20/05/2012 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


20/05/2012

Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Andrew is joined by the Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey.


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In the artist: Well plans to set up more free schools mean greater

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1801 seconds

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choice for parents or chaos in the Welcome to your part of the show.

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Coming up: Three new free schools are planned for Newcastle. Is it

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widening choice for parents or is it a recipe for educational chaos

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and the City? Joining me to talk about that and the latest news on

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employment is the Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham and Sunderland

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Conservative councillor Robert Oliver. We will also have our very

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own singing MP. First, unemployment may have fallen nationally but it

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has gone up in the north. 6,000 more people were added, according

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to the latest figures, pushing the unemployment rate to 11.5%, the

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highest in the UK. It was also up in Cumbria. Here is Mark Denton.

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This man lost his job last July in a railway call centre, and is still

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out at work. I am looking all the time, in the papers, TV, and I am

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not getting anywhere. I have got a wealth of knowledge of the railway,

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and it is not being used. Sometimes I don't want to get a because I

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wonder why I should. Robert says the government is for getting older

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unemployed people like a him. tend to look at the youngsters.

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Kids leaving school, late 20s, early 30s, but there is nothing for

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myself. I would like to see them make some sort of effort to get

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older people like myself into work. Robert is one of 140,000 people in

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the north-east who are unemployed. Behind the overall figure there are

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some particular blackspots. Unemployment in we're Valley is

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11.7%. Things are even worse on Teesside. Unemployment is 12.7%.

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Hartlepool has a figure of 14.1%. The highest unemployment in the

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region is Middlesbrough. But here, one bright spot. This local

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engineering firm is expanding and taking on 50 new staff. It has also

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moved into this new factory as a result of a grant from the

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Government. This is an example of what grant funding can do. We won 2

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significant contracts of, but we would not have one men if we could

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not demonstrate the strength of the business. Hopefully we will

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continue to maintain the greater growth. And more jobs? That is the

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plan. But many other workers across the region are worried about the

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future. The chairman of the Institute of

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Directors is Ian Dormer who runs his own engineering firm in

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Berkeley. Does this paint a grim picture? There is nervousness. We

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must not ignore that fact. Maybe the rise in numbers is due to a

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high number of public sector workers losing their jobs over the

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last months. But your report said there are some really good core

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businesses. I think that is one thing we must not forget. The

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north-east has a terrific engineering history, which is where

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the strength of the area comes from. But it is going to be difficult for

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certain groups, including Robert who has an older worker, and youth

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unemployment, some of those people struggle for employers to take them

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on. Robert was at a cost centre, and it looks like he has changed

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his job several times, and he has been able to modify and work in

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several things. But at the moment no one will went -- will employ her.

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But they will. Someone who can be flexible like that has a much

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greater opportunity at getting it job. We saw a successful recipient

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of the regional growth fund. But we have heard that it is costing too

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much to keep this going. Does the fund need changing? I always treat

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these funds with a little bit of scepticism. Also, when we look at

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their investments we have to take a longer term view. Being able to

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take a 12 month snapshot is a bit early, so we have to take a longer,

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midterm sorter view, then we can decide if it has worked. Does the

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government need to do more? Some people say business needs to work

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harder, but does the Government need to work harder to create

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growth? There are so many rules and regulations that businesses have to

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tackle, and we need to be able to give business the chance to work

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hard and achieved something. That would be the great thing. But what

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government can do is put infrastructure expenditure in. The

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north-east has shouted about having a better road network for many

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years. That is something that would make a difference here.

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Thank you very much. Alex, we had a couple of months

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where unemployment fell in the north-east sources hard to draw too

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depressing a conclusion from one month. No, when you have 6,000

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people added to the list, and a vast number of people who are long-

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term unemployed. This morning I met with the people responsible for a

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work programme who told me they had managed to place 500 people in the

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last 12 months which is not a lot. She is working extremely hard to do

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the right thing but it is not working for the people. As Ian

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Dormer said, you must know when stopped and there is a hard core of

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noughties businesses that are creating jobs. -- north-east

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businesses. There are. Many businesses want to create the

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things for the offshore wind industry but we need the jobs

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coming through on the orders coming through to create more jobs. I know

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there are people to invest but companies across the country are

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sitting on billions of pounds and they are afraid to invest at this

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time. We need to encourage them to invest and create the jobs we need.

