2.4 billion., they are
doing a good job but they do not have the resources and it will take
much more input from businesses as well as the politicians in the area.
Ian, there seems to be less criticism of the Tees Valley but
these organisations have very little money compared to one of the
East. The Tees Valley partnerships made a fantastic start. They were
showcasing what they have already done and they were busy leading
investors in London to do more and I'm delighted with the progress
they have made. The can you put a figure on the number of jobs they
have created? What evidence is there? The number of successful
bids into the Regional Growth Fund is an obvious one. There are dozens
of bits across the South region that have gone through into the
Regional Growth Fund and they have been instrumental in making it
happen. We also have Enterprise Zones across Teesside and three in
my constituency alone, and they have been working really hard to
make the case for that. Chi Onwurah, it is in a her -- in Labour's
interest to be negative. I know that the North East has the highest
level of unemployment across the country. I know that the long term
these unemployment went up by 150 % and I know that we have lost
800,000 private sector jobs as well as 24,000 public sector jobs in D
last 18 months. This Government needs to take action, needs to do
it in the Budget... Are there any signs of hope? The Government is
taking action and we do not like to talk about good news. For 22 months
running out manufacturing employment has increased every
month in the North East. The manufacturing economy is getting
going again. We have a net trade surplus already and there are lots
of good sector stop thank you very much.
More than 100 village falls across County Durham could be given to
local people are this week. It is the latest attempt to hand services
that used to be run by councils, like leisure centres and rivals,
over to the people that use them. But the DIY approach could have its
limits. Keeping children safe from the
traffic. It is certainly an important job, but could the work
done by a professional lollipop lady like Helen be done by
volunteers instead? That was the money-saving idea considered by the
council here in Darlington. One that was eventually dropped because
of opposition from the public and parents. I think that the need for
professional people like this is clear. I do not believe in
volunteers. It is a job that needs to be done for the schoolchildren.
You would be worried that they would not turn up if it is an
unpaid job. The idea of volunteer crossing patrols might have got the
funds down but increasingly, our councils are calling on us to take
over local services and facilities. So have we got what it takes to
take the DIY challenge? Welcome to the New Town Hall
toolkit, complete with people power to have let down spending, and here
in the North Yorkshire village of Great Ayton, locals took the do-it-
yourself approach when the council threatened to close down the
library. Volunteers will take over in May. We have over 70 volunteers.
Plenty of people to run the library. What sort of jobs will they do?
They will be working providing books service, helping people with
computing, doing everything the library did, and hopefully more. We
had to do more in the wake of our out-of-hours activities, all sorts
of things. But this is not a simple case of residents going it alone.
The Community Library will still get his books supplied by the
county council, and some funding from the parish council.
And money is the big issue at the next stop on my proper job tour are
the North. The community centre here is one of scores of buildings
the county council wants to transfer to local groups, as part
of the cancer's response to funding cuts. Villagers here say the centre
must open for activities like his parents toddler group but they
worry about the added cost of repairs and maintenance. We are a
small population. You have not got the same facilities for fundraising.
The council have said they are setting up a team to help people
through the transfer and should try to find funding for them and things
like that. If that comes off, it will be great. If it does not, then
we do not know where we are going. So the uncertainty is one of the
big things. The message from this community and others, yes, we will
give it a go to save services and facilities. But like all DIY jobs,
fixing it will take more than enthusiasm alone. Otherwise it
could all come unstuck. Just me, you would never want our
reporter to put it low shelves! Doesn't this actually sound like a
good solution? Places stay open, council save money. What is
certainly good is involving local communities in the delivering of
services. Newcastle City Council, for example, is looking at co-
operative models to ensure that local people did take part in bat
and doing that as much as possible, but also, remember, it should not
be an excuse for getting rid of services and getting rid of people.
They are professionals delivering these services, often, for the
right reasons. But a community centre, it would be best for local
people to run it? If they have the time, but many communities,
certainly in Newcastle, in my constituency, do the people have
the time to give enough time there to be a co-ordinated and well run
rate -- managed community service? There should be involvement and
that is what community delivery is about and co-operative do from but
there needs to be the money and management there to make sure there
is consistency and professionalism. Ian, we saw people in quite a well-
to-do area running a library but can you imagine that happening in
poorer areas of your constituency? I agree that there is an issue that
certain communities might not have been build community leadership
needed to win things and I do think councils need to redeem auction at
very carefully but I also believe that we often do not give people a
chance and French can is a good example. The neighbourhood centre
there is largely run by the community. -- Grangetown. Is this
thought-out process about him his best to run the services or is it
an act of desperation by some councils? Bake one to hand them
over to the community because they do not have the money to run them.
Money is tight and you can see what councils are going down this road
but as one or two of the examples showed, it is not always bad news.
I have been on a committee that is owned by the council and the amount
of activity that goes on is fantastic and it is all run by
volunteers. There are no council staff involved at all. It can work.
Isn't this test for communities, if they want to take it over it will
survive and if there is no real interest, it will go to the wall.
Communities in Newcastle and the cost -- coast of the North East
have been supporting the services. What I find insulting is that this
Government with the Big Society have invented volunteering.
Tomorrow I will have three constituency surgeries across
Newcastle, and I want to make sure that those libraries where they
take place are professionally staffed, because it is so important
to get people into libraries. have run out of time. Let's take a
look at the rest of the week's Newsnight. We thought about giving
him just half a minute to see how he would cope, austerity and all
that, but that seemed to mean. So he is the week in 60 seconds.
The consultation over the future of this aluminium smelter in line Rice
has ended. No arrests come forward and it is expected to close with
the loss of 500 jobs. The mayor of horrible has six -- sacked all six
Labour councillors for failing to support his Budget.
The Redcar MP has urged the Prime Minister to ensure wind farms do
not get built. There are plans for 120 metres high wind turbines
between two beautiful villages which are less than a mile apart.
Does the Prime Minister agree that such giant turbines should not be
built so close to residential areas? Northumberland council has
backed a �100 million loan to North Cumbria Healthcare Trust. It will
allow the trust to expand its complex.
Land next to a nature reserve will not be built and after all.
Newcastle cancer has revised its plans for reducing building in
That is all for now. Next Sunday we will be live at the Liberal
Democrats Conference. If in the meantime, keep an eye on my blog.
There is more on their about the difficulties facing elected mayors