Press Releases 2006-07

14/12/07 Integrated Education to bridge Sectarian Divide
06/12/07 Primary Schools Continue to Improve
04/12/07 Warm Front - David Anderson MP says "Keep Warm this Winter in Blaydon"
04/12/07 Dave Anderson MP supports moves to improve services for vulnerable patients
30/11/07 Local MP pledges support to campaign to tackle AIDS
29/11/07 Sport & Education Champion
28/11/07 Backing for Union Learning Reps
20/11/07 Action on Climate Change
09/11/07 Sue Barker and Dave Anderson MP supports Christmas Crackers for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign
11/10/07 Support for Northern Rock Foundation
01/10/07 Labour Delivers for Six Million Workers
06/09/07 MP Praises Work of Union Learners
06/09/07 Call for Health Centre Funding
03/09/07 Dave Anderson MP officially opens new tennis courts at Blaydon
21/08/07 Dave Anderson MP to see Lottery cash in action
20/08/07 Red Kites Visit
15/08/07 Dave Anderson MP welcomes £20m for Children's Centres in Gateshead
15/08/07 Dave Anderson MP continues the fight against the Open cast
07/08/07 MP's plea for Iraqi Trade Unions
02/08/07 MP Calls for Bridge Re-think
26/07/07 Dave Anderson MP Welcomes Local Sport Investment
25/07/07 Petition to Block Opencast
19/07/07 Blaydon MP urges people to claim their lost funds
18/07/07 Blaydon MP Dave Anderson Leading the Fight Against Muscle Disease
08/07/07 High Spen's heroes march on
28/06/07 Brave Bevin Boys
11/06/07 Ofcom launch review on unfair charges
04/06/07 Dave Anderson MP takes fight for Trade Union rights to the top
04/06/07 Dave Anderson MP calls for controls of private security firms in Iraq
25/05/07 Dave Anderson MP calls for urgent action on global poverty and climate change
22/05/07 £250,000 for British Lung Foundation
10/05/07 Dave Anderson MP joins search to find the missing millions with killer disease
01/05/07 Dave Anderson praises the Centenary of Emmaville School
15/02/07 Top Marks for Blaydon School
10/01/07 Fighting Fuel Poverty
09/01/07 Skons Park in Parliament
05/01/07 Meet the Lottery Funders!
21/12/06 Supporting trade unionists in Iraq
21/12/06 Dave Anderson MP gives the Gift of Reading this Christmas
13/12/06 MP's Welcome for Better Bus Services
06/12/06 MP steps up Pensioners' Fuel Campaign
28/11/06 MP calls for Fuel Help for Pensioners
03/11/06 Welcome for new Academies
01/11/06 MP joins Fight to double Lung Cancer Survival
31/10/06 Open Cast Mining
26/10/06 MP Condemns Vodafone's Decision to Appeal Against Phone Mast
24/10/06 MP Challenges Minister on Concessionary Fares
05/10/06 Dave launches School Website
14/09/06 Time to make your Will
05/09/06 Backing for Souvenir Ban
04/09/06 Building a democratic Iraq
29/08/06 Dave Anderson MP becomes Patron of the Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund
25/08/06 MP Calls on Government to Support Research into Motor Neurone Disease
24/08/06 National Minimum Wage
14/08/06 MP calls for tougher regulations on Mini Motos

Back to front page Current Press Releases


Integrated Education to bridge Sectarian Divide

Dave addressing the reception
Dave addressing the reception
14 Dec 2007

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson hosted a cross-party Christmas reception at the Commons this week in support of the movement for integrated education between Catholic and Protestant pupils in Northern Ireland.

Mr Anderson, who is a member of the Northern Ireland Select Committee, has also tabled a Commons motion which "urges policy-makers to encourage and facilitate integrated education, particularly in teacher training, as well as collaboration between different school sectors as part of concerted and longer-term efforts to foster reconciliation and understanding between different communities in Northern Ireland and save public money."

Dave Anderson focused on the decision to build a security fence at the Hazelwood Integrated Primary School in North Belfast and said,

"The cost of the Hazelwood fence is a sad symbol of the wider costs of sectarianism in Northern Ireland - almost £1.5 billion on policing, education, housing, health and other provisions is spent annually from the public purse on duplicated services."

Mr Anderson said:

"The end of political violence and the beginning of power-sharing between old foes is very welcome. For much of my life Northern Ireland was seen as an intractable problem. Thankfully, the days of bombs and bullets have largely gone. But there are still very deep divisions on the ground between people as seen in the fact that only 5% of children attend integrated schools which try to encourage understanding between different identities and faiths. Integrated education is not a magic wand but is a major part of trying to overcome the bitterness of the Troubles and build a more normal society."

Senior political figures who attended the reception included the former Education Secretary and leading Liberal Democrat, Shirley Williams, the Shadow Secretary of State Owen Paterson, the SDLP Leader Mark Durkan and veteran BBC journalist, Brian Hanrahan, as well as a senior representative of the Irish Embassy.

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Primary Schools Continue to Improve

6 Dec 2007

Dave Anderson MP today congratulated St. Joseph's RC Primary School, Highfield, for their top performance as shown by the Primary School Achievement and Attainment Tables.

The school is placed seventh of all state primary schools in England for sustained improvement of English, Maths and Science since 2003.

The Blaydon MP said

"The results overall are excellent with more children than ever before achieving the level expected for their age. I congratulate all the staff, governors, pupils and parents at St. Joseph's on their tremendous success.

"These results build on ten years of sustained improvement in our schools and standards in our primary schools have never been higher. Compared with 1997, 100,000 more 11 year olds are mastering the basics in Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.

"However, we can not afford to be complacent and more needs to be done to make sure no child is left behind and that we build a world class education system."

Nationally, the results show that:

80 per cent of 11 year olds achieved the target Level 4+ in English, up 17 percentage points since 1997;

77 per cent achieved Level 4+ in Maths, up 15 percentage points since 1997; and

88 per cent achieved Level 4+ in Science, a jump of 19 percentage points since 1997.

The number of primary schools where fewer than 65 per cent of 11 year olds achieve the level expected for their age in English and Maths has also fallen to its lowest level.

The Primary School Achievement and Attainment Tables published today by the Department for Children, Schools and Families show the latest figures for the primary school performance in the Key Stage 2 National Curriculum tests in 2007.

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Warm Front - David Anderson MP says "Keep Warm this Winter in Blaydon"

4 Dec 2007
Violet Telford with Dave Anderson in a warm home
Violet Telford with Dave Anderson in a warm home

David Anderson MP, Labour MP for Blaydon is celebrating the work the Warm Front scheme does in Blaydon to help the most vulnerable in the community to keep warm and stay healthy.

He has visited one of the homes in Ryton that has benefited from a warm front grant. David Anderson MP said:

The Warm Front scheme provides heating and insulation to the homes of some of my most vulnerable constituents, and it has my total support. Affordable heat is a basic need that all should be able to benefit from, as a warm home is a healthy, happy home."

Warm Front, which combats fuel poverty by installing central heating and heat saving insulation work into the homes of vulnerable people, has so far assisted 3,628 households in Blaydon - a total spend of £2,402,765.09 in the area.

The scheme manager, eaga plc, has reported that 655 households have benefited from a brand new central heating system or repair to their current central heating system in Blaydon and 2,830 have benefited from energy saving insulation measures since they have operated the scheme (1 June 2000 to 29 Sept. 2007).

Householders applying for the Warm Front scheme also have the opportunity to undergo a comprehensive check to see if they are in receipt of all the benefits they are entitled to. Benefit Entitlement Checks (BEC) have been operating as part of Warm Front since June 2003, with the average weekly increase per constituent with new/increased benefits in Blaydon being found as £16.86.

In terms of vulnerable groups of people who have been helped by Warm Front grants, eaga has reported that 368 households with children under the age of four, 949 households on DLA, and 2,064 households over the age of 60 in Blaydon have benefited from improvements to their homes.

To qualify, householders need to own their own home or rent from a private landlord, and they also need to be in receipt of an income or disability related benefit. Local residents can contact the Warm Front team on 0800 316 6014 to apply for a grant.


1. eaga plc manages the Warm Front scheme throughout England on behalf of the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

2. Warm Front grants are available to homeowners and private tenants who are in receipt of certain qualifying benefits. The grant will provide a package of healing and insulation tailored to each property.

3. The Warm Front grant provides a grant of up to £2,700 to the following groups:

(a) Householders who are aged 60 or over, and are in receipt of one or more of the following benefits: Income support, council Tax Benefit, Housing Benefit, Job Seekers Allowance (lncome.based), Pension credit

(b) Householders who have a child under 16, or are pregnant and have been given maternity certificate MAT B1, and are also in receipt of one or more of the following benefits: Income Support, council Tax Benefit, Housing Benefit, Job Seekers Allowance (income based), Pension credit

Cc) Householders in receipt of one or more of the following benefits: Working Tax credit with income less than £15,050 + Disability Premium, Disability Living Allowance, child Tax credit with income less than £15,050, Housing Benefit + Disability Premium, Income Support + Disability Premium, council Tax + Disability Premium, War Disablement Pension + (constant Attendance Allowance or Mobility Supplement), Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit + constant Attendance Allowance, Attendance Allowance.

4. A household In fuel poverty in the UK is defined by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, as one which needs to spend more than 10% of its income on all fuel use including heating the home to an adequate standard of warmth, This is double the percentage of income that the average household spends. Five percent of English households currently spend more than 30% of their income on fuel.

5. Since eaga founded the independent Eaga charitable Trust in 1993 we have invested over £3 million to finance over 50 action and research projects Into the causes of fuel poverty, poor housing and their impacts on health.

6. Through our work as scheme manager for Defra, Warm Homes in Northern Ireland, the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme in Wales, Newcastle based eaga plc has now made over 5 million vulnerable households warmer and healthier throughout the UK.

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Dave Anderson MP supports moves to improve services for vulnerable patients

4 Dec 2007

Dave Anderson MP has today tabled a House of Commons motion calling on the Government to improve services for vulnerable patients suffering from muscle disease.

A report published today by a group of leading clinicians, in conjunction with the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, reveals that patients with neuromuscular diseases are faced with a fragmented, sub-standard system of care, with significant variations in survival across the UK.

It is estimated that 1 in 1000 people in the UK are living with muscle disease.

The report will also call on the Government and the NHS to work with local clinicians and commissioners to ensure that patients with muscle diseases have access to local specialised services.

