17/02/2013 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


17/02/2013

Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate, including Conservative Chairman Grant Shapps and Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 17/02/2013. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

Welcome to the Sunday Politics. The gloves are off, it's all guns

:00:41.:00:51.
:00:51.:01:27.

blazing as the parties fight it out In the north-east and Cumbria, a

:01:27.:01:32.

rethink on Newcastle's cuts. We talk to the council leader. And are

:01:32.:01:37.

disabled people being treated fairly by the Government's will for

:01:37.:01:47.
:01:47.:01:47.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2156 seconds

:01:47.:37:43.

First up: there's been many local council cuts - and many protests.

:37:43.:37:46.

But nothing has made headlines quite like Newcastle Council's

:37:46.:37:50.

decision to axe 100 per cent of its arts budget - along with ten of its

:37:50.:37:52.

public libraries. But after a ferocious spat with leading lights

:37:52.:37:55.

in the arts world and some unwelcome national publicity, comes

:37:55.:37:58.

a re-think. The leader of the council, Nick Forbes, joins me now.

:37:58.:38:01.

You have now found �600,000 to go into a fund to help the arts groups.

:38:01.:38:04.

Was this a massive No -- massive miscalculation? There has been an

:38:04.:38:08.

intervention from Harriet Harman. It is quickly -- pretty humiliating,

:38:08.:38:14.

isn't it? A no one questions the value of the arts and culture. The

:38:14.:38:20.

question is about how to fund them when the arts are competing for

:38:20.:38:24.

funding with things like rubbish collection and social cool for the

:38:24.:38:28.

elderly. What we have come up with is an innovative and creative way

:38:28.:38:33.

of funding the arts from switching from revenue subsidy to Capital

:38:33.:38:37.

Investment model by setting up an investment fund for culture and the

:38:37.:38:43.

arts in Newcastle. Nothing to do with that, was it, Harriet Harman,

:38:43.:38:47.

telling you to get your act together? I spoke to run a week

:38:47.:38:51.

before their Nisbet to tell them what we were doing. She was

:38:51.:38:56.

absolutely delighted with it. This is work that has been in progress

:38:56.:39:01.

for a very long period of time. We have been discussing this with arts

:39:01.:39:05.

organisations and the Arts Council since last December. There seems to

:39:05.:39:13.

be a pattern with this Budget. Some libraries and swimming pools of,

:39:13.:39:18.

closing, some not, but you seem to have no choice to cut these, and

:39:18.:39:25.

now it seems there is a choice. What are we to believe? The reason

:39:25.:39:28.

why we have had a three-month consultation is to allow people to

:39:28.:39:31.

think of alternatives. We have not said that we are going to pass on

:39:32.:39:35.

the cuts down the line. We have said this is what will happen if we

:39:35.:39:39.

do not do something different. And communities have responded

:39:39.:39:44.

magnificently over the last three months. Where we had, for example...

:39:44.:39:49.

There is not any extra money. What people have come up with his

:39:49.:39:54.

creative solutions and ways of doing things like delivering

:39:54.:40:00.

libraries in partnership. One for every respite care centres for

:40:00.:40:04.

disabled children? The threat to close them caused families

:40:04.:40:08.

immeasurable stress. A Labour MP in the city has said that you could

:40:08.:40:13.

have stopped families having that stress. During the consultation

:40:13.:40:18.

process similar units have closed in North Tyneside and in Hexham.

:40:18.:40:22.

We're not think it is appropriate to abandon families at a time when

:40:22.:40:27.

there is no other alternative. it that you have to put those

:40:27.:40:32.

families through this? The families have come up with good ideas about

:40:32.:40:36.

how we could extend the building and market the service is better

:40:36.:40:41.

and get better use out of the existing capacity. What we're doing

:40:41.:40:45.

is committing to exploring all the alternatives. That is the

:40:45.:40:50.

responsible thing to do at a time when we are facing unprecedented

:40:50.:40:56.

cuts. You make embarrassing cost to the Government, dramatic cuts, then

:40:56.:41:02.

you think again. The sky has not fallen in. Newcastle still faces

:41:02.:41:07.

�100 million worth of cuts. We have had an honest, opulent conversation

:41:07.:41:11.

about what those cuts mean in practice and how the City can work

:41:11.:41:16.

together to mitigate against the worst excesses of them. These cuts

:41:16.:41:19.

are still damaging in many ways, and there are further cuts down the

:41:19.:41:22.

line which the Government says it is going to announce in future

:41:22.:41:26.

years, and that fills me with fear for the future of our public

:41:27.:41:33.

services. This is exactly what Eric Pickles and the Government one, big

:41:33.:41:38.

cuts from government making council leaders having to get all the blame.

