Dave's News Extras 2014

30/12/14 City Link closure condemned
17/12/14 Give us Translarna!
13/12/14 Reject Osborne's plan for Mayors
10/12/14 Carers and cuts
02/12/14 Derwent Valley Car Club
25/11/14 Community Pharmacies
22/11/14 DMD treatment on trial
20/11/14 Integrated education
11/11/14 UKIP voting record
04/11/14 Urgent action needed to save our forests
28/10/14 Keynes was right
28/10/14 UKIP's right wing policies
14/10/14 Fair pay for care workers
07/10/14 Mandatory CCTV in Slaughterhouses
28/09/14 Reluctant support for action
19/09/14 Scots have done us a favour
10/09/14 Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
03/09/14 Help Forward Assist forward
19/08/14 Action over threatened Health Centre closure
18/08/14 Justice for firefighters
14/08/14 Send hospital ship to Gaza
12/08/14 Recall Parliament over Iraq
08/08/14 Saving the hen harrier
31/07/14 NHS England consultation on Blaydon and Ryton GP practices
30/07/14 Coalfields still suffering
25/07/14 Fund rejection a 'hammer blow'
19/07/14 Lib Dems at it again
19/06/14 Breast Cancer still matters
11/06/14 Does Her Majesty know?
08/06/14 Backing for rule change on organ donation
06/06/14 Another attack on disabled
05/06/14 Giving young entrepreneurs in Blaydon a chance
01/06/14 People need belief
17/05/14 'I will back scientists and researchers'
30/04/14 Motions on Planning, Scouts and Muscular Dystrophy
29/04/14 Awards for tackling poverty
22/04/14 Profit before people
22/04/14 Defending the Green Belt
12/04/14 Concern at mental health cutbacks
12/04/14 Cameron completes coal catastrophe
21/03/14 Call for 'ring-fenced' fund for MD
10/03/14 Council workers lose 18% - need living wage
10/02/14 Pickles' "smokescreen"
14/01/14 Pollution risk from government cuts
03/01/14 Shelter can help

Homepage | Current News 2013


City Link closure condemned

City Link fleet stands idle 30 Dec 2014

Dave has condemned the decision to shut down the carrier City Link.

The announcement, made on Christmas Day, puts over 100 North-East jobs in danger, including in Gateshead, where 45 jobs are now at grave risk, and Dave says Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable should stop blowing hot air and take action.

Dave said,

"The sly and heartless decision to scrap thousands of jobs on Christmas Day is Dickensian in the extreme.

"The Business Minister Vince Cable should pull his finger out and work with unions to see if the company can be kept intact and save as many jobs as possible. Mr Cable should use the authority of his office and do so this year to maximise the chances of success. So far he has blown a little hot air but little else."

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Give us Translarna!

17 Dec 2014

Translarna is a new drug for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy but NHS England has halted its assessment of the drug.

Dave has tabled a Commons motion calling on the NHS to allow access to Translarna so that boys affected can receive the treatment before they lose the ability to walk.

Dave's Early Day Motion reads:


Session: 2014-15

Date tabled: 17.12.2014

Primary sponsor: Anderson, David

Sponsors: Bottomley, Peter; Mearns, Ian; Russell, Bob

That this House is deeply concerned at the decision of NHS England to halt its assessment of the Duchenne muscular dystrophy treatment, Translarna, whilst it reconsiders how it assesses new treatments; understands that Translarna, which received conditional approval from the European Commission (EC) in July 2014, is the first drug to treat an underlying genetic cause of Duchenne muscular dystrophy; notes that under the terms of the EC's conditional approval Translarna would be made available to boys whose Duchenne is caused by a nonsense mutation, who are over five and can still walk; further notes that NHS England has taken its decision at a very late stage of the assessment process; acknowledges the deep concern of families at this delay, who fear that it could prevent their sons from accessing Translarna before they lose the ability to walk; and joins the calls of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign for NHS England to take emergency steps to ensure that Translarna is made available to the children it could help by April 2015.

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Reject Osborne's plan for Mayors

13 Dec 2014 George Osborne

Dave has lashed out at the Chancellor's plans for an elected Mayor in the North-East.

He says this is a ruse by the Tories to undermine the elected Labour councils in the region to weaken opposition to the government's ideological austerity agenda.

Dave said:

"No one should be in any doubt. The move to elected mayors is a direct attack on the elected structure of local government.

"He understands that local councillors are the bedrock of any political party and he wants to destroy local government as we know it.

"The people of both the North East and other parts of this country have rejected the concept time and time again and I feel we should give him the same cold shoulder as we have in the past.

"This is no more than a smokescreen to give the Tories a chance to get a toehold in a region where they have been, quite rightly, rejected for decades."

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Carers and cuts

10 Dec 2014 Carer with elderly person

Dave is calling on government, now and in the future, to protect carers.

He has tabled a Commons motion expressing concern that many of the UK's 6.5 million carers could be forced into financial hardship, ill-health and isolation by cuts to their services and points out that if their work had to be done by government it could well cost £100 billion.

Dave's Early Day Motion reads:


Session: 2014-15

Date tabled: 10.12.2014

Primary sponsor: Anderson, David


Dodds, Nigel; Hopkins, Kelvin; Skinner, Dennis; George, Andrew; Ritchie, Margaret

That this House notes that there are an estimated 6.5 million carers across the UK; is seriously concerned that ongoing cuts to social care budgets are having a huge impact on the demands on individual carers; understands that if the estimated cost of unpaid care and support to ill, older or disabled people was paid by the state it could well be in excess of £100 billion; believes that it is unfair to expect these dedicated people to be forced into debt and financial hardship; and therefore calls on the present and future Governments to pledge to reform carers' benefits, stop cutting support to carers and protect vital support services from further cuts to prevent carer ill-health and isolation.

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Derwent Valley Car Club

2 Dec 2014

Dave has congratulated the Derwent Valley Car Club on their grant award.

In a Commons motion, he praised the club for its work, highlighting the environmental aspects and carbon saving.

The Early Day Motion reads:


Session: 2014-15

Date tabled: 02.12.2014

Primary sponsor: Anderson, David

Sponsors: Meale, Alan; Campbell, Ronnie; Sharma, Virendra; Lavery, Ian

That this House warmly congratulates the Derwent Valley Car Club on recently winning a grant of £6,000 from Carplus, a not-for-profit environmental transport non-governmental organisation that promotes accessible and low-carbon alternatives to traditional car use, and the Department for Transport; notes that this will allow the Car Club to research demand for expanding its pioneering service, including a voluntary driver scheme for those who cannot drive; further notes that the Club, which employs an electric car and electric bikes, also uses an array of solar panels, which offsets the electrical charging needed to run the vehicles, making the Club emission-free; welcomes its aim of becoming a member-led Social Enterprise scheme and increasing a scheme that provides a credible alternative to private car ownership with one car potentially replacing as many as 20 cars; and urges others to follow this inspiring example.

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Community Pharmacies

25 Nov 2014

Dave is calling for a debate on the idea of pharmacies being allowed access to NHS records.

This could lead to more efficient health care and enable people to get more help from their local pharmacy rather than go to see their doctor with minor complaints.

