04/11/2012 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Including UKIP leader Nigel Farage, and David Willetts on Lord Heseltine's growth plan.

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Could Britain thrive and prosper In the North East and Cumbria:


The council that's giving 2,000 of its staff a pay rise, despite


millions of pounds of cuts. Could helping the lowest paid kick-


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2064 seconds


Hello and the warmest of welcomes do your local part of the show. It


may be the age of austerity but 2000 staff at this North East


council are getting a pay rise. It is part of the campaign to give low


paid workers a living wage. The MP for Redcar, Ian Swales, and


Durham MP better lap onwards. -- Roberta Blackman-Woods. Wind farms.


Which side are you on? I support them there. I have opposed one in


my constituency in A&P Tees got but I am watching an offshore wind farm


being built Wright. I am delighted to see that development of the


beach. In the right place, I'm totally supportive of wind farms.


There are a lot of people in County Durham who like to see the end of


wind farms. What would Labour do? First of all, it is outrageous to


have more on this from the Government this week. I have not


got a clear energy policy will stop we are going to grow our economy.


Businesses need to know what our energy sources are going to be in


the future. I do think the Government have to get their act


together on this. Labour thinks there should be a local decision


and we want to make sure people are able to use the planning process to


get wind farms or oppose them as they see fit. We will return to


wind farms. In these days of austerity, local


councils are having to make big cutbacks so it might come as a


surprise that one local authority in the North East in giving a pay


rise to 2000 of its lowest paid workers. More councils could be an


act to follow suit. For 15 years, cleaner Marlene has


helped keep the Civic Centre spick- and-span. Now she will get a pay


rise, pushing her wages up by a back �170 a month. It will make a


big difference. You try to cut down on your future pink, your bills,


everything. That little bit extra, which is a lot, really, is


excellent for me and everybody else here. She'll get a rise along with


about 2000 other staff at Newcastle City Council. That is because the


council has decided to adopt so called living wage. This will be


sampans 20 an hour, just over �1 more than the national minimum wage.


It will cost the council an extra �1 million in a year, which will be


met through internal efficiencies. We recognised in the council be in


pink people a proper rate for their work and minimum wage is not enough


to live on. So we thought it was a good idea. Eta has been introduced


to ten or 12 years ago elsewhere in the country. We asked an


independent panel to investigate it for us. The council also claims


paying staff more will keep their local economy a shop in the arm.


Many that his pay due less well-off workers ends up in the local


economy. -- money paid to less well off workers. It will be spent in


local shops. It is not just Newcastle City Council. These are


my politics -- the Sunday Politics has learnt that Sunderland will


introduce the idea and other councils may follow suit. But


surely higher wages brings more cost and less profit? Not so, says


one fan who has studied be living wage. The makes people more


comfortable in the drop in the longer term. They are more


committed to their employer. Attention, sickness, all of these


things that build towards private dignity -- productivity, benefit


the business. His bakery opened earlier this year. It is run by


Neil Le Flohic. He is weighed down by a VAT, National Insurance and


business rates. He would like a bit more help from the Government and


council. Until then, he cannot afford to pay a living wage. At the


moment I was paid less than any one of white staff. If there was more


money I would like to pay my staff more. Unless I am paying living


wage either will be difficult to keep them wrong turn. But if there


was a little more flexibility in the way things go in business I


would be able to do that. A living wage for workers could pay


dividends for the economy, boosting spending and bringing in millions


in revenue for the Treasury. But there is a fear that bringing up


council wages means it is less attractive for people to work in


the private sector. Let's talk to Ted Salmon, regional


chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses in the North East.


You have heard the arguments. Why can't the private sector adopt


this? What you will find really is that the minimum wage is the


requirement and the giving weight is the aspirational part of it. For


a lot of small businesses, they paid significantly above the


minimum wage because, as the gentleman was saying in the film,


it adds to the retention, to the motivation of the staff.


everyone is doing this. everyone can afford to but where a


business can afford to, a small business, they tend to do that.


