19/05/2013 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


19/05/2013

Andrew Neil and Mark Denten are joined by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander and discuss Conservative UKIP electoral pacts with Conservative MPs.


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In the North East and Cumbria: Labour moves towards a new goal of

:01:23.:01:26.

full employment. But is it possible?

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And the North Yorkshire villagers sending food parcels to

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2148 seconds

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Middlesbrough. That's in half an Hello and a warm welcome to your

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local part of the show. This week: Can we ever get back to full

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employment in the North East and Cumbria? Labour thinks so but how?

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And are we becoming too reliant on these, food banks, and the

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volunteers who keep them going? That's two of the questions I'll be

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discussing with my guests, Newcastle MP Catherine McKinnell

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and Northumberland councillor Wayne Daley. And if you're wondering what

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we've done with Richard, we've given him the week off for good

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behaviour! But let's start with the week's big

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talking point, and a Teesside MP has thrust himself right to the

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centre of the debate over Europe. Stockton South's James Wharton is

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to put forward a backbench bill which could pave the way for a

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referendum to be held before 2017 on the UK's membership of the

:38:06.:38:16.

European Union. He says it's time to give the public a say. I hope

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when it is brought before Parliament that other MPs from

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other parties will be able to support it and agree with me that

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whatever you think about Europe and our relationship with it, the map

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and need to be settled and people need to be given a choice.

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The move hasn't gone down well with many North East Labour MPs, among

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them Gateshead's Ian Mearns and Sedgefield's Phil Wilson, who say

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that rather than debating Europe Parliamentary time would be better

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spent on measures to get people back to work. Wayne Daley, that is

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the point, isn't it? It is a distraction, rather than talking

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about stuff that people care about, jobs the health service and the

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economy, we have this Enders navel- gazing over Europe. We are talking

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about his jobs and the economy, that is the prime focus of the

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government, but it is legitimate that we make a decision over Europe.

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We joined in 19 to be five after a referendum, which I am old enough

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to remember, and we voted to join what we thought was a common market.

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Now we have a very different being. I think it is important that for

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once and for all, the British people have the decision as to

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whether we are part of the European Union or we go out on the road and

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trade with the rest of the world. That is an important thing. We've

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would not even be having these votes if the, some -- if the

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Conservatives were not terrified of losing votes to UKIP. Not at all.

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The local elections were a mixed bag, all the parties lost votes to

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UKIP. They have raised an issue which has been burning at the heart

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of British politics for decades. I support the decision. Why not give

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people a choice on Europe? Labour is not against a referendum in

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principle, it is just the wrong plan to focus on this. We should

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have all our efforts focused on the economy, getting jobs and growth

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which is the biggest concern that people had a. Isn't the real

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reason... It is a bad time to be talking about this because the

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discussion will destabilise this. But Labour are pretty conscious,

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with an array that the Poles are going, -- with the way that the

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Poles are going, you would lose any referendum. It is a bad time

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because we need to focus a discussion on reforming the

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European Union and getting things improved and a better deal for

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Britain. We acknowledged that, we need to go into Europe with a

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strong hand and go into reforming a new single market for us to trade

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in. We could talk about this all week.

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Now, our top story this week is the growth of food banks in the region.

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New figures show a 500% increase in the number of visits to food banks

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in the North East and Cumbria. Most of them are run by volunteers or

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churches and rely on donations of food from local residents. Should

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the Government be embarrassed by the rise of the food bank or is it

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evidence of the big society in action? Political reporter David

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Macmillan went to find out. These ladies live 30 miles apart,

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one in a picturesque North Yorkshire village, the other in the

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heart of one of our biggest towns. They have never met but a vital

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connection has connect - develop find them -- between them. One is

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put in a food parcel together. It is not being sent overseas for a

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famine appeal or as a response to a natural disaster. I have just

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bought some non-perishable foods for Middlesbrough food bag. Mainly

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jars of pasta sauce and some rice and tinned vegetables. From the

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supermarket in the Thirsk the food is taken to a collection box

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outside a village hall for. surely we were shocked, it is a

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difficult for people, my experience is that people cannot help this. It

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is a situation they find themselves in. I understand that by the time

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they turn up at a food bank, they have often gone a day or more

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without food. It is really difficult for them. The collections

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are packed and sent up the road to the Middlesbrough food bank. Since

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April, up to 100 people have been coming through the doors here every

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week looking for help. Maria is one of them. By the time you have paid

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your electric, gas, your television licence, you don't have enough

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money left for food. If it was not for the food bag, I would not be

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able to afford to get along. Maria lost her job, she is about to lose

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her house. I had to go on jobseeker's allowance, and that

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money does not go anywhere. I was struggling to pay my mortgage.

