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In the North East and Cumbria: As thousands turn out to welcome the
Olympic torch, what benefits will the region get from the billions of
Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1624 seconds
pounds spent on the London games? Hello and a very warm welcome to
your local part of the show on this Olympic weekend. And as the torch
makes its way through the North East - cheered on by tens of
thousands of people along the route - we'll be asking what the London
Olympics means to us here in the North. With me to discuss that are
the Labour MP for Wansbeck Ian Lavery and Yorkshire Euro-MP
Timothy Kirkhope. Also coming up: Will government plans to let big
stores open for longer on Sundays during the Olympics damage our
smaller corner shops? First: it's travelled from Berwick in
Northumberland through Bamburgh, Ashington and Morpeth. It crossed
the River Tyne in spectacular fashion via zip wire on Friday
night in Newcastle - wowing the crowds watching down on the
Quayside. And this morning it left the historic centre of Durham where
cricketer Paul Collingwood - flanked by a guard of honour -
carried the torch on the next leg of its journey through the county.
The Olympic torch is the most visible sign of the London games
which are due to begin in exactly 40 days' time. It's now on its way
to Teesside and our reporter Luke Walton joins us from its latest
I am in Hartlepool where the Olympic torch has arrived. There is
lots of cheering. The torch is around the corner on the Historic
Quay and the entourage around it is taking a lunch break. We have had
lots of music and an appearance by a highly Paul's own Olympic hopeful,
the female boxer. Someone not in line for a medal but joins me is
the town's elected mayor. What does today mean in terms of extra
business for shops and the economy? Fantastic. Thousands of people are
lining the route. Everybody is out. I am sure people will go out and do
some shopping and a boost for the economy. And good for the image.
Absolutely. The pictures are going out around the world. It is our
moment in the sun. There has been a complaint to much of the investment
has gone up to the south-east, what are the wider economic benefits to
this area? We are quite a distance from London. The ripple effect is
taking effect. We have one company which won a contracts worth half
million pounds to do some work on the stadium. The major benefit is
two members in Team GB. A real gold medal chance. There is this wider
question of sporting participation. Will the Olympics encourage people
to take up sport? I hope so. Our hopefuls are on this page today. It
will inspire people to take part in activities and I hope after the
Olympics the government will seriously think about the legacy
and make money available for grassroots facilities because we
need him. Has that happened or do you hope it will happen in the
future? Four years ago, the lottery money was made unavailable, but was
only put into the Olympics. Hopefully there will be money
available for local authorities, we need better sporting facilities.
The Olympics will help the government to think of the strategy.
Thank you. As you heard, in terms of the permanent legacy of the
Olympics, there are many questions but the short-term benefits and a
procession, lots of enthusiasm and excitement. The torch will set off
south to Billingham and beyond. Thanks Luke. And the torch relay
this afternoon travels through Bishop Auckland, Darlington and
onto Middlesbrough for the lighting of the cauldron. Look North will be
live from Centre Square just before 6:20pm here on BBC1.
Many of the towns and villages the torch passes through have had their
slice of Olympic excitement. But what about the more tangible
economic benefits of the London games? Well, the biggest winners
have been companies in the South of England who took around 2 billion
pounds-worth of Olympic contracts. But 112 firms in the North East
also benefited, winning 123 million pounds of new business. They
include this one - Sotech in Peterlee - which made specialist
roofing and cladding materials for the aquatics centre and athletes
village. We expanded the business, and within the first year the
recession started. So, we made 11 people redundant and within the
following year the Olympics work came in. On the Aquatics Centre a
complicated work is the face in. We were asked to do the work because
of the technical abilities and 3D manufacturing. Later in the scheme
of things, we did some stainless steel cladding on one of the
athletes blocks. We knew the workers coming which gives you
confidence to keep going. It did help tremendously.
Let's talk about the wider legacy. I know you support the Olympics in
general and of seeing the impact of the torch but you are not short the
north-east is getting a fair slice from the Games. It is fair comment.
