17/06/2012 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


17/06/2012

Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Andrew is joined by Philip Hammond, the defence secretary to discuss troop numbers and Syria.


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In the North East and Cumbria: As thousands turn out to welcome the

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Olympic torch, what benefits will the region get from the billions of

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1624 seconds

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pounds spent on the London games? Hello and a very warm welcome to

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your local part of the show on this Olympic weekend. And as the torch

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makes its way through the North East - cheered on by tens of

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thousands of people along the route - we'll be asking what the London

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Olympics means to us here in the North. With me to discuss that are

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the Labour MP for Wansbeck Ian Lavery and Yorkshire Euro-MP

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Timothy Kirkhope. Also coming up: Will government plans to let big

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stores open for longer on Sundays during the Olympics damage our

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smaller corner shops? First: it's travelled from Berwick in

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Northumberland through Bamburgh, Ashington and Morpeth. It crossed

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the River Tyne in spectacular fashion via zip wire on Friday

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night in Newcastle - wowing the crowds watching down on the

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Quayside. And this morning it left the historic centre of Durham where

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cricketer Paul Collingwood - flanked by a guard of honour -

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carried the torch on the next leg of its journey through the county.

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The Olympic torch is the most visible sign of the London games

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which are due to begin in exactly 40 days' time. It's now on its way

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to Teesside and our reporter Luke Walton joins us from its latest

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I am in Hartlepool where the Olympic torch has arrived. There is

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lots of cheering. The torch is around the corner on the Historic

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Quay and the entourage around it is taking a lunch break. We have had

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lots of music and an appearance by a highly Paul's own Olympic hopeful,

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the female boxer. Someone not in line for a medal but joins me is

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the town's elected mayor. What does today mean in terms of extra

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business for shops and the economy? Fantastic. Thousands of people are

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lining the route. Everybody is out. I am sure people will go out and do

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some shopping and a boost for the economy. And good for the image.

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Absolutely. The pictures are going out around the world. It is our

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moment in the sun. There has been a complaint to much of the investment

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has gone up to the south-east, what are the wider economic benefits to

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this area? We are quite a distance from London. The ripple effect is

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taking effect. We have one company which won a contracts worth half

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million pounds to do some work on the stadium. The major benefit is

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two members in Team GB. A real gold medal chance. There is this wider

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question of sporting participation. Will the Olympics encourage people

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to take up sport? I hope so. Our hopefuls are on this page today. It

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will inspire people to take part in activities and I hope after the

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Olympics the government will seriously think about the legacy

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and make money available for grassroots facilities because we

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need him. Has that happened or do you hope it will happen in the

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future? Four years ago, the lottery money was made unavailable, but was

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only put into the Olympics. Hopefully there will be money

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available for local authorities, we need better sporting facilities.

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The Olympics will help the government to think of the strategy.

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Thank you. As you heard, in terms of the permanent legacy of the

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Olympics, there are many questions but the short-term benefits and a

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procession, lots of enthusiasm and excitement. The torch will set off

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south to Billingham and beyond. Thanks Luke. And the torch relay

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this afternoon travels through Bishop Auckland, Darlington and

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onto Middlesbrough for the lighting of the cauldron. Look North will be

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live from Centre Square just before 6:20pm here on BBC1.

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Many of the towns and villages the torch passes through have had their

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slice of Olympic excitement. But what about the more tangible

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economic benefits of the London games? Well, the biggest winners

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have been companies in the South of England who took around 2 billion

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pounds-worth of Olympic contracts. But 112 firms in the North East

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also benefited, winning 123 million pounds of new business. They

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include this one - Sotech in Peterlee - which made specialist

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roofing and cladding materials for the aquatics centre and athletes

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village. We expanded the business, and within the first year the

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recession started. So, we made 11 people redundant and within the

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following year the Olympics work came in. On the Aquatics Centre a

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complicated work is the face in. We were asked to do the work because

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of the technical abilities and 3D manufacturing. Later in the scheme

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of things, we did some stainless steel cladding on one of the

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athletes blocks. We knew the workers coming which gives you

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confidence to keep going. It did help tremendously.

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Let's talk about the wider legacy. I know you support the Olympics in

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general and of seeing the impact of the torch but you are not short the

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north-east is getting a fair slice from the Games. It is fair comment.

