12/05/2013 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate, guests include defence secretary Philip Hammond.

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$$CLEAR $:/STARTFEED. $$CLEAR Hello and a very warm welcome to


your local part of the show. Coming up: Was there anything to get


excited by in the Queen's Speech? I will be asking the MPs for


Middlesbrough and Stockton. Also, as benefit cuts start to bite and


there's less money in people's pockets, what impact will it have


on local shops and businesses? I have been to Teesside to find out.


But let's start with the Queen's Speech. It only lasted seven and a


half minutes. Does that mean the Government has run out of steam? Or


are they focussing on what matters? But the devil will be in the detail,


but it was looking thin from where I was standing. Time will tell, but


I did not think there was a great deal in it. We will get into the


detail in a moment. It may have it may have been overshadowed somewhat


by the departure of a certain football manager, but the coalition


does believe the Queen's Speech will be welcomed by voters. Berwick


MP Sir Alan Beith said tougher rules on immigration showed the


Government had its priorities right. I believe the Government is making


steps and the right direction in this area. Critics point to what


was not in a speech, in particular a minimum price for alcohol and the


introduction of plain packaging on cigarettes. Labour's health


spokesman Andy Burnham was visiting Gateshead on Thursday and said the


failure to include such measures showed the Government wasn't taking


public health -- Public Health in places like the northeast seriously.


They are dancing to the UK option. I think this is a major mistake.


UKIP tune. The Government also promised a crime bill which


criminalises forced marriage and includes new laws on dangerous dogs.


Northumbria's police commissioner Vera Barid welcomed some aspects of


the bill, but said she had concerns two. I wish they were not getting


rid of the ASBO. I think they could have been improved instead of


scrapped. The government also plans a shake-up of probation. Other


significant bills will see the state pension age increase took 67


and a �72,000 cap introduced on social care costs. Are these


responses purely to the pressure from it you Cheb? I don't believe


they are. -- pressure from UKIP. I don't believe they are. I believe


the Government is responding to public concerns. We are reducing


immigration by one third already. More can be done. A Home Secretary


can tackle this important issue. Account imagined a constituent


talking about tobacco packaging. These are major problems in our


region. Driving up the cost to people for alcohol is not something


the Government should be doing at difficult times. Even if it helps


save lives? Are on tobacco packaging, there is not enough


evidence that this makes a difference. In Australia, it has


become a fashion accessory. It also makes a counterfeit cigarettes


easier to produce. The coalition has picked on things that it


believes constituents might be concerned about. We have seen crime


produce consistently since 1995. Long may that continue. I am not


sure that is a priority. What worries me is that deterioration of


economic circumstances. That is a real issue for us. You have touched


upon the immigration issue. What is a real concern to me is the


exploitation of migrant workers who are being exploited and wages are


being driven down. You can understand upset regarding wages


being driven down by that method. There is also upset regarding


health and housing. It makes an attractive story to a son that


people coming to this country seeking asylum or refuge, the red


carpet is rolled out for them and they're getting preferential


treatment. My discussions with those people, it could not be


further from that position at all. They are not treated in that way. I


met with people a fortnight ago in Middlesbrough for were struggling


so much to keep a roof over their heads and to keep food on the table.


It was a terrible story and one we should revisit of some intelligence


and compassion, instead of headline-grabbing. The economy is


the crucial issue. What does the Queen's Speech do about that?


of the big measures coming forward will be the employment allowance.


That will mean employers will have to pay less national insurance. It


is being brought in in 2015. The North East did extremely well with


the regional growth money. We are looking at rolling back red tape


and making it easier for people to do business. These are not


overnight fixes. But there are a number of important measures under


to show the government is serious about growing the economy. Jobs and


employment affect people every day. Do you accept that the Government


is serious about getting people back to work? The jobs crisis is


enormous. Her when they talk about the regeneration of this region and


the economy doing well, I look at that acid test of the number of


people claiming jobseeker's allowance and the figures do not


make happy reading. 14%. It is abysmal. Labour keep talking about


a jobs guarantee. That is for people who are unemployed for two


years. Where are these jobs coming from? It is about giving employers


a confidence to take people on knowing that it is properly funded.


It is not a jobs guarantee unless you can persuade employers it is


worth that? It is about guaranteeing funding for young


people and those who have been unemployed for over two years.