Key findings from the report, Building on the Foundations: Establishing a Specialist Neuromuscular Service across England, reveal:

Commenting on the report's findings, Dave Anderson MP said:

"It is essential that policy makers read this report. Expecting disabled people and their families to travel long distances just to gain access to the clinical care they need is very disappointing and simply unfair.

"We are very lucky to have a specialist muscle centre in Newcastle and we must ensure that services like this are available across the country and that they are given adequate support from local Primary Care Trusts."

Chief Executive of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, Philip Butcher,

"Specialist care is essential in extending life expectancy and yet it is being denied to many patients. Too often specialist care is vulnerable and heavily dependent on a handful of leading clinicians with a research interest in this field, rather than embedded in a properly resourced, long term service."

"I'm delighted that we can count on the support of Dave in the fight against muscle disease. He is a strong voice in Parliament for local disabled people."

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, clinicians and patients will be calling on the Government and the NHS to:

  1. Recognise that current service provision for neuromuscular conditions is failing many patients and acknowledge that all patients with neuromuscular conditions require access to specialist diagnosis, treatment and on-going care;
  2. Designate specialised neuromuscular services within the Department of Health's Specialised Services Definition Set so that Specialised Commissioning Groups (SCGs) strategically plan for these services across England;
  3. Press SCGs to ensure that specialised neuromuscular services are firmly embedded in their region of England in order to overcome current fragmentation, weakness and vulnerability;
  4. Pay particular attention to those regions highlighted in this report where patient survival is reduced and services are failing;
  5. Recognise that services should be delivered by through specialised neuromuscular regional centres which also give support and clinical leadership to a network of local clinics;
  6. Ensure that these neuromuscular centres and clinics have specialised multi-disciplinary teams to provide all patients with a comprehensive level of care.

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign is the only national charity focusing on all muscle diseases. It invests £3 million a year in care support services, research, muscle centres, networks, information and resources. It has pioneered the search for treatments and cures for over 47 years and provides practical, medical and emotional support to people affected. The Chair of the APPG on muscular dystrophy will be tabling a cross party Early Day Motion, on Tuesday 4 December, about the report and its findings.

1 in 1000 people in England have muscular dystrophy or a related muscle disease. A further 150,000 people are affected indirectly as parents, siblings or carers.

Muscle diseases weaken and/or waste muscles. The conditions can be inherited or acquired and can affect people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities. There are currently no cures.

House of Commons Early Day Motion:

Services for patients with Muscular Dystrophy
That this House welcomes the publication of a new report by leading neuromuscular clinicians, Building on the Foundations, is concerned that it reveals significant geographical inequalities across England in access to health services for patients with neuromuscular conditions; regrets that specialist neuromuscular centres exist in only four regions and that survival for patients with neuromuscular conditions is severely affected; notes that care from a multidisciplinary team improves patient outcomes, is disappointed that many patients in England do not receive such multidisciplinary specialist care; calls on the Department of Health to recognise neuromuscular services as a specialist service and urges the Department of Health to work with commissioners and health professionals to improve current service provision across England to ensure improved standards of care for all patients with neuromuscular conditions.

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Local MP pledges support to campaign to tackle AIDS

30 Nov 2007 Dave by the giant AIDS ribbon

MP visits giant AIDS ribbon in Parliament Square, to support calls on Government to strengthen efforts in funding fight against AIDS

Two days before World AIDS Day, local MP Dave Anderson, today joined a coalition of charities in Parliament Square to call on the government to strengthen its efforts to tackle HIV and AIDS, and keep its promise of achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services by 2010.

Dave Anderson met charity representatives from the Stop AIDS Campaign - a coalition of over 80 UK-based NGOs - around a giant AIDS ribbon made of 6000 red carnations. The AIDS ribbon, which stood 6 metres high, was created for the event free of charge by Floral Designer Chris Jones. Each flower represented one person who dies of AIDS-related illnesses every single day.

Dave Anderson agreed to support the Stop AIDS Campaign as it calls on the Government to keep their promises on HIV and AIDS as it launches a new three-year Strategy to tackle AIDS in early 2008. He promised to raise the issues with the Secretary of State for International, Douglas Alexander, and support an 'Early Day Motion' (no.183) in the House of Commons.

The Stop AIDS Campaign are calling for the government to announce a funding commitment of at least £2.5bn over three years (2008 -11) in order to provide the UK's 'fair share' of global resources needed to keep the promise of Universal Access by 2010. It is also calling for action to reduce the prices of HIV medicines and address the global shortage of health workers.

Steve Cockburn, Campaign Co-ordinator for the Stop AIDS Campaign said:

"AIDS is the leading cause of death in Africa so requires strong action from the Government to keep the promises they have made and give people the means to stay alive. They've promised action, and now they need to deliver it. The support of MPs is in making sure this happens is absolutely crucial, and will be very much welcomed by communities everywhere".

Although gains have been made in providing more treatment and prevention services, the target of achieving Universal Access by 2010 is badly behind schedule. With just 3 years remaining, over 70% of people do not have access to the HIV drugs they need to stay alive, while over 80% have no access to basic prevention services. As a result almost 6000 people die every day from AIDS-related illnesses, and AIDS is the leading cause of death in Africa.

The flowers in the ribbon were supplied by The Organic Flower Company and are certified Florverde. Florverde is a unique certification to ensure all flowers grown and harvested in Colombia meet specific social and environmental standards. This program was started ten years ago by a forward looking group of Colombian flower growers to insist on a common level of best practices that would improve the lives and living standards of all floral farm workers and their families.

In 2007, over 33 million people are living with HIV and AIDS world-wide, and over 2 million people died of AIDS-related illnesses. It is the largest cause of death in Africa.

World AIDS Day 2007 comes on the back of 3 UN reports that highlight the need to step up funding for AIDS programmes:

ACORD, Action for South Africa (ACTSA), ActionAid UK, Advantage Africa, Africa Now, African HIV Policy Network, African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) UK, African Pulse, AVERT, Baby Milk Action, British Red Cross, British Volunteer Agencies Liaison Group, Care International, Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), Centre for International Health Studies, QMUC, Christian Aid, Community Health Action Trust, Concern Worldwide, Consortium for Street Children, Crescent Support Group, Crusaid, DHIVERSE, Egmont Trust, EveryChild, Friends of Treatment Action Campaign (FOTAC), George House Trust, Global Dialogues, Healthlink Worldwide, Help the Aged, Help the Hospices' UK Forum for Hospice and Palliative Care, HelpAge International, HIV/AIDS Association of Zambia (HAAZ), Hope for Children, HopeHIV, ImpActAIDS, Interact Worldwide, Inter-Health, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (ICW), International HIV/AIDS Alliance, International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM), International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), International Service, Learning for Life, Leicestershire AIDS Support Services, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Marie Stopes International, Medical Foundation for AIDS and Sexual Health (MedFASH) / Mildmay International, National AIDS Trust, Naz Foundation International, Open Society Foundation, Oxfam GB, Panos Insitute, People & Planet, Plan UK, Population Services International, Progressio, Religions for Peace UK, Reproductive Health Matters, RESULTS UK, Salvation Army, Samaritan's Purse, Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF), Skillshare International, SOS Children's Villages UK, Starfish Greathearts Foundation, Strategies for Hope Trust, Street Child Africa, Student Partnership Worldwide, Support for Africa, Tackle Africa, Tearfund, Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Foundation, Uganda AIDS Action Fund, UK Coalition of People Living with HIV and AIDS, UK Committee for UNICEF, UNISON, United Reformed Church and Society Department, VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas), WOMANKIND Worldwide, World Vision.

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Sport & Education Champion

29 Nov 2007
Dave receiving his award
Dave receiving his award

Dave Anderson MP has won the acclaim of his fellow Parliamentarians and picked up the Charity Champion of the Year award in the category of Culture and Sport.

The Blaydon MP was nominated by North East based charity Show Racism the Red Card for his consistent work with their anti-racism campaign over the last 10 years.

The award is made to the Parliamentarian who has done the most to address issues concerning the involvement of education and sport. It is voted on by all Members of Parliament and Peers.

The charity aims to combat racism through the high-profile and role-model status of Professional Footballers. It was established in the North East in 1996 and now operates nationally and internationally. The focus of its work is in schools.

Dave at the Award Ceremony Dave at the Award Ceremony

Mr Anderson was accompanied at the awards ceremony by former England International and current Chairman of the Professional Footballers Association, Chris Powell, and former Sunderland captain, Gary Bennett.

Charity Champion Logo
Charity Champion Logo

Director of Show Racism the Red Card, Ged Grebby, said,

"Dave has been involved from the very early days of our formation. He chaired one of our first ever events and joined our Management Committee. As a UNISON member, then as the trade union's President and lately as an MP he has been a great support."

Dave Anderson said,

"I am delighted to receive this award for the recognition it gives to the fantastic work of Show Racism the Red Card. I am honoured to be involved in the campaign. Its success has been the result of the commitment shown by many groups and individuals but most importantly the young people who have recognised the evil of racism."

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Backing for Union Learning Reps

28 Nov 2007 Group photo at ULR

Dave Anderson MP returned to Newcastle City Council today (Wednesday 28 November 2007) almost three years after leaving to enter Parliament.

The Labour MP for Blaydon, who was employed as a care worker by the Council for 15 years, was a guest speaker at the Union Learning Rep Conference, an event arranged to celebrate the success of Newcastle's Union Learning Centre.

Over recent years, with help of the Union Learning Fund, Union Learning Reps (ULRs) have been very successful in helping people to get back into learning and in establishing learning centres and learning agreements with employers to tackle both organisational and individual skill needs.

Dave Anderson said,

"Last year I was asked to become a ministerial aide working with the Minister responsible for life long learning and skills. One of the main reasons why I agreed to take on the role was to ensure that schemes like this one were fully supported"

Dave Anderson, who was a union representative for Unison in the Council, added,

"We have to face up to the reality that our workforce needs up-skilling at all levels if we are to meet the challenge of globalisation. That's why the Government is developing new apprenticeships, giving more support to students, increasing education and training opportunities for our schoolchildren and supporting workplace initiatives like this great example in Newcastle."

There are currently 63 active Union Learning Reps across Newcastle City Council. The scheme is supported by UNISON, GMB, TGWU - UNITE, AMICUS-UNITE and UCATT.