The London Games, it is a London Olympic and Paralympic Games. I
hope it is a tremendous excess and it will be of great benefit to the
economy as a whole but when you look at how it will benefit the
regional economy, I am not sure how it will. Despite what you had said
on the report earlier, looking at the statistics, 0.17 % of the
contracts have been awarded to people in the North East region.
That is hardly a trigger to boost the local economy in jobs and
growth. This was supposed big gains that would benefit the whole of the
UK but it will be the South rather than the north of the reaps the
rewards. This is awarded to a city, the gains and the City is London
and inevitably geographically it would have an emphasis on the
economy of that part of the UK. As far as I am aware, they did look at
the contracts carefully and many have been placed in the north. And
also on top of that considerable numbers of people engaged in
construction and other skills have gone and worked on the Olympic site.
Admittedly they have had to go and do it but it brings the money back
into the region. Also, we have benefited from the involvement of
the region in providing facilities for training and various other
things. There is a knock-on effect. Not as great as we would like but
there has been won. There are football games at St James's Park
and training facilities here. There is a limit as to what can be done.
Well, seven and �9 billion for the Olympic Games is fine but as a
region we have to analyse how we have benefited or not benefited. If
there are night football games at St James's Park, will it really
benefit the economy and the people in the north-east? That is all we
have got, that is all we have in the region. We need jobs and growth.
We should have more opportunity to participate, the construction of
the Olympic village. Many of that decisions have been taken. Can
something be taken now to correct the imbalance? There is an
underspend of �400 million. There was a danger the Minister for Sport
said the money would go back to the cherish -- Treasury. The money has
been drained from charities, community groups in regions like
the north-east who needed finance for grassroots projects. I am
appealing and continue to appeal for the money to be put back into
the lottery so local authorities and charity groups and other
organisations can access the money and develop the grassroots projects
which are currently under stocked. People think damage has been done
by diverting the money. The money has not been diverted. It has taken
away from the big lottery fund. it was a legitimate use of the
money. Hosting the Olympics is a good thing for the country and
London. You cannot be clearer about what the tangible effects are for
the region. The key question is should the money underspent go back
rather than to the Treasury? I do not know where the money will go.
There is an argument for it going back into the Lottery Fund and also
be distributed around the country. The minister said the underspend
would go back to the Treasury. It is tantamount to money laundering.
A lot of people might agree but is in the big benefit the inspiration
to young people whether in or Wansbeck or Axminster? It has been
fantastic seeing community champions and celebrities, it's
been brilliant and it has brought tears to my eyes. However, we have
40 days until the Olympics, this is our part of the Olympics. When the
Olympics starts we are so far away, it's unimaginable. The one sadness
is the North of England, the north- east and Yorkshire, there is a
percentage of young people who will be encouraged to be involved in
sport. We have to look generally at increasing interest in sport and
sporting activity in the North of England. We must leave it there.
Thank you. Now the Olympics may boost the economy in other ways too.
For eight weekends starting in July, the Government has suspended the
existing Sunday trading laws. That means for the first time big
supermarkets will be able to open all day. Good news if you want to
grab a few beers while watching the athletics or get the burgers in for
your Olympic-themed barbecue. Not so good perhaps if you work on the
supermarket checkout. Fergus Hewison reports.
It is morning at this garden centre. The staff are as busy as bees.
Sunday is a big day for a place like this but this tour can only
open for six hours. Our current trading hours are 10:30am to 6:30pm.
We shut at 4:30pm. People can shop until 5pm. Martin believes greater
flexibility would bring rewards for all. It will give staff an
opportunity to earn more money and they will come in when they want.
It will reduce retell congestion. There are many benefits for
unrestricted hours on a Sunday. the moment, stores can only open on
Sunday the six hours. The six hours must be some time between 10am and
6pm. Shopworkers have the right to opt out of working on Sundays but
during the Olympics the Sunday trading laws are being suspended
eight weekends. Workers legal protections remain in place. Keirin
can open his newsagent for as many hours as he wants. This gives him
an advantage over supermarkets, especially on a Sunday when the
opening hours are limited. What happens after the Olympics?
