Press Releases 2008

 
16/12/08 MPs urge action for Pleural Plaques Victims
14/12/08 Praise in the Commons for Go North East Red Kite work
03/12/08 Blaydon MP delighted with changes to coronersí procedures
24/11/08 Radical and Fair
01/11/08 MP urges local teenagers to take part in writing competition
17/10/08 MP wins ministerial meeting to advance cause of those with Muscular Dystrophy
16/10/08 Gold Star for Local Schools as GCSE results published
07/10/09 Blaydon MPís new job in government
24/09/08 MPs unite to trial Free School Meals
24/09/08 MP appeals to PM to help Omagh Bomb Families
03/09/08 MP's plea for sensitivity over mesothelioma deaths
14/08/08 MP's appeal to invest in Coal
08/08/08 Dave Anderson MP races to visit learners in Blaydon
06/08/08 MP's plea for recognition of community service workers
05/08/08 Local MP protests against crackdown on unions in South Korea
18/07/08 Dave pulls the Pints at the Queen's Head in Proud Of Pubs Week 2008
17/07/08 Local MP supports disabled young campaigners
14/07/08 Warm welcome for Gateshead move on free school meals
08/07/08 Local MP probes Health Minister on services for vulnerable patients
05/07/08 Happy Birthday NHS!
03/07/08 Local MP backs clean Coal
27/06/08 Local Hero guest at the Commons
26/06/08 Local entrepreneur feted at Downing Street
24/06/08 Get those Uni Forms in now!
16/06/08 Dave Anderson and Usdaw welcome new Carers' Strategy
09/06/08 Dave Anderson MP hails rough sleeping investment
05/06/08 Dave pledges to protect endangered elephants from the deadly ivory trade
05/06/08 Foreign Secretary to visit local School
05/06/08 Dave Anderson MP backs TUC Speak up for Public Services rally
20/05/08 Dave Anderson MP hails historic deal on agency workers' rights
15/05/08 Local MP supports fight to improve services for vulnerable patients
13/05/08 Dave Anderson MP backs new ratings system for old people's residential care homes
0905/08 David Anderson MP exercises for lung health
06/05/08 Dave Anderson MP urges primary school pupils to enter IT contest
01/05/08 Dave calls for ban on trade in seal products after seeing cruelty of Canadian hunt
30/04/08 Dave Anderson MP says stop senseless slaughter of seals
25/04/08 Successful apprenticeships have soared
23/04/08 New Approach on Tax welcomed
15/04/08 Dave Anderson MP backs campaign on inheritance tax
14/04/08 Friends of the Earth praise local MP for stance on climate
11/04/08 Fuel poverty deal good but energy companies need to keep on their toes
10/04/08 Backing for Travel Scheme
08/04/08 New BT boss should be new broom and sweep away unfair charges
08/04/08 Anderson urges action on prostate cancer
02/04/08 MP urges "Claim the tax credits you're due"
01/04/08 Dave calls for more help for women in developing countries affected by HIV and AIDS
25/03/08 UK's biggest Climate Change Coalition congratulates Blaydon's MP as 'Climate Hero'
18/03/08 Wylam Brewery's Red Kite Ale raised in the House
11/03/08 Dave pledges Support for British Tourism Week
04/03/08 Backing for 'Smart Meters'
29/02/08 Dave Anderson MP helps Sunniside Local History Group Celebrate twice
29/02/08 A Rare Day for Rare Disease
28/02/08 Blaydon MP takes Action against Mesothelioma
28/02/08 MP spreads The Word that Screening Matters
07/02/08 Dave Anderson MP Praises Council
05/02/08 MP holds community surgery in High Spen
31/01/08 Dave backs Iraqi Soccer Star
30/01/08 Local MP calls on Government to end Disability Poverty
25/01/08 Dave marks Holocaust Memorial Day
25/01/08 Dave Anderson MP Congratulates Local School
24/01/08 MPs call for new law for asbestos victims
23/01/08 North MP welcomes approval of asbestos cancer treatment
09/01/08 Planning System: Unfit for Purpose?

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MPs urge action for Pleural Plaques Victims

16 Dec 2008

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson is joining with nearly 100 other MPs to urge the Government to end the misery of Pleural Plaques sufferers by overturning "the damaging 2007 Lords ruling ending the right to compensation."

Dave Anderson said:

"We are also asking the Ministry of Justice to make clear what steps it will take to provide support for thousands of UK workers scarred by pleural plaques. The concerted action by myself and other MPs is aimed at bringing forward decision day so we can get justice for this suffering from Pleural Plaques."

Commons Motion


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Praise in the Commons for Go North East Red Kite work

Red Kite
Red Kite
(Photo: www.northernkites.org.uk)
14 Dec 2008

Go North East will be praised in the Commons this week for beating nearly 200 other companies to win the national bus branding award for its Red Kite bus service, the highest award in the country for such activity

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson is due to table a cross-party motion commending Go North East for attracting people to see the Northern Kites, using a more sustainable transport method, and increasing passenger numbers on the relevant routes by over ten percent at the last estimate.

Dave Anderson, a keen supporter of the revival of the Red Kites in his constituency, also pays tribute to the local company for publishing a childrenís storybook Letís Go Flying Kites.

He said:

"The red kite symbol is very prominent on the bus route through Blaydon. Local people are very proud that we succeeded in reviving this beautiful bird in Blaydon. It helps make us all aware of how we connect with our natural environment and children appreciate this in particular. After all, we should always make sure that we work for an environment that they can inherit. And marrying that to environmentally-friendly transport makes a bigger point. Overall, itís definitely a win-win situation and Go North East deserves praises for playing its part in this."


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Blaydon MP delighted with changes to coronersí procedures

3 Dec 2008

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson is "delighted" that the Queenís Speech has delivered a promise of a new law that will enforce national standards for coroners and ensure a charter of services is delivered for bereaved families.

Dave Anderson, who has been working for some months with the British Lung Foundation to secure such a new law, said:

"The British Lung Foundation has uncovered poor practice whereby the families of those who die from asbestos-related Mesothelioma are treated insensitively, sometimes with police visits in the middle of the night. This new law would put the needs of bereaved families at the centre of the coronersí system and to appoint a Chief Coroner to set more sensitive national standards for the procedures that follow a death from mesothelioma."


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Radical and Fair

Dave Anderson reaction to the Pre-Budget Report

24 Nov 2008

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson welcomed the PBR as "both radical and fair."

"It illustrates that Labourís active state always beats the traditional Tory model - a cruel acceptance of tough economic times for working people.

"The typical Tory response to the depressions of the 1930s, 1980s and 1990s was to say that Ďunemployment is a price worth payingí or if Ďit isnít hurting, it isnít working.í

"I am glad that a Labour Chancellor wonít be singing in the bath but using the power of government to help the economy which has been buffeted by a global crisis made in the USA.

"We needed bold measures that put money into the economy, stopped it stalling and prepared it for the future. This has to be done fairly. I am therefore pleased that we will all gain from the cut in VAT, that pensioners receive an extra boost and that child benefit is going up as are winter fuel payments.

"Itís also right that the government invests in major transport projects. Itís also only fair that the richest portion of the population pays a little extra in tax."


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MP urges local teenagers to take part in writing competition

1 Nov 2008

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson is writing to local schools to urge teenagers to take part in "a thought provoking national writing competition," organised for 14-19 year olds by financial education charity the ifs School of Finance.

The competition asks teenagers to test their writing skills by writing a 1,000 word article answering the question: ĎShould Government encourage home ownership?í The competition is judged by a national newspaper correspondent on the entriesí research, evaluation, analysis and written argument skills plus overall reporting style and the winner will receive £500 and become Ďifs Young Business Writer of the Year.í

Dave Anderson said:

"This competition can help improve writing standards, foster an interest in business and finance and also encourage students to consider a very important issue in the current credit crunch. I hope that 14-19 year olds will participate in the competition and wish them every success in doing so."

Anyone aged between 14 and 19 who wishes to enter the competition should e-mail their article (maximum 1,000 words) to ybwy@ifslearning.ac.uk by Monday 26 January 2009.

The ifs School of Finance, founded in 1879, is a registered charity incorporated by Royal Charter. It is currently the only provider of QCA accredited GCSE, AS and A level equivalent qualifications in personal finance and also operates the ifs Student Investor, a national investment competition for 14-19 year olds that attracts over 30,000 teenage participants every year.

http://www.financialcapability.co.uk/


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MP wins ministerial meeting to advance cause of those with Muscular Dystrophy

17 Oct 2008

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson as Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Muscular Dystrophy Group has won a ministerial promise to meet him and campaigners to discuss the difficulties facing patients with muscular dystrophy and other neuromuscular conditions in accessing specialist healthcare services.

In a Commons debate, Dave Anderson emphasised that disparities in access to specialist care result in variations in life expectancy for certain conditions and severely affect patientsí quality of life. About 1 in every 1000 people in Blaydon are typically affected by muscular dystrophy or related neuromuscular condition.

Dave Andersonís Commons intervention follows the publication of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaignís biggest ever patient survey which shows that patients with muscular dystrophy face a fragmented, sub-standard system of care and are denied specialist care.

Dave Anderson MP told the Commons:

"The Muscular Dystrophy survey found that 80 per cent of patients do not visit a specialist centre or receive specialist care. It also found that the service is dependent on a handful of world-class specialists. What will we do when those people retire or move on to another area and there is no on left to come behind them? We must take control and embed what they are doing into a national structure. We should also ensure that every person who is affected by muscular dystrophy has access to a care co-ordinator or key worker who can take a lead on their behalf with the care team and provide them with support, information and a regular review of their care plan. We need more."

Phil Butcher, Chief Executive of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, added:

"I am delighted that we can count on the support of Dave Anderson MP in the fight against muscle disease and to improve services for families affected by muscular dystrophy. Dave Anderson is a strong voice in Parliament for local disabled people. Too many patients across the UK are being denied timely access to essential specialist care and I am pleased that these issues are being raised with the Minister."

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

In December 2007, February 2008 and August 2008, the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign carried out Freedom of Information requests to all Primary Care Trusts in England, all Health Boards in Wales and all Scottish Health Boards. This has informed a number of publications including Building on the Foundations and Focus on Physio. Local data for Northern Ireland will be launched early in 2009.

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 nearly 50 years and provides practical, medical and emotional support to people affected.


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Gold Star for Local Schools as GCSE results published

16 Oct 2008

Gateshead MPs Sharon Hodgson and Dave Anderson today gave the boroughís teachers and pupils top marks after this yearís GCSE results put Gateshead in the top 3 most improved areas over the last decade.

Results published today show that Gatesheadís schools are continuing to make the grade with 34.5% more pupils achieving five or more A* to C Grades than in 1998.

Sharon said:

"Top marks to all involved. This is great news for Gateshead. Iím really pleased that the hard work of teachers and pupils has paid off. If we are to transform the town into a force to be reckoned with across the country in the 21st century it is imperative that we start as we mean to go on. There is no reason why we cannot enable our young people to go from strength to strength and I hope that we will have to cause to celebrate again this time next year."

Dave Anderson MP said:

"Iím delighted to see that Gatesheadís schools are at the top of the class when it comes to GCSE results. I wonít be listening to any of this nonsense about exams getting easier. I know from talking to parents in Blaydon the pressure that pupils face preparing for these exams and I think everyone involved deserves a pat on the back. I hope we can keep pushing and come top of the class this time next year. Our teaching workforce has done a tremendous job lifting the standards in local schools and I take my hat off to them."

Schools Minister Jim Knight said:

"These are very positive results that build on the improvements of the last decade. I congratulate pupils and schools on their hard work. Five higher level GCSEs with the all important English and maths passes are a good academic achievement, so letís give credit where credit is due.

"Whatever the critics will bleat, the long-term trend is one of sustained improvement. The bottom line is that over the last 11 years, 467,000 more 15 year-olds have gained the benchmark than if results had stayed at their 1997 levels. More young people than ever before have now got a firm foundation for further education, apprenticeships or the work based training that they want to do."


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Blaydon MPís new job in government

7 Oct 2008

Local MP Dave Anderson has won a new government job as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to senior Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell.

