10/02/2013 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Guests include environment secretary Owen Paterson and energy secretary Ed Davey.

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In the North East and Cumbria... The new police commissioners set


out their budgets, but can putting up council tax to pay for the force


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2458 seconds


really be justified? That is coming Hello and a warm welcome to your


local part of the show. Coming up...


The new Police Commissioners across the North East and Cumbria set


their budgets, but can some of their planned increases in council


tax really be justified? My guests this week are two women


with their eyes on a seat at Westminster. Conservative Anne


Marie Trevelyan, who contested Berwick at the last election, and


Anna Turley, who will be fighting Redcar for Labour in 2015.


Let us kick off with Middlesbrough mayor Ray Mallon and his latest


idea to attract business back into the town centre - offering free


parking at two of the council's main city centre car parks. Could


free parking catch on? Goodness revived East city-centre as


We have seen experiments in certain areas where this has really


increase trade. I would support his attempt to see if this can draw


trade into Middlesbrough city centre. It is a gamble and a way,


because it could cost the city �300,000 in lost revenue. I admire


Ray Mallon to try and stimulate the local economy, but we have to look


a cross a broader cuts a cross the place and we it up. What is good


for Middlesbrough, but it might not be for other people. It could be


banned for the likes of Redcar, if it drew people away from there into


Middlesbrough? At absolutely. The problem at the moment is that the


economy is flat lining and the Government has chosen not to reduce


Value Added Tax. These are the sort of things that could tell people


and shops. By one of the problems with this is that you could as they


have something of a free-for-all. Yes, but you have to listen to the


business community and if they say that the lack of free parking is a


disincentive then you have to listen to that.


Our top story this week is the cost of policing: Three months into the


job, the five new Police and Crime Commissioners for Cumbria and the


North East have set their budgets. In Northumbria, Vera Baird is


putting up the force's slice of council tax by 3.5%, one of the


biggest percentage rises in the country.


Other forces say they are also increasing the charge, to offset


funding cuts. Yet, the government wanted police commissioners to


offer a council tax freeze. Bobbies on the beat, it is what we all want,


but it is not cheap. We all pay a slice of council tax to make it


happen. But Vera Baird is picking up the charge by 3.5%. It is


causing some consternation. It is an assured that the Police and


Crime Commissioners met at gave Vera Baird a tough time or over the


rise of 3.5%. This was after a council tax freeze was promised,


but everyone will now pay more because of the extra police charge.


Vera Baird was unrepentant. council leader has said -- the


police have said they are that breaking point with regard to the


cuts. Four fifths of the people we surveyed said they would be


entitled to pay 10p per person to increase the number of police


people on the beat. But there are different laws apply to different


forces from Northumbria. She has two key the rise to less than �5


for a Band D property. She is able to charge less than other forces


because Northumbria has always had the lowest council charges. In


Durham, the Band D property bill will call up by 3.7 -- �3.70.


Cleveland's bill will rise by �3.89. Only in North Yorkshire will there


be a freeze. But there bill of �205 is already �120 higher than


Northumbria. Some believe the rises are unjustifiable. Instead, they


say that Police and Crime Commissioners should look for


different ways to save money. chief ghost constable came to the


City Council and said they would protect the council tax free use.


The net figure they should be looking for for savings is �700,000


out of the budget of nearly �300 million. The one thing they can


agree on is the bonus of having extra officers on the streets. But


at the moment, should we really have to pay more to keep them


there? Another one of the Police


Commissioners increasing council tax is Durham's Ron Hogg and he is


with me now. There is a view that there was a moral duty to implement


this council tax freeze. Why have you not done that? I do not agree


with that. Our main aim is to deliver an efficient police service.


The council tax increase by having posed will bring me in less than


�500,000 per annum. If you look at the council tax we gather from


policing, it is we Gillott the national average for council tax.


