02/06/2013 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate, including the latest on the lobbying scandal with Francis Maude and Jim Murphy.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 02/06/2013. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Here, what impact will changes to legal aid have? And the plan to


make pubs and clubs pay towards the cost of policing late-night


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2438 seconds


A seasonal welcome to your local part of the show for the North-East


and Cumbria. We are talking about changes to legal aid. Will it make


it harder to get access to justice? And a new plan to make pubs and


clubs in Newcastle paid towards the cost of policing late-night


drinking. It could drive them out of business? Our MPs have either


been on holiday or back in their constituencies. The Commons has


only SAT for around 150 days in the last 12 months. Is that too much


time spent away from the Westminster world? I can't remember


any government, including a Labour one, wanting to keep MPs that


Parliament. The longer they can keep us of Parliament, the better


for them. It's hard for the public to understand. You are there, then


you are back in the constituency. Should you be spending more time in


Parliament? Yes, I think we should be there more that we are. It's


nice to be back in your constituency, but we can now, it's


more relaxed than it was when I first work in politics, we were


there until Friday, but now we usually get away on the Thursday.


In your constituency on a Friday doing your best work in your


constituency. As I said before, I think it is a case of trying to


keep members of parliament away from Parliament, so they can get on


with business. Were MPs less trouble to you in Westminster or


kicking about the constituency? public might give an interesting


view on whether the MPs of the strivers or the skivers and this


debate. I would probably want them away from Parliament. There's a


parallel for councillors, where Newcastle City Council, the civic


centre, it's a bit of a ghost town these days compared to the days


when I first started. There seems to be less opportunity for people


to come together and debate policy, and that is what politicians are


there for. Our top story this week, Newcastle may be among the first


cities in the country to start charging pubs and clubs that supply


alcohol after midnight. The money raised from the late night levy


would be spent on the cost of city centre policing and keeping the


streets clean. Other councils, including York and Durham, are also


considering the idea. But the owners of licensed premises say


they already pay their taxes and the new charge could put them out


of business. It's almost opening time at Newcastle's head of steam


pub. But being open almost all hours could soon mean it paying the


late night Levy, a charge was serving alcohol after midnight.


late night levy, as we and other operators see it, is an extra cost


on our rates, or business rates, which we already pay. Under plans


by Newcastle City Council, many licensed premises opening after


midnight could be charged between �300 to �4,400 a year depending on


their size. This money, an estimated �400,000 a year, would be


split, with 70 % going to the police and 30 % to the council. The


money would be used to meet the cost of policing, cleaning up and


taking measures to cut down on problem drinking. So far no


councils in England and Wales have adopted a late-night levy, but


Newcastle could be among the first to do so. Something that could mean


some bars, pubs and clubs closing their doors forever. A at the head


of steam, we have a 3am licence and are basically a nightclub. What


would happen as a result, if we were to say, well, we can't afford


to pay that, we will take it back to 12 o'clock. This pub is not


profitable at all. It's not a case of being able to look for the levy,


it becomes unprofitable because the majority of our trade is in the


late night economy. Late night being after 11pm. We couldn't


sustain the business. Newcastle has a reputation as a party city, with


tens of thousands of revellers flocking to it on many nights.


While that means the police have to be out on the streets and the


cancer has to spend money to clean them, it also brings in millions of


pounds to the economy. So is the council just after a slice of that


cash, and is in danger of bringing the party to an end in party city?


The business rates are not necessarily returned to the council.


We have massive budget reductions come and we need to maintain the


environment. It's important that many people still want to invest in


the city because of its reputation of being safe. We want this money


to be used for maintaining that. There's no suggestion that this


money will be used for anything else. If the levy is introduced, it


is the police who will get the largest slice of it. Now many club


and bar owners are asking how one where that money would be spent and


who would benefit from it? Stopping crime and disorder, trying to limit


alcohol-related crime. There is a bit of a peak in the hours after


midnight of some alcohol-related offending. We would probably want


to tackle that, as they were themselves. That, I guess, is how


the levy would be used if it is executed. I can absolutely


guarantee that it's going to come back to Newcastle if it comes out.


