18/09/2011 The Politics Show North East and Cumbria


Jo Coburn, Andrew Neil and Richard Moss are here with the top political stories of the week.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 18/09/2011. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Here, a Teesside MP blames councils for failing to support the region's


businesses. Should they be forced to buy local?


And a network of electricity pylons could soon be running through some


of the north's most beautiful landscapes. We report from Cumbria.


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2131 seconds


Hello and welcome to your local part of the show. I hope you


enjoyed the summer, what there was of it anyway. Thanks for tuning in


again. Coming up: In a week of grim


economic news, councils in the North East and Cumbria are accused


of giving too much work to businesses outside the region.


And I am in Cumbria, where a new network of pylons could be built


across some of the county's most beautiful landscape.


More from Emily in Cumbria later. And we will also be mulling over


what to make of the new political map of the north that has been


drawn up by the Boundary Commission with the MPs for Berwick and


Hartlepool. First, the TUC has accused the


Government of bleeding the life out of the North East economy after the


region experienced another big rise in unemployment. Ministers say they


are doing their best to help the private sector create new jobs. But


what about our councils? Are they doing their bit? Well, the Politics


Show has asked all the big local authorities in Cumbria and the


North East how many contracts they are awarding to companies based in


the region. Here's our political correspondent, Mark Denten.


Kevin Brown is a happy man. After a few tough months, his company has


just landed some big orders. contracts are potentially worth


200,000. We finished in the last two weeks and �50,000 maintenance


project. The form got that new business from Hartlepool council.


It makes a point of buying local. We have in all our contracts


clauses that talk about local employment, apprenticeships from


the people from the borough and as a result of that, a lot of her


local businesses are being able to compete more. For every pound spent


with the local workforce, it comes back threefold. To but the by local


message does not seem to have got through to everyone. We have


discovered big variations in the amount that there councils spend in


the region. In Hartlepool, 62% of contracts are placed with North


East firms. In Newcastle, it is 51%. What is more concerning is that


some councils have reduced the amount their spending locally.


Redcar and Cleveland Council have seen a 17% drop in its North East


contracts. Won Redcar seafront, the place is buzzing with building work.


But large parts of this work went to companies based outside the


North East. The local MP is concerned. Keeping money in the


area which stimulates employment and other activity, is part of


their value that can be generated through these contracts. I think


they should look at this very closely. Clearly, the council


taxpayers want a good deal. Did you know what to pay over the lot for


services, but at the same time, they want their area to be


successful. An hour Adia, we want to restore the North East economy


and reduce unemployment. If but the council says that European


competition rules mean that it cannot just by local. With �17


million of council cuts around here, they say that Porter's expect the


best deal. I think people expect value for money, but the expect a


good job as well. There is no point in doing it cheaper if it is not


fit for purpose. It all comes for the tax system and the council


taxpayer pay for this. But some say the council could do much more.


This business used to supply for councils and the North East, but


all that business went to a firm in France. At the moment, what they


are doing now is having one supplier supplying the product.


Taking that out of the local economy creates a difficult


situation. The worst-case scenario is that it puts a lead on the


growth prospects of companies in the North East. They might still


have opportunities to work as sub- contractors, but it will put a


ceiling on how far they are able to grow. That will have an impact on


the amount of wealthy can create and the jobs they can create.


The Chamber of Trade ending Mark's report. Well, with me in the studio


to discuss that are the Liberal Democrat MP for Berwick, Sir Alan


Beith and the Labour MP for Hartlepool, Iain Wright. Ian Wright,


your local council did well to us, but should the pressure to be the


lowest price or supporting local firms? I think councils can be big


economic players in the local region. I think they have to think


about the value for money. There is a balance to be struck, because it


is important to bleed -- breathed life into the local economy. We


have had to work hard with contracts to make sure that their


local jobs and apprenticeship opportunities as well. Would you


say that other councils are not making the same effort? I think


that there can be big players in the local economy. Would you


criticise a country that did not reach that 62% level? In difficult


times, at a time when central government is slashing budgets for


local government, that will have an impact. Equally, in order to make


sure that we can maintain skills and have a good economy in their


region, councils can play a leading role there. Sir Alan Beith, is it


ever justifiable to pay a bit more to insure a contract stays local?