He has tabled a Commons Early Day motion urging parliamentarians to attend a meeting to discuss this, which reads:


Session: 2014-15

Date tabled: 25.11.2014

Primary sponsor: Anderson, David

Sponsors: Shannon, Jim; Campbell, Ronnie; Meale, Alan; Hancock, Mike; Corbyn, Jeremy

That this House recognises that the NHS has to be smarter and enable people to access health more efficiently and cheaply; further recognises that community pharmacists, who receive six million visits each day, could play a greater role if they could access medical records and ensure that information is not fragmented or incomplete; notes that NHS England is undertaking a proof of concept exercise to consider the merits of access to care records and issues of informed consent, liability and accuracy of records, with the results due in March 2015; and encourages Members of both Houses to join a round table meeting on 2 December 2014 in Portcullis House with the London Central Local Practice Forum of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, to discuss the merits of the case for sharing patient records for the NHS, taxpayers and patients.

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DMD treatment on trial

22 Nov 2014

Dave is investigating the speed with which sufferers from the muscle wasting condition Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy can access NHS treatment.

He is expected to play a significant role in the government health service review and can bring to bear the tragic personal experience of the loss of his brother, sister, a nephew and two nieces to the disease.

Dave's aim is that a new drug which it is claimed can markedly slow the progress of the disease will be made available through the NHS, saying that had it been available the difference to his family would have been huge.

Dave said,

"Each day makes a huge difference for families affected by muscle-wasting conditions, many of which are life-limiting. Families are waiting desperately for a potential drug that could treat their condition. NHS England will soon announce its assessment of a treatment which could keep boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy on their feet for longer and which will help delay the progression of this devastating condition.

"If NHS England refuses to fund this innovative drug then the announcement will mean very little. Ministers must determine how to fund treatments for rare diseases.

"Due to the small number of patients who would benefit, treatment costs are often much higher compared to more common conditions. Muscular dystrophy campaigners and myself are concerned that a lack of ring-fenced funding within the NHS for rare disease drugs could prevent treatments from reaching patients. I hope that fast access to a treatment is at the heart of this review."

The government minister responsible, George Freeman, said he wanted to speed up treatment and paid tribute the work of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.

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Integrated education

20 Nov 2014

Dave has tabled a Commons motion calling on all parties in Northern Ireland to promote integrated education.

He says that this plays a major role in overcoming the legacy of division and sectarianism in Northern Ireland and this is also a legal duty and was part of the Good Friday Agreement.

Dave's Early Day Motion reads:


Session: 2014-15
Date tabled: 20.11.2014
Primary sponsor: Anderson, David
Sponsors: Bottomley, Peter' Meale, Alan' Corbyn, Jeremy; Caton, Martin

That this House notes that integrated education has a major role in overcoming the legacy of division and sectarianism in Northern Ireland; further notes that furthering integrated education is a legal duty and was part of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement; supports the determination of the cross-community integrated education movement to develop schools and institutions on the basis of integration and sharing to build understanding and trust across religious, political and cultural traditions; acknowledges that the First and Deputy First Ministers have said that if they had a blank sheet of paper, then they would have a fully integrated education system; warmly welcomes the recent promise by SDLP Deputy Leader Dolores Kelly to promote, incentivise and develop integrated education so that it becomes the most attractive choice for parents and children; and encourages politicians and opinion-formers from all p

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UKIP voting record

11 Nov 2014

Dave has written a letter to the press about his voting record.

He points out that Nigel Farage's voting record is poor and once again explains his own absence from Parliament because of surgery, but pointing out that even while convalescing, he continued to work for his constituents. (As this website shows).

Dave's letter to The Journal reads:

I never mentioned Jonathan Arnott's personal voting record but it is a fact that his leader's record is very poor.

He attended three out of a possible 42 meetings of a European subcommittee, for example. My record would have been higher, as it always has been, until earlier this year, as I mentioned in my regular Journal column, when I spent two weeks in the Freeman having two replacement knees fitted and the best part of this year recuperating at home which meant I was physically incapable of travelling to Parliament.

Despite this I carried on representing the great people of Blaydon to the best of my ability.

Unlike UKIP I don't attend a Parliament solely with the intent of undermining it

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Urgent action needed to save our forests

Chopwell Woods © Vivienne Smith
In Chopwell Woods
(Photo: © Copyright Vivienne Smith and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
4 Nov 2014

Dave is calling on people to take action to prevent our forests being sold off to private developers.

The government wants to introduce new laws which would enable them to privatise public land, including forests and wildlife habitats which could be sold to be built over and so Dave wants people to sign a petition to stop this in its tracks.

The petition reads:

To the House of Lords

The Infrastructure Bill opens the floodgates for public land - like our forests - to be sold off to private companies. 38 Degrees members have protected our forests once before, and now the government is trying to undo our work. Please vote to exempt public forests from the sell-off, so these national treasures can be protected for future generations.

The petition is being organised by campaigning group 38 degrees and may be signed at https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/infrastructure-bill#petition

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Keynes was right

28 Oct 2014

In a letter to The Journal this week, Dave says that Keynes was right.

Responding to a previous correspondent, he says the country is now governed by Thatcherite ideologues who have made choices that have brought untold suffering to millions of people.

Dave's letter reads:

Doug Watson (Letters 27/10) will be pleased to know that I meet Nick Forbes regularly and we do both share the view that Keynes was right to promote growth as the best way to move out of recession. Indeed history proves that to be the case.

Sadly, this country isn't governed by people like Nick, Keynes or myself at present; it's governed by people who have an deep-rooted ideological disposition against using the proven benefits of collectivism and public service to build a better world. Rather, they passionately believe in little government, in the mantra that only the strong survive and that they don't see why everyone else can't be as successful as they are. In doing so, they are following the ideology of their idol, Margaret Thatcher, who believed that there was no such thing as society and that unemployment is a price worth paying.

That's fine as long it isn't you or yours who is excluded from society or it isn't you who is left in the desperation that a life on the dole brings. Those of us who have been there and done it will never sign up to that credo, and neither should other good-minded people.

Politics is about choices. This present coalition has made choices that have brought untold suffering to millions in this country, but despite that, the economic situation is still dire with borrowing through the roof at a time when working folk's living standards have plummeted.

Doug Watson is right. It needs a political party to develop a positive approach to these hard times, and we have one. Its called The Labour Party, and I look forward to Doug and millions of others voting for us next May to get this country back on track.

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UKIP's right wing policies

28 Oct 2014

Dave is a signatory to a letter to The Journal concerning UKIP's right wing agenda.

Following an article in the paper about UKIP North-East Labour MPs are urging the paper to provide a thorough analysis of the party's draconian domestic policies.

The letter reads:

Earlier this month The Journal reported on the arithmetic of projected UKIP votes in 2015 and 2020.

We hope that over the next few months The Journal will also provide its readers with analysis of UKIP's policies. Policies like giving millionaires further tax breaks paid for by charging people to see their GP and ending rights to maternity and redundancy pay.

Labour MPs in the region are clear we want more infrastructure investment and job creation as we saw under the last Labour government.

With our commitment to a huge house-building programme and a focus on restoring the NHS to health, we are absolutely confident that our vision for the future is better and more in tune with what North East voters want.