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Action on Climate Change

20 Nov 2007 Harmful greenhouse gases

Dave today welcomed Gordon Brown's statement on Climate Change.

Supporting the government's plans to reduce even further CO2 and other greenhouse gases, Dave said the time for debate was over, now is the time for action.

Dave said,

"This is real action that will have a real impact on the climate change challenge. The time for debate is over, we need action at all levels to protect our planet and our children's future."

Dave also welcomed the Government's intention to go further than already promised to bring down harmful emissions

"Despite this being the first Bill in history to address climate change, wherein we are committed to reducing emissions by 2050 by 60%, I am glad that the Prime Minister has listened to the concerns expressed by many of my constituents and he has committed to a consultation on even further reductions if at all possible"

19 Nov 2007

Prime Minister Gordon Brown today called for "vision and determination" from world leaders to rise to the challenge of climate change.

In a speech today, the Prime Minister stressed the importance of building a global low carbon economy and pledged to put the UK at the forefront of the fight against climate change and its effects.

The Prime Minister said:

"Our mission is, in truth, historic and world changing - to build, over the next fifty years and beyond, a global low carbon economy. And it is not overdramatic to say that the character and course of the coming century will be set by how we measure up to this challenge."

The Prime Minister outlined measures from three Government bills - the Climate Change Bill, the Energy Bill and the Planning Bill - that will help the UK reduce its carbon emissions and move to greener energy sources.

On climate change, the Government is committed to a 60 percent reduction in emissions by 2050 and is consulting on the possibility of raising this to 80 percent.

The UK will also commit to increasing its use of renewable energy sources to meet its share of a 20 percent EU target by 2020.

Planning regulations will also have an impact, with all new homes required to be carbon neutral by 2016. Other steps include the convening of a supermarket forum aimed at cutting packaging waste and a new international funding framework to help developing nations switch to green technologies.

Outlining how households will be offered help with energy efficiency and moving towards a greener lifestyle, the Prime Minister said:

"For every household - over the next decade - there will be the offer of a smart meter that will allow two way communication between the supplier and customer - giving more accurate bills and making it easier for people to generate their own energy through microgeneration and sell it onto the grid.

"And to help people move towards a greener lifestyle, we are today announcing a new one-stop Green Homes service --- a single telephone line, a user-friendly website and a network of advice centres in every region to:

provide easy access to an energy audit and the full range of discounted and free services available;

and give advice not only on energy efficiency but on microgeneration, water efficiency, recycling and greener travel.

"House to house visits in fifty of our poorest areas will provide energy efficiency offers door to door. And for every householder who gets an energy performance certificate with an 'F' or 'G' rating for a home being sold or bought, the green homes service will make an offer of discounted or free help with energy efficiency measures.

"This represents the biggest improvement in home energy efficiency in our history -

And pointing to the opportunities afforded by green technology, the Prime Minister said that a low carbon economy could help create hundreds of thousands of UK jobs and a "vast new export market".

The Prime Minister looked ahead to next month's summit on climate change in Bali where world leaders will begin negotiations on a successor to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. He announced the publication of a document containing the principles which the Government believes should underpin any agreement, including a global rise in temperature of no more than two degrees centigrade and a 50 percent cut in global greenhouse emissions by 2050.

The Prime Minister concluded his speech saying:

"All of us - Government, business, civil society and individuals - have a part to play. Working apart we will surely fail. But working together I have no doubt that this is a challenge to which the human spirit, and our powers of ingenuity and enterprise, will rise."

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Sue Barker and Dave Anderson MP supports Christmas Crackers for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign

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

A group of women from the Hexhamshire WI have joined forces to create Christmas Crackers, a CD single to raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.

Sue Barker, president of the charity, has called for support from members of the public and all media outlets across the country to help make the single this year's UK Christmas number one. The single has already received the support of a Parliamentary motion tabled by local MP for Blaydon, David Anderson, endorsing the initiative.

The group of women, also called Christmas Crackers, wrote the lyrics of the song set to a variation on the theme of Jerusalem, arranged and played by the Baghdaddies, a popular group from Newcastle. The music has an infectious rhythm which will be just right for your Christmas party.

When speaking about the motivation to release the single, Kate Clarkson, from the Christmas Crackers, said:

"We came up with the idea of a CD for Christmas 2007 because we wanted to raise money for research into muscular dystrophy. I have a family history of Duchenne muscular dystrophy and we also know a local youngster affected by the disease and we wanted to support him, his family, and others like him.

"We wanted to do something festive for a very good cause. The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign helps people affected by muscle disease and funds research to try and find a cure for these relentless life-limiting conditions."

Supporting the project, President, Sue Barker said:

"Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a particularly aggressive type of muscle disease which affects mainly boys. Boys who have Duchenne are wheelchair users by the age of 12 and, as the condition affects heart and respiratory muscles, they will be lucky to live until they are in their late twenties.

"This single is great way to support the charity, have some fun and get people involved. By buying the single you can help lead the fight against muscle disease."

David Anderson MP, Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Muscular Dystrophy, knows first hand the devastating effects of the disease as he has lost close family members and others in his family are living with the impact of the disease on a daily basis. On learning about the venture, Dave said:

"I am committed to supporting the great work of these tireless campaigners. We must do all we can to help, and I would urge people to use this great initiative to give a real boost to the fight to eliminate this pernicious disease once and for all."

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign is the only national charity focusing on all muscle diseases. It invests £3 million a year in care support services, research, muscle centres, networks, information and resources. It has pioneered the search for treatments and cures for over 47 years and provides practical, medical and emotional support to people affected.

The Christmas Crackers single will be available from record shops, or can be ordered by calling 020 7803 4825 or emailing

See also Dave's News item

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Support for Northern Rock Foundation

11 Oct 2007

Dave Anderson MP has called for support to ensure the survival of the Northern Rock Foundation, one of the UK's largest charity funders.

The Blaydon MP has tabled a Motion in Parliament, to highlight the important role the Foundation plays in our region.

The Northern Rock Foundation is the biggest, independent grant-maker in the North East and has been endangered due to the recent Northern Rock Bank crisis. Although it is a separate entity from the Bank, it depends entirely on it for finance receiving 5% of the banks pre-tax profits. If the Northern Rock Bank is broken up or sold off cheaply the Foundation and the causes it supports will lose out.

Mr Anderson said,

"The Northern Rock Foundation is a key institution in our region. They have made an invaluable contribution supporting over 1,500 community and voluntary organisations. It is essential that everything possible is done to safeguard a positive future for the organisation."

Full text of the Early Day Motion:

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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Labour Delivers for Six Million Workers

1 Oct 2007

Dave Anderson MP welcomed new employment rights which come into force today.

Six million workers stand to benefit from extra statutory paid holidays. New regulations will increase the minimum holiday allowance by four extra days entitling working people to a minimum of 24 days leave per year from 1 October 2007. This will be increased further to 28 days in April 2009.

The increased holiday entitlement comes into effect at the same time as the National Minimum Wage is raised to £5.52 per hour, benefiting an estimated 1.3 million mostly women workers.

The Blaydon MP said,

"This great news is proof of Labour's commitment to the hard working people of this country. I also welcome the action we are taking to clamp down on rogue employers who flout the law by not giving their employees there full entitlement."

Mr Anderson played a leading role in the campaign for the introduction of the Minimum Wage during his time as a national leader of the trade union UNISON. He was the President of the union prior to being elected to Parliament.

It is estimated that at least 300,000 workers in the North East will benefit from today's changes.

Mr Anderson continued,

"These measures have been developed by the Government working together with trade unions and through real consultation. The Tories, as always, have not supported them but we are committed to fairness at work and achieving a better work/life balance for the working people of Britain."

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MP Praises Work of Union Learners

06 Sep 2007

Dave Anderson MP for Blaydon today joined his parliamentary colleagues, Dave Clelland MP and Sharon Hodgson MP, in meeting officers of Gateshead Council and workers benefiting from their access to a Trade Union Learning initiative.

Mr Anderson who is a ministerial aid to the Minister for Skills and Further Education, visited the centre at the Local Environmental Services building at Park Road

"It was great to see the partnership work that has been developed between the council, the local trade unions and the regional TUC. Together they are encouraging hundreds of workers to access new skills, many for the first time in many years, in order to develop their abilities at work and at home."

The MP was able to see for himself the facility that has been developed from an unused office into a centre that has access to ten laptops and state of the art interactive technology that is enabling workers to use IT at work and at home with their families.

"This initiative can be a model for employers and their work force that can be copied and used to allow us as a country to meet the challenges that a global market place confronts us with. A poorly educated workforce will not be capable of competing in years to come and now is the time to kick start a new learning agenda. Gateshead and its workers are leading the way".

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Call for Health Centre Funding

06 Sep 2007

Dave Anderson MP today called on Health Secretary Alan Johnson to help direct funding for a primary care centre in Blaydon.

The funding is part of a government initiative to develop community hospitals and services across the country.

Dave Anderson said,

"My government has committed £750m to this project and the local PCT has put in a joint bid alongside Gateshead Council for £12.1m to develop a primary care centre and fitness facility in Blaydon. We face serious problems in the West of Gateshead in relation to travelling to hospitals and a facility in the area is long overdue."

Mr Anderson has written to the Secretary of State and the Strategy in Health Authority urging them to accept the needs of the area and to prioritise the bid for the facility.

"The SHA has responsibility for allocating the funds and they need to understand the unique problems facing my constituents who need to get to the various hospitals throughout the area."

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Dave Anderson MP officially opens new tennis courts at Blaydon

3 Sep 2007
Dave cuts the ribbon
Dave cuts the ribbon

On Monday afternoon Blaydon Tennis Club witnessed the grand opening of its new courts by its Member of Parliament, Dave Anderson.

The Club, which was re-established at its new location alongside the River Derwent in 1999, opened its new courts to meet the needs of its ever expanding membership, as it has recently become one of the largest clubs in the region.

The new development which has been backed by funding of over £100,000 is expected to be a great investment for sports in the area, offering hard courts and areas for juniors to play mini tennis as well as increased capacity in the club which in turn will offer more hours of play to its members.

Dave Anderson congratulated the new development saying:

"I am delighted to have been asked to officially open the new courts at Blaydon Tennis Club. This will be a real resource for the local community and hopefully it will encourage many new tennis stars in our region for years to come"

Players who took part in exhibition matches Players who took part in exhibition matches
Spectators Players who took part in exhibition matches
Players who took part in exhibition matches

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Dave Anderson MP to see Lottery cash in action

21 Aug 2007

Dave Anderson, Member of Parliament for Blaydon will see Lottery cash in action when he pays a visit to 3 community groups in his constituency today (Tuesday).

