Dave's News Extras 2007

24/12/07 Public Sector workers should be paid in full Update 28/12/07
12/12/07 Welcome for Young People's Involvement
11/12/07 More Integration needed in Ulster
06/12/07 Missing Businessman
30/11/07 Well done Sea Cadets
26/11/07 Congratulations to Labor
21/11/07 Put it right: Child Benefit data loss
15/11/07 Roads Investment needed
14/11/07 Support for Disabled Children's Families
13/11/07 Battle for Plaque Sufferers goes on
08/11/07 Buy 'Christmas Crackers' CD
08/11/07 Trade Unions in Iran
07/11/07 Medals for our brave Soldiers
07/11/07 Govt reply to Gibside Petition
01/11/07 Big Improvements for Gateshead's Children
31/10/07 Whickham Residents' Phone Mast Victory
27/10/07 Openness Call over Airport Cash
26/10/07 Value for Money
19/10/07 Kurdish Problem needs Diplomatic Solution
17/10/07 ITV Border Television
17/10/07 Judicial Appointments
10/10/07 Well done, Sunniside
10/10/07 Fight for A1 goes on
08/10/07 More Water for Patients
04/10/07 Backing the Rock
29/09/07 Questions over ETI Award
02/08/07 North East ideal for Energy Institute
28/07/07 Opencast Battle to go on
25/07/07 Children of Baghdad
25/07/07 Crookhill Centenary
24/07/07 Hope for Strategic View
18/07/07 Medicines for Kurds
13/07/07 High Spen Heroes
13/07/07 Challenge on Transport links
02/07/07 Call for Transition Care for disabled Children
26/06/07 Rail Investment pays off
26/06/07 Olympic Lottery cash should be Loans
07/06/07 Prison staff disputes
25/05/07 Dismay at Lib Dem sell-off
05/05/07 Banner unfurled
04/05/07 Positive for Future
03/05/07 School Soccer Success
03/05/07 Education key to beating Sectarianism
03/05/07 Dave defends Solicitors
20/04/07 Asbestos Payments
16/04/07 Community Workers recognised
03/04/07 Helen Hughes and Dave Anderson MP judge the Greenside Pensioners Easter Egg Competition
03/04/07 Dave sets Ofcom on BT
29/03/07 Pressure for A1 Action
26/03/07 Gateshead Western Bypass
21/03/07 IraqChild Appeal
20/03/07 Iraq should decide
19/03/07 Led up the Garden Path
13/03/07 The Eyes have it
07/03/07 North-East Treasures on show
02/03/07 State Pension Conference
28/02/07 Phone Mast Victory
19/02/07 Praise for Iraqi Union Link
07/02/07 Praise for Charity
05/02/07 Not Fair
01/02/07 Water at Work
23/01/07 More Money for Metro
22/01/07 Mercenaries need Regulation
08/01/07 Start A1 work now

Homepage | Current News


Public Sector workers should be paid in full

24 Dec 2007 Update 28/12/07

Dave has said that public sector workers should receive the full amount awarded to them by arbitration.

His comments came in the light of the current dispute over police pay.

Dave said,

"They went to binding arbitration and are a special case because they don't have the right to strike. So we should find a way to pay them what they are due."

Commenting on rumours of a large award to be recommended for MPs, Dave said,

"My understanding is that any pay awards will be kept under inflation, but I don't think it would happen that MPs would end up with a huge pay rise while the argument with the police continues. I've said all along that all public sector workers should be awarded the full amount that independent arbitrators say they should."

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Welcome for Young People's Involvement

12 Dec 2007

Dave has welcomed the work of the HeadsUp website which engages young people in democracy.

Run by the Hansard Society, the website is a proven way to get young people interested in politics and involved in political debate. The latest report shows that 60% of under-18s are more likely to vote after taking part in HeadsUp on-line debate.

Dave said,

"I welcome the work of HeadsUp. Anything that engages young people in the democratic process and teaches them to value it and the freedoms that come with it has to be good."

Key evaluation findings of the report are:

The place to find this stimulating debate is http://www.headsup.org.uk/

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More Integration needed in Ulster

Hazelwood Primary School
Hazelwood Primary School
11 Dec 2007

Dave has tabled a Commons motion calling for more integration in Northern Ireland.

This was prompted by the news that a 25 feet high 'peace line' was to be built in the grounds of Hazelwood Primary School in north Belfast.

This follows attacks on the homes of some residents living near the integrated, non sectarian school.

Dave notes the duplication of expenditure on services in the province because of continuing sectarianism and calls for more collaboration, reconciliation and understanding.

Dave's full Early Day motion reads:

EDM 551
Anderson, David
That this House regrets the decision to erect a heavy-grade 25 feet tall security fence in the playground of Hazelwood Integrated Primary School in North Belfast at a cost of £250,000; urges a full review of the security fence at Hazelwood a year after its construction to ensure this temporary measure does not join so many others in becoming permanent; believes that the cost of the Hazelwood fence is a sad symbol of wider costs of sectarianism in Northern Ireland; notes that in 2006 the Government commissioned Deloitte to produce a report entitled Research into the Financial Cost of the Northern Ireland Divide and that the report of April 2007 revealed that almost £1.5 billion on policing, education, housing, health and other provisions is spent annually from the public purse on duplicated services; and urges policy-makers to encourage and facilitate integrated education, particularly in teacher training, as well as collaboration between different school sectors as part of concerted and longer-term efforts to foster reconciliation and understanding between different communities in Northern Ireland and save public money.

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Missing Businessman

6 Dec 2007

Dave has tabled a Commons motion urging the Emirate Authorities to find a UK based businessman.

Alsadig Abdallah has been missing for two months from the United Arab Emirates and there are fears he has been abducted.

The full early Day Motion reads:

EDM 508
Anderson, David
That this House expresses its grave concern for London-based businessman Alsadig Abdallah, who is missing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where his family believes he was abducted two months ago; recognises the eagerness of the UAE authorities to emphasise the safety of Dubai for commerce and tourism; and urges them to expedite efforts to secure the immediate release of Alsadig Abdallah.

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Well done Sea Cadets

30 Nov 2007

Dave is saying "well done" to local Sea Cadets at TS Northumbria.

The group have made it to the final of "The Peoples Millions 2007" which is a Big Lottery initiative to give funding to worthy causes. This funding is given to the projects that gain the most votes from viewers after it has been shown on regional television stations. At Derwenthaugh Boat Station they have asked for funding to install pontoons so they may use boats at all states of tide. It will also make access to the craft much easier for those who are physically challenged. The cost of this project is approximately £55K. Dave gave his backing to the funding bid.

Dave has received a message of thanks for his support.

TS Northumbria

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Congratulations to Labor

27 Nov 2007

Dave has tabled a Commons motion congratulating the Australian Labor Party on its election victory.

he also hopes that the new Australian government will support the labour movement in Iraq and its trades unions, which he describes as a beacon on non-sectarianism.

Dave's full Early Day Motion reads:

EDM 390
Anderson, David
That this House warmly congratulates the Australian Labor Party and its leader Kevin Rudd on a stunning election victory; wishes the Labor Party the very best in its goals of social justice; and hopes for its support in seeking to provide moral assistance and solidarity to the new Iraqi labour movement, not least its trade unions which are a beacon of non-sectarianism and part of wider Iraqi efforts to build a thriving, democratic and federal Iraq.

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Put it right: Child Benefit data loss

21 Nov 2007

Dave has called for urgent action to put right the failings that led to the loss of confidential data from the Child Benefit Agency.

Two computer disks were carrying vital and confidential information about children and their families were sent from Washington to London through the government's internal mail system, operated by private firm TNT.

The details lost included names and addresses of almost every child in the UK, their parents, some bank account details, national insurance number and child benefit numbers. This information would be invaluable to criminals. It was being sent from the Child Benefit Centre at Washington, Sunderland to the National Audit Office in London.

Dave said,

"Where the mistake was made is irrelevant. What is important is that this very serious situation is sorted, individuals do not suffer and it can never happen again."

