07/10/2012 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


07/10/2012

Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with political news including Defence Secretary Philip Hammond from the Conservative Party Conference and Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander.


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In the North East and Cumbria: We talk exclusively to Prime Minister

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David Cameron. And we join the communities

:01:30.:01:40.
:01:40.:01:40.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2134 seconds

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fighting to stop their local bank Coming up: The communities fighting

:37:14.:37:19.

to keep their high-street bank as a wave of closures hit the region.

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Can local people do anything about My guests are Martin Callanan and

:37:27.:37:33.

the MP for Blaydon, Dave Anderson. They've, you listen to Ed

:37:33.:37:40.

Miliband's speech, is one nation better than Disraeli? Something you

:37:40.:37:44.

can sign up to? Absolutely. When he explained why he was saying this,

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he said it is about faith. His face is that we want to build a better

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world. I have always believe that. People of the trade union movement

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have always believe that. The sad reality in this area particularly,

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where things were not better than previously, was all through the

:38:04.:38:10.

1980s. This part of the world was a lot worse off and we are seeing the

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same thing now, so he is dead right. Martin Callanan, people are saying

:38:16.:38:22.

what was clever is that he put his tanks on your terror Tory. It was a

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very talented speech to speak without notes. He repeated the

:38:27.:38:34.

phrase, one nation, 47 times. This is not a political philosophy. He

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stole it from a former Tory prime minister. All the great Labour

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leader since then have not provided inspiration, apart from the phrase

:38:43.:38:47.

one nation, which I agree with. It was a vacuous attempt and he did

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not tell us anything year or apologise for the previous Labour

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government. He certainly didn't tell us how we are likely to get

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out of difficult economic times. They will have more of that soon.

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It is the turn of the Conservative sin. Their conference starts today.

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With the clock ticking to the next election, what can Mr Cameron pull

:39:08.:39:13.

out of the hat that might appeal to voters in this part of the world.

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Guy of them and has produced his own manifesto to help the Tories

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win. Top of the list is a freeze on petrol and diesel duty until 2015.

:39:23.:39:28.

He wants a clear industrial policy, investment in transport links like

:39:28.:39:32.

the A1, which she says will be simple and significant. He wants

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the PM to reject the idea of regional pay for public sector

:39:36.:39:39.

workers. And I met the Prime Minister, I

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started by asking him about flooding, specifically claims to

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cuts in the flood defences leading to people in more put having their

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homes flooded for a second time. heart goes out to anyone who has

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been flooded. I know what it is like and how frustrating it is. On

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the flood protection scheme in question, it was not signed off by

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the last government, it was not properly funded. It is now signed

:40:10.:40:15.

off and under way. Is it taking too long? These things always take too

:40:15.:40:20.

long. Someone said the best time to invest his 20 years ago, the second

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best is now. We are doing it now. One of your north-east MPs came up

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with five ideas over the summer for how you could win more more than

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voters. I want to put a few to year. Invest more in infrastructure, in -

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- for instance the A1. He we are putting a lot into electrifying

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train lines, into infrastructure, into road-building. But not in the

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north-east. We are looking at all schemes. The message from the

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Treasury is, if you have schemes that are shove already full can be

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brought forward, come and talk to us. The same is true for the A1?

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are happy to look at all or any schemes that get the economy moving,

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to help give infrastructure we need. He said, abandon regional pay. The

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Liberal Democrats don't like it and northern MPs then I kid. If I don't

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believe in this idea of regional pay. The idea that you should have

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some regard to what is happening locally, that is important. The

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last government introduce it for the Court Service and it is right

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that it is looked at by other services. Do not accept that it is

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politically toxic? At the moment it is betrayed that more than teachers

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and nurses get paid less than southern counterparts. If you take

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a region like the north-east, you will find that within the region

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there are particular pressures in one area where you need to pay a

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bit more to attract or train or retain good staff. What the court

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service was about was making sure you have that flexibility. That is

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what we have been thinking about. Freeze feel duty took 2015. It

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would be popular in the north. have made huge steps on this. We

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did cut fuel duty and abandon pre- programmed Labour increases. Fuel

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is 10 p per litre cheaper than it would have been. We are living in a

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world with a vast debt and deficit where decisions are difficult and

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every penny you cat... We have done a huge amount already. Thank you.