DAVEANDERSON, MP for Blaydon ROBERTA BLACKMAN-WOODS, MP for City of Durham TOM BLENKINSOP, MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland NICK BROWN, MP for Newcastle upon Tyne East ALAN CAMPBELL, MP for Tynemouth RONALD CAMPBELL, MP for Blyth Valley JENNY CHAPMAN, MP for Darlington ALEX CUNNINGHAM, MP for Stockton North JULIE ELLIOTT, MP for Sunderland Central PAT GLASS, MP for North West Durham MARY GLINDON, MP for North Tyneside HELEN GOODMAN, MP for Bishop Auckland STEPHEN HEPBURN, MP for Jarrow SHARON HODGSON, MP for Washington and Sunderland West KEVAN JONES, MP for North Durham IAN LAVERY, MP for Wansbeck EMMA LEWELL-BUCK, MP for South Shields ANDY MCDONALD, MP for Middlesbrough CATHERINE MCKINNELL, MP for Newcastle upon Tyne North IAN MEARNS, MP for Gateshead GRAHAME MORRIS, MP for Easington CHI ONWURAH, MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central BRIDGET PHILLIPSON, MP for Houghton and Sunderland South PHIL WILSON, MP for Sedgefield IAIN WRIGHT, MP for Hartlepool

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Fair pay for care workers

14 Oct 2014

Dave has drawn attention to the fact that many care workers are not even getting the national minimum wage.

He has tabled a Commons motion calling on the government to launch a programme of action to rectify this and name and shame employers illegally paying below the rate.

Dave's Early Day Motion reads:


Session: 2014-15

Date tabled: 14.10.2014

Primary sponsor: Anderson, David

That this House is shocked to note that the National Audit Office reported earlier in 2014 that up to 220,000 care workers in England are illegally paid below the national minimum wage (NMW); further notes that an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) of care providers between 2011 and 2013 found that 48 per cent were guilty of non-compliance with the NMW; further notes that homecare workers in particular are consistently not paid for travel time or training, too often have illegal deductions made from their pay and are frequently put on zero-hours contracts to deny them their legal rights; recognises that these arrangements have a deleterious impact on quality of care through high turnover of staff and shortened care visits; calls for a statement from the Government on what measures it is proposing to tackle the illegal under-payment of homecare workers; strenuously suggests that HMRC launch a programme of proactive investigations into the sector to help end non-compliance with the NMW, with adequate resources to ensure a thorough and sustained effort; requests that the Government names and shames care providers and councils who fail to pay or commission the NMW as well as name and praise those care providers and councils who have signed up to UNISON's Ethical Care Charter; and further calls for a change in the law to make local authorities and care providers jointly and severally liable for non-payment of the NMW as well as the introduction of stringent regulations under the Care Act 2014 to ensure that care workers are paid at least the national minimum wage.

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Mandatory CCTV in Slaughterhouses

7 Oct 2014

Dave is backing campaign for making CCTV compulsory in slaughterhouses, after animal abuse was exposed.

The charity Animal Aid discovered that illegal cruelty to animals was widespread and commonplace, including beating animals, torturing them with electric tongs and burning them with cigarettes.

In response to this the charity is campaigning for CCTV to be mandatory so that the criminals can be caught and prosecuted.

Dave is asking people to sign the HM Government petition accessible from http://www.slaughterhousecctv.org.uk/ or at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/64997

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Reluctant support for action

RAF jets 28 Sep 2014

Dave has published a letter he has sent to those who contacted him about the UK's action in Iraq against IS.

In it he explains how reluctant he was to support the government but that he was swayed by the testimony of friends and contacts in Iraq and the plight of trades unionists in IS controlled areas. He also addresses the concern some felt over his mention of the possible role of various intelligence services.

Dave's letter reads:

I apologise for the impersonal nature of this response but I had many contacts from constituents about the vote on whether or not to support British air strikes in Iraq. These were split between those who were opposed and those who were supportive. I had several conversations with my Leaders on this and with local people and, crucially, friends on the ground in Iraq and politicians from the region.

I was very reluctant, much to my Whips' annoyance, to support action. I was determined not to be swayed until I had heard the debate but in the lead up to the debate I received an e mail from a very close comrade of mine in the Iraqi trade union movement. He speaks from the terrible experience of those whom Saddam Hussein tried to wipe off the face of the earth.

He told me that

"The situation is extreme and very difficult on the ground for ordinary working people in Iraq. Unions today in areas under Isis are operating in underground form, just like how they existed under Saddam. Isis is a fascist organisation, and the only language it know is force.

"However, while Iraq is in need of an external military air support but no ground troops in order to deal with immediate threat of Isis ( Paris international Conference on Iraq last week said: Isis has been receiving for the last three years and is still receiving military, finance and flow of jihadists from 51 states). Iraq's neighbouring countries can help with this by guarding their borders properly and thus stop the flow of foreign Isis extremists into Iraq.

"Iraq is in need of genuine national policy of reconciliation to unite the people and move to build genuine democracy where working people can enjoy the right and freedom to organise workers into democratic unions. The UK, I believe can help to address theses deficits. But before that the immediate threat of Isis must be halted. The only way, unfortunately, to go about this is via air strikes."

In all conscience, I could not ignore his call for help. In doing so I accept that I may be making a mistake. But I believe in solidarity and loyalty. My comrades in Iraq are crying out for help and I would be betraying my roots and history if I ignored them.

I also agreed with Ed Miliband who told the Commons that the following six criteria by which to judge when military action is right and to make sure we learn the lessons of the past: the action must have just cause; it must be the last resort; it must be of clear legality; it must have a reasonable prospect of success; there must be support in the region; and it must be proportionate.

You will see from my speech that I did not do this without being very clear that I am not giving the government the green light to escalate this action. I will remain vigilant and engaged and determined to try to find a way to move us on from this desperate conflict to a position of peace. A tall order, but one to which I am committed.

I am the Joint President of Labour Friends of Iraq and the Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Kurdistan. I also chair a Parliamentary group on Third World Solidarity where I engage regularly with people from the Middle East and Asia. I will use these avenues as well as the usual parliamentary ones to play my small part in trying to resolve these very tough issues.

I would also urge you to keep in contact with me on this matter. I think we all want the same thing and that is to build a more peaceful future for us all on this planet. I need your help to achieve this.

Yours sincerely

Dave also addresses the concern some felt over his mention of the possible role of various intelligence services.

He writes,

"Some people on social media have expressed concern and in some cases surprise that in my speech to parliament about military action in Iraq I raised the possible activities of the intelligence agencies

"A price we pay in a democracy is that people are free to say things with which we disagree. In reaching my decision on endorsing military action I sought advice from many people, including constituents. One raised the possibility that intelligence agencies were involved in creating ISIL.

"We know how the intelligence services were used to benefit political elites the last sorry time that we invaded Iraq.

"We know of course that there is history in this. Look at the creation of the Taliban as just one example and as we all know it is by no means the only one.

"As a democrat I felt duty bound to raise my constituent's concern and I would urge fair minded people to read what I actually said rather than interpret it in a different way

"Sending young men and women to war is a serious business. Parliamentarians must scrutinise all reasons and purposes of doing so.

"I ask people to consider this: if ISIL is a result of efforts by any intelligence agencies, is it not right to ask the question in the public domain. The price of freedom really is eternal vigilance after all."

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Scots have done us a favour

19 Sep 2014

Dave has welcomed the verdict of the Scottish people on the fate of the union.

