David's News Extras 2008

19/12/08 MP calls for public sector ban on high rate numbers
18/12/08 Free Meals for All Children
18/12/08 Club is 90
16/12/08 Praise for Nissan & Gateshead College
12/12/08 Support for Muscular Dystrophy Inquiry
12/12/08 Welcome for Nissan moves
05/12/08 Action on Premature Births
01/12/08 Road Plans only half the Benefit
24/11/08 Chancellor should create Jobs
15/11/08 Loss Leader Alcohol Problem
06/11/08 Obama good for Britain
30/10/08 Fuel Poverty
20/10/08 Praise for North-East NHS
22/09/08 Future for North East Coal
22/08/08 Backing Birtley
28/07/08 Dave knits to Save Children
26/07/08 No More Numb Bums
26/07/08 No More Mistakes
18/07/08 Dave demands action to tackle premature baby death
11/07/08 Where are the Jobs?
28/06/08 Brand new play facilities for children in Crawcrook
24/06/08 Fighting Lung Disease
23/06/08 Quicker Action on Compensation
20/06/08 Bell Pit Vandalism condemned
20/06/08 Energy Price rises
16/06/08 We must help the Iraqi interpreters
13/06/08 Link between Transport and Development
12/06/08 Minister visits Lord Lawson School
11/06/08 Bo Diddley
10/06/08 Visit to honour murdered Priest
07/06/08 Olympic Funding Fears
03/06/08 Saddam's Victims' Graves Photo
14/05/08 Condemnation of Attack on Police
08/05/08 Equal Treatment for Widows and Widowers
07/05/08 Neuromuscular Services should be a Specialist Service
06/05/08 Turkey and Kurdistan
30/04/08 Praise for Local Press
21/04/08 Move Jobs North
07/04/08 Call for rethink on 10% tax band
28/03/08 Call for Free School Meals
27/03/08 Child Poverty
25/03/08 Government right to act on Northern Rock
14/03/08 London Hotels Cost 'astronomical'
10/03/08 Employment Tribunals and Lay Members
07/03/08 Backing for Probation Service
28/02/08 Backing for Temporary and Agency Workers
27/02/08 Saving Elephants
25/02/08 Turks out of Iraq
22/02/08 Action Mesothelioma Day
19/02/08 Support for Iraqi Unions
07/02/08 The Angel is 10
06/02/08 Plight of Iraqi Women
04/02/08 Get a Grip on IT
25/01/08 Pay the Police
24/01/08 Private military and security companies
16/01/08 Small Business Help
07/01/08 Ryton Surgery

Homepage | Current News


MP calls for public sector ban on high rate numbers

19 Dec 2008 Telephone keypad

Premium rate and lo-call numbers need to be scrapped in the public sector, says Dave Anderson MP in an article for the upcoming Fabian Review.

He says:

"The government needs to act on this: the use of expensive numbers by GPs should be explicitly forbidden."

Anderson argues:

"Many of you will have had this soul-destroying experience. A product or service goes wrong and you have to phone the supplier at a premium rate number starting with 087. The cost of the call increases along with your blood pressure as you are connected and wait in line whilst a robotic voice tells you between snatches of musak how important you are to them.

"Or you have to navigate a thicket of often irrelevant options before reaching a call centre worker. They can sometimes sort out the problem there and then. But most are under pressure and have neither the time nor the expertise nor the authority to deal with it.

"It’s difficult to avoid the suspicion that some companies are content with customers queuing for long periods to reduce staff numbers and make money from the stressed customer who wishes to complain about a faulty product. So much the better if this deters some from bothering to pursue the issue.

"It’s impossible to quantify how much this costs the consumer but my assumption is that very many are exploited by having to use numbers which cost much more than ordinary phone numbers. They cost even more if you use your mobile, which is the only option for some of the poorest people who cannot afford BT line rental charges.

"As times get tougher, action to curb this is necessary to protect households from the recession and in the interest of fairness. The scale of this practice needs to be exposed to shame companies that fleece their customers.

"So, the government and Ofcom should seek a voluntary deal with the private sector to stop the use of premium rate numbers - and legislate if necessary.

"Dearer numbers are also used in the public sector, including NHS Direct, some benefit helplines and even the parliamentary ombudsman.

"Ministers are moving on this. The government and Ofcom are developing guidelines for ‘numbering policy in public sector delivery organisations,’ including the use of new non-geographic 03 numbers which cost no more than calls to numbers beginning 01 and 02, and are included in inclusive call minutes or discount schemes. The results are expected next year.

"Premium rate and lo-call numbers need to be scrapped as the norm in the public sector.

"MPs are also concerned about the growing use by GPs’ surgeries of 084 numbers, which cost more to call from both a standard BT line and a mobile. The government says that ‘patients should not be expected to pay more than the equivalent of a local call’ and is gathering evidence.

"The government needs to act on this: the use of expensive numbers by GPs should be explicitly forbidden.

"In the meantime, a tip: visit www.saynoto0870.com which lists many non-premium geographical numbers or even freephone numbers for expensive 087 and 084 numbers."

The Fabian Review is out on January 5th.

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Free Meals for All Children

School meals
Free meals for all?
18 Dec 2008

Dave is calling for free school meals for all children.

In a letter published to day in the Guardian jointly with Sharon Hodgson MP, he highlights the health and educational benefits.

The letter reads:

Your coverage of flaws in the free school meal funding system illustrates the need to move to universal free school meals. Such hot and healthy meals boost health, concentration and educational attainment, with high social and economic benefits for individuals and society as a whole.
Sharon Hodgson MP
Lab, Gateshead East and Washington West
Dave Anderson MP
Lab, Blaydon

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Club is 90

18 Dec 2008

Dave has congratulated a local working men's club on its 90th year.

He has tabled a Commons motion about Winlaton New West End Social Club, and pointing out the pivotal role it plays in the local community.

Dave’s Early Day Motion reads:

EDM 351
Anderson, David
That this House acknowledges the tremendous contribution that the Workingmen’s and other social clubs have made to their communities; congratulates the Winlaton New West End Social Club on recently celebrating its 90th anniversary; recognises that it is a hub of activity for many groups in the local area, including the local history society, a camera club and a metal detector club; further appreciates that many of the sporting activities associated with social clubs are also based in Winlaton, including football, bowls, golf and angling; looks forward to the centenary celebration at the club; and wishes all the staff, officials, and members at the club all the best for the future.

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Praise for Nissan & Gateshead College

16 Dec 2008

Dave has welcomed moves by Nissan to use the downturn to increase training.

