03/03/2013 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with political news, interviews and debate, including business secretary Vince Cable and former Conservative cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 03/03/2013. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



After the Tory's disaster showing at the sleeve by-election, David


Cameron says there will be no lurch In the North East and Cumbria: New


laws to tackle dangerous dogs. And why the Government says this


family's house in Northumberland is too big for them and will cut their


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2197 seconds


Hello and a warm welcome to your local part of the show. With me to


chew over the fat of this week's stories, Hexham MP Guy Opperman and


Grahame Morris from Easington. Coming up: Why the Government


believes this family's house in Northumberland is too big for them


and says it will cut their benefits if they don't agree to move.


Coming up: But let's kick off with


controversial comments by Education Secretary Michael Gove. He's


reported as saying that people can smell the sense of defeatism in


some of the region's schools. And he named East Durham as a prime


example of an area where there was too little ambition from the local


authority. Grahame, has the Secretary of State got the perfect


right to raise concerns if he has than? These are deeply offensive


comments to parents, children, staff. He is absolutely wrong in


terms of the levels of achievement and of improvements that have been


achieved in its East Durham schools like the Science College and others


were the results are far above the national average. Michael Gove has


to take some culpability taking away its Educational Maintenance


Allowance, tripling tuition fees, ending the Building Schools for the


Future programme. I do not think the tuition fees affects the


schools. In terms of ambition, it could. It was not how far language.


He has been to the north-east many times and certainly I echo. We


should be supporting our teachers and families and children who were


doing a great job. In Northumberland, we have got a


council who are not necessarily going forward and are penalising


people trying to apply for academies. The point is legitimate


the made that vocal authorities need to step up to the plate -- the


point is a legitimate Lee made but for local authorities need to step


Our top story this week is about new laws to tackle dangerous dogs.


A quarter of a million people are attacked and injured by them every


year. And the Government has agreed to tighten up the law including


compulsory microchipping. That's in response to a campaign promoted by


Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery. 14 people have been killed then dog attacks


since 2005. Fate children and six adults. Hundreds of children have


been attacked and received life- changing injuries and disfigurement


in the same period -- eight children and six adults.


Prosecutions remain low as do court penalties.


Postal workers are among those who are most often victims of dog


attacks. Paul Clay is from the Communication Workers Union which


represents them. How big is this problem for your members? A massive


problem. People laugh when you say you have been attacked by a dog.


They do not realise the reality of being savaged by something that has


got teeth that barmaid for ripping skin and flesh to bits. Very


unpleasant. What are the government's plans to tackle this?


It will help. The reality of what we are working with is that it


might help after the attacks what it is not going to help -- but it


is not going to help before. The biggest problem when we watched the


debate in Parliament was when the minister got up, not when the MPs


got up and said generous support, we should be making sure


responsible dog ownership is at the front. When the minister got up and


said he was going to work with the animal welfare groups fit did not


make much sense to postal workers that have been bitten and chased


down every street in the country. In terms of prevention,


microchipping. I suppose the problem is irresponsible owners


might not bother with it. Does it help at all? Of course it helps.


The legislation would move things forward. Compulsory insurance and


making sure we can have behavioural orders and the police can end force


them would make even better sense. It is obviously welcome the


government is legislating on this but why is it taking so long to get


it on the books? We are a nation of dog-lovers. I am not sure we all


are! I was bitten in the last election by a dog, I assume. By a


dog. I am sure it was a liberal dog. I had blood and everything and


experienced what he has been through. It is wonderful news that


the laws are coming in. It helps with traceability and also with a


dog welfare. 6000 dogs are put down every year because they cannot be


traced. That is a fantastic thing if we could stop that. It is


fantastic but why not just get on and do it? You have got to consult


and get the traceability in. By 2016, every dog will be chipped


Andy will be in a position it will be sorted out by then. You cannot


say to everybody tomorrow. Do you accept that explanation? My good


friend and colleague in the video made some excellent points. The


issue about private land and addressing that which the


consultation has identified, timing is critical and 5000 postal workers


a year are reporting incidents of dog attacks. Nurses, doctors,


Communication Workers... The government needs to work with


greater speed. Some people might soap, is it a priority to push this


legislation through rather than any other? There is a cost to it,


treatment from the NHS. People losing time to prove such injuries.


I think the government can find time if they wish. They have found


time for more controversial issues in recent months. I am sure they


could if the will was there. There is the issue of the enforcement as


well which is critical. Briefly, isn't microchipping a sledgehammer


to crack a nut? What you've just going to end up prosecuting people


rather than the ones who would not bother? The bottom line is this.


Something must be done. We have consulted on this and it has cross-


party agreement. I think it is a good thing that the government is


finally sorting this matter up. Thank you very much for now.


