Press Releases 2010

 
29/12/10 Crackdown on bankers' bonus culture
25/12/10 MP hits out at transport premium numbers
22/12/10 Artistic freedoms in Iraq
19/12/10 Dave Anderson: troops in now to solve domestic oil crisis
15/12/10 Backing for Warm Homes Campaign
03/12/10 Dave Anderson urges local people to take up free help to reduce energy costs and stay warm
02/12/10 Dave Anderson: urges local teenagers to enter essay competition and promises to send entries to national leaders
30/11/10 Dave Anderson backs campaign to protect 2012 recreational spaces in 2012
23/11/10 Dave Anderson comment on rail fares announcement
17/11/10 Support for campaign for school sports
16/11/10 Support for animal ban
05/11/10 Dave Anderson backs Mencap
03/11/10 Dave Anderson exposes the reality of NHS underfunding despite government promises
28/10/10 Growing support for charity's bid to be FA Charity of the Year
25/10/10 Dave urges people to use energy advice
23/10/10 The importance of musical education in schools
22/10/10 Poor Muscle Disease Care Costs North East Millions reveals local MP
21/10/10 Dave Anderson speaks out against Miami 5 imprisonment
20/10/10 Bankers should pay much more
13/10/10 Keep Royal Mail public
10/10/10 Dave Anderson appointed to Labour's front bench team
08/10/10 Dave Anderson: call to back Lollipop People in national road safety competition
03/10/10 Dave Anderson urges rethink of cultural cuts
02/10/10 Dave Anderson welcome for npower refunds
24/09/10 Dave Anderson urges small businesses to act urgently to secure rate relief
22/09/10 Lib Dem Councillor Rejects Coalition for Labour
10/09/10 Dave Anderson hails the role of the TUC
09/09/10 Dave Anderson issues warning over energy top-up crooks
04/09/10 Dave Anderson hails Blaydon passport coup
31/08/10 Dave Anderson joins appeal to President Obama on Kashmir
26/08/10 MP Condemns the Coalition's Regressive Budget
19/08/10 A bad time to be 18
12/08/10 MP blasts Coalition's 'attack' on regional tourist industry
07/08/10 End Legal Loan Sharks
06/08/10 Come to the library, my friends
28/07/10 Backing for campaign to be FA Charity
23/07/10 Dave Anderson comment on scrapping the government offices for regions
23/07/10 Dave Anderson welcomes new European rules giving mobile phone customers break from 'bill shocks'
21/07/10 Dave Anderson supports Proud of Pubs week
16/07/10 Backing for lung cancer nurses
13/07/10 One North East 'slow death by a thousand cuts'
12/07/10 Plea to speed up government payments to small businesses
08/07/10 Mobile switching made faster
06/07/10 Cross-party drive on muscle disease
02/07/10 Welcome for new lottery support for returning veterans
29/06/10 Dave elected to new Backbench Business Committee
29/06/10 Cross-party drive to improve wheelchair services
20/06/10 Dave Anderson hails launch of creative and cultural skills academy in North
14/06/10 Dave Anderson joins celebrities to mark Carers Week
11/06/10 Concerns over BP and Obama
09/06/10 Dave Anderson hails Sevcon grant for electric vehicles
07/06/10 Dave Anderson MP put up for adoption
05/06/10 Ryton school trip to Commons saved
02/06/10 Israel should permit 'guaranteed' aid shipments to Gaza
01/06/10 Dave Anderson takes Newcastle University initiative on Ageism to the Commons
29/05/10 Police funding cuts deplored
25/05/10 Dave Anderson disappointment with Sir Alan Beith over Building Schools for the Future issue
21/05/10 Dave Anderson to host high-level energy meeting in the Commons
15/05/10 Fury over proposals to scrap school building plans
13/05/10 Backing for Walk to School week in Blaydon
26/04/10 Dave Anderson helps mark Workers' Memorial Day at Gateshead event on Wednesday 28th April
26/04/10 Dave Anderson comments on the Cameron threat to the North East
19/04/10 Dave Anderson comment on pulling together to help people in trouble because of airspace closure
19/04/10 Dave Anderson comment on the launch of Labour's regional manifesto
18/04/10 LibDem proposals could endanger jobs in Blaydon, according to Labour's candidate Dave Anderson
16/04/10 Dave Anderson pledges to continue fight against muscle disease
14/04/10 Dave wants people to get on their bikes
13/04/10 Comment on the Conservative manifesto
12/04/10 Comment on Labour manifesto
09/04/10 Support for literacy campaign
08/04/10 UK should lead debate on miners' safety
07/04/10 Success for elephants
01/04/10 Welcome for successful campaign to slash mobile phone charges
31/03/10 Call for fire safer cigarettes
29/03/10 Primary schools urged to enter IT competition
19/03/10 MP with a bee in his bonnet
17/03/10 Sure Start not Sure Stop
16/03/10 Creative work earns MP's praise for college students
12/03/10 Support for talking buses campaign
12/03/10 Volunteering pledge
09/03/10 Cross-party move on rare diseases
08/03/10 Government announces major investment for Gateshead schools
04/03/10 Dave Anderson welcomes adult autism strategy
02/03/10 Dave Anderson challenges local Conservative over Ashcroft cash and tax status
23/02/10 Local schools encouraged to get free energy display meters
22/02/10 Dave Anderson: backing for Camra campaign for decent local pubs
22/02/10 MP celebrates charity success at local supermarket
22/02/10 Dave pledges 'No Return to Cruelty'
11/02/10 Dave Anderson MP supports Fuel Poverty Awareness Day
11/02/10 Welcome for new compensation tracking scheme
10/02/10 MP's backing for the Robin Hood Tax campaign being launched today
08/02/10 Big welcome for personalised cancer care at home plans
08/02/10 Beware scam letters
08/02/10 Northern Ireland news welcome but need to bring children together
07/02/10 Staying safe in the sun
05/02/10 Event proves just the job for school leavers
05/02/10 Backing the Legion
03/02/10 Call for urgent reforms to energy market
02/02/10 Free laptops and internet access
02/02/10 Blaydon MP Dave Anderson visits eaga
01/02/10 Ministers should intervene over rail safety
28/01/10 New home scheme for soldiers
27/01/10 Good news for dairy
26/01/10 Local MP commits to safeguard the legacy of Holocaust Survivors
25/01/10 Dave Anderson's warm welcome for government help to tackle repossessions in Gateshead
24/01/10 MP backs campaign to urge carbon monoxide alarms in homes
23/01/10 Government record on compensation claim praised and urged to settle Pleural Plaques issue
22/01/10 Ensure disabled access at polling stations
22/01/10 MP's advice on water charges and burst pipes
19/01/10 Warning on battery farmed pet dogs by Blaydon MP
13/01/10 Blaydon MP hails schools results revolution in Gateshead
12/01/10 Be an MP for a Week, says Dave Anderson

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Crackdown on bankers' bonus culture

29 Dec 2010

Government double standards in pay bargaining have been condemned by a Tyneside MP.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said:

"Ministers are freezing the salaries of low paid nurses but are rather meekly requesting that bankers see reason about their often exorbitant bonus payments in January. It's high time ministers showed some spine and cracked down on the bonus culture not least in recognition of the fact that such fat cats have made a major contribution to wrecking our economic prospects."


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MP hits out at transport premium numbers

Bus in snow in Gateshead Photo: Anthony Armitage
Bus in snow in Gateshead
(Photo: Anthony Armitage)
25 Dec 2010

Dave has blasted transport bodies who use premium phone numbers.

This added to the fact that many frustrated travellers are kept on hold using mobiles means they face high bills on top of everything else.

Dave said,

"Many thousands of people feel understandably aggrieved and terribly inconvenienced by their treatment at the hands of transport bodies. The financial consequences for many will be severe and will stack up in the coming weeks. Many of these trapped travellers have been on their phones trying to reach several businesses for information.

"They will have been forced in most cases to use expensive premium numbers and frequently held on the line for ages. They will count the high cost when their bills come in the new year.

"Far too many companies, and sadly many government agencies, oblige people needing help to use expensive phone numbers which is exacerbated by the massive growth in the use of mobiles.

"Surely it is time for such organisations to recognise that they shouldn't fleece their customers when things go wrong and use geographical numbers which are part of the free minutes package on mobiles."


