18/11/2012 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate including conservative party chairman Grant Shapps and shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper.

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In the North East - who is to blame for the low turnout in a Police and


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2387 seconds


Crime Commissioner elections? Is at The am very warm welcome. Coming up


- is it the end of our public libraries as Newcastle announces


plans to shut 10 amid criticism from local operas. -- authors. With


me, the MP for Gateshead. On whether to give prisoners be bought.


-- of the vote. Where you stand on this? If people Larraine prison but


on demand, they should be allowed to vote. The interesting thing


about this is how many people within the prison population were


registered to vote before going into prison. If they were register


they have up. But if not, what is the fuss about? We have to listen


and do something about this, do we not? It is not a question of


ignoring Europe. We have decided historically that when you go to


prison, certain of your liberties are removed from you. I hope people


will maintain that position that regardless of what is the creed


from the human rights lobby. -- decreed. Five out of six people in


the North East did not vote in the Police and Crime Commissioner


elections. People also seen to be turning their backs on the idea of


elected mayors. Check out the victory speeches - the winning


candidate criticising the election she has just one. This result is


down to the bungling incompetence of this Tory government aided by


the Liberal Democrats henchmen. became in Northumberland's first


Police and Crime Commissioner. general election guarantees that


any candidate gets one at least it through everybody's door. I blame


the government's completely and it is not the public's fault for the


low turnout. Up the local elections in May it sought her mitts of 34.6


per cent and Carlisle. Not exactly fantastic figures but if you


In Cumbria, while the Conservatives triumph, the Liberal Democrats


finished 4th. The Government should have done a great deal more ahead


of the elections to describe what a Police and Crime Commissioner would


actually do. Although the electorate have said they are


concerned by crime, they were indifferent to these elections.


is perhaps the way in which it has been implemented and the public are


thinking they are voting for somebody who understands the needs


of communities and can represent their diverse interests, by making


it a political appointment, in effect. That alienated a lot of


people. A only 18% took part in the vote in Hartlepool. Less than one


in five people bother to go out and bought. The first and possibly the


last elected mayor in Hartlepool. The turnout is disappointing, no


doubt about it. The turnout in the parliamentary by-elections have not


been good either. What about free mailing? The candidates were able


to contact the public and there was nothing stopping them from that. It


is not just that at all. The turnout is disappointing but for


the first time, we have people who are actually elected into the


important role of controlling our police. We never had that before.


People have only been appointed before and the public were not


aware of what was going on in their name. People will want to know why


parties like your own did not get many leaflets out, surely it is up


to you and not to the public purse? Party members worked high is like


to get leaflets out on behalf of our candidate but this is the point


in terms of at the FT election leaflets were all. It would have


cost another �30 million. We would have then had 41 Police and Crime


Commissioner us with some legitimacy to them rather than


being seen as a waste of time. Labour won the three of these on


low turnouts. Do they have a mandate or have they to be careful?