Almost half of all people in the North East living in social or


rented accommodation are judged by the Government to be in houses that


are too big for them. That's the highest number in England. The


Government wants to encourage them to move to smaller properties. So,


from April, working-age families will be assessed for the number of


bedrooms they actually need and will have their benefits reduced by


up to a quarter if they have too many extra rooms. Mark Denten


reports. This family at home in their three-


bedroom semi-. Two sons and mum and dad. You could not get two people


in either bedroom unless there were on beds. The double bedroom is


ideal for a married couple. We have not got a sitting room either.


Officially they have an under occupied house. Because the boys


are under 16, they should be sharing a room. From April, they


face a housing benefit cut of �48 a month. It is no good starting to


take everything off the lower incomes. I have found at least 20


families the same as us who have got two children who are in three


or four-bedroom houses and they are getting hit as well. From April,


they will be among 50,000 people in the north-east affected by the


government's new under occupancy charge. The critics call it the


bedroom tax. The idea is to shave �23 billion off the housing benefit


bill. How will it work? If people have won a spare room their housing


benefit will be cut by 14%. If they have to spare rooms, 25% cut. The


government is giving councils an extra �30 million to help people


cope with the extra cost. That does not convince these people. These


campaigners of pensioners and veterans of the poll tax protests.


They will not be affected by the latest changes but so they have a


duty to make young people aware of them. When they get the money in


April, the children will be flawed. You cannot blame people if riots


occur because sometimes that is the only way to get across how you feel.


How can people cope with the loss of income? You have the right to


live way you want to live. government supporters say changing


the policy his fur. Too much emphasis has been placed on certain


people claiming Hammett which it will cost and to stay in the house


they are in -- claiming how much it will cost them. They are families


in crowded accommodation. latest part of this debate is an


MP's breakfast. Normally I'd cooked porridge with milk but this has


been cooked with water. She has to spend a week living on �18. That is


how much front of her constituents will be left with. It is completely


impossible to eat a balanced diet. I ran out of money on Sunday. There


was nothing left to eat. I would say to her that I wait for her to


do something to assist families in overcrowded accommodation. Whose


responsibility is that? It is the responsibility of the last Labour


government. The ministers insist many


overcrowded families will benefit but hard choices must be made when


housing is limited. There is a hard choice for people like this family


too. Pay extra or move out. It is easy to talk about people


losing money. But you are less keen to talk about the people who this


will help, the thousands of people in overcrowded accommodation.


is an easy solution to that. Cap the rents and build more social


housing. There is not enough. We are spending �24 billion on housing


benefit and only �1 billion on building new social and affordable


houses. There is a huge disparity there. Is it Labour's failure to


build enough homes in the first place? I except it was a failure


and we need to address it. This government have done nothing to cap


dramatically increasing rents in the private sector. I have cases,


1300 people affected in my constituency alone, they have been


driven from effectively council housing from the social housing


sector into the private sector, in two smaller accommodation which is


more expensive. It is perverse that the government are forcing them to


do this. Isn't the overcrowding argument a red herring? This is a


cynical method of cutting the Housing Bill. Most people will not


want to move. As you rightly highlighted, we inherited a housing


crisis. There is not enough social housing and that is why we are


trying to build more and we have reformed the planning laws and


there is over a billion pounds going into social housing. We are


addressing the lack of houses. I have 12,000 people in


Northumberland, thousands in my own constituency, they are seeking


social accommodation. If there are people with a 2, 3, four-bedroom


houses and they are not using all of the bedrooms, those people have


got a choice. Fever they pay the difference themselves -- either


they pay the difference themselves or move. This is a circular


argument. They are not enough homes but where will the people move to?


All of the housing associations say, we have not got the stock to put


people in. I spoke to the housing association that that family are


concerned with and they are working with all of their local people and


they say they have consulted with them and they are working with them.


We have got �50 million of the local authorities... That is a tiny


amount when you consider the thousands of houses. It is with the


�390 million that came with the scheme. That is a discretionary


thing. The money is there. accusation might be that your


labour... Are you worrying people when there is help on hand if


councils choose to lose it? There is not enough help and there are


groups significantly disadvantaged. The disabled, elderly couples.


know they are exempt. They are not exempt. That is not correct. There


are groups serving in the armed forces... I think this is a huge


issue. There are 34 protests and demonstrations across the country


plan for 16th March including a couple in our region that I will be


joining. Is this not just actually getting people on benefits to join


the real world? If anybody not on benefits has to pay for a bigger


house, they have to play a bigger price. Many of the people


advocating this policy on the Conservative front bench don't know


anyone who is unemployed or disabled. Someone on jobseeker's


allowance on �71 a week faced with paying an additional �22 a week.


How can they find that money? This is a social justice issue. Is this


a poll tax moment? No. This is addressing a housing benefit that


cost 20 Billy -- �23 billion which the Labour government accepted we


have to deal with. Subsidies paid to people. We would like the money


to be spent on more social housing, schools and hospitals. We will have


to leave it there. I apologise. I am sure it is a subject we will


come back to. Now, who should look after people


who are on probation? In the past it's been the Probation Service.