A good night out doesn't come cheap. Newcastle city council argues a


late-night levy, but could be introduced in November if given the


go-ahead, would help to pay for it. But some bar owners say it would


simply squeeze them dry. The manner represents many of the pubs and


clubs in Newcastle who will have to pay this charges Damian Conway, and


he's here now. Anyone who's been in city centres at night know there's


a huge policing operation needed, a Mr Kinnock afterwards. Why not


contribute a small amount towards those costs? Firstly, there are


very high rates being paid by pretty much every business in the


city centre. The business rates are very high. But you are creating a


particular problem with the policing that is needed and the


clean-up, which isn't caused, for instance, by a department store.


That's true, but one of our managers said recently, we pay


�130,000 a year in rates and we don't even get our Vincenti to. I


can see where that pub manager is, object into paying more money in


towards the council. Some of this money will go to the police to


anti-crime initiatives, to ameliorate the impact of crimes


related to alcohol, that is a good thing to contribute to. Yes, but


there are already good relationships that most responsible


licensees have with the police in the city centre. Our head dormant


meet with the police every week to try and work with them to work out


how we can reduce crime and disorder, who should be barred from


the premises and general initiatives to do with many things


are. Secondly, every two months... I accept you are making efforts to


be good citizens, but you are trying to say it will drive you out


of business. This is �13 a night. If a pub is operating on that sort


of margin, it's going to go out of business anyway. We are trying hard


to keep our operations are open. We employed a lot of people...


really be closed by this? They may not be closed but staff will have


their hours reduced or we will have less staff. We employ a lot of


people at other industries won't employee, because young people and


youth unemployment is a problem. David Faulkner, you are a Newcastle


councillor, is this a good idea or not? It's a finely balanced


argument. The night-time economy supplies about 7000 jobs in the


city. We are getting a promotion of Newcastle as a party city that we


were trying to put behind us. It is putting the emphasis on what


happens after midnight and what happens as a result of alcohol and


clubs and pubs. My board of Newcastle is a more balanced city,


a more diverse offer than that. It bothers me a bit that we might be


on the one hand putting too much emphasis on party city. On the


other hand, I think there's an argument that if you are a member


of the public and in your neighbourhood your bins are being


emptied less frequently, you pass - - grass is being cut Les Bikubi


because it's hard times for the council, and the public purse


generally is having to pay extra for the consequences of late-night


drinking, that people might reasonably say, yes, I'm in favour


of it. That might be my view, on balance. Is this a tax or a


sensible idea? I'm on the side of the pubs. We've seen many closing


at a rate of knots. Although Newcastle has a good reputation for


a city, I hear London people talking about going up for a


weekend in Newcastle, so we've got to keep that reputation, it's good


for the area to keep people coming in. Whether this levy will do what


it says it will do is another matter. Newcastle United Football


Club have to pay for policing or towards policing, I don't think


they paid all, but they do have to pay towards policing. That could be


a point. I do realise they do pay a lot of rates. Labour introduced 24


hour drinking, it is supposed to be a cafe culture. Do you see much


evidence of that in Blyth or beyond? I think the pubs have had a


rough ride in recent years. We should have had the minimum price.


I think it's the wrong target. The problem is with pre-loading. I take


the point that the bars have had a rough time, but I think the pre-


loading issue and minimum pricing is something that's got come back


onto the agenda quickly, because that's one of the real reasons why


our towns... In the meantime, this is a charge that is being put in.