Given the low turnout, I would encourage them to be cautious and


they have to ease into the role and get a public behind them. There is


a lack of legitimacy here. The Conservative when in Cumbria


effectively got the backing of less than 5% of the electorate. Up what


Hamed would be it -- would be accept for legitimacy. Were local


council elections. So Police and Crime Commissioner as can just


carry on as if they had 40% of the electorate? What point would you


take? 40%, 60%? There was an electoral process which was not


available to people before her. There are lots of independent


candidates who have won the elections and we have a real job to


do and I hope they do it well. I have every expectation misaligned


up being a successful exercise. lot of people are mystified. Your


party said this was not about politicising the police but on the


ballot paper there were lots of political parties. It does not mean


people are going to let them. John Prescott was not elected even


though he has a very high profile as a politician. There was an


independent who came second in Durham - would be better with


independent commissioners? Given the level of political


representation in the expected levels of local and national


government in the area, it would be perverse for a party like the


Labour Party not to stand candidates. Even on low turnouts,


resounding victories all cards for Labour candidates will sup --


candidates. This was a way of letting the current government know


what they think of their policy cost up the speed of council cuts


is picking up once again as local authorities begin to finalise local


budgets and libraries appear to be in the firing line. Gateshead says


five branches will be offered to local people to run and the


Newcastle, 10 could be closed. Writers are accusing Newcastle are


using libraries as soft targets. It is story time and toddlers are


having their imaginations imbued with tales of hiding Lyons, for


also on locks and cats with magic hats. They are colouring in at


creating and making things. It is as much for me as it is for my son.


It allows me to socialise and meet other parents. It gets in used to


reading bits because I loved books. This library will help to provide


an amazing setting for the fantastic tales told here. This


library is on the list of proposed cuts being considered by


Middlesbrough Council. It would save the authority �64,000 a year


but people say it is worth much more to them. I go there with my


grandchildren on Saturday mornings. You are not going to learn anything


if they close the library. We only have a few little shops that this


is where all the kids come, you have story times and everything.


is a meeting place for people as well. I cannot believe it is close


thing. The baddies in this grim tale are the local government


according to this MP. It is about explain to people, with the


Government saying we are all in this together, but Teesside council


were hit harder than most. libraries have been taken off the


bits at North Yorkshire. Two communities in Hartlepool lost


their branch. Gateshead wants five of their libraries to be taken over


by volunteers and Newcastle libraries is proposing to continue


just eight of its 18 libraries. initial reaction has been shot.


Libraries have been protected and valued banned although they still


are, there is a limit now with the funding we have. The eight plans


have shocked local writers as well. I am just so shocked that Newcastle


and Gateshead are considering closing libraries and giving others


over two volunteers. It could be the only form of art many people


here have access to it. We're talking about access and the


quality of opportunities and we're closing libraries! We're closing


access to different perspectives on live.


It is not just libraries of up the Newcastle draft budget also


proposes closing the city swimming baths and ending grants to the


Theatre Royal and the Tyneside cinema. Argued treating libraries


as an easy target? Not at all. Up we have to make some extremely


painful decisions as a result of the unfair cuts we're getting from


government. It is services right across the council including the


ones I am particularly concerned about, which are services that


protect vulnerable adults and vulnerable children. The city


council is losing one third of its budget. It is impossible to


conceive -- to continue all the services. One writer said Mrs like


stabbing yourself in the heart. You'll end access to these


resources that could help make doctors and politicians and


everything else. I am furious about this. If Newcastle was treated


fairly, we would have �22 million more next year alone. We are still


going to offer a core library service of eight live reviews


across the city. -- libraries. have make some choices. It is �1


million to pay a living wage to staff. That could have kept


libraries going. The living wage is about supporting our most of rest


economies. The living wage is helping to protect our local


economy it as well as valuing the work people do. You could have used


some of that money to keep the libraries are open? You have


already saved more through it management costs and the living


wage will pay for itself over time in the improved efficiency and


sickness absence. The Big Issue is the unfair cuts as a result of the


decisions taken by the Tories and the Liberal Democrats in


Westminster. I am furious. Would you accept this as a general


assault? Culture has been a big part of Newcastle's economy. What


other ways can be look to? We are already cutting services to the


vulnerable and at are reducing to fortnightly in collections. We're


looking at closing swimming pools. There are no easy options here.