Mr Anderson said:

"Itís a great privilege to continue working with Bill as his liaison man in Parliament and more widely. The new portfolio includes Iran and Iraq, counter terrorism, UK visas and North Korea. These issues are not faraway ones of no relevance to people in Blaydon and the UK. They affect our daily lives. Securing peace in the Middle East, stemming the flow of illegal drugs to the UK and delivering an effective migration policy all connect directly with the interests of my constituents. I have myself been to Iraq three times in the past two years and I am keen to add my own experience to the mix. My first priority, as always, remains being a very active MP for Blaydon."


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MPs unite to trial Free School Meals

24 Sep 2008

Local MPs Dave Anderson and Sharon Hodgson have teamed up in a campaign to persuade the Government to trial free healthy school meals for all primary school pupils in Gateshead, following Health Secretary Alan Johnsonís pledge to pilot the initiative in at least two local authority areas.

In a joint statement, the MPs said:

"The Government has listened to campaigners who say that a decent and hot school lunch, available to all free of charge, would do much to increase health, combat obesity and improve educational achievement. Gateshead is already ahead of the curve having provided free school meals in the first week of the new term for new pupils who started school in September. We think this important work should be built on and urge the government to allow Gateshead to play a pioneering role in this important initiative."


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MP appeals to PM to help Omagh Bomb Families

24 Sep 2008

Local MP Dave Anderson is spearheading a cross-party campaign of senior politicians to secure justice for the victims of the Omagh bomb atrocity. The MP has joined former Northern Ireland First Minister David Trimble and veteran Liberal Democrat Charles Kennedy in asking the Prime Minister to help lawyers acting for the families in a civil case currently in the High Court in Northern Ireland

The campaigners want the Prime Minister to authorise the handing over of intelligence material gathered on the possible bombers and his permission for public servants to be allowed to assist the lawyers of the victims and possibly give evidence without fear of prosecution or punishment.

Mr Anderson said:

"The Real IRA massacre of 29 people in Omagh ten years ago, which also injured 220 people, was the worst single atrocity of the Northern Ireland Troubles. But no one has yet been convicted. A recent BBC Panorama programme said that important mobile phone calls had been intercepted but werenít acted on in real time. Full details of those recordings and the relevant transcripts could help the families suing the alleged bombers. It would be simply a travesty of justice if these people - who have suffered so much - were denied what is likely to be significant to their proceedings. Itís then possible that those who lost loved ones will be able to get on with the rest of their lives."

Text of letter to PM

Dear Prime Minister,

The Panorama revelations concerning the Omagh bombing case are clearly relevant to the civil case currently in the High Court in Northern Ireland.

The internal review you have announced will help establish if the bombersí phone calls were monitored in real time, why intelligence was not passed to the investigation team and what lessons can be learned for the future.

However, to ensure that justice is done and the trial is fair, we urge that, in the meantime, full details of those recordings and the relevant transcripts be provided to the families suing the alleged bombers to enable their lawyers to make use of pertinent evidence. It would be simply a travesty of justice if these people - who have suffered so much - were denied what is likely to be significant to their proceedings.

We also urge that public servants be allowed to assist the lawyers of the victims and, if necessary, to give evidence without any fear of prosecution or punishment.

It has been ten years since this appalling atrocity. No one has been successfully prosecuted. You have it in your power to help these people secure some justice.

Time is short. The case is due to end within a few weeks.

We therefore urge you to act on our appeal with great urgency.

Yours sincerely

David Trimble, House of Lords
Dave Anderson MP
Paul Bew, House of Lords
Charles Kennedy MP
Derek Wyatt MP
Harry Cohen MP
John Hemming MP
John Mann MP
Paul Flynn MP
Paul Farrelly MP
Ian Davidson MP
Andrew Mackinlay MP
Paul Holmes MP
Alf Dubs, House of Lords
Kate Hoey MP
Jim Devine MP
Greg Hands MP
Baroness Walmsley, House of Lords
Andrew Turner, MP
Angela Harris, Baroness Harris of Richmond, House of Lords
Baroness May Blood, House of Lords
Sir Wyn Roberts, House of Lords
Ken Maginnis, House of Lords
Robert Goodwill, MP
Baroness Wilkins, House of Lords
Baroness Warnock (DBE), House of Lords
Julie Kirkbride MP
Eddie McGrady MP
Baroness Peta Buscombe, House of Lords
Lord Laird, House of Lords

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MP's plea for sensitivity over mesothelioma deaths

3 Sep 2008

Tyneside MP Dave Anderson is backing a British Lung Foundation campaign to secure legislation to ensure that coronerís inquiries are consistently sensitive to the needs of families bereaved by mesothelioma, a terminal chest cancer that develops between 15 and 60 years after exposure to asbestos.

Dave Anderson commented,

"When someone dies from mesothelioma, it is classified as an unnatural death and a coroner must carry out an inquiry. However, a recent British Lung Foundation report highlighted the sad fact that when a death from mesothelioma occurs outside of a coronerís working hours the bereaved can be visited by uniformed police in a marked police car, sometimes in the middle of the night. Many relatives say that this leads them to feel under suspicion during a distressing time. The new legislation would put the needs of bereaved families at the centre of the coronersí system and to appoint a Chief Coroner to set more sensitive national standards for the procedures that follow a death from mesothelioma."

The MP has backed a Downing Street petition urging the Prime Minister to make sure that the Coroners and Death Certification Bill becomes law in the new parliamentary session, along with the publication of the updated Charter for the Bereaved.


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MP's appeal to invest in Coal

14 Aug 2008

Coal could play a much bigger role if we are brave enough to invest in it, according to Blaydon MP and former miner, Dave Anderson.

Mr Anderson said:

"The tragic events in Georgia, which are related to the importance of the oil pipeline there, are a reminder of the importance of energy security. 25 years on from the miners' strike, where the NUM leadership was accused of scaremongering on this, we are now massively reliant on foreign energy supplies, many of which come from some of the most unstable countries on Earth.

"But we still have massive reserves under the North Sea and, if we are brave enough to invest in our long term resources, we could utilise the world-leading research being carried out by Professor Paul Younger at Newcastle University on the Underground Gasification of Coal. This would allow us to tap into our coal reserves at a much deeper level than ever before and we could burn the coal cleanly. We would, once again, lead the world and rebuild our economy. The fact is that reliance on markets has failed our country in relation to energy. The government should lead the way by investing in our indigenous bounty.

"We have proved that we have the engineering skills necessary to redevelop the industry. Nissan is the obvious example but there are many examples of cutting edge engineering companies across the North East who could drive forward a reinvigorated coal industry and provide the backbone of systems to burn coal in an environmentally clean way.

"And there would be another benefit. Silly think tanks would not have the slightest excuse to bad mouth places like Sunderland and East Durham whose proven coal reserves could earn the country a great deal of money."


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Dave Anderson MP races to visit learners in Blaydon

8 Aug 2008

Dave Anderson, MP for Blaydon and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, made a special trip to visit the union-led learning centre at the Co-op Retail Logistics Regional Distribution Centre in his constituency this week and present certificates to some of the adult learners who use it.

The workplace learning project within the Co-op Retail Logistics depot has been established through funding from unionlearn's (the TUC's learning and skills organisation) Learning for All Fund, run by USDAW, in partnership with Co-op management. The aim of the centre is to engage as many employees as possible back into learning - either learning new skills, or brushing up on old ones like literacy and numeracy.

As well as a tour of the learning centre and certificate-giving, Dave also met with Barney McGill, unionlearn regional manager, Phil Watson, the site Shift Manager and Ged Duff, Union Learning Rep Co-ordinator at both the Blaydon and Birtley sites, to discuss the importance of their partnership approach to the project's success, and others like it around the region.

Dave Anderson MP said:

"We began developing the lifelong learning strategy over a decade ago and said that the ideal would be able to offer a win win situation for employers and employees - and here we have a perfect example of this with the U-Learn project. Congratulations to everyone involved - individuals, unions and employer, - I'm delighted that my constituency is benefiting from this kind of success."

Barney McGill, unionlearn regional manager said:

"Dave's visit was a very productive one and it is great to see the hard work the project is doing being met with such enthusiasm by a government representative, illustrating the positive, and moreover, practical impact union-led learning initiatives can and do have for the union members, workers and employers who engage with them. I look forward to keeping Dave updated on the continuing success of our workplace learning projects in the region."


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MP's plea for recognition of community service workers

Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal
Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal
(Photo: Sam Knox)
6 Aug 2008

Retired members of the armed forces and emergency services who served at least five years during the reign of the current Queen should be allowed to purchase and wear with honour and pride either the Queen's Silver or Golden Jubilee Medal as a tribute to their service, according to Blaydon MP Dave Anderson.

The MP, who has added his name to a growing Downing Street petition urging this action, commented:

"Many thousands of people have made a huge contribution to their country and community as soldiers, police officers, ambulance workers, firefighters and lifeboat crew. It's sometimes easy to take their dedication for granted but our society would be worse off without their day-by-day work and often their bravery. The idea of allowing them the right to would be a small symbol of their work and I am urging the government to accept this grassroots appeal for such official recognition."


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Local MP protests against crackdown on unions in South Korea

5 Aug 2008

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson has joined with international human rights organisations Amnesty International and LabourStart to strongly protest against the South Korean Government's crackdown on that country's trade union movement and the arrest of union leaders following a general strike over food safety standards.

Dave Anderson said:

"This crackdown on free unions is in defiance of universally recognised human rights standards and must be reversed. I call on all those with influence on the South Korean Government, including President Bush who is in the country, to make urgent representations. Free trade unions are vital to defend the living conditions of working people and are a bedrock of democracy."


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Dave pulls the Pints at the Queen's Head in Proud Of Pubs Week 2008

Carol Kyle with Dave in the Queen's Head
Carol Kyle with Dave in the Queen's Head
18 Jul 2008

Dave dropped in at the Queen's Head in Winlaton as publicans across the country celebrate the second Proud of Pubs Week.

And the public are being urged to join them as the fightback to keep the great British pub alive begins.

Dave is one of more than 100 MPs visiting pubs during the national celebration of pubs, organised by The Publican magazine, which runs from July 13 to 20.

The MP will be seeing for himself the positive contribution that the Queen's Head makes in its community, as well as discussing issues with licensee Carol Kyle as pubs face up to an unprecedented series of challenges in 2008, ranging from spiralling beer prices to the aftermath of the smoking ban.

Other events in Proud of Pubs Week will include pubs putting on their own Proud of Pubs Night, many of them trying out new entertainment for the first time, and pubs celebrating their bar staff.

Recent research revealed more than half of publicans (52 per cent) have seen sales drop in the year following the smoking ban - although most publicans blame the credit crunch for the drop, rather than the ban.

Daniel Pearce, managing editor of The Publican, said:

"Pubs do so much for their communities and we thought it was about time that more MPs dropped in to their local to see that for themselves! Proud of Pubs Week is a great opportunity for pub landlords to shout out about all the great things they do.

"As pubs face up to unprecedented challenges in 2008, Proud of Pubs Week is the ideal time to drop into your local and give it a try."


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Local MP supports disabled young campaigners

17 Jul 2008
Dave with Campaigners at Parliament
Dave with Campaigners at Parliament

Over 50 young disabled campaigners, families and supporters from across the UK were invited to the Commons by local MP Dave Anderson to launch Trailblazers - the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign's new volunteering project.

Dave Anderson MP said:

"I was chuffed to see so many young people making a positive change. The views of young people are too often ignored. Just because you are young or disabled doesn't mean you can't make a positive difference in your local community."

The Blaydon MP also successfully secured a Commons debate about young disabled people and persuaded the minister to officially back the campaign and meet campaigners so that policies and services are informed by the knowledge and experience of disabled people. The Minister, Ann McGuire told the Commons,

"It is only by listening to the views of disabled people, and young disabled people in particular, through networks such as Trailblazers, that we will achieve our vision of equality for all disabled people by 2025."

Trailblazers will also give the young campaigners a chance to tap into their creative side - the name of the network was dreamed up by 17-year-old Michaela Hollywood who has spinal muscular atrophy and the concept for the unique Trailblazers flyers was created by young people attending the design studio at the Neuromuscular Centre in Cheshire.

Trailblazers is open to 16-30 year olds who want to fight for the rights of disabled people such as better support at school and university or increased access to transport and leisure facilities.


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Warm welcome for Gateshead move on free school meals

14 Jul 2008

Dave Anderson MP has warmly welcomed news that Gateshead Council is to offer children starting school this September free school dinners to boost the take-up of school meals.

