13/05/2012 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Andrew is joined by the communities secretary Eric Pickles to discuss growth and regulation.

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In the North East and Cumbria: They pride themselves for being at


the heart of their communities but fewer of us are buying local


newspapers. Should the Government step in to ensure their survival?


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2007 seconds


Welcome to your local part of the show for the North East and Cumbria.


Coming up: Can our local press survive in the


internet age? We ask the owners of the Hartlepool Mail and the South


Shields Gazette why they are moving some of their staff to Sunderland.


My guests are Berwick MP Sir Alan Beith and Newcastle East's Nick


Brown. It may not be much of a talking


point in the pubs of North Shields or at the supermarket check-out in


Middlesbrough, but the Government's plan to create a smaller and more


democratic House of Lords will be one of the big issues at


Westminster. But is it a distraction? What impression did


the rest of the Queen's Speech make on voters? We gathered some views


in Cockermouth. Dani did to concentrate on the


economy, never mind about anything else. -- they need to. There is


nothing making any great difference. It is not going to make a deal of


difference to the man in the street. I am more interested in jobs and


the economy to be almost. They have to do something good for the people.


-- to be honest. The have got nothing in common with people from


anywhere in the countries in the South East. It is just an absolute


disaster. Even some Conservatives were not


that impressed with the new legislative programme. James Airie


is a county councillor in Cumbria. I am a bit disappointed. There are


some good things in there that I welcome. There are some things in


there that would cut bureaucracy and that is welcome. It was


tempered a bit with some gives to the Liberals on parental leave and


things like that. Some daft stuff in there, but there is not much


meat on the bones. Let us talk about some of that now.


Lord Inglewood, from Hutton in the Forest, is a hereditary peer who


sits in the Lords, but none of us know for how much longer. He joins


me from our Carlisle studio. Are these people right, is the


House of Lords irrelevant? And no, they are not right. The problem


that we face is not that things could be done that would improve it,


because nobody knows what they are trying to do and how it relates to


the rest of Parliament. Until that has been clear in the minds of


people, it seems silly to suggest a reaffirmation of the House of Lords.


What would you like to see happen? -- a wee formation of the House of


Lords. I do not know what should happen. The difficulty is that the


it seems to be no degree of consensus about what sort of


parliament we want. Do we want a parliament where you have two


chambers acting as a check and balance on each other, or do you


want an elected chamber? Are you looking for a second chamber that


is very much more like a committee of wise men revising and amending


the House of Commons? In that case, you what to get people with


experience and knowledge in it. There are two different models,


either one would be acceptable. We have to decide what to do. The if


they go down the elected route, would you put yourself up to - a


prop for election? I have wondered about it. I might. I would be in my


early 60s by the time the election came along and I do not know if


that there would be a need for me to start. Maybe someone a bit more


long in the tooth might be more desirable. Is this just going to


get bogged down more by your colleagues? I anticipate that if it


goes ahead it will turn into a circus. That is also the view of


commentators. Thank you very much. Alan Beith, this is the big idea of


your party. It was in the manifestos of all three parties.


There was an interesting point made about age. There are more people


under -- over 90 in the House of Lords then there are under 40. It


is not the top priority of the Government. The reason it came into


existence is to sort that the economy, and that was the first


line in the Queen's Speech. But does not stop you getting on with


the ordinary jobs. -- that does not stop you. Politicians love talking


about these sort of issues. What will count over the next two years


is how Ministers deal with the challenges in the economy, and that


goes hand-in-hand with the process in Parliament, passing various laws.