Police and HM Revenue and Customs are investigating and so far there is no evidence of the data being abused, but it does pose a potential risk of identity theft.

A replacement copy of the data has been sent to the NAO and has arrived safely, but the missing set is still out there.

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Roads Investment needed

15 Nov 2007
A1 Western By Pass clogged with traffic
A1 Western By Pass clogged with traffic
(Photo: FreePhoto)

Dave has backed a new report which says the region's poor roads are holding back the economy of the area.

The report from the Road Users' Alliance said the North-East could become isolated because of its poor links. Dave has called for more investment in the region's roads.

Dave said,

"It is basically confirming what we knew. It is all the more reason why the people in the Department for Transport need to address the issues we have raised with them and we do really need to put investment in in a way we haven't before."

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Support for Disabled Children's Families

14 Nov 2007
Dave, second from left, with other MPs at the Westminster launch
Dave, second from left, with other MPs at the Westminster launch

Dave is backing a private member's bill to give families of disabled children some respite relief.

The bill was launched in the Commons as part of the Every Disabled Child Matters campaign on Tuesday.

Dave attended the launch at Westminster along with other MPs backing the bill.

The Disabled Children (Family Support) Bill 2007 would introduce a specific duty on local authorities to provide appropriate short breaks for families with disabled children who provide a high level of care. The Bill applies to England and Wales.

The Bill is being promoted by the Every Disabled Child Matters campaign, run by four national organisations working with disabled children - Contact a Family, the Council for Disabled Children, Mencap and the Special Education Consortium.

All the information about the Bill can be found at http://www.edcm.org.uk/righttobreaks

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Battle for Plaque Sufferers goes on

13 Nov 2007
The white areas are the plaques in the lungs of a sufferer
The white areas are the plaques in the lungs of a sufferer

Dave has pledged to carry on the fight for compensation for pleural plaque sufferers.

The government has announced it will not change the law to overturn a Law Lords ruling that compensation need not be paid for the asbestos related condition because it is not 'life threatening'. Dave has co-sponsored a Commons motion calling for a compensation scheme.

The Early Day Motion reads:

EDM 207
12.11.2007Clapham, Michael
That this House is disappointed by the Lords of Appeal Judgment in the pleural plaques cases given on 17th October; believes that pleural plaques caused by exposure to asbestos result in physiological damage which constitutes a loss of faculty meriting compensation; calls on the Secretary of State for Justice to discuss with the Department for Work and Pensions the introduction of a register for those diagnosed with the disease to include details of employment and the employers' insurers and to instigate discussions on an appropriate compensation scheme financed by the insurance industry because it is now clear that workers suffering the condition will not get compensation through the courts.

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Buy 'Christmas Crackers' CD

8 Nov 2007
Members of the Women's Institute in Hexham who produced the CD
Members of the Women's Institute in Hexham who produced the CD
(Photo: Tynedale WI)

Dave is urging everyone to buy a fund raising CD called 'Christmas Crackers'.

The CD has been produced to raise funds for research into muscular dystrophy, a devastating wasting disease, by a group from Northumberland.

Dave makes his call in a Commons motion, which reads:

EDM 140
Anderson, David
That this House recognises the devastating impact of muscular dystrophy; acknowledges that this is a disease that recognises no boundaries and results in loss of muscle strength, progressive muscle wasting and nerve deterioration; accepts that, while the Department of Health has worked closely with campaigners to develop research, much more needs to be done; welcomes the initiative of Mrs Kate Clarkson and a group of women from Northumberland in producing a fund-raising CD with the title Christmas Crackers; wishes them success in their venture and hopes that it raises much needed funds to support further research into the disease; and urges hon. Members and the general public to purchase the CD in order to maximise the amount of money raised.

More information is available at http://www.muscular-dystrophy.org/about_us/branches/branch_pages/tynedale_branch.html

See also Dave's Press release

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Trade Unions in Iran

8 Nov 2007

Dave has tabled a Commons motion urging action on the persecution of trades unionists in Iran.

He cites cases of attempted assassination and imprisonment of Trades unionists and calls on the government to take action through the International Labour Organisation.

The full Early day Motion reads:

EDM 141
Anderson, David
That this House condemns the attempted assassination on 18th October 2007 of Iranian trade union activist Majid Hamidi by three masked gunmen; notes that Iranian labour activists are convinced that armed attacks of this type are done with the knowledge of the Iranian government; shares their concern that this represents a considerable escalation in persecution of trade unionists, which they have called a Colombianisation of the situation in Iran; notes the continuing imprisonment of independent trade union activists such as Mansour Osanloo, leader of the Tehran bus workers' union, as well as Mahmoud Salehi and Ebrahim Madadi, documented on the Labour Start website; and calls upon the UK Government to press the International Labour Organisation to raise this issue as a matter of urgency with the Iranian government.

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Medals for our brave Soldiers

7 Nov 2007
British troops on the front line
British troops on the front line

Dave is backing a move for all service personnel killed or wounded in action get a medal.

He is co-sponsoring a Commons motion praising the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and supporting the Daily Mirror's 'Honour the Brave campaign'.

The full Early Day Motion reads:

EDM 95
Jones, Kevan
That this House recognises the bravery, dedication and sacrifice of members of the armed forces serving in Afghanistan and Iraq; applauds the Daily Mirror's Honour the Brave campaign; and calls on the Government to ensure that all personnel in the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force killed or wounded in enemy action are awarded a medal.

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Govt reply to Gibside Petition

7 Nov 2007 A view of the Gibside Estate

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears has responded to Dave's petition against opencasting at Gibside.

Dave presented the petition, signed by 4,500 local residents, to Parliament in July. She says the Department is unable to proceed because Hall's Constuction withdrew their planning appeal prior to the hearing.

Dave Anderson said,

"Any attempt to resubmit these proposals will be rigorously opposed and any proposals will, I believe, end up being refused as has been the case with the last nine attempts by contractors to despoil the Derwent Valley."

The petition presented by Dave reads:

Coal Mining

The Petition of persons living in the vicinity of the Derwent Valley and the historic Gibside Estate,

Declares that the proposed development of an open cast coal site at a place known as Skons Park will have a detrimental effect on the environment, the development of the area as a tourist destination and on the natural habitat of an area that has for centuries borne the scars of coal mining.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local Government to consider the negative impacts of this open cast proposal and not approve its development.

And the Petitioners remain, etc. - [Presented by Mr. David Anderson , Official Report, 24 July 2007; Vol. 463, c. 805 .] [P000039]

Observation from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government:

On the basis of the information made available to my Department, a planning application was submitted to Gateshead Borough Council in May 2005 by Halls of Durham, for the development of an open-cast coal site at Skons Park, Whickham in the Derwent Valley, to provide 0.5 million tonnes of coal and fireclay. In March 2006 Gateshead Borough Council refused planning permission for the development. In November 2006 the applicants lodged an appeal against the refusal of planning permission, but in June 2007 the applicants withdrew the appeal. My Department has not been involved in this matter. Until planning permission has been obtained for the development it is not able to proceed.

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Big Improvements for Gateshead's Children

1 Nov 2007 Secondary School children

Dave has welcomed figures released by the Department for Children, Schools and Families which show a dramatic increase in educational attainment in Gateshead's secondary schools over the life of the Labour Government.

The percentage of 15 year olds getting 5 or more GCSEs at A*-C grade has leapt from just under 40% in 1998 to almost 70% in 2007, and now 3,865 Gateshead children are receiving free early years provision, a scheme introduced by this government. There are now ten SureStart Centres in Gateshead.

In addition, school capital funding has almost doubled from £4,988,000 in 1996-7 to £8,148,477 for 2008-09.

Results for the town's primary schools remain consistently high with those children achieving Level 4 or more in Year 6 at 80% for English, 78% for Maths and 88% for Science.