worry is the supermarkets will see how much extra money they can make
and put more pressure on government to make it permanent. We saw in
Scotland when they open all day on Sundays which they do now, they had
a bigger market share. Any move to relax Sunday trading laws would be
a disaster. I would see a massive drop in turnover. Milk, bread and
confectionery, if people are not coming for the newspapers I will
not see them. Unions have concerns about any relaxation could mean for
workers. Longer working hours and trading hours mean our members work
early Sunday morning and late Sunday night. Whilst our members to
work unsociable hours, they do not want to work any more. Sundays to
Christians and others is special and there is anxiety more shopping
were hit family life. I am dealing with people that are suicidal
because of debt or in depression, we are placing financial issues of
pressure on married couples and families and says what we're saying
is let's open it up so people can spend more but there is a
spiralling downwards of family life because of that. Some estimates say
relaxing the laws during the Olympics could bring tens of
millions into the economy. Smaller traders say they will lose out to
the tune of tens of millions of pounds. If the experiment is
successful, they may be calls for relaxation of the current rules to
revive the sluggish economy and a fresh battle over whether Sunday
special. How much do you share the concerns of the unions about the
concerns on workers? I was part of the House of Commons in 1994 than
the legislation -- went it was introduced. Certainly we had
support from the union with the reassurances that people would be
protected if they did not want to work. I see my colleagues voting
again on a new Bill which is a limited bill of eight weeks to
allow an extension of trading on Sundays in big stores during the
period. There is no way this should be permanent. You are happy for a
temporary introduction? Yes, and I am happy with the overall position
that we currently have but anything further, it would be controversial
and I am sure the House of Commons will be concerned. The unions have
concerns but there would be many people desperate for more hours or
delighted? It's a shame the argument has been put forward, we
have 55.5 people seeking each JobCentre vacancy, I am not
suggesting they should be delighted to work all the way through the
Olympics on Sunday. Isn't any work better than men? People might say
that but if you are in a desperate position and can only get
employment on a Sunday, in Alice allocated by the big stores... The
little retailers will suffer greatly, that is not what we are
after. We want sustainable jobs and decent working terms and conditions,
not just on Sundays. Why aren't you satisfied with a temporary measure,
a way of making sure the shops near the Olympic Park are open. It is a
temporary measure, it is a Trojan horse to extend the temporary de
regulation into permit the regulation. That is the ultimate
objective, it is ideology from the coalition. If it is to try and
assist people in the Olympic village and in London to allow them
to access shops are more readily and easily at different times,
there might be an argument for that but it is not an argument for the
massive stores to be open. temptation is to change the law.
was a comparatively controversial area in 1994 and is still is. I do
not see is becoming a permit issued. If it delivers economic growth for
example in this period, the temptation for the government to
carry on... In Scotland they can open any hours a like. Other
European countries have different approaches. Our approach, which win
again seated in the 90s with the unions, is the right balance to
approach allowing a flexible approach and allows people to
worship and have a special time on Sunday. Thank you. You can comments
on my blog. Now: to keep in the spirit of the Olympics, our
reporter Fergus Hewison ran the length of Cumbria and the North
East this week holding aloft a torch. He didn't attract any crowds
but he did gather some juicy bits of political news. So here he is -
a little out of breath with the The defence minister has blamed BAE
Systems for failing to win orders which would have kept the Newcastle
factory open. The local MP said the government should take
responsibility for the loss of their jobs. He says there's no
economic argument for introducing the changes. I do it except paying
public sector workers less will boost private sector work.
Conservatives have chosen a former detective as the candidate for the
election in November. Labour will announce its candidate tomorrow.
the bill comes to the house without amendments somebody might be
tempted... Rehearsals are under way for a play based on former
Sunderland MP's diaries. It transfers to London tomorrow.
And one other bit of news this weekend concerns Workington MP Tony
Cunningham who has received a knighthood in the Queen's birthday
honours. Our congratulations to him. And that's about all from us on our
special Olympic show. And in case you think our MPs just talk about
sport and don't do it, take a look at this. Here's Hexham's Guy
Opperman at Westminster enjoying a game of cage cricket. He was
joining a campaign to promote the sport - a sort of street version of
our national game. And as it's summer it was of course in the rain.
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.