:41:38.:41:43.

They have to make difficult decisions. I wish that there had

:41:43.:41:48.

not been as political grandstanding going on before the decisions are

:41:48.:41:53.

taken. It sounds to me as if to save a number of services which the

:41:53.:41:57.

City would clearly like to save, the council is at long last looking

:41:57.:42:01.

at alternative ways of funding them. That is the very thing that has to

:42:01.:42:04.

be done when you have economic pressures of the kind that we

:42:04.:42:11.

currently have. That is not good enough. It is �100 million. He says

:42:11.:42:14.

that there are still huge amounts of cuts that have been passed on by

:42:14.:42:18.

the Government. It is exactly what the Government wants, to pass the

:42:18.:42:22.

blame along the line, to pass the buck. We all know that this country

:42:22.:42:26.

has had a very tough time. We know that the last government left us

:42:26.:42:30.

with a massive debt, and that applies to Labour-run authorities

:42:30.:42:34.

as well as others that they might have got to cut their cloth

:42:34.:42:38.

according to what is there. But, grandstanding like has been going

:42:38.:42:41.

on in Newcastle, taking it to the brink and worrying people

:42:41.:42:45.

unnecessarily, when other ideas could have been brought forward

:42:45.:42:51.

sooner is, in my view, unacceptable. This is damaging to the region. We

:42:51.:42:57.

have had talk about other councils "not doing a Newcastle". It is not

:42:57.:43:02.

a great advert for the north-east. I have great sympathy with local

:43:02.:43:08.

authority leaders over the cuts they have to make. They have got to

:43:09.:43:13.

find �174 million worth of cuts over four years. That is a slash to

:43:13.:43:17.

the bone of services and will clean air. Things are very difficult that

:43:17.:43:21.

local authorities are having to do. I have got a lot of sympathy for

:43:21.:43:26.

the decisions being made, because they are very difficult. The cuts

:43:26.:43:30.

that we are facing in the North East are far worse than some of the

:43:30.:43:34.

local authorities down south. I would say to him that some of the

:43:35.:43:39.

cups and the South of England, Tory councils, not as bad as the ones

:43:39.:43:44.

we're being asked to make in the north-east. There are lots of

:43:44.:43:48.

council cuts and savings going on. Does it surprise you that the

:43:48.:43:52.

biggest fuss was about cuts to the arts, and not cuts that affect

:43:52.:43:56.

vulnerable people? Local authorities are having to make

:43:56.:44:01.

unbelievably difficult decisions. You try to make cuts that or save

:44:01.:44:06.

money in the short term. Lots of places round the country are

:44:06.:44:10.

cutting leisure centres, because that is seen as an easy way to save

:44:10.:44:16.

money. You wake up again social care or respite homes or old

:44:16.:44:20.

people's homes, those are things that you absolutely cannot cut

:44:20.:44:26.

without causing massive difficulties. It is a tough time

:44:26.:44:33.

right now. I do not end the anyone having to make those decisions. --

:44:33.:44:41.

envy anyone. Disability Living Allowance has long been the most

:44:41.:44:45.

common benefit paid to disabled people - both in and out of work.

:44:45.:44:48.

But that's about to change - and the North East and Cumbria will be

:44:48.:44:51.

one of the first parts of the UK to be affected. Our correspondent Mark

:44:52.:44:54.

Denten reports. There are just over 3 million people in the north-east

:44:54.:44:57.

and Cumbria. Among the crowds, there are six in with a 60,000 of

:44:57.:45:00.

us with disabilities. In a time of squeezed budgets, how do retarget

:45:00.:45:04.

many of those who need it most? Karen is an occupational therapist

:45:04.:45:10.

to became disabled through a back injury. Since then, work has become

:45:10.:45:15.

even more crucial. Without work I think I would not function. There

:45:15.:45:21.

are lots of disabled people who want to work. They would probably

:45:21.:45:26.

do anything just to be given that opportunity. Caroline faces extra

:45:26.:45:30.

costs getting around. The Disability Living Allowance helps,

:45:30.:45:33.

but a shake-up is coming. Disability Living Allowance

:45:33.:45:40.

claimants get up to �526 a month, but in the last year, the benefit

:45:40.:45:45.

cost that in �13.5 billion. Ministers say that that money could

:45:45.:45:48.

be targeted better solar system called personal independence

:45:48.:45:52.

payments is coming in. That will mean new assessments to decide what

:45:52.:45:57.