Dave welcomed the figures, saying,

"These excellent results show how the Labour Government's continued high level of investment in education has paid off. This has enabled children in Gateshead to maintain their good results at primary level and build on that to really show what they can do at GCSE. The importance of a good start in life is shown by the investment in the youngest children with SureStart and free nursery places now being taken up the vast majority of pre school children in Gateshead."

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Whickham Residents' Phone Mast Victory

31 Oct 2007 A phone mast

A campaign by residents in Whickham against a phone mast has proved successful.

Vodafone and O2 built the mast at the Glebe Sports Ground without the correct permissions and the residents, supported by Dave, launched a campaign to have it removed, which the companies must now do.

Dave said,

"I just feel if anybody has actually seen the mast, you can tell that it is totally inappropriate where it is placed.

"This is a victory for common sense. It is clear Vodafone and O2 did not follow the guidance by the council. I am very pleased for the residents - they should be commended for their hard work. The mast should be taken down as soon as possible. These people have got away with this for too long and it is about time it came down."

The companies now have four months to remove the mast, described by inspectors as "dominant and overbearing".

O2 have said that removing it will make no noticeable difference in phone coverage

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Openness Call over Airport Cash

27 Oct 2007 Newcastle Airport

Dave has called for more public scrutiny of how Newcastle Airport spends its money.

The airport, in which local councils have a majority stake, is at the centre of a row about multi million pound bonuses paid to former staff.

The airport's former boss John Parkin received a package worth over £5.9M under a deal which was not referred back to the councils. The now deceased Finance director Lars Friis also received a multi million pound package.

Dave said,

"It does seem like a lot of money to pay to just two individuals. We do not know all the details here and it could be that everything was done properly, but given what we do know there are obvious questions over how the contract was negotiated. We should be asking why there was no public sector scrutiny in the contract."

It is alleged that the scrutiny procedures were not sufficient for the financing of the airport. Union leaders at the airport, councillors and other MPs are also demanding explanations.

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Value for Money

26 Oct 2007

Dave has published a breakdown of his Parliamentary expenses for 2006-7.

These are expenses incurred doing his job as Member of Parliament for the people of Blaydon Constituency. This money may not spent for political campaigning.

A table of the expenses is listed, and is followed by notes explaining what each category is for.

1. Cost of staying away from main home£20,928
2. London Supplement £0
3. Office running costs £25,668
4. Staffing costs £84,318
5a Car £2,140
5b 3rd party vehicle mileage & rental £0
5c Rail £9,351
5d Air £291
5e Other travel £0
5f European £0
6. Members' staff travel £319
7. Centrally purchased stationery £2,956
7a. Stationery: associated postage costs £4,368
8. Central IT provision £1,014
9. Staff cover & other costs £0

1 Cost of staying away from main home
The Additional Costs Allowance (cost of staying away from main home/ ACA) is paid to reimburse Members for necessary costs incurred when staying overnight away from their main home for the purpose of performing parliamentary duties.

3 Office running costs and 4: Staffing costs
These budgets support Members in undertaking their parliamentary and constituency work. Budget flexibilities (see below) between these allowances and between years mean that they should be considered together.
The Incidental Expenses Provision (IEP) can be used to meet the cost of: accommodation for office or surgery use; equipment and supplies for office or surgery; work commissioned or other services; and certain travel and communications. The Staffing Allowance is paid to enable Members to employ staff. Staff salaries are paid directly to staff by the House of Commons Department of Finance and Administration. In 2004/05, the Staffing Allowance varied according to the number of staff based in London. London Members automatically received the higher figure. The IEP can also be used to cover certain staff related costs.

5 Members' travel
Members' travel entitlements cover the cost of travel on parliamentary business within the UK; European travel; and select committee travel to and from committee embarkation points (but not the cost of the visit itself). The allowance does not include travel on parliamentary delegation business. Certain elements of the travel allowances are taxable.

5a Car
This column includes car or motorbike mileage undertaken in a vehicle that is owned by the Member and associated parking costs.
2006/07 and 2005/06 mileage rate: first 10,000 miles per year at the rate of 40p per mile, and over 10,000 at 25p per mile

5b Third party vehicle mileage and rental
This column includes mileage undertaken in a vehicle not owned by the Member. This may include car hire, taxi fares, and other travel in a vehicle belonging to a third party. Claims for these journeys are made using the car mileage rates described above.

5c Rail and Column 5d Air
These columns include the costs associated with travelling by rail (including tube) or air.

5e Other Travel
This column includes mileage undertaken by bicycle and the cost associated with travelling by bus, ferry, and the cost of season tickets.

5f European travel
Travel and subsistence costs for up to 3 visits per year to EU institutions, EU agencies, the national parliaments of EU member states, European Free Trade Association states, or candidate countries.

6. Members' staff travel
Each Member is entitled to claim costs of up to a total of 12 return journeys for staff per year between Westminster and the constituency.

7. Centrally purchased stationery
This column sets out the cost of stationery items ordered from a central supplier for use in direct connection with a Member's parliamentary duties.

7a. Postage associated with the use of centrally purchased stationery
This column sets out the cost of postage associated with the use of stationery with pre-paid postage ordered from the central supplier for use in direct connection with a Member's parliamentary duties.

8 Centrally provided computer equipment
This column sets out the cost of equipment supplied on loan to each Member. In 2006/07, the provision allowed Members two printers and a maximum of five computers, comprised of up to four desktop PCs and three laptops. For 2004/05 and 2005/06, two printers and up to four desktop PCs and one laptop were allowed. The figures show the asset value spread over a four-year period.

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Kurdish Problem needs Diplomatic Solution

19 Oct 2007
Kurdish PKK fighters in northern Iraq
Kurdish PKK fighters in northern Iraq
(Photo: Mustafa Ozer)

Dave has tabled a Commons motion urging the current stand off between Kurdish rebels and Turkey should be solved through diplomacy and dialogue.

Tension in region has been rising as the Kurdish nationalists, the PKK, have stepped up their campaign and Turkey has threatened military intervention into Iraq. Kurdistan covers an area of northern Iraq, south east Turkey and north west Iran.

Dave's Early Day Motion reads:

That this House deplores the recent terrorist attacks in Turkey; supports mediation efforts with Iraq and Turkey about the Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan (PKK) attacks to encourage a comprehensive political solution to the problem of the PKK, which cannot be solved solely through military means; further deplores Turkish shelling of villages inside the Kurdistan Region in Iraq on the Iraq-Turkey border, as well as Iranian intimidation and attacks on the eastern borders of the Kurdistan Region; is deeply concerned that a Turkish incursion could jeopardise the economy of the Kurdistan Region, the most secure and prosperous part of Iraq where Turkish trade and investment has been instrumental to economic growth; notes that the Kurdistan Regional Government seeks no conflict with Turkey, considers friendly relations with Turkey its top priority and is pursuing stronger ties through direct dialogue with Ankara on any and all issues of common interest; and believes that problems and disagreements should be solved through diplomacy and dialogue based on the principle of non-interference in the affairs of others, rather than threats of military force.

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ITV Border Television

17 Oct 2007

Border Television, which broadcasts to south west Scotland, Cumbria and the Isle of Man, is facing having its own news service cut.

Dave has joined other MPs in sponsoring a Commons motion which notes the detrimental effect this will have on the economy of Cumbria and urges ITV to reconsider.

MPs from the Border region have met with Michael Grade, ITV Chief Executive, to protest the plans which would mean that news programming would be put out by Tyne Tees television from Gateshead.

The Early Day Motion reads:

That this House notes with concern the proposal from ITV to cease transmitting Border Television and replace it with programming from Tyne-Tees based in Gateshead; notes that the economy in Cumbria could suffer a loss of £8.7m in gross value added (GVA) by 2010 if the proposed cuts go ahead and 88 jobs are lost from the Carlisle-based news service and that the GVA impact in the county could climb to £10.7m by 2015 and £13.1m by 2020; and urges ITV to reconsider the proposal.

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Judicial Appointments

17 Oct 2007

Dave has co-sponsored a Commons motion on the Judicial Appointments Commission.

