04/12/2011 The Politics Show East


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Welcome to the politics show. We may have less than a week to save


Hearn in the east, children in care facing an uncertain future as


council's move away from running residential homes. And after a


pivotal week in politics with grim news from the Chancellor and the


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2012 seconds


bigger strike for a generation, we Welcome to the part of the


programme for us in the east. Later, in a week where the government


admitted it won't achieve its own pledged to close the deficit by the


end of this Parliament, and saw the public sector stage the bigger


stride for 30 years, we speak to the business Secretary about his


hopes for the East. This region has enormous potential, if you look at


life sciences, and science work around Norwich, this is the


tremendous success stories across Europe. And we met the woman who


strikes fear into the heart of the Prime Minister. The number of


children has homes in this region is shrinking, moving could ring


care elsewhere. Most of our council still run children's homes, and


also independent providers. There are no council-run homes in Luton


and Southend, and Essex is trying to join them by closing seven of


its homes. But it has been taken to court by one of its own teenagers,


trying to stop it pushing ahead with plans. The judge ruled that


the closures could go ahead but he was highly critical of how or the


council is implementing the measures and you were called it


could not move children out unless they want to go. The case


highlights the changes for children in care as councils increasingly


look to private provision or having no residential care at all.


It is a world away from the children's homes from years ago,


one of the charities which once this home, says it is not right for


everyone but can have advantages. Live in in aid children's home, you


have got more staff. You can go up and speak to them about problems.


If you live in a foster place, you have only got two people to go to.


We can offer stability, unfortunately, quite a few trilled


and will go through a number of foster homes and I think if you can


get the right residential home with the right people who are properly


trained and recruited, and you can settle children down, then I think


the stability bit is the most important thing. Jerome went from a


Norfolk Trojans home to train at a London drama school, but he has


also become a campaign after hearing that Essex is planning to


close seven of the homes. -- Norfolk's children's home. It is


the same as it happens in your home, your children is taken away, it is


no different. People build up relationships with their carers,


they should be, you need that support structure. Without it, how


are you supposed to come home and talk to your carers. A teenager


took Essex County Council to the home court, it is ruled the council


would have to guarantee it will not move children out unless it is in


their best interest and only after their views have been taken into


account. He is very happy that he will be able to stay there and he


hopes he can until he is 18. Almost another year. He is very pleased


about that. I think he would quite have liked to have a ruling from


the court. That it was unlawful, but he accepted his barrister's


advice that what he got from the court was the best outcome he could


achieve. This home is one of six in Norfolk part-funded by charity and


part-funded by the county council, we have contacted authorities


across the region, and those who have got back say they have no


plans to change the ownership or privatise homes. Although some say


they only use homes for those needing specialist care. When you


look at the figures, you can see why some councils would look


towards fostering. It industry show that looking after someone for just


one week in a council-run home, costs two and a half 1000 pounds.


For an independent home, 2250, and for foster care, that figure drops


to �400. It is reported that Essex could save a million per year by


shutting homes, the High Court did not say they could not do it but


was highly critical for allowing children to think they could be


forced out by Christmas. communication that the judge was


critical of was in the judicial review papers. We have not push


that. As clearly as we could have done that it was a target date, it


was never a definite. You have got to go through the planning process


with young people. The judge was caving and he said it caused


unnecessary distress for the children, what is your reaction to


that? We hear what the judge said, and we accept the criticism. We


have been working very closely with young people on their care plans.


If the target date for good planning reasons has to be put into


the papers, if that is being misunderstood and we have not


communicated that, then that is unfortunate. Back in London to Rome


has the play for Essex, here. would urge them to be careful, for


services like residential care and foster care, they will be pushed to


breaking point. When you reduce the service, you need to be careful.