:43:05.:43:12.

Without the food bank, and the support I have had from them, I

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don't know, I think I was really getting depressed. I think I would

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be very depressed. One difference has it made your ability to feed

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yourself and your grandchildren? feel a lot better, because I hate

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having empty cupboards. Even if you have got a bag of rice, you make

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something. I feel like I am begging sometimes, I have never had to do

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it before, I have always been in work. If there was not the food bag,

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people would be living on the street and begging. One community

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helping out another in a time of need, the Big Society in action or

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an indictment of government policy? And joined by Nigel Perrott, who

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runs the food and in that report. You are increasingly busy, why?

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are seeing far more people are not being able to put anything aside.

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So they are already on a low income, some people are on benefits and

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some people are just on the short contracts, hours, things like that.

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Basically, they just do not have anything to put by with an

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emergency Kip in. Big benefits changes, have there been any

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difference is? We have been seen an increase, some of that is due to

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the publicity of the food bank, but we have seen people coming through

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because of a benefit change or withdraw that has led for whatever

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we and, -- whatever reason, they have had a bill come in they have

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not been able to pay it, so it has been a case of eat or heat.

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head in that report, people not be able to eat for a few days, surely

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it is not that bad? Sa do, it is. We see people coming through the

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door who have not eaten for a couple of days. The help has been

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there for them but they have felt ashamed for coming into a food bag.

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What sort of situations are we seeing, that people in the 21st

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century, they have not got enough to eat a? Simply things like, if

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you have got to rent arrears for whatever reason, if you are paying

:45:28.:45:32.

extra for a spare bedroom or something like that, normally you

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would be able to pay VAT and suddenly at the end of the week you

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realise you have paid that and there is nothing left over. Those

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cupboards can soon disappear. you have got a big demand, how do

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you insure your giving food to the right people, you get people?

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not have to rely on the kindness, we rely on the expertise of the 45

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different agencies to work with very closely in Middlesbrough,

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social workers, health visitors, housing associations and so on.

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They are seeing the need first hand and going into people's houses and

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seeing these families and individualss going hungry and they

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refer them to a us. Wayne Daley, it is a terrible indictment of your

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Government's economic record, that we need to have food bags like the

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one that Nigel runs? One of the reasons that food banks are

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increasing is because it was the coalition government he allowed

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food banks to be advertised in Jobcentres. The previous Labour --

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as the previous Labour government did not. It is problems that people

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have with the economic situation and the government the policy --

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the policies the Government has put in place. I think clearly what it

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is, it is the fact that they are much more widely publicised now

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they have ever been. People are aware of it. They will start to use

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it. There are issues that have come out of the use of food banks, the

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trust that operate the move indicates that one of the biggest

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reason that people need to use it is the delay in payment of benefits.

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That is what governments need to tackle because people, if they are

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paid benefits on time, can afford to be put cells. You are

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effectively, these are volunteers, they are not paid by the government,

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they get no government fat -- money for this organisation. Isn't it

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very dangerous when you have got people and a system that relies on

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volunteers to feed people? I take my hat off to these guys because I

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think we are doing a wonderful job. This is Big Society, of course it

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is. This is people have been other people at a very difficult time in

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their lives. The big picture of this is, we have got to turn the

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economy round and there are people out there who are hurting a lot. At

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these guys are helping. Agassi will say these food banks are there

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because of the government policies, you have got to applaud what they

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do, people helping each other in tough times come it is a co-

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operative movement. I very much applaud the work that they do, they

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are helping people out of a desperate situation. I find Wayne's

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response incredibly complacent about the role that government

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plays, because people's living standards are being squeezed to

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such an extent. I was looking at some figures, one in five mums are

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going without a map of Lille to feed their children, -- are going

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without eight meal to feed their children, food banks see a rush in

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the holidays. One a way you are not allowed them to be promoted? We did

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not have the squeeze that we have have. We did not have the bedroom

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tax. I think what they're doing is wonderful, but it is clearly there

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is a problem. There are government needs to take a more proactive

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approach to. -- but government is to take a more proactive approach.

:49:14.:49:19.

What does that mean? Turning the economy round to supporting jobs

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and growth, getting people into work where they can, and not

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slapping on taxes like the bedroom tax which is pushing people over

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the edge. Labour have said that... We must leave it there, we must

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move on. The number of people unemployed has

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fallen slightly in Cumbria this week, but gone up again by about

:49:43.:49:53.
:49:53.:49:54.