The government is launching a review of the commission, and the motion, while calling the introduction of the commission a "great and beneficial constitutional reform", welcomes this as a way to better performance and greater openness.

The full Early Day Motion reads:

That this House welcomes the statement by the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice that there will be a review aimed at improving the operation of the Judicial Appointments Commission; believes that the creation of the Judicial Appointments Commission has been a great and beneficial constitutional reform; notes the Lord Chancellor's recognition that the Commission has not been functioning to a good enough level; and hopes that the review will propose measures which will remove any further delays in the appointment of judges and further ensure transparency and fairness in its appointments process.

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Well done, Sunniside

10 Oct 2007

The hard work of those who created a memorial to miners at Sunniside has been recognised in a Commons motion.

Dave has tabled the motion congratulating Sunniside Local History Society and others in developing the site of old pit workings discovered at Lottie's Wood and paying tribute to miners over the centuries.

The full Early Day Motion reads:

EDM 2085
Anderson, David
That this House acknowledges the debt owed to the miners and their families who for centuries produced the fuel that powered our country; congratulates the members of Sunniside Local History Society who have discovered two former bell pits on a site known as Lottie's Wood; recognises that local experts have confirmed that the mines date back to 1637; fully appreciates the support given to marking the site by County Durham Environmental Trust and the work done to develop the site including a structure that holds a metal interpretation panel to mark the former site of the shaft; welcomes the support given to the History Society by the officials and members of the Sunniside Working Men's Club; and wishes all concerned well for the future.

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Fight for A1 goes on

10 Oct 2007
Clogged Western By Pass (c) Freephoto.com
Clogged Western By Pass
(Photo: Freephoto)

Dave has vowed to keep fighting to get the A1 in the region upgraded.

Both improvements to the Western By Pass and the dualling of the A1 in Northumberland seemed to have been knocked back in the Chancellor's pre budget statement.

The Chancellor, Alistair Darling, seems to be giving priority to widening schemes in the south of England and the planned Crossrail link in London. The M1, M25 and M6 are scheduled for widening works, but no mention was made of the A1.

Dave said,

"We have to carry on making the case because while these roads may need improvement, so do ours and we have got to keep on arguing our corner in Parliament and directly with the Chancellor and the Department for Transport."

Local business leaders have said that the A1 improvements are vital for the region's economy.

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More Water for Patients

8 Oct 2007

Dave has called for more water for patients in hospital.

He has tabled a Commons motion expressing concern that there are no basic minimum standards to ensure that patients in hospital are well hydrated and have access to fresh drinking water throughout their day and calling on NHS Trusts to take immediate action.

The full Early Day Motion reads:

EDM 2029
Anderson, David
That this House notes with concern the lack of basic minimum standards to ensure that patients in hospital are well hydrated and have access to fresh drinking water throughout their day; is further concerned that patients are at risk of becoming malnourished during a stay in hospital; supports the launch of the Royal College of Nursing and National Patient Safety Agency Hydration Best Practice Toolkit for Hospitals and Healthcare to help nurses to improve the nutrition and hydration of patients across the UK; welcomes the partnership approach of the Water for Health Alliance in developing practical and specific guidance to improve hydration and well-being in hospitals and care homes for older people; requests that everyone in the NHS from catering staff to chief executives makes nutrition a priority; encourages NHS trusts to help nurses and hospital caterers to understand the health benefits of drinking enough water; urges hospital staff to ensure that those who need help with consuming enough water receive that help; and calls on NHS trusts to take immediate and sustained action to end the malnutrition and water-related malnutrition of older people in hospital.

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Backing the Rock

4 Oct 2007 Northern Rock logo

Dave says the North East should repay the support that Northern Rock has given to the region.

Dave has joined with other MPs from the region in backing calls for the Rock to remain a going concern.

Dave said,

"It is imperative that Northern Rock remains a going concern. We need to do everything we can to give it the same support it has given to our region over many years."

Other MPs and political figures from the region are giving their support to Northern Rock, recognising its role in the North East economy, but also its huge amount of charitable work through the Northern Rock Foundation.

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Questions over ETI Award

29 Sep 2007

Dave is joining other MPs, including Nick Brown, Minister for the North East, in questioning why the Energy Technologies Institute has been awarded to Loughborough.

The North east consortium put in an excellent bid which even competitors called incredibly impressive.

The call for scrutiny was raised by the appointment of David Clarke of Rolls Royce and who has a research facility in Loughborough.

Dave said,

"I'm not saying it was right or wrong to base it in the Midlands, but we had a very strong case and the recent appointment does raise questions"

Nick Brown has promised to examine the £1 billion project and its allocation in detail.

Dave is likely to raise the matter in the Commons when the House resumes.

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North East ideal for Energy Institute

20 Aug 2007

Dave is giving his backing to the siting of the Energy Technologies Institute in the North East.

Dave is joined by MPs from around the region are pressing the government for this, citing the region's heritage and expertise in this field.

Dave said,

"The region is the ideal place to host the Energy Technologies Institute due to its unique heritage and expertise in energy technology. Innovation in science and technology is key to the future progress of UK industry; the North East has the ideal skills base to be a driving force behind this development. "The North East has always been at the forefront of technological development particularly in the energy sector, and we can build on that history to shape our future."

Dave asks that you add your support at the following website:


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Opencast Battle to go on

28 Jul 2007
Unspoiled views under threat near Gibside
Unspoiled views under threat near Gibside

Dave has vowed to continue the fight against open cast mining near Gibside in the Derwent Valley.

This comes after Hall Construction said they would be resubmitting their application, despite local opposition.

This week Dave presented a petition from local residents and including schools to Parliament against the plans.

Dave said

"All they are going to do is increase the stress on local people who don't want it. They have been unanimously opposed to it from day one and I will be giving them full support to ensure this does not happen. I am not anti-coal but I am against this. This is the wrong development in the wrong place at the wrong time. The amount of coal is not worth it,"

Dave says the energy that could be extracted would last the country just three days and because of the environmental damage in an area of rising tourism, more jobs would be lost than temporarily gained.

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Children of Baghdad

25 Jul 2007

Dave has backed the IraqChild Appeal to help children in Baghdad.

He has tabled an Early Day Motion backing the campaign and calling for 'moral and material assistance' to help the children.

The full Early Day Motion reads:

EDM 2009
Anderson, David
That this House fully supports the IraqChild appeal launched by the UK-based Iraqi Association to raise £250,000 for emergency protection for children through the Andalus Medical Clinic in Baghdad; notes that children in Baghdad will suffer disproportionately this summer through sweltering heat, electricity shortages and lack of air conditioning in addition to the violence and sectarian strife which has led to the displacement of thousands of children and many orphans having to fend for themselves; further notes that terrorists are using children as decoys for sadistic killings, that one in eight Iraqi children died of disease or violence before reaching their fifth birthday in 2005, and that there are worryingly high levels of malnourishment; believes that this non-sectarian project, which was developed through a lengthy consultation process with concerned medical personnel in Baghdad and local non-governmental organisations, is credible; points out that, for example, £22 can buy a child's clothing pack, £48 can treat a child for diarrhoea and ear infection, £60 can pay for a qualified nurse to care for 10 children every week, £650 can pay for a medical doctor for a month to visit 10 families with children every week, and £1,580 can maintain running a children's clinic for a month for eight children everyday; and urges widespread moral and material assistance for this vital humanitarian initiative.

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Crookhill Centenary

25 Jul 2007

Crookhill Primary School is celebrating its 100th birthday and Dave has made sure Parliament knows.

He has tabled a Commons motion sending the school best wishes from the Commons and praising all concerned.

The full Early Day Motion reads:

EDM 2005
Anderson, David
That this House sends its best wishes to the staff, pupils, parents and governors at Crookhill Primary School on the occasion of its centenary; praises all concerned over the last 100 years of delivering quality education to the children in the area; congratulates them for promoting the centenary by involving former pupils in their celebrations, including twins who started at the school in 1926; welcomes their initiative in presenting all pupils with both a celebration coin and a DVD; thanks the Mayor of Gateshead for his involvement, including the planting of a tree to commemorate the event; and wishes the whole school and the local community continued success in providing for children over the next 100 years.