But the size of the Yes vote, in large part a reaction to the policies of the current Westminster government, is an indication of the desperation many people are feeling, and not just in Scotland.

Dave said,

"We must listen to the voice of the people who are crying out for a change from the desperation policies of austerity where in those least responsible for the economic crash are paying the highest price.

"The Scots have done us all a favour by telling politicians that we want to live in a country where we share the resources equitably and we build a nation based on social justice and fairness."

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Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

10 Sep 2014

Dave is supporting childhood cancer awareness month.

This is to raise awareness of the 2,400 children and teenagers who are diagnosed with cancer every year in the UK which means six children and teenagers are diagnosed with cancer every day nationwide and their treatment and survival rates needs to be a bigger issue in health policy

Dave said,

"This month I am supporting Children with Cancer UK and Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This campaign raises awareness of childhood cancer, the impact that a diagnosis can have and how essential work, research & support can help children and their families.

"Every year 2,400 children and teenagers are diagnosed with cancer every year in the UK. That's around six every day. However, more than three quarters of young cancer patients can be successfully treated, but every year in the UK, around 400 children and teenagers lose their lives to cancer. Tragically, cancer is the most common cause of death in children aged one to 14 years. Children with Cancer UK is at the forefront of encouraging research, raising awareness and helping families to cope with this horrible disease.

"That's why it's so important that I am supporting Children with Cancer UK and Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Please follow Children with Cancer UK @CwC_UK and the Childhood Cancer Awareness Month #CCAM. I will be wearing my gold ribbon and supporting this important and paramount cause. "

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Help Forward Assist forward

British troops 3 Sep 2014

Dave is urging local people to vote for the ex-service charity Forward Assist in a grant competition.

The charity which provides advice, information and guidance, 'life changing' projects and opportunities to former servicemen and women, has been shortlisted by Lloyds Bank Community Foundation for a grant of up to £3000.

Dave said,

"Let's get as many votes as possible for this worthwhile cause to help those men and women who have put their lives on the line to protect us. The grant would be a welcome boost to their funds enabling then to help even more former service personnel."

The voting for the awards gives up to three ways to vote. Either through the website at the following link:

http://lly-cf.com/JFC or through Twitter (tweet #comfund JFC) and Text by texting 'Vote JFC' to 61119.

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Action over threatened Health Centre doctors' closure

Blaydon Primary Care Centre 19 Aug 2014

Dave has responded to constituents' concerns about the proposed one to one sessions proposed around the future of the service at Blaydon Health Centre.

He has written to the NHS Director of Commissioning for the north setting out the concerns of local people and instead urhging her to and expand this service and asking for more information about the drop in sessions.

He has been informed that these will take place soon,

and all patients will be informed by letter shortly. Dave has questioned whether two hours is enough to which he was told that such sessions were under utilised but that that they would be extended if the need arose.

Dave's letter to Ms Christine Keen, Director of Commissioning, reads:

Ms Christine Keen
Director of Commissioning
NHS England - North
North East Office
Waterfront 4
Newburn Riverside
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear
NE15 8NY

Dear Ms Keen

Consultation on the future of the GP Practice at Blaydon PCC

I write to express my real concerns about the proposal to decommission the GP practice at Blaydon on Tyne Primary Care Centre. This response is an interim response and I reserve the right to submit further comments in the light of any response I may receive to this letter or any further observations from constituents.

This GP practice in Blaydon was specifically developed to allow a flexible service in the centre of an area with a large population, many of whom work across the north east and who appreciate the tremendous advantages that this type of practice offers.

The consultation document talks about cost and other measures for the performance of this GP practice. It is neither accurate nor fair to compare cost per head of population for this practice with services which do not deliver in the same way. When this service was first developed I met with the Secretary of State for Health specifically to raise the concerns of existing practices who were worried that the new practice at Blaydon PCC would undermine their businesses. I was categorically assured that the intention was to provide an additional and an alternative kind of service and not a replacement for well-established practices. I was further assured that the intention was to allow existing practices to spend more time on early interventions as their patient lists reduced as people went to Blaydon. It was a real concern that our health indicators at all levels were poor when compared with national averages and that the expected service at Blaydon would allow the space for those issues which led to our poor indicators to be addressed.

Many constituents have contacted me expressing their opposition to the decommissioning of this practice and dispersal of the list to other local practices. It has to be said that for many of them, that is a reflection of their personal poor experiences of the practices which they left to go to Blaydon. This is a particular concern for many people in the Rowlands Gill and High Spen areas and the thought that they may have to go back to those practices has left many of them sorely worried. They left because they were unable to get through on the telephone to make appointments and that they found it very difficult to get any appointment at all, especially if they are out at work during the day. Your proposal to decommission the Blaydon PCC GP practice fails to address these concerns, which I know to be valid from other constituents.

Your consultation document also refers to potential future housing need. Your reference to the fact that Blaydon is not specifically mentioned in the debate on future housing development shows a real lack of knowledge of the area. There are proposals for housing development in at least five areas from where people already travel to the Blaydon practice. I would suggest that, with some positive intervention from those responsible for promoting - as opposed to decommissioning - the practice, many of the residents who choose to move into these new developments could be very attracted to it. It is in a great position, it has good parking, it is innovative, it links closely into the Leisure facilities on site. All of these are positives which could attract people new to the area. Add the flexible opening hours and this practice could and should have a positive future.

I am also told by constituents that potential new patients have been told over a number of years that it was not accepting new patients. Indeed, some of them have told me that they have been told they are on a waiting list to join the practice and are still hoping to join it in the near future. This is a very different picture to that painted in the consultation documents which cites low patient numbers as one of the reasons for the proposal to decommission the practice - and of course it also leads to higher costs for the practice in comparison with others.

There is no doubt in my mind that the background to this process is a political one. Decisions taken by the present government have led to local decisions being taken in a short-sighted, way and this is a sad reflection of the state of our NHS today. Instead of the positive, flexible and open and innovative principles which led to the development of this service, we are seeing the attempted destruction of a cutting edge practice to the detriment of my constituents and, inevitably, to fears that we will be left with a great building that is not fulfilling its original purpose of bringing together health and well-being for the benefit of the local community. Questions last year about the future of the walk-in centre reflected that concern and these proposals will no doubt bring those concerns to the forefront once more.

I urge you to protect and expand this service. A short term view is not what we need in this part of the world. We need to get to grips with our long-standing health issues and destroying one of the real positive avenues to achieve that seems completely at odds with the wishes of local people.

I remain available to discuss this proposal at any time.

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Justice for firefighters

Firefighters tackle a blaze (Library image) 18 Aug 2014

Dave is giving his backing to a campaign to secure justice for two fallen firefighters.

He is a member of the Fire Brigades Union Parliamentary group and is taking a keen interest in the case of the two who were killed in a fireworks factory blaze in 2006, but their fire service is seeking to evade its legal responsibility to the families of these two men.

The letter Dave received from the FBU is self explanatory:

The Fire Brigades Union has recently launched a campaign for justice for firefighters Brian Wembridge and Geoff Wicker who were killed in a blaze at a fireworks factory on Marlie farm in 2006.

Since the tragedy a long running court case has been fought between the victims' families and East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service. Earlier this year the high court found the fire service guilty of several failings which contributed to the deaths of Brian and Geoff and ordered the fire service to pay compensation to the firefighters' families.

