24/06/2012 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


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In the North East and Cumbria, a total of 10 school buildings


contain asbestos. An MP says teachers are dying and children are


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2004 seconds


Coming up, these are some of the men and women who want to run the


North's five police forces. As more candidates are unveiled this week,


we ask what qualifications they need to do the job. Talking about


that are Carlisle MP John Stevenson and Grahame Morris.


Around 8 out of 10 schools in our region contain asbestos. That is


according to a Sunday Politics survey of -- across the area. Do we


need to do anything about it? More than 140 schools staff have died


from exposure to asbestos across the UK and the last decade. A North


East MP says the risk is so great it is time to act.


A typical chorister in a typical school. Like so many, this one


dates from a time when asbestos was a basic building material --


corridor. In the school, we have asbestos in the heating ducts. We


know it is there, we know where it is. We have good records. We do


periodic inspections to make sure that it is as it should be. And


that nobody has been up there or there is no sign of deterioration.


According to figures, nearly 1,700 schools in the area, more than


1,300 contain asbestos. Like all new school, this has been built


without asbestos. North East MP showed me round. He told me about


his parliamentary campaign to have the material removed from all


schools. He is worried by the growing number of teachers are


dying from asbestos related cancer. One of the big problems is that it


affects thousands of children. We must look at a phased removal. It


must be removed from every school in the UK and I understand that


will be very difficult. It will be a difficult task, but we must do it


in the best interest of the school and in particular, these children.


Teacher Patricia Cameron was exposed to asbestos in the 1970s.


She died in 2004. As her daughter explains. In came as such a shock.


I had never heard of their cancer. It was something I did not


associate with teachers or teaching. Obviously after this is -- after


the receipt -- the research I did, I know all about it now. A few


months ago, builders working at the school unexpectedly does that --


discovered some old asbestos and a wall. There was no exposure of


school that -- staff. That would have had an impact on a lot of


parents. Of course, three days of the children's education was lost.


Why not take asbestos out of all schools? There is a massive cost


implications. Authorities face huge cuts at the moment. The teaching


unions say the price of Izmit -- removing asbestos is worth paying.


We did a national survey last year. We found very few members of staff


actually knew whether their schools had asbestos and them and knew what


to do if they came across up damaged asbestos. The official


advice is that as long as it is in good condition and done disturbed,


it poses no threat. -- understaffed. Tipped to protect the next


generation, there are growing calls -- to protect. We know the North


East has had a lot of problems with asbestos. How serious do you think


the threat is? I think it is a threat. I would like to pay tribute


to the work that my colleague has done and raising the issue. We know


140 teachers have died in the last 10 years. We do not know how many


other cleaners, caretakers, maintenance workers have been


involved because no records have been in -- no records have been


kept. I think the idea that we should have a phased programme is a


sensible approach. You must remember that one of the problems


we face with the cancellation of the Building Schools For The Future


programme and the dramatic cutbacks in the repairs budget, there is an


issue of how quickly those schools built after 1975 are going to be


replaced. Do you agree it is safer to have removed their asbestos?


have sympathy with local authorities because there is a risk


here. They must manage that. -- I have. In my constituency, I am


quite and -- quite fortunate. There is no issue. Not inured you going


in before refurbishment and removing this and a phased way?


must balance the risk. They must assess what they can do to remove


asbestos where they can. When the opportunity arises, you should take


that opportunity. Over time, schools are refurbished, as they


are replaced, that is a real opportunity to deal with it.


experts' advice is that this is safe as long as it is not disturbed.


The truth of the matter is that we do not know the scale of the


problem because there are such a queue each time lapse between


exposure to asbestos and the illness. Every day activities, it


does not have to be a refurbishment. Slamming a classroom door five


times can put 600 times more asbestos fibre into the atmosphere


than the normal background evidence. When resources are tight, it is not


a priority, is it? What price do you put on an individual, a child


or a teacher or a caretaker, what price do you put on their health


and safety and -- and their well- being? A you must be professional


about this. I think that is what local authorities must do. You must


make sure that schools are inspected on a regular basis. That


is what I think... They is a gamble here. 30, 40 year period. We are is


another side to it. Apart from the Managed Risk, there is the issue of


publicising it to make sure every school where they are being gripe -


- quite proactive, lots of schools are not aware of the dangers.


Parents are not aware of the changes. It must be clear. It is


important that local authorities make sure that schools are aware of


the issue if there is asbestos and a school. As you see schools been


refurbished, and... Our the Government risking more of this


danger by not dealing with schools as fast as the previous government?