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Artistic freedoms in Iraq

22 Dec 2010

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson has joined with other Labour and Conservative MPs as well as Iraqi poets, actors and other artists in alerting public opinion to curbs on artistic freedoms in Iraq - in a letter to the Times today

We are deeply concerned about recent actions by several provincial councils in Iraq against basic democratic and cultural rights, in grave violation of the Iraqi Constitution.

Baghdad provincial council has ordered the closure of the Iraqi Writers' Union social club in Baghdad. The president of the Baghdad provincial council has threatened action against intellectuals organising protests. Babil provincial council has banned songs and plays in the renowned Babil Festival. Basra provincial council has cancelled the French Circus programme.

We fully support the campaign in Iraq against these repressive measures which has been organised by democratic, cultural and civil society organisations with the active participation of intellectuals. We share their view that these actions are part of a policy to suppress democratic rights and freedoms, and to lay the foundations for a despotic religious state in Iraq, against the will of the Iraqi people.

We, therefore, respectfully urge the Iraqi Government and Parliament to rescind these unconstitutional measures, abolish all draconian decrees issued by Saddam Hussein's dictatorial regime and which remain in force, abide by the civil and democratic rights stipulated in the Iraqi Constitution, agreed by a national referendum in 2005, and take firm action against any violations of these precious rights and freedoms.

David Cairns, MP (Lab)
Robert Halfon, MP (Con)
Dave Anderson, MP (Lab)
Peter Bottomley, MP (Con)
Mike Gapes, MP (Lab)
Rasheed Al-Khayoun Researcher in Islamic Philosophy
Gary Kent Labour Friends of Iraq
Ronak Shawki Theatre director
Falah Ahmad Theatre actor
Ali Fawzi Theatre actor
Rudha Al-Dhahir Writer
Faysal Abdullah Writer
Faisal Laibi Sahi Painter
Koutaiba Al-Janabi Film-maker
Ali Rafiq Film director
Ghanem Hamdoun Journalist
Abdul Razak Al-Safi Journalist
Rasool Ali Theatre actor
Salwa Jarrrah Novelist and radio presenter
Samira Al-Mana Novelist
Ibtisam Tahir Writer
Misbah Kama Writer
Fadil Al-Sultan Poet and journalist
Adnan Al-Sayegh Poet
Salah Niazi Poet
Abdul Karim Qasid Poet
Satta Hashem Painter
Khayam Allami Musician
Adnan Hussein Journalist

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Dave Anderson: troops in now to solve domestic oil crisis

19 Dec 2010

The Government is coming under pressure to deal with the Christmas Oil Crisis following reports that domestic oil customers are being told they cannot get a delivery for three or four weeks, supplies may be rationed and that prices have nearly doubled in the last month.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who has written to the energy minister about the crisis, said:

"We are being held to ransom at the pumps and in the home by companies which are coining in obscene profits. The government is keen to say that this is a market issue, but we are seeing market failure. It is regrettable that we only have a toothless regulator, Ofgem to protect the consumer in relation to price hikes, but deliveries of fuel are a different issue. These could be enhanced if necessary by involving troops or other professional drivers. The price of this fuel is an important matter but the immediate issue is for him to get a grip on its availability. The minister must take swift action to ensure its distribution. The Government should have seen this one coming - it's the second cold snap we've had."

Mr Anderson added:

"The Government is giving no clear indication of its actions apart from vague waffle about trying to get things done. People who depend on domestic oil need more than warm words if they are to be able to heat their homes this Christmas and to prevent panic."


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Backing for Warm Homes Campaign

15 Dec 2010

Dave Anderson Member of Parliament for Blaydon is backing National Energy Action's Warm Homes Campaign 2010 and is stressing that a national energy efficiency drive is vital in combating rising levels of fuel poverty.

The support comes after recent Government statistics revealed that the numbers of households in fuel poverty is continuing to escalate, with NEA estimating that the figure in England and Wales has reached over 4.1 million.

Speaking about the campaign Mr Anderson said:

"The Warm Homes Campaign highlights that there are still millions of people who are simply struggling to keep their homes warm and protect their families from the ill effects of the cold. Fuel-poor households experience a number of detrimental health impacts and reductions in general well-being as a result of cold, damp living conditions. Whilst this is unacceptable, the campaign also demonstrates how help is available. It also underlines how important it is that future government schemes are able to target support for the most vulnerable households effectively.

"The North East has the highest number of household living in fuel poverty in England. Over 293,000 households In the North East will be going cold this winter, putting their health and well-being at serious risk.

"The most important message this year is that there is help out there for vulnerable households. I urge everyone to contact the Home Heat Helpline on 0800 33 66 99 to get help and advice on staying warm in their home this winter without the fear of fuel debt and ill health."

NEA chief executive Jenny Saunders said:

"This campaign plays a vital role in ensuring members of the public, local politicians and MPs understand this link between energy efficiency and fuel poverty. By providing practical advice to local community groups and taking MPs to visit their constituents at home and hear first hand about how they've benefited from energy efficiency initiatives, we hope to help lift other families out of fuel poverty. I am delighted so many MPs have taken this opportunity."

The NEA's Warm Homes Campaign 2010 press pack is available on the NEA Website. Click here.

Warm Homes Campaign is a national campaign organised by fuel poverty charities National Energy Action (NEA) and Energy Action Scotland (EAS), and is sponsored in 2010 by DECC (England only)and E.ON.

Warm Homes Campaign aims to raise awareness of the problem of fuel poverty and the various grants and schemes that are available to vulnerable households struggling to heat their homes.

NEA is the UK's leading fuel poverty charity campaigning for affordable warmth in the homes of vulnerable people. For further details, visit www.nea.org.uk. Fuel poverty is defined as when a household is required to spend more than ten per cent of its income after housing costs on total fuel use.

DECC figures for 2008 have shown that fuel poverty increased significantly from 2007 to 2008, from 2.8 million to 3.3 million households in England alone and puts the figures for the whole of the UK at 4.5 million. NEA estimates that as of 2010, more than 5.4 million UK households are considered to be in fuel poverty. NEA estimates there are currently 320,000 fuel poor households in Wales, equivalent to 1 in 4 households.

Current grant programmes are:

• Warm Front in England (0800 408 2095) www.warmfront.co.uk. E.ON is one of the UK's leading power and gas companies - generating and distributing electricity, and retailing power and gas - and is part of the E.ON group, one of the world's largest investor-owned power and gas companies. They employ more than 15,000 people in the UK and more than 88,000 world-wide.

E.ON's retail business is a leading energy supplier in the UK with around 5.3 million electricity and gas customers, covering domestic, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and industrial. E.ON also offers central heating and boiler care.


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Dave Anderson urges local people to take up free help to reduce energy costs and stay warm

3 Dec 2010

About 5 million people are missing out on heat and energy savings of about £260 a year and could claim free insulation grants and reduced energy tariffs according to the Home Heat Helpline.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson is urging people to take advantage of this free help:

"With early and harsh winter weather and belt-tightening, many are worried about the cost of keeping their homes warm. Local folk should see if they qualify for grants, reduced tariffs, flexible payment options or special services designed elderly or disabled people. Times are tough but it is completely unacceptable that anyone should have to struggle to afford to stay warm this winter."

The Home Heat Helpline is a free non-profit organisation set up by Britain's energy companies to help customers. They are on 0800 33 66 99 or at www.homeheathelpline.org.uk


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Dave urges local teenagers to enter essay competition and promises to send entries to national leaders

2 Dec 2010

A £500 prize could be grabbed by a teenager if they win the Young Business Writer of the Year competition with a short news article on the state of the economy.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who is urging local pupils to take part in the competition, said:

"This is a great opportunity for local teenagers to express their views about the British economy. I can send entries to the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and Ed Miliband if students wish that."

This ifs School of Finance competition, is open to those aged 14-19 from UK schools and colleges. The competition enables teenagers to test their writing skills by writing a 1,000 word news article with the headline, "Does the UK economy need rebalancing away from financial services?"

Rod McKee, Head of Financial Capability at the ifs School of Finance, added:

"We are very pleased that Dave Anderson has highlighted some of the benefits of this popular competition and urged his young constituents to submit an entry. Issues relating to the state of the economy and the financial services industry in particular can be complex and contentious so it will be interesting to read local teenagers views."

Anyone between 14 and 19 can enter by e-mailing their article of up to 1,000 words to ybwy@ifslearning.ac.uk by 24 January 2011. For more information visit www.financialcapability.co.uk

The ifs School of Finance, founded in 1879, is a registered charity incorporated by Royal Charter. The ifs School of Finance 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 40,000 teenage participants every year.