We get about 25 % of our policing budget from council tax. Therefore,


the reductions in our funding a much more acute. We were


constrained any amount we could actually increase. What we did, we


carried out a survey among the community and over two-thirds


agreed with this. We had significant backing from the


community over this. Now, people are saying they did not like the


idea of Police and Crime Commissioners. Second leg, up one


of the first things you do when in office is to say they are going to


have to pay more council tax? I can understand that. But what this will


do well give us more police officers on the streets. But when


4/5 of your budget is eaten up in staff costs, you have to look at


other ways to cover the costs. We are creating 60 jobs in a row


community. We have the Capitol building projects which will again


see work going into the local communities. Money will be going


out, but significant money will be coming in. No, we have heard about


the wildlife problems which have caused the delay in the building of


the headquarters which has cost you something like �250,000. We have to


take these matters seriously and into consideration. We want to move


out of the current headquarters and if we move into the new ones, we


will save �750,000 per annum. That is my commitment to reducing the


costs for the local community. In the current climate, is it


acceptable for Labour commissioners to put up council tax? I've think


it is an incredibly difficult time. I think I'll councils and police


commissioners should do everything to keep prices down as much as


possible. I you convinced that they are doing that? I had my sympathies.


They are being forced into this by the government cuts. They have very


little choice as to what they can do. Both Conservative and Labour


police commissioners are being forced to implement these cuts, so


I do not see it as a party political issue. I am frustrated on


their behalf. That is the reality of this, isn't it Anne Marie


Trevelyan? This is cuts imposed by the government. You cannot blame


him? I agree. I think Ron set out a very clear argument. The reality is


the council's but trying to maintain council tax freezes. I was


speaking to people in Derry yesterday and there question was,


are we going to see more policemen in Berwick? This is not going to be


for the rural areas of Northumberland. The rural


populations, who are struggling from all sorts of pressures such as


the cost of fuel, this is another drawback. They will not see the


benefit of this. There are going to be extra officers, and they could


be all over the pack should. As Vera Baird says, people are


prepared to pay it if they're going to get better policing.


certainly, if that was the case, but people in rural Northumberland


do not think they're going to see the benefits of this. If they can


explain how rural areas will benefit, because we tend to be left


out of the sort of things. �700,000 worth of savings could have


delivered this council tax freeze out of a budget of �300 million.


Would have been so difficult to find the saving elsewhere? A thing


there real pressures on councils, not just from the policing point of


view. There are having to make a look at all their assets and the


best management of them to avoid people having to pick their hands


in their pockets. But crime is falling a cross the regions, so


where is the justification for this rise in police officers? The things


are improving and the police are doing a fantastic job, but the


issue here is, we are seen less visibility of police officers. We


are seeing a loss in police officers and a cut in staff. This


is going to have an impact on the community and on victims. You're


were talking about people in rural areas who want to see people more


visible. But Vera Baird said that to try and make up for the cuts of


one 5th they have had, they would have to make cuts a cross the board.


I support asking our public services to work as efficiently as


they can to use the resources that are available. They have to use


them as effectively as possible to provide the services we need. I


think Northumbria has done a very good job in streamlining services,


but I do not think that Vera Baird is going to make a great


improvement in the policing and especially not in the rural


policing, as I have said. By key both very much. -- and Frankie both


And if you want your say on the police council tax rises, there is


more on my blog at bbc.co.uk/richardmoss.


The vote over gay marriage may have been overwhelmingly passed in the


Commons, but its legacy could be a toxic one for Conservatives in the


north. The region's Tory MPs were divided over the issue, while some


of their party members believe David Cameron was wrong to raise it


in the first place. Here is our Cumbria political reporter Megan


Paterson. Marriage means something different to all of us. We want to


get married and spent the rest of our lives together. I want to get


married and make that solemn vow in front of God. It is important to be


with somebody. It is not just a case of living with someone. To be,


it is the all come at that side of things. Been married is important.


It is important to me. It is no secret that planning any marriage


can cause tension and the Bill for equal marriage seems to cause


division among Conservative MPs in the North East and Cumbria. John


Stephenson is not convinced there is a niche for change. I do not


think the issue is necessary for this Parliament. I felt restate his


call would have been perfectly fine, sticking with civil partnerships. I


do not think there was any need for change. He was one of five MPs from


the area who voted against the Bill. Three Conservative MPs voted in


favour - William Hague, Rory Stuart and Gary Orr Harman from Hexham.


