07/10/2012 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


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


David Cameron. And we join the communities


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2134 seconds


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


very talented speech to speak without notes. He repeated the


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


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


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


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


not tell us anything year or apologise for the previous Labour


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


workers. And I met the Prime Minister, I


started by asking him about flooding, specifically claims to


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


campaigning for years. difference is he has the power to


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


happens. This is about our region. David Cameron said no building


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


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


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


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


because there was a lot of infrastructure across the county.


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


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


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


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


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


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


big difference to regional economies. It makes people poorer?


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


flexibility to adjust pay levels to reflect circumstances. Some areas


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


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


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


authority is the flexibility to deal with circumstances in their


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


this. In five days, he HSBC will close


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


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


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


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


bankers would have been the undisputed champions since 2007.


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


the issue upsetting people in Shildon. Campaigners have their


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Like this shop which has been selling sweets since 1909.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


fallen significantly as people turn to the convenience of phone and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


of the money around instead of putting it offshore and hiding


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


discredited. Cleveland is looking for a new chief constable after


Sean Price was found guilty of gross misconduct.


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


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


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


protection scheme has opened in Keswick to protect the town from


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


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


Cowen. The ever so there Fergus Hewison.


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


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


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


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


problems with the East Coast franchise. It is falling apart


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


Transport should take responsibility for an enormous


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


better. The principle of having companies compete for the lowest


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


secretary of state and his ministers who have failed. There


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


was the original contract. This idea of nationalising something is


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


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


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


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


want and have experienced over the last 15 years were privatisation


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


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


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


tomorrow evening end Inside Out special reporting on proposals to


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


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


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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