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Hope for Strategic View

24 Jul 2007

The power of the Highways Agency to block Article 14 orders which can block development may be scrapped.

Dave has welcomed the plans which are blamed for holding up economic development in the region.

The Article 14 orders are made by the Agency to halt development where it is felt there would be an adverse impact on the surrounding roads. Dave says the Agency has been taking a too narrow view of the impact of development.

Dave said

"I hope that the changes will allow us to get to a situation that we will be able to consider all the impacts on everybody."

There are currently no surviving Article 14 orders in the region.

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Medicines for Kurds

18 Jul 2007

Dave is backing an appeal by the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq for medical supplies.

The Kurdish part of Iraq is peaceful but the situation in the rest of the country is hampering the supply of medicines and equipment to the Kurdish region.

Dave has tabled a Commons Early Day Motion calling for backing for the appeal. His full motion reads:

EDM 1942
Anderson, David
That this House notes the words of Dr Abdul-Rahman Osman Younis, the health minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, that while the region is peaceful, the security situation in the rest of Iraq is impeding the supply of necessary materials, equipment and pharmaceuticals to the region; further notes the Minister's assessment that our children suffer from one of the world's highest rates of heart disease and leukaemia and we lack the facilities to treat them; and supports the global appeal launched by the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq for medical supplies since many of the region's 48 hospitals and 672 primary health care centres face a dire shortage of basic medicines and medical supplies, to ensure patients there receive required treatment.

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High Spen Heroes

13 Jul 2007 Victoria Cross

Dave has tabled a Commons motion in praise of the people of High Spen.

Their efforts in remembering two VC soldiers from the Great War who saved ten lives with the unveiling of a memorial are to be congratulated.

Dave's full Early Day Motion reads:

EDM 1899
Anderson, David
That this House congratulates the people of High Spen on the recent unveiling of the memorial celebrating the lives of Private Thomas Young VC and Lance Corporal William Dobson VC who between them saved 10 lives during the First World War; acknowledges the hard work of the staff and pupils of High Spen Primary School, The High Spen Community Association, as well as all of the individuals, groups and local businesses who contributed to the project; recognises the special contribution of the sculptress Felicity Watts, and the landscapers Mark and Tony Walker, in taking the ideas of the community and making them into a stunning visual tribute; thanks the Heritage Lottery Fund for its support; is appreciative of the contribution made by the regiments and other branches of the services who paraded at the unveiling ceremony; is reminded of the unbroken link of service to the nation that generations of men and women have given; hopes that the recognition of these two brave men who came forward from a small North Eastern mining village and unselfishly risked their lives to save the lives of their comrades serves as a reminder to all of the truly heroic nature of mankind in desperate times and situations; and hopes the memorial plays a part in helping future generations to understand the nature of war and learn the lessons therefrom.

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Challenge on Transport links

13 Jul 2007

Dave has issued a challenge to new Secretary of State, Department for Transport, Ruth Kelly, to tackle to North East's transport problems.

The connection to the motorway system, congestion on the Western By-Pass and rail links are all issues that need her attention.

Dave said

"She needs to take control of the situation that is deteriorating before our very eyes. Everyone knows the problems, lots of people have ideas and solutions. We need someone to effectively take control and start things moving in the right direction."

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Call for Transition Care for disabled Children

Dave has called for a network of health and social care professionals to ease the transition of disabled children into adulthood.

He says in a Commons motion that there is a particular need for this in relation to children with neuromuscular conditions.

Dave's full Early Day Motion reads:

EDM 1811
Anderson, David
That this House welcomes the publication of Aiming High for Disabled Children: Better Support for Families, the HM Treasury and Department for Education and Skills' review of disabled children's services, in particular the recognition that the transition between children's and adults' services can be problematic; notes that the standard of services for adults with neuromuscular conditions is not as well developed as those in paediatric clinics; calls on the Department of Health and local authorities to bridge this divide and improve joint working between children's and adults' services; and urges the Government to consider establishing a network of health and social care professionals with an expertise in transition to ensure that all young adults with neuromuscular conditions receive appropriate care, support and information tailored to this crucial stage in their lives.

2 July 2007

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Rail Investment pays off

Dave has said history shows that investment rail pays off for the North East.

A new report has said a high speed link should take in Newcastle, unlike a previous report which suggested a west coast route.

But Dave said the money spent electrifying the east coast line had produced massive benefits for the North East and showed what could be done.

Dave said,

"Anything that closes the productivity gap which has quite clearly been exposed between the rest of the country and us has got to be useful".

Dave went on to say that while north south routes were good, cross country links were pathetic and need up grading also.

26 Jun 2007

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Olympic Lottery cash should be Loans

MPs have said that money used to fund the 2012 Olympics should be a loan.

The idea is that money diverted from projects should later be repaid.

The Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee said that the sale of land after the Games should be the source of this cash.

Dave expressed his concern but said it was important that the Olympics were a success.

Dave said,

"We need to have a serious debate about the funding of it and making sure we don't do it at the expense of other things. But I am concerned that some of the hysteria is going to have a negative impact on the Olympics. It should be something that should give real credit to the country."

26 Jun 2007

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Prison staff disputes

Dave has put down a Commons motion expressing concern about failures in prison disputes.

The motion notes the government's use of the courts to settle disputes with the POA which it says is unnecessary.

Dave's full Early day Motion reads:

EDM 1648
Anderson, David
That this House notes with concern the number of occasions that the Prison Service has tried to settle disputes with the Prison Officers Association (POA) by resorting to using the courts; further notes with concern that the POA National Executive Committee, supported at its Annual Conference has given 12 months notice to withdraw from the Joint Relations Procedural Agreement; further notes with deep concern that the Ministry of Justice plans to reintroduce the provisions of section 127 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, and believes that this step is an unnecessary overreaction given the presence of existing trade union legislation; and therefore urges the Government not to bring forward legislation for the reintroduction of such punitive measures.

7 Jun 2007

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Dismay at Lib Dem sell-off

Dave has joined other MPs in their dismay at a Lib Dem council's selling off of community assets.

He has co-sponsored a Commons motion pointing out that the council made no mention of this in the recent elections and it goes against all ideas of openness in local government.

Lib Dem Hull City Council is selling its entire stake in the local telecomms provider Kingston Communications, which has been a community owned asset for over a century.

The early Day Motion reads:

EDM 1571
Johnson, Diana R
That this House is dismayed by the hasty decision of Hull City Council to sell its entire shareholding in Kingston Communications; notes that Hull's link with Kingston Communications is being severed by the Liberal Democrat-controlled Council without consultation and with no mention of the intention during the recent local elections; observes that this move breaks a tradition of municipal ownership and part-ownership in Hull's communication company that has lasted for over a century; is disappointed at the lack of public discussion and any notion of open government by the Liberal Democrat administration; further notes that the timing of the decision has denied the people of Hull an opportunity to express their opinions on the matter; and acknowledges that as the shares are owned by the council the ruling Liberal Democrat Group are legally entitled to make this decision, but is concerned that the move could have an adverse effect on well-paid, skilled local jobs currently provided by the company with no guarantees about improving the quality and choice available to telephone and internet customers in Hull.

25 May 2007

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Banner unfurled

Blaydon Labour MP Dave Anderson and the Mayor of Gateshead Councillor Maureen Goldsworthy marked a new chapter in Greenside's mining tradition on Saturday when they unveiled the village's new Pit Banner.

They performed the ceremony in front of an invited audience from the village and ex miners and their families from further afield.

The front of the banner The back of the banner

The front of the banner

The back of the banner

The new banner has been created thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the banner will make its first outing at this year's Durham Miners Gala on July 14.