We're now seeing people who have contributed all their lives due tax


and national insurance who are perhaps in the 50s and now they are


out of work. It is not realistic. Labour have come out with a raft of


measures that would cost nearly �30 billion. The bridge either borrow


more or increased taxes. We need to deal with the debt problem and


bring the deficit down. This government has done that year on


year since they came into power. They are properly funded. We are


looking at sharing the load fork -- sharing the load more fairly. Four


up him to suggest the economy is in a healthy position, debt is


increasing and increasing. credits, child benefit, the new


under-occupancy charge. These are all ways in which the Government is


cutting the welfare bill to try and control public spending. And that


inevitably means there is less money in some people's pockets. How


much less? Well, research by Sheffield Hallam University


suggests by 2015 the northeast's economy will lose �940 million a


year. I went to Middlesbrough to find out what impact that might


have,. This woman was a chef until recently. Since April, she has lost


�30 from her housing benefit because the government say they


have spare bedrooms. I am having to cut back on gas and electricity. I


can only afford to do one load of washing each week. The price of


food has gone up. The way things are going, I think I will be


evicted. I cannot afford this any more. She is not alone. Thousands


in Middlesbrough have seen benefits Cup since April. For every pound


lost from benefits in Middlesbrough, that is �1 fewer to be spent in


local businesses. Some here believe they are already seeing the impact


of VAT. Takings in this newsagent are down �2,000 from the same month


last year. They believe welfare changes are making customers spent


less. We have seen a decrease in our sales regarding alcohol and


things which people would class as luxury items. People are having to


pay the bills. That comes first. have more changes to come, local


businesses could take more hits. The Sheffield Hallam University


study estimates welfare reform will take billions of pounds out of the


UK economy over the coming years. Middles Brough is predicted to lose


�720 million a year -- �720 for every working adult. There are


similar figures for other parts of our region. For shopping areas like


this, that could be lethal. A There are a lot of businesses in a small


area here. If one does not have much business, the other want. If


the pub does not have many people in, that affect us because they


come here for cigarettes and crisps. The Government insist welfare


reform will help not harm the economy, by encouraging people off


benefits and into work. This man has already made that move. He now


has an apprenticeship. It is fantastic. I am planning a holiday.


Before, I was on the dole and I only had limited money. You


couldn't do anything. Now I am working here, I go out with friends


and do whatever I want. There are Job Centre referred him to a local


training company. Their boss is convinced that getting people to


earn their own money is the key to economic revival. We all need money


in our pockets to spend time with family and friends. That gives


people hope. Thousands of others in the North East remain a out to work


and on benefits. If that has not changed, hundreds of millions of


pounds will disappear from an economy that is already flat lining.


I am joined now by Professor Steve Fothergill from the Centre for


regional, economic and social research at Sheffield Hallam


University which has been looking at the impact of benefactor -- of


benefit cuts on the local economy. How do we compare with the rest of


the UK? 19 bn in total is likely to be taken out of the UK economy by


these benefit reforms. There will be a big difference across the


country because clearly the numbers on benefits are much larger in some


parts of the country than in others. For those who are in work and on


benefits, it is those on low pay in some of the weaker local economies


we are talking about. It is predominantly the old industrial


regions that face the biggest hits. Part of South England will escape


rather lightly. There has been a lot of publicity in recent weeks


about the so-called bedroom tax. That is just a small part of the


jigsaw. The really big ones are reforms to capacity benefits. They


will come in over the next three years. Reforms to the disability


living allowance. Often the same people claim of benefits. Those


will have a huge impact because we have huge numbers of out of work


adults on sickness and disability benefits. Once this be compensated


by people been encouraged to go out to work? If we were in an economy


that was burning and the Rules of jobs, then increasing the incentive


you would think would move more people into work. But that is not


the national situation. The big hits in terms of benefit reforms


are going to be in places where it is hardest to find work. Places


like Middlesbrough are, Hartlepool, Sunderland and South Tyneside. This


will simply intensify the scramble for the few available jobs. Do you


believe this is a mistake? What is the alternative? We are not setting


out in this report to say whether these reforms are a good or bad


idea. In principle, I would suspect the best way to get the benefit


bill Brown is to get jobs to be created in the labour market so


that we don't need to support so many people on out of work benefits.


There is short-term pain here, but there could be long-term game if


this incentivising his work. -- if this is incentivising people to


return to work. We want work to pay. Everyone would agree with that.


That has to be the target. This excellent report points out that we


are a way of getting people into that position just now. There are


not the jobs for people to go to. This is the damage being caused to


them in the local economy. �12 million is being taken out of the


economy every year in my region. The work programme to get people


back into employment is simply not effective. It is not just the


impact on the people, but also businesses that is important.


cannot use this in a vacuum. �1 spent less on benefits is being


kept in the pockets of people paying tax. The challenge we face


is that welfare need to pay. Under Labour, people were paid more to


remain on welfare than in work. It was running out of control under


Labour. The cannot make these changes that incentivising work if


the jobs are not there. It is a cycle, the way the economy works.


The reality is well for a spending is out of control and needed to be


reformed. Labour might oppose that reform, but I think the vast


majority of people support it. It will ensure that work always pays.


This money would have to be taken out of the economy in other ways.


It was taxpayer money. Any welfare regime has to be reviewed to


continually. There is opposition because the Conservative-led


government are standing up for the wrong people. Where are other


priorities? It is not with the poor and vulnerable people. It is not


about getting jobs going. Every time a Conservative government


comes into power, they favour the rich and condemn places like the


North East of England to to poverty. Nobody from Labour has said which


ones would be reversed if they came into government. We would not have


introduced the bedroom tax. If you think it is immoral, you would say


that you would not do it? Were we're not in government. We're


saying this is not an effective way of addressing welfare reform. It is


grossly unfair. The Queen's Speech was about a fairer society. I am


yet to see any evidence of that. Shh didn't you be standing up to


some of your colleagues? Your constituency will have -- will be


affected by this and parts of the South of England will not. A I want


to help. If we do not reform welfare, it will become


unaffordable. We have had years and years of welfare spending going up


and up in places like Middlesbrough are and not seeing any benefit from


it. The economy has not healed. This is about creating a system


that is fair when at work will always pay. Labour will not reform


or repeal any of this. It has been an exciting week for a


former social worker from South Tyneside. With that and the rest of


the political news here is the week in 60 seconds.


The team reviewing high death-rate in hospitals across England has


turned its attention to Cumbria. The NHS Trust in that region is


under review, along with 13 others. The first woman to represent the


seat of South Shields has been sworn in. Councils in Teesside and


Durham are all over �70 million in unpaid council tax. Durham comes


off worst. Stockton is owed just under �4 million. A memorial to the


Bevin Boys has been unveiled. That is all from us. There is lots


more on my blog on the BBC website. And on Twitter you can choose to


Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate, guests include defence secretary Philip Hammond.

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