1,000 in the North East. At 9.8% it's still the worst in the country.

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The Government says policies like the Regional Growth Fund are

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helping private firms create hundreds of new jobs. While Labour

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this week called for a new target, full employment. But is that even

:50:02.:50:05.

possible? I went to find out. Business secretary Vince Cable at a

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clothing factory in South Shields this week. He came not just with an

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interest in jackets but with money from the regional growth fund. It

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will help create over 130 jobs. This company is a brilliant British

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company, expanding and selling all over the world, a famous brand --

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brand and employing local people. The regional growth and walk help

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them expand further with a factory and as gills academy which is

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training the next generation. are taking on machinists and other

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schools to expand capacity so we can export and go into areas such

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as Asia. The other jobs are within warehouse and customer services as

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we expand online as well. While any job creation is welcome, this week

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we also had bad news. The unemployment figures for the region

:50:54.:51:04.
:51:04.:51:05.

are up, still the highest in the country. Once upon a time,

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sometimes just 3% of people were unemployed. Those days have gone

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for good, haven't they? This man does not think so. The shadow work

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and pension Secretary Liam Byrne was in red car, looking at the

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scheme training young unemployed people to drive. He has a jelly in

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mind as well, not just a spin around the block. -- A journey in

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mind. The what a national strategy to take us to fall in employment --

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We need to put the something for something back into the so crucial

:51:41.:51:48.

security system so people who pay in get more back out. It is a

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national task. We have done this before, we did it in the 1940s, it

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is how we rebuilt Britain after the war. We did it in the late 1990s,

:52:00.:52:05.

we rebuilt the public services. We need to pay down the debt faster,

:52:05.:52:08.

changed social the kitty for the better, you need to get the country

:52:08.:52:14.

back to work. Getting jobs back to the factories may be easier said

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than done. The closest the north- east has come to full employment

:52:18.:52:28.
:52:28.:52:31.

was in April 1924, 3.7 -- April 1974, 3.4%. It was then January

:52:31.:52:35.

2005. This week's figures show it live at 8% and one in the region.

:52:35.:52:41.

While the government has its own job-creation policies, like the

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regional growth fund, Labour has a jobs guaranteed. People who have

:52:45.:52:48.

been out of work for two years would get part-time work. The

:52:48.:52:56.

government would pay them a minimum wage, and it would be up two-thirds

:52:56.:53:00.

to pay for the training. This boss likes the idea. They have taken on

:53:00.:53:03.

for operation ship -- apprentices. The jobs guarantee might mean they

:53:03.:53:09.

take on other workers as well. of the opportunities is you can

:53:09.:53:13.

road-test the person, you get a chance to size them up and vice

:53:13.:53:18.

versa. If it fits, you can consider longer term in front. One is the

:53:18.:53:24.

chance of getting full employment in the north-east? What is -- it is

:53:24.:53:34.
:53:34.:53:43.

a fantastic challenge. My personal view is it is a pipe dream.

:53:43.:53:48.

One of your party's ideas is to create jobs, isn't it an idea it to

:53:48.:53:54.

-- isn't it just creating artificial jobs which would only be

:53:54.:54:02.

there for six months as like we want to put in a guarantee that

:54:02.:54:11.

in... -- we want to put in a guarantee paid for by a bank Leddy.

:54:11.:54:19.

If you leave people out of work for two years, it can become entrenched.

:54:19.:54:23.

So this would enable businesses to invest and grow up because they

:54:23.:54:28.

invest in their workforce, they are able to grow and expand and those

:54:28.:54:33.

jobs to become permanent. I know this jobs guarantee is not a policy

:54:33.:54:37.

yet, we do not know whether it will be in the manifesto even. Would

:54:37.:54:42.

people of that scheme be forced to take jobs that they were given even

:54:42.:54:47.

if they were not qualified for them or had no experience? Do they have

:54:47.:54:51.

to like it or lump it and lose benefits? We have got a very clear

:54:52.:54:59.

line on this. It has to work both ways. People take work and if they

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refuse it it will be sanctions. a chef could be asked to work in a

:55:05.:55:11.

factory? I will not go into that much detail. The point is, it is a

:55:11.:55:16.

real job for someone out of work. I know that the people who talk to be,

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if they are not in work, and they have never worked, they are

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desperate for work experience because that is what they need to

:55:21.:55:25.

get into the jobs market. If they have been unemployed for two years

:55:25.:55:30.

or more, people would happily take any job on offer to fund their

:55:30.:55:36.

families. It is a really important scheme, why did he commit to it and

:55:36.:55:41.

say that you are going to do it if you are elected in 2015? We are

:55:41.:55:47.

saying that the government could could be doing this now. Let's be

:55:47.:55:52.

honest, the benefits bill is going up and not down. The government is

:55:52.:55:56.

seeing an increase and that is why their borrowing is going up, they

:55:56.:56:02.

are borrowing to a double to �5 billion more than they Plaid.