That is worth paying more to make sure that the job is done properly.


Quite often a local contractor can do that. One of your items in the


film demonstrated where the problems start from. It is these


big contracts that bundle up everything so that a whole range of


suppliers have to come through the one company. That is a get someone


to -- someone coming to change a light bulb from the other end of


the country. We're all under that pressure, but that is what drives


out local businesses. One of the things that there tumbrel and do --


that in Northumberland are doing is contract to the small local firms


to do the work. There is a lot more scope for a smaller business if we


do not have such a huge bundle up contracts. Every penny extra that


the spend on these contracts, even it is laudable to look at other,


local companies, they have to look at council tax bills. The council -


- their tax payer expects local councils to be conscious of value


for money. In the end, I think we would all suffer if we did not have


proper competition and if we allowed companies to name their


price because they were the nearest company to the council headquarters.


We cannot run it like that. But we can organise it so that local


companies can bed successfully for contracts. What did he make of


councils like Gateshead or Cumbria that say they do not hold this


information? I think it is important that you have


transparency, so a local electorate can see what they council is


spending money on. In these difficult times, every penny that


every council spends is important. I would say for every penny or


pound that is spent by Hartlepool council, three or �4 can be pumped


back into the local economy. It can do a real job in regenerating the


town's economy. Let us talk about local economy. Sir Alan Beith, the


focus is on the desperate need for more jobs. You have the highest


unemployment rate in the contract. The North East is not doing well


out of this coalition. The way it has to the Ford is to increase


private sector jobs. -- the way it has to move forward. These figures


show that the coalition's policy of encouraging private sector


employment is not doing enough. Private sector employment is


increasing across the country. not enough. Nobody thinks that it


will be at the speeds that is consistent. Ian Wright, some would


say that this is a Labour's legacy. The last government made their


council to dependent on spending. Prior to the last election, on


employment was coming down. It was all about pumping lot of


unsustainable government money into the region. It is more complex than


simply having private sector and public sector jobs over here. You


can see it councils can be enablers and facilitators of their local


government policy. This is feeling the whole country, but especially


the north east. But the solution is not for the government just to


spend more money, isn't it? want things like the jailing of the


-- dualling of the A1. One a focus on investment in infrastructure is


the right way to goal. -- go. government in power at the moment


will be subject to severe financial restraints. How long can be a keep


on going seeing those significant rising in employment in the North


East, before the strategy has to change? But you cannot go back to


policy on -- of the borrowing in order to pay the current bills.


Nick Clegg was talking this week about making sure that public


sector contracts do not fall behind, so that we get the work in the


timescale that we need it. But the money is not there unless the go on


doing what we were doing before, which was borrowing money to pay


the bills. -- unless we stop doing what we were doing before.


And if you go to my blog you can find out how your council spends


with businesses in the local area. That's bbc.co.uk/richardmoss.


Now, we have heard a lot from the Government about the need for new


nuclear power stations and wind farms to help generate energy in


the future. Sometimes they are not welcomed whole-heartedly by local


communities. But the controversy does not end there. In Cumbria, the


energy generated from new reactors and wind farms will have to be


transferred to the national grid. As Emily Unia reports, that could


lead to a string of new giant pylons across one of Britain's most


beautiful landscapes. De is like this draw thousands of


visitors every year, so at any threat to their landscape is met


with a ferocious opposition. But there is another side to Cumbria,


the energy coast. Plans for a new nuclear power station, mean I knew


grid connection, transferring energy across the country. But


balancing development with protecting the environment is going


to be a challenge. Cumbria sees itself as a place where no -- non-


carbon energy can be focused in the future. We're looking very


seriously at renewables, both onshore and offshore. All that


means a much more powerful grid connection. What we have to see is


an acceptable extension to the National Grid. In the heart of the


National Park, there is a feeling that the countryside is under


threat. I have no problem with them putting a connection in, my problem


is how they are going to do it, underground or overground. If you


look at it now, we have a few of the Lake District at its best today.


