26/06/2011 The Politics Show North East and Cumbria


26/06/2011

Jon Sopel and Richard Moss are here with the top political stories of the week.


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Here: Councils under fire for closing down their residential care

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homes. After Southern Cross, should they step in to protect older

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people? Fluff and respected Teesside MP who

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wants to ban parents of young children from smoking in the car.

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2512 seconds

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Hello and a very warm welcome to your local part of the show. Coming

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up: Should parents travelling with young children in the car be banned

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from smoking? We talk to the North East MP who wants to change the law.

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But we start with an issue that has been dominating the headlines -

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care of the elderly. It was not long ago that many residential care

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homes in Cumbria and the North East were owned and run by local

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councils. But in recent years they have

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mostly been closed down or sold off, the residents moved into privately

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run homes. At the time, some relatives

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protested it - amid warnings of what might go wrong. So after

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events at Southern Cross, have the critics been proved right?

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Protesters taken Durham County Council as it decides to close care

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homes. They decided to move the mother of Ann Dryden who is in will

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stop the day she left - it was awful. The staff were in tears and

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she was in tears. Not just for her but for other people as well who

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were leaving. We pick the care home she is in now because her friends

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were going. A year on the is fresh uncertainty because the home she

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has been moved to it belongs to Southern Cross. I must stress that

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the home she is in, she's taken very good care of. But it is a

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private business and it is for profits. Once the profits go, how

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do they manage the care? Would it be the same? It is just worrying

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and it is worrying for all the other people who have relatives in

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the care home. I cannot think what will happen if she has to move

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again, she is 93 and quite frail. The council home she loved is now

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boarded up husk. She believes the council has let older people down

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by leaving residential care to the private sector but councils claim

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they have no choice. It. Two harsh economics. Durham County Council

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says it cost up to �1,000 a week to house an older person in one of

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their own homes. Contrast that with the private sector who only charged

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up to 480p a week for the same order Pehrson. That is a powerful

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incentive for councils to close homes. -- older person. Most

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councils are now concentrating on centres like this one at Newcastle

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which provides emergency care and short stays. The council here

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believes the fewer homes should be in hands of the profit-driven.

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Local authorities have not been in the care home business for 20 years

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now. I do not see local authorities directly to in that in the future.

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However, I think they have a key role to stimulate the development

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of new kinds of provision, working with third sector organisations,

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social enterprise and co-operatives to develop not for profit models

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which achieve the objectives of providing good quality care but do

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not syphon off large amounts of profit. The council still has a

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problem - even in a privately run care home like this one, they pay

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the fees. Private operators say the Hague -- the council refuses to pay

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the full cost of care, they are freezing payments and causing

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problems. Councils are setting a fee rate which is picked up out of

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the ear. It matches their budget and does not relate to real cost

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and the margin necessary to do the cost -- do the job property --

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properly. The underpayment can be into six figures. Over 100,000 and

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that is a lot of money for one individual home to be short of.

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Where does that leave the future? The charity which represents old

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people believes we are heading for more crisis unless the government

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finds more extra money. Certainly, Age UK reckons that in 2014, the

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government will be spending two and an �50 million less than they spent

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in 2004 on care for older people. We as the government to commit up

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to �3 billion to prevent the covers system from collapsing. That threat

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of collapse has prompted calls for local authorities and the

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government to take action to protect older people.

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Let us talk now to the Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West,

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Sharon Hodgson and the Conservative Euro-MP for the North East, Martin

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Callanan. Was it a mistake to allow the private sector to care for

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older people? I have a five care homes caring for people in my

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constituency. What matters is what happens now. We are where we are

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and we need to look to the future. We need to look at new models...

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Was it a mistake? We are looking at relying on the private-sector - for

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councils to get out of this situation and all the risks for

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people like Southern Cross. If you want to look back, you have to go

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back to the 1990s when compulsory tendering was brought in. 85 % of

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government money that was sent from the government to local councils

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had to be spent in the private sector. When we came in in 1997 we

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scrap this mandate and said there had to be a more level playing

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field. In 2000, we scrapped their compulsory tendering... You did

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nothing to prevent the closure of homes. We brought in best-value so

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it was not about going for the cheapest option but for best value.