people get. That worries Karen. She is partially sighted, and she lives

:45:57.:46:04.

in Newcastle. When the weather is fine, she's out and about. She will

:46:04.:46:07.

be reassessed to see if she qualifies for the new benefit, as

:46:07.:46:13.

she has an unchanging condition. She does not understand why. It is

:46:13.:46:17.

not like having a bad back. If you have a bad back, you can have

:46:17.:46:21.

treatment and you can get better. Therefore, these are the people who

:46:21.:46:25.

should be targeted to get off Disability Living Allowance. Not

:46:25.:46:30.

people who have got an ongoing condition. Disabled people in this

:46:30.:46:35.

region will be among the first in the country to be affected by these

:46:35.:46:39.

changes, because by April, under a pilot scheme, new claimants will

:46:39.:46:44.

have to apply for that new benefit, personal independence payments, but

:46:44.:46:47.

eventually, all Disability Living Allowance claimants will be

:46:47.:46:52.

reassessed to see whether they qualify for the new benefit. Round

:46:52.:46:57.

here, that means thousands of people. Diane is not convinced

:46:57.:47:01.

those people will be fairly assessed. GS Employment Support

:47:01.:47:04.

Allowance and Disability living Allowance. After being diagnosed

:47:04.:47:08.

with breast cancer she had more bad news. I received a letter stating

:47:08.:47:16.

that I was fit for work along with my p 45. A how did you feel about

:47:16.:47:26.
:47:26.:47:30.

that? The devastated and shocked. They cannot get that right, how can

:47:30.:47:35.

we expect them to get the Sea Benefit right? Diane is appealing

:47:35.:47:40.

against the assessment carried out by the private company, at odds.

:47:40.:47:44.

They say they works Whitley to Gately is given to them by the

:47:44.:47:48.

Government. Opposition MPs are concerned about the disability

:47:48.:47:52.

benefit changes. It is being driven solely by getting the finances

:47:52.:47:57.

stunned. But we also have to look after people properly. This benefit

:47:57.:48:02.

has been around for 20 years. But the % of people who have caught it

:48:02.:48:07.

do not have any corroborating medical evidence. Fear of targeting

:48:07.:48:11.

or blunt instrument? The Government begins phasing in the new system in

:48:11.:48:19.

just seven weeks. Everyone is in favour of people with genuine

:48:19.:48:24.

disabilities in getting the benefits they deserve, but only

:48:24.:48:25.

sure assessing people, there might be people who just do not need or

:48:25.:48:33.

deserve it. We have to again cut money from the welfare budget, but

:48:33.:48:37.

many concerns from disabled people are around the testing process. A

:48:37.:48:40.

lot of people have conditions that will not change and only ever get

:48:40.:48:44.

worse, and there is an argument about whether you have to be

:48:44.:48:48.

assessing all of those people. The new criteria for personal

:48:49.:48:53.

independence payment is much stricter. The Government said

:48:53.:48:57.

400,000 people will not make the transition from Disability Living

:48:57.:49:01.

Allowance to personal independence penis. And we're not going to know

:49:01.:49:07.

the real effect for another couple of years. A but you want more

:49:07.:49:10.

disabled people being given the opportunity to work and not rely on

:49:10.:49:15.

benefits. The Government always says it wants support to go to the

:49:15.:49:18.

people with the most need, and I have no difficulty with that, but

:49:18.:49:21.

the difficulty is with people who need that little extra bit of help

:49:21.:49:28.

and support. Disability living allowance gets disabled people rice

:49:28.:49:31.

to live in society, because it costs more to be disabled, to get

:49:31.:49:36.

to work, to have extra heating, or extra support at home to carry out

:49:36.:49:42.

daily tasks. The danger with slashing those benefits is, that we

:49:42.:49:45.

just push costs further down the line and we have people who need

:49:45.:49:50.

temporary residential care, much more help, and I would like to have

:49:50.:49:54.

seen a cumulative impact assessment, which did not happen, but we will

:49:54.:49:59.

find out in the next two years. this is short-sighted, if you're

:49:59.:50:03.

looking just to cut the welfare bill, have disabled people put into

:50:03.:50:09.

stress, losing benefits and ending up in crisis, so be it?

:50:09.:50:13.