The Blaydon MP will join Lottery officials in visiting Winlaton Parent and Toddler Group at the Winlaton Community Centre, the Chopwell Homing Society, and the Whickham Heritage and Recreation Fund for Education at the Whickham Community Garden.

Community groups in the Blaydon constituency have benefited from Lottery funding to the tune of £2 million, much of this as small grants going to grass roots groups working closely with their local community.

Dave Anderson said,

"Voluntary and community groups play a massive part in helping support individuals in our communities and The Big Lottery Fund plays a really important part by giving groups the financial support they need to make a difference in my constituency."

"I am really glad of the opportunity to see first hand some of the range of projects the Big Lottery Fund has supported and meet the hard working volunteers that keep them going."

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Red Kites Visit

20 Aug 2007
Nick Brown with Dave watching the red kites
Nick Brown with Dave watching the red kites

Today Dave Anderson MP for Blaydon joined Nick Brown MP, Minister for the North East, on a visit to the highly successful Northern Kites Project in the Derwent Valley.

The initiative, which is led by Project Manager Keith Bowey, has seen the re-introduction of 94 Red Kite birds into the area and is now well ahead of its five year schedule. It is hoped that as the new Minister for the North, Mr Brown will use his influence to promote the reintroduction of the birds as a symbol of the regeneration of the North East.

Dave Anderson MP said,

"This scheme has confounded the experts and has the potential to show the whole country that environment, business and economic success can go together to the benefit of all concerned"

Nick Brown MP, Minister for the North East said,

"Tyneside has a first rate countryside and wildlife visit on its doorstep. The Red Kites of Blaydon turned up for my visit to the constituency and it was a great pleasure to meet them with their constituency Member of Parliament Dave Anderson. The Red Kites are an iconic symbol of our regions regeneration."

The Red Kite was eliminated from England by the end of the 19th Century being poisoned and shot by local people. Since then attempts have been made to bring it back to its natural home, this one being the most successful in the country. The Red Kite has since become a household name in the Derwent Valley, as they are often seen soaring over the rooftops of the local towns and villages.

Congratulating the project, Dave Anderson MP said,

"Northern Kites is a remarkable achievement for the residents of the Derwent Valley. Not only have we seen the re-introduction of such a beautiful bird to the North East, but we have encouraged more tourism in our area and education about wildlife and lifestyle with people of all ages. Through this initiative we hope to become a beacon for natural beauty in Britain."

Eighty-eight schools have also supported the project by taking the opportunity to "adopt a Kite" and now we are seeing the first natural breeding in the North East for over 200 years.

The project has been well publicised in the Metro Centre and even integrated into the local 45, 46 and 46a bus services. These services run from Newcastle city centre to Consett via the Metro Centre, Swalwell and 'kite country' in the Derwent Valley offering local people and tourists the chance to hop on and off the bus to experience the rich countryside that lies on the doorstep of the city.

For further information on the Northern Kites visit

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Dave Anderson MP welcomes £20m for Children's Centres in Gateshead

15 Aug 2007

Blaydon Labour MP Dave Anderson has welcomed the fact that children, parents and families in Gateshead will soon benefit from a funding boost for Sure Start Children's Centres, early years and childcare.

The MP for Blaydon said that Gateshead local authority would receive over £20m over the next three years for early years and childcare, including over £8m to expand the number of Children's Centres.

Dave Anderson, Labour MP for Blaydon, welcomed the announcement saying:

"This is fantastic news. We have a great responsibility for every child's development in our area and this funding will help improve the lives of our children dramatically."

Through this huge boost in funding from our Labour Government, every 3 and 4 year old child will now be entitled to a free early-years education place for 12.5 hours a week over a period of 38 weeks. The grant will also make sure there are sufficient childcare places in our local area to allow parents to go back to work or into training.

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Dave Anderson MP continues the fight against the Open cast

15 Aug 2007

Dave Anderson MP has continued the fight against proposals for an open cast mine near Gibside in the Derwent Valley.

He has written to Halls Construction, the company behind the proposals, to raise his concerns about their continued efforts to open cast mine on the land and resubmit their planning application, despite local opposition.

Dave wrote,

"I was pleased to hear you have withdrawn your appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. However, along with thousands of local people, I was appalled to learn of your intention to resubmit the application."

Dave Anderson MP has been a consistent objector to the application and recently submitted a 4,500 signature petition in parliament against the application.

His letter continued,

"I urge you yet again, to reconsider and withdraw, gracefully or otherwise, your proposals. I can assure you that the opposition to your plans will continue to be rigorously opposed and will, I believe, end up being refused as has been the case with the last nine attempts by contractors to despoil the Derwent Valley."

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MP's plea for Iraqi Trade Unions

7 Aug 2007

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson has today urged the Government to raise with the Iraqi PM the serious concerns raised by the TUC about further restrictions on Trade Union rights in Iraq.

Mr Anderson, who is a joint President of Labour Friends of Iraq, said,

"One of the few positives in the whole saga of Iraq has been the rebirth of a thriving trade union movement. However the implementation of new laws and the refusal to change some of Saddam's draconian legislation is an ill concealed attempt to hold back the development of real grass roots democracy"

Dave Anderson raised his concerns in response to an internal oil ministry memo which urges managers to use Saddam Hussein's laws, which ban public sector unions against workers in the oil industry. TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber has also raised the matter with UK Ministers and with the Iraqi Prime Minister.

Labour Friends of Iraq have consistently raised the issue of TU rights in Iraq with the Government since the imposition of article 8750 two years ago. In March of 2006 a delegation from Labour Friends of Iraq met 22 of the leaders of the Iraqi Trade Unions in Iraq and these laws were seen by them as the biggest obstacle to their democratic development.

Dave Anderson said,

"The implementation of yet another restriction on the ability of Trade Unions to organise effectively is extremely worrying. If Iraq wants to be seen as a part of the democratic world, it has to accept that a free trade union movement is an essential component.

"I fully endorse the response from the TUC and urge our Government to make the Iraqi's fully aware that these continuing constraints are detrimental to the development of democracy in Iraq and should be repealed immediately."

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MP Calls for Bridge Re-think

2 Aug 2007

Dave Anderson MP today called for Northumberland County Council to reconsider their plans to close Wylam Bridge and implications it will have on people and businesses in his constituency.

The Blaydon MP revealed that he has been waiting for a response from the County Council about their failure to properly consult people living near the bridge. The bridge is set to be closed for four months from 13 August.

Mr Anderson said,

"Up to 1,000 residents on the south side of the Tyne will be cut off from their GP's surgery in Wylam and many people travel from north side to shop in Crawcrook. I accept the need for the work to be done to make the bridge safer and for it to be carried out safely but I feel that more attention has been given to the technical operation than to the impact on the day to day lives of local people."

The MP has also urged Gateshead Council to engage with Northumberland County Council to find a solution that would enable the work to go ahead and allow access over one lane of the bridge, especially in emergencies.

Mr Anderson went on to say,

"One of the biggest criticisms we hear today is the failure of policy makers to consult people affected by their decisions. Northumberland County Council has the chance to address that issue, take care of the needs of people on both sides of the river and carry out the necessary work to the bridge. I urge them to do so."

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Dave Anderson MP Welcomes Local Sport Investment

26 Jul 2007

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson has welcomed the announcement that the National Sports Foundation has backed the EDF National Schools Rugby Programme with £198,000 of additional funding.

The scheme, launched in the region in 2006, involves local team the Newcastle Falcons giving boys and girls between the ages of 8-10 an introduction to rugby union.

The government led initiative has encouraged new and additional private investment into community sport.

The programme has already benefited nearly 100,000 children and teachers across the country. As well as providing new equipment for school sports, it also means children across the region can get involved with professional players to create excitement and involvement in a sport at a grassroots level.

Dave Anderson added,

"I'm really pleased that this scheme can be extended to give more children the chance to get involved with sports from a young age."

"It is more important than ever to encourage active children and promote an excitement for sport in our schools."

To date, the programme has involved over 250 schools in the North East and 30,000 nationwide.

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Petition to Block Opencast

25 Jul 2007

Dave Anderson MP has laid before Parliament a petition of more than 4,500 local residents calling on the Government to block plans to opencast mine a Derwent Valley beauty spot, close to the National Trust's historic Gibside estate.

Gateshead Council has twice refused Halls Construction permission to extract 500,000 tonnes of coal from land at Skons Park, Whickham, but the company has appealed to the Secretary of State. A public enquiry has now been scheduled to take place in October.

Objectors are concerned about lorry movements, hydrology, noise, vibration, dust and damage to the environment if the opencast is allowed to go ahead.

The Blaydon MP has run a concerted campaign against the proposal, previously putting down a motion to Parliament and raising the issue in House of Commons debates.

Presenting the petition in the House of Commons, Mr Anderson said,

"For the past three years, people in the North-East of England have faced yet another attempt by open-cast coal developers to exploit and rape the beautiful Derwent valley. Despite the opposition of the local authority and in defiance of the views of thousands of local people and a multitude of public and private bodies, the developers have gone to appeal. In that process, they have continually failed to disclose the appropriate information to all concerned, and persisted with a plan that has given the residents of the area grave cause for concern.

"This petition is a public declaration of their opposition to those plans, and I urge the Secretary of State to use all her powers to protect one of the last remaining green spaces in the Tyneside conurbation."

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Blaydon MP urges people to claim their lost funds

19 Jul 2007

Dave Anderson, MP for Blaydon has urged all local people to claim any funds in dormant bank accounts they may have.

His comments were made in response to the ongoing dormant accounts campaign to encourage people to check old bank accounts that they may have forgotten. The campaign intends to highlight the funds that have been left unclaimed by local residents.

Nationwide more than 10,000 claims have been made for such funds, but many more people have not traced money they are owed.

"There are 172 dormant accounts in my constituency alone with an average of £174 of unclaimed funds per account"

said Dave Anderson.

He added that,

"it has been a welcome move that some banks like Halifax Bank of Scotland has tried to reunite these funds with their rightful owners and I hope others will follow this example."