Is the coalition to blame for this? My view is the 2003 Licensing Act


has proved, in retrospect, to be wrong. Everything that councils


have done since is to try and claw back back somehow, to deal with and


mitigate the consequences of not quite 24 hour but almost 24 hour


drinking, and what is happening in our streets. For people to want a


drink outside the hours of 11pm, is that unreasonable? No, it's not,


but it can sometimes be quite unpleasant and intimidating after


11pm in city centres. I understand the cost of the police, just like


Newcastle United, they have to pay as well. It's the same argument


with the pubs. Are they going to put the levy back into the drink,


is that where it is going? Where does this stop? You could accuse


pizza places and Tiger Webb places of littering the city centre.


should be using this kind of thing to encourage best practice. The


legislation allows exemptions and reductions. Reductions could take


place if we have a new Best Practice Scheme that we get


everybody, not just a few pubs and clubs, to sign up double stop them


they can be reductions and it is something where everybody benefits.


His access to justice been put under threat by government changes


to legal aid? That is the claim from the Law Society and some


Labour MPs in the region. Under the plans, defendants will lose the


chance to have the solicitor of their choice represent them at a


police station or in court. But ministers say representation will


be available, but there is definitely a need to reduce the


legal aid bill, which costs more than �1 billion a year. This is a


relieved young woman. Last year she was wrongly accused of assault, an


accusation which threatened to enter hopes of becoming a nurse.


She came to this local firm in Middlesbrough for Health, secured


legal aid and last week was cleared. It was horrendous. I wouldn't wish


it on my worst enemy. The anxiety and stress, and it's not just for


myself, it was for my family. The firm really put everything into the


court case to make sure that the truth did come out, so that I could


go and be a nurse and finish my degree. But under the new plans,


people like this will not be able to choose who represents them.


Instead, they will be allocated a solicitor who has had to compete a


new legal-aid contract. Those contracts will cut lawyers legal-


aid fees by at least 17.5 %, and in some cases by 30 %. This firm


believes that will kill off the traditional local solicitor. If it


goes, I'll be going, as will most of my colleagues, I'm certain.


These proposals are not survivable for the vast majority of the legal


profession in this country. If these proposals come in, our


position at the forefront of regal reputation will disappear overnight.


Who might fill that gap? Amongst possible bidders are supposed --


G4S and Eddie Stobart. That is worrying existing lawyers, has a


place in private at the centre of legal-aid could undermine the


justice system. You have entities which will be coming into this from


the direction of wanting to make money out of it, and purely for


that reason. We know that the costs and the levels of remuneration will


be driven so low, that people would be able to spend the time that they


are currently spending. Even now, often without renumeration, to go


that extra length to make sure people are properly represented.


The government has said it is consulting on proposals and will


listen to concerns. But it says the legal aid bill of �1 billion a year


is far too high and needs to be cut. I have to find the right balance


between delivering Justice, delivering a system where everyone


has lawyers to defend them, but at the same time making sure we bring


down costs to spend money elsewhere. If it's a choice of spending more


on the health service or more on the legal system, most people would


say they want the health service. Middlesbrough MP Andy Macdonald


sits on that just a select committee, which is about to


examine the government plans. proposals will transform the


provision of criminal legal aid. There are concerns about freedom of


choice, access issues. It seems peculiar that we seem to be so


insistent about choice in health and education but here we are doing


away with toys. There are grave concerns about the future of


justice in this country. government insists the legal-aid


bill must come down. But while cutting the cost of justice will


certainly had lawyers, is every chance that innocent people could


pay the heaviest price? Ronnie Campbell, of the government is


right, this legal-aid bill is far too high and its right to make


changes to save money. If this government did put as much in as to


what we are putting in the legal aid thing and get companies and


multinationals to pay their tax, you wouldn't need the �1 billion.