He praised the company’s work with Gateshead College to provide a package whereby people can update their skills.

Dave said,

"Those same people in the training centre are going out into the workplace, and are working round the clock seven days a week with people to provide on-the-job training. They want to update their skills and make their chances better. For me, that sort of thing is welcome."

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Support for Muscular Dystrophy Inquiry

12 Dec 2008

Dave is urging the Department of Health to help a Parliamentary Inquiry into Muscular Dystrophy.

He has tabled a Commons motion calling on the DoH to provide evidence to the inquiry set up by the Muscular Dystrophy All-Party Parliamentary Group.

Dave’s full early day Motion reads:

EDM 255
Anderson, David
That this House welcomes the launch of an inquiry into neuromuscular services by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Muscular Dystrophy; notes that the inquiry seeks to identify areas of best practice and gaps in service provision; acknowledges the importance of an inquiry after the publication of recent reports by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign revealing unacceptably wide geographical variations in the quality of and access to service provision; further notes that access to multi-disciplinary specialist care improves overall health outcomes and survival for patients with neuromuscular conditions; is deeply concerned that some patients are being denied access to essential health and social care services; and encourages the Department of Health to provide evidence to the inquiry.

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Welcome for Nissan moves

12 Dec 2008

Dave has backed the idea of government help for Nissan.

It is reported that ministers are looking to see what can be done help the car industry.

Dave said,

"It is such an important industry for the whole country, it is critical that we give whatever support we can. It is key to employment in the North East."

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Action on Premature Births

Premature baby
Premature baby
5 Dec 2008

Dave is urging the government to take action on the number of premature births.

he has tabled a Commons motion backing a call by the charity Action Medical Research for a ten year national research plan to study the causes of premature birth.

Dave’s full early Day Motion reads:

EDM 105
Anderson, David
That this House recognises that every year around 50,000 babies are born prematurely in the UK; acknowledges that premature birth can lead to lifelong conditions as well as being a significant contributor to infant mortality; and urges all hon. Members to back the call by the charity Action Medical Research to the Department of Health and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills urgently to develop a 10-year national research strategy in order to understand the causes of premature birth and to stop unnecessary suffering.

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Road Plans only half the Benefit

Traffic on the Western By pass
Traffic on the Western By pass
(Photo: FreeFoto)
1 Dec 2008

Dave has welcomed plans for the region's roads but said they do not go far enough.

The Department for Transport has said that the A1 Western Bypass is a congested strategic route and will be examining ways of improving it and increasing capacity. But the A1 north of Newcastle is not part of the plans.

Dave said,

"It is fine they have recognised what we have said for a long time on the A1 around Newcastle and Gateshead. But the truth is that unless they do any work further north, we are only getting half the benefit."

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Chancellor should create Jobs

24 Nov 2008

Dave has called on Alistair Darling to use his pre budget report to allow job creation.

He called for spending to go forward to boost employment and create a tax regime for this.

Dave said,

"The reality here is that we have to go forward with our spending plans, to make the tax changes needed and to look at what spending we can bring forward. The Conservatives must see that they would put us all at risk if we did this their way."

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  Loss leader offers

Loss Leader Alcohol Problem

15 Nov 2008

Dave has criticised supermarkets that sell alcohol at a loss to bring in shoppers.

This comes in the wake of comments by Northumbria Police Chief Constable Mike Craik calling for better pricing an enforcement. But Dave counsels against penalising responsible drinkers.

Dave said,

"Supermarkets shouldn’t be selling for less than cost price to get people into their stores. The problem of low-priced alcohol needs to be addressed, but what we also need to avoid is responsible drinkers paying unnecessarily inflated prices."

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Obama good for Britain

President-Elect Barack Obama 6 Nov 2008

Dave has welcomed the election of Barack Obama as the next President of the United Sates.

He said it showed the importance of appealing to young people and showing them how politics affects their lives.

Dave said,

"It will be good for this country and the relationship we can have with the Americans, because I think in every sense, they are good friends of this country."

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Fuel Poverty

30 Oct 2008

Dave has co-sponsored a Commons motion calling for a reform in energy charging.

With many people facing rising fuel poverty, he argues for a statutory reform of energy tariffs, and the introduction of a block tariff system as tabled in an amendment to the Energy Bill.

The full Early Day Motion reads:

EDM 2342
Tipping, Paddy
That this House notes the alarming increase in the number of people suffering from fuel poverty as a consequence of the unacceptable escalation of fuel bills; further notes that a key component of any package of measures designed to combat fuel poverty should be the statutory reform of energy tariffs, to bring down bills and help to incentivise greater energy efficiency; further notes the amendment to Clause 81 of the Energy Bill, tabled in the other place, that requires the Government to use the rising block tariff system under which customers would receive a basic provision of gas and electricity at a threshold price and more for subsequent blocks of energy used; recognises that the rising block tariff has the merits of encouraging careful management of energy used by householders, promoting an element of re-distribution, reducing the need for means-testing for social tariffs and reducing carbon dioxide emissions; and therefore calls on the Government to consider the merits of this amendment carefully.

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Praise for North-East NHS

NHS Nurse at work
NHS Nurse at work
20 Oct 2008

Dave has tabled a Commons motion praising the work of the NHS in the North-East.

He points out that every single hospital and trust in the region scores highly and better than any other region in the country and praises the 77,000 NHS staff in the North-East.

The Early Day Motion reads:

EDM 2285
Anderson, David
That this House praises the quality of care administered by the NHS in the North East, according to ratings released by the independent NHS regulator, the Healthcare Commission; notes that every single hospital and mental health trust in the region, as well as the ambulance service, is rated either excellent or good for quality, giving by far the highest score in the country, with 84 per cent. of primary care trusts achieving this compared to just 33 per cent. nationally; further notes that 17 of the 23 NHS organisations in the North East are also rated excellent or good for use of resources, the best performing of any region in the country; acknowledges that this is the second consecutive year that the North East has received the honour of the best NHS performance in the country; praises the NHS and its 77,000 staff in the North East for providing results this year that were better than those of last year; and hopes other regions will follow the example set by the North East.

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Future for North East Coal

22 Sep 2008

Dave has welcomed comments by energy minister Malcolm Wicks saying he was interested in clean coal technology being pioneered in the region and the jobs this could bring.

The Minister said there was 500 M tonnes of coal still underground and he was looking at ways of supporting clean burning technology.

