19/05/2013 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


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


full employment. But is it possible?


And the North Yorkshire villagers sending food parcels to


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2148 seconds


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


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


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


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


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


discussing with my guests, Newcastle MP Catherine McKinnell


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


when it is brought before Parliament that other MPs from


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


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


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


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


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


that rather than debating Europe Parliamentary time would be better


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


discussion will destabilise this. But Labour are pretty conscious,


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


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


because we need to focus a discussion on reforming the


European Union and getting things improved and a better deal for


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


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


in. We could talk about this all week.


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


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


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


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


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


evidence of the big society in action? Political reporter David


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


different agencies to work with very closely in Middlesbrough,


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


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


seeing these families and individualss going hungry and they


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


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


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


increasing is because it was the coalition government he allowed


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


trust that operate the move indicates that one of the biggest


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


response incredibly complacent about the role that government


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


move on. The number of people unemployed has


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


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


The Government says policies like the Regional Growth Fund are


helping private firms create hundreds of new jobs. While Labour


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


training the next generation. are taking on machinists and other


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


desperate for work experience because that is what they need to


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


government has their own schemes which are not working, unemployment


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


people going to food back -- shocking statistics is that


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


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


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


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


asbestos-related cancer to claim compensation even when the


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


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


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


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


out between the parties. Japanese company Hitachi has signed a


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


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


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


that the leeches in the insurance industry who are bankrolling the


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


class people who have been negligently poisoned by their


employers are getting away with nothing? Finally, a small


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


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


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


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


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


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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