17/05/2012 North West Tonight


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Good evening and welcome to North West Tonight with Kate Simms and


Roger Johnson. The top story: �125 million investment, 2000 jobs


secured and 700 Moore created. Celebrations as a new generation of


Vauxhall Astra's comes to Ellesmere Port. It just shows how hard we


actually work and the quality vehicles we produce every day.


is brilliant news for me. I have got a new family so I need a good


job. We will be lived inside the factory. Also: At the car is the


star - what a booming Automobile Industry can bring to a town.


A right royal splash. The Queen takes to the water in Liverpool on


her Diamond Jubilee tour. She took the flowers but she wondered if


they were for her. She is a cultural icon, bigger than at Queen


of the band, bigger than David Beckham.


The first player ever to land at Manchester Airport - 75 years later,


For several months, a shadow has hung over the Vauxhall car plant at


Ellesmere Port. General Motors said it had to shut a European plant and


many feared eight you up -- at Ellesmere Port would be the one to


go. But today, fantastic news - Vauxhall announced it would build a


new Astra there, a multi-million- pound investment securing thousands


of jobs and creating new ones. Our Economics Correspondent is at the


factory now, where they must be delighted.


Indeed! I am in the Body Shop of the factory, which has a par we


rarely see. This is where they build the frame of the car. Part of


it has already been done and now robots are starting to add the


doors and the roof of the car. It is quite something! Once that


happens, the plant will move down the conveyor belt and they will


start and the bonnet, the doors and the engines will be billed by some


of the people who work here who have received a massive boost today.


Two weeks ago, many told me they were sure they would be out of work


and some had started looking for a job. Today, this brand new massive


contract for the new Astra has come, which will guarantee the planned's


future until at least 2020. -- of the factory's future.


They arrived with little fanfare - the Business Secretary and Head of


Vauxhall, who started his career here at Ellesmere Port and today


came back to save the jobs of more than 2000 people. People like


Barbara, who has worked here for 14 years. It just shows how hard we


work and the quality vehicles that we produce every day. It has


finally been recognised. Tyrone has not been here long but needed this


job. It is brilliant news for me. I have a young family so I need a


good job. Couldn't get any better! And Joe, too, had also nearly given


up. I honestly thought we were shutting but today's news is great


for everyone. This year marks the 50th birthday of car-making in


Ellesmere Port. The Vauxhall Viva was the first car produced here,


but recently the European arm of the company had made losses and


there were fears that the plant may be closed. Ellesmere Port was in


the firing line. To survive they need the new Astra, and today they


got it. It was a team effort. The business worked very well with the


unions and with government. I was very heavily involved in it with 19.


I went to the United States a couple of times to talk to the top


people and endeavour to persuade them that Britain was the place to


be and that Ellesmere Port was a good plant. Key to Ellesmere Port


secure in his contract were two things - firstly, the plant's


productivity. They make 47 cars that our here, a company record.


Secondly, the workers agreeing to a new pay and conditions deal, which


means the plant will be able to open 24 hours a day, 51 weeks a


year. The company offered us a set of conditions if we wanted the next


Astra. We told to the workforce, they accepted and we balloted and


now we have a long-term future. future which workers here could


scarcely have imagined just a few weeks ago. It's is great news. You


can tell yourself - you have been around the plant - everyone is


happy days. There will be a few beers tonight. They will start


making the new Astra hearing 2015. This is no doubt great news for


Vauxhall but does it help the car industry in the UK? You would have


to hope so because this news was very unexpected. We were expecting


exactly the opposite - and it comes not too far after the news from


Jaguar a few weeks ago that they were creating bond 1000 jobs at


Halewood because of the success of their Range Rover. Another key


thing to mention is that one of the problem as Vauxhall announced


before in terms of trying to persuade GM to build the new Astra


here was that they had to import a lot of the parts that they used to


to build the car, which is expensive. One other things they


have promised to date is to try and increase the supply chain and they


are talking about 3,000 new jobs. It is worth noting that for every


job in the plant, another five that are created in the supply chain.


That is important in getting a bright future and a real great


feature for manufacturing here in the region.