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The prime minister talking to me this week. Martin Callanan,

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upgrading the A1 had been talked about for decades, isn't it passing

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the buck? He could do something about this tomorrow if he wanted to.

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I thought his message as popular. You won't find any difference a lot

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-- among the politicians in the north-east who have been

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campaigning for years. difference is he has the power to

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do it and he is not. There is not a great deal of money around, it is a

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question of priorities. The A1 is a crucial piece of infrastructure, we

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all have to make the case to the Prime Minister and to government

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and we did under the last Labour government and it did not happen. I

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thought his words are quite positive. We can work on that and

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take the readiness of the scheme to proceed to him. Priorities is the

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word because the reason I ask that question is the curse when you

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crunch the figures, infrastructure investment in the north-east has

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been pitiful. Five times more has been invested in the south-east.

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That is the truth, the priority is to spend in the south, not the

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north. A priority is to spend across the whole country. I don't

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recognise those figures. We get our fair share of investment. We have

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to fight for our recent -- region. This government has been in office

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for two years and we took over the brink of bankruptcy so there is not

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a lot of money around. We have to compete for investment. We will be

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lobbying for that for the region. The Prime Minister is open to ideas,

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perhaps if Labour councils came up with more ideas and spend less time

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bemoaning their fate. If you listen to the words, or watch Question

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Time every week, his favourite word is we will look into this. Nothing

:44:37.:44:47.
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happens. This is about our region. David Cameron said no building

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happened. There were 30 miles of road improved between whether the

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and the Scotch Corner. I argued, why on earth are you spending money

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there when it should have been spent elsewhere. It did not happen

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under Labour either. I am saying, don't pretend we didn't do anything

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because there was a lot of infrastructure across the county.

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You are right, what is true it is that there is more money spent in

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the south-east. I live and work in London and you see the improvements

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in transport. Boris Johnson spent millions of Pounds on Prime new

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buses. We can't get any money in this area. Let's deal with regional

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pay, local pay. The Prime Minister is not listening there. His own MPs

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have told him to ditch it, why press ahead? Because it can make a

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big difference to regional economies. It makes people poorer?

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It could also make them richer, that is the point. It is to provide

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flexibility to adjust pay levels to reflect circumstances. Some areas

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of very expensive to live in and would benefit from higher pay. We

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already have it, there is London weighting reflecting the fact that

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it is more expensive to live in London. It is giving public

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authority is the flexibility to deal with circumstances in their

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own area. Isn't that the point that some people in the North might be

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paid more? The difficulty is recruiting people in Newcastle, for

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example. This is an example of how far removed these people are often

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the real world. I spent years negotiating for people in this part

:46:40.:46:50.
:46:50.:46:51.

of the world. I live in Hedley whole, a cheap place to live. It is

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nonsense. It is about breaking up appear bargaining. Labour did that

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in the Court Service. Absolutely, I am saying that what is good is the

:47:05.:47:09.

vast majority of people in the country don't believe in regional

:47:09.:47:13.

pay. Teacher should be paid the same in Newcastle as the rest of

:47:13.:47:18.

the country. We already have local pay throughout the private sector

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because employers have to pay the going rate. It is more expensive to

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employ in the south-east and the north-east. We are talking about

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the more effective use of public money. Am sure we will come back to

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this. In five days, he HSBC will close

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his branch in shall then and the people will be left without any

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high-street bank. 18 banks have closed in Cumbria and the north-

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east since 2010, but is there anything local people can do about

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If being Britain's most vilified professionals was a contest,

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bankers would have been the undisputed champions since 2007.

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Five years on, people are still laying into them. Bank closures is

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the issue upsetting people in Shildon. Campaigners have their

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bayonets sharpened for one bank in particular. This branch of HSBC is

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set to close and the local MP is livid about it. For the very people

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are using this bank's 700 times per week. 180 businesses are banking

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here in Shildon. They are told it is not economic. Somehow it is

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economic for the top man to pay himself �8 million per year. Last

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year they made profits of 13.7 billion. One of the main concerns

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people have about the closure is the impact on people who do not use

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the internet, particularly the elderly. If someone in my plays, I

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am using a mobility scooter, it is not easy for me to get to the

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nearest branch. Then there is the effect it could have on businesses.

