09/06/2013 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate.

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In the north-east and Cumbria: is it time to set up our own local


banks? And doctors in rural areas say


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2135 seconds


surgeries may have to close if Hello and welcome to your local


part of the show. With me this week Hexham's crow Guy Opperman and


South Shields Emma Lewell-Buck just five weeks into the job. We are


discussing if it is time to set up our own local high-street banks.


And we are in North Yorkshire where doctors are warning changes to


government funding may lead to the closure of rural surgeries. Labour


started to set out what it would do to the welfare system if the party


gets into government. Child benefit will not be restored to high


earners and the winter fuel allowance will be cut for the


richest pensioners but another idea has gone down like a lead balloon.


Sir Arthur Shields, Labour territory for generations and after


a by-election last month it stayed that way. This place has been a


Labour for 80 years and while the party has fought off its


challengers here it has been under pressure to say what it would do


about the nitty gritty of the economy. Shadow chancellor Ed Balls


said winter fuel payments would be taken away from well off all the


people but how has that gone down here with just over 20,000 people


They should just carry on with it because a lot of people have made


their money through hard work. the man who would be Chancellor did


not only talk about pensions. He is also considering a lower benefits


for the North. A fare cap on household benefits which takes


account of housing costs in different parts of the country,


with an independent body advising on whether the caps should be


higher in high-cost areas like London but potentially low but in


other parts of the country. this senior Labour MP is have a


number of it. I am found it opposed to regionalisation of pay and


regionalisation of benefits. Four people seeking work in Newcastle


upon Tyne alone there are not enough to of jobs for people who


need them. Emma Lewell-Buck, where do you stand? My colleagues are


correct. They have been asked a question about regionalisation of


benefit rates. It would be unfair and costly. But what a Ed Balls was


talking about was should a review should look at the housing benefit.


He is talking about you would have different caps for benefits in


different parts of the country. So the cap could go up in London and


down in the north-east. It is unfair. Ultimately, we are a low


wage economy, we already have high levels of unemployment. You would


not want that. Does this not make sense? Benefits should reflect the


housing costs in an area. You know that we fought for nearly 18 months


working with the TUC to stop regional pay and that was a


campaign that we were successful with before and after the election.


I believe we should maintain the equal levels of pay across the


country and I find the pronouncements of Ed Balls and this


is the first Labour policy we have had in any shape or form, to tried


cuts to winter fuel but still provide free TV licences, it is


illogical. The principle of regionalisation of benefits? A I am


not in favour. I do not believe a nurse in a Surrey should receive


more than a nurse in Middlesbrough. There was also the stuff about


winter fuel payments. What do you think? We are talking about


pensioners in over 40 -- �42,000 a year. Those pensioners would not


suffer if the winter fuel allowance was cut. They'd normally spend


their winters abroad. But you are making the system more complicated


and also there is inconsistency here. In tis not taken away a


universal benefit because that was put into a dress fuel poverty. A


lot of people benefiting from of it are not suffering from fuel poverty.


We specifically looked at it and decided not to do it. No one has


committed anything beyond this Parliament. It is not a possibility.


I can guarantee you it is not our proposal nor would it be our


proposal in any way to make regionalised pay all benefits.