Dave said

"I’ve been raising this issue for many years and got nowhere, but today I spoke to Malcolm Wicks and he told me he wants to see our coal and British coal redeveloped. This is an absolute shift and I think there is now a genuine commitment to finding ways of using British coal reserves".

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Backing Birtley

22 Aug 2008

Dave has welcomed news that the Birtley munitions factory is to be modernised.

The old factory is to be demolished and a new state of the art modern plant built in its place, saving over three hundred jobs, once under threat.

Dave said,

"I'm really glad that many months of hard work by workers and managers have come to fruition. It's a testament to the expertise of the workforce and the quality of their product."

The £28M investment is part of a fifteen year deal with the Ministry of Defence to supply ammunition of all calibres as well as export orders.

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No More Numb Bums

26 Jul 2008
Dave and Peter Huntley, with cushions
Dave and Peter Huntley, with cushions

Go North East, Managing Director, Peter Huntley and Blaydon MP, Dave Anderson took a light-hearted look at how passenger comfort was restored to a Go North East bus plagued by hard seats. The two leading figures were joined by bus passengers to test the newly padded bus seats - and the odd cushion or two!

When an uncomfortable passenger complained to her local MP, Dave Anderson, about the lack of padding in the seats on one of Go North East's buses, company Managing Director, Peter Huntley personally made sure that comfort was restored as quickly as possible.

Depot staff were immediately dispatched to find more padding and end the 'numb bum syndrome' which had been caused by the offending bus.

With the work complete, Peter Huntley and Dave Anderson MP have found time in their busy schedules to check personally that the seats will no longer cause a pain in passengers' rears.

"We do take all complaints seriously, no matter what the topic, but the humorous side of this problem struck me once everything had been resolved," said Peter. "I would hate our passengers to think that it has to take an MP and Managing Director to address their complaints, but equally, I would hope they appreciate that we are human and have a sense of humour."

MP, Dave Anderson added,

"It is really pleasing when MPs can help to change small things that make a big difference to peoples lives. I'm really glad Go North East chose to take the soft option on this hard issue."

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Dave knits to Save Children

Dave in knitting mode
Dave in knitting mode
28 Jul 2008

Dave has joined forces with other MPs to knit baby hats for Save the Children's latest campaign to save ten million children's lives.

The event is part of the charity's latest campaign, 'Knit One, Save One', which encourages people in the UK to knit life-saving hats for newborns around the world. Save the Children has now received over 180,000 hats following pleas from Paul O Grady on his show, after he visited South Africa with the charity. Hats have already been sent to Tibet, Burma and Kenya but more are needed to keep saving babies lives.

A woolly hat can mean the difference between life and death for a newborn baby as they are unable to regulate their own body temperature. It takes just 2 minutes for a wet, newborn baby to lose a dangerous 2°C in body temperature - making them prone to catching one of the big killer diseases, pneumonia. In contrast, it takes just one hour for an MP to make a small bonnet and save a baby's life. Over 1 million babies don't survive beyond their first day of life and the charity is keen for more hats to be knitted.

Dave is asking everyone in his constituency to get their needles out and take part in Save the Children's 'Knit One, Save One' campaign. Experienced knitters and novices alike are knitting hats for vulnerable newborn babies in countries around the world. Knitters must attach messages to their hats asking the Prime Minister to make saving children's lives a priority.

Dave said:

"They make it easy enough so that MPs can do it so give it a try. Save the Children have provided a great way for everyone to be a life saver.

"The large majority of child deaths are preventable and its wonderful to know that a simple solution such as knitting a hat can help to save a life. I hope the fact that such a small action can have an impact will inspire other people to take part in this campaign and knit a hat for Save the Children."

The hats will be sent to countries such as Kenya, Tibet and Zimbabwe. Save the Children's Tibet programme Manager Tashi Tsering said:

"Parents do everything they can to protect their babies from cold. But the most important thing - putting a hat on the baby's head - is neglected. That's like leaving a thermos bottle filled with hot water but without a lid."

Leora Hanser, Head of Campaigns and Advocacy at Save the Children said:

"The hats we have received so far are a fantastic start to this campaign but we still need many, many more hats. We hope that everyone who knits a hat - which Save the Children promises to deliver to a vulnerable baby - will also fill in an action card telling Gordon Brown why you knitted this hat. With more hats and everyone's help we can push the government to stick to the promise he and other world leaders made to cut child mortality by two thirds by 2015."

The charity wants to get 10 million people taking action for the 10 million children still dying before the age of five by 2010. A 'knit-kit' can be found on their website www.savethechildren.org.uk/knitting giving clear instructions to supporters who have never knitted before and information on where to send their life-saving hats.

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No More Mistakes

26 Jul 2008

In the wake of the Glasgow by-election defeat, Dave has called for a change of direction.

He said there should be no more mistakes and that action was needed on energy prices.

Dave said,

"We want no more mistakes like the 10p fiasco. We don't want to see more privatisation of public services.

"We want to see some action on the economy and energy prices. We could reduce the energy prices, we could put a tax cut on if we chose to."

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Dave demands action to tackle premature baby death

18 Jul 2008

Dave met Paddington Bear and national charity Action Medical Research to sign The Tiny Lives Charter and demonstrate his/her support for a 10-year national research strategy to tackle premature birth.

Dave is supporting the charity's STAND UP for Tiny Lives Campaign, and said,

"Twenty five UK babies die each week due to complications arising from premature birth and the impact is devastating for families, yet little is known about why early labour happens; or how to prevent it. I would like to encourage everyone in Blaydon Constituency to visit www.standupfortinylives.org and add their support or personal story."

The STAND UP for Tiny Lives Campaign is being backed by leading scientists and medical researchers, the NCT (formerly known as the National Childbirth Trust), and professional bodies, including the Neonatal Nurse Association, British Association of Perinatal Medicine, Neonatal Society and the European Pre-term Labour Group.

Dr Yolande Harley, Deputy Director of Research at Action Medical Research explains:

"Despite improved care for newborn babies there has been no corresponding progress in reducing the rates of premature birth. Many babies still die and those who survive are at risk of lifelong health conditions."

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Where are the Jobs?

11 Jul 2008

Dave is asking the Treasury what has been done to bring civil service jobs to the region.

Four years ago the Lyons Review said 20,000 government jobs should be moved from London to other part of the country, but few have been moved.

Dave said,

"It is vital that we in the North don't give up fighting for these jobs. Despite real strides in challenging unemployment over the last decade, we can ill-afford to lose any opportunity, especially one which could deliver high-quality, secure jobs.

"I will continue to lobby ministers to carry out the commitments given in the review."