I think we must accept budgetary constraints. We must be careful of


the risk that there is. That is what schools must do and local


authorities. Night a group of men and women who


will be trying to get to vote. Elections take place in November


but what sort of person has the qualifications? Should they be


police officers are politicians? On the streets of fighting crime,


something is changing and the police. It stands for police and


Crown Commissioners. PCC. We're just starting to find out who wants


the job. Some are familiar faces. Now she has been selected as


Labour's candidate for the Police Commission. She has never been a


police officer. The job is the reverse. It is to represent the


community to be the voice of the people of Northumberland. What you


say to people who say this is just another way to get back into


politics? I am here to serve the public of Northumberland who were


suffering extremely badly from Tory cuts. Most of the candidates have


not been police officers. This man is standing for Labour as


commissioner. Labour's candidate in Durham has been a policeman. He's a


former police constable. The Lib Dems have not put any candidates up.


The Conservatives will suggest their candidates for the end of


July. This man has thrown his hat into the ring. A lot of the public


will see it as common sense that someone with direct policing


experience will be a good person for the job. I feel strongly that


this role should not be politicised. It should not been given to a


career politician who might bring in party politics. For local


councillors, ex-MPs and a few ex- police officers. They all want to


play a part. John Stevenson, we heard them


talking about the advantages of police work. Would it be better


with politicians who have experience of representing people?


I am delighted they're going ahead with this. I do not think there is


a problem he gets elected. I think what matters is the calibre Alok --


Caliber of that person. They have got to hold a police to account and


the electorate can help -- can hold them to account. I think it is


about confidence and quality. ludicrous these jobs should not be


politicised? To a certain extent, yes, they are. What we want to see


his quality politicians. Graham Morris, Labour have selected


retread politicians. Should there have been more referred to find new


faces? Labour resisted police commissioners on the ground of


costs. The cost, not of the salary, but of the election every four


years. It is the equivalent of 3,000 police Constable's. Let us


talk about the names. John Prescott is quite formidable. We have a good


mix in the North East. We have someone who is a former police


officer. We have someone who was a solicitor general. She has an


excellent record as a human rights lawyer. We have a man who was a


local councillor. He has years of experience. Some people will see


this as people who just want a salary. The Labour Party did not


support the concept of police commissioners. Now that the


Government have forced through there will, it is up to us to


select the best candidates that we can. We have a good next, some are


poor former police officers. -- some are former police officers. At


the end of -- cut the end of the date is up to the voters. It is


straight forward for non-party political dependence. It is down to


people like yourself to help out there. I am not going to go in one


�5,000. You can demonstrate there are independence -- independent


standing in an area. In depends on the media coverage. If people like


you cells, local radio, local newspapers take an interest in


these people, there is no reason there cannot be a robust debate.


For you believe a lot of independents will emerge? -- do you


believe. I think it will be principally main parties. I think


Labour has a very good record in terms of crime and tackling anti-


social behaviour. If you do get independent candidates, or is the


issue single-issue? Ron Hawke is bringing his experience to bear and


specialist experience. Elections in November, hardly anyone will turn


out? We will have to wait and see. I think people might be surprised


at how many people turn out. It is novel. Thank you.


England's game against Italy is hours away. Mark put aside thoughts


of formation fit all. -- football. Unemployment is up again in the


North East. It rose by 8,000. It fell in Cumbria.


Ian Wright told people the region was paying a high price for the


recession. Tyneside MP has called on a motion


called on missions -- ministers to abandon nuclear weapons.


Free schools and academies are not providing the same standard of


healthy food as local authority run schools. Ministers say there is no


evidence. Her many more calls for a U-turn does the Government need to


hear before it does the right thing and put evidence ahead of dogma and


make sure more children get the benefit of help the school meals?


Fresh research will be carried out on air passenger duty and the


impact. Some people believe that damages the North East economy.


Why do you think the figures for employment are falling income we


are will be a rising elsewhere? Partly, the reason the North East


is bucking the trend is that we are losing more jobs and the public


sector and job creation in the private sector. There is a robust


public it -- economy. Local businesses are holding up. You must


have some good examples were the private City it -- private sector


is being successful. We had a debate in Parliament this week that


in the private sector, it is haemorrhaging jobs. There is


145,000 people at work in a region now. There is a list of companies


in Nigeria -- in Nigeria. In my constituency -- in my constituency.


We have a real problem. It is not to say there are some bright spots.


I welcome the 200 jobs that Nissan is creating. There will be benefits


in the supply chain. There is no guarantee those contracts will be


placed in Durham. There is a potential there. In the North East,


it is about the private sector. It's only government is not helping.


-- saw the Government is not helping. It is doing its best to


help the private sector. We must accept we have a difficult economic


backdrop. Nevertheless, throughout the country, if you look at the


national figures, you're seeing improvement in employment figures.


There are jobs being created. What he must do is encourage the private


sector to grow and create these jobs. Her we must stimulate demand.


Lack of business confidence, factory production his own. We must


Andrew Neil and Tim Iredale with the latest political news, including an interview with the chief secretary to the treasury, Danny Alexander. Also in the programme, Respect MP, George Galloway and defence select committee member, Bob Stewart, go head-to-head on the future of the Falklands.

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