Instead of accepting the judgement and honouring the fallen firefighters and their families, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service have appealed the decision and prolonged the agony these families are going through. Firefighters believe this is wrong.

As members of the FBU parliamentary group, I know all firefighters would welcome your support to get justice for Brian, Geoff and their families.

The FBU has launched a website and petition asking East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service to drop the appeal and pay the compensation owed.

They can be found at www.justiceforfirefighters.co.uk

If you could sign the petition, ask your supporters to sign and for those of you on social media ask your friends/ followers to do the same, the FBU and firefighters would be most grateful.

The hashtag for the campaign on twitter is #Justice4Firefighters and our twitter handle is @fbunational

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Send hospital ship to Gaza

RFA Argus 14 Aug 2014

Dave is backing a campaign to send a naval hospital ship to the Port of Gaza.

The petition calls for the RFA Argus to be sent to provide much needed medical help to the people of Gaza who lack most of the medical facilities we take for granted.

In 2010, the port was deepened in preparation for the arrival of large international ships. A breakwater was constructed and lighting was installed.

Dave said,

"The UK has the opportunity and the means to provide this humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza and I am urging the Defence Secretary to deploy the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Argus to Gaza urgently to alleviate the suffering of the population there."

You can sign the petition here.

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Recall Parliament over Iraq

Another life taken among thousands. 12 Aug 2014

Dave has written to the Prime Minister urging a recall of Parliament, currently in summer recess, so it can properly debate the situation in Iraq.

He points out that he has been closely involved in Iraqi issues for over a decade and has visited Kurdistan and says the UK just can't sit back at this crucial time.

Dave's letter reads:

11 August 2014

Rt. Hon David Cameron MP
Prime Minister
Prime Minister's Office
10 Downing Street

Dear Prime Minister

I have been closely involved in Iraqi issues since the disastrous invasion in 2003. This was the most serious foreign affairs debacle in generations. Sadly the legacy lingers.

I am very involved with Iraqi Kurdistan since visiting there in 2006. This was to follow up on work I did before becoming an MP where I helped to set up projects supporting the development of an effective trade union movement in the country.

I have visited three times, the last one was to mark the genocide carried out by Saddam Hussein in 1988 in Halabja. I am presently secretary to the All Party Group on Kurdistan. I am also co-President of Labour Friends of Iraq, a group set up to help ordinary Iraqis to rebuild their lives post the invasion.

Today's events are a sad re run of history. I opposed the war led by Bush and Blair because it was fought on a false premise.

However after visiting Kurdistan and, also Baghdad in 2008, I am convinced that it would have been legitimate for the world to intervene in the eighties to prevent the horrific devastation that befell the Kurds and other minorities in Iraq.

It is with this in mind that I feel we should recall parliament so that we can have an open and honest debate about what we as a sovereign nation should be doing to help an ally and save the lives of thousands of innocent people.

I welcome the sending of Aid, and the use of military aircraft to do this. I am not certain that the time is right to intervene in a military way but we should, at least, be discussing this in the House of Commons. We can depend on the Peshmerga and with our support they may well be able to turn back the tidal wave threatening to engulf people who have more than their fair share of war.

We can't sit back at this crucial time. We need to fully discuss this between ourselves in the House and with our allies. With respect, I believe you also need the feedback from parliament to help you to make the right decision.

Yours sincerely

Dave Anderson MP

The Human Security Centre has also written to the Prime Minister along the same lines, a letter which Dave has signed also.

This letter can be read here .

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Saving the hen harrier

8 Aug 2014

Dave is asking local [people to sign a government e-petition to help save a threatened bird.

An HM Government e-petition has been posted that calls for the publication of a six-pint Recovery Plan which seeks to boost hen harrier numbers in England without damaging the viability of grouse moors.

The Moorland Association membership has signed this petition demonstrating the grouse moor community's commitment to seeing this plan published and implemented. Dave is asking you add your voice.

Please follow the link below and sign the e-petition. It is very quick and very simple. Once you have signed, a verification email will land in your inbox which must be actioned with one further click.


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NHS England consultation on Blaydon and Ryton GP practices

31 Jul 2014

Dave is urging residents to make sure they respond to the current NHS England consultation on GP practices in Blaydon and Ryton .

In Blaydon the GP practice based at the Walk-in Centre on Shibdon Road is being reviewed and NHS England are consulting on whether or not to close the practice when the current contact ends in January 2015 with patients having to register at other local GP practices.

In Ryton, patients are being asked for their views on having a replacement practice once the current contact comes to an end in February 2015.

Following representations from Dave the deadline for responses to the Blaydon consultation has been extended from 15 August until 12 September,. Patients and other stakeholders can respond to the consultation on-line at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GatesheadAPMSConsultation. Paper copies or more information can be obtained from Dave's office.

Dave is keen to hear your views too and will be responding to the consultation, so please get in touch.

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Coalfields still suffering

Coal industry long gone 30 Jul 2014

Dave has accused the government of making matters worse in the Coalfields areas still feeling the effects of Thatcher's attacks.

This follows a report from the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University which was commissioned by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust which shows among other things that more people in those areas report long-term health problems and more claim benefits.

Dave, who is chairman of the Coalfield Communities All-Party Parliamentary Group, said,

"This report confirms what those of us who still live in the coalfields know only too well, that as always it's the people at the sharp end of society who get hit the hardest in times of austerity. The coalfields haven't recovered from the devastation of the ideological attacks of the eighties and nineties and this report shows that recent government policies have only made matters worse."

The 'State of the Coalfields' report found the employment rate in the largest UK coal-fields is between 2% and 7% lower than the average for England and Wales, and between 5% and 10% lower than the South East. There are significantly fewer jobs in relation to working age adults than elsewhere with 14% of working age adults on benefits compared with 10% elsewhere.

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Fund rejection a 'hammer blow'

25 Jul 2014

Failure to secure government funding for a planned conference centre has been described by Dave as a 'hammer blow to the region by the Coalition.

The centre is still planned for the Gateshead Quays next to the Sage, but the lack of funding for the project; estimated to bring £26M a year into the local economy means it is uncertain if and when it will go ahead.

Dave said,

"Yet another hammer blow for our region. The potential of a convention centre is massive in our part of the world as has been shown when Sage has been used as a conference venue.

"The hotel trade has stepped up to the mark and we could have built a sector to rival those that are flourishing in Manchester and Liverpool. Under the last Government we were well on the way to seeing this dream become reality but the paltry crumbs that are now on offer via the Regional Growth Fund are simply inadequate for the needs of regions like ours. Yet again we are being let down by the anti-North East bias of the Coalition Government."

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Lib Dems at it again

19 Jul 2014

Dave has written to the local press about the Lib Dems being rumbled.

In his letter he remembers their votes for tuition fees, increased VAT and the bedroom tax.

Dave's letter reads:

"Oh no, they're at it again! Don't they realise they've been rumbled? After lying about not raising the tuition fees the Lib Dems voted for a huge hike in VAT because they said they hadn't realised how bad the economy was and now they are reneging on their Tory pals on the bedroom tax.

"They are trying to tell us that they didn't think it would turn out this way!

"Why not?! Anybody who knew anything about housing or welfare predicted exactly the sad desperate scenario that has unfolded. Either the Lib Dems are trying to cover their tracks as the General Election looms or they really believe this.

"If it's the former it would match perfectly their opportunistic value and track record ,and if it's the latter it just shows that as well as being deliberately deceitful and economically ignorant they are also socially incompetent.

"They never were fit to lead this country and every citizen knows that now and they won't be fooled again next May."

Dave's letter was published in The Journal.

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Breast Cancer still matters

Breast cancer screening 19 Jun 2014

Dave is backing a new campaign to 'Spread the word' that breast cancer still matters.

With 12,000 women still dying from breast cancer every year our fight against it continues.

The campaign seeks to:

Dave said,

"Much progress has been made in recent years in the war on breast cancer. Some battles have been won but there is still a long way to go and we should guard against complacency because of those achievements. The war will only be won when nobody is dying of breast cancer."

You can follow the campaign on-line using #spreadtheword and including the @BCCampaign Twitter handle.

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Does Her Majesty know?

The Queen making her speech at the state opening of Parliament. 11 Jun 2014

Dave has written to the press posing the question of whether the Queen is truly aware of the state of her nation.

He cites the huge increase in people relying on charity to eat, the increasing gap between the rich and the rest and the rapid rent rises people are facing, to say nothing the energy rip off; he then goes on to say that those at the sharp end are paying for the 'long term economic plan' and to castigate the government for their response to Oxfam's report, not by pledging to alleviate people's problems but by taking the charity to task for daring to speak out.

Dave's letter reads:

I'm sure that on her annual trip to Parliament last week the Queen was relieved to hear that her government has in place a long term economic plan. I wonder if she would have felt so relieved if she had visited this week in the aftermath of the report published by Oxfam and other campaigners into the extent and impact of food poverty across her nation.

Will she be happy to realise that her subjects ate over 20 million meals provided by charities in the last year? Or that household food bills have risen by 43.5 per cent in the last 8 years? And to add insult to injury people have had to suffer the double whammy of a 37 per cent energy price rise over just the last 3 years?

Will she be aware that at a time when the vast majority of her people have seen pay freezes, benefit cuts and the loss of vital public services the richest 1 per cent of her nation have seen a doubling of their own wealth over just 5 years? Indeed does she know that the richest 1 per cent of the population own the same amount of the nations wealth as do 54 per cent of her citizens? Has anyone told her that in her country people are seeing rents rise twice as fast as pay and that it is the norm to spend 40 per cent of income on rent or mortgages.

If she isn't aware she should send for some of her Bishops who signed an open letter in February stating that this acute moral imperative is indeed a national crisis that we must rise to. Or she could speak to some of those at the sharp end of this poverty disaster, those who are paying the price for her governments long term economic plan.

But there is little point in her asking the coalition partners about the real situation in her nation because their only comment on the report is to demand that the Charity Commission should check to see if Oxfam have broken charity rules by raising these issues in the way they have.

It is a disgrace that this government is not just content to make those least responsible for the economic state of the nation pay for the failures of those who actually got us here, they are even attacking those who have temerity to raise the impact of their policies on the lives of real people and, particularly, their children. It is sobering to note that the number of kids in poverty rose by 300,000 in the year up to April 2012 and that most of them live in homes where at least one parent is in work.

The Prime Minister is pushing the concept of British values this week, but it seems that what he really wants is to revisit the Victorian values espoused by earlier Tory governments, and, to their eternal shame they have been supported all along by their coalition counterparts in the Liberal Democrats. Their predecessors will be spinning in their graves.

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Backing for rule change on organ donation

8 Jun 2014

A tiny baby is being kept alive by an artificial 'Berlin' heart at the Freeman Hospital but hopes of finding a donor heart fro her are hampered by a UK ruling.

Dave is backing calls for a change in the UK's position that babies under two months old cannot be organ donors, but as Baby Tiarna Middleton needs precisely such a young donor, such a change is urgently needed.

Dave said,

"I can't see any reason why there should be an age difference,

"It's nonsense. The fact that babies under two months in other countries can be donors makes it even more concerning to me of the situation in this country."

Because of this appeals are being made to European hospitals to try to find a suitable donor for baby Tiarna.

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Another attack on disabled

Dave in support of the NUS campaign 6 Jun 2014

Dave has hit out at government plans to cut the disabled student allowance.

He is backing a campaign by the National Union of Students opposing the cut and lobbying MPs to force a change of policy.

Dave said,

"This is yet another attack by the Tory led government on those least able to resist."

On Monday 7 April 2014, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills announced changes to the Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) in England. They are planning on cutting DSA - gutting a support allowance vital to many students.

DSA is a vital support for many disabled students, helping many to access education. Research has shown that students receiving DSA are more likely to reach a first or upper class second honours degree than disabled students who do not receive an allowance.

The government intend to restrict those eligible to receive laptops and computers. Non-medical support like note-taking will no longer be covered under DSA, shifting greater responsibility onto institutions.

While well resourced institutions with fewer disabled students may be able to provide additional support, less well resourced universities and colleges with higher numbers of disabled students who will struggle to provide the necessary support.

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Giving young entrepreneurs in Blaydon a chance

5 Jun 2014

Dave has welcomed an initiative by Lloyds Bank to encourage young entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to life.

The search for Britain's best student and graduate entrepreneurial talent kicked off on Sunday 11th May as Lloyds Bank launched their 2014 Enterprise Awards to celebrate and recognise the top businesses of tomorrow.

The Awards, now in their third year, are open to entrepreneurs currently studying at universities across Britain or those who have graduated within the past five years and have been trading for more than one year.

Entrants can apply via www.lloydsbank.com/enterpriseawards and applications close on 23rd July 2014.

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People need belief

Coal miners 1 Jun 2014

Dave has written an impassioned plea for his party to return to its roots to give communities hope.

Writing in Labourlist, he says the party has lost its way, and sets out the case for a truly reforming agenda that would transform the lives of communities such as Hetton where he worked as a miner and where his family have roots.

Read Dave's article here.

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'I will back scientists and researchers'

17 May 2014

Dave has said he will pursue concerns raised with him by scientists.

In a letter to the press in response to a criticism, he re-states his view that the government is 'sleeping on the job' and says that while Parliament is away, they could allow the biggest take-over in our history by Pfizer.

Dave letter reads:

"Andrew Lapping needs to read Journal articles most closely before he reaches for his pen (Letters, May 16) . My reference to this government being asleep on the job was, as the article clearly showed, directly related to the fact that they have closed down the seat of government after just 12 days and we won't sit again until June 3. In those three weeks we could see the biggest take-over in our history take place and seriously important information about the track record of the US predator will not be in the public domain where it belongs.

"My admiration for the great work being done in Newcastle in developing world class drugs knows no bounds.

"As chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Group in Parliament and a patron of a campaign group in our region championing the cause of those criminally exposed to asbestos at work I have seen first hand the tremendous efforts by scientists and researchers based in the North East.

"When one of those people expresses their concerns to me I feel honour bound to pursue them vigorously.

"If I am prevented in doing this because of the lethargy of a coalition government which is falling apart before our eyes I feel totally comfortable in accusing them of sleeping on the job.

"It wasn't me who coined the phrase the "Zombie Government", but the cap really does fit in this case."

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Motions on Planning, Scouts and Muscular Dystrophy

30 Apr 2014

In recent days, Dave has tabled three Commons motions.