Disability Living Allowance has been in place for 20 years. All the

:50:13.:50:16.

major parties agree that the kids to be reformed and reviewed,

:50:16.:50:21.

particularly with the changes in attitudes. Do you need to reassess

:50:21.:50:24.

people like Karen, who has a sight problem that is not going to

:50:24.:50:31.

change? I understand that. It is a sensitive area. But, the people who

:50:31.:50:34.

are currently on Disability Living Allowance, the vast majority of

:50:34.:50:38.

them are not going to be assessed or have changed or at least two

:50:38.:50:42.

years. While we see what happens with the new personal independence

:50:42.:50:46.

payment, which is concentrating on helping people live independent

:50:46.:50:51.

lives, concentrating on those in greatest need of help. What will

:50:51.:50:57.

happen is, this will come in in 2014, the Government are going to

:50:57.:51:01.

review his progress before we do anything brother with those who are

:51:02.:51:11.

currently on Disability Living Do you think the Government is

:51:11.:51:16.

having to clear up the mess that you left? When we left the benefits

:51:16.:51:22.

bill had gone down by �7.5 billion. With Disability Living Allowance,

:51:22.:51:28.

the Government is saying that it is going to a regime that is going to

:51:29.:51:34.

save us, 500,000 people not been able to migrate on to that. They

:51:34.:51:38.

have decided to make cuts, so the assessments have got to match that

:51:38.:51:44.

cut. I think they might have got it the wrong way round. The people who

:51:44.:51:50.

are going to suffer are those who are the most adorable. But the

:51:50.:51:58.

welfare bill is huge. -- the most vulnerable. Every single change,

:51:58.:52:03.

you will pause. Nobody is saying that there should not be some kind

:52:03.:52:07.

of assessment regime for Disability Living Allowance, but do the

:52:07.:52:11.

assessments and fit the budget accordingly. You do not make a cup

:52:11.:52:17.

of �2 billion, and say to 500,000 people, they are not going to be

:52:17.:52:21.

able to have the personal independence payment. Tanni Grey-

:52:21.:52:25.

Thompson, have you got evidence that the Government is picking on

:52:25.:52:31.

people, on David disabled? It is not as simple as that. The system

:52:31.:52:36.

has to be simplified, it has to be better, it has to save money. I do

:52:36.:52:45.

not think they have got the assessment process correct. 40% of

:52:45.:52:55.
:52:55.:52:56.

appeals are successful. We need to do more to get the assessment right.

:52:56.:52:59.

Although one in six of the population has a disability, only a

:52:59.:53:02.

handful of our MPs are disabled. And it seems despite the success of

:53:02.:53:05.

the likes of Jack Ashley and David Blunkett, their political

:53:05.:53:07.

representation hasn't really improved substantially in recent

:53:07.:53:10.

years. The same appears to be true in our town halls. So what would it

:53:10.:53:13.

take to persuade more disabled people to put themselves up for

:53:13.:53:17.

election? Lynne Jefferies is a well-known face around York. She

:53:18.:53:22.

has campaigned on disability issues for 20 years. Labour offered her

:53:22.:53:25.

the chance to stand for the city council two years ago. After some

:53:25.:53:31.

thought, she said yes. I thought that if I was a councillor, that

:53:31.:53:37.

might make a difference, been part of the party machine rather than

:53:37.:53:41.

something outside. But last year, she quit the Labour group. She felt

:53:41.:53:50.

she was not being allowed to speak up on the issues she cares about.

:53:50.:53:53.

There was an attitude that disabled people are people that you do

:53:53.:53:58.

things for. And that is what councillors generally miss,

:53:58.:54:03.

people's experience of being a disabled person is so valuable. In

:54:03.:54:07.

terms of policy making. She remains on the council as an independent.

:54:07.:54:12.

But she's one of only a smattering of disabled councillors in the

:54:12.:54:17.

north. Steve Wilkinson is that kind of person you can imagine entering

:54:17.:54:23.

politics. A campaigner on disabled access, but as for running for

:54:23.:54:30.

office, he is not interested. of a first-past-the-post system.

:54:30.:54:35.

You're either going to hear the concerns of the Lib Dems or UKIP,

:54:35.:54:41.

or you will become independent and if I did, I would not be elected. I

:54:41.:54:50.

would not be able to represent the people that I did. Some believe

:54:50.:54:55.

that change is possible. I think that the person has got to be there,

:54:55.:55:01.

got to be supported, and in certain areas of their home life, but over

:55:01.:55:06.

the years, things will change, and we will get a much better mix.

:55:06.:55:10.

Those who have made it into politics believe attitudes to

:55:10.:55:13.

disabled people amongst parties will be harder to overcome than any

:55:13.:55:18.

physical barriers. What's of the barriers start because councillors

:55:18.:55:21.

do not engage properly with disabled people and unless we tried

:55:21.:55:27.

to do that we will not get people wanting to be councillors, to be

:55:27.:55:32.

honest. Tanni Grey-Thompson, you got into politics in any unusual

:55:32.:55:35.

way, but what do you think stops more disabled people getting into

:55:35.:55:42.

politics? A number of things. Often they do not know how to go about it.