Should more of them do it? Ideally, yes. Tell us what is stopping some


businesses. It comes down to all the requirements that are on


business, and people will say, though, it is just another �1 an


hour but you have fuel costs that have gone up, you are elected costs,


business rates, next year we're going to have HMRC bringing in the


live accounting element, so that is going to take up more staff time,


so that is another drain on resources. It is a bit like the


principle of, oh, back will only take five minutes. There is only a


finite amount of five minutes. you see these making it up harder


for the private sector of the -- can you see these making it harder


for the private sector to retain staff? No, 80% of people looking


for work are going to get a job in the private sector. 95 % of those


are going to be in the small and micro business sector. It is not


such a problem, in your view? less of a problem than some people


think. Would you like to see Durham committed this? Very much. I am


pleased Newcastle City Council is leading the way in the region. I


think that from the beginning of November, paying the living wage is


a really important concept because I think it helps us understand the


amount of money people need to be paid to be able to meet their


everyday living expenses and it is really good that local authorities


are also thinking about how to use their procurement processes so when


they are pig during services from the private sector, they look at


whether those private sector organisations can also pay the


living wage. Isn't this rather strange that the council's


marketing jobs and everything and certainly they can add �1 million


to get wage bill. I did not think they find it easily. But they find


it. I understand it is from cutting management costs, but it is a


really good set of priorities for them to have because this is


putting more money into the local economy. It should reduce the


amount that people are having to climb on tax credits, and it is


giving people a living wage which is important. Ian Swales, do you by


the economic arguments for this, that it will stimulate grades?


Sudhir pier putting more money into the local economy is a good thing.


We have not talked about taxes. One of the good things that the Labour


Government did was to bring in the minimum wage but I cannot forgive


them for giving a �1,000 tax bill to people on the minimum wage.


living wage, do you agree with it? It is an aspiration, as the FSB is


there. I aspirations seldom happened! This is one figure for


the entire country, so what people need to live on depends a lot on


where they live, accommodation costs, transport costs. He dues a


different figure for London. Yes, �1 and the hour mall. If councils


can afford his money, shouldn't they pass it on to the council


taxpayer? That is another way but you help that does not just help


the workers of the council. Yes, but some council workers are paid


to extremely low Paris. Council-tax payers are extremely hard pressed


at the moment. A lot of North East councils did not freeze a council


tax and they are giving that many await you workers. This will


infuriate people the basic council workers getting pay rises whereas


council tax goes up next year. said, a lot of councils are trying


to use their procurement policies to ensure that these goals and them


to the private-sector where it is possible to do that, and council


tax bills have been frozen pretty much across the piece. But you


could offer a cut. You put his �1 million into a budget. You can even


save a service or but the council tax. Instead councils are choosing


to pay their staff more. But my point is his and important to be


moving towards a wage that means people can feed their families well,


clothe their families well, and as a society we should be moving


towards paying people a living wage?


You may well remember the terrible events of New Year's Day. The


County Durham village of court and where three people were shot dead.


The man who did it, Michael Atherton, had a licence to own his


firearms quite legally and that has prompted an MP to demand action.


Susan McGoldrick and Alison and Tanya Turnbull, all shot on my


year's Day. The families believe their killer, Michael Atherton,


should never have been allowed to go and the shop and he turned on


them. They are petitioning for the gun laws to be strengthened. -- the


shotgun he turned on them. I would not want anyone else to go


through what we went through it. It is the worst possible thing ever.


When you find out it could have been prevented, it is just a double


blow. The people you loved the most in the world could still be with


you had it not been for mistakes that were made. That is why I want


them to be corrected. David and his family have the support of their


local MP, Grahame Morris, who backed their calls in the Commons


this week. It is difficult to understand why someone would need


access in the domestic setting to firearms. What the MP and the


family want is a single authority to take over the licensing of


firearms for the different police authorities. They want them to be


able to do medical checks on applicants and to check with


partners and ex-partners of applicants to see whether they are


a suitable person to have a shotgun in their home. Some of the laws are


tight enough already. They just need to be applied probably to


prevent more bats. -- deaths. can see how much bother it might


cause to consult partners and ex- partners. The problem we -- with a


bureaucratic hurdles is that they create diversions. Ministers say


gun laws remain under review but no decision will be taken until the


report into the Horden shootings is published next year.