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The London Games, it is a London Olympic and Paralympic Games. I

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hope it is a tremendous excess and it will be of great benefit to the

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economy as a whole but when you look at how it will benefit the

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regional economy, I am not sure how it will. Despite what you had said

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on the report earlier, looking at the statistics, 0.17 % of the

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contracts have been awarded to people in the North East region.

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That is hardly a trigger to boost the local economy in jobs and

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growth. This was supposed big gains that would benefit the whole of the

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UK but it will be the South rather than the north of the reaps the

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rewards. This is awarded to a city, the gains and the City is London

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and inevitably geographically it would have an emphasis on the

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economy of that part of the UK. As far as I am aware, they did look at

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the contracts carefully and many have been placed in the north. And

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also on top of that considerable numbers of people engaged in

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construction and other skills have gone and worked on the Olympic site.

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Admittedly they have had to go and do it but it brings the money back

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into the region. Also, we have benefited from the involvement of

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the region in providing facilities for training and various other

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things. There is a knock-on effect. Not as great as we would like but

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there has been won. There are football games at St James's Park

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and training facilities here. There is a limit as to what can be done.

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Well, seven and �9 billion for the Olympic Games is fine but as a

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region we have to analyse how we have benefited or not benefited. If

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there are night football games at St James's Park, will it really

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benefit the economy and the people in the north-east? That is all we

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have got, that is all we have in the region. We need jobs and growth.

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We should have more opportunity to participate, the construction of

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the Olympic village. Many of that decisions have been taken. Can

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something be taken now to correct the imbalance? There is an

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underspend of �400 million. There was a danger the Minister for Sport

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said the money would go back to the cherish -- Treasury. The money has

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been drained from charities, community groups in regions like

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the north-east who needed finance for grassroots projects. I am

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appealing and continue to appeal for the money to be put back into

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the lottery so local authorities and charity groups and other

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organisations can access the money and develop the grassroots projects

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which are currently under stocked. People think damage has been done

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by diverting the money. The money has not been diverted. It has taken

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away from the big lottery fund. it was a legitimate use of the

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money. Hosting the Olympics is a good thing for the country and

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London. You cannot be clearer about what the tangible effects are for

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the region. The key question is should the money underspent go back

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rather than to the Treasury? I do not know where the money will go.

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There is an argument for it going back into the Lottery Fund and also

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be distributed around the country. The minister said the underspend

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would go back to the Treasury. It is tantamount to money laundering.

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A lot of people might agree but is in the big benefit the inspiration

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to young people whether in or Wansbeck or Axminster? It has been

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fantastic seeing community champions and celebrities, it's

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been brilliant and it has brought tears to my eyes. However, we have

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40 days until the Olympics, this is our part of the Olympics. When the

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Olympics starts we are so far away, it's unimaginable. The one sadness

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is the North of England, the north- east and Yorkshire, there is a

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percentage of young people who will be encouraged to be involved in

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sport. We have to look generally at increasing interest in sport and

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sporting activity in the North of England. We must leave it there.

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Thank you. Now the Olympics may boost the economy in other ways too.

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For eight weekends starting in July, the Government has suspended the

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existing Sunday trading laws. That means for the first time big

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supermarkets will be able to open all day. Good news if you want to

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grab a few beers while watching the athletics or get the burgers in for

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your Olympic-themed barbecue. Not so good perhaps if you work on the

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supermarket checkout. Fergus Hewison reports.

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It is morning at this garden centre. The staff are as busy as bees.

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Sunday is a big day for a place like this but this tour can only

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open for six hours. Our current trading hours are 10:30am to 6:30pm.

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We shut at 4:30pm. People can shop until 5pm. Martin believes greater

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flexibility would bring rewards for all. It will give staff an

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opportunity to earn more money and they will come in when they want.

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It will reduce retell congestion. There are many benefits for

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unrestricted hours on a Sunday. the moment, stores can only open on

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Sunday the six hours. The six hours must be some time between 10am and

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6pm. Shopworkers have the right to opt out of working on Sundays but

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during the Olympics the Sunday trading laws are being suspended

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eight weekends. Workers legal protections remain in place. Keirin

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can open his newsagent for as many hours as he wants. This gives him

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an advantage over supermarkets, especially on a Sunday when the

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opening hours are limited. What happens after the Olympics?