That play was taken to Norman Lamb, the MP for Norfolk, earlier this


week he met with our reporter who began by asking him if it is wrong


that a teenage boy should have to take Essex County Council to court


in the first place. It is deeply troubling that this youngster feels


it is necessary to pursue legal action. It suggests a real failure


of communication in the sense that for him, he is not being listened


to. Sometimes difficult judgments must be made. Every public body has


a responsibility to use money to best effect, and what we are all


trying to achieve is trying to improve care and improve the


services which are provided. At a lower cost. If you can achieve that


then that is a good thing. The very fact that that youngster feels it


necessary to pursue legal action suggests there is something flawed


about the process the county is pursuing. If a local council said


to you and said we are thinking of closing out children's homes,


outsourcing up a care for gullible trilled and, should we do it? What


would your advice be? My advice would be that you must act in the


best interest of children and individual children, and we must


make sure that whenever we place a child, it is determined by their


needs. Their interest, rather than on the basis of any institutional


bias. His cost a driving factor behind decisions like this to close


the council's in-house Trojans care homes. In Essex it is going to save


more than a million pounds a year, they say. You always have to look


at how money is being spent, whether it is being spent


effectively. Any political party, where at a national level or local


level must do with money. These are the most vulnerable to children it


in society, you must get it right for them. Peter Byrne is with me,


the Conservative MP for Wellingborough. And we have the


chief executive of the Who cares Trust. To you first of all, was


there a surprise when you heard that Essex County Council had


decided to close their homes? Absolutely, everybody who works in


the care sector was stunned when we heard Essex were going to close


almost all of their homes. These homes were particularly good. They


were exemplary, they were practising a model for social


pedagogy, the best practice in children's homes, all of their


staff were being trained in this model. Their staff were going to


conferences and seminars telling people how well this was working


and showing how this was leading to better outcomes for the young


people in the homes. They were a model of good practice, and we were


all very surprised when we heard what Essex were planning. Peter


Byrne, does it worry you that a charge has had to take his own case


to court and has fought for his case to stay in their home. Norman


Lamb said it was very surprising, but from my point of view, I have


always listen to people from the care sector who say children are


better off in foster care rather than residential. I am a little


surprise that people are saying we should have more residential care


homes. That does not seem to be what people have said to me in the


past. Natasha, what is the place for care homes in this day and age?


They have a very important role to play, but we must guard against a


sense of a hierarchy of care. Policy makers at the moment seem to


indicate that they feel adoption is the best place for trilled and,


followed by fostering, followed by children's homes. I think any


ideological view of where a child should be placed is dangerous, that


moves us away, as Norman Lamb was saying from individualised


decisions based on each child's best interest. Many children are


better off in homes, the children's homes are improving across the


country, whoever runs them. Private companies, or the voluntary sector,


across the board when inspected by Ofsted, they are all getting better.


For many children, that is where they want to be. They don't want to


be placed with a family because they have a family of their own. In


some cases fostering would not be possible or best because they have


come such difficult backgrounds with psychological and emotional


trauma. It would be difficult for them to manage their behaviour.


Peter Bone, in your constituency, as I understand the decisions for


disabled should and could change, would you like to see care homes


stay in council hands? It should be individual for the child. Care in


the community, everybody said people must be cared for in the


community and that was the great thing. Now we are saying some


cannot be cared for in the community. That is probably what we


are saying we have residential care. As chairman of the Council Against


trafficking, we saw that they need to be in a residential home


separately, and fostering for them would be wrong for them. I don't


think you should say one idea is right, you must look at the mix.


Natasha is absolutely right. Natasha, thank you very much. Peter


Bone, we will come back to you later. Quite a week, the economic


forecasts in the autumn statement went from bad to worse. Now a one-


in-three chance of recession. The deficit will probably not be


cleared in this Parliament. A public sector pay cap, and if that


is not enough an extra 300,000 people in the public sector will


probably lose their jobs. Against this backdrop the business


secretary was in Norwich on Friday addressing a conference on how to


make the economy grow. These are the people on whom the


government is pinning its hopes of recovery. The leaders of the


region's small and medium-sized businesses. If they can grow they


will create more jobs and kick- start a fragile economy. All were


in surprisingly positive mood, but most also admitted to having


worried. Lots of opportunity but people are making it very slow to


make decisions. Why? I think they are frightened. There is worry with


many clients about staff, but that is what will happen in the


situation we are in. They are spending the money surviving.


are hard, I think it is always in the back of your mind that things


could stop completely. Things are rumbling along OK at the moment but


it could all change. The business community is determined. What is


going on is not good news but we just must carry on. I think we can,


Norfolk has been ignored by the government, which is why we have


since cable here. The business Secretary was also trying to be as


positive as possible, growth the said would come not from the City


of London but from the regions. Hours, he believes, is well placed.


The enormous potential in this region. If you look at life


sciences, and the signs work in Norwich, it is the biggest cluster


in Europe. A tremendous success story. Many people in the creative


industries and high-tech industries around Cambridge, and advanced many


factory at Lotus, we have the work from the North Sea and renewable


energy. The work in Great Yarmouth. This region has enormous potential.


So why aren't we doing any better? The conference was asked to vote on


what they thought the most important thing was to unlock


business growth. By a wide majority they said it was the difficulty in


obtaining finance. People are worried about the finance flow, but


what the government is trying to do is make sure that lending to small


companies and medium-sized companies is maintained so that


companies have access to capital and we can provide guarantees,


making sure the interest rate that the government has on its own


borrowing is translated into the borrowing of companies. We have to


twist the arms of the banks. The Bank of England this week warned


banks they must set aside more money for banks. Will that make it


more difficult to spend money? We are asking them to be prudent. They


must not go bust again. I think the way of reconciling the two things


is to make sure we are ruthless in cutting down on bonuses and on


dividend payments. If we do that then they should be saved, whilst


at the same time lending more to good British companies who need the


capital. What if they don't do that? We have one major bank owned


by the government, another is partly owned. All of the banks


depend on the government and direct forms of intervention may be needed.