What do you make of the changes to legal aid? Should they cut the


budget? Of course not. You'll have a big company, it's got a tender,


and they are going to give you a solicitor. I've got one, two in


Berrett, four in Blyth, none in Cramlington. I can see them, when


these big companies come in and get the tender in, I can see the local


solicitors, who are not fat cats, disappearing, because they won't


get the business, the business will go to the fat cats, who will make a


killing. Presumably, if its cuts to the bill, you would rather see


money spent on the health service and on legal aid. It one of my


constituents and - not once a solicitor and has to go to Durham,


Sunderland or even Middlesbrough, how is he going to get to see his


solicitor, the one he's been allocated to under this system? It


is stupidity. Should Liberal Democrats in government oppose


this? We should aim to change it. The way it is is unsatisfactory in


my view. To remove choice is disadvantageous. People will build


up a relationship between lawyers, solicitors and clients, and that


would be lost because it would just be whoever you get allocated. That


is a disadvantage. But I do understand, of course, this point


about legal-aid in this country, it costs far more than other countries


with comparative systems. What is the alternative? I support some of


the proposals. For example, the whole idea that anybody who has


disposable income of over �37,500 should not get legal aid is quite


right. They shouldn't. That's one of the reasons why the money is


being sucked out of the system so much in past times. There's also an


issue around while legal cases go on for so long, and therefore the


cost of legal-aid gets clocked up and clocked up. Something must be


done about that. I don't know if the answer is to deal with the


client. It needs to be changed. What is so bad about someone being


allocated a lawyer? It's the access to their lawyer. If the little


lawyers in Blyth or anywhere else in Northumberland go bust, then


that client has to go to wherever that law years. He may be miles


away. He might not be able to afford... The government have said,


this is the way it has to be structured, perhaps they need to be


fewer firms to make the money saved. There has been a lot of people


getting legal-aid who could afford to pay for themselves. They could


look at that one again, certainly. But what about the people who can't


afford to pay? You are stopping them from getting their justice.


They will be working with a solicitor, they don't know who he


is, they may have to travel miles to see him. It's just not on.


would like to see this piloted in a region, because it is a big change


and we need to see the consequences. Isn't this far too typical of


coalition policy? You think of something that will save money but


you don't listen to the people telling you it is a mistake and you


don't put it on trial. You would expect the legal profession to say


it is a mistake. You understand their position. But the response to


the consultation hasn't finished. The Desta Select Committee are


looking at it. They will have a view, which I hope will be taken


account of. All parties agree, Jack Straw as Lord Chancellor in 2009


agreed that they had to be some change to the system. It doesn't


guarantee quality now. It just doesn't mean because you've got


1600 firms of solicitors involved instead of 400 that your quality is


going to be better. What about Eddie Stobart making money out of


it? When you've got a town of Bardon Mill, you have a few


solicitors competing for what they need to do. They keep competing on


their prices are competitive. These solicitors are not fat cats. They


are just trying to make a living. No parliament this week, but


there's still plenty going on. A plan to turn a private school into


an Academy has hit trouble. King's School in Tynemouth says staff


support the idea, but North Tyneside council says the impact


upon other schools in the area must be more fully considered. North-


East suffragette Emily Davison was knocked down by the King's horse at


the Epsom Derby, 100 years ago. She later died of her injuries and is


buried in Morpeth. Penny Pryce- Jones is helping to organise events


and says her influence is still strongly felt. She highlighted that


women were highly intelligent. It was society and not them that were


limiting what was possible. Councillors in Carlisle have been


paying tribute to Joe Hendry, who died on Thursday following a heart


attack. He was also leader of Carlisle's Labour group will start


a campaign group which aims to put cycling at the heart of the


Government's transport agenda is meeting in Newcastle this weekend.


The Cycling Embassy of Great Britain wants new investment to


improve road safety. Finally, our tweet of the week comes from


Carlisle MP John Stephenson. He had this message for his Twitter


followers on Wednesday. Legs strapped, pills pop, only 300 miles


to go. He actually spent the week Cycling 1000 miles from Land's End


to John o'Groats for charity. I'll be treating this week, but strictly


Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate, including the latest on the lobbying scandal with Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude and shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy. Plus Nadine Dorries MP on MPs' expenses.

Download Subtitles