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Robert, with unemployment growing, is this the sign that the

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Government is failing in the regions? It is too early to tell.

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We have also got to take into consideration that the

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international context is difficult. We are facing the largest

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financial... I do not want are going to Europe. -- to go into

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Europe. Unemployment is higher here, and we must not forget what is

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happening in Greece which has to have an impact. That is the major

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trading partner. But some parts have seen their unemployment fall.

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There is a story within a story there. Unemployment has fallen in

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Sunderland by 183 which has a small fall, but it has fallen. One of the

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reasons is the Government increases in funding for companies like

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Nissan, where you have sustainable jobs and jobs that are very

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accessible for the population of Sunderland. That is the way forward,

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to ensure companies like Nissan who are able to expand have the tools

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to do the job. But there are not working for the people. We have

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seen an increase of 544 % in the number of young people unemployed

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over 12 months. It is not working for young people. Surely we need to

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see something more in order to stimulate jobs and opportunities

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for them. Youth unemployment has been around for a long time, but

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one of the things that is being done to tackle youth unemployment

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is apprenticeships, and the take-up of apprenticeships in the north-

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east has been a very large indeed, and that shows that apprenticeships

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are quite suitable for a lot of people in the north-east. They have

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the right skills to be matched to it. Robert Oliver, the figures this

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week also suggested that, particularly among men, there has

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been a drop in earning power. Weekly wage has dropped �45 a week.

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How well the economy increase when people earn less money? You can

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also see this in a different way that wage restraint may be

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cushioning some of the blow for unemployment because there are

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certain countries in Europe that have a higher unemployment than the

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United Kingdom. Alex Cunningham, people are keeping their jobs even

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if they are being paid less? Yes, and they are cutting their hours.

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People are now a part-time workers, and that is why the unemployment

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figures are not higher than the Danaher. They are earning less and

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gone to parting which has to be worse for the economy. Thank you

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very much. The Government has given parents,

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teachers and voluntary groups the chance to run their own free

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schools. They say it will mean more choice. What about that schools

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that already exist? What will be the impact on them? Two of the new

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schools will be opened in the West End of the city. That has prompted

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a fierce war of words with the council claiming it could lead to

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existing schools closing down. These mums have already signed up

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their toddlers for a potential new free school. A free school like the

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proposed one gives emphasis to certain things that are valued like

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an outdoors learning. Especially in the area early years. A massive

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influence to me was the idea of nurturing each individual child's

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passions. Phases of the future and concentration in the classroom here.

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-- faces. This was built with financial and issued... There will

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be choice for parents to have a larger catchment area, which may

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mean that they choose to free school rather than our School, and

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I think that is quite detrimental because in Newcastle we all try to

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serve her own communities, and it splits up the community a bet. It

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would be a little bit of a mistake, I think, to be divisive in the area.

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Where would the free schools go, and who is behind them? One is

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being put forward by the parish church, and would educate pupils

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from four years until 18, and have a Christian ethos. The other would

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be in the West End of Newcastle and would be aimed at pupils between

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the ages of 11 and 18. Thirdly there is a proposal for a primary

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school, again in the West End of Newcastle, which has been put

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forward by a charity. But the council says they would be in

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competition with the other schools in the region, including this one.

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There is a debate around with are not you think education should be

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open to market forces or not. In Newcastle we have 3,000 surplus

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places which means we have to manage the schools effectively.

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Introducing new schools into the system without any proper controls

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and regulation of those schools means it simply exacerbates the

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surplus places problem and would lead to school closure us. Those

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behind a free school proposals denied they would be disrupting

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education in the city. They say they would enhance it, offering

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more choice and flexibility and a unique style of education not

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available elsewhere. I appreciate any child that are tens of free

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school will be taken... We would hope this school would respond

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positively and work with the City Council to provide a better quality

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of education throughout the city for the children. It is the

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children who are important. All the proposals for free schools are now

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being considered by the Department for Education. Supporters say they

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will shake up education, and critics say they are an experiment

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that could go wrong. Alex, the truth is that councillors