This coalition government came into power with a pledge that it would


do away with the deficit by the next election, that may well not


happen now. We also know that in a mop of public sector people losing


their jobs will be far higher than expected. Is this still credible


policy? The markets think it is, otherwise we would not have the


lowest borrowing rates of any major country, lower than Germany. The


reason is that people who lend the government money are confident we


have a very clear plan to deal with the deficit. It is a massive


problem. Rising out of the financial crisis, the government


acquired the biggest deficit in the Western world. We have a plan to


deal with it, it has involved a lot of pain and difficulties.


haven't lost credibility? Absolutely not, these are difficult


times but the government has credibility. We are making


decisions unlike Americans and other European countries. A strong


government which is united, with a clear programme. We have a clear


strategy of dealing with public finances and rebalancing the


economy to business investment and export and manufacturing. Stay with


us, we still have Peter Bone with us and Michael Kitson, an economist


in Cambridge. A robust defence of government policy there, but let us


look at the budget, they have cut the budget for the next four years,


1.8 lower than expected. His is having an impact on growth? They


are having an impact, but it is negative. The austerity measures


are not working. It is higher borrowing. A clear strategy as


Vince Cable said, but it is not working. We need a new strategy for


growth and there is none. Either from the current government, or


from the opposition. No clear strategy on how to create growth in


the future. This is the big gap in the policy domain at the moment.


Vince Cable said that if the banks won't land they will be forced to,


one would assume that would be happening already. Thence made the


point, and did in opposition, that we are asking the banks to do more


two things. We want them to lend more and create more capital. We


cannot really ask them to do both. He said we could buy a cutting


bonuses and dividends. I agree with that, but trying to lend more and


increase the capital base, there is a real problem. Michael Kitson, is


there a Plan B? Not at the moment, we need to look at where growth is


going to come from. It is not coming from households, we are


worried about debt and people losing their jobs. It is not going


to come from firms, they are not going to invest. It is not going to


come from trade because world economy is stagnant. Where will it


come from? It should come from the government taking a more proactive


approach. What we must take in mind here is that we have had a


significant recession which is causing long-term scars in the


economy in this region and the UK. What do you make of that? Michael


Kitson saying we need a plan B. we had two more economists they


would all be disagreeing. There is credibility and what the government


is doing and that is shown in the markets. We do not have a sovereign


debt crisis. Personally I would stop paying the extra �22 billion


that the government is planning to for the European Union, cap


overseas aid and return that in the form of tax cuts to get growth


going. But there is no question that the government has credibility


in the current policies and we should be grateful. Michael Kitson,


I'll be in a downward spiral? economy is that lining, very little


growth as we have seen from the forecasts. It is likely to go on


for five to 10 years. The economy will have very slow growth, one per


cent on year for the next five-10 years. Much lower than we normally


expect, it would normally be too- three per cent, that is stagnant


growth, but many people have talked about the last decade which will


face us in the future. That is why we need a plan that be. We need a


growth strategy, or from the opposition telling us what they


will do. It is just not there yet. -- Plan B. We need strategies for


growth. We have seen this plan a before, the one we had currently,


the last decade in the 1920s. We are seeing it again. Plan A and


Plan B, I think that is rubbish. When the facts change you change


your policy. I think it is a sensible course at the moment. None


of this will be solved until the euro-zone crisis is dealt with, and


until we get rid of this ridiculous Europe and countries go back to


their own currencies. We will come back to it on another day, thank


you. Nowt to the woman who David Cameron's tries most to plays, it


is not his wife apparently, but our guest. I am open to people coming


to speak to me. I am a good listener, neighbours, coffee shops,


at the coalface, as it were. Jenny Bone, wife of the


Wellingborough MP. She is regarded as the sound of the silent majority,


how did she and this accolade? With a little help from her husband.


Bone wanted to know, whether a bail-out payment before 2013,


despite qualified majority voting, Britain would vote No in any case?


I know she would be very happy if the Prime Minister give that


undertaking and it would be very helpful for our household if she


would. I do feel as if a big part of my life is trying to give


pleasure to Mrs Bone. Mr Bone macro strategy is epitomised by his wife


of 30 years. We disagree on many things. More than you would think,


I think. Capital punishment, I think we disagree on that. We


disagree on a number of things. I expect him to be perfect and he


expects me to be perfect, we are too stubborn. In equal measure.


is only by talking to Jenny that I feel I know what is going on in the


constituency. People speak to me about individual cases, but Jenny


reflects through our daily conversations, and we will speak


late at night and she will tell me what has been going on. I pass back


to Peter what I hear from people. They are not necessarily my views


and I don't necessarily always agree with what I'm hearing, but I


pass it on to him. Who will talk to me at 2am about what is going on?


That is a huge advantage, something which has worked really well.


Anyone who can be married to me for 30 years must be close to a saint.


Very nice words, but a serious sense of it. The reason I do it is


because as Jenny says, it reflects what my constituents are saying.


Every time the club is run it repeats the question, and it gets


publicity for what my constituents are saying. Will Mrs Bone continue


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