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Blaydon MP Dave Anderson Leading the Fight Against Muscle Disease

18 Jul 2007

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson chaired the Annual General Meeting of the Muscular Dystrophy All Party Parliamentary Group last night in the House of Commons, and was joined by MPs and Peers from across the political parties who pledged to join the fight against muscle disease.

The theme of the meeting was the transition from children's to adult's services for adolescents with disabilities, and the difficulties families often face at this stage.

Speakers included Kate Parkin, a trustee of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, whose teenage son has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and the Director of Special Education Needs from the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

Commenting on the meeting, Dave said:

"Despite young people with muscle disease living longer, the quality of medical care often declines after transfer to adult services.

"Adolescents with disabilities can also be left in a minefield, having to fight for their rights in areas of education, employment, housing and benefits.

"I'm delighted that so many MPs and Peers have come together to ensure that young adults with muscle disease are able to enjoy and take part in all areas of life, which healthy teenagers may take for granted."

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign is the only national charity focusing on all muscle diseases. More than 30,000 people in the UK have muscular dystrophy or a related muscle disease. A further 120,000 are affected indirectly as carers, parents or siblings.

Dave Anderson has been re-elected as Chair of the Muscular Dystrophy All Party Parliamentary Group.

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High Spen's heroes march on

8 Jul 2007
The sculpture will cast a shadow of a soldier onto stone at 11 a.m. on November 11th every year.
The sculpture will cast a shadow of a soldier onto stone at 11 a.m. on November 11th every year.

A Gateshead village's war heroes will be remembered at a special ceremony this weekend to mark the end of a project to create a memorial sculpture.

Over the past year, members of an inter-generational group, aged from nine to eighty four-years-old, have been working with sculptor Felicity Watts.

They have been exploring High Spen's heritage and deciding on a fitting memorial to celebrate the village's two Victoria Cross soldiers and the lives they saved, as well as raising awareness of this hidden history.

During World War I the soldiers of High Spen were some of the most decorated in the country.

All those who died are commemorated on the war memorial in the local churchyard at St Patrick's Church. However, two High Spen residents who survived World War I were awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery, which is an amazing achievement considering only 16 VCs were awarded across the whole of the UK.

And this Sunday young and old will come together at a dedication service for the sculpture, which will cast a shadow of a soldier onto stone at 11 a.m. on November 11th every year.

Villagers will be joined by soldiers from the Coldstream Guards and the Rifles, along with contingents from the British Legion, Army Cadets and veterans from the Durham Light Infantry (DLI) and other forces organisations, for the parade and service.

The two VCs being honoured are Private Thomas Young of the DLI and Lance Corporal William Dobson of the Coldstream Guards, who were honoured for saving lives rather than taking them.

Between them they saved the lives of ten injured men, returning to the battlefield time and time again.

Bella Milner, Thomas Young VC's daughter.
Bella Milner, Thomas Young VC's daughter.

Private Young's son and daughter, Jackie Morrell and Bella Milner and other relatives, will be at the service, along with Corporal Dobson's cousin, Raymond Dodd.

The DLI's Borneo Band will be playing and the salute will be taken by the Lord Lieutenant, Nigel Sherlock, who will be joined by Deputy Lord Lieutenant and local historian Alex Johnson, Councillor David Lynn, the Mayor of Gateshead, and two visiting Chelsea Pensioners.

"A memorial celebrating local heritage ensures that future generations will not forget the remarkable achievement these two men made, and the spirit they represent,"
said Lynne Caffrey, secretary of High Spen Community Association.

"The sculpture, which is located in the grounds of High Spen Primary School, marks the VC's achievements and reflects village life and the way in which different generations support each other."

The community association was awarded £35,900 by the Heritage Lottery to complete the year-long project.

Private Thomas Young VCPrivate Thomas Young VC (1895-1966) was a member of the Durham Light Infantry. Born in Boldon, he spent most of his life in High Spen and worked at Garesfield Colliery. Aged 22, he was one of the youngest men to be awarded the Victoria Cross when, as a stretcher bearer, he went out in front of the British lines nine consecutive times in broad daylight to rescue wounded men.

Lance Corporal William Dobson VCLance Corporal William Dobson VC (1886-1935) moved to High Spen to work in Garesfield Pit after three years in the Coldstream Guards, At the outbreak of World War I he was called for active service and was awarded the Victoria Cross for volunteering to rescue a fallen comrade. When he discovered that this soldier had died, he went back out to rescue another to bring him safely back. He was seriously wounded in the battle of Ypres and eventually died as a result of his injuries in 1935.

The parade, which will begin at 1.30 p.m., will march from High Spen Park, Glossop Street, to High Spen Primary School, with the ceremony starting at 2 p.m. and lasting for about 45 minutes.

Jackie Morrell, Thomas Young's son, who came up from Staffordshire (Thomas Young's original name was Morrell - he changed it when he joined the DLI to his stepmother's name) said after the event,

"It's been an absolutely fantastic day and a credit to the people of High Spen. I've really enjoyed myself, as have all the family, and the village should be proud of what has been achieved today. I'm still a Spen lad at heart and I'm sure that my dad would've loved every minute of it."

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Brave Bevin Boys

Dave Anderson MP today met with Bevin Boys Veterans from across the country, who had been invited to parliament to celebrate the decision to award a badge to those young men who were conscripted into the coal mines of Britain from 1943 onwards.

Dave Anderson MP said,

"This is a real recognition of the great service that these young men did when there country needed it. In 20 years in the Coal industry I worked with miners who had entered the industry as Bevin Boys in the darkest days of the 2nd World War. They were as important to the war effort as any of the other services and its great news that there unselfish contribution is finally being acknowledged. This news, coming in the same week as Veterans Day, will be welcomed by those who protected our country from fascism in the Forties."

The Bevin Boys scheme was introduced in 1943 by then Minister for Labour and National Service, Ernest Bevin, in response to an increasing shortage of labour in the coal mining industry. The scheme ran between 1943 and 1948 and involved recruiting men aged between 18 and 25 years to work in coal mines rather than serve in the armed forces. Some 48,000 men were either selected or volunteered under the scheme.

The application process for the new lapel Badge will be introduced towards the end of the year, with a view to awarding the first Badge in March next year to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the demobbing of the last Bevin Boy.

Dave Anderson said,

"I would encourage all veterans and Bevin Boys to apply for the badges to recognise their achievements."

The process for the Bevin Badge will be announced later this year. To apply for a Veterans Badge call 0800 169 2277.

28 Jun 2007

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Ofcom launch review on unfair charges

Dave Anderson MP for Blaydon, today welcomed the news from Ofcom that they are to launch a review of charge made to customers who choose not to pay their telephone bills by direct debit or other non-cash methods.

This follows Dave Anderson's campaign against BT's introduction of a £4.50 per quarter charge in April.

"I raised this issue on behalf of Olive Hocking, a constituent from Crawcrook who was quite rightly appalled over the principle of being forced to pay extra money to settle her bills. What has come to light is that fact that some companies don't make a charge whilst others get up to £25 a quarter."

Mr. Anderson confirmed that Ofcom had received complaints from many customers and also expressed their concern about the transparency of a range of additional charges on phone bills.

"Ofcom have assured me that they will look both at the levels of there pernicious charges and decide what changes may be required. They are committed to concluding the report in autumn. Why should people be charged to spend their own money?"

11 Jun 2007

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Dave Anderson MP takes fight for Trade Union rights to the top

Blaydon Labour MP Dave Anderson used the opportunity of the Northern LP hustings to raise with the future Prime Minister Gordon Brown the issue of Trade Union rights in Iraq.

Dave Anderson, who is the chair of the group Labour Friends of Iraq, has supported free trade unions in Iraq since he was the President of Unison, the public service union.

Dave Anderson said,

"One of the few positives in the whole mess that is Iraq, has been the rebirth of the Iraqi Trade Union movement, a movement that was almost exterminated by Saddam Hussein. Thankfully they have now built their membership to over one million"

However almost two years ago the Iraqi government seized the assets of the Trade Unions, effectively meaning that they cannot operate freely and independently.

"We are supposed to be fighting for democracy in Iraq. A nation that restricts free Trade Union's can never consider itself a genuine democracy. I have raised this issue constantly over the last two years and I won't let go now." Gordon Brown responded that he will soon be visiting Iraq and that he will pursue the matter with the Iraqi's. Dave Anderson MP welcomed that promise saying" We can't let these people down. They are key to the development of the new Iraq and a real test of the new Government's belief in democracy"

4 Jun 2007

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Dave Anderson MP calls for controls of private security firms in Iraq

Dave Anderson MP has raised in Parliament the issue of mercenaries and private military security companies (PMSCs) in conflict zones around the world.

In a parliamentary question last week Dave asked what has been done to regulate private military security companies and asked for a Foreign Office Statement on the issue. This issue has been highlighted by the recent kidnapping of UK nationals in Iraq.

Dave Anderson said

"Whilst everything possible should be done to secure their early and safe release, the Government must look again at the whole issue of regulating their behaviour on the ground in conflict situations. A green paper was produced in 2002, but it is gathering dust on a Foreign office shelf while thousands of private soldiers roam free in Iraq."

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

4 Jun 2007

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Dave Anderson MP calls for urgent action on global poverty and climate change

One face of global poverty
One face of global poverty

Dave Anderson, Blaydon MP has signed an Early Day Motion in parliament calling on Tony Blair and the other G8 leaders to take urgent action to end global poverty and avert potentially catastrophic climate change.

Mr Anderson who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on third world solidarity said,

"It is imperative that the G8 member states live up to their commitments to eradicate poverty and tackle climate change, so I will be urging the UK Government to take stronger action and use its influence in Europe and the G8. I also be encourage my constituents and their friends and families to sign up to the campaign and to travel to London on 2nd June to ensure that their voices are heard in the fight against poverty".

The G8 Summit, which starts on 6th June in Germany, is key to ensuring that not only do the rich countries deliver on the commitments they made at the Gleneagles Summit in 2005, but they also make further, far-reaching promises. Urgent action is needed on debt cancellation, on more and better aid, on trade justice, on healthcare, education, water and sanitation for all, and to prevent catastrophic climate change.

In the UK, over ninety campaigning organisations have joined forces to arrange a mass anti-poverty rally in Westminster on Saturday 2nd June, to show the G8 leaders that the world is watching and the world can't wait.