-- future. Earlier, I spoke to the Vauxhall UK


managing director, Bernard Batey, and asked him why Ellesmere Port


had been chosen for the new Astra. The UK is a good place to invest


from a manufacturing point of view. Second day, we have a great track


record of efficiency and very high quality, and very good


effectiveness in the UK. -- second lead. With the new labour agreement


we have made, we have great flexibility, which means we can run


for 51 weeks a year, getting production levels at Ellesmere Port


but we have never seen before. Let's talk about the new labour


agreement. Vince Cable has said that some of the changes you


required workers to take are tough. Can you explain what they have had


to agree to? It is about added flexibility, so the workforce have


agreed to to more flexible shift patterns, to three shifts instead


of two. We will not have a summer closure any more. So it is not a


case of more hours for less money? No, it is not a case of more hours


for less money. It is more flexibility and it is really in


appropriate -- it is really appropriate for the Times and


assures the future of manufacturing into the next decade. You have


committed to use local suppliers in order to build his calf. Can you


give them any guarantees? Many, many more jobs will depend on that.


They are commitments. They are part of our agreement and part of the


terms which we get. Thank you very much. Thank you.


That was Vauxhall's managing director. Later in the programme,


we will be reporting from Ellesmere Port Town Centre on what the news


means for the people who live there. The Queen's Diamond Jubilee tour of


the north-west has had a wildlife theme today. It featured wind --


rhinos and docks, though the dogs had wheels, not wings. The Queen


took to the water in a tour of the Albert Dock in Liverpool, in a


bright yellow amphibious vehicle called the dock. She also saw


Chester's suit breeding or rare rhinos. It is all quiet there now


but I bet it was very exciting earlier!


It was, and we are at the Waterfront where the Queen start of


the Liverpool leg of her visit. She also went to Chester Zoo and opened


a new �30 million jubilee Park in Warrington. My guess is that the


party will remember is one that involved a lot of water and a big


splash! This is all about 60 years on the


throne but be yellow "duck-marine" the Queen Rodin today has been


around even longer. It dates from World War II and here is what it


does in Liverpool these days - Not much reaction from Her


Majesty... We heard her at Shea! think it was her, anyway. She and


Prince Philip Cup the thought tourist experience. -- Prince


Philip got the fault tourist experience. I don't think many


people have this on a bucket list! Back at Merseyside Maritime Museum,


C received flowers from Brownies also celebrating their Diamond


Jubilee. She took the flowers from us but she wondered if they were


for her. The crowd loved it all. was my first time to see her.


exciting. She is a cultural icon bigger bank Queen of the band,


bigger than David Beckham. I think she is a fantastic example of


public service and has been doing a THEY SING.


Earlier, at Chester, drizzle didn't dampen enthusiasm after the soup.


The I came here from Arizona, where we love the Queen and I came here


to see the Queen. The Queen took them on a rail to see the rhinos.


The particularly interested in the rhinos. That was because we were


explaining that rhinos are very similar to walls and there is a


connection there. She looked very beatable and it is really exciting.


-- beautiful. She got a closer look at the rhinos and performed some


official opening duties. Back in Liverpool, she had lunch of north-


west delicacies, including overall asparagus. Hundreds of people


waited outside the museum to see if she would do a walkabout. She did


not but the Royal police protection officers - a serious chaps with a


serious job - physically lifted out small children with posies of


flowers and took them along so that they could give their flowers to


the Queen. It is what you call a nice touch.


What a lovely touch! Thank you. You can see more about the royal


family's close links to the region this Saturday in a special


programme at 4:20pm on BBC One. Some of the other main stories: Be


extraction of shale gas on Lancashire's Fylde coast should be


allowed to go ahead, according to a council report.


The committee concluded that the controversial drilling process,


known as fracking, will have energy benefits for the country if strict


environmental safeguards are in place. Campaigners against the


process have criticised the report. A man has pleaded guilty to


stealing a handbag from a woman who had just been killed crossing a


road in Manchester poor stock 62- year-old Sarwari Ashraf from Long


sight died after being hit by a lorry in March. Minutes later, 46-


year-old Marc Kirvin from Altrincham run into the road and


stole her handbag, containing �1,600 in cash. He will be


sentenced next month. A playwright from Cameroon who has


been living as a refugee in Greater Manchester has today been told she


does not have to return to her native country. Lydia Besong and


her husband Bernard Batey sought asylum in Britain, saying they


feared for their safety in Cameroon after being imprisoned and tortured


for their political beliefs. The UK Border Agency opposed their


application and says it is disappointed with the decision.