The Blaydon MP commented:

"It shows, as usual, that Gateshead goes where others should follow. The importance of encouraging young people to eat a healthy diet is critical. I hope that this can eventually include a healthy packed lunch option which would attract some of those not convinced by traditional meals."

Mr Anderson, who is a keen advocate of free and universal school meals, added:

"This trial should be of national importance and illustrates why we should move towards free school meals for all pupils to provide a decent main meal, increase educational attentiveness and attainment and as part of the fight against obesity."


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Local MP probes Health Minister on services for vulnerable patients

8 Jul 2008

Increased research and treatment for patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and other related neuromuscular conditions is a step closer after a Commons intervention by local MP Dave Anderson, who leads the All Party Parliamentary Group for Muscular Dystrophy.

About 60,000 people have muscle disease or a related condition which weaken and/or waste muscles. A further 300,000 people are affected indirectly as family, friends or carers. 1500 boys are affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy at any time.

In a passionate speech in an urgent debate in the Commons, Mr Anderson appealed to the Health Minister to meet the all-party group and Muscular Dystrophy experts to discuss improving service provision for those with such diseases.

Mr Anderson told the Health Minister, Dawn Primarolo:

"We are not sharing good practice on how to care for these boys. We are not sharing good practice on physiotherapy, on how to help them to breathe properly, or on how they can get access to wheelchairs, which can make a massive difference to their lives."

The MP's intervention follows the recent publication of a series of reports by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, which show that patients with muscular face a fragmented, sub-standard system of care and being denied ongoing physiotherapy by the NHS.

Phil Butcher, Chief Executive of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, added:

"I am delighted that we can count on the support of Dave Anderson MP in the fight against muscle disease and to improve services for boys with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Dave Anderson is a strong voice in Parliament for local disabled people. Too many patients across the UK are being denied timely access to essential specialist care and I am pleased that these issues are being raised with the Minister."


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Local MP backs clean Coal

Clean electricity from clean coal? 3 Jul 2008

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson chaired a meeting in the Commons this week to promote the use of clean coal, which is chemically washed of minerals and impurities and seeks to improve the efficiency and environmental acceptability of coal.

The meeting was supported by the NUM and UNISON and organised by PURGe (public utilities reform group) which unites key energy companies, unions, environmental charities and users to help shape the future of the British energy sector.

A former miner, Mr Anderson and said afterwards:

"All energy sources need to play a role in driving our economy and reducing our contribution to climate change. That means more renewables, some nuclear as well as clean coal. It's not an either-or in today's economy and with increasing energy security problems At this meeting, we focussed on clean coal and discussed how clean coal can help regenerate UK coalfield communities and boost our manufacturing base."

Ian Lavery, NUM President said:

"Coal is back with a vengeance and it will have a major role for decades to come. Last year Britain imported 51 million tonnes of coal and it is being used every day to ensure Britain's energy needs are met, for without it the lights will go out. With the energy gap energy crisis becoming increasingly critical it is incumbent on Government to demonstrate real leadership now and back 'clean coal' to the hilt. It would surely be a strategic and economic error for the UK not to look to its own coal resources to address the situation we face."


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Local Hero guest at the Commons

Dave with David Peacock on the famous House of Commons terrace
Dave with David Peacock on the famous House of Commons terrace
27 Jun 2008

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson has celebrated the work of local hero David Peacock in Parliament where he and other older volunteers were congratulated on their outstanding work in the community with tea and cake at the Commons.

Mr Anderson said:

"It was a real privilege and pleasure to mark the work of David Peacock, a decent bloke who has given so much through his involvement in the Whickham Hermitage Garden. This garden is a real Victorian gem in the heart of our community. I have seen for myself how this tremendous garden is improving our environment and also encouraging local school students as well as youth offenders to see themselves as part the community. Volunteers like David are worth their weight in gold and this Commons celebration is a tribute to him and others."


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Local entrepreneur feted at Downing Street

26 Jun 2008

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson took local man Lee Calendar, the Managing Director of two companies - Call4Recriutment and Search2Drive to a Downing Street reception to celebrate local entrepreneurs.

The Prime Minister, Dave and Lee Calendar (looking up) Dave and Lee at the famous doorway

The Prime Minister, Dave and Lee Calendar (looking up)

Dave and Lee at the famous doorway

Mr Anderson said:

"I am delighted that Lee's hard work and initiative is being recognised. The business he has developed within my constituency gives his customers easy access to the best services in the market place and I wish him well for the future."

Mr Anderson added:

"As a life-long trade unionist, I understand that we need both social justice and enterprise. They are two sides of the same coin. A culture of enterprise allows everyone with entrepreneurial talent, irrespective of age, gender, race or social background, to take up the challenge of turning their ideas into wealth. Jobs and prosperity then flow from this."


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Get those Uni Forms in now!

Degree presentation 24 Jun 2008

Local MP Dave Anderson is urging people planning to start at university this September to get their forms in by the end of the week (27 June) or risk their student support coming late.

Dave Anderson, who is also an aide to the Higher Education Minister, said,

"Our economy needs more students. Labour says that success in life should be based on talent and hard work, not how much cash you earn - so we're providing more support for students. We've raised the family income threshold for the maximum grant of £2,825 from £17,500 to £25,000, and the top threshold has been raised to £60,000. One third of eligible students starting university this year will receive a full non-repayable grant worth £2,825 and another one third will receive a partial grant.

He added:

"This means that a student from a household on £25,000 a year will receive an extra £1,100 a year in maintenance grant whilst a student from a family earning £40,000 a year will be £1,000 a year better off. But time is running out. If soon-to-be students miss this week's deadline, they could be turning up to university without any cash in their pockets."


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Dave Anderson and Usdaw welcome new Carers' Strategy

16 Jun 2008 Dave with Carers

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson has linked up with the shopworkers' union Usdaw which is at the forefront of campaigning for working carers to welcome the Carers' Review, including £150m funding for more respite care and short breaks for carers plus the commitment that carers are not forced into financial hardship.

Dave Anderson, who used to be a care worker himself, met working carers to discuss difficulties juggling work and care and the financial hardships that they face.

Mr Anderson said:

"It was a privilege to meet some of the millions of hard-working and dedicated carers who do such a vital job. I promised to assist as much as possible and am working with Ministers to ensure that carers receive more financial support and that the benefits system helps carers to enter paid employment or full-time education.

"I have urged ministers to increase the Carer's Allowance and extend it to people who earn up to £250 a week, rather than the current earnings limit of £95 a week."

John Hannett, General Secretary of Usdaw and a member of the Government's Standing Commission for Carers welcomed added:

"I am delighted to have the support of Dave Anderson MP. The Carers Strategy is an excellent first step towards the goal of recognising, valuing and fully supporting carers .The MP's proposal to increase Carers Allowance and to extend it to thousands more low-paid carers would go a long way to giving carers the additional assistance that they need. We will work together to press for this proposal to be given priority in the next Comprehensive Spending Review."


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Dave Anderson MP hails rough sleeping investment

9 Jun 2008

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson has welcomed the news that nearly £10 million is being invested to help rough sleepers make a permanent move away from the streets.

The MP, who works closely with the Tyneside Cyrenians, one of the country's leading and most progressive homeless charities, says that this new money will back 11 projects to improve and build new hostels and homelessness services nation-wide, which will help homeless people back into independent living by giving them new skills and training.

He added,

"Rough sleeping is a standing indictment of society. It's been slashed by over 70% in recent years to an estimated 500 people on the streets at night. I believe that this programme can provide the accommodation, support and training to encourage people out of rough sleeping and insecure accommodation. I am also very pleased that the funding will benefit two projects here in the North East."

These are

  1. Newcastle - Matt Talbot Hostel (North East) - £165,000. The last remaining shared-room accommodation in Newcastle. It is in a dire state of repair but its location offers great opportunities for linking in with the community and
  2. Stop Gap - Tynedale (North East) - £281,000. Refurbishment of a short stay assessment centre for single rough sleepers. This is the only provision of its kind in Northumberland.

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Dave pledges to protect endangered elephants from the deadly ivory trade

Dave backs the elephants 5 Jun 2008

(London, 5 June 2008) Dave Anderson, MP for Blaydon, is taking a stand to protect thousands of endangered elephants from the brutal ivory trade. In July, a decision may be made to allow China to buy ivory from government stockpiles in southern Africa - a move that could spell disaster for elephants.

Dave is supporting the International Fund for Animal Welfare's ivory trade campaign calling on the government to bring together EU partners to oppose China as an ivory buyer.

Ivory trade has been banned since 1989, however, every year approximately 20,000 elephants are killed to supply the illegal ivory trade - and this is on the increase. China is the single major destination for this illegal ivory, and has the world's largest black market for ivory.

IFAW is campaigning around the world to ensure that China is not allowed to import stockpiled ivory - a move which could see ivory from illegally killed African elephants being laundered within legal stocks, due to the country's inadequate enforcement controls.

There is strong evidence that soaring Chinese demand for ivory is responsible for the deaths of large numbers of elephants. In Africa, Chinese citizens have been convicted of illegally trading ivory in 22 of the 37 elephant range states. Only last month, two Chinese nationals were charged with the possession and attempted smuggling of ivory out of Kenya. Whilst in March, approximately one ton of ivory was seized in Guangxi, China - representing the death of at least 80 elephants.

Dave said:

"I am proud to support IFAW's campaign to protect elephants from being slaughtered for their tusks. These majestic creatures are being killed by poachers by the tens of thousands each year for the cruel and unsustainable trade in ivory. I believe elephants belong in the wild and should be protected in their natural habitat for future generations. We must stamp out ivory trade before it is too late."

Robbie Marsland, Director of IFAW UK said:

"If China is approved as an ivory buyer it will open the floodgates to allow large quantities of illegal ivory to be traded. The rise in legal trade will act as a smokescreen for illegal ivory to be laundered on the black market. Opposing this decision is crucial in the fight to protect the world's remaining elephants."

For further information on IFAW's work www.ifaw.org


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Foreign Secretary to visit local School

5 Jun 2008

The Foreign Secretary and local MP David Miliband will join Blaydon MP Dave Anderson on a visit to St Mary's RC Primary School, Whickham tomorrow.

They will hear a presentation from pupils celebrating the life of Father Ithondeka, who was murdered by armed youths at an illegal roadblock during the recent disturbances in Kenya and who was a key mover in building links between St Mary's Primary School and St Anthony's Academy in the Nakuru region of Kenya.

St Mary's also gained the UNICEF national award of Rights Respecting School.

£7,000 has been raised by the school and local parish communities to provide clean water from a well dug, built and managed by the local community in Subukia, Kenya.


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Dave Anderson MP backs TUC Speak up for Public Services rally

5 Jun 2008

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson is backing the TUC's Speak up for Public Services rally and lobby on 9th June which calls for fair pay and quality services in the public sector.

The MP who was previously a care worker and President of the largest public sector union Unison said:

"Let's applaud public servants who show dedication and commitment in tackling floods, foot and mouth, terrorism and crime as well as delivering health, education, justice and welfare services."

Mr Anderson added:

"Unless we as a society reward public sector workers properly, we will have recruitment shortfalls, failure to retain staff and poor staff morale. I ask that the Government shows its commitment to fairness and equity and the lowest paid so that public service workers can be fairly paid and continue to deliver high quality services. I know we have to avert inflation and cannot do this all overnight but it should be our guiding principle."


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Dave Anderson MP hails historic deal on agency workers' rights

Temporary Worker
Temporary Worker
20 May 2008

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson has hailed "the historic breakthrough between ministers, unions and business leaders" which could deliver equal treatment rights for agency workers after a 12-week qualifying period "and help eliminate low pay, long hours and unjust treatment for agency workers"

The MP, who was President of the largest public sector union Unison before being elected to the Commons, said:

"This agreement has taken years of labour movement campaigning. Too many agency workers in the UK are exploited and undervalued. Agency workers can be low and high skilled and help employers to fill gaps in their workforce but that need not be done in an abusive way. The agreement should mean much stronger legal protection for agency workers deserve. It is a good example of how the Labour Party stands up for vulnerable groups of workers whilst upholding economic competitiveness."