But now the Government wants to allow private firms and charities


to supervise low and medium-risk offenders. If they manage to keep


them out of trouble, they'll be paid for their success. It's the


same model used in the Government's controversial work programme. But


does it put public safety at risk? You do not want to take a backward


step. You want to help yourself and maybe help your family, you have


got to have somebody to talk to and somebody 2.2 in the right direction.


This month spent time in prison after being charged with affray. On


release, he came back to Carlisle to try and start again.


probation service helped me secure somewhere to live. If you come out


cold, you may fall back into the place you were before you went in.


The government proposals would see the rehabilitation of people like


this man passed to private firms or charities. That is 70% of cases.


People who have repeatedly shot lifted to those who have been


involved in domestic violence. The plans have been met with strong


opposition from Cumbria's police and crime commissioner. He stood as


the Conservative candidate in elections. He is also the former


chairman of the county's probation trust. When I stood for election, I


was led to believe I would be in charge of the commissioning of all


services related to criminal justice in Cumbria. This appears


not to be the case because the government has said it is going to


commission services centrally. I ask the question, hype can I be


held to account for criminal levels in Cumbria of a service which I


have no part in the commissioning process? -- How can I be held to


account? The plans have been described as dreadful over off.


Another man says they are risky and flawed. The commissioner elsewhere


says the reforms pose a major risk to public safety. In North


Yorkshire, the commissioner has worries about the payment by


results element. It comes after Chris grayling describe PCCs as the


blue in his rehabilitation revolution. Is the revolution about


to come unstuck -- the blue in the revolution. I do not think the


scheme will put local delivery at risk. It should bring best practice


in. People who are interested in getting reoffending down have


nothing to fear. Probation trusts in the north-east and Cumbria so


they do not fear competition and want to see fewer people committing


crimes of course but they question the proposed methods of reducing


reoffending. Our decisions are made on a basis of public interest and


if the payment by results model is introduced, I am concerned the


decisions may be made on a different basis. To make decisions


in the public interest, you need to no you public. If it is run by a


company that is down in London or event in Manchester, it is quite


faceless. Cumbria it is a wide rural community. They do not know


the ins and outs of it. This is a hare-brained idea.


Trusting private companies with little or no experience to


supervise sex offenders, perpetrators of domestic violence.


I have written a book on this issue and I have spent 20 years working


with probation offenders. I have prosecuted nine murder trials and


seen the way probation work and they do a good job. But to so they


cannot have some competition... of their cases. Seven out of 10


people who leave prison reoffend. If you think that is a good


statistic, I do not. I just want to pick up on the statistic because


that includes people who have been sentenced to less than a year which


probation have nothing to do with. Yes, they do. People who leave


prison need mentoring. What they have not got at the moment is that.


It should be provided, not just by probation, but by charities who are


already working in the sector. Some do a great job providing literacy


and the bridge between custody and real life outside. There is great


scope for this to work and we talk about the two years to work through


the proposals, there has been a consultation. As the probation


service said, they do not fear competition. What is so great about


the current system if the reoffending rates... I do not think


there is no justification for privatising this. The probation


service has won a national award. The Minister presented the award to


them and spoke in glowing terms about their performance and their


satisfaction of victims and the reduction of the reoffending rates.


Why can't somebody do well or if not better? This is usually risky


because they are talking about low and medium risk prisoners and that


is people who are burglars, drug users, people involved in domestic


violence. There something goes wrong as it has with the


government's work programme that was piloted over the last year also


and in fact be success rate has been about 3.6% getting people into


work, severely criticised, very expensive, payment by results. It


is unfortunate if someone cannot find a job, but if it is in the


justice system, it is rather more dangerous. Answer that criticism.


Payment by results introduced by the Labour government. Doncaster


prison is the most successful payment by results prison in the


country. They should be supporting it. This is a Frankenstein version


of payment by results and it is extremely risky in terms of public


safety. They run prisons. That is what they do. Thank you very much.


Those of you old enough to remember Mrs Thatcher will certainly recall


one of her most controversial policies - selling off council


houses. David Cameron has revived the idea. With that and the rest of


the week's political news, here's Mark Denten.


A council is to reduce funding and asks volunteers to run five of its


libraries. Civil suffer failures over the West Coast Rail contract


will cost tax payers millions of pounds.


The number of people buying their own council house under the right-


to-buy scheme is at its highest since 2007. The government wants to


encourage more sales. I am keen to ensure that whoever you are,


whichever part of the country, if you want to do this, you should be


able to and we will support you very strongly. Another council has


scrapped plans to introduce parking charges. More than 2000 objections.


The former Bishop of Durham has taken his seat in the Lords. The


name of the new bishop is expected to be renounced in the summer -- be


announced in the summer. That is about all from us. Next


week, I will be reporting from Norway. Finding out if the


Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate, including business secretary Vince Cable and former Conservative cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell.

Download Subtitles