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Brand new play facilities for children in Crawcrook

Dave Anderson MP and young Joe Marshall open the park and are joined by Streetlights Fundraisers Helen Hughes, Helen Jarvis and Dave Marshall.
Dave Anderson MP and young Joe Marshall open the park and are joined by Streetlights Fundraisers Helen Hughes, Helen Jarvis and Dave Marshall.
28 Jun 2008

Children in the village of Crawcrook have had brand new play equipment installed in their park in plenty of time for the summer holidays.

Local MP David Anderson officially opened the new playground for toddlers and young children on Saturday June 28.

The new play equipment has been made available by a partnership involving Gateshead Council and the Streetlights detached youth project using funding from the Big Lottery Fund, O2 and the SITA Trust.

Balloons, and plenty of other freebies were on hand for children as the new play equipment was revealed to children for the first time. Working with Streetlights, Gateshead Council has installed all of the new play equipment including toddle swings and a 'big ship' climbing area.

Crawcrook Park is the first of four in Gateshead to benefit from a share of more than £500, 000 of funding given to Gateshead Council from the Big Lottery Fund to improve play facilities.

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Fighting Lung Disease

24 Jun 2008

Dave has taken his campaign for those suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease a step further.

He has tabled a Parliamentary motion highlighting the issues involved and calling for spirometry testing to be a part of the recently announced health screening programme.

Dave's Early Day Motion reads:

EDM 1875
Anderson, David
That this House notes that an estimated 3.7 million people in the UK have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) but that only 900,000 people have been diagnosed with the disease; recognises that COPD is the UK's fifth biggest killer and that the direct cost of providing care in the NHS for people with COPD is almost £500 million per year; welcomes the Invisible Lives report from the British Lung Foundation (BLF), which identifies the hotspots in the UK where people with undiagnosed COPD are most likely to live; understands that improving rates of early diagnosis for COPD would help patients to slow down the progression of their disease, live a healthy life for longer and avoid expensive emergency care; supports efforts by the BLF, Breathe Easy groups and primary care trusts to raise awareness and the rates of early diagnosis of COPD in the hotspot areas; and calls on the Government urgently to carry out an assessment of the economic and health benefits of incorporating spirometry testing into the recently announced health screening programme.

Dave has previously backed campaigns by various organisations concerned with lung health, has asked questions in the House and is patron of the related locally based Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund.

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Quicker Action on Compensation

Pleural Plaques caused by asbestos
Pleural Plaques caused by asbestos
23 Jun 2008

Dave is calling for the government to speed up its review of compensation for pleural plaque sufferers.

He and other MPs have campaigned for a change since the House of Lords ruled that sufferers could not get compensation and the Justice Minister Bridget Prentice promised a twelve week review.

Dave said,

"Bridget said it would be a 12-week consultation and we've asked for it to be shortened. We want to get results as quick as we can."

The government says it is listening, and plans to have the results ready for the Queen's Speech ion November, but has said it will publish as soon as it can.

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Bell Pit Vandalism condemned

20 Jun 2008
Dave unveiling the memorial on 6 October 2007
Dave unveiling the memorial on 6 October 2007
(Photo: Sunniside Local History Society)

Dave has hit out at vandals who have little respect for the area's history.

A memorial at the site of old 'bell pit' workings in Lottie's Wood, unveiled by Dave just last October, has been vandalised, with stones removed, the seating damaged and coal used as missiles.

Dave said,

"This is really sad news and totally unacceptable. The marking of this site was a great tribute to the brave people who worked the mines in the past and a wonderful project for the whole community. I would urge anyone who has any knowledge of the perpetrators to inform the police."

Bell pits were an early form of coal mining and a full history of the Lottie's Woods bell pits can be read at the website of the Sunniside Local History Society.

Do you know who Becky and Shauna are? Stones ripped from the plinth

Do you know who Becky and Shauna are?
(Photo: Sunniside Local History Society)

Stones ripped from the plinth
(Photo: Sunniside Local History Society)

In October 2007 Dave tabled a Commons motion congratulating the local history society for their efforts.

Update 30 Jun 2008
After some local detective work, Rebecca and Shauna, both aged 14, have been visited by police and the error of their ways pointed out.

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Energy Price rises

Gas going up in price 20 Jun 2008

Dave has called for protection of the vulnerable when faced with energy price rises.

Industry experts are predicting large rises in gas and energy bills, perhaps as much as 40%, because of global shortages of oil, gas and coal.

Dave said,

"The government needs to reconsider how much financial help they are giving the country's most vulnerable. As well as the issue of how much is given out in the allowance there is the question of whether we are covering sufficient people with it. The problem that we have got is that we are at the whim of the market, so there is not a lot we can do."

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We must help the Iraqi interpreters

16 Jun 2008

Letter to The Times

Why Iraq's resettled interpreters deserve proper housing

You rightly highlight the plight of Iraqi interpreters who have resettled here (report, June 13). We saw for ourselves on a visit to Baghdad last month their invaluable role in building the new Iraq's relations with the outside world. This was our third visit to Iraq in the past two years from which we have come to understand the deep regard in Iraq for Britain, despite 20th-century history. This respect for the UK will be damaged unless we tackle the conditions of these brave interpreters.

Dave Anderson, MP
Gary Kent
Labour Friends of Iraq

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Link between Transport and Development

Traffic on the Western By Pass
Traffic on the Western By Pass
(Photo: FreePhoto)
13 Jun 2008

Dave has said that the link between good transport infrastructure and economic development is key.

He was responding to a Commons report which criticises Ministers for focusing too much on London for transport development at the expense of the regions, including the North-East.

Dave said,

"The link between transport and regional development is absolutely key and I hope the minister will take notice of what the report says and will act on the recommendations."

Dave, along with other local MPs, have been campaigning for some time for a fairer share of the nation's transport resources for fund much needed improvements to the A1 western by pass, and for a motorway standard road all the way to Tyneside, as well as the long standing need for dualling the A1 north to Scotland.

There are also calls to upgrade the east coast main line to high speed rail from London to Edinburgh, which would benefit the region.

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Minister visits Lord Lawson School

12 Jun 2008

Education secretary Ed Balls has visited Lord Lawson School at Beamish.

Accompanied by Dave, he toured the school, including dropping in on a politics class the school hairdressing salon. The head teacher Mr Griggs, Ed Balls and Dave has a discussion on the best way top drive up standards in schools. Mr Balls complimented the school on its excellent results at GCSE, and on its Ofsted verdict of an 'outstanding' school.