Dave Anderson MP said,

"The unveiling of this banner is recognition of the hard work that has gone into getting it produced and a tribute to the memory of generations of miners, as well as the commitment of the whole community

5 May 2007

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Positive for Future

Dave has reacted to the local election results by saying he is positive about the future.

The disaster predicted by many for Labour failed to happen although there were some losses. The Iraq factor was held largely responsible and there was a more positive view of the post Blair era.

Dave said,

"Certainly there's been an impact from Iraq. In Gateshead they were saying, `Don't give Tony Blair one last favour'. If that's the level of dialogue people want to get into, it's no wonder I'm positive for next time."

4 May 2007

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School Soccer Success

Dave has congratulated a school for its soccer success in a House of Commons motion.

Birtley St Joseph's Junior School have won the Eden Colliery County Cup as well as the North of England football championships and will play in national finals next month.

Dave's Early Day Motion reads:

EDM 1415
Anderson, David
That this House congratulates Birtley St Joseph's Junior School on winning the Eden Colliery County Cup and also on winning the North of England football championships; recognises their skills in winning five and drawing one of their six matches to clinch the title against opposition from as far south as Cheshire; and wishes them success in the national finals which take place at Keele University on Saturday, 16th June.

3 May 2007

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Education key to beating Sectarianism

Dave has said that education is a key area in tackling sectarianism in Northern Ireland, but also that it will take many years to break down the barriers.

His views come in a Commons motion in which he welcomes the return of devolved government to Northern Ireland and welcomes the increasing number of integrated schools there.

The full Early Day Motion reads:

EDM 1414
Anderson, David
That this House warmly welcomes the restoration of devolution and power-sharing in Northern Ireland; recognises that segregation and sectarianism remain deeply ingrained in Northern Ireland and that they will only be eroded by generational change; believes that seeking to break down sectarian barriers is the key task facing Northern Ireland and that education is a key area in which this can be achieved; and commends the work of the integrated education movement in seeking to increase the number of integrated schools and also seeking to encourage sharing of facilities and greater contact with other schools.

3 May 2007

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Dave defends Solicitors

Dave is defending his backing for Thompsons Solicitors whom he says have won bigger awards for Miners affected by industrial diseases than any other firm.

Adverts for the firm appeared in election leaflets but some have criticised the firm for earning £100 million in fees but Dave says this simply reflects the firm's success and was a fixed fee scheme decided by the government.

Dave said,

"Without Thompsons and the Durham miners' unions there would not have been any compensation scheme for former miners and their families. Their commitment and refusal to give up over a 10-year period the legal battle, defended every inch of the way by the Conservatives, has resulted in over £3bn being paid out to miners and brought much needed cash into the former pit villages."

"The Liberal Democrats are attempting to use this in a sad attempt to attack my record and divert attention away from their poor record of delivery."

In the case of Thompsons, the firm says any deductions from the clients' compensation was agreed with the Client beforehand and was paid to the miners' union to help fight other cases.


3 May 2007

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Asbestos Payments

Dave continues to fight the cause of those whose family members have died of asbestos related diseases.

The latest move in his campaign is to table a Commons motion urging the government to bring the payments system in England in line with that in Scotland where payments can be as much as seven times greater than in England, and with more family members eligible to receive them.

Dave's full Early Day Motion reads:

EDM 1315
Anderson, David
That this House notes with concern the unacceptable difference between bereavement payments paid to families of those who have died of asbestos related diseases in Scotland compared with England and Wales; recognises that the difference is because of the fact that in Scotland individual cases are decided in court, whilst in England and Wales they are capped under the terms of the Fatal Accident Act 1976; realises that the compensation paid can be as much as seven times greater in Scotland; understands that the compensation in England and Wales is limited to surviving spouses, whilst in Scotland it is paid quite rightly, to wider family members; and urges the Government to act swiftly to ensure that those suffering from this deadly disease have the same rights in England and Wales as they do in Scotland, including the right to settle their claim for full compensation during their own lifetime.

20 Apr 2007

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Community Workers recognised

Dave with Helen and Ian at No. 10
Dave with Helen and Ian at No. 10

Dave Anderson MP has today accompanied Helen Jarvis and Ian Caddy to a reception at 10 Downing Street to thank them for their service to the local community.

Helen Jarvis is the Chair of Streetlights Detached Youth Project in Crawcrook who this year celebrate their 10th anniversary of working with young people. Ian Caddy is Chair of the Birtley Community Partnership who has helped to bring local people of Birtley together and have made real improvements to the town.

Dave Anderson said,

"People like Helen and Ian are the champions of our communities and today is a way of saying thanks for the time that they devote to others. They are representative of the 1,000's of people across the country doing a range of priceless voluntary work from which we all benefit."

Helen and Ian will have the opportunity to meet with Tony Blair and other people from throughout the country who have been recognised for their work for their communities.

16 Apr 2007

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Helen Hughes and Dave Anderson MP judge the Greenside Pensioners Easter Egg Competition

Helen Huges and Dave Anderson with a lucky pensioner
Helen Huges and Dave Anderson with a lucky pensioner

Dave was treading on eggshells at Greenside Social Club when he went to judge an Easter Egg Competition.

Dave was accompanied by Helen Hughes, his Case Worker, to eggsamine the Greenside Pensioners' Easter Egg Competition.

The lucky winner, shown with Helen and Dave, won a welcome cash prize.

3 Apr 2007

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Dave sets Ofcom on BT

Following action by Dave on BT's extra £4.50 charge for those not paying by direct debit, Ofcom is investigating.

The regulator will see if there are any regulatory issues arising from the charge and will report back to Margaret Hodge, Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry, later this month.

Dave said,

"I raised this matter earlier this month and I have been inundated by letters from people across the region objecting to this penny-pinching decision. Effectively they are making people pay to spend their own money. It's neither fair nor good customer service to take this action and BT could do both itself and its customers a power of good if it withdrew these charges."

Dave wrote to the Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry, Alistair Darling after receiving complaints from constituents.

3 Apr 2007

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Pressure for A1 Action

Dave is leading North East MPs in an effort to speed up action on improving the A1, especially Gateshead's Western Bypass.

At a meeting in Westminster yesterday, which Dave organised, the MPs made their concerns known to the Highways Agency in no uncertain terms.

Dave said,

"We made it very clear the frustration we feel and the impact on the regional economy of the day-to-day grind of driving on the A1."

The Agency is waiting for the results of a traffic survey being undertaken by the local councils in Tyne & Wear due in a few months and only then will they submit their proposals for the A1, which could mean late next year.

So Dave and the others MPs are to write to Stephen Ladyman, Minister of State, Department for Transport, urging him to speed up the whole process.

Dave added,

"If there was of way of shortening that but not to diminish that work, which has to be done properly, then he has got to give them assistance to do that."

29 Mar 2007

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Gateshead Western Bypass

Frustrated at the lack of action on the A1, Dave has called a meeting for Wednesday (March 28).

North-East MPs and Highways Agency representatives will discuss of the overdue upgrade to the road.

The problems of the road have been made worse by the Article 14 orders used by the Agency to block development.

Dave said,

"It seems quite obvious that nothing is happening on the road at the moment."

26 Mar 2007

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IraqChild Appeal

A fund has been set up to help children in Iraq.

Dave has tabled a Commons motion welcoming the IraqChild Appeal and work of the Iraqi Association and NGOs in achieving it.

Dave's Early Day Motion reads,

EDM 1184
Anderson, David
That this House notes that almost half of Iraq's total population is under 18 years and is particularly vulnerable to violence, abandoned ordnance, displacement, sectarianism and lack of medical treatment due to the flight of medical professionals; further notes that 818,000 children, 22.2 per cent. of the total number of students, are unable to attend school due to security concerns or in order to work to supplement the family income; believes that assisting Iraqi children is vital because they are the future of the country; applauds the work of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and local humanitarian groups in difficult security circumstances; and welcomes the initiative of the London-based Iraqi Association, in consultation with local NGOs and other medical staff in Iraq, to establish the IraqChild Appeal, whose emergency appeal target is £250,000 and whose main goal is to provide help and assistance to Iraqi children through spreading public awareness of their needs and by providing aid and welfare protection, emergency aid and psychosocial treatment through local NGOs as well as the development of creative children's activities aimed at uniting children who have been driven apart because of sectarian violence and hate.