25 May 2007

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Left to Right: Anne Craig MKMRF- Bev Wears British Lung Foundation - Dave Anderson MP MKMRF Patron - Chris Knighton MKMRF Founder
Left to Right: Anne Craig MKMRF- Bev Wears British Lung Foundation - Dave Anderson MP MKMRF Patron - Chris Knighton MKMRF Founder

£250,000 for British Lung Foundation

Dave Anderson MP, Patron of the Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund expressed his delight at the donation of a cheque for £100,000 to the British Lung Foundation to fund further research into mesothelioma.

Since its establishment 5 years ago the fund has raised a total of £250,000 and is at present funding a vital research study at the Northern Institute for Cancer Research.

Dave Anderson said

"I am honoured to be involved with the fund and the important work they are doing to tackle this dreadful disease."

22 May 2007

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Dave Anderson MP joins search to find the missing millions with killer disease

Dave Anderson MP

Blaydon MP, Dave Anderson, demonstrated his support for the British Lung Foundation's 'Missing Millions' campaign at a Lung Health Awareness Day at the House of Commons on 9th May.

The 'Missing Millions' campaign aims to raise awareness of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), a lung condition that affects more than three million people in the UK and kills more people than breast, bowel or prostate cancer. More than two of the three million remain undiagnosed. The British Lung Foundation is trying to find them by raising awareness of the disease.

COPD is a progressive, irreversible lung disease yet it is both preventable and treatable and early diagnosis and treatment can slow the progression of the illness. Symptoms include a persistent cough, breathing problems, a wheezy chest, and recurrent chest infections.

While taking part in the 'Missing Millions' wordsearch game to learn more about the symptoms of COPD, Dave Anderson MP said:

"I am delighted to be supporting the British Lung Foundation's 'Missing Millions' campaign. It is terrible that so many people might have this disease but not know it. I want to help the British Lung Foundation find these 'Missing Millions'."

Dame Helena Shovelton, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation said:

"We are pleased that Dave Anderson MP is supporting our campaign. It is so important that those with COPD are diagnosed early so that they can get the treatment they need as early as possible. We hope that Dave Anderson will be able to take the message back to his constituents and make them aware of the symptoms of COPD."

Anyone who wants more information about the British Lung Foundation or about COPD should visit or call the BLF Helpline on 08458 50 20 20.

  1. The British Lung Foundation is the only UK charity working for everyone affected by lung disease. The charity focuses its resources on providing support for people affected by lung disease today; and works in a variety of ways (including funding world-class research) to bring about positive change, to improve treatment, care and support for people affected by lung disease in the future.
    It provides information via the website and telephone helpline 08458 50 50 20.
  2. In 2006 the charity launched a membership scheme with the aim of recruiting the 8 million people with lung disease in the UK and anyone with an interest in lung disease.
  3. One person in every seven in the UK is affected by lung disease - this equates to approximately 8 million people
  4. Respiratory disease is the second biggest killer in the UK (117,456 deaths in 20042) after all non-respiratory cancers combined which only account for slightly more deaths (122,500 deaths in UK in 2004)
  5. Respiratory disease now kills one in five people in the UK
  6. The UK's death rate from respiratory disease is almost double the European average and the 6th highest in Europe
  7. Respiratory disease is the most commonly reported long term illness in children and the third most commonly reported in adults. One in 7 boys and 1 in 8 girls aged 2 - 15 report having long term respiratory illness in England

10 May 2007

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Dave Anderson praises the Centenary of Emmaville School

Blaydon Labour MP, David Anderson, has congratulated local primary school Emmaville in Crawcrook, on celebrating its centenary year in a motion to Parliament.

The local school and friends of the school have organised a range of activities to commemorate this impressive anniversary. These include themed events to celebrate each decade in the schools history, an 'Old Time Music Hall' event and a guided tour of the school as it is today from past and present pupils.

The motion reads:

"This House congratulates Emmaville Primary School in the Blaydon Constituency on celebrating its centenary this year and acknowledges the hard work and commitment of pupils, staff, parents and governors over the last 100 years;"

Emmaville School's celebration events will be launched with a Centenary day on the 19th May. This will be held in the school grounds and will be for the whole community. During the day there will be a number of fun activities for young and old.

The full text of the Early Day Motion follows:

EDM - Celebrating 100 Years of Education at Emmaville Primary School
This House congratulates Emmaville Primary School in the Blaydon Constituency on celebrating its centenary this year; acknowledges the hard work and commitment of pupils, staff, parents and governors over the last 100 years; wishes all concerned well with their plans which include a variety of events celebrating the last century including hosting an 'Old Time' music hall event and burying a time capsule; recognises the input of the Friends of Emmaville in developing these events that will run through the summer term, praises the decision to assign each classroom a timeline and a decade in the school's history; looks forward to the school's second century and hopes that the bringing together of Emmaville with Kepier Chare Primary School pupils will enhance the education of Crawcrook children for generations to come.

1 May 2007

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Top Marks for Blaydon School

Dave Anderson MP today visited St Thomas More School in Blaydon to share in the school assembly and to hear of the outstanding OFSTED report the school has received just this week.

On a surprise 24 hour visit OFSTED inspectors decided on all criteria the school was at the top of the class. They were especially impressed by the interaction between the children.

Dave Anderson also gave his congratulations to pupils, parents and staff on recently being amongst the top performing schools in the country in the national achievement and attainment tables.

"This has not happened by accident but by the whole of the school working together in a positive and supportive way. Results like this make me proud to be the MP in this area and of the ongoing commitment of the Government to education."

Mr Anderson, a ministerial aide in the Department of Education, went on to say,

"Education is the key for these young people's futures. Today's achievements are recognition of their determination to succeed and we all should applaud that. This excellent OFSTED report is the icing on the cake"

15 Feb 2007

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Fighting Fuel Poverty

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson has written to all the major energy providers in the UK to ask them to do all they can to help pensioners who are suffering from the increasing costs of heating their homes this winter.

Dave said,

"I have been campaigning in parliament for extra help for older people with their heating bills, but energy companies need to play their part by using some of their large profits to help their most vulnerable customers.

"Ofgem are estimating that 4 million households face fuel poverty this winter. I believe this is totally unacceptable. 3 years ago the figure was nearer to 2 million and government and business must both act swiftly to address the problem."

Dave Anderson has raised the issue of the unprecedented rise in energy bills with the Prime Minister. Mr Blair said he hoped "companies that are supplying those pensioners take account of the fact that the elderly, particularly those who are living in poverty, have special and particular needs."

10 Jan 2007

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Skons Park in Parliament

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson has today raised again the issue of the open cast site at Skons Park near Whickham in Parliament.

Speaking in a debate on the future of the coal industry he said,

"It is a nonsense to mothball pits like Harworth (in Nottingham) and Rossington (South Yorkshire) who have millions of tons of reserves and at the same time contractors are waiting to destroy the natural and historic environment of land in my constituency to get at less than half a million tons of coal."

Mr Anderson, who worked at Rossington Colliery in the early 70s, went on,

"The Government needs to step in and do the job that the private coal companies won't do. We need a strategic approach to develop the deep coal mining industry and protect our environment at the same time. We can regain our position as the safest industry in the world, as well as being the leader of clean coal technology, but this won't happen if we allow contractors to dig up our great countryside while millions of tons is lying dormant under our feet and under the North Sea."

9 Jan 2007

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Meet the Lottery Funders!

Dave Anderson MP is arranging a 'Meet the Lottery Funders' afternoon on the 19th January to help voluntary groups in Gateshead.

This will be an opportunity for you to meet with representatives from the Lottery so you can get advice on the best way to get Lottery funding for your project.

It will be held at Dave Anderson's constituency offices at St Cuthbert's Church Hall, Shibdon Road in Blaydon from 1.30 p.m. until 4 p.m.

If you or a representative from your organisation would like to come along, or if you would like directions or for more details please contact Helen Hughes or Bernadette Oliphant on 414 2488 or e-mail

5 Jan 2007

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Supporting trade unionists in Iraq

Labour MPs Dave Anderson and Sharon Hodgson have joined forces to support workers' rights in Iraq with a well-supported Commons motion urging people to send their old mobile phones and chargers to the TUC which will send them to Iraqi unions.

The MPs said:

"The new Iraqi trade union movement unites workers regardless of their religion and is seeking to help build democracy and peace in Iraq. Their growth in the last three years is one of the mainhopeful developments in Iraq and they desperately need all the help they can get. Many people have unused phones and these can be put to good use. So please think of Iraqi trade union members over Christmas and send them your old phone with its charger. It won't take much to do it but can help make a big difference to people just like us who want the normal things in life - peace, jobs and democracy.

"Please send used mobile phones (with chargers) to TUC Aid, Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS."

This is an ideal time to ask local party members and trade unionists to back TUC Aid, if they get a new phone in their Christmas stocking.

You can find more details at:

21 Dec 2006

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Dave Anderson MP gives the Gift of Reading this Christmas

MP donates book to Book Aid International

Dave at the Book Aid EventDave Anderson MP donated the Christmas gift of a book to Book Aid International during a reception held on Tuesday in the House of Commons.

The event was held by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Libraries and Information Management on Tuesday (December 19) and was attended by nearly 80 MPs, including Constitutional Affairs Minister, Harriet Harman MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Stephen Timms MP and Minister for the Third Sector, Ed Miliband MP.

The event was hosted by All Party Group chair Lyn Brown, MP for West Ham, who said that Book Aid International provides over half a million books and journals each year to libraries, hospitals, refugee camps and schools in 18 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Palestine.

It also works with library partners in these countries to develop their pivotal role in the community.

Dave Anderson MP said:

"Books can make a real difference to people's lives. Books are the basic tools of literacy and education yet millions of children and adults across the developing world do not have access to them."

"I fully support the work of Book Aid International and encourage my constituents to support this worthwhile cause, further information on which can be found at "

Dave Anderson MP donated the Book The Stone which tells a children's story about a remarkable baby and the stone he gave away.

Book Aid International works in 18 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Palestine, providing over half a million books and journals each year to libraries, hospitals, refugee camps and schools. The majority of its support goes to rural and urban libraries which are free and accessible to everyone. It also works with library partners in these countries to develop their pivotal role in the community.

21 Dec 2006

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MP's Welcome for Better Bus Services

Dave Anderson MP has welcomed Government proposals to radically change the operation of local bus services.

Responding to the launch of "Putting Passengers First" by Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander, the Blaydon MP said

"This is long overdue. The twenty years since the Tories deregulated buses have seen the standards of services decline in my constituency.

