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  1. Updates from the North East and Cumbria election debate

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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  1. Our coverage of the North East and Cumbria election debate

    Richard Moss

    Political Editor, BBC Look North

    And that concludes our updates from thee general election debate here in the North East and Cumbria. Thank you for joining us.

    The election will be held on 8 June.

    The audience leaves

    For more information on all the candidates and constituencies visit the BBC website.

    You can watch this debate again on the BBC iPlayer.

  2. Wharton: 'Big opportunity for Cumbria'

    Conservative James Wharton said Moorside is a "big opportunity for Cumbria" but that the "figures have to stack up".

    He said: "Nuclear has to be part of our energy mix. Nuclear has a key role in diversifying our electricty generetaion.

    "It has to stack up though. Despite what some others might tell you, the magic money tree is not in full bloom."

  3. Hall: 'Only energy source to get dearer'

    Fiona Hall of the Liberal Democrats said nuclear power is "the only source of energy that's got dearer over the years".

    Instead of building a power plant at Moorside she said it should be made "a centre of excellence for decommissioning" nuclear facilities.

  4. Mills: 'Government should underwrite Moorside'

    Fiona Mills of UKIP said the government should underwrite Toshiba's "£6bn" investment in Moorside to ensure it happens.

    She said: "UKIP support nuclear industry as part of diverse mix in energy."

  5. McDonald: 'Nuclear is part of energy mix'

    Labour's Andy McDonald said nuclear power is "part of the energy mix".

    He said: "Moorside should be given the support. What we've got to do is demonstrate our commitment to make sure that is successful, some of the major problems in that part of the world are transport infrastructure."

  6. Ford: 'Nuclear is not the right solution'

    Shirley Ford of the Green Party said she would invest nothing in nuclear power because it is "not the right solution".

    She said: "It is far too high in cost and that will fall on consumers and hard-pressed businesses. It is very low in jobs compared to other things we would invest in, such as renewable energy, insulating homes and public transport."

  7. Question: 'How would you boost nuclear power?'

    The fifth question comes from Ryan Armstrong from West Cumbria and is about the area's nuclear industry.

    He asked: “If your party gets into Government, what funding will you provide for the building of a new nuclear plant at Moorside – both for the creation of badly needed jobs in Cumbria and also for the nation’s long-term energy strategy?”

    Power plant
  8. 'Magic money tree in bloom'

    Another man in the audience, the owner of a small business, questioned the candidates over proposed increases in the national minimum wage.

    He said some of the proposals would see his wage bill increase by £125,000 in two years.

    Labour's Andy McDonald said previous predictions of havoc caused by the introduction of a minimum wage failed to materialise and his party would lower the rate of corporation tax for businesses making less than £300,000 to support small businesses.

    He also said he supported adult education, adding: "It's critical those people going into adult education are not burdened by fees. Education is a gift and it should be lifelong."

    Conservative James Wharton said: "We've had too many responses tonight where the magic money tree has been in full bloom. We need a realistic sensible plan based on a sound economy."

  9. 'The squeaky wheel gets the oil'

    Shirley Ford of the Green Party also said devolving powers and redistributing the nation's wealth are important.

    A man in the audience said he would be supporting the North East party, adding: "Our neighbours in Scotland get a fantastic deal and part of that is because of devolution but also because they have an independent voice for their nation. The squeaky wheel gets the oil."

    An 18-year-old woman in the audience said it was "ironic" those discussing the issues affecting young people aged between 11 and 18 are not in that age band. She said children and students have already seen A-Levels and GCSEs "completely changed" and asked the candidates how they would listen to young people.

    UKIP's Fiona Mills said she has already spoken to young people. She also said UKIP would raise the personal allowance to £13,500 and abolish VAT on fuel bills so people can "keep their money".

  10. McDonald: 'Need quality employment'

    Andy McDonald said zero-hour contracts need to be tackled.

    He said: "It's got to be employment that is a value to people, not part time or zero hours working where people are sitting with their mobile phones wondering how much work they will get this week. People cannot plan for their futures."

    He also said there needs to be more investment in transport infrastructure.

  11. Wharton: 'Let people aspire'

    Conservative James Wharton also said powers should be devolved, adding: "We have started doing that."

    He said: "You've got to give people the opportunity to lift themselves up and aspire. It goes to the heart of education, about providing people with the tools."

  12. Hall: 'Devolve powers to local areas'

    Fiona Hall of the Liberal Democrats said more power should be devolved to regions and local areas.

    She said: "It's about accountability. It means you can eyeball your local councillor in a way you can't the government.

    "What's the point of the elections on 4 May (the local council elections) if those people elected can't achieve anything."

  13. Question: 'How will you bring equality?'

    The fourth question comes from David Tomlinson from Shildon and concerns poverty.

    He said: “The North East and Cumbria is one of the poorest parts of the country.

    "How will the parties govern differently to ensure fairness and equality in the future?”

  14. Hall: 'Grammar schools debate is distraction'

    Fiona Hall of the Liberal Democrats said the debate over grammar schools "is just a distraction".

    She said: "The real problem is schools are losing money and teachers.

    "What is really lacking is the basic funding going into schools so our kids on a day by day basis can get the standard of education they need."

  15. McDonald: 'Grammar schools do not improve social mobility'

    Labour's Andy McDonald rejected UKIP's claim that grammar schools improve social mobility.

    He said: "The thinking that this improves social mobility denies the history of the last 50 years, to put a child through an exam at 11 and slap a failure on their head is unacceptable.

    "The Conservatives want to invest in the minority of people and let the rest go up the wall.

    "We want the talents of everybody in the country uplifted."

  16. Wharton: 'Grammar schools are part of the package'

    Conservative James Wharton said he supported grammar schools where people wanted them.

    He said: "We need a mix of provision. Grammar schools have a lot to offer, they are not the complete answer but they are part of the package.

    "In those areas that want a new grammar school, they should have the freedom to set them up."

  17. Ford: 'All schools should be properly funded'

    The Green Party's Shirley Ford said putting children "through a test at 11 which will decide where their future lies is unacceptable".

    She said: "All schools need to be funded properly."

  18. Mills: 'Grammar school aids social mobility'

    UKIP's Fiona Mills said she supports grammar schools as they "aid social mobility".

    She also said there should be other schools, such as technical colleges and vocational courses, as "we want every child to excel and we recognise that everyone is different".

    She said: "Not everyone needs to go to university."

  19. Question: 'What are your thoughts on grammar schools?'

    Our third question comes from Judy Cowgill, the headteacher of Hawthorn Primary School in Scotswood, Newcastle.

    She said: “Most of the parties now seem to agree that there is a crisis looming with regards to the funding of schools.

    "But do the candidates think re-introducing grammar schools – alongside free schools and academies – will make things better or worse for the majority of pupils in our region?”

    School gates