21 Mar 2007

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Iraq should decide

The Iraqi people should decide the future of their oil industry, not western oil companies.

A Commons motion which Dave is co-sponsoring calls on the government to disclose all its dealing with the companies and others is relation to Iraq's new oil laws.

The full Early Day Motion reads:

EDM 1180
Clark, Katy
That this House notes that Iraq's economy is heavily dependent on oil and that decisions about the future of Iraq's oil industry will have a major bearing on that country; further notes that the constitution of Iraq states that oil and gas are owned by all the people of Iraq; expresses concern that the British Government, in its involvement in the drafting of Iraq's new oil laws, has sought the views of international oil companies regarding the possible types of contracts that the Iraqi Government should offer; believes that decisions on the Iraqi oil industry should be made by the Iraqi people without outside interference; and calls on the Government to disclose to the House all representations it has made in relation to the oil law.

20 Mar 2007

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Birkheads Secret Garden
Birkheads Secret Garden
(Photo: Birkheads Secret Garden)

Led up the Garden Path

Dave has been led up the garden path.

As part of British Tourism week, he visited Birkheads Secret Garden near Sunniside, a three acre hillside garden overlooking the Beamish Valley.

Businesses were asked to invite their local MPs to visit to show their support for tourism in the area they represent. Dave was more than happy to oblige. He was given a guided tour of the extensive gardens and nursery.

Dave said,

"I want to do all I can to promote and highlight tourism businesses within my constituency as well as the region as a whole, and a lot of work is being done to achieve this.

"Birkheads Secret Garden is just one of the hidden gems in North East England which people need to hear more about. As an MP, it's part of my role to be shouting proudly about what we have to offer tourists."

The gardens are open daily from mid March to October, and are closed on Mondays unless it's a Bank Holiday.

Birkheads Secret Garden

19 Mar 2007

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The Eyes have it

Dave has been finding out at first hand about scientific research into eyesight.

He spent a morning at Newcastle University with sight expert Dr. Jenny Read finding out about her work on how eyesight works, especially the way the eyes work together.

Dave said,

"The examples I witnessed at Newcastle and the incredible dedication of the people working there is something of which we should all be proud".

In return, Dr Read spent a day with Dave in the Commons, finding out at close quarters about the work of a Member of Parliament.

13 Mar 2007

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North-East Treasures on show

Dave with the famous Blaydon Races painting
Dave with the famous Blaydon Races painting
(Photo: MLA)

Dave was one of many MPs who turned out to view a display of artistic treasures and artefacts held in the House of Commons.

Government top brass turned out in droves to voice their support for the fantastic work carried out by museums, libraries and archives in the North East.

Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, was joined by almost 100 ministers and MPs who viewed a hoard of North East treasures at a pioneering House of Commons reception.

A clock forever frozen in time by the shelling of Hartlepool during World War I, a watercolour by England's most famous painter and a painting of the Blaydon Races were among items on display from collections in the North East, the North West and Yorkshire.

The event was organised by the Museums, Libraries and Archives (MLA) Partnership to celebrate the rich culture and history of the North. It also demonstrated culture's contribution to the life and prosperity of the regions through tourism, learning, social identity and community.

Launching the event last week (Wednesday, February 28), John Tarrant, MLA Board Member and Chairman of MLA Yorkshire, said:

"This is a unique event, nothing like this has ever happened before. We are here to celebrate the wealth of culture and history looked after on our nation's behalf by the North."

MPs and Lords from the North East, the North West, Yorkshire and the rest of the country were given the opportunity to see for themselves how government funding towards the Renaissance programme is transforming museums.

They also discovered how further support and funding in the next Comprehensive Spending Review is vital to continuing the excellent work already accomplished by museums, libraries and archives.

John Healey, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, addressed those gathered, saying:

"There are a wealth of genuine treasures in the North which help us understand not only our past but our present and future.

"Half of all people nationally visited a museum last year, which disproves the common misconception that these are dusty old collections. Museums, archives and libraries encourage learning, community cohesion and diversity and need to be celebrated."

He went on to highlight the importance of the Hartley Colliery Memorial Glass, which commemorates the Hartley mining disaster of 1862 that killed 204 men and boys. He described the item, which is held at Woodhorn Colliery in Northumberland, as 'deeply moving'.

Speaking after the event, Penny Wilkinson, Chief Executive of MLA North East, said:

"The reception was a huge success. Those who attended showed a clear understanding that our museums, libraries and archives are unique national assets that require sustained investment to ensure they continue to be key contributors to learning and skills, well-being, citizenship and identity."

MLA regional chief executives and staff were on hand to answer queries, as were experienced curatorial and conservation staff from museums, libraries and archives across the North East.

Other artefacts displayed included:


  1. The hands on the Bombardment Clock stopped at 8.10am on December 16, 1914, when it was struck by shrapnel as Hartlepool came under fire from German battleships. The first shell killed Private Theophilus Jones of the 18th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, the first solider to die on British soil in World War I. During the forty minute attack, 1,150 shells were fired, killing 127 people and injuring 400.
  2. Entitled Gibside, County Durham, the seat of the Earl of Strathmore from the South, the Watercolour by J M W Turner (1775-1851) is one of a pair of Gibside painted by the artist in 1817-18. It was commissioned by John Bowes, 10th Earl of Strathmore.
  3. Renaissance is the MLA Partnership's ground breaking programme to transform England's regional museums. Since 2002 significant government investment has begun to reverse the decline in major regional museums and has helped increase visitor numbers, improve standards, develop collections and support new ways of working.
  4. In the bid for funding for MLA, as part of the government Comprehensive Spending Review, just £15m per annum nationally for Renaissance is required in addition to current funding to fully fund all museums in the programme and further extend the reach to other museums and communities.
  5. MLA North East is the strategic development agency for museums, libraries and archives in the region. It is part of the wider MLA Partnership with the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) and eight other regional agencies. Together it works to improve people's lives by building knowledge, supporting learning, inspiring creativity and celebrating diversity. The Partnership acts collectively for the benefit of the sector and the public, leading the transformation of museums, libraries and archives for the future. It receives core funding from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.

7 Mar 2007

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State Pension Conference

A national conference on the State Pension has been welcomed by Dave.

He has put down a Commons motion to draw the attention of MPs to the conference on 26 March urging them to attend.

He also emphasises the debt that the nation as a whole owes to its elderly people and calls for a secure standard of living in retirement.

Dave's Early Day Motion reads:

EDM 1027
Anderson, David
That this House welcomes the decision by the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) and the trade unions to hold a conference on the importance of state pensions; notes that the conference will be held on 26th March 2007 at the UCU Head Office; urges members from all sides of the House to attend the conference if at all possible; encourages the Government to engage with the NPC and trade unions following the conference to explore the themes developed on the day; wishes all concerned all the best for a successful event; continues to acknowledge the debt this nation owes to all its elderly people; and pledges to work towards developing decent pensions and security in retirement for all.

2 Mar 2007

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Phone Mast Victory

Campaigners celebrate with Dave
Campaigners celebrate with Dave

Local Residents in Crawcrook are celebrating today following the Planning Inspectorate's decision to turn down the permission for a Phone Mast at Kepier Chare, Crawcrook.

Gateshead Council last year refused Vodafone permission to extend the tower of Kepier Chare Pentecostal Church but the company launched a national appeal against their decision.

There were overwhelming objections to the application from local residents and the Planning Inspectorate received a petition with over 1,000 signatures. The inspector turned down the application on the grounds that the development would be "an alien addition to the tower."

Local campaigner Helen Hughes said,

"The Planning Inspector has agreed with local residents that this would not be an appropriate development in Crawcrook. This is a real victory and is down to the hard work of the local people."