:55:42.:55:46.

I am a crossbencher. I am in a privileged position to be able to

:55:46.:55:51.

see my mind and nobody can tell me off, for that. I was not elected.

:55:51.:55:55.

When we had a debate about how the Lords would be reformed, the only

:55:55.:55:59.

way I would be able to stand for election is as an independent and

:55:59.:56:03.

that is almost impossible to do. But many of the public are switched

:56:03.:56:07.

off by politics in general because it seems to be quite antagonistic.

:56:07.:56:12.

And most people want to be more collaborative, I think. It would

:56:12.:56:22.
:56:22.:56:23.

you accept that political parties sure some of the blame? -- share.

:56:23.:56:26.

They share some of the blame but should also share some of the

:56:26.:56:30.

credit. Since I became an end p 35 years ago things have changed

:56:30.:56:33.

dramatically in terms of the attitudes displayed towards

:56:33.:56:37.

encouraging people with disability to get into public office. I have

:56:37.:56:40.

seen a dramatic change in that is all for the good, but we have got

:56:40.:56:46.

lots more to do. I think there are some good, positive sides to this,

:56:46.:56:48.

and a major party should do everything possible to encourage

:56:48.:56:55.

people to join us. What about all disabled shortlists, like you are

:56:55.:56:59.

all-women shortlists? It is something to consider. You want to

:56:59.:57:03.

see as many people from as many canes of backgrounds to be involved

:57:03.:57:07.

in politics, not just party politics. Do you think the party

:57:07.:57:11.

system is feeling? I think we have got to think on both sides of the

:57:11.:57:17.

House of Commons were you have got David Blunkett and Ann Begg on the

:57:17.:57:20.

Labour side, and you have others on the Conservative side making a

:57:20.:57:29.

great contribution to parliamentary life. Now it's Sunday lunchtime and

:57:29.:57:32.

I don't know about you but I just fancy one of those delicious beef

:57:32.:57:35.

ready meals I keep hearing all about on the news. But first let's

:57:35.:57:39.

tuck into the feast that is the week of politics in 60 seconds.

:57:39.:57:47.

Full of quality ingredients and not North Cumbria University NHS Trust

:57:47.:57:53.

and Carlisle is to investigate high mortality rates fall in the

:57:53.:57:58.

investigation at Stafford hospital. With concerns over horsemeat, when

:57:58.:58:01.

Newcastle MP asks what is in beefburgers? She says that poorer

:58:01.:58:07.

families worry most. Is he saying that in some of Fry's a beefburger,

:58:07.:58:10.

they have to research the entire supply chain rather than relying on

:58:10.:58:15.

the Government and the Secretary of State? Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson

:58:15.:58:20.

could be investigated in a row of a Petacci assembly plant. The

:58:20.:58:24.

Conservative MP says he did not declare �5,700 in donations before

:58:24.:58:30.

speaking about the project. Ian livery once the Football

:58:30.:58:34.

Association to give a more to the non-League game. And the Prime

:58:34.:58:37.

Minister praised Cumbria at a special event in the Commons. David

:58:37.:58:43.

Cameron said that Cumbria brought back happy memories of swimming in

:58:43.:58:51.

Ullswater. I bet he was freezing. Let's talk about this complaint

:58:51.:59:01.
:59:01.:59:03.

that has been picked in. -- put in. About accepting money from Petacci?

:59:03.:59:08.

We had a anniversary dinner in November and Petacci agreed to be

:59:08.:59:12.

one of the sponsors. That edition was accepted in accordance with

:59:12.:59:14.

parliamentary rules. The parliamentary authorities were

:59:15.:59:20.

advised, every step of the way and it is fully transparent. What has

:59:20.:59:22.

happened is the Conservative headquarters have heard about it

:59:22.:59:27.

and tried to create some mischief. The complaint is that you asked

:59:27.:59:37.
:59:37.:59:37.

questions in the Commons. I have made one speech. On 30th January,

:59:37.:59:41.

on Europe, in which I mentioned Petacci, and before I made the

:59:41.:59:45.

speech by spoke to the parliamentary authorities about,

:59:45.:59:52.

should I make a declaration, and I was advised not to. And that's

:59:52.:59:57.

about it from us. We're off for our half-term break next week but we'll

:59:58.:00:01.

be back on March 3 - when the MPs for Hexham and Easington will be

:00:01.:00:04.

Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS