Dave's News Extras 2011


 
15/12/11 North-East jobless now worst in UK
29/11/11 MPs back Blatter call to quit
29/11/11 Drop the bill
19/11/11 Blatter should go
15/11/11 Keep Gateshead's Angel
08/11/11 'Madness' of widening transport gap
07/11/11 Biting back at loan sharks
04/11/11 Policy making on the hoof
01/11/11 Be Santa for a soldier
01/11/11 Housing Developments - Dave encourages constituents to have their say
31/10/11 Fatcats get more while the rest suffer
14/10/11 Energy regulator a 'busted flush'
14/10/11 250 more reasons for Birtley optimism
11/10/11 Reason, not riots
10/10/11 Pension 'theft'
01/10/11 Called to the bar
26/09/11 Work together
13/09/11 Serving the voters
07/09/11 Enrol for Dave's Debt seminar
07/09/11 Blocking illegal methadone sales
06/09/11 Pause for privatisation
06/09/11 Western intervention in the Arab spring
02/09/11 Hearing at the Hermitage
26/08/11 Clegg toes the line on Rock
17/08/11 Don't hand Rock back to those who fouled it up
15/08/11 B&B now a no goat area
14/08/11 Anger at hostel plans
11/08/11 No taxi for Stephanie
11/08/11 Churchill scraps lunch breaks
14/07/11 Music, tea and a banner
14/07/11 Save our Forests - again
11/07/11 Public Sector should run care
09/07/11 Consumers paying the energy price
23/06/11 Keeping AEI going
11/06/11 Welcome for NT thwarting Opencast
07/06/11 State should provide care
31/05/11 Call for tough action on knife crime
21/05/11 Support for £3M Dunston project
17/05/11 On their way to second million
13/05/11 Landfill sites
07/04/11 Damage limitation for dairy workforce
24/03/11 Smoke and Mirrors
07/03/11 Reply to Lib Dem
03/03/11 Dave Anderson hails feminist pioneer
02/03/11 Abolition of RDAs 'damaging'
19/02/11 Cut tax evasion, not services
17/02/11 'Lost generation' as youth unemployment soars
14/02/11 'Coalition couldn't run a whelk stall'
04/02/11 Chopwell not for sale
01/02/11 Banks should think of others
28/01/11 Birtley could suffer a Nett loss
27/01/11 Forest Fury
08/01/11 Fury at flu fiasco

Homepage | Current News



 

North-East jobless now worst in UK

Jobcentre 15 Dec 2011

As unemployment continues to rise, Dave says he thinks it will even worse.

In the three months to October 12,000 jobs in the North-East went and at 11.7%, the region's jobless rate is the worst in the country and the worst since John Major was PM.

Dave said,

"It is going to get worse. They have got no idea how to stop it getting worse because, certainly in our area, they have got this antipublic sector jobs attitude."


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MPs back Blatter call to quit

Sepp Blatter 29 Nov 2011

Dave's Commons motion calling on Sepp Blatter to quit FIFA has drawn the backing of many other MPs.

The motion has now been signed by 37 MPs across the political spectrum including many from the North-East.

Dave's call came after Mr Blatter implied that racial abuse in football could be settled by a handshake after the game.

Dave Early Day Motion reads:

"That this House condemns the unacceptable and offensive remarks made by the President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter; recognises that his comments have attracted the condemnation of both anti-racism campaigners and all sections of this House; believes that the comments have made his position untenable and that world football needs new leadership; further recognises that he is in conflict with FIFA's policy of zero tolerance and this conduct demonstrates that he has no understanding of what racism is, the ideology behind it, the damage it causes and how it denotes one group of people as inferior; further believes that enlightened leadership at this level is needed and a clear message delivered that racism is not a minor matter and cannot be dismissed and trivialised; and therefore calls on Sepp Blatter to resign with immediate effect."


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Drop the bill

29 Nov 2011

Dave is backing calls for the government to drop the Health and Social Care Bill.

Along with thousands of others he has now signed a government epetition set up by Dr Kailash Chand calling on the Government to drop the Bill.

Dave has had a huge number of contacts from constituents expressing their concerns and has pledged to keep on pressing the government to recognise the concerns which many constituents have about the changes which will come about from the Health and Social Care Bill.

The Government e-petition can be signed at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/22670


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Blatter should go

Sepp Blatter 19 Nov 2011

Dave says that Sepp Blatter should quit his post at FIFA.

Next week he will table a Commons motion condemning Mr Blatter's remarks about racism in football in which he said a handshake is enough to absolve someone of racism.

Dave said,

"It is deplorable that the man who leads world football can be so unaware of the huge responsibility he has and the damage his attitude could do. FIFA, rightly, has zero tolerance of racism and it cannot be led by someone who thinks that it is OK to brush it away with a handshake."


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Keep Gateshead's Angel

Angel of the North 15 Nov 2011

Dave has poured scorn on Boundary Commission plans which would move the Angel of the North into a Sunderland Commons seat.

He was giving evidence at a public inquiry at Newcastle Civic Centre into the plans and said that the plans took no account of all that Gateshead had achieved.

He said,

""It was the Angel which was the first and I would argue the best of these changes, and yet sadly under these proposals it would no longer be under the purview of a Gateshead MP. It would, in parliamentary terms, effectively be in Sunderland."

Under the plans the Blaydon seat would go and Dave added,

"Scrapping the Blaydon constituency would remove from the Parliamentary lexicon the word Blaydon famous in the 'Blaydon Races' and the constituency gave the Geordie nation its unofficial anthem."


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'Madness' of widening transport gap

The Western by-pass in Gateshead suffers daily jams
The Western by-pass in Gateshead suffers daily jams
(Photo: FreeFoto)
8 Nov 2011

Dave has hit out at the widening gap between transport expenditure in London and the North-East.

New figures issued by HM Treasury show that while transport spending in London is £774 per head, in the North-East it is a relatively meagre £255 per head - and the gap is widening.

Dave said,

"These figures are hugely depressing and reflect cuts in public transport, forcing people to catch taxis to work. That needs to be addressed. It is completely out of order. It will put people out of work. It is madness."

The government has rejected the criticism with transport minister Norman Baker saying the London is the capital therefore gets more money and that this was part of the government's localism agenda.


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Biting back at loan sharks

Loan shark 7 Nov 2011

Dave is backing moves by Gateshead and Newcastle councils to call in specialists to tackle illegal money lenders.

The team from Birmingham will be authorised to operate on Tyneside to stop what Dave calls "scamming people in a brutal manner" with sky high interests and often threats and intimidation to enforce repayment.

Dave said,

"It is a major national scandal that they can get away with charging sky-high interest rates to people who often feel they need them to buy food or, with Christmas looming, presents for their kids. It may be legal for now but it's not moral or just."

It is believed that there are over three hundred such unlicensed money lenders on Tyneside. People who turn to these are often forced into a spiral of debt which they can never pay off.


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Policy making on the hoof

4 Nov 2011

Dave has responded to a letter in The Journal, pointing out that unions warned the Health Secretary about 'backroom' job cuts in the NHS.

Dave says that that an organisation as complex as the NHS requires management and that such staff cannot be got rid of without impact.

Dave's letter reads:

Mr Carter is right to criticise the appalling mismanagement which has seen senior people released and then reemployed in the NHS. But he should direct his fire where it belongs. Unions representing these groups warned the Health Secretary that his reform proposals were ill-thought through and would lead to exactly this scenario.

Sadly the Government's pathological hatred of the public sector, and its mantra that the public sector is full of so-called backroom staff who can be got rid of without any impact, blinded them to the reality that an organisation as complex as the NHS can't be run like Arthur Daley's car showroom. Of course, this shouldn't be happening but, to some extent, it was the inevitable consequence of making policy on the hoof.

Dave Anderson
Member of Parliament for Blaydon
Gateshead


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Be Santa for a soldier

Soldiers with Christmas parcels 1 Nov 2011

Dave is keen to promote the Support our Soldiers Christmas Parcel Appeal and encourage constituents to take part and donate a shoebox of goodies.

Boxes can be delivered to Dave's office and will be passed on from here. There is a leaflet in PDF format which you can download which says what kind of things you should give and lots of other information. Please bring boxes to the office by Friday 25 November so that the service men and women get them in time for Christmas.


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Housing Developments - Dave encourages constituents to have their say

1 Nov 2011

Gateshead Council is currently developing plans for the long term development of Gateshead. Gateshead Community Network is organising a series of consultation sessions in local communities to allow local people to have their say on these draft plans.

Dave is particularly keen to let you know how the plans will affect you and to find out what you think about them. Your views will help the council make better plans.

So if you are interested in finding out where new housing and/or other services are proposed over the next 20 years in the West of Gateshead, then please come along to one of the information events detailed below. The sessions are informal and you can drop in at any time between the set times.

SUNNISIDE SOCIAL CLUBTUESDAY 1ST NOVEMBERDrop in between 7.00pm - 8.30pm
CRAWCROOK LIBRARYTHURSDAY 3 NOVEMBERDisplay available all day, Drop in between 4.00pm - 7.00pm
RYTON METHODIST CHURCH HALLTUESDAY 8TH NOVEMBERDrop in between 3.30pm- 7.00pm
CHOPWELL LIBRARYMONDAY 14 NOVEMBERDisplay available all day. Drop in between 4.00pm - 7.00pm

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Fatcats get more while the rest suffer

31 Oct 2011

Dave has hit out at fatcat bosses who have awarded themselves huge pay rises while most people suffer real cuts in income.

In the letter to The Journal he says it is a mockery of equal sacrifice in a time of crisis and says enough is enough.

Dave's letter reads:

Our captains of industry are mocking most people and making a mockery of the idea of equal sacrifice in the current economic crisis.

The news that the few bosses of the top 100 companies have awarded themselves sky-high pay rises of 49% in the last year will go down badly with the many. Public-sector pay is frozen and private-sector pay has only increased by 2.5%, both a cut in real terms given inflation.

Pensions have been downgraded by £6 billion a year by a sleight of hand in how increases in living standards, to which they are linked, are calculated.

And our nurses, firefighters, police and other public workers face a 50% levy on pensions, which is forcing many to opt out of pensions. Enough is enough. All in this together? Don't make me laugh!

Dave Anderson MP, Blaydon


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Energy regulator a 'busted flush'

14 Oct 2011

In the wake of the news of huge profits made by the privatised energy companies, Dave has hit out at Ofgem.

He says the energy regulator has failed consumers and what is needed is a regulator with teeth and the breaking of the energy cartel.

Dave said,

"The energy regulator Ofgem is a busted flush, a barking dog with no teeth that has stood back wringing its hands for over a decade while consumers have been fleeced. We need a regulator which will regulate and not merely observe. Ultimately, we should break the cosy cartel of energy supply companies that were ushered in with the privatisation of our common energy supplies."


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250 more reasons for Birtley optimism

The former Somerfield at Birtley
The former Somerfield at Birtley
(Photo: Graham Soult, http://www.cannyinsights.com/)
14 Oct 2011

The impasse over a new supermarket has been broken after a campaign spearheaded by Dave.

Morrisons will develop the site of the old Somerfield store and council depot in Birtley which will bring 250 jobs to the town with a new 44,000 square feet store.

Dave said,

"This is excellent news on both the jobs front and in terms of the regeneration of Birtley. The closure of the Somerfield store in April 2009 had a devastating effect on Birtley.

"Since then, I have been working closely with the local community and businesses, colleagues on the council to try and secure a main retailer at the heart of the town centre."

It is expected that formal planning applications will be sent off to Gateshead Council early in the new year.


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Reason, not riots

11 Oct 2011

As protests and in some cases disorder against the economic policies of government takes place, Dave says that a challenging debate is the way forward.

After riots in the UK and a protest that blocked Westminster Bridge, along with the Wall Street demonstrations, he says there is a danger that extremists will exploit the situation.

Dave said,

"There is a danger that extremists will exploit extreme situations. We are clearly in an extreme situation.

"But I hope that a debate starts to challenge the orthodoxy we have had for 30 years, which is the market does everything. And if you did the analysis you would find the market has failed. I just think people are starting to say 'Is this is the only way we can do things?' And we are seeing this with the Wall Street protests and on the streets of London."


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Pension 'theft'

10 Oct 2011

As public sector workers are balloted on strike action over pensions this week, Dave has branded the plans as 'theft'.

Workers in the NHS, local councils and police support are being asked if they wish to join the TUC's national day of action on November 30th.

Dave said,

"It's sad that people have been forced into this position. From my discussions with union officials it seems the Government hasn't been negotiating seriously and has simply been looking for a way to implement a 3% increase.

"This is a tax on public service workers to cover up for the failure of the economic policy of this Government. It's theft, nothing more, nothing less. It's being targeted at public sector workers, nobody else."


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Called to the bar

Dave pulling pints at the Black Bull
Dave pulling pints at the Black Bull
1 Oct 2011

Dave has been called to the bar, but pulling pints rather than wearing a wig.

A Tyneside MP stepped behind the bar for a shift at the local pub as part of a national campaign to highlight the vital role of pubs to local communities.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson had a go at pulling pints with licensees Carl and Jackie Hayley at the Black Bull in Blaydon on Friday 30th September.

Dave Anderson said:

"This is part of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group's efforts to better understand the concerns of the trade.

"Pubs are often crucial hubs for communities and I am very concerned that so many have fallen by the wayside."

Licensee Carl Hayley said he was delighted that Dave had chosen to visit the Black Bull, a village pub which is at the heart of the community.

"It's great to see a local MP supporting the pub industry, especially as there has been such pressure on the sector in recent years. Dave did an excellent job and was chatting to the regulars. It was also a great opportunity to ask questions about key issues affecting the industry, such as minimum pricing for alcohol in supermarkets." he said.

Carl and Jackie have been running the pub for the last four years and the couple, who are both from Blaydon, feel very strongly that pubs form a key part of any community.

"We run a very traditional pub, with no juke box, pool table, machine or TV, but we put on live music four nights a week and a weekly quiz, all of which attract local people of all ages," said Carl, who previously ran a car rental company.

"People want to come to have a chat about the issues of the day in a peaceful, safe environment and we are pleased to do that. In fact it's part of the reason we took on the lease as there were plans to change the pub and quite honestly, I love my local and didn't want anyone changing a winning formula!"

Punch Business Relationship Manager Alex Smith said:

"Carl and Jackie demonstrate some of the very best skills a landlord needs to have. They are in touch with every aspect of their community and have a genuine commitment to enhancing life in the village."


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Work together

25 Sep 2011

Dave has called upon a local Tory MP to work with Labour.

The Hexham MP, Guy Opperman, has described the Boundary Commissions proposals for constituencies as nonsense and Dave couldn't agree more, suggesting they work together to stop it in Parliament.

His call comes in a letter to The Journal, which reads:

GUY Opperman, MP for Hexham, was absolutely right when he described the Boundary Commission proposals as a nonsense (The Journal, September 22).

However, could I suggest to him that as well as encouraging the public to protest, he should also work with Labour MPs across this region to stop this ludicrous piece of Tory gerrymandering when it comes back to Parliament.

It was, after all, his Government, aided and abetted by the Liberal Democrats, who tore up the way boundaries are redrawn - replacing a system that was based on logic and reason with one that is driven solely by mathematics.

Guy knows this is a mess and he should encourage other Tory MPs to do their bit to stop this happening at the earliest possible opportunity.


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Serving the voters

Ballot box 13 Sep 2011

Dave has commented on the proposals for a radical redrawing of constituency boundaries.

He was heavily critical of the Boundary Commission for England which drew up the plans.

Dave said,

"Gateshead is big enough to have two MPs without carving it up and bring in wards from other boroughs. To do so is quite mad. We will now be having intensive discussions on the proposals but the key issue was how best to serve the voters."

They propose a Jarrow and Gateshead East constituency which includes all the wards in the existing Jarrow constituency, except for two, and also includes four wards from the existing Gateshead constituency.

They also propose a Gateshead West constituency, which includes six wards from the existing Gateshead constituency and five wards from the existing Blaydon constituency, which, due to the changes that we have proposed elsewhere in the region, would no longer exist.

The following three wards from the existing Blaydon constituency: Ryton, Crookhill and Stella; Crawcrook and Greenside; and Chopwell and Rowlands Gill, of the Borough of Gateshead will be added to the Hexham constituency.

A twelve week consultation is now underway from 13 September 2011 to

5 December 2011. You can make your views known about local changes by email to northeast@bcommengland.x.gsi.gov.uk or by writing to the Boundary Commission for England, 35 Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BQ.

Locations and date of public hearing:

Newcastle The Civic Centre, Barras Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8QH

Monday 14 -Tuesday 15 November 2011

There is more information on their website at www.consultation.boundarycommissionforengland.independent.gov.uk.


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Enrol for Dave's Debt seminar

Final demand 7 Sep 2011

If you are worried about debts and facing an uncertain future, Dave can help.

He has organised a FREE help session, open to all, is designed to provide a solution to these financial pressures - bringing together key sources of advice, help and support for you or your business on dealing effectively with your money matters.

There will be presentations, a question and answer session and a one-to-one workshop with the opportunity to ask about your personal finances. So feel free to drop in and take advantage of the invaluable expert advice.

It's on Friday 23 September, 10.00am-1.00pm at St. Cuthbert's Church Hall, Shibdon Road, Blaydon NE21 5PT

Speakers will be: Dave Anderson MP, Jim James, Alison Dunn (Citizens Advice Bureau), Hazel Armstrong (Federation of Small Businesses), Jonathan Walker (North East Chamber of Commerce)

Places are limited so please contact us to secure a place. Call 0191 414 2488 or email Liz Twist on liz.twist@parliament.uk


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Blocking illegal methadone sales

Methadone 7 Sep 2011

Dave is backing moves by his colleague Ian Mearns, MP for Gateshead, to stop the illegal sale of prescribed methadone.

Mr Mearns is tabling a commons motion and seeking a meeting with the Health Minister to stop the problem which arises because those on the programme are supervised during the week but not at weekends and some users have been selling the prescribed drug with fatal consequences for some.

Dave said,

"I absolutely agree that this drug needs to be taken in a controlled environment at all times. I visited Durham prison last year and one of the big issues there is drug misuse.

"They have lots of methadone coming in and they have really strict regimes on how it is taken. It should be the same outside prisons as well.

"People know how dangerous methadone can be. If someone needs to have it controlled five days a week, it should be controlled all the time.

"It's nonsense that it's being allowed to be taken unsupervised.

"The authorities should be aware of how dangerous methadone can be. It needs to be used properly. We shouldn't stop the people that need it from using it but we need to review how it is administered."

Adding that users should be supervised over the weekend, he went on,

"I understand that chemists are closed at weekends but there are facilities in place, such as the new health centre in Blaydon and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, that offer the same services over the weekends.

"Those on a methadone programme should be given some responsibility in getting themselves to these facilities. We have to be clear and make the methadone programme as secure as possible. If we carry on like this, it's an accident waiting to happen and more lives will be lost."

Methadone is used to help heroine addicts reduce their addiction and the substitute is taken under supervision in the week but at weekends the methadone is given to the users. Four deaths have so far resulted from addicts selling the methadone instead of taking it and its effects on non addicts can be fatal.


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Pause for privatisation

NHS 6 Sep 2011

Dave backs a TUC report that says the pause for consultation on NHS reforms has made little difference.

It argues that once the Health and Social Care Bill is passed by parliament the road will be open for private firms to move in on our NHS.

Dave said,

"Professionals in the service tell me they are concerned that the so-called pause has done nothing to allay their fears that this whole exercise is about opening up services for privatisation, which I fear will be to the detriment of staff, patients and the long-term ethos of our NHS."


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Western intervention in the Arab spring

6 Sep 2011

Dave argues that ties at grass roots levels are the best way of securing Libyan democracy.

In a letter to The Guardian published today co authored with Gary Kent, he makes the case for campaigns that ordinary people can join to make such links human and direct.

The letter reads:

Jonathan Freedland's critique of what we could call "statism" in foreign policy (Why wait for politicians to oust foreign tyrants? Every one of us can do our bit, 31 August) eloquently outlines some new ways in which individuals and organisations can assist the oppressed. Some tried and trusted methods need to be enlarged too. It may only be a matter of time before there are campaigns that individuals can join to increase, for instance, the capacity of trade unions in Libya so that social justice becomes a strong part of what one hopes will be their new-found ability to use their vast oil revenues to increase living standards for ordinary people.

Likewise, the Libyans may soon be receptive to a stream of civil society activists and parliamentarians who can respectfully advise them on how to build new institutions after 41 years of dictatorship. The key to success in winning popular and determined support here is to make such links human and direct - a specific classroom or union branch with which people can maintain contact often beats a generalised appeal for solidarity. Another advantage of such work is that it can unite those who probably differed over interventions that preceded the need for solidarity work by a range of non-state actors.

Dave Anderson MP
Labour, Blaydon
Gary Kent
Labour Friends of Iraq


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Hearing at the Hermitage

Dave listens to women at the Hermitage Garden, Whickham
Dave listens to women at the Hermitage Garden, Whickham
2 Sep 2011

The Hermitage Community Garden, Whickham was the venue for Dave's Listening Panel on Wednesday this week (31 August), this time with a focus on women.

Dave met a group of women from Swalwell and Whickham to listen to the issues which are concerning them over a cup of tea and a scone in the beautiful surroundings of the Whickham Hermitage Community Garden.

Top of the list of concerns was the economy and how that was affecting them and their families, whatever their age and many were worried about the effect of changes to the state pension which would see many women, especially those in their late 50s, not getting the state pension until they are 66.

Dave also heard that they were worried too about their local community and how Whickham can remain a vibrant and thriving small town.

Dave said,

"I wanted to hear how women were being affected by the current economic situation and changes to pensions, tax credits and a host of other issues. The Whickham Hermitage Garden was a great setting for us to chat informally over a cuppa. It was great to hear first-hand about their experiences and their concerns and I will be making sure that their views are clearly expressed in Westminster and here in the constituency."

Join Dave's Listening Panel


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Clegg toes the line on Rock

Northern Rock 26 Aug 2011

After the Deputy Prime Minister's visit to Newcastle, Dave accused him toeing the party line on Northern Rock.

Mr Clegg said he just happened to be a supporter of mutualisation but then said the government would listen to advice about how the banks should be put back into private hands.

Dave said,

"Nick Clegg is following the typical Tory line to get it off the public books and take long-term risks when we don't need to".

He added:

"This is about addressing their deficit reduction plans rather than what is best for the bank and its customers."


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Don't hand Rock back to those who fouled it up

Northern Rock< 17 Aug 2011

The Chancellor should halt the sale of Northern Rock and turn it back into a mutual as the best value option for taxpayers, according to a Tyneside MP.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who has thrown his weight behind a Co-operative party national petition on the Rock, said:

"The Co-operative party's option of a customer-led remutualisation would raise billions for taxpayers and should not be ignored but the alternative could lose taxpayers' money which was put into shoring up the Rock."

The MP added:

"After all, it was the old banking model that failed at the Rock and handing it back to those who fouled it up shows a wilful blindness to new thinking, although the coalition government actually promised to foster diversity in financial services and promote mutuals."


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B&B now a no goat area

15 Aug 2011

Dave has been along to The Stables Lodge, at Lamesley to see why people can now stay where goats used to live.

The former goat sheds have been converted into luxury chalets by owner Janet McPherson and Gary Steel complete with all mod cons including plasma TVs, hi-fi and broadband internet.

Dave said,

"It is tremendous. I had seen it previously when it was a goat shed so I have seen it before and after.

"Janet and Gary should be congratulated for the work they have done. It is a real asset to that part of the world and I wish them every success."


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Anger at hostel plans

14 Aug 2011

Dave Is supporting Dunston residents in their opposition to a proposed hostel for the homeless.

The charity Emmaus want to convert the former Dunston Hill School building into a homeless hostel but the idea has meet with fierce opposition from the local community.

Dave said,

"There's a lot of disquiet in the community, I'm aware of the feelings and I'm going to see if there's an alternative site in the borough where it could work.

"The work these people do is important but local people have made it very, very clear they are against it and as their representative I will reflect that to Emmaus and the council."


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No taxi for Stephanie

11 Aug 2011

Dave is trying to help a young potential paralympian get to college.

16 year old Stephanie Moore has athletics trophies galore and is on the Great Britain and England National Disabled Squad but Gateshead Council say they cannot provide the taxi she needs to get to Gateshead College Academy for Sport from Whickham.

Dave said,

"I intend to speak to the council and the college and to the Government if necessary to help this girl and give my full support."

Stephanie also has the backing of paralympic champion Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.


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Churchill scraps lunch breaks

Metro Station 11 Aug 2011

Dave has hit out at Churchill for robbing its lowest paid workers.

The company which has the contract for cleaning the Metro plans to scrap paid lunch breaks for workers already on the minimum wage.

Dave said,

"It's a disgrace that a company that is making so much profit, is now robbing poorly paid workers."

The paid lunch break is estimated to be worth about £80 a month to workers on the minimum wage.


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Music, tea and a banner

Dave with the Chopwell Banner 14 Jul 2011

Dave was recently the guest of Chopwell Primary School and the Live at Home Group.

Entertainment was provided by a concert performed by the pupils of Chopwell School followed by a Cream Tea and there was a chance to see the magnificent new Chopwell Banner which was on display.

Dave Anderson said,

"I was really pleased to be invited to the Chopwell Cream Tea. This was a great effort by the schoolchildren who put on a great performance and a great tea for the Live at Home Group. It is a great example of a community coming together across the generations, and having the new banner on display reinforced the proud heritage of Chopwell."

Dave visited the school on Friday 8 July 2011.


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Save our Forests - again

14 Jul 2011

It's time to make your views heard again about Chopwell Wood.

Dave is urging people to make their views known to the new Forestry Panel which has issued a "Call for Views" on the future for our forests. Dav eis writing to all those who have contacted him previosuly abouyt this, but any member of the public can log on and tell the Panel what they think.

Dave's letter reads:

I am writing to you as you have previously contacted me expressing your concerns about the government's plan to sell off our forests.

Since I last wrote to you, the government has announced the remit and membership of the Forestry Panel and the panel has started its work. Already it has visited the Forest of Dean and later this month the panel will visit Northumberland and Kielder Forest.

The panel has said that it wants to hear from members of the public like yourself about your views on the future for our forests and has issued a "Call for Views". The panel says:

"We want your help with understanding:

I would encourage you to make sure that you respond to this "Call for Views" and tell the panel just how much you value forests and woods like our own Chopwell Wood. Our forests and woods are valued for a whole variety of reasons other than the purely economic value of our woodlands. They are an important recreational resource and a natural environment enjoyed by many people and we need to make sure that they are freely accessible for future generations.

The closing date for submission of your views is 31 July 2011, so I urge you to make sure that you respond before then. The "Call for Views" can be found at http://www.defra.gov.uk/forestrypanel/views/ but I have enclosed a copy of the document with this letter in view of the short timescale.

In my last letter, I said that we still need to be vigilant. At the same time that the Forestry Panel is taking views from the public, 240 jobs have gone from the Forestry Commission - that is a quarter of their staff - and the government has confirmed that it still intends to sell off 15% of the public Forest estate, regardless of what the panel says. We need to make sure that all of the energy and strength of feeling that made the Save our Forests campaign such a success comes to the fore again by each of us submitting our views to the Forestry Panel. Let us ensure that there can be no doubt in the mind of the government that this is an issue which won't go away.

Yours sincerely

Dave Anderson MP


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Public Sector should run care

Southern Cross sign 11 Jul 2011

After care group Southern Cross has announced it's offloading its 30,000 residents, Dave says this makes the point that care should be in the public sector.

But his main concern is for those residents and the staff at the seven care homes run by the company in Gateshead as well as those elsewhere.

Dave said:

"Short-term I hope things do go as smoothly as possible and that the transfer can be done in a way that is as seamless as possible for residents and staff because if you want to run a successful care home you need to have a good care team.

"Long-term this makes the case that people need security and that can only be provided by the public sector in a similar way as the NHS provides guarantees for people and their families."


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  Gas flame

Consumers paying the energy price

9 Jul 2011

Dave has hit out at a huge price hike by British Gas.

The company has said it is increasing gas bills by an average of 18% and electricity bills by 16% from August 18th, and Dave says consumers are now paying the price for the privatisation of energy in the 1980s.

Dave said,

"It's not surprising because we have a cartel of companies that control energy prices in this country. They should cut energy prices by cutting shareholder's dividends. We're suffering because of what happened 25 years ago when the companies were privatised and they now have us over a barrel.

"This will not stop until the Government does something. Consumers are being robbed. I would like to think the Government would do something but I can't see it happening."


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Keeping AEI going

23 Jun 2011 AEI Cables

Despite the company sacking 126 workers recently, Dave is working to safeguard the future of the company and the workers still there.

AEI is concentrating in specialist cable making in order to compete, and Dave is working to help those who lost their jobs.

Dave said,

"AEI Cables is a part of the heritage of the business community in this region and we are trying to do everything we can to safeguard the future of the business and the jobs of the 189 workers still in employment at the company.

"But at the same time, we are liaising with those who have lost their jobs to provide support in seeking redundancy pay and also finding alternative employment wherever possible."

As the company works to return to profitability, chief executive Clive Sharp said he appreciated the support.


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Welcome for NT thwarting Opencast

Land near Gibside 11 Jun 2011

Dave has welcomed the National Trust's acquisition of land next to the Gibside estate.

This safeguards the land against future opencast mining, which has been a major threat to the peace and tranquillity of the Gibside estate for some time.

Dave commented,

"This is great news and a triumph for the huge numbers of local people who stood firm in opposing the plan to devastate this precious piece of land."

There has been a strong campaign against the opencast plans by local residents who received Dave's backing.


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  Southern Cross

State should provide care

7 Jun 2011

Dave says that the lesson of the Southern Cross care homes debacle is that the state should provide more.

Relying on market forces leads to the situation with Southern Cross where the properties were sold off the then leased back, but the company cannot now afford the rents, threatening the homes of thousands of elderly people.

Dave said,

"It just shows the Government has to do what people like me who have worked in care are saying, which is the state should provide much more and not rely on market forces. You cannot treat people like tins of beans."

Dave added,

"It doesn't surprise me that we have reached this situation because over the past 25 years the provision of care has moved away from councils, where there was full accountability, to the private sector.

"The system was set up with equity deals in the same way as a company selling cars. But that doesn't work with human beings. If a car garage goes bust, you don't get your car, but if a care home goes bust some poor soul ends up dead.

"There is nothing stopping Southern Cross declaring itself bankrupt and then we'd have 31,000 people looking for somewhere to spend the night."

A report from the GMB union blames the greed of the financiers in the city who backed the sale of the homes. The American parent company, Blackstone, pocketed £600M from the sell off, and city executives got another £30M.


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Call for tough action on knife crime

31 May 2011

In the wake of figures showing an increase in knife crime in the region, Dave has called for tougher sentences for those carrying a knife.

He is calling for prison sentences of some sort for those caught carrying a knife, quite apart from those who use it. He says this is necessary because the area faces a particular problem with knife crime.

Dave said,

"Someone carrying a knife should be severely punished with some sort of custodial sentence. It's getting out of hand and we know there has been a large issue with children carrying knives in the past 10 years.

"Other parts of the country have problems with gun crime - we have problems with knife crime. If people are not frightened about carrying a knife then they should be hit with tougher sentencing."


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Support for £3M Dunston project

21 May 2011

Dave is giving his support to an innovative project to revitalise the old Dunston Hill Primary School.

The project is designed to give vulnerable adults a fresh start in life and could benefit ex-servicemen among others. Those taking part could expect to live and work in the project for up to nine months

Dave said,

"This is something we should be supporting. It's a good project for a site that needs taking care of and developing. We've got a piece of land that will only get worse if it isn't occupied. It will support people who need help and we've got a good record of doing that here."

It is hoped that within three to five years it would be self sustaining. It is funded by Emmaus who run many such project round the world including about twenty in the UK. This is their first in the North-East.


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On their way to second million

17 May 2011

Dave has written to the local press to congratulate a local charity on raising £1M.

Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund, of which Dave is a patron, set out to raise £100,000 but have now raised ten times that.

Dave's letter The Journal reads:

When Mick Knighton succumbed to mesothelioma and died in the arms of his wife, Chris, she decided to organise, not just mourn, by raising £100,000 to remember and honour Mick's life. She and others established the Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund to raise awareness and fund research.

It also seeks improved diagnosis, treatment and care for sufferers plus better information and support.

Their hard work enabled them to exceed their goals and they officially announced at the Assembly Rooms on Saturday that they have raised just over £1m and have begun to raise their second million.

Congratulations to all the volunteers and supporters who have delivered this outstanding result.

Dave Anderson,
MP for the Blaydon Constituency,
House of Commons,
London SW1A 0AA


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Landfill sites

13 May 2011

Dave has responded to criticism that he had played only a minimal role over landfill sites.

In a letter to the local press, a correspondent had said this, but Dave has now replied pointing out that he commissioned an independent report into the Path Head site and also set up a local committee to try to reduce any problems.

Dave's reply to The Journal reads:

Your correspondent Paul Gibson is right (Voice of the North, May 4). I lived in Hetton-le-Hole for many years and next to one of the biggest pit heaps in the country.

Unlike him and other nimby campaigners, I accept the reality of dealing with domestic and industrial waste.

But Mr Gibson is completely wrong in suggesting that I have played a minimal role concerning landfill sites in my Blaydon constituency.

I commissioned an independent report by Professor Paul Younger from Newcastle University into the Path Head site before any waste was dumped there.

I also helped establish a local liaison committee to try and reduce problems that always arise in such operations.

The companies involved, the local authority and the Environment Agency can confirm my involvement on a regular and ongoing basis.

DAVE ANDERSON, Labour MP for the Blaydon Constituency, House of Commons London SW1A 0AA


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Damage limitation for dairy workforce

7 Apr 2011

Dave has intervened quickly to try to help the workers at Blaydon Dairy, facing the dole for the second time.

Rescued from closure only a few months ago, new owners Medina have announced the closure of the Blaydon Plant, moving its functions to their Huddersfield plant.

Dave said,

"This is a big blow, following the very positive strides that Medina had made in re-opening the dairy. I have spoken to the people at the dairy and I will work closely with all concerned to try to limit the damage to the workforce and to our local economy. I will be asking the Department for Work and Pensions, Job Centre Plus and the local authority to set up a rapid response to help find alternative employment opportunities."

The dairy closed in June 2009 but production restarted just over a year ago and many former workers got their jobs back, only to face unemployment again now.


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  Budget Box

'Smoke and Mirrors'

24 Mar 2011

Dave has made scathing comments about the Budget.

He described it as "all smoke and mirrors" and said that when the cuts start to bite the budget will be insignificant in its impact.

Dave said,

"Any positives fade into insignificance as the cuts and previous hits that our region has taken start to impact.

"It is a Budget based on ideology that hates the public sector and from people who have no clue what life is like in the real world. All in it together? Don't make me laugh."


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Reply to Lib Dem

7 Mar 2011

Dave has replied in the press to criticism from a Lib Dem councillor.

The councillor had written denigrating Dave's support for a 'Robin Hood' tax on banks, but Dave points out that many Lib Dems attended a meeting about this before the election.

Dave's letter to the press reads:

YOUR correspondent Coun Jonathan Wallace mocks me and those supporting the Robin Hood tax (Voice of the North, March 4), but he should have a word with his own party colleagues who flocked to the launch meeting I chaired in the Commons.

Maybe they just turned up for pre-election photos and to sign the pledge. We all now understand that Lib Dem pledges aren't worth the paper they are written on.

Wallace clearly backs their nonsense that "there is no alternative" to massive cuts, which is why the people of Blaydon will probably dole out the same treatment to Lib Dems here as they have done in Barnsley.

DAVE ANDERSON,
Labour MP for the Blaydon,
House of Commons,
London SW1A OAA


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Mary Wollstonecraft  (1759 - 1797)
Mary Wollstonecraft (1759 - 1797)

Dave Anderson hails feminist pioneer

3 Mar 2011

The 18th century pioneer feminist Mary Wollstonecraft's "remarkable contributions to women's rights, education, and political philosophy should be marked with a memorial statue," according to Tyneside MP Dave Anderson.

Dave Anderson said:

"Mary Wollstonecraft is an inspirational figure whose tireless efforts to found the campaign for the freedom and equality of women have special significance on International Women's Day. It's high time that the first memorial to her in the world be constructed in honour of her legacy."

Mr Anderson added:

"International Women's Day on 8 March will be marked in many ways round the world and highlights that the cause of women's emancipation, vital to tackling illiteracy and poverty, is very much a live issue."


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Abolition of RDAs 'damaging'

2 Mar 2011

The Commons transport committee has said in a report that abolishing RDAs such as One North East will leave a planning vacuum.

Dave has accused the government of failing to comprehend the effects on services transport included, of their policy.

Dave said,

"By pulling out one layer, it just destroys things. They have done that willy-nilly across the board without thinking what they are doing. And clearly, it has had an impact on transport.

"While I am sad by what the transport select committee has reported, I am not surprised."

The Commons Committee says that the proposed LEPs will have cross border issues for major schemes which could mean more decisions being made in Whitehall. They also argued that London was getting the major share of resources even though the North would suffer more from the recession.


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Cut tax evasion, not services

19 Feb 2011

In a letter to the Journal, Dave says the government should clamp down more on tax avoidance and evasion.

On the day that the small level of tax paid by Barclays Bank was publicised, he also calls again for the 'Robin Hood' tax on financial transactions.

His letter reads:

My heavily defeated opponent, Neil Bradbury, has broken cover (Voice of the North, February 15) to defend Lib Dem and Conservative leaders after being silent about broken promises on tuition fees, forests threatened with privatisation and the NHS and Royal Mail being flogged to foreign owners.

Mr Bradbury falls into the trap laid by his rabid right-wing partners for his bunch of hapless amateurs.

Instead of always putting cuts first, why not stop the flow of money, often out of the United Kingdom, via tax avoidance and evasion, and impose a real financial transaction tax as advocated by The Robin Hood Tax campaign?

They should listen to people at the front line, many of whom have been here before when the Tory Party last attempted to destroy the public sector and the welfare state.

DAVE ANDERSON,
Labour MP for Blaydon,
House of Commons,
London SW1A 0AA


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  A generation without hope?

'Lost generation' as youth unemployment soars

17 Feb 2011

Dave has said that the rise in youth unemployment to 20.5% means we have lost a generation.

The number of 18-24 yr. olds claiming Jobseekers allowance in the North-East is now 25,800.

Dave said,

"As I have been saying for a long time, we are back to where we were 30 years ago and we will have a lost generation of people without any hope."


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'Coalition couldn't run a whelk stall'

14 Feb 2011

Dave has written to the local press about the failures and divisions in the coalition.

Saying that every day seems to be a bad news day for the government, he cites deals with the banks, council cuts and student fees among other things.

Dave's letter to The Journal reads:

Every day seems to bring bad news for the coalition Government.

Lord Oakeshott slams the sweetheart deal with the banks and says that the Treasury couldn't argue its way out of a paper bag (The Journal, February 11).

Liberal Democrat council and group leaders condemn the gunboat diplomacy of the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles over council cuts, which are needlessly worse in not allowing councils to phase changes. Nick Clegg has forever lost the confidence of young people and students. The gerrymandering of constituency boundaries is floundering. They are all in a right pickle. This illustrates that the cobbled together coalition couldn't run a whelk stall and cannot govern in the best interests of the United Kingdom.

Dave Anderson, Labour MP for Blaydon, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA


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Chopwell not for sale

Trees in Chopwell Wood by Vivienne Smith
Trees in Chopwell Wood by Vivienne Smith
(Photo: © Copyright Vivienne Smith and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence)
4 Feb 2011

Dave will be at Chopwell Woods today with Labour's Shadow Environment Secretary Mary Creagh.

This is part of the campaign to prevent the coalition selling off publicly owned forests to private interests which campaigners believe will mean reduced access for leisure and relaxation.

Dave said,

"I have been contacted by literally hundreds of people from across the constituency who are appalled that the Government are even thinking of selling-off our woodlands and forests.

"They have told me that Chopwell Wood is a great place for people, for wildlife, for our local environment and for promoting physical and mental well-being."


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Banks should think of others

1 Feb 2011 Starter homes

Dave has told the banks to 'get their fingers out'.

A report published by North East house builders Barratt has highlighted the problems faced by young people trying to buy a home. Dave has said the banks should lend more.

Dave said,

"Banks need to get their fingers out. They need to be lending people money. In the same way that we looked after them when times were hard, they need to start thinking of others too."


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Birtley could suffer a Nett loss

Dave (centre) with Cllrs Neil Weatherly and Paul Foy at Netto.
Dave (centre) with Cllrs Neil Weatherly and Paul Foy at Netto.
28 Jan 2011

The possible closure of the Netto store in Birtley will be raised in parliament shortly.

Asda, which owns Netto, is selling off the store but Dave is worried that no buyer will be found and Birtley shoppers will be left out.

He said,

"We have already seen a huge drop in footfall on the main street after Somerfield closed with many small businesses suffering.

"Older people and those who don't have their own transport need somewhere local to shop.

"It seems like the decision is being taken based on lines drawn on a map rather than any understanding of local circumstances."

Complaining that a decision made "three hundred miles away" would have a devastating effect on the community, Dave will raise the matter in the House a week on Monday, February 7th.


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Forest Fury

Chopwell Woods © Vivienne Smith
In Chopwell Woods
(Photo: © Copyright Vivienne Smith and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
27 Jan 2011

Local people are up in arms about the government's planned privatisation of publicly owned forests

Dave says he has had many letters from people including those who took part in a protest in Chopwell Woods recently, such as Friends of Chopwell Wood, Chopwell Wood Horse Riding Association, North East Freeride Association and Friends of Red Kites.

Dave said,

"Chopwell Woods is a massively important part of our community. I have already had a huge postbag on this issue from constituents who tell me they use the woods for walking their dogs, running, cycling, horse riding or just being out in the fresh air in a beautiful environment."


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Fury at flu fiasco

8 Jan 2011 Catch it Bin it Kill it

The coalition's decision to scrap Labour's anti-flu campaign has backfired says Dave.

He says the 'Catch it, bin it, kill it' campaign was working and the government's plans to sack NHS staff is demoralising the service and will be detrimental to future prevention campaigns.

Dave said,

"The Coalition have been exposed in their short-term politics. They made a lot of noise about stopping spending on the 'Catch it, bin it, kill it' advertisements but this just shows that Labour were not doing that stuff for a laugh. It was working and it was delivering for people.

"Staff in the NHS are demoralised because they fear they are going to lose their jobs. And the non-front-line staff who the Government are proposing to get rid of are exactly the people who organise campaigns such as this. They may never treat a patient in their life but they are crucial to how the health service runs. I think if their jobs are lost then we can expect to see things like this a lot more."


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