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Local MP supports fight to improve services for vulnerable patients

15 May 2008

On Wednesday 14 May local MP Dave Anderson, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Muscular Dystrophy, hosted the charity's annual Parliamentary Reception, where campaigners from across the UK lobbied the Government to improve specialist services for people with neuromuscular conditions.

Dave addressing the reception
Dave addressing the reception
At the reception the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign published Focus on Physio a report revealing that patients with chronic conditions are being denied access to ongoing physiotherapy by the NHS.

The report led by clinicians and physiotherapists found that for many patients with neuromuscular conditions, physiotherapy is essential in maintaining the best possible quality of life, for as long as possible.

However, physiotherapy is often restricted to patients where an improvement can be demonstrably measured by physiotherapists. Patients with progressive neuromuscular conditions fail to meet these criteria and are often refused physio on the NHS. They are then forced to pay for these services privately or go without.

It is estimated that 1 in 1,000 people in the constituency of Blaydon are living with muscle disease. Dave has tabled a House of Commons motion calling on the Government to recognise the specialist nature of neuromuscular services and to ensure improved standards of care for all patients with neuromuscular conditions.

Following a Freedom of Information request and a survey of patients, Building on the Foundations: Focus on Physio, reveals:

* many patients with neuromuscular conditions do not receive continuous, specialist physiotherapy or any physiotherapy at all; Two out of three PCTs fail to provide ongoing physiotherapy for patients where required;

* one in five NHS Trusts and PCTs fail to provide financial support to physiotherapists to attend training courses in neuromuscular conditions despite the NHS's commitment to Continuing Professional Development (CPD);

* almost two out of three Trusts say they do not have any physiotherapists with specific training in neuromuscular conditions;

* the situation is particularly difficult for young adults making the transition to adult services - their current physiotherapy is often immediately withdrawn as soon as they turn 18 years-old;

* specialist physiotherapy services are vulnerable where they rely on charitable sector funding.

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign's report Focus on Physio is the second stage in the Building on the Foundations campaign, launched last December, calling for a specialist neuromuscular service across the UK.

Commenting after the reception Dave said:

"I was delighted to meet with families and campaigners from across the UK.

"It is very disappointing that patients with chronic conditions are being denied ongoing physiotherapy on the NHS.

"I commend the work of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign which is providing a national voice for local people affected by these rare conditions.

"It is very important that the Department of Health recognise the specialist nature of the care needed by patients with neuromuscular conditions and ensure that such services are available to all patients, regardless of where they live."

Phil Butcher, Chief Executive at the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, added:

"It's ludicrous to force patients with long term conditions to be re-referred by their GP again and again for ongoing physio. Parents are also rightly concerned about their children's access to physio once they reach adulthood as it is often immediately withdrawn.

"I am very pleased 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."

Dr Jill Higgins, Director of Practice and Development at the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists, commented on the need for physio for patients with neuromuscular conditions:

"Physiotherapy has a vital role to play throughout every stage in the treatment and management of the 60,000 people with neuromuscular conditions in the UK. Without it, mobility and independence can suffer and in some cases their condition can rapidly deteriorate. It is recognised that early and ongoing intervention of physiotherapy can also help reduce unplanned hospital admissions."


from left) Lord Walton of Detchant, Baroness Celia Thomas of Winchester (who has limb girdle muscular dystrophy) Mark Harper MP. Shadow Minister for Disability and Dave Anderson MP.
Lord Walton of Detchant, Baroness Celia Thomas of Winchester (who has limb girdle muscular dystrophy) Mark Harper MP. Shadow Minister for Disability and Dave Anderson MP.
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 nearly 50 years and provides practical, medical and emotional support to people affected.

For more information about the work of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign contact Sal Lalji at the press office on 020 7803 4844, mobile: 07971 151910 or email: s.lalji@muscular-dystrophy.org

* Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Muscular Dystrophy, Dave Anderson MP has tabled a cross party Early Day Motion 1498 about the report and its findings.

House of Commons Early Day Motion: 1498

IMPROVING PROVISION FOR THOSE WITH NEUROMUSCULAR CONDITIONS

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

* Nia Griffith MP secured an Adjournment Debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday evening, 14 May, about access to specialist services for sufferers of muscular dystrophy.

Responding, the Rt. Hon Ivan Lewis, Minister for health said:

It is clearly unacceptable that there are still such large variations in care, and that access to specialist diagnosis, treatment and on-going care services can far too often still depend on where people happen to live;

I also want to take the opportunity to pay tribute to the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. Over the past 40 years, it has ensured that the condition, which has not always had a high status or been taken as seriously as it should be, has been given a loud national voice;

As well as its campaigning role, the charity provides important information and advice to families in these circumstances. It provides part of the cost of equipment for patients and makes a significant contribution to research into the condition;

I welcome the fact that my hon. Friend the Member for Llanelli has brought to the attention of the House a crucial issue for a number of families in our country. I shall reflect on her contribution and I, or a relevant ministerial colleague, will meet her to discuss how we can improve the experience of the services for families and for people who have the condition.

* Focus on Physio was written by leading clinicians and physiotherapists and includes information following a Freedom of Information request, responses from almost 100 patient surveys as well as information from the latest research papers on the effects of physio for patients with neuromuscular diseases. Attached is a PDF of the report.

Action needed:

At the reception the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, clinicians and patients lobbied Government, the devolved Governments and the NHS to:

* For further information about the Building on the Foundations Campaign please visit: http://www.muscular-dystrophy.org/campaigns/building_on_foundations/index.html

More than 60,000 people in the UK have muscle disease or a related condition. A further 300,000 people are affected indirectly as family, friends 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.


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Dave Anderson MP backs new ratings system for old people's residential care homes

Care Home 13 May 2008

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson has welcomed the Commission for Social Care Inspection's new Quality Ratings for old people's residential care homes.

People now have a simple indicator about standards, quality of care and performance of individual providers, just like selecting a hotel or B&B.

Mr Anderson, a former care worker with elderly people, said:

"This is a practical means of empowering older people and their families when making difficult and life changing decisions about care. Anything that gives older people and their families reassurance is very welcome. Accepting the need to be cared for is a big step in a person's life and these ratings should give greater confidence. They should be welcomed by those needing care as well as by good quality care providers"

Gary FitzGerald, Chief Executive of Action on Elder Abuse added:

"Quality ratings should be viewed as part of a larger agenda of improving the way services are provided and commissioned. We commend CSCI for this initiative and we expect that they will concentrate their attention on those homes that have been deemed poor or inadequate. We also now expect local authorities to use Quality Ratings to inform their commissioning processes and drive out services that tolerate poor practice and abuse. We will certainly be questioning those local authorities who consistently commission services from poor providers of care. Older People who use and depend on these services deserve nothing less."

Around 70% of all registered providers have achieved an excellent 3 star or a good 2 star rating. Only 3% of all 24,370 providers fall into the poor category. The rest (24%) are adequate, with the remainder being either new services that have not been given a rating yet, or services that are subject to enforcement action by CSCI.

Action on Elder Abuse is a national charity which aims to protect and prevent the abuse of vulnerable older people. It does this by raising awareness of the issues, encouraging education and by giving information and support to those in need. It has the only national free phone helpline dedicated to this cause and callers may ring from Monday to Friday between the hours of 9.00 am and 5.00 pm on 080 8808 8141.

For further information on Action on Elder Abuse go to www.elderabuse.org.uk


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David Anderson MP exercises for lung health

Dave cycles for his lungs
Dave cycles for his lungs
9 May 2008

Blaydon MP, David Anderson, helped the British Lung Foundation to raise awareness of the importance of healthy lungs at the House of Commons on Wednesday 7th May.

The British Lung Foundation is urging members of the public of all ages to protect their lungs and to keep them healthy by taking regular exercise. David Anderson MP helped to demonstrate how exercise like cycling or brisk walking allows the lungs to deliver oxygen-rich blood to the working muscles, helping to keep us fitter and healthier. The BLF also wants people to protect their lungs from smoke and other substances because any resulting damage cannot be repaired and reduces the amount of oxygen absorbed into the blood from the lungs.

David Anderson MP said:

"I'm delighted to support the British Lung Foundation's campaign to encourage us to look after our lungs. We don't realise how fragile our lungs are and what an important job they do in keeping us mobile and active."

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

"We are pleased that David Anderson MP is supporting our campaign. Lung disease is the UK's second biggest killer so it's vital that people understand how important it is to take more care of their lungs."

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


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Dave Anderson MP urges primary school pupils to enter IT contest

6 May 2008

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson has written to all local primary schools urging them to enter the 2008 'Make IT Happen' national technology competition, improve their skills and possibly win cash prizes.

Mr Anderson said:

"Our local primary schools are already using technology to boost vital skills for themselves and to understand how IT can change everyone's lives. Every school should sign up to what could be an exciting project in which pupils can use their minds and computers to make a difference."

Schools can use technology such as audio-visual materials, web pages or interactive posters to illustrate imaginative improvements to the local community. Pupils are being asked to focus on an issue close to their hearts such as stopping bullying, tackling litter nuisance or otherwise looking after the environment and supporting their community.

Judges are looking for student-led entries that show initiative and imagination and make the most of students' technology skills. e-skills UK is making software resources and 'How To' guides available on-line to help schools design their campaigns.

The competition for primary school students aged nine to eleven has been launched by the Parliamentary Information Technology Committee (PITCOM) and e-skills UK, in partnership with the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), which is offering cash prizes for regional and national winners.

The closing date for entries is 13 July 2008. Winning schools will be notified and invited to come to the Houses of Parliament for an awards ceremony in October.

For further information and details of how to enter visit the Make IT Happen website at www.cc4g.net/makeithappen


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Dave calls for ban on trade in seal products after seeing cruelty of Canadian hunt

Dave at the IFAW event in the Commons
Dave at the IFAW event in the Commons
1 May 2008

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson is pushing for a ban on the trade in seal products after witnessing the cruelty of Canada's annual commercial seal hunt.

Dave joined the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) at Westminster on Wednesday (30) to view shocking footage of this year's hunt shot by IFAW monitors in recent weeks.

Contrary to claims by the Canadian government that new regulations would make this year's hunt the most humane ever, IFAW filmed numerous instances of seals suffering slow and painful deaths after being clubbed or shot, with many being hooked or skinned while still alive.

Dave said:

"I am horrified to see the level of suffering involved in the hunt, despite the Canadian government's claim that this year's hunt would be more humane. It is time for Europe to ban the unnecessary trade in seal products so that we play no further part in this cruelty."

Robbie Marsland, Director of IFAW UK, said:

"IFAW opposes this hunt because it is unacceptably cruel. The footage speaks for itself - the new regulations are a sham and the cruelty continues. I have been to the ice and witnessed the suffering first hand. It is time to ban the trade in seal products."

This year, the Canadian government issued a quota for 275,000 seals to be killed, with new regulations calling for the bleeding out of seals to be conducted at some point 'where possible'.

The hunt began on March 28 and is still going on. Seals are killed mainly so their fur can be used in the fashion industry, with most of the carcasses being left to rot on the ice.

IFAW and other animal welfare groups are campaigning for an EU-wide ban on the trade in seal products. Belgium, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Croatia already have national bans in place, along with the US and Mexico. Germany and Italy are working towards introducing similar legislation.

Members of the public who would like to see a trade ban can email European Commissioner Peter Mandelson by visiting www.stopthesealhunt.co.uk


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Dave Anderson MP says stop senseless slaughter of seals

Seal Hunt
Seal Hunt
30 Apr 2008

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson has joined an international campaign to ban the trade in seal products after viewing "shocking footage" of the cruelty involved in Canada's annual commercial seal hunt.

The MP has written to European Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson urging him

"to end Europe's unnecessary trade in seal products so that we no longer participate in this bloody trade which has seen over 1.5 million seal pups bludgeoned or shot to death since 2003."

Mr Anderson added:

"The footage of the hunt shown by the respected International Fund for Animal Welfare at the Commons was truly chilling and barbaric. The seals are the victims of fashion and most of their carcasses are just left to rot on the ice. The Canadian government claimed that the hunt would be more humane this year but I have seen with my own eyes that this isn't the case. A civilised world should do without slaughtering seals."

The MP is one of 69 MPs from all parties who have called for an end to this trade.