We have discovered there are official concerns about the way


Lancashire County Council is managing its finances. They come in


a report from the local government watchdog, the district auditor,


which was published earlier this year. The council says those issues


are minor and have been sorted out. Our political editor has been


looking into this. Give us some background to this. The local


authorities are all under economic pressure. Lancashire County Council


has decided to respond to that more actively than most by getting into


the financial markets and investing in them. They have hired somebody


from the City of London to run the service. They have Bloomberg


financial terminals in there for it all to get going. They have been


pretty successful and invested into government bonds and that turned


into a windfall of �47 million, which they could then put into


services. That sounds great! What is the problem? The county council


asked the audit committee from did check above what they were doing


and see it was OK. The answer was that it was not an there were two


areas of concern. There was a lack of oversight by senior officers and


councillors and the second one - perhaps more seriously - is that


the Audit Commission could not be certain why the county council had


been borrowing all the money that it had been. What they cannot do is


borrowed money to invest back into the market. That is not allowed.


But the Audit Commission seemed to have some concerns because of lack


of paperwork. If we take a look at one of their quotes from the report,


it might be considered as indicative of adopting a policy of


borrowing for the purposes of reinvestment. But they did not go


so far as to say it had happened. The Audit Commission does not


actually say that the council borrowed for a particular purpose.


The main interest of the report is that people do not know why the


council was borrowing. It is not clear from the council's own


financial reports. That is what the commission wants to tighten up.


This is public money and the public have a right to know. The what have


the council said? A very robust response. They say they are doing a


good job when it comes to the Budget and that the worst of the


issues have all been sorted out. I put it to the Conservative leader


of Lancashire County Council, Geoff Driver, that the District Auditor


appear to be hinting that they had been borrowing to invest. There are


no strong hints of anything in the order to's report. The report,


which is a very, very complimentary report about an hour treasury


management operation, I suspect stock market There are all sorts of


criticisms! The overall report is very complimentary. It would be the


envy of, I suspect, every other local authority. Councillor driver


is right that Lancashire County Council has clearly done very well


but nevertheless, the district auditor is concerned about the way


Back now to a rare piece of good news at a time of economic doom and


gloom - the decision to build the new Astra at Vauxhall's Ellesmere


Port plant. As we told you earlier, it will create 700 new jobs and


save more than 2,000. Obviously, it's good news for those


who work there. But it's great news too for a town that depends so


heavily on the plant. The 9th of and really are the


fortunes of a town so closely tied to one of its businesses. It is 50


years since Vauxhall started making cars here in Ellesmere Port. It is


great news for the town. People want to work, they are willing to


work, so the opportunity to work is great. As long as foxholes day here,


this time will thrive. -- box Hall. Mike Royden is a local teacher and


historian. This is 1962 when it was first opened, it has been the main


employer. This is a career that kids can go into. Hopefully that


ability will now be there. These are the people whose future


has been secured with today's announcement. Vauxhall apprentices


learning the skills that will make them world-class. You can be in is


a dead end job like in a shop where there is no way to get higher, but


I have done an apprenticeship and you can get more qualifications at


the end of it and go for a degree at university and go for a masters


in engineering or ball higher up in the company. They nurture them


through the apprenticeship process, and put them on management


supervisory training. The Prime Minister says today's decision is a


vote of confidence in Ellesmere Port. It is a vote of confidence in


the town as well. Football, and a decision on the


future of Steve Kean, the manager of relegated Blackburn Rovers,


appears to have been postponed. 's Wigan have given permission for


their manager to talk to Liverpool following the dismissal of Kenny


Dalglish for the second year in running. -- for the second year in


running, Martinez has kept Wigan in the Premier League. It is thought


he is facing competition for the Liverpool job from Rafa Benitez,


Andre Villas-Boas and several others. Liverpool say they have


explain the reasons for Dalglish's sacking to that club's senior


players. A little surprise and shock. A great warmth and love for


Kenny, but great support going forward. No individual is bigger


than Liverpool Football Club. That is important, because like


everybody here, from the bottom up, everybody wants to win, no more so


than players. Crew are on their way to Wembley


after the club booked their place in the Division Two play-off final.


It is a remarkable achievement after being on the 12th in the


table in February. Last night they group -- drew 2-2 at Southend. That


meant they won the semi-final 3-2 on aggregate. Tonight they find out


if they face Torquay of Cheltenham in the final.