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OK, I accept you. But what about the future? Andy Burnham in the

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last government tried to work across parties with the Lib Dems

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and the Conservatives on a National Care Service. I think we still need

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to look at that. We need to work together. We cannot. Score on this.

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The care over elderly is far too important for this. We need to work

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together and find a way which works for all of us. What it

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Conservatives think? A lot of people say profit should not play a

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part in providing care for older people, what do you think? I do not

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agree with that. The reality is they are good homes and the private

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sector and their bad homes and the public sector, we all know examples

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of that. It is about getting the right Regulation, the right here

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and the appropriate regulation in place and enforcing those standards.

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Isn't the end result being driven by profit meaning more Southern

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Cross and more crisis? I do not accept this logic. There are some

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very good privately owned care homes. I know a lot of them in the

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North East. It is about putting the appropriate regulation in place. We

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have to look at the cost of things and get best value for the money we

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spend as taxpayers because these places are expenses -- expensive.

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Our all people deserve good quality care and that can be put in place

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by the appropriate register -- legislation. Councils are not

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providing the full cost of care here, they are cutting funding to

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some of the Most Honourable people in the community. The councils have

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had their funding cut by central government. But they have choices.

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What we have to do is make sure no Southern Cross can happen again.

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When you hear that at private US equity company could come in and

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buy up the whole of Southern Cross 462 million and then sell it for

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the three years later for a four times that, the reason they could

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make a profit was because the sold off follow homes and were renting

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them back. This has led to where we are now. The government has a

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responsibility to legislate against that and not allow private

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companies to do things like that in the future. He did not regulate

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when he had the chance in government. Where we are aware that

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was happening? Private companies always find ways to maximise

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profits. Who would have believed that the company would sell off

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their care homes and assets and rent them back? That is such a

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strange model, how would you know to regulate against that? But now

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we know, we can do something about it now. As Age UK said, you're not

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putting enough money in the system. The budget for the NHS has been

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ring-fenced and the budget for care. The care home provider said that

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the money that was supposed to be handed over to help out with

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elderly here, actually they could not find any trace of it. It had

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not reached down to providers. money is ring-fenced from

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government to local authorities and how they spend that for public or

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private sector is up to them. I accept your central point that

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funding will be restricted. The cut -- we are borrowing billions of

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pounds every day and we have to make savings where appropriate.

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care for elderly people - is that not important? We were left in this

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mess by the policies of the government she supported who

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bankrupted the country. We have to sort out the mess. The care of all

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people is a priority and we need to find the appropriate resources but

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we have to look at terms of best value and bringing in the

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appropriate quality of care and the proper legislation. Shall I tell

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you it that clients are not founded by councils But funded privately

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are being charged more to subsidise the fact that councils are not

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paying their full amount, that is not right, is it? People are means-

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tested and have to contribute to their care but that is a problem in

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the system. It provides incentives to people to dispose of their

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assets knowing that the state will pick up the bill. This is a problem

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that the last government looked at without coming up with a solution.

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An independent commission needs to be set-up and will report next

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month to put in a long-term framework for care which provides

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for a state contribution element, the state should not be all the

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bills. Hopefully, this will be done on a cross-party basis because it

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is important to have a long-term framework which provides a proper

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framework to go forward for the future. We jigger the that the

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records of politicians is pretty awful. Labour had 13 years.

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Commission reports on long-term care but nothing was done about it.

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That was something which grew gradually... In 1999 Dec you

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commissioned a report but did not take any action on it. We can look

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back at the mistakes on the past. That is what I am saying. Or we can

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look at the future. As Martin said, we need to work together. Retried

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this in the last days of the last government. We looked at and

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national care system. -- we tried this. There has to be a form of

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contribution. Thank you both very much indeed.

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Smoking in many public places - whether pubs, restaurants or

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football grounds - was banned 4 years ago. This week a North East

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MP proposed a Commons Bill that would go much further. Stockton's

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Alex Cunningham wants parents travelling with young children to

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be banned from smoking in their cars. But is such a ban enforceable

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and is legislating over what people do in private really a good idea?