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Like this shop which has been selling sweets since 1909.

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people go to the bank they are coming into the town which helps us

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local shops. If there is no bank, they have no reason to come up to

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the town. It is not just in Shildon where he HSBC has left the taste

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more sour than this range of extreme sweeties. Shildon's HSBC is

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due to close on Friday. Appleby's will shut in November. The Prime

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Jim Holt whistle ref last month. Research for the campaign shows

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that HSBC is not the only bank closing branches in our region,

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though it is the most prolific. Barclays has close to brunches,

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NatWest has shed five branches and HSBC has closed 11 branches. With

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three more to come. What has really upset campaigners is that Barclays,

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NatWest and Lloyds TSB have all promised not to close at branch if

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it is the last bank in town. HSBC refuses to make such a pledge which

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is why I shall then will soon have 10,000 people and no banks.

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HSBC says the decision was not taken lightly. Fought for has

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fallen significantly as people turn to the convenience of phone and

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internet banking. From spring, customers will be able to use the

:50:35.:50:41.

Post Office so could it provide a lasting solution? The Post Office

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is not set up to be a bank. They are providing some services to help

:50:46.:50:51.

the local community and give people access to them many in the hope

:50:51.:50:55.

than the easy way, but they are not fundamentally there as a bank. If

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you were a small business person wanting to take out a loan, that is

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not what they are there to do. describes itself as the world's

:51:04.:51:10.

local bank, but she'll done and Helmsley are the latest places to

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vanish from its thin it -- vision of the planet.

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They are still a survey, when did you last visit your local bank

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branch? For the last time I visited the local bank would have been two

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weeks ago. I was in Manchester for a week and then the South West for

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a week. I never used a website. are someone who does need a branch

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then. How about you? I was at a bank in Brussels this week getting

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some euros to spend in Brussels. The last time I was in a local bank

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was a good few weeks ago because I do use internet banking and credit

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cards. That is the reality. It is very difficult for those who can't

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use their services, but banks are reacting to the fact that a lot of

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us don't go into branches anymore. You can charge up cards with

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electronic money to make even small payments on. It is difficult for

:52:08.:52:13.

people who don't use their services which is why the Post Office is

:52:13.:52:18.

another public institution that should step in to help. It is an

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inevitable consequence and we are lying if we say we can make these

:52:22.:52:27.

companies keep branches open. banks are not charities, if people

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aren't using them they were shut. They are responsible and should act

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responsibly. To some extent, some of them are partly publicly owned

:52:37.:52:43.

and we should use the power we have got by having a share in the bank's.

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To do that, they have to spend money. It will be taxpayers' money

:52:48.:52:53.

keeping branches open. Can we afford to do that? They can take

:52:53.:53:02.

some money some salaries. Also not maximising profits, putting it back

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into the branches. We also had clear policy within the Labour

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government as we went out of power to say we would give Post Office is

:53:11.:53:17.

more power to settle post banks. This government all that up. Would

:53:17.:53:22.

that have been a lot easier if you have not all of those plans? Many

:53:22.:53:27.

post offices offer banking services. But not the full range that would

:53:27.:53:32.

substitute for a bank. Everything that a community needs. These are

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difficult decisions, it requires investment. It is a question of

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priorities. If more people use local banks, banks would keep them

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open. That is the reality. These are difficult decisions driven by

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commerce. Driven by the number of people that go in branch. It is no

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help to those in Shildon that do not use internet banking. Given the

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taxpayer does not own part of HSBC, had to stop this happening?

:54:05.:54:12.

probably can't stop it happening. You can say, do we believe that

:54:12.:54:16.

people have social responsibility? And they should have. We should

:54:16.:54:22.

write in a legislation that banks, if they want to operate in our

:54:22.:54:31.

country, they should show more responsibility. You would move some

:54:31.:54:34.

of the money around instead of putting it offshore and hiding

:54:34.:54:39.

money away from the British public, they should deliver service.

:54:39.:54:44.

Without the service and customers, they would not be able to stay open.

:54:44.:54:49.

If there is one thing that brings together our nation it is the next

:54:49.:54:55.

part of the programme. He may not be Disraeli, but here is Fergus

:54:55.:55:05.
:55:05.:55:09.