They are on such diverse subjects as government planning policy, Blaydon Scouts and Screening for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

The Early Day Motions are intended to gather support for the subjects among MPs and raise awareness of the issues concerned, rather than change the law themselves.

Dave's EDM on planning reads:


Session: 2013-14 Date tabled: 28.04.2014 Primary sponsor: Anderson, David

Sponsors: Meale, Alan, Dobbin, Jim, McDonnell, John, Caton, Martin, Campbell, Ronnie

That this House shares the concerns expressed by Dame Helen Ghosh, the Director General of the National Trust, about the undue pressure that the Government is placing on local authorities in relation to planning developments and using greenfield rather than brownfield sites; notes the differing perspectives of the Department for Communities and Local Government and HM Treasury on this issue; is concerned that HM Treasury's view impacts adversely on local decision making because of its insistence on development regardless of local opposition; recognises the problems created by this ongoing argument on development across the country with local authorities being forced to take decisions contrary to their wishes and that of the constituents; and urges the Government to review the impact of its policy and involve external, independent persons in that review.

Dave tabled an EDM on Scout Community Week:


Session: 2013-14 Date tabled: 28.04.2014 Primary sponsor: Anderson, David, Sponsors: Meale, Alan, Gray, James, Dobbin, Jim, Ward, David, Hopkins, Kelvin

That this House extends its heartfelt thanks to scouts and their supporters across the country who will be taking part in Scout Community Week between 2 and 8 June 2014; acknowledges their commitment to working in a variety of ways to make a difference in their local communities; praises the work of groups like the 1st Blaydon Scout Group who are working in their community in activities as varied as litter-picking and weeding in streets and public places; and welcomes their involvement with other supportive groups like Sustrans, churches, schools and beavers and cubs groups in this vital work.

An issue on which Dave campaigns vigorously is muscle wasting disease, especially Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. His motion on this subject reads:


Session: 2013-14 Date tabled: 30.04.2014 Primary sponsor: Anderson, David Sponsors: Watson, Tom, Lavery, Ian, Morris, Grahame M, Mearns, Ian, Clark, Katy

That this House welcomes the report of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Muscular Dystrophy on newborn screening for Duchenne muscular dystrophy; acknowledges the support provided by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign in drawing attention to these important issues; notes that with potential treatments for the condition in or entering clinical trial, planning must begin now for a newborn screening programme; further notes the significant advances in genetic medicine that have taken place in recent years; and calls on the National Screening Committee to reflect these advances by updating its appraisal criteria for newborn screening programmes.

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Awards for tackling poverty

29 Apr 2014

Dave is encouraging local poverty-fighting organisations that are doing excellent work in Gateshead to apply for an award.

The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) is currently taking applications for the CSJ Awards 2014; These recognise charities or voluntary organisations from local communities throughout the UK that are working to tackle the root causes of poverty and winning organisations receive a £10,000 prize and will be profiled at a ceremony in London in October.

The final deadline for applications is Friday 6 June 2014.

Who is eligible?

They are looking for charities or voluntary organisations from local communities throughout the UK.

Applicants must be:

Applicants will be judged on the following qualities:

How do I nominate?

  1. Charities must submit their own applications. I would encourage you to email the name and contact details of your nominees to the CSJ as soon as possible so we can notify them of their nomination and ask them to apply for an award. The deadline for nominations is Friday 16 May. The final deadlines for all applications is Friday 6 June. We will keep you informed of the progress of your nominees.
  2. You can also contact local charities directly and encourage them to put themselves forward for an award. Similarly, you are welcome to include information about the Awards in newsletters, updates and on your website. Attached is a leaflet with details of the application process and an application form, should you wish to pass these on personally.

If you have any questions about this, or any other aspect of our work, please do not hesitate to contact the CSJ on 020 7592 1160.

More information about the CSJ Awards, including past winners, can be found on the CSJ website: www.centreforsocialjustice.org.uk/awards

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Profit before people

22 Apr 2014

The demise of the Northern Rock Foundation is seen by Dave as Virgin Money putting its profits before the needy of the North-East.

Reacting to the news that Virgin was closing the Foundation that is a lifeline to numerous charities across the region and beyond, Dave described Virgin's action as "crass" and endangering the work of the voluntary sector.

Dave said,

"This is a very sad day and sadly typical of banks putting profit before people. The North East has lost a much cherished funding resource lost because of this crass behaviour. This decision gravely endangers the work of hundreds of community and voluntary organisations which directly benefit children and young people at risk, older people in care and need of support, victims of domestic abuse and crimes of hate "

Full text of Commons Motion tabled by Dave Anderson in October 2007

That this House acknowledges the work of the Northern Rock Foundation as one of the UK's largest charitable funders; celebrates the work they have done in the North East and Cumbria supporting over 1,500 community and voluntary organisations which directly benefit children and young people at risk, older people in care and need of support, victims of domestic abuse and crimes of hate; expresses concern that the Foundation is at risk as its funding comes from 5% of Northern Rock Banks pre tax profits; notes that the work of the Foundation and its huge importance to the lives of millions of people in the North East; asks that the work of the Foundation be taken into account in negotiations on the Future of Northern Rock bank and the potential impact of its break up on the most vulnerable in the North East.

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Defending the Green Belt

Land near Gibside - under threat?
Land near Gibside - under threat?
22 Apr 2014

Dave has welcomed comments by Dame Helen Ghosh, Chief of the National Trust, expressing concern about the using green belt land for housing.

She is worried that government changes to planning rules will put pressure on green belt land for housing development and Dave has called for a Commons debate.

Dave said,

"The green belt is a major gain for those who want to properly balance conservation and development, We should be very grateful to Dame Helen Ghosh, the director general of the respected National Trust, for her warnings about this.

"It is very unusual for her to speak out in this way and this illustrates the importance of the issue. Localism used to be a Government theme but seems to have been sidelined."

Dave added,

"The Commons motion will, I hope, flush out these differences, The Treasury has to understand that it cannot railroad developments that infringe on the green belt and the wishes of local councils and local people.

"My motion also suggests that the government reviews the impact of its centralism and calls in external and independent people to examine this controversial issue."

Dave's Early Day Motion reads:

"That this House shares the concerns expressed by Dame Helen Gosh, the Director General of the National Trust, about the undue pressure that the coalition government is placing on local councils in relation to planning developments and using greenfield rather than brownfield sites; notes the differing perspectives of the DCLG and the Treasury on this issue; is concerned that the Treasury's view impacts adversely on local decision making because of their insistence on development regardless of local opposition; recognises the problems created by this ongoing argument on development across the country with councils being forced to take decisions contrary to their wishes and that of their constituents; and urges the government to review the impact of their policy and involve external, independent persons in that review."

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Concern at mental health cutbacks

12 Apr 2014

Dave has reacted with deep concern at the news of more cutbacks in mental health services in the region.

Both beds and nurses will go and also a psychiatric intensive care unit in the plans in the south of Tyne area, with north of Tyne to follow.

Dave said,

"Mental health services should be protected. We are in the situation where mental health issues are getting more awareness and it's not good to hear that services are being affected in the region. It is ludicrous if these changes are being made to save money, and patients will understandably be concerned at what the proposals mean for them. Mental health services are very much needed."

The number of nurses will be cut a third, and the psychiatric intensive care units at St Nicholas in Newcastle and Cherry Knowle in Ryhope, which each have 14 beds, will be merged into a single 14 bed unit in Sunderland.