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The suggestion has certainly triggered a lively debate. Alex

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Cunningham wants to outlaw smoking in cars where children are

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passengers, Sarah is on the line. Should it be out lot? I think it

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should be. My sister used to smoke a lot in the car with her small

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children. If children are in your car, should you be forced to stop

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smoking? Would it be too difficult to enforce? The subject which has

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been talked about all week. Should or should you not light up when

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children are in the car? Are they going to police smokers in their

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own houses? This debate is close to the heart of Louise Morris and her

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daughter. I used to smoke in the car all the time. I have given up

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smoking for three years so she is six now. She was a toddler when I

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was smoking. Louise now thinks her daughter's health is better since

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she has stopped smoking. She would have quite a few runny noses and

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coughs and colds when I was smoking. When you give up, you see that they

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disappear. Your child is better. Louise supports a ban on smoking in

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cars with children. I think it is a good idea. It is the health of

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their child that they're not thinking about as well as their own

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health. Smoking rates have reduced in the North East - they dropped

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from 29 % down to 22 % in 2009. This is held by the smoking ban in

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pars and cafes and other public places. Here at this market in

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Newcastle they are running a drop- in session to help people quit

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smoking. What do shoppers make of banning smoking in cars with

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children? Personally, I do not think uses smoke in front of

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children any way. If you have kids and the car, it should be banned.

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Just using common sense. Whether it is a good idea to make legislation

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about it, I do not know. Wood stopping people smoking in cars

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actually work? Some experts are convinced that making it illegal as

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the best that solution. I think it is a really good idea to raise this

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issue and I support Mr Cunningham for raising this in Parliament.

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84,000 children in the North East are being exposed every year in

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cars to second-hand smoke. We know this is a toxic cocktail of over

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4,000 chemicals. The reality is about a 13,000 of those children

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every year have to go and see their doctor. It might not feel that

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significant with coughs and colds but second-hand smoke exposure

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causes things like a middle ear infections and meningitis and

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serious of all things like cot death. There is a long way to go to

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persuade people to give up cigarettes and pro-smoking groups

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see further restrictions as being another attack on people enjoying

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what is a legal product. The Stockton North MP Alex

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Cunningham, who put forward that Bill in the Commons on Wednesday,

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joins me from a Teesside studio now. Most people we spoke to agree with

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you that people should not smoke in the car. Is using the log the best

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we to stop them? I believe it is because people in this country do

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or be the log and that was true in when we had the seat belt

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legislation. Up to 90 % of people now use their seatbelts. 15 % of

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people who smoke do actually smoke in cars with children present which

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put them into an environment of heavy smoking which is not good for

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their health so the law is the right idea. They had some qualms

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about this and thought persuasion might be better than an extra law.

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Persuasion is one thing but we need to invest more money in education.

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I know the chance of his becoming law is slim. The important thing is

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people across the country is that people had been talking about this

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issue, raising the issue means it is in the minds of people and

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perhaps they will respond to it. You have proposed legislation so we

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have to look at that. How could you enforce this? You do not expect the

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police to see if people are lighting up the car when it is a

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child seat in it? That will be very difficult and I acknowledge that.

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When there are laws, people of a them. I would like to think if we

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introduce such a log, the 50 % of people who think it is acceptable

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to smoke in cars with children present will stop doing it. Would

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it be a good use of the legal system to prosecute people smoking

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in cars with children present? it is the ultimate situation. It is

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similar to being caught speeding, it have a finer points on their

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licence or the King go on education course. It would be great if we can

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encourage people to go on an education course. For people who

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are smokers, they feel besieged. If you dictate what people can do but

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-- in their private lives, where does it end? It is the

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concentration of smoke in a car which is the issue here. You may as

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well invite the child to smoke it themselves in some cases. There is

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a marvellous advert for the British Lung Foundation at the moment with

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a child sitting in the back of the car with a cigarette in their hands

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which illustrates how horrible it says. Can you ever transgress into

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the private spaces of people? think the child's private space is

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the important element here. The child does not have the choice.

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More than 50 % of children say they do not like the fact that people

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smoke in cars and they do not like shaving that smoke. They want them

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to smoke. It is this private space of the child as well as the adult.

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Alex Cunningham thank you. And that's about all from us.

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There's much more on my blog - including the government's decision

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to scrap plans for "shadow mayors" in 11 English cities including

:02:26.:02:31.

Newcastle. Just log onto bbc.co.uk/richardmoss - and you can

:02:31.:02:38.

also follow me on Twitter - just look for richardpolshow.

:02:38.:02:41.

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