Hewison with the week's political A decision on whether Cumbria

:55:09.:55:13.

should have an underground nuclear waste all has been delayed. They

:55:13.:55:21.

will not decide until January. The eastern coast rail works will be

:55:21.:55:28.

nationalised. The RMT union says the private side system is now

:55:28.:55:34.

discredited. Cleveland is looking for a new chief constable after

:55:34.:55:36.

Sean Price was found guilty of gross misconduct.

:55:36.:55:41.

James Walton gave his reaction. have to take it as an opportunity

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to move forward and deliver the right police force for local people.

:55:48.:55:53.

And to appoint a new chief constable. The �6 million flood

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protection scheme has opened in Keswick to protect the town from

:55:55.:56:01.

floods that hit in 2009. A new banner has been unveiled to mark

:56:01.:56:05.

the centenary of the National Union of journalists. It features Joseph

:56:05.:56:14.

Cowen. The ever so there Fergus Hewison.

:56:14.:56:19.

Business with the West Coast line, a complete shambles. Isn't it time

:56:19.:56:24.

to end the system for good? It is probably the best alternative you

:56:24.:56:30.

have. To nationalise the railways that will cost billions of pounds

:56:30.:56:34.

that we do not have. The last government got into the same

:56:34.:56:39.

problems with the East Coast franchise. It is falling apart

:56:39.:56:45.

though, isn't it? I'm not trying to excuse its, the Department of

:56:45.:56:47.

Transport should take responsibility for an enormous

:56:47.:56:53.

cock-up. I'm not sure there is an alternative system that would work

:56:53.:56:59.

better. The principle of having companies compete for the lowest

:56:59.:57:03.

cost should be one we should all support. There must have been talk

:57:03.:57:07.

at the conference about this, yet Labour does not say it will tear

:57:07.:57:15.

the system apart, but tinker with it. I'm very clear, the public need

:57:15.:57:24.

one railway service. This was probably the worst. The worst of

:57:24.:57:29.

all the privatisations the way it was botched. We had to take Network

:57:29.:57:33.

Rail back to public ownership. We have to run the East Coast main

:57:33.:57:39.

line under public ownership. The system has failed. It is his

:57:39.:57:43.

secretary of state and his ministers who have failed. There

:57:43.:57:49.

were problems under Labour. You have to pick this apart and how?

:57:49.:57:54.

Depict the deals are part or not renewed new deals? You wouldn't

:57:55.:58:02.

need to pick them apart, when the franchise ends, it ends. We were

:58:02.:58:06.

forced to do this with the East Coast and the public purse had to

:58:06.:58:12.

pick it up. A franchise under your government. We were let down by

:58:12.:58:21.

people who did not do it properly. This has fallen apart while

:58:21.:58:29.

ministers have fallen apart. Their idea of a golden age of rail was

:58:29.:58:33.

nonsense. It has to compete for investment with all other aspects

:58:33.:58:40.

of public service. This is the best option and I still believe that.

:58:40.:58:46.

The east terrace, under public ownership, has contributed �360

:58:46.:58:51.

million to the Treasury. It should have contributed 1.4 billion which

:58:52.:58:56.

was the original contract. This idea of nationalising something is

:58:56.:59:01.

nonsense. The East Coast franchise is profitable. To run it you have

:59:01.:59:06.

to pay the government a lot of money. The government makes money

:59:06.:59:12.

out of them. Briefly, this is you looking through rose-tinted

:59:12.:59:17.

spectacles, basically? I am looking at what the people of this country

:59:17.:59:22.

want and have experienced over the last 15 years were privatisation

:59:22.:59:27.

failed the country massively. This was ministers who fell asleep on

:59:27.:59:31.

the job and it will cost �40 million at least. Thank you very

:59:31.:59:37.

much. There is more on my blog this week. Two things to look out for,

:59:37.:59:43.

tomorrow evening end Inside Out special reporting on proposals to

:59:43.:59:50.

store nuclear waste underground. Also tomorrow, BBC with local radio

:59:50.:59:54.

and Look North will be looking at life either side of the border with

:59:54.:59:58.

Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate including Defence Secretary Philip Hammond from the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham and Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander.


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