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resist this because it threatens their control over schools. If the

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schools are good for the system, that it is what counts. No, local

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authorities are coming to terms with academies that had been

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created. People are opting out of the local authority world, and free

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schools are part of the new thing that is coming to the fore. But if

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there are going to be free schools, which I am not against, they should

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be in the right place to serve and need. Whether this is a need in the

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Newcastle West End, I very much doubt. But our parents not in the

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best place to describe this? they think the local schools are

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not good enough, they should be working with this goes on putting

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pressure on politicians and school governors to drive up standards,

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which is important. We do not want to create a situation where we

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spend millions of pounds opening a new school for people to leave one

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school into the other. That is not the way forward. We need to drive

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up standards. Robert, this is madness in any area where there are

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surplus places to be opening potentially three new schools.

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lot of the news about free schools has been exaggerated because demand

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is important to any application for free schools. He will never get

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loads of free schools opening and damaging the system. They will only

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happen where there is evidence based demand from parents for it.

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Michael Gove is keen on this idea. He will not try to stop parents

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doing a list. But if you look at the first tranche of free schools,

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only one in 10 is accepted by the Department for Education. It has

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never been the idea that you will get lots of free schools in the

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city, you will get them where they are needed. A free school would

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lift all schools in a local authority, not just one school.

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There is a good example in the constituency next to mine, there is

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an application for a free school which needs a more secondary school

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places, but pupils have a choice of the best three schools in the

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region already. But surely the good schools will have nothing to fear,

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the parents will not leave schools that are good schools are. But what

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will happen is there will be adrift of pupils from the other parts of

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the region into the schools... does that matter? It does matter

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because it is important that communities have a school, and it

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is about driving up standards. It is not about building buildings. We

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have to work with schools where they are feeling and not doing so

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well, to make sure they drive up standards. Another building with a

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different set of governors is not the answer. Robert, people just

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want good schools, don't they? Hundred it would be better

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concentrating resources on the existing schools. -- it would be

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better. People have the opportunity to set up free schools. Including

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charities. But you are giving more people choice of every school has a

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good school for. One of the ways to do this is by introducing other

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competitors and allowing them to make sure that other schools

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respond to that. If you look at evidence on academies, reports show

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that where you have academies it drives up quality in all the

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schools round about it, not just the Academy.

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Thank you. Sometimes I feel like breaking into song. It must be

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something to do with working at the BBC. I am not the only one, it

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seems. This week the Blyth MP Ronnie Campbell did his own

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audition for he Voice when the The first shipment of steel from

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the blast furnace has sailed from Teesport. The Newcastle North MP

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has joined Labour's Treasury team as part of Ed Miliband's reshuffle.

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The Bishop of Durham has criticised the impact of higher interest loans.

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The Church has always been an a position to say that certain things

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oppress people on the edge who are vulnerable, and that is wrong.

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Finally, the Blyth MP Ronnie Campbell has criticised David

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Cameron by breaking out into song. He turns to the Deputy Prime

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# I beg your pardon, I didn't It is a yes from me! Ronnie, the

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bishop and what he raised about pay their loans, is he right to raise

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the issue? He is right to raise the issue and the church has a very

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strong voice in politics. It has to be consistent, it has to criticise

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Labour governments and Conservative governments equally on behalf of

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people who are marginalised. He has criticised pay-day loans, and I

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think his views are a little exaggerated because they are not

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doing anything illegal. Some people might want to take these loans

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tough -- to tide them over until next pay-day. But he has an

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important issue about how much interest is paid and about how we

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should be very clear to anyone who is taking a loan. Alex, these pay-

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day loans sometimes help through a short-term crisis. Are they any

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worse than high-street bang? bishop is right to be involved, but

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before we came out I checked some of the offers. 2770 % for a pay-day

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alone, or you can get a bargain of 1170 %. They are legal sharks and

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they are taking advantage of the most vulnerable people in the

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society. We have to do something about it. But is there. Not that

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people do in the short term loans sometimes? -- is the point not that

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sometimes people need short-term loans? I am working with the teas

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credit union to try to create capacity there so they can enter

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this market, but we need to be able to have the capacity to do it, and

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it takes a long time. Government is starting to deal with this, and we

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