A full report may be seen here. (external link)

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Bo Diddley

11 Jun 2008

Dave has tabled a Commons motion following the death of rock legend, Bo Diddley.

He acknowledges the inspirational role he played in rock music as well as the debt that the British music industry owes him.

Dave's full Early Day Motion reads:

EDM 1738
Anderson, David
That this House mourns the passing, at the age of only 79, of Bo Diddley, originally Otha Elias Bates, whose distinctive beat and classic songs came to inspire generations of successful rock bands such as The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Animals; notes that he was described following his tour of the US with The Clash in 1979 as `the godfather of garage rock'; acknowledges that his contribution was recognised by being inducted into both the Rock and Roll and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, as well as receiving a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award; and believes that British rock music, itself a huge export earner for the economy, owes a great deal to this outstanding American genius of down-to-earth songs and rhythms.

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Visit to honour murdered Priest

David Miliband talks to the children
David Miliband talks to the children
10 Jun 2008

David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, has visited St Mary's RC Primary School in Whickham.

The children are finding out about a Kenyan priest, Father Michael Ithondeka, who was murdered by a gang of youths. Dave and Mr Miliband heard the pupils talking about Fr. Ithondeka, and a question and answer session, and the children performed a dance and play for the visitors.

The school is twinned with St Anthony's Academy in Nakuru, Kenya and Fr. Ithondeka had made several visits to the school. His death came in January when the youths at an illegal roadblock set about the 41 year old with crude weapons, killing him, ignoring his pleas for mercy. This was apparently in revenge for the death of one of their own allegedly by a member of Fr. Ithondeka's Kikuyu tribal group.

Dave has tabled a Commons Early Day Motion (1718) praising the school and calling for a strengthening of international school links, with particluar reference to Kenya.

EDM 1718
Anderson, David
That this House warmly congratulates the staff, children and parents of St Mary's Primary School in Whickham for the work they have done since 2002 through a twinning arrangement with St Anthony's Academy in the Nakuru region of Kenya; further congratulates pupils of St Mary's for gaining the UNICEF national award of Rights Respecting School; further notes that £7,000 has been raised by the school and local parish communities to provide clean water from a well dug, built and managed by the local community in Subukia, Kenya; acknowledges the role that Father Ithondeka played in strengthening relations between the two schools; is deeply saddened that Father Ithondeka was murdered by armed youths at an illegal roadblock during the recent disturbances; further notes that for three of the last six years the British Council has funded reciprocal visits for teachers from both countries enabling the link to grow and strengthen; is disappointed that this funding has now stopped though the link continues, and that visits will be reduced due to lack of funds; and urges the Government to support such links and to play a key role in returning Kenya to the path of peace and ensuring that basic human rights such as health, water and education for children are made available to all.

Mr Anderson says:

"The pupils and staff were deeply saddened that Father Ithondeka was murdered by armed youths at an illegal roadblock during the recent disturbances."

Mr Anderson adds:

"For three of the last six years the British Council has funded reciprocal visits for teachers from both countries enabling the link to grow and strengthen. I am disappointed that this funding has now stopped though the link continues, but visits will be reduced due to lack of funds. I am, therefore, urging the Government to support such links and to play a key role in returning Kenya to the path of peace and ensuring that basic human rights such as health, water and education for children are made available to all."

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Olympic Funding Fears

7 Jun 2008

As it emerged that local Olympic celebrations will not receive financial support, Dave is hopeful that at least "match funding" may be obtained.

Despite the North-East losing lottery money that has been diverted to the Olympics, it seems that the government is closing the door on local events getting any help.

Dave said,

"I think we have great potential, especially in Newcastle and Gateshead, to do some wonderful events in the build up to the games. I am hopeful that if we can put something impressive together that maybe we can ask for at least some match-funding for this."

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Saddam's Victims' Graves Photo

3 Jun 2008

A photo Dave took on a visit to Iraq has been selected for an exhibition in Parliament.

Over 600 photographs were submitted but Dave's image of the graves of just some of Saddam's victims was chosen to be one the 100 displayed.

Dave's picture of the graves (reduced for the web)

Dave said,

"Graves are being regularly discovered and remind us of the genocidal campaign waged by Saddam Hussein against the Iraqi Kurds, in which nearly 200,000 men, women and children were murdered.

"This cemetery is in the shadow of the beautiful mountains in the background which gives a good idea of the wondrous scenery in that part of the world."

The graves are in the Kurdish part of Iraq.

However, Dave's picture was not one of the six winners but it did make a powerful impact on those who saw it.

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Condemnation of Attack on Police

14 May 2008

Dave urged the House of Commons to condemn the attack on the Northern Ireland police officer.

PC Ryan Crozier of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) was the victim of a murder attempt by a booby trap bomb in his car.

Dave was asking the Minister of State at Northern Ireland Office, Paul Goggins, questions about Northern Ireland but took time to urge the House to join him in condemning the attack.

Four men have since been arrested by PSNI officers in County Tyrone in relation to the attempted murder. PC Crozier suffered severe leg injuries and is in hospital.

Commons Question

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Campaign for an Extra Bank Holiday

Bank Holiday beach
Bank Holiday beach
(Photo: http://www.freefoto.com/)
9 May 2008

Dave is backing the campaign that is pushing for an additional Bank Holiday for Britain's workforce.

Along with many MPs he has signed a Commons motion is support of this and there are petitions with a total so far of over one million signatures.

Dave has always believed that one of the things that differentiates a worker from a slave is the right to paid holidays. He is pleased that the government has legislated in recent years to give workers the legal right to 4 weeks annual leave in addition to statutory bank holidays.

Up to date more than half a million people have so far signed up to Thomas Cook's in-store petition and the same again have already signed up on-line on the 10 Downing Street website.

Dave is scornful of those who oppose the move, saying,

Business organisations claim it could cost them £6 billion, but these are the same people who argued that the National Minimum Wage would cost 1,000,000 jobs. As we all now know in practice this has not proved to be true.

You can support the campaign and join the group on Facebook called "Vote for an Extra Bank Holiday" add your name to the petition at any of Thomas Cooks Stores on line at www.thomascook.com.

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Equal Treatment for Widows and Widowers

Gordon Scott, Dave and Janet Scott at Westminster
Gordon Scott, Dave and Janet Scott at Westminster
8 May 2008

Dave Anderson MP continues his fight for equal treatment for widows and widowers under the Tax Credit system.

Currently Widows Parents Allowance has to be declared when widows apply for Tax Credits whereas divorcees do not have to include any amount they receive in maintenance from a former partner.