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Successful apprenticeships have soared

An apprentice learns his trade
An apprentice learns his trade
25 Apr 2008

Successful apprenticeships have soared by 140% in Gateshead, according to local MP Dave Anderson.

In 2002/3, 242 people completed apprenticeships but by 2006 this has increased to 581.

The Blaydon MP said:

"This is great news for all those involved. This has given more people a great opportunity to get on in work and life. It's good for them and good for local businesses."

Dave Anderson, who is a ministerial aide in the Department of Innovation, Skills and Universities, added:

"Things have got better for apprentices but we need to continue to increase the take up and improve the quality of apprenticeships. Our aim is to have one in every five youngsters taking up a place, which means encouraging more businesses to participate in providing such schemes. The new economy needs to be smarter if it is to have a competitive edge in the modern world."


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New Approach on Tax welcomed

Ten pound notes 23 Apr 2008

Local MP Dave Anderson has welcomed the Chancellor's new approach, announced today, to rectify the problems caused to low paid workers without children and pensioners under 65 by the abolition of the 10p tax band.

Dave Anderson MP has been consistently fighting for changes to be made since the abolition of the 10p tax rate was announced in last year's budget as he immediately realised the implications it would have for low paid workers without children and 60-64 year old pensioners.

Mr Anderson said:

"The Chancellor has now agreed to work with the respected Treasury Select Committee and has told them that he will ensure that every decision he takes will help those on low incomes and that he will do more to help such pensioners and childless low paid workers.

"He refers to backdating changes to the start of this financial year - April - but I want to double check that this applies to both groups. I also welcome the possibility of changes to the minimum wage regime for younger workers.

"Changing the tax and credits system is complicated. But I am very pleased that the Chancellor and other ministers have been listening to backbench and wider opinion. That's how it should be in a vibrant democracy. I am cautiously optimistic about the direction of travel. The debate has been very useful in making sure that the interests of the low paid are central to this Labour Government's concerns."

The Blaydon MP, who has played an active and prominent role in seeking improvements, had tabled a Commons motion before today's Darling initiative. The EDM prefigures the approach taken. It reads:

"That this House continues to have real concerns about the impact of the removal of the 10 pence income tax band on many low paid people; believes that urgent action must be taken to resolve this issue; acknowledges that recent statements from the Prime Minister and Chancellor show that they accept the need to act; accepts that a long-term solution needs to be put in place whilst ensuring that those who are losing out as a result of the changes are recompensed as fully and as quickly as possible; praises the work of the Treasury Select Committee in identifying the scale of the problems that must be addressed; and calls on the Chancellor and Treasury team to work closely with the Treasury Select Committee to produce a robust and timely resolution to an act that has, unfortunately, penalised people unnecessarily."


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Dave Anderson MP backs campaign on inheritance tax

15 Apr 2008

Local Labour MP Dave Anderson has joined a wide range of labour movement luminaries and academics in urging Gordon Brown to reinvigorate the moral case for inheritance tax.

The initiative emphasises that:

"We should not inherit our life chances at birth: our opportunities should depend on our efforts, not who our parents are."

Mr Anderson said:

"We rightly make ending child poverty the great cause of our times but shouldn't be cowed by right-wing challenges over inheritance tax which seek to benefit the richest over the poorest in our society. Inheritance tax is one of the few tools which directly reduces inherited inequalities and social immobility. It is patently unfair to tax earnings from hard work while ignoring unearned inheritances and gifts - which often reflect nothing more than an accident of birth.

The Blaydon MP added:

"Much opposition to inheritance tax is based on misinformation that it's an unfair tax that hits many but in recent years only the very few richest people have paid it - around 5% of estates."

The campaign to narrow the gap in life chances is organised by the Fabian Society and is backed by academics, various MPs as well as TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber and other union leaders.


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Friends of the Earth praise local MP for stance on climate

14 Apr 2008

Dave Anderson MP has been praised by Friends of the Earth for backing calls to beef up the Climate Change Bill, currently being debated in Parliament.

Dave Anderson has joined over 240 MPs who have signed a parliamentary petition (Early Day Motion 736) calling for the Bill to include carbon dioxide emissions from international aviation and set a tougher 80 per cent target for cutting carbon dioxide by 2050.

The Climate Change Bill, due to become law by summer, will set binding targets for cutting carbon dioxide. But there is growing pressure on the Government to strengthen the proposals. Campaigners, scientists, an influential UN report and now MPs are warning that the Bill must be tougher if it is to successfully tackle climate change. Top of the list of improvements needed are toughening up the overall target to an 80 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2050; and making sure emissions from international flights are included in the Bill.

As currently drafted, the Bill requires a 60 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2050, a figure it is widely accepted is based on out of date science. The Bill also excludes international aviation emissions - a fast growing source of climate changing gases - which could seriously undermine the new climate law.

Tony Juniper, Friends of the Earth director:

"We are delighted that Dave Anderson MP is supporting calls for a tougher Climate Change Bill. The Bill needs targets that are in line with the latest science, and it must count all of our carbon emissions, not just some bits. Aviation has to be treated like every other industry and its emissions must be in the new legislation from the start. It is ludicrous for one industry to be ignored and held apart. Having a climate law that doesn't include our share of international aviation emissions is like having a drink driving law that ignores the effects of whisky."

Dave Anderson said:

"Climate change is the greatest threat facing humanity at the moment, and my own constituents have made it clear that they feel this threat as keenly here in Blaydon as anywhere in the UK and beyond. The Climate Change Bill is a bold attempt to address the threat of climate change, but the reality of that threat is that we must reduce all our emissions by the amount dictated by the latest science. The advice from top climate scientists and the UN is that we must hit a target of 80% reductions by 2050, and include emissions from international aviation and shipping, if we are to continue to lead the world in the fight against dangerous climate change."


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Fuel poverty deal good but energy companies need to keep on their toes

11 Apr 2008

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said:

"I warmly welcome the deal done between the Energy Secretary John Hutton and the top six utility companies." The big six energy firms are British Gas, E.On, Scottish Power, Scottish & Southern, EDF, and NPower.

"The deal means that 100,000 households could be lifted out of fuel poverty with an extra £225 million to help with soaring fuel bills over the next 3 years. Many in fuel poverty, which is defined as low income households which spend 10% or more of their household income on energy bills, will receive significant extra help with the cost of warming their homes.

"It's good the companies voluntarily agreed to pay for this deal or they could have been clobbered with a windfall tax on excessive profits. The regulator Ofgem will keep an eye on the companies' progress in achieving this commitment. I shall also keep an eagle eye on progress and won't hesitate to urge further radical action. I have a real interest in this as one of my constituents has seen an almost 100% increase in the unit price for his overnight storage heaters.

"A competitive energy market should deliver for the most vulnerable households who are affected by rising energy prices. The goal is ending fuel poverty. As far as I am concerned, the utility companies are under notice to help us do this or pay the price. This is only the beginning of concerted action to eradicate fuel poverty. Government action to increase social tariffs and make the energy market more competitive are a good start but I won't rest until we have achieved the goal of enabling everyone to have a warm home.

"A key issue is the use of pre-payment meters which on average mean that those who have them pay about £55 more a year for their energy than customers paying by standard credit and £144 more than those who pay by direct debit. The regulator is investigating this and if this shows that people using pre-payment meters are being treated unfairly, we should legislate to reduce unfair differentials, if companies do not step up to the plate and solve the issue.

"Elderly people are particularly affected by fuel poverty and I salute the Government's decision to boost winter fuel payments this year to £250 for over-60s, and to £400 for over-80s."


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Backing for Travel Scheme

Dave Anderson MP and Transport Minister, Rt. Hon. Rosie Winterton MP
Dave Anderson MP and Transport Minister, Rt. Hon. Rosie Winterton MP
10 Apr 2008

Dave Anderson MP has welcomed the introduction of the new concessionary travel scheme and is encouraging all over 60's and disabled people to apply for their passes.

Mr Anderson, who works closely with the National Pensioners Convention, has been a strong campaigner for the scheme.

The Blaydon MP said,

"Although the scheme is free to users it is only possible because of government support. Around £1 billion of public money is going into this scheme but I believe this is money well spent. Life is about choices and I am glad that my government has chosen to prioritise the needs of our most vulnerable people.

"Many people have contacted my office to ask when they will get there new bus pass. Most new bus passes should have arrived by now but if yours hasn't arrived yet you can use your old pass across regional boundaries for a month. I would urge everyone else who is newly eligible to apply for their passes and enjoy the benefits of free local bus travel throughout the country, whether for visiting friends and family or enjoying a day out in Durham, Northumberland or beyond."

The introduction of the previous regional scheme was marred by under funding and boundary issues, which a group of Labour MP's, including Mr Anderson, lobbied the Government to sort out.

"Hopefully all of that is behind us and we now have a good scheme that will deliver real benefits"

he added.


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New BT boss should be new broom and sweep away unfair charges

8 Apr 2008

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson has urged the new BT boss Ian Livingston to "make his mark as the new Chief Executive" and "scrap the £4.50 quarterly charge for customers who can't or won't pay their bills by direct debit."

Mr Anderson commented:

"Mr Livingston, I presume, wishes to win back customers and enhance BT's reputation. Their decision, under the previous Chief Executive, to impose charges for those who pay without direct debits was dreadful. Many people don't have bank accounts or, if they do, wish to control their accounts directly rather than setting up direct debits. I don't see why people who pay their bills on time, including online, should be penalised for paying in their own way. BT now has a chance to redeem itself with customers and I very much hope that Mr Livingston takes the chance to be a new broom and sweep away this nonsense. The same applies to other companies which have instituted these unfair and unreasonable charges. Why should people have to pay to spend their own money. These charge are about one thing - maximising profits for BT."


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Anderson urges action on prostate cancer

8 Apr 2008

Local MP Dave Anderson is urging health bosses in Blaydon to focus on tackling prostate cancer - the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in men, which results in 10,000 deaths each year.

Mr Anderson is backing the Prostate Cancer group, a coalition of professional, voluntary and patient organisations committed to improving diagnosis and bringing up the treatment of prostate cancer to the same level as other cancers.

Mr Anderson said:

"All cancers are horrendous but we have a particular problem with prostate cancer which has a lower profile than others and which then hinders its early diagnosis and treatment. Of course, many men feel awkward about such things but raising awareness is a good way of improving the diagnosis and therefore saving lives from this big killer. There is no reason why the improvements in death rates and reported experience seen in other cancers should not be replicated in prostate cancer."

The Blaydon MP has written to local health chiefs asking them a series of questions about current treatment and future plans as part of a national campaign to overcome

"the profound inequalities which continue to affect men with prostate cancer."


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MP urges "Claim the tax credits you're due"

2 Apr 2008

On Sunday 6 April, the rates of tax credits are being increased and low-paid workers should claim, even if they don't have children, according to local MP Dave Anderson.

Dave Anderson said:

"The Government has raised the earnings threshold for working tax credit and many more workers in Blaydon could qualify for extra cash. Claiming is easy - you can do it on-line or by phone. The crucial point is to do it quickly because your claim dates from when you call or claim on-line, so the earlier you do this, the more you can claim."

Dave Anderson MP has lead the fight in parliament for low paid workers, including being a major campaigner for the introduction of the National Minimum Wage.

Mr Anderson stressed:

"If you think you qualify, don't miss out on your money. Call the helpline straight away on 0845 300 3900 or claim on-line at www.hmrc.gov.uk/taxcredits."

Workers without children can qualify for Working Tax Credit if they:

are over 25 years old, work at least 30 hours a week, earn less than £12,740 a year (£245 a week) if single or £17,160 a year (£330 a week) joint income, if in a couple.

Workers with children can also claim if one parent works for at least 16 hours a week and the household income is less than: £438 a week (£22,800 a year) with one child, £541 a week (£28,150 a year) with two children or £644 a week (£33,500 a year) with three children.

John Hannett, the Usdaw shopworkers' union leader, added:

"Working tax credit has been available to people without children for several years, and Usdaw has helped many of our members to claim. We are pleased that the Government has now extended tax credits to include many shopworkers without children who work a standard week, and may now be able to claim tax credits for the first time. I am concerned that 80% of people who qualify for this support are not aware of it.

"Claiming tax credits means that they will be able to enjoy a better standard of living."


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Dave calls for more help for women in developing countries affected by HIV and AIDS

1 Apr 2008

Dave has signed a motion in parliament calling on the UK Government to help women affected by HIV and AIDS in the developing world.