The ifs (lower case) is not to be confused with the Institute for Fiscal Studies (often referred to as the "IFS") with whom the ifs School of Finance has no association.


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Dave Anderson backs campaign to protect 2012 recreational spaces in 2012

30 Nov 2010

2,012 outdoor recreational spaces across the country will be protected as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who is backing the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge Trust led by Prince William, said:

"As we limber up to the Olympics, we must protect our playing fields from development and disrepair. Everyone should have access to free, local outdoor space for sport, play and recreation."

For more information visit www.fieldsintrust.org


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Dave Anderson comment on rail fares announcement

23 Nov 2010

"The government's decision to clobber rail passengers hard by reversing Labour's decision to force train companies to apply price controls to fares individually is painful, predictable and counter-productive. Many commuters will see eye-watering hikes of more than 10% on some routes, at the same time as VAT goes up to 20% and energy prices soar as well as wage freezes and cuts to tax credits and child benefit.

"There's even worse to come the year after because the government has decided to increase fares by 3% above inflation every year.

"The Tories used to say that an increase in rail fares of this amount would price people off the railways and the Liberal Democrats promised to cut fares. It's a shame they have ratted on their words but more importantly these rises will cause more congestion as commuters take to their cars. This is citizens paying the price for the most cack-handed of all the Tory privatisations with no light at the end of this particular tunnel."


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Support for campaign for school sports

17 Nov 2010

"Cutting all direct funding to School Sports Partnerships will hurt the UK's Olympic legacy," campaigning Olympic athlete, Darren Campbell told a packed cross-party meeting at the Commons this week which brought together school heads, student leaders, MPs and Olympic athletes.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson backed the campaigners:

"School Sports Partnerships have been instrumental in widening the range of pupils participating in competitive sport and in encouraging those who wouldn't otherwise compete to participate and get some exercise."

Mr. Anderson added,

"The Coalition talks a lot about competition and protecting our Olympic legacy, but cutting direct sports funding will endanger the Olympic legacy and the nurturing of future athletes. A relatively small amount of money can achieve great transformations and I urge the Government to reverse its short sighted decision to cut all funding to School Sports Partnerships."

The Government's plan is to switch funding to schools to distribute amongst different programmes but hard-pressed schools may use the money elsewhere and this will reduce sports activities.

A primary school head teacher told the meeting:

"School sports and the work of School Sports Partnerships raise horizons for young people, build their confidence and provide opportunities for the disadvantaged who wouldn't otherwise be able to participate. Sport is an equaliser and a language all children can understand."

A petition to protect School Sports Partnerships is currently being distributed by 2,000 Student Ambassadors and a march on London to present the petition to Education Secretary, Michael Gove is planned for 7 December.


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Support for animal ban

16 Nov 2010

Dave is backing a ban on wild animals in circuses.

He is very critical of the government's idea for 'self regulation' saying it is misguided.

Dave said,

"A misguided government proposal for a self-regulating system would allow the continued use of wild animals in circuses, which most people think is a bad idea."

Dave is backing a campaign on the issue led by Animal Defenders International (ADI).

Dave says:

"The ADI, a leading animal protection organisation, is on the money in backing a ban on wild animals in circuses. The government should drop this self-regulation nonsense, follow the public's wishes and implement a ban on wild animals in circuses."

For more information, visit ADI's website at www.ad-international.org.


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Dave Anderson backs Mencap

5 Nov 2010

Cutting a vital mobility lifeline for disabled people who live in residential care homes "could turn back the clock to when many disabled people were kept out of sight and out of mind," according to a Tyneside MP.

Official estimates are that 58,000 of the 380,000 people in care homes would lose £33.40 per week and be left with just £22.30 a week personal allowance.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, himself a former care worker, said:

"This callous cut will stop many disabled people living in residential care homes from leading fulfilling and independent lives. I am supporting the Mencap charity which believes the government has misunderstood how disabled people use this important benefit. They rightly say that without this vital lifeline, many disabled people in care will lose much of their independence, be unable to take part in many community activities they enjoy and have fewer opportunities to meet with friends and family."

For more information visit Mencap's website at www.mencap.org.uk


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Dave Anderson exposes the reality of NHS underfunding despite government promises

3 Nov 2010

The Government's slight NHS spending increases in reality mean substantial cuts due to faster rising costs for medicine, an ageing population and a higher birth rate as well as an expensive, needless and unpopular top-down reorganisation.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson has written to the heads of local Primary Care Trusts to ask if the Coalition Agreement's pledge to 'guarantee that health spending increases in real terms in each year of the Parliament' will be met and how much the local NHS will receive each year above inflation.

Mr Anderson said:

"Lavish promises have been made by ministers anxious to prove that the NHS is safe in their hands. But when you look at the detail it disappears into thin air. As well as more people to look after the Government is to shift £1 billion from healthcare to fund council social care services without guarantees that it will be spent on personal social services although council budgets are under great pressure from other cuts. I will work with NHS unions and others to expose the flimsy spin of government actions and make the case for proper funding."


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Growing support for charity's bid to be FA Charity of the Year

28 Oct 2010

Efforts to rule racism offside at football matches were backed at a House of Commons event where professional footballers, managers and parliamentarians united to support Show Racism the Red Card campaign's to become FA Charity of the Year.

Professional Footballers' Association Chief Executive, Gordon Taylor, Gary Lineker and ex-England Manager, Graham Taylor also back the bid.

Dave Anderson, a supporter since the campaign's inception, said:

"The Show Racism the Red Card charity has done sterling work in blowing the whistle on racism at football matches and more widely. It used to be rife but is much reduced thanks to football role models taking part in educational activities. It makes football enjoyable for everyone. Becoming the FA Charity would boost its work and this can only be a good thing."

Nearly 100 MPs of all parties have backed the bid in Dave Anderson's Commons motion. Former Shadow Foreign Secretary David Miliband MP says:

"The vision of a Britain in which every citizen whatever their race, religion, colour or creed gets equal treatment, goes to the heart of who I am. I'm the first person in my family to be born in this country and I know we've made fantastic progress, in large part thanks to the campaigning of such organisations as Show Racism the Red Card."

Show Racism the Red Card Chief Executive, Ged Grebby added:

"2011 will be our 15th anniversary and to get FA Charity of the Year would be a real boost. We are overwhelmed with messages of support from within football and many organisations and individuals nationwide."

Show Racism the Red Card is an anti-racist charity, established in January 1996 with the aim of harnessing the potential of professional footballers as anti-racist role models and combating racism through anti-racist education. The campaign involves hundreds of top footballers and managers and organises anti-racism workshops, football fun fitness sessions and educational events at football clubs.

For more information about the work of Show Racism the Red Card please contact info@theredcard.org or visit our website www.theredcard.org.


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Dave urges people to use energy advice

25 Oct 2010

People in the North East can about save £90 million energy and reduce carbon emissions every year by taking more control over their energy usage, according to a campaign run by the Energy Saving Trust.

The initiative is being backed by Blaydon MP Dave Anderson who said:

"We can all cut our bills by taking three energy saving steps. Insulating cavity walls and lofts up to 270mm, replacing old fashioned bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs and turning their appliances off standby would save hundreds and cut carbon emissions equivalent to taking 150 thousand cars off North East roads."

Mr Anderson added:

"People can kill two birds with one stone - saving money and tackling climate change as individuals. There's a free and impartial advice centre on 0800 512 012."


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The importance of musical education in schools

23 Oct 2010

Musical talent in schools needs to identified and nurtured very carefully according to a Tyneside MP

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who quizzed the government about how this can be done in the light of spending cuts, said:

"I am pleased to hear ministers playing the right tune in saying that every child should learn to play a musical instrument and to sing. But I am worried that they haven't composed a line on funding for music education beyond next March."

Mr Anderson added:

"Encouraging musical talent and interest is wonderful for individual pupils and all those who love and value music. But it's also a vital part of the UK economy which has a major global niche and earns much money from music. The government's review of music education funding needs to make it clear that the show must go on."


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Poor Muscle Disease Care Costs North East Millions reveals local MP

22 Oct 2010

An estimated £3.54 million is being spent in the North East on emergency hospital admissions for people with muscle disease, according to the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Muscular Dystrophy and Blaydon MP Dave Anderson.

Mr Anderson said:

"NHS bosses should explain why better care, support and information is not provided to the 3,000 people in the region affected by muscle disease. Millions on emergency hospital admissions could be slashed by giving people the ongoing healthcare they deserve."

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Muscular Dystrophy took evidence from national experts who revealed that until September 2009, only 13 specialist Care Advisors gave support and information to muscle disease sufferers and their families - eight of whom were funded entirely by charitable donations from the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. 23 NHS-funded advisors are now due by April 2011, but NHS trusts have been slow to recruit despite funding already being in place. Families affected by muscular dystrophy say that these Care Advisors are pivotal in helping them access the services and are angry that more progress has not been made.

Dave Anderson added:

"It is a grave irony that £3.54 million goes on emergency treatment for people with muscle disease, while health authorities are struggling to find funding to help people to better manage their conditions. Care Advisors should be available to people with muscle diseases and pronto. They help families from diagnosis to managing conditions in the long-term. Our money is better invested in making these specialists' support available to as many people as possible than in picking up the bill for emergency admissions, which cause stress for patients and additional pressure for busy hospital wards."

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign is the leading UK charity focusing on muscle disease. It has pioneered the search for treatments and cures for over 50 years, and is dedicated to improving the lives of all children and adults affected by muscle disease.

It funds world-class research to find effective treatments and cures; provides free practical and emotional support; campaigns to raise awareness and bring about change and awards grants towards the cost of specialist equipment, such as powered wheelchairs.

More than 70,000 babies, children and adults in the UK have muscular dystrophy or a related condition. A further 350,000 people are affected indirectly as family, friends or carers.

Muscle diseases cause muscles to waste and weaken making it hard for those affected to do even the simplest of tasks. The conditions don't just affect the muscles in the arms and legs but the heart and respiratory muscles too. There are no cures and many affected children don't live to reach adulthood.


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Dave Anderson speaks out against Miami 5 imprisonment

Dave at the Miami 5 meeting
Dave at the Miami 5 meeting
21 Oct 2010

As part of a tour to raise awareness of the situation facing the Miami 5, Dave Anderson and Irma Gonzalez Salanueva - the daughter of prisoner Rene Gonzalez - called for a fair settlement for the men and their families stating "This situation has gone on for too long. Justice for these men must be found, and the US Government must take notice".

Who are the Miami Five?

The Miami Five are Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González, five Cubans falsely accused and jailed by the US government of committing espionage against the United States.

They were arrested on 12th September 1998 in Miami, where they were illegally held in solidarity confinement for 17 months.

The trial began in November 2000 in Miami, a hugely hostile environment where the anti-Castro Cuban-American community wields enormous political influence. Defence attorneys' motions for a change of venue were denied five times by the judge, although it was obvious that a fair trial was impossible in the city.

During the trial, the judge, prosecution and US government officials suppressed defence evidence and ensured key witnesses would not testify. Despite intimidation of witnesses by the press and testimonies by prominent US officials that the Five had not accessed any classified documents, the jury reached a unanimous guilty verdict on all charges, without once seeking clarification of any evidence.

Human rights organisations have condemned the trial and the treatment of the families. Amnesty International has described the treatment of the Five as 'contrary both to the standards for the humane treatment of prisoners and to a state's obligation to protect family life.'

For more information see below.

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/miami-five-wives-again-denied-visas-visit-husbands-20090326

http://www.cuba-solidarity.org.uk/miami5/index.asp


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Bankers should pay much more

20 Oct 2010

Dave has described today's spending review as the beginning of a battle for Britain's future.

He says the bankers should pay more and we need to protect jobs and growth as the deficit is reduced more gradually.

Dave said,

"As ever, the devil will be in the detail some of which will not be immediately apparent, although many measures will hit many people for six. This is the beginning of a major battle for Britain's future and I shall be arguing that whilst we need a balanced plan to reduce the deficit but more gradually and by making the bankers pay much more we also need to protect jobs and growth rather than take a reckless gamble with the economy and many front-line services that people rely on."

"It speaks volumes that the Government is penalising children and chopping police officers as well as pulverising a million jobs but letting bankers off the hook . Unemployment is not a price worth paying and we need a strategy for growth instead."


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Keep Royal Mail public

Royal Mail 13 Oct 2010

The Royal Mail should stay in public ownership in line with majority public opinion which believes that postal services will deteriorate and prices will go up under privatisation.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said:

"This mania for privatisation has to stop. It's perfectly possible for Royal Mail to be profitable in the public sector if it is allowed to borrow money from outside the government. The grave danger of privatising the service is that those who Vince Cable slammed as spivs and gamblers would scrap the universal service and trigger needless industrial strife."


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Dave Anderson appointed to Labour's front bench team

10 Oct 2010

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson has been appointed to Ed Miliband's new frontbench team as an Assistant Whip.

Mr Anderson said:

"I am delighted to have been asked to play a role in building our team and making sure that we make the most of our job as an opposition in holding the government to account. I supported Ed Balls and I am very pleased that our new leader has chosen people who took different decisions over the leadership. We had a good leadership contest but that's now settled and it's now time to rein in the recklessness of this government, defend jobs and services as far as possible, devise a reasonable and convincing alternative and get ourselves in shape to win power back at the next election."


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Dave Anderson: call to back Lollipop People in national road safety competition

8 Oct 2010

Local primary school pupils have been asked to nominate Britain's favourite lollipop person as part of a drive to highlight the importance of school crossing patrols

The competition has also been backed by Blaydon MP Dave Anderson who said:

"The Lollipop Person of the Year campaign is a great opportunity to focus on road safety. Research shows that many pupils take too many risks with road safety. Each death is such a needless tragedy given that it takes just a little attention to avoid being run over."

Mr Anderson, who has written to all local schools encouraging them to enter, added:

"Roads are becoming increasingly busy and as long as children walk to school, which is generally a good thing, we must celebrate and nurture the vital job carried out by lollipop people in helping pupils safely across the road."

According to the most recent Government figures, 1,660 child pedestrians were killed or seriously injured in road accidents in 2009, a drop of seven percent on the previous year's figures.

Brendan Devine, group managing director of Kwik Fit Financial Services, added:

"We are determined to help further improve the UK's road safety record for children. There's some great work going on throughout the country by government road safety bodies and national charities such as Brake, but our findings show there is still work to be done. We think the Lollipop Person of the Year campaign is a good way of raising awareness to both children and motorists alike.

"We want to make sure that Britain's children are safe as they walk to school, which means that not only do we need to employ plenty of lollipop people, but it's vitally important that motorists think about how they drive around towns and near schools."

Nominations for the Kwik Fit Insurance Lollipop Person of the Year Awards 2010 will close on Friday, November 19th 2010.

More information and entry details can be found at www.bestlollipop.co.uk


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Dave Anderson urges rethink of cultural cuts

The Baltic and Sage Gateshead - under threat?
The Baltic and Sage Gateshead - under threat?
3 Oct 2010

Galleries, museums and historic sites are very important cultural assets for the UK and short sighted government cuts will mean massive job losses and seriously harm the UK economy, according to a Tyneside MP.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who is supporting union campaigns against these cuts, said:

"Cuts of up to 40% will devastate our heritage, culture and ability to be competitive in sport. Our rich variety of cultural activities provides unique educational tools and help define local and national identities as well as boosting regional economies, jobs for local people and enjoyment for millions of visitors."

Mr Anderson added,

"Every £1 spent on culture generates £2 for the UK economy. Heritage tourism contributes £21 billion a year to the economy and supports nearly half a million jobs. Sport contributes more than £16 billion to the economy annually. Overseas visitors make 10 million trips to the UK each year, with many saying that heritage is the main draw. Sport generates long-term economic value in terms of avoided health costs and improved quality of life. We have to find some savings, it is true, but the scale of cuts likely to be proposed will be counter-productive in the extreme."


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Dave Anderson welcome for npower refunds

npower logo 2 Oct 2010

The long-awaited decision by energy giant npower that it will refund nearly 2 million customers who overpaid for gas in 2007 has been welcomed as "a good start" by Blaydon MP Dave Anderson.

Mr Anderson said:

"Energy prices are often extortionate already without unfair overpayments too. The company has finally been forced by the consumer watchdog Consumer Focus to pay out. Their customers need do nothing to claim refunds because they will be contacted over the next two months about payments which can be cashed at the Post Office."

He added:

"But customers who believe they are entitled to compensation but have not heard by the end of November should contact npower whose helpline is on 0800 975 7938 from 4 October. Answers to key questions can be found on the Consumer Focus website at www.consumerfocus.org.uk/energy-help-and-advice"


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Dave Anderson urges small businesses to act urgently to secure rate relief

24 Sep 2010

Local businesses could lose out on a share of about £200 million in backdated rate relief unless they lodge claims by the 30 September deadline, according to Blaydon MP Dave Anderson.

The MP said:

"Any small business occupying commercial premises between 1 April 2007 and April 2010 could be entitled to money back through the rate relief scheme but they best act urgently. Thousands of pounds could be at stake - no small sum in these straitened times."

Information can be found at www.sbrr.co.uk


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Lib Dem Councillor Rejects Coalition for Labour

Councillor Yvonne McNicol
Councillor Yvonne McNicol
22 Sep 2010

Gateshead Councillor Yvonne McNicol today resigned from the Liberal Democrat Party to join Labour.

Councillor McNicol has represented the Dunston Hill and Whickham East ward since 2004.

Announcing her move, Councillor McNicol said:

"Gateshead has lost £80 million pounds of desperately needed investment in our schools as a direct result of Nick Clegg doing a deal with David Cameron. Whickham School, in my area, is a prime example of this."

Councillor McNicol is the first North East Lib Dem politician to switch to Labour since the coalition was formed in May. She follows a number of other Lib Dem defections to Labour, including a high profile councillor in Nick Clegg's own Sheffield constituency.

Blaydon Labour MP Dave Anderson said:

"I welcome Yvonne into our party. She is a hard working local councillor who cares a great deal about her local community and the people she represents. I am looking forward to working with her."

Yvonne McNicol is a married mother of two and works as a legal secretary.


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Dave Anderson hails the role of the TUC

10 Sep 2010

The TUC, which holds its annual conference this week (starts Monday 13th) will

"play a pivotal role in urging ministers to modify their dangerous plans for cuts, privatisation and redrawing the state which will impact badly on all parts of society, not least the North East,"

according to a Tyneside MP.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, himself a former member of the TUC's ruling General Council, said:

"My great fear is that the planned cuts could choke off our fragile recovery and spark a double-dip recession. Most people did not vote for this approach and it's only right that the TUC seeks to protect its members as well as the prospects for the wider economy."

The TUC is organising a rally and lobby of Parliament on 19 October - the eve of the Comprehensive Spending Review - and a great national demonstration against the cuts in London next March.

Mr Anderson added:

"I will do my bit to support the TUC's campaign to make the government think again and join with them in looking for every opportunity to work with service users, those whose pensions and benefits have been hit and all those who worry about the future of our society and economy.

Mr Anderson pointed out how public sector cuts also impact on the private sector, which is supposed to be the engine of growth:

"The TUC has released figures which show that the public sector wage bill makes up just 25p of every pound raised by government through tax but that half as much again - 38p in the pound - is spent directly on private sector goods and services."

The TUC is proposing an alternative approach with a more sensible time-table for deficit reduction, a fair tax system and policies to stimulate green growth.


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Dave Anderson issues warning over energy top-up crooks

Pre pay gas meter 9 Sep 2010

A Tyneside MP is warning local people not to be taken in by a scam which may mean they pay twice for topping up their pre-pay electricity meters.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson is concerned to hear from the energy industry and Consumer Focus that "crooks are going door to door trying to fool people into buying energy top-ups. It's a fraud. People should only buy their top-ups from official outlets such as the Post Office, PayPoint or Payzone."

The problem is affecting customers of all of the leading energy companies (British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, RWE npower, ScottishPower and SSE). A national industry communications campaign has been launched with a prominent warning message on the receipts issued when customer buy electricity top-up from official outlets - PayPoint, Payzone and The Post Office. Companies never sell electricity top-up door-to-door.

The industry's national "Top-Up Safe" campaign will also include posters and leaflets and a dedicated website. Further information will be found at www.top-upsafe.com. Customers can contact their electricity company directly or Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.


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Dave Anderson hails Blaydon passport coup

One of the pages from the new passport
One of the pages from the new passport
(Photo: UKPA)
4 Sep 2010

The work of skilled people in Blaydon will travel to all parts of the world thanks to the redesigned UK passport produced by De La Rue in the town.

The £400 million ten year contract for passport production starts in October and was agreed by the previous Labour Government.

Dave Anderson said:

"The new 10-year passport, which comes in from next month, has stronger security features and iconic images from around the UK. These images are based on special printing techniques and give UK citizens greater protection from identity theft and fraud and facilitate speedier cross-border travel. This is superb news for Blaydon where De La Rue is rightly seen as one of our most important employers. The Blaydon passport is a bonny bonus to the region and the country."


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Dave Anderson joins appeal to President Obama on Kashmir

President Obama 31 Aug 2010

American involvement is crucial to the quest for peace and ending human rights violations in Kashmir according to a plea from the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Kashmir to US President Barack Obama, which is being backed by Blaydon MP Dave Anderson and MPs from all major parties.

Dave Anderson said:

"Improving relations between India and Pakistan is vital to stabilising Afghanistan and, in the worst case, avoiding nuclear war between them. Kashmir is at the core of their poor relations and the US would be wise to do much more to tackle this running sore."

Mr Anderson added:

"President Obama is in a powerful position to help lance this boil once and for all which is why myself and many other parliamentarians have made this direct appeal to him to use his good offices for the sake of the peoples of Kashmir, India and Pakistan and, therefore, for world peace."


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MP Condemns the Coalition's Regressive Budget

26 Aug 2010

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson has branded the Coalition a disgrace after an independent report by the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies called the budget 'clearly regressive' and outlined how it will hit the poorest hardest.

Mr Anderson said:

"The poorest 10% of families will lose over 5% of their income as a result of the budget compared with a loss of less than 1% for the richest 10% of households. This is shocking but not surprising. The Tories and the Lib Dems have made much of their so-called 'progressive' policies, but the IFS report proves that they are pursuing the same old Thatcherite agenda - cuts for the poor, safety for the rich."

The Coalition claims that these cuts are 'inevitable' but Mr Anderson rubbishes this:

"Let's face it, these cuts are ideological, and there are other ways to manage the deficit. For example, the Government could work with the trade unions and civil service on tax evasion which is estimated to cost between £40 and £120 billion a year and dwarfs any savings from benefit fraud. They should close that gap before they start taking meals from children, shutting down hospitals and schools and sacking care home workers."

The report highlights the contrast with the progressive plans for 2010-14 inherited from Labour, under which the richest 10% of households would have borne the brunt of the cuts.

Mr Anderson commented:

"Labour had a clear 4 year plan to halve the deficit by using progressive taxation and targeted investment in productive industries, creating thousands of green jobs and rebalancing the economy, whilst protecting our public services. The severity of the Coalition's cuts will actually damage the economy's chances of recovery, and our ability to significantly reduce the deficit. We must make it clear that it was not the nurses, teachers, or care workers that caused this crisis, it was the banks. We must make it clear that 'there IS an alternative'."


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A bad time to be 18

19 Aug 2010

Dave has said that many 18 year olds will be starting their working life on the dole.

He congratulated those who had achieved their grades and made it to university but urged those who had not to look at alternatives and not give up.

Dave said,

"Today's A Level results have been keenly awaited for many a long week and will be a clincher for many careers and prospects. Many congratulations to those who have achieved their grades and made the university of their choice. For those who haven't or who have been squeezed out often through no fault of their own I urge them not to despair but to examine all alternatives.

"Sadly, this is a bad time to be 18. Through no fault of their own, many will begin their working lives on the dole because the economic crisis has been exacerbated by the actions of the coalition government. It scrapped Labour's increase of 10,000 university places, abolished the Future Jobs Fund for long term unemployed young people and savage public sector cuts will choke off a major source of jobs for young people. It needn't have been done in this way although the deficit had to be reduced over time but more sensitively and with a greater burden shouldered by the super-rich rather than a possibly lost and blighted generation of young people."


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MP blasts Coalition's 'attack' on regional tourist industry

12 Aug 2010

Dave Anderson has hit out at the Lib-Con coalition government's cuts to the north east tourism drive after they froze marketing on the Tourism marketing for North East England ­­- the 'Passionate People, Passionate Places' campaign.

Last year Dave Anderson celebrated the growth of the north east tourism industry in parliament stating,

"The work that has been done by the RDA, including the development of a campaign called "Passionate people. Passionate places", the North-East has the highest growth in tourism of anywhere in the country."