This inconsistency was brought to Dave's attention by Janet Scott and Gordon Scott (not related) who both sadly lost their partners at an early age. Since then Dave has been fighting on their behalf in parliament and for the potentially thousands of widows across the country who could be affected by this discrepancy.

Dave said

"Earlier this year I arranged for Janet and Gordon to meet directly with Treasury Minister Jane Kennedy in Parliament. Jane was really concerned about the issue and anxious to help to look at ways to mitigate the different treatment that widows receive when applying for tax credits."

"Widows and widowers often left vulnerable by the loss of a young one, particularly in Gordon and Janet's case when it happened at such an early age and they are left with children to care for. I am eager to do all I can to ensure they can benefit from the Tax Credits system in the same way divorced parents can."

Jane Kennedy has written to Dave Anderson MP offering her assurances that the Treasury will work with the Department of Work and Pensions to do all they can to resolve the issues on behalf of widows and widowers.

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Neuromuscular Services should be a Specialist Service

7 May 2008

Dave has called on the Department of Health to recognise neuromuscular services as a specialist service.

He has tabled a Parliamentary motion welcoming a report by leading neuromuscular physiotherapists and clinicians as part of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign's Building on the Foundations campaign and calling for improved standards of care for all patients with neuromuscular conditions.

Dave's Early day Motion reads:

EDM 1498
Anderson, David
That this House welcomes the publication of a new report on physiotherapy by leading neuromuscular physiotherapists and clinicians as part of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign's Building on the Foundations campaign; recognises that for many adults and children with neuromuscular conditions physiotherapy is essential in maintaining the best quality of life, for the longest time possible; is concerned that many patients with chronic conditions are being denied ongoing physiotherapy on the NHS; notes that young adults often have their physiotherapy withdrawn when they reach adulthood; further notes that specialist physiotherapy services are vulnerable where they rely on charitable sector funding; urges specialised commissioning groups to follow the lead of the South West and undertake reviews of neuromuscular services; and calls on the Department of Health to recognise neuromuscular services as a specialist service best delivered as part of a multidisciplinary team and to ensure improved standards of care for all patients with neuromuscular conditions.

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Turkey and Kurdistan

6 May 2008

Dave has tabled a Commons motion welcoming talks between Turkey and Kurdistan.

The talks, held in Baghdad, was this first high-level official meeting of both sides. Dave's motion looks forward to co-operation, political negotiation and dialogue.

The full Early day Motion reads:

EDM 1490
Anderson, David
That this House regrets the loss of life following recent Turkish bombardments on the border with Iraqi Kurdistan; warmly welcomes the meeting at the end of April in Baghdad between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) delegation led by Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and the delegation from the Republic of Turkey headed by Mr Ahmet Davutoglu, the senior adviser to the Turkish Prime Minister, Mr Murat Özcelik, the Special Co-ordinator for Iraqi Affairs at the Turkish Foreign Ministry and Mr Derya Kanbay, Turkey's Ambassador in Baghdad; notes that this first high-level official meeting of both sides, which focused on a wide range of political, security and economic issues between Turkey and the KRG, was conducted in a cordial and open atmosphere in which both sides stressed similar views on many issues and expressed a desire for common understanding and interests; and hopes that this meeting will enable good neighbourly relations and the resolution of common problems through co-operation, political negotiation and dialogue.

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Praise for Local Press

30 Apr 2008

Dave has tabled a Parliamentary motion congratulating the Evening Chronicle and associated companies.

The company won the Environmental Company of the Year award at the 2008 Newspaper Awards for cutting its carbon footprint, using renewables and recycling.

The Early day Motion reads:

EDM 1458
Anderson, David
That this House warmly congratulates the Evening Chronicle in Newcastle, its parent company ncjMedia Ltd and Trinity Mirror Printing Newcastle for winning the Environmental Company of the Year award at the prestigious 2008 Newspaper Awards; notes that this category sought the business which had done the most to cut its carbon footprint and make its products greener through energy conservation, using renewable and recycled materials and minimising waste; further notes that the judges praised an 'excellent initiative by a regional newspaper group which included involving the local community, through editorial columns, to improve the environment' and that `the publisher showed good overall environmental awareness, producing a comprehensive environmental campaign carried out throughout the business, at its print and publishing sites, within its editorial and out in the community'; and urges other newspapers to emulate this superb example of environmental leadership in the media.

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Move Jobs North

21 Apr 2008

As people in the North-East struggle with rising bills, Dave has called for more jobs to be moved from the more affluent south.

The North-East remains the lowest paid region with wages in the south £100 a week higher and rising more quickly. In Gateshead, wages fell slightly last year.

Dave wants government action, saying,

"There is a big difference between day-to-day costs in the North and the South but that shouldn't entirely excuse the difference in wages.

"Moving Government jobs from the South to the North should have been prioritised, and with the way things are going it's a promise we should do our best to fulfil."

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Call for rethink on 10% tax band

7 Apr 2008

Dave has joined the call for the government to think again on its abolition of the 10% tax band.

This will leave some low paid workers, especially those without children, worse off, while some of the well paid will be even better off.

Dave said,

"We made our concerns quite clear to the Prime Minister and Chancellor at a recent meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party. We need them to see clearly that this is a real issue for people and they need to resolve it."

The government has said that there will be no U turn.

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Call for Free School Meals

School meals 28 Mar 2008

Dave has said he would like all school pupils to receive a free school meal.

He was commenting on calls from the government's School Food Trust that children should stay on school grounds at lunchtimes and not go to local fast food outlets.

Dave said,

"I agree pupils shouldn't be allowed off site. It always used to be the case so I don't see why it wouldn't work now, but I would go further than that.

"I would like free school meals to be made available to all school pupils regardless of their family income."

The trust says that fast food or chip lunches every day will damage children's long term health and wants stricter licensing of such shops near schools.

Teachers' leaders have said that it is a good idea in principle but hard to implement in practice.

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Child Poverty

27 Mar 2008

Dave has praised the government for lifting 600,000 children out of poverty.

In a Commons motion, he also welcomes budget measures that will continue this work to lift another 250,000 from poverty.

Dave's full Early day Motion reads:

EDM 1262
Anderson, David
That this House congratulates the Government on lifting 600,000 children out of poverty since 1997 and welcomes the moves in the recent Budget that will lift a further 250,000 children out of poverty; recognises the importance of such action and commitment; and urges the Government to continue to work towards halving child poverty by 2010 leading to its eradication by 2020.