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Cameron completes coal catastrophe

12 Apr 2014

Dave has written a stinging letter in The Journal following the government's closure of the remaining two large coal mines.

He says Cameron is just finishing what Thatcher started, is leaving the country at the mercy of Vladimir Putin and this strengthens the case for a full enquiry into the Thatcher government's handling of the 1984 miners' strike.

Dave's letter reads:

So David Cameron has finally completed Margaret Thatcher's dirty work with the closure of two of the biggest coal mines in Europe.

To add insult to injury the Government once again bribe workers with public money with the threat of the dole next week if they don't go quietly into oblivion.

As if this wasn't bad enough it happened on the same day that Vladimir Putin warned the West that the West faces "a critical situation" in regards to gas supplies via Ukraine.

Only a government driven by blind ideology could place an island built on coal into a situation where we may not keep the lights on.

Instead of a planned, sustained energy policy based on a basket of energy sources that other countries can only dream of we have had three decades of fudge, fiddle and failure as the fat cats in the energy companies got fatter and wonderful communities built on centuries of self reliance and solidarity fell into despair and desolation It is an old saying that you reap what you sow. The sad reality it is the ordinary men and women in this nation who have paid the economic and social cost of the disastrous decisions taken by the Tories three decades ago and concluded by another Tory government today.

It all lends credence to the demands from many of us for a full and public inquiry into the actions of the Thatcher government in their attack on the coal mining communities across our country including the deliberate misleading of both the public and parliament.

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Call for 'ring-fenced' fund for MD

21 Mar 2014

In a letter to The Journal, Dave has welcomed a new 'fast-track' system for medicines for people with life-limiting health conditions.

But he goes on to stress that this only strengthens the need for the Health department to allocate specific funding for muscular dystrophy, which should be ring-fenced.

Dave's letter reads:

The Government's introduction of a new 'fast-track' system for medicines for people with life-limiting health conditions offers real hope for many families affected by muscular dystrophy.

Following a six-month inquiry last year, the All Party Parliamentary Group for Muscular Dystrophy emphasised the need for just such a scheme, stressing the urgency of treating children with severe muscle-wasting conditions, before irreversible muscle damage occurs and life-threatening health complications manifest.

As a result of the fast-track scheme, children who are not already involved in clinical trials could receive access to potential treatments that appear to be safe and effective.

We could also potentially see a shorter journey for such drugs to a full licence for prescription by the NHS.

This means there is now even greater urgency for the Department of Health to act on allocating funding specifically for high-cost treatments for rare conditions like muscular dystrophy.

I lost my own brother and sister to a muscle-wasting condition - I understand the weight of each day waiting for any form of treatment to become available.

We need to act now and establish a ring-fenced fund for these medicines, or we risk the tragic consequences of delays to treating those in desperate need.

Dave Anderson
MP for Blaydon and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Muscular Dystrophy.

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Council workers lose 18% - need living wage

10 Mar 2014

Dave has tabled a Commons motion calling on councils to pay their workers the NJC claim.

He points out that local government workers have lost 18% in real terms since 2010 and says the claim would mean half a million council workers would have a living wage.

Dave's Early day Motion reads:


Session: 2013-14

Date tabled: 10.03.2014

Primary sponsor: Anderson, David


Mearns, Ian, Morris, Grahame M, Lavery, Ian, Dobbin, Jim. Meale, Alan

That this House recognises that local government and school support workers provide an excellent and essential service to the public; expresses concern about levels of local government pay; further recognises that local government workers have endured a real terms 18 per cent reduction in basic pay since 2010; believes that low pay in local government is resulting in significant economic hardship for them and their families; supports the National Joint Council (NJC) pay claim for 2014-15; notes that this would deliver the Living Wage for the 500,000 lowest paid local government workers; further notes that 55 per cent of the cost of the claim could be met through increased tax and national insurance income and reduced spending on in-work-benefits; and therefore calls on local government employers to accept the NJC claim and offer a pay award which includes an emphasis on fair rewards for the lowest paid and hard-pressed sections of the workforce.

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Pickles' "smokescreen"

10 Feb 2014

Dave has commented on Eric Pickles' criticism of Chris Smith.

He says that the real problem is the cutting of the Environment Agency's budget and is a symptom of the government's cuts to public services.

Dave said,

"Eric Pickles' outrageous attack on Chris Smith, the head of the Environment Agency, is an obvious smokescreen to hide the fact that the funding of the Agency has been cut and warnings ignored about the need to dredge rivers. Pickles may say he is sorry but sorries don't butter parsnips or in this case stop flooding. It is another example of what happens when you slash public services and denigrate public servants."

Dave recently tabled a Commons motion on this very subject.

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Pollution risk from government cuts

14 Jan 2014

Dave has tabled a Commons motion calling for a moratorium on further cuts in the Environment Agency.

He argues that cutting 15% of the agency's workforce will impact disproportionately on non-protected areas and that communities will be put at risk of environmental harm through the significant reductions in services currently provided.

Dave's full Early Day Motion reads:


Session: 2013-14

Date tabled: 14.01.2014

Primary sponsor: Anderson, David

Sponsors: Dobbin, Jim. Campbell, Ronnie. Skinner, Dennis. Caton, Martin, Corbyn, Jeremy

That this House commends the excellent work undertaken by staff employed at the Environment Agency in dealing with recent flooding incidents; recognises however that Environment Agency staff do a lot more than dealing with just the prevention and aftermath of flood incidents; further recognises that this wide range of responsibilities are essential in safeguarding the country's environment from harm and includes water quality oversight, pollution control, waste regulation, fisheries management, conservation and ecology, navigation, contaminated land and flood and coastal risk management; notes that the Environment Agency has had its budgets cut yet again which will lead to 1,500 jobs being lost, around 15 per cent of the total workforce; further notes that, with some spending ring-fenced by the Government, the effect of these further cuts will impact disproportionately on non-protected areas like the prevention and prosecution of waste crime, monitoring and protection of migratory fish, pollution management and work with planning authorities to ensure environmental safeguards are in place for new development; believes that as a result, communities will be put at risk of environmental harm through the significant reductions in services currently provided and is a licence to pollute; and further believes that the Government should implement an immediate moratorium on any cuts and recognise that the cost of responding to incidents of harm is much greater than the effective prevention the Environment Agency provides and the cuts will compromise.

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Shelter can help

3 Jan 2014

Shelter, the housing charity, says that one in eleven people fear they won't be able to afford to pay the rent or mortgage at the end of this month.

Yet many people in this situation would feel too ashamed to ask for help. Shelter's helpline receives too many calls from people in desperation, and on the brink of losing their home, because bills and notices have been left unopened and problems have piled up.

Dave said,

"For lots of people, the New Year period brings further challenges and worries. The Coalition's policies with the Bedroom Tax, and changes to eligibility for Local Housing Allowance, are making life harder for many people, not only those already made homeless. That's why I am urging anyone worried about paying their rent or mortgage to make seeking early housing advice their New Year's resolution."

This January Shelter is encouraging those at risk to seek advice from Shelter and avoid problems spiralling out of control. People can find professional advice by going to www.shelter.org.uk/get_advice or the free telephone helpline number 0808 800 4444. Also on Twitter @Shelter.

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