In the case of the House of Lords, there has been a joint committee


which has gone to considerable lengths, and there is a consensus


that we need to not be a rival to the House of Commons, but a


revising chamber. There has to be some kind of legitimacy. Every


party has said that will supply in politics aside, what is the best


Beach Boys that I thought Lord Inglewood -- Beach Boys, I thought


that Lord Inglewood expressed in You could take the reform process


that Tony Blair took for a word when he was Prime Minister and have


an appointed assembly that is not ultimately a decision-making body


to check and advise and revise what the House of Commons does. Why it


would you prefer? I prefer the sex -- what would you prefer? I prefer


the second option. As a member of the House of Commons, obviously, I


am very protective. Let's move on from the House of Lords. What is


there in the Queen's Speech that will make a difference and the


lives of people that you represent? We never want to get into a


situation which has caused so many people so much hardship where the


big banks of this country are too big to fail. This is something


events cable has pressed so strongly about. We are determined


that banks will have to separate the gambling activity of the


investment side. People see that as very valuable. People do not see


much in the Queen's Speech. They wonder what will get the economy


going. Passing more loss is not what they want. An effective


government, it is not about whether you can pass more loss, most


businesses like to have a few laws. What they wanted the opportunity to


get on with economic stability, which the coalition is seeking to


provide. This gives the Government room to concentrate on the economy,


doesn't it? At in the Queen's speech was largely a displacement


activity. Better I think the Queen's Speech. We have to -- I


think the Queen's speech was largely a displacement activity. We


have a tricky challenge but it could be met. There is a way to


stimulate economic activity and lend money to businesses in our


country and strengthen our tax base. What was laid out in the Queen's


Speech would make it easier to sack people. But it would help them


create jobs, wouldn't they? Howdahs sacking people help create jobs? It


does not. -- How does sacking people help create jobs? It does


not. This is what I have been saying to both governments for a


long time. There needs to be a better understanding of whether


they are up to the job. It makes it difficult to part with people. That


is the message that has been delivered. Another thing that will


help working families is trying to enable people to share out parental


leave between both partners and reducing the tax on working


families by raising the tax It is tough for local newspapers.


Circulations have fallen dramatically in recent years, with


advertisers taking much of their business online. It has forced some


papers like the Scarborough Evening News to turn themselves into weekly


publications. Others are shutting town centre offices or reducing


staff to cut costs. Many fear a vital part of community life could


be lost if local papers are forced to close. So is it time for the


Government to step in to ensure their survival?


For almost 140 years, this paper has been a part of northeast wife.


The technology might have changed, but the because of the paper


remains the same. -- A Part of a North East life. We still


thankfully have communities in the North East and community spirit is


still alive. Fewer people in the community are actually buying the


paper. In the last year, the Sunderland ago has lost 10 % of its


sales, and it is not alone. The Hartlepool Mail and the Newcastle


Journal have all seen such elation fall by 10 % or more. It is not --


circulation fall. It is not all bad. There has been an increase in


people visiting the websites of newspapers. I am going to hand over


money to actually read a newspaper. That means newspapers are having to


change. The group that owns the Sunderland ago are ready Prince the


South Shields Gazette in Sunderland, but now some staff will be moving


to cut costs. The local offices will become smaller, but the


company says it is not the beginning of the end.


Investment in journalism on the ground in local communities, the


investment in still having print projects, print projects are the


most important things in the business. It is still there. It


does not feel like a crisis. Yes, there are a few challengers, but


there are some exciting things ahead as well. -- a few challengers.


Local MPs are concerned that the papers are getting less local.


sure that the editor and reporter has will continue to be at the


heart of the shields community, but I think that the big sign above the


Office sent a very bad message, and I will be talking to the council


and the owners of the paper about what can be done. Local people who


want a local newspaper are being let down by these big businesses


and decisions are being taken about our local newspapers. Sometimes


decisions about South Shields are made in London, and sometimes even


in New York. There are some who -- there are some who think it is time


for help, not criticism. The government has been considering


putting traffic notices in local newspapers. Ministers should look


creatively about what benefits and help and support local newspapers


can be given. Local newspapers are very important to local democracy.


Who is going to hold the MP for the council to account? We are still


the organisation that has the resource on the ground to do that.