Would anyone feel less married because we have a constituents who


are getting married. I am not yet married. I have yet to find the


women who would put up with myself! She is out there, I promise you!


Your perception of the division is not what I see in the House of


Commons. It genuinely is not. This is the three wart. Everybody


expresses their conscience. It is not the case, in my it view, that


this is about defying anybody. If it was, it would not be a fee of


court. There is concern that it will alienate court party members,


going against the views of activist and failing to convert non-


Conservative voters. I think it will do damage to our core


membership. I think the feeling, the feeling of people I have spoken


to, feel it was rather unnecessary to have it at this time. I think


that some will probably resign their membership. Paul Flynn, not


for ever, but I think as a protest. The David Cameron will be hoping


that, despite that, they will say Conservative for better or worse.


If you do have any proposals for him, write to him, not to me! Where


do you stand at this? I think the whole point was what he said about


the idea of the fee for it. You've caught with your conscience. But I


agree with the Prime Minister, you should have the same legal rights


in union as any other. To challenge, out of seemingly nowhere, the


concept that marriage which has none between a man and a women and


not as the population to come with you and think about it, has cost a


lot of distress amongst traditional Conservative voters. I have done


more in my e-mail and postbag and this in recent weeks than on any


other issue. It is not a fear. It is a lack of understanding about


where this has come from, at the speed it has come up and it does


not make sense to them. I do not think this bill is coming from the


right place. I think we should take the whole thing away from me and


religious context and 80 Civil Union the norm a cross the United


Kingdom. It is complicated, but I think the Government did not want


to wade into anything which brought them into more conflict with the


Church of England. But I think this would have been better than this


next back we have ended up with. Are you finding members of the


party saying they have had enough? In the eye on local area, for


people have written to me to say they are resigning their membership.


They are really voting on that on it religious basis. Could is a much


bigger issue than a party political bases. He wants to bring us into it


and ecosystem abroad, but I do not think this provides for that. --


and equal system. I think it was the historic piece of legislation.


I think it was great to see it come through. I think in 50 years' time,


we will look back on this debate and see it that as being rather odd.


I think it is the likes of the way that we now look on the Bill to


pass the legality of homosexuality. I think it is fantastic that we can


find they have legislation which will give it equal rights to gay


couples. To you think this could be damaging for David Cameron? A thick


there eye a lot of issues where he needs to be dragged kicking and


screaming into the 21st century. But if he managed to offend older


members of the Conservative Party, is that not going to be a problem


for him? By are not so interested in that. If people want to play


party games, that is up to them, but I think it is a fantastic piece


of legislation. I think David Cameron is genuinely modernising


his you and make the something that works. The challenge is whether he


brings the party with them and that is where the time element could


have been better managed. Now, my lesser-known namesake


Richard III was back this week, removed from under a car park in


Leicester. We cannot promise you royalty, but


our reporter Megan Paterson has spent the week digging around and


managed to unearth a few political gems. And all in less time than it


takes to pay a quick visit to see your nephews. Money for flood


prevention work has been announced by the government, will


Northumberland council announced a new flood it prepared prevention


scheme. The leader of Northern Rock has been elected as the peer in the


House of Lords. The Government was as to be more bold about their


reform of the banks will stop why don't we just nationalise the money


and good public services? A school near Stockton suffered a setback


when the local council refused planning permission. And finally,


the new arrivals at Newcastle United. In the European Parliament,


he thanked the French President for the influx of players to the club


from a cross the Channel. And that is about it from us. There


is special reports on the BBC all next week about the government's


welfare changes, starting tomorrow with a look at the so-called


"bedroom tax". That is on Inside Out at 7.30pm tomorrow evening on


BBC One. And on the Sunday Politics next


weekend, we will be talking about how disabled people will be


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