The Women Matter campaign, which is spearheaded by leading international development charity VSO is asking the UK's Department for International Development to put women at the heart of its new global HIV and AIDS strategy and to use its influence to encourage other international agencies to do likewise.

Dave said:

"When several of my constituents contacted me about VSO's Women Matter campaign, I was shocked at what I learnt. Because of violence, discrimination and inequality, women in Sub-Saharan Africa are more likely to become infected with HIV than men. I believe it is the responsibility of the UK to show leadership on this issue and make the world sit up and listen to what's happening. I will be working hard in parliament to ensure that this issue is given the attention it so urgently needs."

Judith Brodie, Director of VSO UK said:

"Until concrete action is taken to tackle women's inequality, HIV and AIDS will continue to claim the lives of millions of women in the developing world. We are pleased to see so many MPs are getting behind this issue and hope that the time has now come for real action."

To find out more about the campaign and how you can support it visit www.vso.org.uk/womenmatter


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UK's biggest Climate Change Coalition congratulates Blaydon's MP as 'Climate Hero'

Climate Change 25 Mar 2008

I Count - the campaign of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition which brings together over 70 organisations, from environment, development charities to unions, faith and women's groups sent congratulations to David Anderson, MP for Blaydon, for signing a pledge to strengthen the UK's Climate Change Bill and avoid climate chaos.

The Climate Change Bill set legally binding emissions reduction targets for the government and will make the UK a world leader in the legislation needed for industrialised nations to avoid dangerous levels of climate change. Mr Anderson has joined a growing list of 'Climate Hero MPs' who have signed a parliamentary petition (Early Day Motion 736) calling for the Bill to set a tougher 80 per cent target for cutting carbon dioxide by 2050, as well as include emissions from the UK's contribution to international aviation and shipping.

David Anderson, MP said:

"The Climate Change Bill is a bold but necessary move to tackle climate change and confirms the UK government as global leaders in getting carbon emissions under control. However we need to ensure that it goes far enough to encourage the rest of the world to follow our lead. "

Ashok Sinha, Director of the I Count campaign said:

"We are delighted David Anderson has signed this petition. The Bill needs to commit to at least an 80% carbon dioxide reduction target by 2050 as the current proposal of 60% is based on old science and won't ensure the UK meets its international effort to keep within the 2 degree C global warming threshold. Government has announced a review of the figure after the legislation is enacted. The evidence is there. The change to an 80% target must happen now."

I Count have mobilised a Climate Change Bill Week of Action between 30 March - 5 April 2008. Local groups all over the UK will lobby their MPs 'to give the Bill bite' (www.icount.org.uk).

I Count is the campaign of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition which brings together over 70 organisations, from environment, development charities to unions, faith and women's groups

The I Count campaign is delighted that the Government is introducing climate legislation but say it must be much stronger if it is to be effective. Crucially, the new law must acknowledge the 20C global warming threshold by:

Increase the carbon dioxide reduction target, from 60, to at least 80 per cent by 2050.

Ensure that the UK's share of emissions from international aviation & shipping are included in the reduction targets.


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Wylam Brewery's Red Kite Ale raised in the House

Peter Atkinson MP with Dave, united at the bar!
Peter Atkinson MP with Dave, united at the bar!
18 Mar 2008

Wylam Brewery's Northern Kite, the ruby ale launched to celebrate the return of the magnificent red kite to the region, has just became the beer that refreshes the Parliamentarians that most beers cannot reach.

The red kite inspired beer will be pulled in that most exclusive of Social Clubs, the Palace of Westminster. Thanks to the support of Member of Parliament for Blaydon, Dave Anderson MP, in whose Blaydon Constituency the red kites of the Northern Kite Project were originally released, the beer will be pouring down in Parliament over the next few weeks.

John Boyle, Director, Wylam Brewery, said,

"Since its launch in November, Northern Kites has become one of our best selling brands and it is wonderful to think that it has registered so well on both the pallet and the consciousness of the region that we have now been asked to make it available in the Houses of Parliament. It's good for the brewery, great for the northeast and wonderful for the red kites that inspired the production of the beer."

Dave Anderson MP said,

"The brewery has produced a top quality product that celebrates one of the northeast's other great success stories, the Northern Kites Project. I am delighted, through this action, to be able to lend some small support to Wylam Brewery and to help to put their beer on to a wider stage. In the process, I am giving my colleagues in the House an opportunity to sample a little bit of what we are about in the northeast, great beer and wonderful red kites, both of them available in my Blaydon Constituency".

Northern Kite (4.5 % ABV) a ruby ale, has been brewed to a traditional, '80 shilling'-style recipe. It has a strong malt character and rich ruby colouration, which should suit the northeast palette. It is inspired by the red kites' rufus colouration is available in cask and bottle versions and it joins the company's award winning range of real ales brewed at Heddon-on-the-Wall.

Wylam Brewery Ltd (recent Northern Regional winners of the Tesco Drinks Award, 2008) was set up in an old farm dairy near Heddon on the Wall by retirees Robin Leighton (Brewing Director) and John Boyle (Managing Director) in 2000. Sadly, Robin died in April 2005. His three daughters have retained his interest in the company. John's son Matthew Boyle joined the company in July 2006. The first brew was casked in August 2000 and the brewery has grown steadily since then on its reputation for quality and flavour. It has won several awards at festivals around the UK and at the 25th Camra Newcastle Beer Festival; April 2001 the brewery was awarded Champion Beer for their Gold Tankard bitter.

Northern Kites is the project that has returned red kites to northeast England, after an absence of over 170 years. It is a partnership between the lead partners Natural England and the RSPB, alongside Gateshead Council, Northumbrian Water, the National Trust and the Forestry Commission, with additional funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and SITA Trust. The Project is a world first in re-introducing kites into a semi-urban environment centred on Gateshead's Derwent Valley.

Update 25 Mar 2008

The MP has put down an Early Day Motion, that informs the House of Northern Kite's availability and recommending that they sample it in an appropriately responsible fashion, whilst learning more about the region's best known wildlife spectacle.

EDM 1257
REINTRODUCTION OF RED KITES TO NORTH EAST ENGLAND
25.03.2008
Anderson, David
That this House welcomes the introduction of Northern Kite Ale to the Strangers' Bar; notes that the ruby ale is brewed at the Wylam Brewery and that it has been produced to celebrate the welcome re-introduction of the red kite into the North East of England; recognises that the re-introduction of the kites is the first of its kind in that the birds were bred and freed very close to a large urban conurbation; is pleased to note that the project has gone from strength to strength and is a matter of great interest and pride in the local area; and sends both the Red Kites project and the Wylam Brewery the best wishes for their respective futures.


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Dave pledges Support for British Tourism Week

Dave backs British Tourism 11 Mar 2008

This week is British Tourism Week and Dave was one of the first to give it his backing.

Parliamentarians from around Britain took time out from Prime Minister's Questions to pledge their support for the second annual British Tourism Week from 10-18 March 2008. Among the first to back the series of more than 100 events nation-wide was Dave Anderson MP.

MPs from Devon to Dumfries and Galloway, Colchester to Clwyd West signed a special pledge card at the House of Commons.

Dave said,

"We have a tourist industry to be proud of, with great people helping to show the world what a fantastic place we live in. Tourism gives a real boost to our local and national economy and I am proud to support British Tourist week."

Among others who gave their backing to the event were Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, the Rt. Hon Andy Burnham MP, Minister for Tourism the Rt. Hon Margaret Hodge MBE MP, Shadow Minister for Culture, Media and Sport Tobias Ellwood MP and Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Don Foster MP.

Tom Wright, chief executive of VisitBritain and co-chairman of British Tourism Week's multi-sector steering committee, said,

"This is a fantastic start ahead of British Tourism Week. It demonstrates MPs' support for Britain's fifth largest industry, for tourism in their area and the people who depend on it for their jobs and livelihoods. Their help will highlight the appeals of heritage sites and historic buildings, of exploring our countryside and cinematic landscapes or taking a break in contemporary cities."

Parliamentarians are also being encouraged to 'go back to the floor' during British Tourism Week's 'Constituency Day' on Friday 14 March and gain a first-hand understanding of tourism businesses and the issues they face. Last year many MPs visited local tourist information centres, holiday parks and centres, farms, accommodation providers and attractions.

With His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales as patron, British Tourism Week aims to galvanise organisations and individuals to take pride in being part of the nation's £85 billion visitor economy. Events aim to raise the profile of an £85 billion visitor economy and draw national awareness to its critical importance and the contribution it makes to local economies and millions of livelihoods.

Already more than 100 different events are listed on the website and organisers hope that every region and destination will organise something to help businesses or raise awareness of tourism experiences among consumers.

Visit www.britishtourismweek.com for more information on the week of events being organised around the country.


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Backing for 'Smart Meters'

Dave with a smart meter
Dave with a smart meter
4 Mar 2008

Dave is giving is support to the idea of 'smart meters' for household energy.

He attended a reception given by the Energy Retail Association (ERA) in Parliament to promote the idea. Smart meters are the next generation of electricity and gas meters. They will bring about the end of estimated bills and meter readings, and provide customers and energy suppliers with accurate information on the amount of electricity and gas being used.

They will also provide the platform for the development of a much greater choice in energy tariffs and services for all homes. In short, smart meters would empower consumers to make informed choices about how much energy they use.

Dave said,

"Smart meters are clearly a key tool in energy reduction. The government and the industry should prioritise their development and installation."

Dave has encouraged smart meters through his work as Chair of Purge.

The Energy Retail Association (ERA) is calling on the government to provide a mandate to the energy retail industry to roll out smart meters to all 45 million British households.


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Dave Anderson MP helps Sunniside Local History Group Celebrate twice

29 Feb 2008

Dave Anderson MP will visit Sunniside and District Local History Group tomorrow to help with two celebrations.

Dave Anderson MP has commemorated the group in parliamentary history with an Early Day Motion recognising their achievement in uncovering the historical 'Bell Pit' at Lottie's Wood, Sunniside.

The Group have also reached a milestone in receiving £20,000 of funding in grant aid to support the work of the group to preserve the history of the area.

Dave Anderson MP says,

"I was proud to be able to recognise the wonderful achievement of this group in Parliament and I am very pleased to have been invited by the group to present them with both the EDM and their cheque from the Awards for All Lottery fund."

The group have been awarded £3,072 so they can complete the Tanfield Way Educational DVD, which will highlight previously unidentified local historical features.

Colin Douglas from the Sunniside Local said,

"We are truly grateful to Dave Anderson for highlighting the work of the Sunniside and District Local History Group in parliament and for unveiling the display to mark the site of the 'Bell Pit' at Lottie's Wood. We also thank Awards for All for their continued support we have received from them which we believe has helped to sustain and increased interest in our society."

James Turner, Big Lottery Fund Head of the North East region, said on behalf of the Awards for All funders:

"This is a fantastic start to the new year for this group. We are proud to be able to help groups like this keep up their wonderful work in bringing communities together"


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A Rare Day for Rare Disease

29th Feb is celebrated as First European Rare Disease Day with UK reception in the House of Commons

29 Feb 2008

On Tuesday 26th February Dave Anderson MP for Blaydon attended a Parliamentary Reception to mark Europe's first Rare Disease Day which takes place today, 29th February 2008.

The event was attended by over 150 patients from across the country who travelled to Westminster to meet parliamentarians face to face to raise the awareness of the needs of patients with rare diseases and to discuss policy developments at a UK and European level.

Rare diseases are life-threatening or chronically debilitating diseases with a low prevalence and a high level of complexity. There are over 8000 rare conditions identified, and they affect over 3.5 million people in the UK and over 300 million people in the EU at some point in their life. Dave Anderson MP welcomed the First European Rare Disease Day and said,

"For Patients with very rare diseases, and their families who are particularly isolated and vulnerable, a day focused on rare diseases can bring hope, as well as information to these individuals".

The event in the House of Commons was organised by Genetic Interest Group (GIG), a national alliance of patient organisations which support children, families and individuals affected by genetic disorders in the UK, and their European partner Eurordis (an alliance of patient organisations and individuals active in the field of rare diseases).

This important event was an opportunity for Dave to discuss policy developments with patients such as equal access and availability of prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation for people with Rare Disease and how the UK experience could provide a role model in some areas.