If you have a bank account the chances are it is with one of the


big high-street operators which control three-quarters of all


accounts but 70 years ago it was all different. That sort of choice


and competition is what many believe we need once more in the


banking sector and on Friday a conference was held to explore the


options for creating a new network of regional banks run by local


communities or even our councils. The government has heard it has


already legislated to make it easier for those who want to


establish a new back. We want to make it easier. People said


regulatory approvals were a nightmare. What we have said is


that if you are setting up something that is new, it should be


straightforward, you should have help getting, clearing those


hurdles and they should be lower for a bank that will be smaller. We


have done that so the conditions are now in place for people to come


forward and propose regional banks. The first new bank to set up on the


High Street was Metro Bank. Most of its branches are run London but its


founder was born and bred in the North East and is here now. There


is too much concentration in the big six banks which control three-


quarters of all current accounts, they have become very complacent,


they make bad loans, they are having to cut back on the lending


they are doing, all of which is to the detriment of people and to


small businesses. But to compete with the Barclay's Bank's and HSBCs,


do you not be their scale? Crap it is quite possible to create local


banks. Metro Bank has proved that. Over the last three years it has


grown over 180,000 customer accounts, almost �1 billion in its


balance streets -- sheets. government talked about what it has


done so far but what else needs to be done to make this happen? From a


regulatory perspective the government have done a huge amount,


they have reduced the amount of capital of the backs have to hold,


they have simplified the or the preservation process, so all of the


barriers we faced three years ago in launching have in effect been


removed. There is a tremendous political will to see this happen


throughout the UK. This is a personal crusade for you. You tread


that conference. Could it transform the north-east and Cumbria? Yes,


for too long people have felt the city of London banks are not


serving their constituents whether that is in South Shields or Hexham.


What we have tried to do is try to shake-up the banking system and


produce real competition and that competition would be a local or


regional banks working with the local community and you could have


towns all regions of 30, 40, 50,000 people have been a community bank.


If the Germans can do it, we can. Spain where some of those local


banks got into trouble had to be rescued. America did not stop the


sub Prime crisis. But the Spanish banks made the simple mistake of


expanding a wider and beyond the local crack recognition. What we


saw on Friday was a real charge for a university to set-up a bang, a


local authority to set up a bank, it can only be a good thing and I


would happily move away from Barclay's all Lloyd's to a local


regional bank. Where are Labour on this? We are fully supportive of


regional banks. It is a good way for small businesses to get credit.


People have lost faith in the big banks. What they would trust is a


local bank on their High Street which understood the region and


business. Deal applaud the Government's efforts so far? I just


want to get on and do it. One thing I would say is there was some


missed opportunities here. Northern Rock could have been this very


regional bank we talked about. You have not broken up the bank's you


alone. Talking is one game but actions suggest there is not that


much commitment. I spoke with the Chancellor on Wednesday this week


and discussed with him the progress we have made. We pass the Financial


Services Act of 2012, sorted out the regulators, encourage a new


entrance and it is not just neutralising or taking back to the


community big banks that exist, it is putting in new local


organisations. But the government chose to sell Northern Rock off


rather than turn it into a local operator? There would have been


able -- there would not have been... What we are talking about his local


entrants starting afresh and giving the sort of finance we need for


bank lending, houses and for small businesses. What would Labour do?


The idea that Ed Miliband has talked about is a British


Investment Bank raising the capital that would filter down to regional


banks. We do have that already with the regional bank Vince Cable is


doing. Or regional banks have to be created by people within the


regions, people who are part of the fabric of the local society, who


understand the businesses. But it certainly needs a level of


expertise as well? Absolutely but I have talked to a lot of business


people here and there is a real commitment and passion to create


new banks. They raised a lot of expertise to be called upon. I


would be pleased to offer the experience I have to support people


but the backs have to come from local communities. What are the


dangers hear of someone being over- generous? We have seen the problems


of over lending, lending to householders that cannot sustain


that level of debt and you get a collapse. One of the reasons we


have these problems was that banks were making loans back clearly were


not going to be paid because they did not know the people they were


lending to well. One of the advantages of regional banks is


they would have those relationships. The only caveat is aware that the


future will be in regional banks or banks based in regions? The idea


for 40,000 people is great but not realistic. The community needs to


be a little bit bigger and with the changes in technology, geographical


boundaries are disappearing. The fact that 60 % of all banking


transmissions will be done by mobile phones does away with the


whole issue of geography. When will this happen? I think within the


next 18 months you will see a bank being set up. I except entirely


that there may be a larger one based out of Newcastle, but in


Germany they have a much smaller local banks which service the


40,000 people, it takes organising but it is very durable and there is


great desire for this. It has been a busy week with


debates in Parliament on the East Coast main line and the new


emergency service telephone number 111. Here is the week in 60 seconds.