:56:02.:56:05.

government has their own schemes which are not working, unemployment

:56:05.:56:14.

is going up. They are working, with Vince Cable we have announced jobs

:56:14.:56:22.

being created, 450 jobs created which is going to be invested in

:56:22.:56:26.

the north-east. The regional growth fund is designed to protect jobs.

:56:26.:56:31.

In my area of Northumberland, we have been awarded �12 million to

:56:31.:56:36.

protect jobs and attract inward investment. Sir why it is it not

:56:36.:56:41.

falling? The north-east has benefited from the highest falling

:56:41.:56:45.

rate in the country. We have seen in the latest figures an increase

:56:45.:56:50.

of 1000 which is terrible, it absolutely is. I do not like it. If

:56:50.:56:54.

we were sitting in Spain now, they would be looking at us saying, why

:56:54.:56:59.

are you arguing? We have got 52% of young people unemployed. On the

:56:59.:57:05.

regional growth fund, it is handing out money, but it seems to be the

:57:05.:57:09.

big boys getting it. It is Pirelli and Barbara. The message seems to

:57:09.:57:16.

be, we will support the big firms, the small firms can go hang.

:57:16.:57:20.

need two more for business start- ups and we need to do more for

:57:20.:57:25.

those smaller businesses. When Vince Cable came up and we promote

:57:25.:57:30.

the regional growth funds, we need to get more of those businesses

:57:30.:57:35.

getting something out of it. He had been in since 2010, why has it not

:57:35.:57:43.

happened before? It has not been happening them. We need to get that

:57:44.:57:50.

going. Your party has a special for for an implement, it is totally

:57:50.:58:00.
:58:00.:58:02.

unrealistic? -- a fall employment? Is have to be an aspiration, it is

:58:02.:58:07.

the only way to power this company back into -- country back into full

:58:07.:58:13.

work, one of the other sucking statistics is that the majority of

:58:13.:58:17.

people going to food back -- shocking statistics is that

:58:17.:58:21.

majority of people going to food banks are in work, they just cannot

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afford food. Have you been abandoned the idea of for imply

:58:25.:58:34.

that? Absolutely not, we need to create an economy which is dynamic.

:58:34.:58:37.

The Government has unveiled plans to make it easier for victims of

:58:37.:58:39.

asbestos-related cancer to claim compensation even when the

:58:39.:58:43.

companies they worked for no longer exist. But the Bill, contained in

:58:43.:58:48.

the Queen's Speech, hasn't satisfied some campaigners. Here's

:58:48.:58:58.
:58:58.:59:03.

more on that and the rest of the Cumbria County Council is to be run

:59:03.:59:05.

by a Labour or Liberal Democrat coalition after a deal was hammered

:59:05.:59:10.

out between the parties. Japanese company Hitachi has signed a

:59:10.:59:19.

development contracts in the area which should create 700 jobs. A new

:59:20.:59:29.

Bill designed to con the disasters of grey does not go far enough.

:59:29.:59:34.

the Deputy Prime Minister agree with me that it is wrong and unfair

:59:34.:59:37.

that the leeches in the insurance industry who are bankrolling the

:59:37.:59:41.

Tory party are getting away with millions and millions when working-

:59:41.:59:44.

class people who have been negligently poisoned by their

:59:44.:59:49.

employers are getting away with nothing? Finally, a small

:59:49.:59:55.

independent tour should be given the same business rates relief as a

:59:55.:59:58.

charity shops according to a local MP, who says the move would boost

:59:58.:00:02.

high street trade and create jobs. And that's about all the time we

:00:02.:00:05.

have for this week. There's no Sunday Politics next weekend. But

:00:05.:00:09.

Richard will be back in this seat on June 2nd. In the meantime you

:00:09.:00:12.

Andrew Neil and Mark Denten are joined by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander and discuss Conservative UKIP electoral pacts with Conservative MPs Jacob Rees-Mogg and Jackie Doyle-Price. As well as all of the weekend's other political news, and debate with the weekly panel of journalists.


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