What the family are swaying -- St Bees the Government is dragging its


heels. -- what the family is saying is that the Government is dragging


its heels. This was a tragic case. Frankly, these cases are rare, that


legal guns are involved. But each case is tragic. Certainly, we have


some are the strongest gunwales in the world in this country but there


is always room for improvement. -- gun laws. I am sure you will be


sympathetic as well, but there are 34 pieces of legislation


controlling the M licensing. Do really need any more legislation?


agree with Ian at incidents such as this one Aap frankly Barry rare in


this country but I was very disappointed with the minister's


response to Graham's excellent debate. He braced for very


interesting and straightforward points, that the whole system needs


to be simplified. There is too much regulation that police forces need


more guidance so that areas consistency, and we need to


understand more why some people need guns. It seemed to me that


once a set of very sensible proposals that could be paid for by


up in the licence fee for having guns. I be the Government could


implement the sensible proposals easily. The danger is it causes


immense problems in bureaucracy because if you have this idea of


getting your ex-partner, for instance, to sign the form and if


they do not there will be an investigation, that will have


police in besting the people who -- investigating people who are


innocent. The need to understand better why some people the guns and


they should be more investigation, but what Grahame Morris was calling


for is the cutting of bureaucracy. There are lots of different systems


operating at different pieces of legislation. It would be much


better to streamline the process. Ian Swales, can we ever legislate


to prevent incidents like this? There always be some particular


circumstances, and a lot of guns are obtained illegally. That is


right. The majority of gun crime is illegally obtained guns. Did is not


a crime at the moment to lend A8 gun to a criminal who is done


registered. Where you have people few legally owned guns, you cannot


ever legislate for a single rogue person carrying back some a trustee,


unfortunately. In the days when Britain was an


economic powerhouse, it was places like Sunderland, Middlesbrough and


Gateshead that often lent the way. Now it seems the Government he


drank to turn the clock back a bit. Here is more on that and the rest


of the week's political news. Sunderland is one of 20 CAA is


invited to bid for new powers on the City Deal programme. Heseltine


says it is time to unleash the prop Newcastle and other crack it cities


and end the over-dependence on London. He urged in a report the


Government to give extra money to Local Enterprise Partnerships.


they are not doing it well enough, help them become stronger because


what you really have got to try to get hold of is the dynamism of


England's provincial cities and the states abandoned. Do south --


Stockton Southend MP joined Conservative rebels who called for


a cut in the EU budget this week. A plea to help the great British


pub from Hartlepool MP Mr Wright. Labour will this afternoon select


their candidate for the Labour that -- Middlesbrough by election.


Not many people in this part of the world will disagree with lord


Heseltine that his time to balance the over-reliance on London. Isn't


Michael Heseltine trying to solve a problem that your Government


created? You scrapped the regional development agencies. The old


system was one size fits all and there were any 12 regional


development agencies. We have already had La Cenerentola its city


deals and this is for another 20,. -- we have already had eight deals.


Michael Heseltine is right, is keen not, they have not even the Local


Enterprise Partnerships the resources they need? The most


important part of local enterprise partnerships is that they are just


that, partnerships. Under-resourced and underpowered? In many parts of


the country they are doing very good work already, including BT's


Aleph. One are the most important things is all regions to decide for


themselves. Westminster will not tell the region's what to do in the


way it used to. Isn't it worrying that the vision here is coming from


a accepted in -- septuagenarian Tory peer rather than Ed Miliband?


What is important is that CAA -- he sees the role of Government


differently to the commission. He says the Government needs a Prior


growth strategy, they need a growth council to drive through changes


that will support businesses, and of course they want more powers


given, and more money given to Local Enterprise Partnerships, or


to a level below them. Hesleden is not sure that they are the right


level. Will Labour Pool B its money where its mouth is by saying, we


will do this? The sad think I find reading it is that it is about


having one pot of money and not the system we have under this


Government. It is about having a five-year regional economic


strategy which seems to me to be a really good thing to have and it is


all of those things that were lost when we had the regional Duvall at


that age has done away with. Local Enterprise Partnerships are not


delivering. I hope that both Labour and this Government take the sport


seriously, because there is a lot of good stuff in it. The problem is,


to be blunt, you would not like to see a lot of this implemented,


because of the Galarza B of your coalition partners. I would not


agree. Hesselink says the Government's goal is to step back


from the economy and let the regions do their thing. We have


been putting a billion pounds in two regions like arts and 100


McReady �5 million into the North East just two weeks ago. Is no


strategic oversight. No printing money to particular sectors of the


economy that will really deliver growth in the future. It is a


scattergun approach. It is what we know it's there in the region.


irony is that lord Heseltine is chair of the Regional Growth Fund.


He is saying we must amalgamate. There are 14 budgets in the region.


He is saying we need a single but it and it needs strategic direction


and local control as far. That is reasonable.


That is acute. Before we go, details of special police -- that


is it. Before we go, gig as are a special programme on the police


derision at elections. That is Horden -- that is Police Elections


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