If that will be covered with pylons, up to 60 feet high, you can just


imagine what that will look like. It sickens me, to be honest. It is


something that cannot happen. I am in the North Pennines, an area of


outstanding national beauty. -- natural beauty. Once the work has


been completed here in the putting connections underground. It will be


difficult to tell that there will be any cables here. But these


cables are very different are the ones that will be for the new


connection. Buddying them will be a much more expensive proposition. It


will likely effect energy prices. The National Grid does not have an


inherent preference for any technology. What is important to us


was that we get the right balance for the nation, that balances the


local impact with the cost to the consumer. Underground cables are


significantly more expensive. We know that underground cables


removed the visual impact. They are one of their technologies that we


will consider. As battle-lines are drawn offer the prospect of more


and bigger pylons, their calls for a realistic conversation about the


options. How much is the public prepared to pay in order to save


the landscape, protect national parks and not live under national


pylons? At think the answer will have to be compromised. You can


bury some of it, but not all that. Some may areas are going to have to


except the fact, because it is just not affordable for everything to be


buried. It does not go to public consultation next year, but behind


the scenes, councils and campaigners are pushing for a


compromise. Meanwhile, become -- the government is running a


competition to design a new kind of pylon, in the hope that we will all


grow to love them. Emily Unia reporting. Well, all


week, MPs like Penrith's Rory Stewart have been poring over the


details of their new constituency boundaries. Cumbria will lose one


seat, while the North East will lose three as part of David


Cameron's plan to reduce the number of MPs at the next general election.


It's a review that's thrown up some slightly quirky outcomes. Consett


and Barnard Castle, two towns with very little in common up to now,


find themselves in the same parliamentary seat. While, in


contrast, neighbouring Whitley Bay and Tynemouth will be represented


by two different MPs. So what are we to make of it all? And which


party stands to gain most from the changes? The region can manage with


for fewer MPs quite easily. I think those principles are correct. We


should try and cost the -- cut down on the cost of politics. Your party


was our duty to keep these MPs. think to cut down the cost of


politics is the right approach. Let's be honest, this is


gerrymandering by the Tories and order to make sure that they are


locked in a majority. Whole legislative framework has been


trying to push an in-built Tory majority in England in perpetuity.


I think it is all it and I think deceit that you highlighted is a


good example. On one hand, the MP would be representing Hadrian's


Wall or at the top and the Yorkshire Dales at the bottom. I do


not think the Boundary Commission have taken into account as much as


they should have done. There are some huge constituencies that have


been created. 2,500 square kilometres for Hexham. That will


not help MPs serve their constituencies better. Mine is the


third biggest in England at the moment. It can be done. Boundary


changes always create problems. I think it is quite wrong to suggest


that it is gerrymandering. This is nothing to do with the politicians.


It is just a coincidence that it advantages the Conservatives?


reason it advantages they Conservatives is because the


current system has been a bad the during labour. -- giving an


advantage to Labour. The Boundary Commission has set rules by the


Government. What I think they could do little more of us looking at


places where they might be splitting up a local communities


and see if they can, within the rules, match communities better.


Labour did very little about this, because it knew that it suited them.


It lost in seats and are Canadians, where people voted Labour. Those


principles, or tried to cut the cost of politics and equalise the


number of voters. You say that and then see it is gerrymandering. It


is political point-scoring. It is not. I think the point is that at


the moment, the first draft of what the Boundary Commission has done


this week froze up a number of interesting and somewhat odd


connotations and they think people will be working to see if they can


improve that sense of community cohesion which should be part of


the parliamentary constituency. you think bet public opera about


this? -- do you think that the public will care about this? It and


there will be some committee concerned, but generally people


want to see their MPs doing the job properly and well and they think we


spend enough on politics as it is. Thank you very much.


And if you go to my blog you can find more on the new-look


constituencies. Why not post a comment and let us know what you


think about them? We're back next Sunday quite a bit


earlier, at 11am, when we will be asking what impact the Government's


changes to planning policy will have on the North East. In the


Download Subtitles