A milestone in aviation history was re-created today when the actual


first plane to land at Manchester's Ringway Airport 75 years ago


repeated the trip. The de Havilland Hornet Moth was


supposed to touch down at the nearby Barton aerodrome, but bad


weather forced it to make an emergency switch to Ringway which


was still under construction. The '90s 30s Hornet Moth glided in.


Inside, Duncan Menzies. The first pilot to fly. My father, who lived


in Wilmslow at the time, had seen at the grass strip that was going


to become Manchester Airport, and he decided as in matter of


convenience to make a precautionary landing there.


It would be a year later before Ringway officially opened. Catering


for a growing number of people discovering get trouble for the


first time. Ringway has changed enormously


since the 1930s when it was first being built. From the first


aircraft to land here, we now have 600 aircraft movements in and out


every day, including the world's largest plane.


The giant Airbus A380 so's just how planes have developed. -- shows


just how they have developed. The directional indicator works in


conjunction with the compass... controls may be basic but the


playing is still flying high 75 years on. It is a very


straightforward aeroplane. It flies at about 17 knots, so there is time


to look around and navigate. Very easy to fly.


Hornet Moth marked the airport's unofficial birthday. Major


celebrations to mark its Sunday 5th anniversary are planned for next


year. -- 75th anniversary.


Lots of you have waiting out for hours in the last few days to catch


a glimpse of the Queen on her Diamond Jubilee Tour - including


both of us - but perhaps the most spectacular event of the Queen's


year will be on June 3rd when over a thousand boats take to the River


Thames in London to create one of the largest flotillas the country


has ever seen. One of the vessels lucky enough to


be taking part in the historic event is the Queen of the Lake,


which normally carries tourists across Windermere in the Lake


District. It will be quite a journey for this


grand old lady, if 500 mile trip from the waters of Windermere to


the Thames. To join a fantastic flew to laugh. It may well be


nerve-racking for some of the skippers, but I would imagine it


will be a fantastic sight. Built in 1949, she is on the


national register of historic vessels, but she is having a bit of


a facelift for her royal appointment. We are having to take


two seats out at the near here, because we will be on the water for


a long while, so we have to fit it when it in here. And the small


buffet unit. We have had to put an extra heavy duty Pleat on the front.


We are going to beat mooring overnight which has never been done


before. I served my apprenticeship as a boat builder on these boats,


so I want everything to be spot on. I want everything going beyond the


call of duty. She's -- she has served the Royal


Family before, carrying Prince Charles in 2010 after the


devastating floods. The Queen of the lake will be lifted out of the


water on 28th May, to begin her journey south.


We are having to put her on a large haulage wagon. Being an old board


we have to be careful of movement and drying out. And just making


sure she is protected and well secured. We do not want it dropping


off on the M6! There will be no mistaking her


Cumbrian roots when she takes her place among the Cumbrian fleet.


will have daffodils made by pupils from Windermere school, a fantastic


image of the Queen made by images of Keswick, and his superb flight


designed by pupils in Windermere. - - a superb flag.


The Thames trip will mean she is out of service to the usual


Lakeland tourists for a round a fortnight for. I am sure it will be


worth it on the day to have Cumbria represented on that stage. Can you


imagine a national pageant without Cumbria there? It would not be


Here are the weather prospects. I am sure you did not miss it to


date, we have been under a blanket of cloud. We have had lied patchy


rain, and I think that will be the picture heading into the weekend.


The temperatures not particularly great event. Cool breeze heading up


to the weekend. We may have to wait until Monday before seeing good


spells of sunshine. And probably better looking temperatures. Of the


weekend that low pressure just swimming around us from Friday to


Saturday. Holding the clouds in place, the frontal system I think


drugging rain in on Sunday. -- dragging rain. We hang on to the


extra cloud, like patchy rain, and temperatures may be dropping as low


as six or seven Celsius, which is not bad at all. Tomorrow, lots of


clouds around. We have a change in the wind direction, it is in


easterly breeze. But cloud will try and break from time to time, across


parts of Merseyside and Manchester. Parts of Cumbria and the Isle of


Man are likely to see light patchy rain. Ten or 11 Celsius. More of


the same on Saturday - quite cloudy on Sunday. Maybe brighter on Monday.


Burnley, Accrington, Chester, Warrington and Liverpool - it has


been a whirlwind tour of the north- west by the Queen over the past two


days. It has given many people memories


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