"Buses are a life line for many people, especially in the outlying areas. I have had constituents faced with not being able to get to their daily place of work when bus companies have suddenly withdrawn services that they relied on.

"The plan is to give local authorities more power to tailor the relationship they have with private bus operators. This will include more co-operation over routes, timetables and fares so that the service is better for customers.

"Two-thirds of all public transport journeys are taken by bus. Buses are not just vital now, they are also a key way in which we can tackle congestion and improve the environment in the future.

"I will be working with Nexus and Gateshead Council to make sure we put right bus services for the people of my constituency. The plan is good but we have to make sure it works out in practice."

The key changes being considered in Putting Passengers First are:

13 Dec 2006

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MP steps up Pensioners' Fuel Campaign

Dave Anderson MP today in Parliament raised again his campaign for a better deal for pensioners facing the prospect of sky high fuel bills this winter. Questioning Prime Minister Tony Blair in the Commons, the Blaydon MP called for extra help for pensioners with their heating bills and asked that the Government consider taxing excessive profits of energy companies.

The PM answered referring to the £200 winter fuel allowance (£300 for over 80's) already in place and encouraging the energy companies to "take account of the fact that the elderly, particularly those who are living in poverty, have special and particular needs."

Following on from questions to the Prime Minister, Chancellor Gordon Brown, in his Pre-Budget Report to parliament spoke about the Government's objective to eliminate fuel poverty through a range of measures to assist pensioners, including:

Having listened to the Chancellor's speech, Dave Anderson said:

"I welcome the increase in the basic pension and I am very pleased the Government has raised further the minimum income for our poorest pensioners. I also welcome the extension of the Warm Zone scheme, building on great work that has already been done.

"The Chancellor's announcement is certainly a move in the right direction but I would still urge the Government to keep a watchful eye on developments. The utility companies need to play their part and must pass on the recent reductions in their costs to their customers, who have seen bills rise by up to 35% in the last year. I will be writing to all the energy suppliers to ask them how they intend to help our older people in line with the Prime Minister's comments."

The Tyneside MP had twice, last week, raised in Parliament the issue of extra support for pensioners. Following a question to the pensions minister and an intervention in the Queen's Speech debate, he met with John Hutton, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to put forward the case of pensioners organisations.

Mr Anderson added,

"The Secretary of State assured me that there would be support for pensioners in the Pre-Budget Report and that the Lyons Review of Council Tax may provide further help. I will continue to work with the National Pensioners Convention and Age Concern to get the best deal possible for our older people."

6 Dec 2006

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MP calls for Fuel Help for Pensioners

Dave Anderson MP is campaigning for increased heating allowances for pensioners to cover spiralling energy bills.

Questioning pensions ministers in the House of Commons, he asked the Government to make additional payments this winter to reflect the recent increases in energy prices.

Mr Anderson pointed out that Government figures for fuel poverty are based on information that is now two years out of date and National Energy Action (NEA) have estimated that the number of pensioners affected has more than doubled to over 2.8 million in that time. He asked that the Government urgently review the situation and report back to Parliament.

Replying for the Government, Anne Maguire MP said that they had increased winter fuel payments from £20 in 1997 to £200 (£300 for those over 80) in recent years, spending £2 billion on the scheme last winter. She said that the Government had in addition introduced the Warm Front programme to combat fuel poverty and agreed to consider the views of NEA highlighted by the Blaydon MP.

Mr Anderson repeated his call for action to help pensioners during the Treasury and Work and Pensions debate on the Queen's Speech. He asked for a range of issues put forward by the National Pensioners Convention and Age Concern to be addressed by the pensions reform bill and requested that the Secretary of State build in a heating upgrade to the state pension for next year.

Speaking to the Evening Chronicle, Dave Anderson said

"Fuel prices are up 35% this year and have doubled over the last three years. There were 24,000 excess winter deaths in England last year and more than 90% of them were of pensioners. We have made major progress in reducing fuel poverty since 1997 but that is being threatened by the severe increases in gas and electricity bills. Now is the time to act if we are to save our objective to completely eradicate fuel poverty in the next 10 years. We owe it to our older people to provide them with security in their retirement. I will continue to press the Government for action".

28 Nov 2006

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Welcome for new Academies

Dave Anderson, MP for Blaydon and recently appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Department for Education and Skills has today welcomed first wave of the new National Skills Academies.

The National Skills Academy (NSA) Network will provide skills training tailored to the specific needs of employers and their sector. They provide a means for hands-on involvement by employers in the design and delivery of learning.

Dave Anderson said,

"This builds on work led by Trade unions and others on helping to up skill our workforce to meet the challenges of the 21st century."

Dave Anderson will work as part of the education team, along side the Minister for Further Education & Higher Education Bill Rammell MP and Phil Hope MP who is leading the Skills Agenda.

12 NSAs should be operational by the end of 2008 and eventually it is hoped there will be an NSA for every major sector of the economy. The Government is investing £90m in the set up of the first 12 NSAs.

3 Nov 2006

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MP joins Fight to double Lung Cancer Survival

Lung Cancer Awareness Month 1 - 30 November

Dave on the campaign
Dave on the campaign

Dave Anderson, MP for Blaydon, has joined forces with UK lung cancer experts to double lung cancer survival.

Together with colleagues from across the political spectrum, Dave Anderson MP is working with the United Kingdom Lung Cancer Coalition (UKLCC) to urge Government to improve the lives of lung cancer victims.

The UK has one of the worst lung cancer survival rates in Europe1 and only just under four percent (3.9%) of the current NHS cancer research budget is dedicated to lung cancer2, despite being the UK's biggest cancer killer.3

"More women die from lung cancer than breast cancer3 and one in eight cases of lung cancer are among people who have never smoked,4"

says Dave Anderson MP.
"This Lung Cancer Awareness Month we want to help put the disease in the political spotlight."

Currently, you are four times more likely to survive lung cancer in some parts of the country than others.5

According to the UKLCC, thousands of lives can be saved over the next ten years by doubling current survival rates. Currently, just a quarter of people with lung cancer in England (25%) will live for a year and less than one in ten (7% in England) will still be alive five years after diagnosis.6,7

"We know if we apply the best standards of care already being demonstrated in some parts of the country, and if we diagnose people early, we can double one year and five year lung cancer survival rates by 2016,"

says Dr Mick Peake, chair of the UKLCC and national clinical lead for lung cancer.
"Thousands of lives could be saved as a result."

The UK Lung Cancer Coalition (UKLCC) is a powerful new coalition of the UK's leading lung cancer experts, senior NHS and Department of Health professionals, charities and healthcare companies. It is the UK's largest multi-interest group in lung cancer. This is the first time that all the major charities with an interest in lung cancer have come together.


Lung cancer kills over 33,000 people each year - more than breast cancer, prostate cancer, bladder cancer and leukaemia combined.3 Around 22,500 men and 15,200 women are diagnosed with lung cancer each year. 6 Half of all diagnosed will die within six months. 8 1542 people died from lung cancer in the Northern cancer network in 2003. 9

The main symptoms of lung cancer are: a persistent cough, or change to a long-standing cough; shortness of breath; coughing up phlegm with signs of blood; chest pain; loss of appetite; fatigue and weight loss.10

  1. EUROCARE 3. Cancer survival in Europe: IARC, 2003 (Accessed 14 Suppl 5, at and
  2. Lung Cancer Research in the UK 2006, Report of the NCRI Strategic Planning Group on Lung Cancer", October 2006
  4. UK figures extrapolated from Mannino DM, Ford E, Giovono GA & Thun M. 'Lung cancer deaths in the United States from 1979 to 1992: an analysis using multiple-cause mortality data. Int J Epidemiol 1998; 27: 159-166
  7. One- and five-year survival of patients diagnosed in 1998-2001: 21 common cancers, sex and age, England. 2005. (Accessed at
  8. Cancer Research UK Statistics Dept
  9. United Kingdom Association of Cancer Registries, 2006, Cancer Networks in 2003, (Accessed at

1 Nov 2006

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Open Cast Mining

Could this view be lost to open cast mining?
Could this view be lost to open cast mining?
The campaign to prevent an opencast mine being developed in a picturesque corner of Tyneside was taken to Parliament yesterday.

Dave Anderson, Labour MP for Blaydon, raised the matter with Environment Minister, David Miliband, during the climate change debate in the Commons. He asked the Secretary of State for his views on the threat that short-term exploitation of open coal sites posed to the development of a stable, green and environmentally sound economy, such as at Skons Park, near Whickham.

The Minister replied that this is an important issue, that he is aware of the local campaign against the development and that he hoped the matter would be considered by the coal forum set up by the Minister for Energy.

Hall Construction have launched an appeal against Gateshead Council's decision to refuse them permission to open cast the site, close to the National Trust's historic Gibside Estate. Opponents are concerned about the impact of heavy lorry movements on residential areas, damage to wildlife and the Environment.

Dave Anderson went on to say,

"The debate on Climate Change is obviously a global one, but the way we act as both individuals and as communities clearly has an impact, In the Derwent Valley we have chosen a green future and we will fight tooth and nail to protect our area and at the same time continue to be a vital green lung for the whole of the North East"

Gateshead Council has twice turned down the proposal against which over 8,000 objections were registered. The Planning Inspectorate is now considering the appeal and people have until 20 November to register their concerns.

31 Oct 2006

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MP Condemns Vodafone's Decision to Appeal Against Phone Mast

Dave Anderson MP today condemned Vodafone's decision to appeal against Gateshead Council's decision refuse planning permission for a Phone Mast at the Pentecostal Church, Kepier Chare, Crawcrook.

Mr Anderson said,

"I believe Gateshead Council made the right decision to turn down the application in May and I call on Vodafone to stop the distress and anguish they are causing local people by appealing against the decision."

Vodafone announced their decision to appeal against the decision at a public meeting in Crawcrook on the 16 October. The Blaydon MP has written to Vodafone to ask them to change their mind and not appeal against the decision. They have until November 3 to submit their appeal.

Speaking for local residents Helen Hughes said,

"Over 1,000 local people have signed petitions and lodged their objection to this application. Vodafone would get back some of the goodwill they have lost in this community by not appealing. If they go ahead with this appeal residents are prepared to fight them all the way."

Local resident Christine Squires says,

"This application has already been turned down twice, but if they think local residents will be worn down they are wrong. We are even more determined than before and the local community spirit has increased as a result."