Dave said,

"Although the UK does have specialist commissioning for some rare diseases it is not accessible by all and patients with rare conditions. It is vital that my Constituents with rare diseases are able to access the appropriate health services and I commended the work of the patient groups in this area".

Tanya Collin-Histed, Executive Director at the Gauchers Association, a disease that affects 245 people in the UK, spoke about the benefits some patients had gained through receiving treatment and care at these specialist centres,

"Being able to see specialists in a centre dedicated to our condition has been of enormous benefit to patients. They are able to see people who look at their condition as a whole, and who know about the effects that it can have. They also have access to the latest treatment developments. It has been a lifeline to patients."

Alastair Kent, Director of the GIG said,

"Raising awareness of genetic disorders is vital. Although alone they are rare, together there are over 3.5 million people in the UK affected. Many patients have similar issues and concerns and together we can help patients to access the NHS in a fair and equitable manner".

Also discussed were

The London Parliamentary reception which took place on Tuesday 26th February to highlight the impact of rare conditions .was just one of many events taking place throughout Europe to mark the day.

Rare Disease Day will happen every year from 2008 onward and will continue to drive the understanding of genetic disorders and the impact that they have on patients' lives among the media, decisions makers, health professionals and the general public.

Notes:

For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_threats/non_com/cons_rare_dis_en.htm


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Blaydon MP takes Action against Mesothelioma

Dave supports the Action Mesothelioma campaign by signing the House of Commons motion.
Dave supports the Action Mesothelioma campaign by signing the House of Commons motion.
28 Feb 2008

Blaydon MP, Dave Anderson, joined the British Lung Foundation and others at the House of Commons on Wednesday 27th February to raise awareness of the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma and to support the BLF's campaign to ensure everyone in the UK is 'asbestos aware'.

To mark Action Mesothelioma Day the British Lung Foundation is monitoring the progress of the Mesothelioma Framework, an NHS action plan for people with the disease. The charity carried out a survey of cancer networks in England and presented its findings to the National Cancer Director Professor Mike Richards at Wednesday's reception at Westminster.

Dave signed an Early Day Motion calling for greater efforts to be made to improve treatment and care for people with mesothelioma after the survey showed that time and resources were proving major barriers to the full implementation of the Mesothelioma Framework.

Mesothelioma kills one person every five hours in the UK and there is as yet no cure. It takes between 15 and 60 years after exposure to asbestos for the symptoms of mesothelioma to become apparent and the UK will face an epidemic of the cancer in 2011 - 2015 as people exposed to asbestos in the 1960s and 1970s are diagnosed with the disease. Recent cases show that tradespeople such as builders, plumbers, gas fitters and electricians are now most at risk of developing mesothelioma.

Just 12% of tradespeople are aware that exposure to asbestos can be fatal and less than a third know it can cause cancer, according to a new survey published by the British Lung Foundation ahead of Action Mesothelioma Day. Worryingly, three quarters of tradespeople (74%) have never had any training in how to deal with asbestos even though the Health and Safety Executive warns that any building built or refurbished before 2000 could contain asbestos.

The House of Commons event was attended by representatives from the British Lung Foundation, Mesothelioma UK and the Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund.

Dave said:

"I am delighted to be supporting the British Lung Foundation's Action Mesothelioma Campaign, as it is helping to bring about real improvements for people with this cruel disease and continues to work for more research into the disease and more awareness about the dangers of asbestos. The British Lung Foundation's survey shows that there is a dangerously low level of awareness about the dangers of asbestos amongst the very people who are most at risk of mesothelioma."

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

"We are very pleased that Dave is continuing to support the Action Mesothelioma Campaign. Much has been achieved in the past year but there is a long way to go. We need more research into this deadly cancer, better treatments to give sufferers more hope, and more awareness amongst tradespeople of the continuing dangers of contact with asbestos."

Anyone who wants more information about the British Lung Foundation, or Action Mesothelioma should visit www.lunguk.org or call the BLF Helpline on 08458 50 50 20.

Notes:

  1. The number of mesothelioma deaths each year has increased from 153 in 1968 to 1,969 in 2004. Experts predict that we face an epidemic from 2011-2015 as the death toll rises over the next decade. The total number of mesothelioma deaths in Great Britain is expected to peak at around 1,950-2,450 deaths annually sometime between 2011 and 20151
  2. Although it is banned now, asbestos can still be found in places like gutters and rainwater pipes, garage and shed roofs, insulation panels in some storage heaters, bath panels, central heating flues, textured ceilings and even ironing boards. As asbestos ages, it becomes crumbly so fibres are released more easily.
  3. There are three types of asbestos - blue (crocidolite), brown (amosite) and white (chrysotile). All three forms can cause mesothelioma. Blue asbestos has not been imported into this country since around 1972 but was formerly used for insulation lagging and sprayed coatings. Brown asbestos was used in thermal insulation up to the late 1960s and in various sprayed forms and insulating boards until the late 1970s. The most common form of asbestos found in the home is white asbestos.
  4. In April 2005, of 2,265 cancer research projects being carried out by partners of the National Cancer Research Institute, only two of those related to mesothelioma research.
  5. The British Lung Foundation commissioned the YouGov online survey among 2,471 adults aged 18+ in England, Wales and Scotland between 6 - 8 February 2007. Results were weighted to be representative of the known population profiles from the 2001 Census.
  6. The British Lung Foundation is the only UK charity working to help people with all 43 lung diseases. It provides information and support to patients and their families, funds world class medical research to find solutions to lung disease and campaigns for improved treatments and services.
  7. The Action Mesothelioma campaign is a coalition campaign, led by the British Lung Foundation, which brings together patient groups, healthcare professionals and charities with an interest in Mesothelioma to speak with "one voice" about the disease.
  8. Action Mesothelioma Day is supported by an educational grant from the June Hancock Mesothelioma Research Fund, Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund, Corries Solicitors Ltd., Field Fisher Waterhouse, Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, John Pickering & Partners, Leigh Day & Co., Lilly UK, Pannone & Partners and Thompsons Solicitors.

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MP spreads The Word that Screening Matters

Dave shows his support for cancer screening
Dave shows his support for cancer screening
28 Feb 2008

Dave Anderson MP pledged to support Cancer Research UK's new Screening Matters campaign at a special parliamentary event.

The campaign aims to highlight the importance of the three NHS cancer screening programmes for breast, bowel and cervical cancer.

During the (February 26) event, the Blaydon MP discussed a Cancer Research UK survey* of more than 4,150 people which revealed that only 16 per cent could correctly identify breast, cervical and bowel cancers as the three cancers currently screened for by the NHS.

Dave said:

"I am concerned that many people are unaware of all three of the cancer screening programmes that are available. Studies have demonstrated that our breast, cervical and now also bowel cancer screening are effective and really do save lives. But we could save even more if people attended when invited.

"I have pledged my support for Cancer Research UK's Screening Matters campaign which nearly 100,000 people have signed up to so far. I am encouraging local people to get involved too by signing their own pledge at www.cancercampaigns.org.uk."

Sara Hiom, Cancer Research UK's Director of Health Information, said:

"We are very grateful for Dave's support for our Screening Matters campaign. Screening enables cancer to be detected earlier or even prevented from developing. This is crucial because the earlier a cancer is detected, the better a person's chance of survival.

"There is high recognition amongst women of the breast screening programme with 94 per cent of women being aware of breast screening, and six in 10 women know about cervical screening. At the moment only one in four people are aware about bowel cancer screening, and as this screening programme is rolling out across England it is vital that 60-69-year-olds know they are able to access this type of screening."

The Screening Matters campaign highlights the particular areas where Cancer Research UK would like the Government to take most urgent action on, seeking commitments to:

Screening Matters is a new campaign co-ordinated by Cancer Research UK in partnership with Beating Bowel Cancer, the Bobby Moore Fund, Bowel Cancer UK, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer Campaign, Breast Cancer Care and Jo's Trust.

For more information, please contact Cancer Research UK's Public Affairs Officer Tracey Loftis on 020 7061 8524 or tracey.loftis@cancer.org.uk.

Notes:

Breast screening: Cervical screening: Bowel cancer screening: BMRB survey*

For further information about Cancer Research UK's work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 08701 602040 or visit www.cancerresearchuk.org.uk


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Dave Anderson MP Praises Council

Gateshead Council Logo 7 Feb 2008

Dave Anderson MP today praised Gateshead Council after it was named by the Audit Commission as a top performing Council.

Gateshead achieved the highest four-star rating and was one of only 13 councils in the country which were both top-rated and "improving strongly".

The Blaydon MP said,

"This is a well deserved acknowledgement of the hard work that the Council and its employees are doing to provide the highest quality of services for the people of Gateshead. It is a terrific achievement to be named as one of the best councils in the country and the best north of Manchester."

The Audit Commission said,

"Gateshead Council is improving strongly. The Council has significantly improved outcomes for local people, achieving one of the best levels of improvement in England".


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MP holds community surgery in High Spen

5 Feb 2008

Dave Anderson, MP for Blaydon is holding a local surgery for his constituents at 10 - 12 am on Saturday 16 February at High Spen Primary School.

As well as the opportunity to meet Dave and discuss any issues, there will also be a Gateshead Warm Zone stall with information and advice about home energy efficiency.

If you are unable to attend the High Spen surgery, Dave has a regular surgery on the first Saturday of every month at Birtley Library 9.30 - 11 am and at his constituency office in Blaydon 11.30 - 1 p.m. No appointments are needed and further information can be found here.


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Dave backs Iraqi Soccer Star

Nashat Akram
Nashat Akram
31 Jan 2008

Local MP Dave Anderson has joined forces with Manchester City Manager Sven-Göran Eriksson and the Iraqi Government to overturn the decision to refuse a work permit to an Iraqi football hero, who was slated to join Manchester City.

Dave Anderson has tabled a Commons motion which says that allowing Nashat Akram, who played a major role in the Iraqi national squad's victory in the recent Asia Cup, would be a great boost to Iraqi football, which plays a unifying role in that country.

Dave Anderson commented:

"Nashat has been refused because the Iraqi team is not up to scratch in the international rankings. But this ignores the fact that Iraq suffered for several decades under Saddam Hussein's regime which isolated and hampered the development of football. Football unites Iraqis of all faiths and could be a beacon of hope. We should do what we can to assist the great game in Iraq and the Iraqis say that his transfer to a team here would help do that."

Text of Commons Motion.


SUPPORT FOR IRAQI FOOTBALLER, NASHAT AKRAM
30:1:08
Mr David Anderson
That this House regrets the decision to refuse a work permit for the purposes of joining Manchester City to Iraqi footballer Nashat Akram, who played a major role in the Iraqi national squad's victory in the recent Asia Cup, on the grounds that, at 72nd in the international rankings, Iraq falls just outside the basket of 70 teams from which such candidates can be considered; notes that football is a great unifying force in Iraq and that Nashat's transfer to a major league team would also do much to boost the sport in Iraq; further notes the judgement of Manchester City Manager Sven-Göran Eriksson, that Nashat is a very good footballer with an excellent pedigree; and urges that consideration be given to the Iraqi Government request to revise this decision in the light of the fact that Iraqi football needs nurturing after several decades of fascist-type rule by the Ba'athists which isolated and hampered Iraqi football.

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Local MP calls on Government to end Disability Poverty

30 Jan 2008

Dave Anderson MP is backing a new campaign to make tackling disability poverty a top government priority.

The MP for Blaydon has backed a Parliamentary motion supporting a new report from Leonard Cheshire Disability which found that disabled people are twice as likely to live in poverty as non-disabled people.

The report, 'Disability poverty in the UK', also found that on average disabled people's basic day-to-day living costs are a quarter (25%) higher than those of non-disabled people, because of extra expense on essentials such as mobility aids, care and transport.

Dave said:

"Leonard Cheshire Disability's report highlights the extent of the links between disability and poverty - I believe that more must be done to break those links.

"Many disabled people can face additional costs, which can leave those on low incomes having to take impossible decisions about whether they pay utility bills or pay for their care, or pay for food or essential mobility equipment.

"I know from speaking to disabled people and their families in Blaydon that this is an important issue. It simply can't be right that disabled people are twice as likely to live in poverty as non-disabled people, which is why I'm backing this campaign."