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Government right to act on Northern Rock

25 Mar 2008

Dave has responded to claims that money used to keep Northern Rock going could be used for public sector workers.

He says that while there are issues to be addressed with regard to these workers, the government's policy had been correct which had stopped the Rock "going down the plughole".

Derek Simpson, a leader of the union Unite, has criticised government for spending money on those he called "its financier friends" while failing to meet union demands on pensions.

Dave said,

"The money we lend to the banks, we get back, and the risk is really that if we don't act, it will be worse for everyone. Somewhere down the line we will get this cash back.

"And I know there are still public-sector issues we have to address, no one is overlooking that, but it is not as simple as saying money from another pot can be used here.

"No one wants to see a repeat of Northern Rock, and if we had not intervened in that situation then everything could have gone down the plug hole."

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London Hotels Cost 'astronomical'

14 Mar 2008

Dave has said that the cost of using hotels to stay in London would be 'astronomical' compared to his London house.

Like most MPs, his main home is here in the North-East, but MPs need a London base. And soon the detailed costs of these will be open to public scrutiny.

As a result of Freedom of Information requests, a Commons Committee has decided that it would be better for all MPs' expenses to be published in detail.

Dave said,

"This is an idea. We can claim up to £23,000 on a second home but MPs were never told about the John Lewis list. When I bought my house in Wandsworth Commons, London, I was just told to be reasonable. I didn't buy a kitchen - and I don't think any of my North East colleagues have done either - but I did buy some furniture. I spent about £2,000 in MFI and IKEA.

"I was originally going to stay in hotels but the cost would have been astronomical. I was quoted £189 a night for a 100 night block booking."

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Employment Tribunals and Lay Members

10 Mar 2008

Dave has expressed his concern about the future of lay members of Employment Tribunals.

He has tabled a Commons motion saying the role of lay people from the world of work is an essential ingredient of the process and urging a system that builds on rather than loses lay expertise.

Dave's Early day Motion reads:

EDM 1142
Anderson, David
That this House expresses its concern that proposals included in the Employment (Simplification) Bill and the recent consultation Transforming Tribunals could lead to a situation wherein the long standing practice of tripartite decision making in employment related matters is severely reduced; believes that such decision making has stood the test of time; acknowledges the key role that a legally qualified chairperson plays in the system; is convinced that the experience of lay members in the real world of work is an essential component of the system; notes that many lay members are concerned that their role is to be downgraded; and calls on the Government to put in place a system that builds on, rather than loses, the expertise of lay members.

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Backing for Probation Service

7 Mar 2008

Dave has said that a funding threat to the probation service needs to be put right.

The service is subject to a Whitehall efficiency drive while at the same time there is a need to for more community based sentencing to prevent prison overcrowding. But the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, David Hanson, has told Dave that extra funding could soon be available.

Dave said,

"We want to make sure this is put right because the probation service is a key part of cutting re-offending and helping people get on to the straight and narrow for the benefit of themselves and the public."

The Probation Officers' union NAPO has said that funding is not keeping pace with increased demand for probation services.

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Backing for Temporary and Agency Workers

28 Feb 2008

Dave has voted in favour of Andrew Miller's Temporary And Agency Workers (Equal Treatment) Bill.

MPs who backed the bill, Dave top right! Dave speaks up on ITV

MPs who backed the bill, Dave top right!

Dave speaks up on ITV

The Bill seeks to give agency workers equal treatment with permanent workers in basic terms and conditions. Many agency workers are treated appallingly, frequently finding themselves on very low wages and poor terms and conditions which are far worse than those offered to the directly employed staff who they are working alongside, often doing exactly the same job. At the moment this discrimination against agency workers is legal. The Bill aims to stop this and give agency workers similar rights to those already enjoyed by part-time and fixed-term contract workers.

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Saving Elephants

27 Feb 2008

Dave has co-sponsored a Commons motion condemning the culling of elephants.

The South African government has sanctioned renewed culling of elephants and the Early Day Motion urges the authorities to protect these "magnificent animals".

The full parliamentary motion reads:

EDM 1062
Moffat, Anne
That this House condemns the South African authorities who have lifted the moratorium on the culling of elephants; and urges the same authorities to find alternative methods of saving the habitat while protecting these magnificent animals.

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Turks out of Iraq

25 Feb 2008

Dave is calling for an end to Turkish military operations in Iraq.

He has tabled a Commons motion backing the Iraqi and Kurdish regional governments in their call for Turkey to withdraw its troops from Iraqi territory and deploring the "terrorist campaign" of the PKK.

He also seeks four way talks involving Turkey, Iraq, the Kurds and the USA to solve the Kurdish issue.

Dave's full Early Day Motion reads:

EDM 1028
Anderson, David
That this House opposes Turkish military operations in the Kurdistan Region in Iraq; joins the federal Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in urging Turkey to end its violation of Iraqi sovereignty by immediately withdrawing its military forces; deplores the terrorist campaign of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) which does not enjoy any support from the KRG which has taken significant steps to restrict the PKK's ability to act inside the region; notes that Turkey has sought a military solution to the PKK problem for 24 years; believes that the problem can only be solved through dialogue and diplomacy; and encourages all concerned for the political stability of Iraq to support the call for immediate four-party talks between Washington, Ankara, Baghdad and Erbil to solve this issue.

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Action Mesothelioma Day

Pleural Plaques caused by asbestos
Pleural Plaques caused by asbestos
22 Feb 2008

The asbestos cancer mesothelioma kills someone every five hours in the UK.

Action Mesothelioma Day on Wednesday has been welcomed in a Commons motion co-sponsored by Dave. It calls for more awareness of the risks of asbestos and improved treatment and care for victims of the disease.

The full early Day Motion reads:

EDM 970
Clapham, Michael
That this House welcomes Action Mesothelioma Day on 27th February; recognises that the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma kills someone every five hours in the United Kingdom; expresses alarm at the results of a recent survey by the British Lung Foundation that shows worryingly few tradespeople have received training on how to deal with asbestos or are aware that asbestos exposure can cause cancer; supports initiatives by the Health and Safety Executive in partnership with trades unions, trade associations, charities and suppliers to raise awareness amongst tradespeople of the risks from asbestos and to encourage them to find out about the precautions they should be taking; is encouraged by the results of a British Lung Foundation audit of cancer networks in England showing that most have adopted the Mesothelioma Framework; but also recognises that more effort is needed to improve treatment and care for people with mesothelioma by establishing more specialist multi-disciplinary teams.

Dave is a patron of The Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund.

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Support for Iraqi Unions

19 Feb 2008

Dave has welcomed transport union officials from Iraq.