Kepier Chare resident Christine Squires said,

"It was good old 'community spirit' that won this one as everyone was united against the application including our MP Dave Anderson. I hope and pray Vodafone have taken notice of this decision and look for a site where people will not be detrimentally affected."

28 Feb 2007

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Praise for Iraqi Union Link

Dave has praised the work of the TUC and the teachers' union NASUWT in hosting a visit by the Iraqi Teachers' Union.

The delegation received training, made visits and met and talked with union leaders from other teacher unions as well.

In a Commons motion tabled today, Dave commends the unions for their approach and looks forward to more such links.

The full Early Day Motion reads:

EDM 903
Anderson, David
That this House congratulates the Trades Union Congress and the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) on their decision to host a fact-finding visit by 10 representatives of the new Iraqi Teachers' Union, in co-operation with the General Federation of Iraqi Workers, during which they were based in Birmingham and London, observed the work of the NASUWT and received intensive training, visited workplaces and met members of other trade unions including Community, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers and the National Union of Teachers, as well as parliamentarians; notes the comments of Mahdi Ali Lefta, the head of the delegation that `These people who attack education, attack schools and teachers have nothing in their heart but hate and violence and they want the destruction of Iraq...They have no sense of humanity'; further notes the inspiring comments of Ali Ahmed Sindal, aged 63, a school inspector, who spent four years on death row under Saddam Hussein that `We are optimistic that all these things will be ended within one year, two years, three years...Then we are expecting a new life, a better life'; commends unions such as the NASUWT for providing vital training and support to the new and free trade union movement in Iraq so that it can stand on its own two feet and contribute to building civil society and democracy in Iraq; and hopes that more such visits can be arranged.

19 Feb 2007

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Praise for Charity

Dave has tabled a Commons motion in praise of the work of Age Concern in Gateshead.

He singles out their fund raising and work on developing a Skills for Life Course.

Dave's full Early Day Motion reads:

EDM 861
Anderson, David
That this House acknowledges the key role played by Age Concern Gateshead in delivering help and support to older people across the borough; congratulates it on helping people to access additional benefits totalling almost £723,000 in the last year; supports the services they give in advocacy, bereavement, promoting physical activity and in developing computer taster sessions; further congratulates all those who work, volunteer and fund the charity and those who have helped as volunteers in their charity shop to raise almost £31,000; recognises their partnership with Gateshead Council in developing a Skills for Life course; is pleased to note that they have been able to raise over £82,000 in their trading business; and wishes all concerned well for the future in continuing to deliver help and support for older people.

7 Feb 2007

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Not Fair

Dave is backing plans to save Metroland.

The indoor funfair at the MetroCentre is under threat from plans to redevelop the area.

The plan is to move the Odeon cinema to where Metroland is now and use the present cinema space in the blue quadrant for more shops. Metroland would not be replaced.

Dave today hosted a meeting at the House of Commons with Liberty International, the owners of Metroland.

Dave said,

"I met with some of the Metroland staff before Christmas and I was really impressed with what they had to say. They gave me a presentation about the need to save Metroland and I now couldn't agree more.

"I look at it as a public service and the purpose of my meeting with Liberty International was to stress to them just how popular Metroland is. I wanted to make the people behind the plans and the decision makers aware of what they are proposing today, because it seems that maybe they don't realise what exactly Metroland is.

"It is the Number One paid for attraction in the North East. It is something that provides jobs and is something that children enjoy. I think it probably needs some money spending on the place but it is a unique attraction that certainly deserves that money."

5 Feb 2007

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Send me the bill

Dave has asked the House of Commons authorities to send him the bill for a letter he wrote to Labour Party members.

The letter, mainly about Skons Park, also contained a call for Labour members to back the party in coming elections.

But the rules state that Parliamentary postage may only be used for constituency matters, not for party political matters, and the rallying call had crossed that line.

The matter was raised by local Lib Dems who had obtained a copy of the letter and they wrote to the Serjeant at Arms, the parliamentary officer responsible for enforcing such rules.

Dave said:

"As far as I'm concerned this was a mistake and will never happen again. If the Lib Dems want to make a song and dance about it, that's up to them."

A statement from the Serjeant at Arms said,

"This was a genuine mistake by office staff and Mr Anderson has asked to be invoiced for the full use of this stationery."

1 Feb 2007

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Water at Work

Dave is backing a Unison and Water for Health Alliance campaign for good, fresh drinking water.

The initiative is campaigning for all places of work to have fresh well presented tap water.

Dave has tabled a Commons motion supporting the campaign. UNISON have developed an initiative to improve the hydration of employees in the workplace. The campaign, which is in partnership with WaterAid, Northumbrian Water, Thames Water, Chartered Institute for Environmental Health, The European Point of Use Drinking Water Association, WRAS and Water UK, will commence in early 2007, directly complementing Government health objectives and the work of the new National Director for Health and Workplace, Carol Black.

Dave's full Early Day Motion reads:

EDM 803
Anderson, David
That this House welcomes the initiative of Unison and the Water for Health Alliance in promoting the consumption of fresh, well presented water to all employees through the Water at Work Campaign; acknowledges that this country's tap water meets the most stringent European quality standards; believes that the House authorities should take steps to ensure that fresh, well presented tap water is provided throughout the parliamentary estate as the norm wherever practicable; encourages the Government to take similar action to promote the consumption in public buildings; accepts that progress on this matter would have a substantial economic and environmental impact; and agrees that the use of the public water supply is the most sustainable and environmentally friendly source of drinking water.

1 Feb 2007

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More Money for Metro

Dave is urging the government to fund major improvements to the Tyne & Wear Metro.

Nexus is asking for £600M to upgrade the system with everything from new ticket machines to a new fleet of trains over the coming years.

Dave said,

"Nexus has done a good job on behalf of users of public transport over many years, despite the ridiculous position that they have faced following the botched deregulation of bus services in 1986.

"Hopefully they can be even more effective when taking forward our Government's commitment to genuinely restore the public back into transport.."

The bid was taken to Downing Street and the government is expected to respond by the end of 2007.

23 Jan 2007

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Lib Dem writes a letter

A Lib Dem councillor has written a letter complaining about a letter from Dave's office.

He alleges that the letter, about Skons Park Opencast plans, breaches Parliamentary rules and has written to the Serjeant at Arms.

Dave said,

"If he has written to the Serjeant at Arms, that is fine. Whatever his decision is, I will abide by it."

23 Jan 2007

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Mercenaries need Regulation

Dave has tabled a Commons motion called on the government to regulate private military security companies.

The motion points out that there are more and more of these, often working closely with regular soldiers but they are unregulated and there is the potential for human rights to be abused.

The full Early Day Motion reads:

EDM 690
Anderson, David
That this House welcomes the recent War on Want report entitled Corporate Mercenaries which examines the role of mercenaries and private military security companies (PMSCs) in conflict zones around the world; shares its concerns over the exponential growth of PMSCs since the invasion of Iraq; notes that PMSCs work alongside regular soldiers providing combat support in conflict situations, yet remain unregulated and unaccountable leaving open the potential for human rights violations; further notes that problems posed by proliferation of PMSCs were highlighted in a Green Paper in February 2002 that originated in a request from the Foreign Affairs Committee but that almost five years later there is still no United Kingdom legislation regulating PMSCs; believes that self-regulation by the industry is not appropriate in this instance; and urges the Government to move towards binding legislation to control the PMSC sector as an urgent priority.

22 Jan 2007

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Start A1 work now

Jams on the Western By pass
Jams on the Western By pass
(Photo: Free Photo)

Dave has responded to comments by Richard Hibbert, the Transport expert leading the Transport Innovation Fund for Tyne and Wear, People in Motion.

Mr Hibbert said that the government was wrong to use his study as an excuse to delay plans for the A1 Western By pass.

Dave said,

"If it's not necessary for the two to go in conjunction and it could be done faster, I would be up for pursuing that. I would be more than happy to raise it with [Roads Minister] Stephen Ladyman."

8 Jan 2007

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