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worry is the supermarkets will see how much extra money they can make

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and put more pressure on government to make it permanent. We saw in

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Scotland when they open all day on Sundays which they do now, they had

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a bigger market share. Any move to relax Sunday trading laws would be

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a disaster. I would see a massive drop in turnover. Milk, bread and

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confectionery, if people are not coming for the newspapers I will

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not see them. Unions have concerns about any relaxation could mean for

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workers. Longer working hours and trading hours mean our members work

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early Sunday morning and late Sunday night. Whilst our members to

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work unsociable hours, they do not want to work any more. Sundays to

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Christians and others is special and there is anxiety more shopping

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were hit family life. I am dealing with people that are suicidal

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because of debt or in depression, we are placing financial issues of

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pressure on married couples and families and says what we're saying

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is let's open it up so people can spend more but there is a

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spiralling downwards of family life because of that. Some estimates say

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relaxing the laws during the Olympics could bring tens of

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millions into the economy. Smaller traders say they will lose out to

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the tune of tens of millions of pounds. If the experiment is

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successful, they may be calls for relaxation of the current rules to

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revive the sluggish economy and a fresh battle over whether Sunday

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special. How much do you share the concerns of the unions about the

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concerns on workers? I was part of the House of Commons in 1994 than

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the legislation -- went it was introduced. Certainly we had

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support from the union with the reassurances that people would be

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protected if they did not want to work. I see my colleagues voting

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again on a new Bill which is a limited bill of eight weeks to

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allow an extension of trading on Sundays in big stores during the

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period. There is no way this should be permanent. You are happy for a

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temporary introduction? Yes, and I am happy with the overall position

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that we currently have but anything further, it would be controversial

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and I am sure the House of Commons will be concerned. The unions have

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concerns but there would be many people desperate for more hours or

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delighted? It's a shame the argument has been put forward, we

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have 55.5 people seeking each JobCentre vacancy, I am not

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suggesting they should be delighted to work all the way through the

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Olympics on Sunday. Isn't any work better than men? People might say

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that but if you are in a desperate position and can only get

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employment on a Sunday, in Alice allocated by the big stores... The

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little retailers will suffer greatly, that is not what we are

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after. We want sustainable jobs and decent working terms and conditions,

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not just on Sundays. Why aren't you satisfied with a temporary measure,

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a way of making sure the shops near the Olympic Park are open. It is a

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temporary measure, it is a Trojan horse to extend the temporary de

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regulation into permit the regulation. That is the ultimate

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objective, it is ideology from the coalition. If it is to try and

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assist people in the Olympic village and in London to allow them

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to access shops are more readily and easily at different times,

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there might be an argument for that but it is not an argument for the

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massive stores to be open. temptation is to change the law.

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was a comparatively controversial area in 1994 and is still is. I do

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not see is becoming a permit issued. If it delivers economic growth for

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example in this period, the temptation for the government to

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carry on... In Scotland they can open any hours a like. Other

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European countries have different approaches. Our approach, which win

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again seated in the 90s with the unions, is the right balance to

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approach allowing a flexible approach and allows people to

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worship and have a special time on Sunday. Thank you. You can comments

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on my blog. Now: to keep in the spirit of the Olympics, our

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reporter Fergus Hewison ran the length of Cumbria and the North

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East this week holding aloft a torch. He didn't attract any crowds

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but he did gather some juicy bits of political news. So here he is -

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a little out of breath with the The defence minister has blamed BAE

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Systems for failing to win orders which would have kept the Newcastle

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factory open. The local MP said the government should take

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responsibility for the loss of their jobs. He says there's no

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economic argument for introducing the changes. I do it except paying

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public sector workers less will boost private sector work.

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Conservatives have chosen a former detective as the candidate for the

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election in November. Labour will announce its candidate tomorrow.

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the bill comes to the house without amendments somebody might be

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tempted... Rehearsals are under way for a play based on former

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Sunderland MP's diaries. It transfers to London tomorrow.

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And one other bit of news this weekend concerns Workington MP Tony

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Cunningham who has received a knighthood in the Queen's birthday

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honours. Our congratulations to him. And that's about all from us on our

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special Olympic show. And in case you think our MPs just talk about

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sport and don't do it, take a look at this. Here's Hexham's Guy

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Opperman at Westminster enjoying a game of cage cricket. He was

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joining a campaign to promote the sport - a sort of street version of

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our national game. And as it's summer it was of course in the rain.

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Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Andrew is joined by Philip Hammond, the defence secretary to discuss troop numbers, changes to the armed forces and the crisis in Syria. There is also a look ahead to what happens after the Greek elections, how the markets might react and what it will mean for the UK economy.

And the regular panel of journalists look back over the week's politics and in particular the Leveson inquiry.


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