Dave Anderson said,

"A report last month suggested tourism's contribution to the economy could grow by more than 60% to £188bn by 2020. But this huge opportunity for our region could be lost due to short sighted measures to slash expenditure without consideration for the impact on vital jobs in our economy."


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End Legal Loan Sharks

Ten pound notes 7 Aug 2010

Dave Anderson MP for Blaydon has joined a broad coalition of citizens groups, campaigners, MPs and celebrities who have called on the government to end legal loan sharking. Currently lenders can charge any price for credit which means some loan and credit companies charge £82 for every £100 lent.

Annual interest rate charges of over 2500% are also now common (despite the Bank of England base rate being just 0.5%).

Dave Anderson said,

"Borrowing at these rates repeatedly tips customers into inescapable cycles of debt and poverty. And it's a disgrace that organisations are being allowed to get away with it."

According to the OFT £16,000 of excess profit is made every hour in this sector.

Co-ordinated by the Compass pressure group, this new campaign coalition have called on the government to ban excessive prices for credit and provide alternative sources of credit through CDFIs, credit unions and a post bank. The government has pledged to clampdown on interest rates for credit and store cards and the campaign believes it should do the same for the high cost credit market.

Thousands of people across Britain are expected to sign an on-line petition on a brand new interactive website at www.endlegalloansharks.org.uk. The campaign will be targeting millions of people across Britain through using social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.


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Come to the library, my friends

6 Aug 2010

The completely refurbished Community Library at the rear of the Methodist Church Hall in Ryton is a "great credit to its staff and volunteers and a great asset for local people," according to a Tyneside MP.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who visited the library yesterday, added:

"Come on down and start borrowing. Most people get their books from libraries and this latest addition to the network is a lovely place for learning and fun. I am also glad that local schools were invited to choose books for the library and that the pupils were delighted to see their choices on the shelves when they had a sneak preview."


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Backing for campaign to be FA Charity

28 Jul 2010

Tyneside anti-racist charity Show Racism the Red Card may score promotion as the Football Association's charity for next year.

The possibility is signalled in a cross-party Commons motion tabled by Blaydon MP Dave Anderson who said:

"The charity was established in 1996 with the goal of harnessing the high-profile status of professional footballers as role models to combat racism on and off the pitch. Hundreds of top footballers and managers take part in its activities which have put racism offside at football matches, in contrast with experience abroad."

The motion, which is supported by many MPs in the North East, welcomes the possibility that the campaign could be selected as the Football Association Charity of the year for 2011. This is also backed by Gordon Taylor and the Professional Footballers' Association, as well as former England Manager Graham Taylor and Sunderland's Chairman Niall Quinn.

Ged Grebby, Chief Executive of Show Racism the Red Card said:

"Dave Anderson MP has supported our charity from our inception in 1996 and has been a fantastic supporter of our work. Dave persuaded the Foreign Office to host our Islamophobia film showing in 2008 and I am very glad to see this cross-party motion which alerts parliamentarians to our work. The next year will be a crucial year for our charity as we hope to secure some essential sponsors. Becoming FA Charity of the year would be a huge boost to this and allow us to take our anti-racist message into more and more schools."

Dave's Commons motion reads:

EDM 607
SHOW RACISM THE RED CARD CHARITY
22.07.2010
Anderson, David
That this House recognises the excellent work of the anti-racist charityShow Racism the Red Card which was established in 1996 with the aim of harnessing the high-profile status of professional footballers as anti-racist role models to combat racism through education; notes that hundreds of top footballers and managers take part in its activities which have made racism the exception rather than the rule at football matches in contrast with experience abroad; further notes that the campaign employs 12 former professional footballers throughout England, Scotland and Wales to coach young people using football as a way of engaging young people with anti-racist messages; welcomes the possibility that the campaign could be selected as the Football Association Charity of the year for 2011 and has so far won the support for this of Gordon Taylor and the Professional Footballers' Association, as well as former England Manager Graham Taylor; and wishes them the best in their endeavours.

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Dave Anderson comment on scrapping the government offices for regions

23 Jul 2010

"Abolition of the Government Office for the North East could doom the region to lag behind in economic development and employment. Together with the scrapping of Regional Development Agencies this deprives regions like ours of the ability to co-ordinate development, infrastructure plans and public services. We often hear ministers claim the mantle of localism but this will mean that the man in Whitehall and specifically the minister Eric Pickles get the last word. The Tories and Lib Dems boycotted the Regional Scrutiny Committees set up by the previous government and are now showing their contempt again for regions like ours that they are prepared to cut adrift yet again as they have done so often in the past."


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Dave Anderson welcomes new European rules giving mobile phone customers break from 'bill shocks'

Mobile phone user 23 Jul 2010

Mobile phone companies must apply a cut-off limit once a customer's mobile internet bill reaches £40 per month in the EU though customers can set their own limit.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said:

"This has been a long time coming. Mobile phone providers have been fleecing customers when travelling abroad and these rules should keep jaws from dropping and overdrafts soaring when people open their mobile phone bills after returning from their hols."

Phone providers must also text basic price information on roaming services and a free phone number for more detailed price information.


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Dave Anderson supports Proud of Pubs week

Dave with Karen Burnett at the Fox and Hounds, Coalburns.
Dave with Karen Burnett at the Fox and Hounds, Coalburns.
21 Jul 2010

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson is popping down to the local pub but strictly in the line of business.

MPs have been asked to support the fourth annual Proud of Pubs Week which aims to celebrate all that is great about British pubs.

Dave Anderson, who is visiting the Fox and Hounds in Coalburns (Friday 23rd July at 1pm), said,

"Britain's pub scene is pretty unique and pubs are often the social hub of communities. They also raise thousands for charitable causes. It's a pleasure to help give parliamentary support to pubs."

The Proud of Pub's campaign is run by The Publican magazine - the pub trade's leading newspaper and website. Proud of Pub's holds a dedicated week of celebration in pubs across the UK - this year the week is July 19 to 25. Proud of Pubs Week 2010 is supported by Sky, Marston's Pedigree and wholesaler Booker


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Nicola Bell with Dave at the Commons event
Nicola Bell with Dave at the Commons event

Backing for lung cancer nurses

16 July 2010

Lung cancer Clinical Nurse Specialists play a vital role for the 40,000 people who are diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK every year but there is a shortfall in access to such nurses.

Dave Anderson, who met clinical nurses at an event in the Commons, said;

"These nurses deal with about 100 diagnoses day in and day out. They are the first port of call for people whose lives are about to change dramatically and sometimes for the very worst. They give important support to patients and their families at a very tough time. I was very worried to hear that their workload is increasing so much that they cannot devote enough time to those with lung cancer."

Estimates from the National Lung Cancer Forum for Nurses suggest that the average newly diagnosed caseload of a lung cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist can be double that for some other common cancers. There is only one lung cancer nurse in England for every 132 patients.

The Commons event launched a report that showcases the work of these specialists and provides recommendations on improving lung cancer services.

Liz Darlison, Chair of the NLCFN said:

"Policymakers must recognise the important role that lung cancer Clinical Nurse Specialists make to the lives of patients with lung cancer and the need to address the deficit of these nurses. We must also maximise the effectiveness of lung cancer CNSs and ensure specialist expertise is targeted at addressing the unmet needs of patients and their carers."


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One North East 'slow death by a thousand cuts'

One North East logo 13 Jul 2010

"The successful regional development agency in the North East is suffering a slow death by a thousand cuts before it is needlessly scrapped in 2012," according to Tyneside MP Dave Anderson.

Mr Anderson, a long - standing champion of One North East's work in fostering public - private partnership added,

"These cuts include a ten percent cut in its running costs and that of all funded programmes and projects. The government is literally decimating the body and its projects. There is a general consensus here in the North East that ONE has done valuable work and disbelief that it can be casually tossed away for dogmatic reasons. Those who are forcing this change will not be forgiven for this vandalism."

The projects affected include 1NG, Codeworks, CPI, Centre for eBusiness, Regional Language Network, Hadrian's Wall Heritage, Narec, Newcastle Science City, North East Access to Finance, North East Finance, North East Regional Investment Fund Three Ltd, Sunderland Arc, North East Regional Investment Fund Partner Ltd, CELS, Business & Enterprise North East, County Durham Partnership, Northumberland Strategic Partnership, Northumberland Tourism Ltd, Tees Valley Unlimited, Tourism Tyne and Wear, Tyne and Wear City Regions, Visit County Durham, Visit Tees Valley, Durham City Vision and PA Consulting (MAS).