A public enquiry in candle has heard the case for extending the


boundaries of the late Christopher national parks -- Lake District


Where does the political accountability for the 111 system


like? Annie Macdonald wants the East Coast main line to be kept in


public ownership. And UKIP has become the official opposition to


Labour in South Tyneside after sitting three independence join the


party. There is a warning this week that


doctors' surgeries may be forced to close in rural areas because of a


reduction in funding. The government says it wants to ensure


money going to practices reflects the number of patients they serve,


but local doctors fear that could have an impact on remote well what


areas. The West Dales, 700 square miles


with scores of different bird species, tens of thousands of


pounds and hundreds of thousands of sheep. There were also 4,500 people


here served by two GP surgeries. Dr Pam West is the senior partner at


the Central Belt practice, it covers a vast area. We are an hour


and a quarter's drive from the nearest hospital with an accident


and emergency department. We provide a minor injuries service,


we deal with people who are walking casualties, all our visitors as


well as looking after our own patients. The main surgery is in


The main income is worth about �78,000 a year. Without that money


we would have to close one of out to a surgeries making all the stuff


that that surgeries redundant. My concern is that when I come to


retire, and I need my reward GP, they will not be a practice there.


In the Dales village, the monthly lunch club is being held. These


villagers are among those who rely on the surgery. I have been having


treatment for none Hodgkinson's lymphoma and they have acted in


taking a my blood samples to send off to the hospital. I have been on


medication for a long time which necessitates going to the doctor


sometimes as much as once a week, so if there was any suggestion of


closing down the surgery, I would be pretty upset. The lower call MP


is William Hague. He has written to the Health Secretary to raise his


own concerns about the changes. In his reply, the Health Secretary


says the plan is to move towards a more Urquhart will practise


He has referred in his letter to fairness to GPs and I am asking for


fairness to patients. There is deprivation, their last single


parent families, elderly Pope Paul who do not drive. �78,000 here will


spread out here. Eight government says X three directing NHS money


where it is most needed. You're the party is supposed to be


the big supporter of rural communities, why are you insisting


on these changes? They are not necessarily at risk. What we are


doing, I have met with my GPs who serve equally a well what airier


and they accept that there is a difference but what we are doing is


making the case that there has to be a rural element that goes with


the GP practices in truly rural situations. We are still


negotiating with the Department of Health and NHS England and the


point was raised with me so I have exactly the same problems. There is


the point being made by a number of MPs representing well what areas. I


made my case and was the candidate for the Friends of Bellingham


surgery who sued the Health Trust to get a greater part or all


funding. My mother was a matron in an age NHS facility in rural Wales.


What you see is part of the process of us making the case for the


Department of Health. Potentially South Shields may benefit from this


so do you have any sympathy for these will practices? What this


shows its once again the Tories and the coalition cannot be trusted


with patient care. They are spending nearly �2 million in the


north-east on a top down reorganisation at the same time as


talking about cutting GP services. M R's constituents would end up


with more funding. The a would not. There is a crisis in the health


service because of your government. Labour looked at phasing this


payment out in 2008 said this is not a new proposal. It was always


supposed to be a temporary measure. It needs to be connected to the NHS


because it is about patient care ultimately. In his Emma saying she


would increase the health budget to take care of this? It so, why are


they committing less money to the NHS. We should be supporting


patients but we need to find some element of compensating GPs like


the one in the film for the will of Parliament that goes with such a


practice. What would Labour do different need to protect GP


services? It goes back to what I said earlier, they risk a lot of


money being spent on we organisation in the NHS. We do not


know what the situation will be like if we come back into


government but we have always been the party of the NHS. What you can


see it is that it is incomplete crisis at the moment. Your


government has done a lot of GP bashing this week. I have nothing


but support for GPs. It is not easy, Beryl problems. But we are sorting


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