He has tabled a Commons motion in support of Iraqi unions and urging increased backing for trades unions in Iraq.

Dave's Early day Motion reads:

EDM 926
Anderson, David
That this House warmly welcomes the visit to the UK, as guests of the Trades Union Congress and assisted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of a senior delegation for several transport unions in Iraq and the Kurdistan region in Iraq including a briefing meeting from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on 20th February in the Thatcher Room; notes that the participants Mr Hussain Jasim Almohammed, Vice President of the Transport and Communication Workers Union, Mr Turki Lazm Jbara, President of the All Ports Workers' Union, Mrs Slafa Mahmood Mohammed, Member of the Baghdad Railway Workers' Union Committee and Mr Essmat Khalid Saleem, President of the Transport Workers' Union in Duhok will visit different parts of the UK; and urges increased support for the Iraqi trade union movement in its efforts to unite working people.

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The Angel is 10

Angel of the North 7 Feb 2008

The Angel of the North is ten years old, and Dave has marked this with a Commons motion.

This congratulates Gateshead Council for its "vision and courage" in promoting the Angel and other public art, and notes the Angel of the North is now an icon of the North, symbolising the region's regeneration.

The motion won the immediate support of North East MPs - David Clelland, Stephen Hepburn, Sharon Hodgson and Denis Murphy.

Mr Anderson, in whose constituency the Angel is located, said,

"Its installation in 1998, against a storm of both artistic and political criticism, was a major statement by the Council that they would use public art as a catalyst to put Gateshead on the map and drive forward the much needed regeneration of the area.

"People from outside the region had their minds opened to the greater potential of Gateshead and that paved the way for further landmark developments, including the Sage Gateshead, the Baltic and the Millennium Bridge, as well as the wider regeneration they have supported.

"I am proud to tell people everywhere I go that I have the Angel as one of my constituents."

The Angel celebrates its 10th birthday on Thursday and Gateshead Council is trying to trace every child in the country born on 14th February 1998, the day the statue was installed.

Dave's Early Day Motion reads:

EDM 917
Anderson, David
That this House notes that 2008 marks the 10th anniversary of Antony Gormley's Angel of the North statue being installed in Gateshead; acknowledges the vision and courage of Gateshead Council in the promotion of public art over the last two decades; recognises the iconic symbol of regeneration that the Angel is today; and commends a year-long programme celebrating the Angel's 10th birthday.

The Angel is just inside the Blaydon constituency.

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Plight of Iraqi Women

6 Feb 2008

Dave has called for a UN mission to Iraq to investigate the plight of women in Iraq.

He has tabled a Commons motion which outlines the atrocities being carried out by reactionaries against women and supports the Iraqi Women's League in their call for justice and for new laws designed to protect women.

EDM 883
Anderson, David
That this House notes that in recent months there have been over 60 recorded murders of women carried out by extremist and reactionary forces and criminal gangs, under various social, religious and political motives and pretexts in the Basra area; fears that the figure may be even higher because the families of victims are often reluctant or too frightened to report these horrific crimes; supports the campaign launched by the Iraqi Women's League to highlight the plight of Iraqi women and to mobilise public opinion, exert pressure and intensify efforts to stop these inhuman and barbaric acts as well as allowing the voice of Iraqi women, rejecting all forms of exploitation and abuse of dignity, to be heard by the world; endorses their demands for an international fact-finding mission to Iraq, to be organised by the UN High Commission for Human Rights with the participation of international human rights organisations, to investigate the crimes against women, help the Iraqi authorities to identify the perpetrators and work to stop these crimes; further notes that the Kurdistan National Assembly has passed legislation to outlaw violence against women; and hopes that the Iraqi Parliament could follow suit.

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Get a Grip on IT

Clogged Western By Pass (c) FreePhoto
Clogged Western By Pass
(Photo: Free Photo)
4 Feb 2008

After it emerged that Department of Transport IT projects have overrun by £107 million, Dave has said that the government needs to "get a grip" on IT.

The DfT has said it doesn't have the money to upgrade the Western By Pass or dual the A1 in Northumberland.

Dave said,

"IT is becoming a real issue for our Government and we have got to get a grip on it. If this turns out to be true, it would be money much better spent upgrading the A1."

DfT projects include upgrading computer systems, providing handheld computers for roadside staff who deal with breakdowns and hold-ups and VOSA scheme for on-line booking of tests for HGVs and buses.

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Pay the Police

25 Jan 2008

Dave has said the police should get their full pay rise and accused the government of a lack of faith.

This follows figures showing a sharp drop in crime in the Northumbria Police area (Northumberland and Tyne & Wear).

Dave said,

"I think we've handled this atrociously as a Government. The money is almost irrelevant - it's the lack of faith. What the police have been doing here for a number of years is to be commended. There's also much more co-operation between local authorities and the police - all these people seem to be pulling in the same direction."

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Private military and security companies

24 Jan 2008

Dave has again urged controls on private military and security companies.

This time he has tabled a Commons motion expressing his concern at the unregulated activities of some of these companies in Iraq and calling for regulation.

Dave's Early Day Motion reads:

EDM 785
Anderson, David
That this House is concerned by the exponential growth of private military and security companies (PMSCs) since the invasion of Iraq; is disturbed by the substantial rise of reported incidents of civilian killings and human rights abuses by PMSC guards in Iraq who remain unregulated and unaccountable; 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, six 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 bring forward legislative proposals for the control of the PMSC sector as an urgent priority.

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Small Business Help

16 Jan 2008

Dave is calling for more help for small businesses whose transactions are mainly in cash.

He is co-sponsoring a Commons motion calling on the banking industry to reduce the costs of cash provision for small businesses.

The full Early Day Motion reads:

EDM 681
Banks, Gordon
That this House notes the vital contribution that small businesses make to the UK economy; further notes that those in sectors dealing with the sale of goods to the general public, which inevitably use cash as a payment method, suffer from excessive charges levied by banks in the provision of cash and change; and calls upon the banking industry to reduce the cost of this vital service to small business and in doing so to allow a greater level of economic security for the UK's small business sector.

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Ryton Surgery

7 Jan 2008

Dave is holding a surgery in Ryton on Saturday 12 January.

This will be at Ryton Methodist Church Hall, Lane Head, Ryton. (entrance off Grange Road).

There will be a Gateshead WarmZone stall with information and advice about home energy efficiency; a local craft/second hand book stall and teas and coffees. All proceed to local youth charities.

Surgery time is 10.00-12.00 noon.

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