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Plea to speed up government payments to small businesses

12 Jul 2010

Small businesses are being squeezed despite a government initiative that requires prompt payments for companies providing services to the public sector, according to a new survey by the not - for - profit Forum of Private Business.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who has taken up the case with ministers in a series of Commons questions, said:

"Suppliers of services to government departments should get their invoices paid within ten days. That seems to be happening but many main contractors are then dragging their feet, sometimes for months, before paying their sub - contractors. These are often small businesses for which cash flow is king. They cannot afford to wait so long and could go under needlessly."

Mr Anderson added:

"Ministers need to get a grip on this scandal. It's one thing to pay big companies but they need to ensure that the small ones are dealt with fairly. Small businesses are the backbone of the economy. Companies at the end of the supply chain need assurances that the state will make sure that they are paid quickly or they won't bother bidding for business."

The Forum of Private Business gives business owners a voice to speak out and will treat all communications on late payment sent to latepayment@fpb.org anonymously.

Protecting small firms against late payment

According to Bacs, some £24 billion is owed to small businesses in late payments at any one time. Via its Communications Director business support solution the Forum identifies poor payers into its Hall of Shame. The latest to be 'named and shamed' is the computer company Dell. In addition, under its Finance Director business support solution, the Forum is helping members to get a grip on payment issues via its Credit Reporting, Debt Recovery and Business Monitoring member benefits. The organisation also provides a Credit Control Guide, which is free to all intermediate, advanced and expert members, and a Legal Expenses Insurance service including a 24 - hour legal advice helpline.

A not - for - profit organisation, the Forum of Private Business provides a personal, friendly and highly tailored service to its members - with the primary purpose of helping them run their businesses more profitably.

Representing thousands of small businesses across the UK - including retail, service providers and manufacturing companies - the Forum is recognised by the Government as one of the six main business support and lobby groups. It uses this position to influence decision - makers in the UK and Brussels on the issues that matter to small businesses. Visit www.fpb.org.


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Mobile switching made faster

Telephone keypad 8 Jul 2010

The Communications regulator Ofcom is halving the time new mobile phone contracts are put on hold when customers switch providers but wish to keep their number from next April.

Switching should take just one working day rather than the current two days. The necessary Porting Authorisation Code to switch providers and keep their number should be texted within two hours.

Welcoming the move, Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said:

"We have been hanging on for this new line for too long. Phone companies were making a mockery of consumers having a real choice by excessive delays in switching. This helps boost healthy and effective competition and should reduce bills and improve customer services, though there is not yet an app for that. Mobile phones are a necessity for most people and the phone companies have to do more to reduce their costs."


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Cross-party drive on muscle disease

6 Jul 2010

A cross-party group of MPs and peers has asked Blaydon MP Dave Anderson to continue leading them in their fight against muscle disease through the All Party Parliamentary Group for Muscular Dystrophy.

Mr Anderson said:

"I took up chairing this group five years ago because it gave me the opportunity to do what I entered politics for - to change life for the better for ordinary people. I am very proud of what we've achieved so far and I'm pleased to have been re-elected. There's lots still to be done in further improving muscle disease care."

Mr Anderson added:

"The group is a cause close to my after losing a brother and a sister to these devastating muscle-wasting diseases. We have worked with campaigners, experts and those with the disease to highlight gaps in care and propose solutions. We will build on this record in the next five years."

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign's head of policy and campaigns Nic Bungay said:

"We are delighted that Dave has been re-elected to chair the group. The work he has done for families living with muscle disease is invaluable and we're sure he can help us achieve even more successes in the future."

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign is the leading UK charity focusing on muscle disease. It has pioneered the search for treatments and cures for over 50 years, and is dedicated to improving the lives of all children and adults affected by muscle disease.

It funds world-class research to find effective treatments and cures; provides free practical and emotional support; campaigns to raise awareness and bring about change and awards grants towards the cost of specialist equipment, such as powered wheelchairs.


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Welcome for new lottery support for returning veterans

Big Lottery funded 2 Jul 2010

Thousands of former soldiers returning from conflict zones who need support to increase their psychological well-being and ease the transition to civilian life will be helped by a new Big Lottery Fund scheme.

There are around 5 million veterans in the UK. With their families and dependants they make up about 10 million people.

Welcoming the news, Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said:

"This £35 million FORCES in MIND programme is a bold plan. Anything that aids the tricky transition into civilian life is very welcome. Younger veterans and those who leave the services early are particularly vulnerable. Veterans under the age of 24 are up to three times more likely to commit suicide than their civilians peers. When people leave the forces they lose their employment and the family support the military provides. Long absences from family while on duty can damage relationships. Our veterans protect us and deserve better."

Mr Anderson added:

"The Big Lottery Fund is looking for a partnership of organisations that support veterans and their families or have relevant experience and expertise to develop the Trust over the next 20 years. I hope that local groups will check to see if they can help."

The deadline for initial expressions of interest is 13 July. Details can be found at http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/forcesinmind_guidance.pdf


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Dave elected to new Backbench Business Committee

29 Jun 2010

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson has topped the polls in the Commons elections of members to form the new Backbench Business Committee which will organise parliamentary business for maybe a quarter of the annual calendar.

Dave Anderson said:

"It's a great honour to receive the backing of colleagues from all parties to help run a new and powerful committee that aims to seize back some of the powers that have been taken away by Governments and give greater control over the business of the House to backbenchers than they have had for not only a generation, but for more than a century. I strongly believe that Parliament is for the people and will do my very best to bring it closer to ordinary people's lives and to ensure that backbench MPs can raise issues of the utmost relevance to their communities."

Commons Hansard
29 June 2010, 3:32 pm

Speaker's Statement

John Bercow (Speaker): I will now announce the results of the election of members of the Backbench Business Committee. No ballot was required for the election of the following: Mr Peter Bone, Philip Davies, Jane Ellison, John Hemming and Mr Philip Hollobone.

In the ballot today, the votes cast for the candidates were as follows: Mr David Anderson, 99; Katy Clark, 57; and Alison Seabeck, 92. Mr David Anderson and Alison Seabeck are elected. I congratulate all those elected

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Cross-party drive to improve wheelchair services

29 Jun 2010

Wheelchair services need to overcome the "like it or lump it" approach of the past, according to the Health Minister at a Commons debate initiated by Blaydon MP Dave Anderson.

Dave Anderson, who lost a brother and sister to muscular dystrophy, said:

"As the Chair of the all-party group on muscular dystrophy for the last five years, I have met many people whose lives may be short but could be more enjoyable and more mobile if wheelchair services were up to scratch. We have produced a detailed and heart-rending report based on people's real-life experiences. Specialist wheelchairs for people with neuromuscular conditions improve quality of life, alleviate pain and slow the progression of the condition. But too many must wait years, some much longer than others because of the postcode lottery, and then sometimes for the wrong type of chair or are forced to pay for the equipment out of their own pocket. It's not good enough."

Christopher Powell was forced to make his own headrest out of a Pringles tube wrapped in a sock. Carol Lawson from Chester-le-Street said:

"I was given a manual chair by wheelchair services but I live on my own so lots of things like windows and shelves were out of reach for me - I couldn't even hang clothes in the wardrobe. So I asked wheelchair services for an electric chair with a rising seat but they told me they couldn't fund it."

Dave Anderson urged the minister to establish a national waiting time of 18 weeks and to ring-fence budgets. He argued,

"Providing the right chairs in good time saves money because people would not be in hospital, there would be fewer emergency admissions, and people could lead much better lives if they were not tied to equipment that does not work properly."

Mr Anderson added,

"We are talking about saving lives and improving lives. The truth is, sadly, that a lot of these people will be dead before they are out of their teens. The lucky few will probably live to 30. In other parts of the world, they possibly live for 10 years longer and we can learn lessons from them, and a key part of the way they look after people is access to wheelchair services."

Health Minister Paul Burston accepted that, saying,

"It is quite common for people to wait months for a wheelchair, and not uncommon for them to wait years for a powered wheelchair. That really affects outcomes for people. It poses particular problems for children whose needs change as they grow, and for those with progressive conditions such as muscular dystrophy or motor neurone disease, when needs can change very rapidly. The service is also characterised by considerable regional variation - in assessments, procurement, and choice for the individual. Quite simply, that is unacceptable."