These are dreadful and difficult cuts and we are doing our best to


be fair under the circumstances but the Government is not being fair to


us. That is the fundamental allegation to you. I do not think


the two things are directly related. Indirectly, we have to live within


our means. The budget has been reduced by one-third. They have to


make difficult decisions but I would say that something like


libraries is, as the personal priority, as many as possible


should be kept open. That is a personal priority but we all have


to live within our means. What do you make of your local council's


position? Nobody can pretend that we are able to carry on regardless


with a disproportionate cuts we have had to take compared to many


Conservative councils in the south- east. Do you accept there is no


alternative? Getting that a huge amount of money is taken out of the


unprotected part of the council budget, that part is taking a


massive hits of up I cannot think of any individual services which


can be completely safeguarded. If you do not take it out of this, it


head statutory requirement. Constituents could say they are


very dismayed, what would you say to them? I would say this is a


problem created in the Cabinet Office in terms of the way they


have decided that the cuts would hit northern councils this


proportionately much greater than many in the south. Places like


Newcastle and Gateshead are being hit harder than the Home Counties.


Up if you're going to do that, you might as well blame the last Labour


government who borrowed so much and everybody is now having to suffer.


The distribution of the cuts is what he is saying. Newcastle and


Gateshead seem to have a disproportionate amount of money


taken it compare to councils in the south. I know many councils are


concerned and North Yorkshire are concerned as well. Something needs


to be done? We can look at the formula but it seems to me we still


cannot avoid the fact cuts and changes are necessary. The fragile


recovery, slightly out of recession, take more and more money out of the


economy through this and it will go backwards again. The cuts have not


helped the economy grow. By money is now representing reality for a


change. Borrowing money is not a sensible thing for the individual


people who enjoy libraries. You cannot say that money is not being


taken out of the economy when you look at thousands of pounds that


would have been spent in the local economy that are now being spent


elsewhere in the disproportionate way. That is having a massive


impact in the public and private sectors. Scotland's First Minister


made a reappearance in the region this week. Some regard him as the


arrival but he seemed to be here as an ally, offering political co-


operation. Eight he said hospital consultant


is to be co-leader of a new political party. The opposed the


government's NHS changes. Alex Salmond has held out the prospect


of closer ties if Scotland votes to become independent. The bonds of


Trade, family and friendship, business and commerce between


Scotland and the North East of England are strong at present and


will strengthen in my opinion after Scotland becomes independent.


unemployment fell again but David Miliband said too little has been


done for the young jobless. It is one thing to be unemployed but it


is another to be told the government will help you out of it


and they do not. Let's talk Scotland. Do you see


Alex Salmond as a friend to the North East? I see the people of


Scotland as good friends and neighbours but Alex Salmond is now


beginning to understand that England is the market through which


Scotland have to travel. Up there is a mutual interest. Goods passing


through it would serve as the North East and Scotland. Was he right to


say that Scotland and the North East can make common cause because


they both get a raw deal from the South? He comes across the border


and informs us what the terms of surrender will be. I think they


should get themselves back into Scotland and tell Alex Salmond and


all the Scots the advantages of remaining in the United Kingdom,


never mind all that nonsense. I hope the North East is not coined


by this sort of smooth talking. -- conned. He was talking about things


like high-speed rail, would be South getting it first, why not


Scotland and the North? Why are we going to get into bed with Scotland


of a sudden? We would have to formally celebrate all the Scottish


holidays of up people might like that! Ascot and get the chance to


cut business taxes, that could be a serious threat to the economy?


are already seeing the effects of Scotland having a parliament and


the eradication of our regional development agency means Scotland


are still doing it economic development but we do not have that


capacity in the North East. We have seen some good examples of that in


comparison to us. Does it worry you they would go further if they get


independence or further evolution powers? His visit here has


eliminated the fact he sees England at an important market for Scotland


and we all need to wake up to that will sup I believe he is better off


in Edinburgh and can argue what he likes about Scottish independence


but if it ever happens, I think it is the disadvantages to the whole


of the United Kingdom including the North East. Some people's just


south of the border might like the idea of the prescription charges


and an Alex Salmond government. have already seen certain problems


with people moving across the border because of changes and


policies that are being done by the Scottish Parliament right now. I


think we need to consolidate the United Kingdom as an entity and


anything further down the road would be bad news for the North


East and other regions will sup thank you very much. That is about


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