That somehow needs to be protected but we just have to be very careful


about editorial independence. Decade after decade, newspapers


have had to move with the times. The question is, without extra help,


are they now set to become just a part of history.


We have the chairman of Cumbrian Newspapers with us. Is this an


industry that is dying a slow but inevitable Bath, Lord Inglewood?


do not been so. -- inevitable death. I do not think so. The challenge


for a local newspaper companies is that the news is not transmitted in


a different way, and we are in the middle of a revelation and it is


making it very difficult to see where we will end up. I do not


think we are going to move into a world where there is no demand for


local news and consent and where people are not prepared to pay for


it, but the whole business model that we had known for many years is


changing. Things are exacerbated by the fact that we are in the middle


of a recession. Do newspapers need help from the government or is it


up to them to find a model that works? There is an VAT rating on


newspapers and I think it would be a mistake if that was removed.


Having said that, and we look at this in the House of Lords, we did


not feel that in the United Kingdom, with our political traditions, it


was appropriate for correct government -- for direct government


intervention. Having said that, it is important that the tax regime


does enable newspapers to be able as they evolve. You do not what


taxation to be the cause of the collapse. Thank you very much. Sir


Alan Beith, this has changed the way things are working in Berwick.


Are you confident that the Government is committed to keeping


papers like this open? We now own the newspapers in Berwick. They are


very important to us. It looks as though each of the newspapers is


reasonably secured, but as Lord Inglewood says, we are in a


changing world. Quite a lot of younger people are choosing other


media to get their information rather than newspapers. How fast


that there will go, we are not quite sure. I think the paper


newspaper has quite a future for some time. I think we should not


get into a situation where the government has to subsidise


newspapers to encourage them to read them rather than social media


because that leads to a very unhealthy relationship between the


government and the press. Art local newspapers en essential part of


life in Newcastle? Yes. I may have had different views when I was


younger but I do now think that a free press is very important to a


parliamentary democracy. These are private sector businesses and they


have to adjust. They have to adjust... Respect my age! They have


to address changing trends in the market place. You cannot order


people to buy newspapers and you cannot order people to advertise


what newspapers. They perform an important local function and they


are things that the state should do. Statutory advertisements should be


put in local newspapers. Adding Lord Inglewood was quite right to


mention the -- I think Lord Inglewood was quite right to


mention the zero rating on printed material. He could do the same for


printed material that he does for food. We should argue an exemption


for local newspapers. For they are often the bottom line, local papers,


aren't they? They are not going to produce money from activities some


other place in the world to pay for it newspapers that people do not


buy. The newspaper has got to be a viable product that people will buy


and the staff of the newspaper has If local news is your thing, you


will not want to mix what is coming next. - Never miss what is coming


next. It is the 60 -- you will not want to miss what is coming up next.


It is the 62nd update. 5,000 people have signed a petition to cut


library hours. Durham County Council is trying to keep 11


Civil servants have taken strike it -- strike action on Thursday in


protest at changes to their pensions. The eldest person in my


unit will have to pay about 70 % more. Spree six factories are going


to be shut -- where there is six factories are going to be shot.


Entries are paid for two and fashionable end attributes are paid


You are one of the successors as Newcastle MP. House and have gained


a figure was he? Ted was very well thought. He was Chief Whip to


Harold Wilson in 1964 and he has left an account of those times in a


book. The book not only shows you just how skilfully he managed a


very difficult job, but also the fundamental decency of the man


shines through. We're going to have to be brief. You have spent some


times in the Commons with him. was one of the old school.


Courteous, dignified and passionate about education in our region.


Thank you very much. That is all from us. Check out my blog. Why not


Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Andrew is joined by the communities secretary Eric Pickles to discuss growth and regulation, plus he speaks to the Labour MP, Chris Bryant about the latest from the Leveson Inquiry and hears how two leading economists would get Britain's economy growing.

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