1. Leonard Cheshire Disability's report, Disability Poverty in the UK, can be found here www.lcdisability.org/?lid=6367

2. The report looks into many different issues such as the quality of housing, the accessibility of shops, education, employment and income levels in order to assess the extent of disability poverty in the UK.

3. The House of Commons Early Day Motion (EDM 637) supported by Dave reads as follows:

"That this House notes that the Leonard Cheshire Disability report `Disability Poverty in the UK' finds that disabled people are twice as likely as non-disabled people to live in poverty; further notes that disabled people can experience poverty in a number of ways including financial poverty, poverty of aspiration and poverty of opportunity; further notes that average basic living costs are much higher for disabled people; further notes that disabled people are twice as likely to be unemployed and seeking work than non-disabled people and that disabled people who are not expected to work are often trapped in inescapable poverty; believes that the extent of disability poverty in the UK today is unacceptable; and calls on the Government to make tackling disability poverty a priority."


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Dave marks Holocaust Memorial Day

Dave signs the Book of Commitment
Dave signs the Book of Commitment
25 Jan 2008

Dave showed his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day by signing a Book of Commitment to honour those killed in the Holocaust and individuals that risked their lives to help those being persecuted.

The Book has been placed in the House of Commons for Members of Parliament nation-wide to sign and pledge their support for the annual day of remembrance on Sunday 27th January.

On and around Holocaust Memorial Day, schools, local communities and faith groups from across the UK will join together to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. Thousands of events are being held across the country to commemorate all those who suffered at the hands of the Nazis during the Holocaust and in more recent genocides. Ultimately the aim of the day is to motivate people - individually and collectively, to ensure that the horrendous crimes, racism and victimisation committed during the Holocaust and subsequent genocides are neither forgotten nor repeated again.

January 27th marks the anniversary of the liberation in 1945 of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the infamous concentration and extermination camp. It is the eighth year that the anniversary has been officially commemorated in the UK. In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the day passing the Holocaust Memorial Day resolution.

Dave said,

"Holocaust Memorial Day provides a focus for each of us to learn from the lessons of the Holocaust. We must not only reflect on the horrors of the Holocaust and remember all the victims killed and persecuted by the Nazis but also to challenge all types of prejudice and discrimination which continue in our society today."

Karen Pollock, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust said:

"We are delighted that Dave Anderson is supporting Holocaust Memorial Day. At a time when anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial, racism, prejudice and sadly even genocide still continue to pollute our world today, Holocaust Memorial Day and Holocaust education is more important than ever.

It is through the participation and support of schools, local groups and elected members that give this day the impact it has around the country and we applaud their commitment to ensuring the lessons of the past learnt, acted upon and disseminated."

Notes:

  1. The theme for UK Holocaust Memorial Day 2008 is "Imagine... Remember, Reflect, React." This challenges us all to imagine the unimaginable. It asks us to focus on the lives and experience of victims and survivors of the Holocaust; of Nazi persecution and of other genocides. It invites us to find new and creative ways to express this experience through art and media. It marvels at the resilience of enterprise, culture and of life itself in the face of destruction.
  2. The Holocaust Educational Trust was established in 1988. Their aim is to educate young people from every ethnic background about the Holocaust and the important lessons to be learned for today. HET works in schools, universities and in the community to raise awareness and understanding of the Holocaust, providing teacher training, an outreach programme for schools, teaching aids and resource material. HET regard one of their earliest achievements as ensuring the Holocaust formed part of the National Curriculum for History. HET continues to play a leading role in training teachers on how best to teach the Holocaust.
  3. In November 2005, the Government announced funding of £1.5 million for HET to support its Lessons from Auschwitz Project for teachers and sixth form students. The funding has enabled HET to take the Project nation-wide and facilitate visits to Auschwitz for two sixth form students from every school and college in the UK.
  4. The Holocaust Educational Trust has produced a BAFTA award-winning DVD-ROM Recollections: Eyewitnesses Remember the Holocaust, in conjunction with the USC Shoah Foundation Institute. The groundbreaking interactive resource integrates testimony from 18 eyewitnesses of the Holocaust, including Jewish survivors, Roma and Sinti survivors, Jehovah's Witness survivors and political prisoners as well as testimony from survivors of the eugenics programme.
  5. The purpose of Holocaust Memorial Day is to remember the horrors of the Holocaust and those who perished. The day aims to ensure that the horrendous crimes against humanity committed during the Holocaust are never forgotten, and its relevance for each new generation is understood.
  6. Details of the national event in Liverpool on the 27th January and associated events across the rest of the UK are available on the Holocaust Memorial Day website at www.hmd.org.uk
  7. The Holocaust Educational Trust has been closely involved in the establishment and development of Holocaust Memorial Day since its inception in 2000. We are represented on all working groups dealing with education, local activities, the main event and at a strategic level.
  8. Holocaust Memorial Day came about following an MP's visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau with the Holocaust Educational Trust. Moved by his visit, Andrew Dismore MP proposed a bill, "to introduce a day to learn and remember the Holocaust" June 30 1999.

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Dave Anderson MP Congratulates Local School

Louise Easton the Head teacher of Crookhill with Dave
Louise Easton the Head teacher of Crookhill with Dave
25 Jan 2008

Dave Anderson MP today made a special visit to Crookhill Primary School in Ryton to congratulate them on their recent centenary celebrations, recognising all the hard work of the staff, parents, governors and pupils over the past 100 years.

He presented the school with a framed copy of the Early Day Motion he put down in Parliament, congratulating them on their successes and making their celebrations part of Parliamentary, as well as local, history.

Dave said

"It was a real honour to visit and do my part to recognise the effort made by the school to make their centenary celebrations a really special time for all involved. The school is a real asset to the local community and I thought it was only right to have this recognised by Parliament. I wish them all the best, and have every faith that the next hundred years will just as great as the last!"

Ther Early Day Motion:

EDM 2005
CELEBRATION OF THE CENTENARY OF CROOKHILL PRIMARY SCHOOL
25.07.2007
Anderson, David
That this House sends its best wishes to the staff, pupils, parents and governors at Crookhill Primary School on the occasion of its centenary; praises all concerned over the last 100 years of delivering quality education to the children in the area; congratulates them for promoting the centenary by involving former pupils in their celebrations, including twins who started at the school in 1926; welcomes their initiative in presenting all pupils with both a celebration coin and a DVD; thanks the Mayor of Gateshead for his involvement, including the planting of a tree to commemorate the event; and wishes the whole school and the local community continued success in providing for children over the next 100 years.

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MPs call for new law for asbestos victims

24 Jan 2008

A campaign for compensation for workers damaged by asbestos has been taken up in Parliament.

In a House of Common's debate on Pleural Plaques, MPs challenged the Government to bring forward new legislation to overturn a House of Lords ruling that denies victims the right to compensation.

Blaydon MP, Dave Anderson said,

"This is a disgraceful situation. Workers have been injured through negligent exposure to asbestos by their employers and insurance companies have been allowed to get out of paying them the compensation they are due. The Government should do everything in their power to put this injustice right."

"Thousands of workers are affected, particularly in industrial areas like Tyneside, their lungs have been damaged and they face increased risk of fatal illness. Asbestos related disease is the biggest cause of work related death in this country. 2,000 people will die from Mesothelioma this year alone and tens of thousands will die over the next decade."

Pleural Plaques had been recognised as a compensatable injury for over 20 years and the right to compensation was established in the High Court in 2005 but the insurance companies successfully appealed that decision and the Law Lords gave a final ruling late last year.

MPs also called for the Government to force the insurers to set up a fund to compensate the victims of asbestos disease whose claims fail because their employer no longer exists and an insurer cannot be traced.

It is estimated that the House of Lords ruling will save insurance companies £1.4 billion.


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North MP welcomes approval of asbestos cancer treatment

23 Jun 2008

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) today issued guidance confirming the use of the drug Alimta in the treatment of the asbestos induced lung cancer, Mesothelioma.

Following a two-and-a-half year approval process, which included two appeals, the guidance means that primary care trusts (PCTs) will be obliged to fund the drug for all NHS patients with Mesothelioma for whom the treatment is suitable.

Dave Anderson MP, a Patron of the North East based Mick Knight Mesothelioma Research Fund charity, said

"I welcome confirmation of NICE's decision to recommend Alimta for Mesothelioma suffers. The Government now needs to ensure that there is a level playing field across the whole of the UK for workers stricken by this disease. It is only right that treatment is available according to need and not cost. However, the delay getting this decision has added to the mental and physical anguish for sufferers and has sadly come too late for some.

"We should now see an end to the postcode lottery whereby some patients have received the treatment while those in neighbouring Primary Care Trust areas have not. I call on all PCTs to immediately fund the treatment and not wait until the end of the three month implementation period."

It was hoped that access to this treatment across England, Wales and Northern Ireland would consistently be available last year when, following a lengthy review process, NICE made a landmark decision to change its position and recommend Alimta for the treatment of malignant pleural Mesothelioma. However, appeals were submitted against the NICE recommendation and the process was subsequently further delayed by several months. Such delays are significant for patients with Mesothelioma who have a life expectancy of between only 8 and 18 months. Although there is no cure for Mesothelioma, Alimta can increase life expectancy and bring symptom relief and improved quality of life.

People affected by Mesothelioma in the UK are primarily those who have worked in manufacturing industries such as shipbuilding, construction work and railway engineering. Incidence of the disease is therefore concentrated in areas like the North East. Asbestos affects not only those who are directly exposed to it but other family members who have come into contact with the deadly fibres on clothing worn at the place of work.


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Planning System: Unfit for Purpose?

9 Jan 2008 Purge logo

Infrastructure and planning laws will fail to deliver a sustainable energy policy in the UK

Today in Parliament, PURGe will bring together stakeholders to discuss "Is our planning system fit for purpose?" The event, supported by National Grid, will examine whether the Government's plans to reform planning will work to deliver a sustainable and secure energy policy in the UK.

Dave Anderson MP, Chair of PURGe said:

"There could be no better time for PURGe to examine whether our planning system will deliver the energy infrastructure we need to match the UK's climate change targets.

"The recent announcement decision in Medway to approve the Kingsnorth power station and anticipated decisions on nuclear capacity demonstrate that key decisions on our energy future are being made now. It is vital that our planning legislation works and doesn't fail us in the long term.

"Energy will continue to occupy the centre stage of UK politics and PURGe will lead the debate on the sustainability, security and affordability of our energy supply."

Environmental issues are currently high on the Government's agenda with the Planning and Climate Change Bill going through Parliament and the publication of the Energy Bill imminent. The PURGE Stakeholder event provides an excellent opportunity for key stakeholders to critically assess whether the Government's policies are sufficiently joined up and whether they provide the long-term framework we need to secure the UK's future energy infrastructure needs.

Speakers include: Dr Phyllis Starkey MP, David Nick Winser (Executive Director for Transmission, National Grid PLC), Gideon Amos (Chief Executive, Town and Country Planning Association), David Arnold (UNISON), and Neil Sinden (Head of Policy, Campaign to Protect Rural England)

1. The PURGe Stakeholder Event takes place in Dining Room A, House of Commons, 4.00 - 6.00pm, 9th January 2008

2. PURGe: The Utilities Forum brings together key stakeholders concerned with the energy sector, including utility companies, regulators, Parliamentarians, environmental charities, trade unions, trade associations, consumer groups and many more. Historically, PURGe has gained a strong reputation; helping to reform regulation and shape the future of the UK utilities industry.

3. PURGe was recently re-launched at a special event held in the House of Commons and a series of Stakeholder events on energy will take place in 2008

4. The PURGe Stakeholder Forum will build on PURGe's successful track record of reaching out to other sectors on skills and workforce issues as well as engage in other areas outside its main remit.

5. The focus of PURGe and its objectives are as follows:

a. To promote debate on the security, affordability and sustainability of energy

i. supplies and to further raise the awareness of the industrial, social and

ii. strategic role of all utilities;

b. To benefit from European and global experience of providing and securing gas and electricity services;

c. To promote policy change which achieves a fairer balance between the main stakeholders - customers, employees and shareholders;

d. To engage and co-ordinate the co-operation of consumer groups with the aim of securing combined objectives;

e. To advance the debate on the relevance of the ownership of gas and electricity companies in the delivery of an efficient, high quality service to customers and the interests of principal stakeholders.


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