26 Oct 2006

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MP Challenges Minister on Concessionary Fares

Dave Anderson MP for Blaydon last night challenged Transport Secretary of State Douglas Alexander, not to repeat the debacle that ensued this year as concessionary fares for elderly and disabled people were introduced in Tyne and Wear.

"The Secretary of State is keen to see more local, democratic control over bus services which I wholeheartedly support. However, while that debate moves forward, we must ensure that we don't have a re-run of this year's process where, despite long hours of work by Tyne and Wear MP's local councillors and Nexus, there was still a shortfall of £5 Million. That shortfall was covered by cuts to services and increase to fares for young people."

The Government is committed to introducing a nationwide scheme in 2008, but Mr Anderson urged the Secretary of State to engage with Tyne and Wear representatives to really deliver free travel in the next financial year.

"The Secretary of State recognises the anger and frustration felt by all concerned last year and he has agreed to work closely with us to try and find a solution that removes the problem for next year. I will be pushing him and treasury colleagues to reach that outcome."

24 Oct 2006

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Dave launches School Website

Dave Anderson MP has launched the new website at Fellside Primary School in Whickham.

The new website will keep pupils parents and teachers in touch with each other and the wider community.

Dave Anderson said,

"I was pleased to be asked to the launch the new Website which will be a great way for the community to find out more about their local school and community activities in Whickham."

Head teacher Kevin Doran said,

"We hope that this site becomes a key tool in our communication with the Fellside community with the blogging facility enabling a genuine exchange of information and ideas."

5 Oct 2006

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Time to make your Will

Dave Anderson MP for Blaydon today urged local solicitors to take part in this year's Will Aid campaign to encourage more people to make a will and for local solicitors to donate their time.

Dave says,

"People forget how important it is to have a professionally drawn up Will. It is the best way of ensuring the financial security of our loved ones.

Will Aid is a great campaign because it provides the motivation many people need to make their Will and raises vital funds for the charities involved.

I would like to encourage more local solicitors to participate."

Donations are shared by the nine leading charities involved in the scheme: ActionAid, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, Help the Aged, NSPCC, Save the Children UK, Sight Savers International, SCIAF and Trocaire. Will Aid donations are distributed amongst the participating charities and go a long way to help the widest number of people. For example, they could build a school in Ethiopia, save the sight of a child in India, or care for an elderly person in the UK.

Solicitors wishing to take part or to find out more about the scheme, should telephone the Campaign Office on 01460 271178, visit the website or email

14 Sep 2006

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Backing for Souvenir Ban

Dave Anderson MP for Blaydon today signalled his support for the International Fund for Animal Welfare's campaign to save endangered species from the deadly trinket trade - by pledging not to buy wildlife souvenirs when travelling abroad.

Tourism is one of the world's fastest growing industries. Yet this flourishing industry is resulting in thousands of holidaymakers returning home with 'exotic' souvenirs made from elephant ivory, rhino horn, animal teeth and claws, big cat skins, reptile skins, corals and much more.

Dave Anderson MP said:

"I am proud to support IFAW's campaign by pledging not to buy wildlife souvenirs on my holidays and urge others to do the same. While some souvenirs may appear harmless often they belie a bloody trade. Wild animals belong in the wild, not in our homes. I hope future generations will be lucky enough to experience the thrill of seeing wildlife in its natural habitat and not through history books."

IFAW estimate that as many as 600,000 people may have brought wildlife souvenirs into the UK in the last 5 years alone. Customs seize many thousands of illegal wildlife items, but the trade still continues to flourish. Mr Anderson called on tourists to support the IFAW campaign and urged,

"When you go abroad there are plenty of mementoes that you can bring back without supporting the unnecessary killing of animals. Remember if you don't buy, they don't die!"

He also highlighted the IFAW website where people can sign up to support the campaign

5 Sep 2006

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Building a democratic Iraq

Dave Anderson the MP for Blaydon Constituency, is to host a Conference in London on Thursday on developing support for Iraqi groups working in the UK & Iraq in trying to build a democratic society in post conflict Iraq.

Mr Anderson recently led a delegation to Iraq on behalf of "Labour Friends of Iraq" and he has campaigned vigorously for Iraqi trade unions to be allowed to organise and operate free from government interference.

"There are many views on UK involvement in Iraq, but, surely, we must all do all in our power to help ordinary Iraqis to move forward. This meeting brings together people with widely different views, but with the common aim of building a future for themselves and their families that leaves behind the years of tyranny and war."

The speakers include trade union representatives, Iraqi politicians and writers as well as activists from the Iraqi community in the UK.

Mr Anderson acknowledged that the issues facing Iraq are huge, but insists that it is only by direct involvement that progress can occur.

"I opposed the war in Iraq and I am appalled by the ongoing devastation that is happening on a day to day basis. But it is no good saying "I told you so". Anyone who can help should do so, and this Thursday's conference is a small contribution to that cause"

List of speakers' attached. Conference is in The Attlee Suite, Portcullis House, Westminster between 9 am & 11 am on 7/9/06

Speakers are:

  1. Shanaz. Ibrahim. Ahmed from the PUK but she will speak on behalf of the two major Kurdish Parties.
  2. Laith Al Rubai. He will speak on behalf of the Iraqi List ( a coalition of secular force headed by former PM Mr. Allawi that fought the recent Iraqi general. Election.
  3. Salam. Ali speaks on behalf of the committee. He is a member ofd the ICP
  4. Azim. Saghia, A well known Arab. Writer. He is a frequent contributor for. Al. Haite news paper. A very important Arabic news paper.
  5. Abdullah muhsin from the GFIW/IWF

Please note the time of this the meeting is from 9-11 am on 7. September

4 Sep 2006

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Dave Anderson MP becomes Patron of the Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund

Dave Anderson, MP for Blaydon, today announced that he has been invited to become a patron of the Mick Knighton Mesothelioma research Fund. Dave has been involved with the campaign for a number of years, including raising over £4,500 whilst he was National President of Unison.

"Mesothelioma is a devastating disease made all the more distressing by the fact that those dying from this disease should never have been exposed to the asbestos that caused it in the first place. That is why I was very proud to have been involved in recent changes to legislation in Parliament that will ensure that employers and insurance companies will not escape their responsibilities to these people and their families"

The Fund was set up to develop research into the disease by Chris Knighton, whose husband, Mick, died 5 years ago .To date a total of £190,000 has been raised, which has resulted in sponsorship of £88,000 to the Northern Institute for Cancer Research which will be used to develop a better understanding of the disease and improve both diagnosis and treatment.

Chris Knighton said,

"I have great respect and admiration for Dave Anderson and his total commitment to mesothelioma sufferers and their families. I am therefore delighted Dave has agreed to become a Patron of the Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund and look forward to working with him to help provide the best treatment options, care and support available to sufferers of this devastating cancer."

Dave Anderson said'

"I am delighted to be given this great honour. The people who have led this campaign have refused to allow their personal tragedy to stand in the way of helping those facing up to the impact of this cancer on their lives. They deserve the real credit and I will do all in my power to help them in any way that I can"

29 Aug 2006

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MP Calls on Government to Support Research into Motor Neurone Disease

Dave Anderson, MP for Blaydon, today urged the Department of Health to give support to a request for funding of £7.5 million from its medical research budget to help those whose lives are blighted by motor neurone disease.

"More than 1,000 people in this country will die from motor neurone disease this year. This is an incurable, fatal disease that leaves people totally dependent on carers for their most basic needs."

Dave Anderson is supporting the call made by the Motor Neurone Disease Association for the government to put up the funds which they will match as a real step towards a breakthrough in fighting the disease.

"I know there are serious demands on health budgets, but we have to face up to the reality in this country and start concentrating as much effort on saving lives instead of taking lives in war."

Motor Neurone Disease Association makes the point that the last five years the government spent £337,000 per diagnosed case of CJD as opposed to only £108 per diagnosed case of motor neurone disease.

25 Aug 2006

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National Minimum Wage

Dave Anderson, MP for Blaydon, today welcomed moves by the Treasury to expose rogue employers who are not paying their staff the legal National Minimum Wage.

The former trade union activist who campaigned for many years to see the National Minimum Wage become a reality praised the work done by enforcement teams from the Revenue and Customs Department.

"In the last year alone these teams have found over £3 million in underpaid salaries. Most employers are doing the right thing, but some are hiding behind lame excuses to deny working people their legal due."

Revenue and Customs have released a list of the 10 worst excuses employers are using to avoid paying the National Minimum Wage. They include "he's disabled", "it's ok when you add on her benefit", "I didn't think it applied to small employers."

Dave Anderson urged workers to make sure that they are not conned out of their rights.

"There should be no exemptions to paying the National Minimum Wage. If employers are not paying up they should be exposed. Anyone who is not being paid the National Minimum Wage should contact their local Revenue Office or their MP."

For your information, the full list of 10 bad excuses is as follows.

  1. I only took him on as a favour
  2. The workers can't speak English
  3. He's over 65, so the national minimum wage doesn't apply.
  4. She's on benefits - if you add those to her pay, it totals the NMW
  5. They can't cope on their own and it's more money than they would get in their own country
  6. He's disabled
  7. I didn't think it applied to small employers
  8. I didn't think the workers were worth NMW
  9. But she only wanted £3 an hour
  10. He doesn't deserve it - he's a total waste of space.

24 Aug 2006

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MP calls for tougher regulations on Mini Motos

Bikes may be seized and crushed
Bikes may be seized and crushed

Dave Anderson, MP for Blaydon, today urged the government to work with manufacturers and local agencies to control the miss-use of mini-motos. His call came following the Police Forum in Kibblesworth, an area where anti-social motor cycling has been and on-going issue.

"Despite the best efforts of local police and the local authority, it is clear that some people are intent on acting in an irresponsible manner. The use of motor bikes on public footpaths, bridleways and public open space is illegal, and police will take action whenever possible."

However the misuse of mini-motos is a particular issue because of the lack of any registration process.

"It is almost impossible to trace the owners of these machines and to hold them responsible if they are misused. I intend to write to the Home Secretary to urge him to take action to ensure that people can enjoy their bikes and not disturb the peace of their neighbours at the same time."

Dave Anderson also praised the good work being done by Gateshead Council in setting up a hot line (101) to use in order to complain about illegal use of motor cycles.

He also urged people to enjoy their sport in a correct way by using off-road sites which can be identified by calling 0191 4333141

14 Aug 2006

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