Mr Burston promised to take on board the MP's points and work with him and the all-party group. He offered a place to the muscular dystrophy campaign on an official advisory group on wheelchair services. He disagreed about targets and ring-fencing but announced a pilot programme to examine the commissioning of wheelchair services with consistent approaches to eligibility and access, which could then go nationwide.

Mr Anderson commented:

"The Minister had done his homework and we agreed in detail about what is wrong but don't see eye to eye about how to resolve the problems. It's a good start though and our cross-party group will work with the Minister to improve wheelchair services, increase the quality of life of those who need them, and save the NHS money at the same time."

The full debate may be read here.


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Dave Anderson hails launch of creative and cultural skills academy in North

20 Jun 2010

The launch of the National Skills Academy for Creative and Cultural Skills in the Northern region has been hailed by Blaydon MP Dave Anderson:

"From the Animals and the Beatles onwards, Britain has increasingly carved a large niche in the world music industry. We are lucky to speak and sing one of the great universal languages. Our economy benefits greatly from exporting music and all the many technical trades that go with it. This academy builds on the tremendous developments made in recent years by Gateshead College and opens up an even wider range of opportunities for our young people to build a new career."

Dave Anderson will be at the launch: Monday 21 June 2010, 3.30 p.m. for a 4 p.m. start. Greenhouse Brasserie at Gateshead College, Quarryfield Road, Baltic Business Quarter, Gateshead, NE8 3BE.


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Dave Anderson joins celebrities to mark Carers Week

14 Jun 2010

Celebrities and MPs have joined forces to give a morale boost to the six million strong army of carers who provide unpaid help, care and support to a those who could not otherwise manage.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who has teamed up with the actor Sir David Jason to support Carers Week, a partnership of national charities, (14-20 June), said:

"This is good way of acknowledging the huge contribution carers make to society. They are often unsupported in their caring roles without the chance of a break or respite."

Mr Anderson, himself a former professional care worker, added:

"This week of action emphasises how many carers are hidden, unheard and unable to access relevant and practical advice, information and services. It aims to ram home the message that we need reforms to provide support so they also have the chance of a life of their own that they deserve. Their sterling work saves billions. It is high time we thanked these unsung heroes in practical ways."

New research shows that more than three-quarters (76%) of people looking after an ill, frail or disabled loved one do not have a life outside of their caring role. 75% of carers say they have lost touch with family and friends, while 4 out of 5 are worse off financially because of their caring role.

Mr Anderson said:

"Society would be a lot worse off without the contribution of carers but they are often stretched to breaking point and need support. Whether the chance to have a long bath or a full night's sleep are luxuries for many of the thousands of carers in Blaydon and nationally."

Sir David Jason Renowned actor of stage and screen, Sir David Jason, who has personal experience of being a carer, said:

"A lot of people, including myself, have had to look after someone at a time of illness or infirmity. However, the people who really deserve our support and encouragement are those carers, young and old, who are in this situation day in day out, caring for someone who truly depends on them. With little respite, this must surely be a very demanding lifestyle and I acknowledge the sacrifices they make and the limitations which are placed upon them. Thank goodness they care."

Other celebrities supporting Carers Week, all of whom have experience of caring, include Lynda Bellingham, Cilla Black, Jonathan Dimbleby, Gloria Hunniford, Claire King, Phyllida Law, Miriam Margolyes, Esther Rantzen, Angela Rippon, Tony Robinson, John Stapleton and Chris Steele.

Carers Week is organised by a partnership of 7 national charities: Carers UK, Counsel and Care, Crossroads Care, Help the Hospices, Macmillan Cancer Support, Parkinson's UK, and The Princess Royal Trust for Carers.

Research. 3,282 carers took part in a survey, both on-line and by post, which was carried out by Carers Week between 18 February - 7 April 2010. 65% of those surveyed were heavy-end carers, responsible for 50+ hours of care each week.


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Concerns over BP and Obama

11 Jun 2010

Concern has been raised by senior MPs in the three main parties about American pressure to stop British Petroleum paying dividend to its shareholders.

The cross-party motion, which is backed by Blaydon's Dave Anderson, expresses concern about the impact that stopping dividend payments would have on UK pension funds to BP and urges the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary of State to intervene and raise these concerns with President Obama.

Mr Anderson said:

"This isn't about defending BP as such. The company must honour its commitment to the people affected by the terrible disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. But I'd be very worried about the damage that could be done to people's pension pots if the company gave into pressure to scrap its dividend payments. I hope that David Cameron and William Hague stand up for these interests."


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Dave Anderson hails Sevcon grant for electric vehicles

9 Jun 2010

News that the Sevcon engineering business in Blaydon has won a major £250,000 Research and Development Grant from One North East to boost its work on electric and hybrid vehicles has been hailed by the local MP Dave Anderson:

"Sevcon is helping put the region in the vanguard of the green car revolution and driving the development of an industry that puts us in the manufacturing game, helps tackle climate change and creates valuable jobs and skills. The support of ONE is vital and shows the need for policies that provide strategic assistance to firms such as Sevcon. It also illustrates why it is unwise of the government to undermine regional development agencies."


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Dave Anderson MP put up for adoption

7 Jun 2010

Local MPs have been put up for adoption by campaigners at the UK Youth Climate Coalition as part of a major drive to raise the issues of climate change in the new Parliament.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said:

"I was a little surprised to be told that I was being put up for adoption at my age but this is a serious and important initiative by young people who rightly say that climate change is not just about polar bears and melting ice caps but also more directly about our community, our jobs, our public transport, our bills, our energy supply and most importantly our families."

Mr Anderson added:

"I will happily co-operate with my adopters. I have already been active in promoting clean coal and renewables as part of the solution to securing energy supplies and reducing climate change and was an active member of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee in the last Parliament. It is one of my major priorities."

The campaign aims to get young people from every constituency in the UK to adopt their local MP and work together to face up to the local and international implications of climate change, to seize the opportunities of a clean energy economy, and to generate the political space and individual courage necessary for the UK lead the world towards a clean energy future.

The campaign website is http://ukycc.org/

The UKYCC is an organisation entirely owned and run by young people. We work with partners across the world to bring people and groups of people together to make it happen- inspiring, mobilising and uniting a youth movement for a clean energy future.


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Ryton school trip to Commons saved

5 Jun 2010

A valued trip by pupils from Ryton Junior School to Parliament has been saved thanks to the Commons authorities and train company "pulled out all the stops to make things work," according to Blaydon MP Dave Anderson.

Mr Anderson said:

"The pupils were all set to make the journey south to the Commons but it had to be postponed because of an Ofsted inspection. This made it harder to slot in a later visit at short notice but the train company and the parliamentary authorities worked overtime to find a solution. I feel very strongly that Parliament belongs to the people and that pupils popping down to see Parliament for themselves is very interesting for them and for the long-term health of our democracy."

Mr Anderson added:

"I know from experience that pupils often pose tougher questions to their MPs but that's their right and I look forward to meeting them soon."

The trip is on 11 June.


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Israel should permit 'guaranteed' aid shipments to Gaza

2 Jun 2010

The "appalling" loss of life on the flotilla to Gaza has been highlighted by a Commons motion signed by many MPs of all parties, including Blaydon MP Dave Anderson

The motion also urges a UN inquiry, slams the blockade as "collective punishment on the people of Gaza" and seeks international efforts to secure a lasting settlement with a secure and independent state of Palestine alongside a secure and independent Israel.

Mr Anderson said:

"As one who has taken part in peace efforts in both Israel and Palestine, I am desperately concerned that this terrible loss of lives only helps extremists. There are no bad people or good people but just ordinary people like ourselves who are trying to look after themselves and their families. I have no truck with extremists who are trying to destroy Israel or those Israelis who won't seek partners for peace. I am most concerned about the plight of ordinary people in Gaza who are hemmed in and deprived of the basics. I don't see why the USA and the UK cannot, for instance, run humanitarian supplies into Gaza and guarantee that no arms are also smuggled in which could then be used to rocket Israel."


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Dave Anderson takes Newcastle University initiative on Ageism to the Commons

1 Jun 2010

A Newcastle University initiative to celebrate increasing life expectancy is being championed in the House of Commons.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who will table a cross-party Commons motion said:

"The Newcastle Charter for Changing Age rightly says that the achievement of increased life spans is an economic good, that older people are an under-acknowledged asset and need to adapt our infrastructure for an ageing population. This is a social issue of great importance that affects us all not least because those who are young today will in time be old and probably live even longer. Ageism represents a terrible waste of human potential. I hope that the Commons motion will draw wider attention to the important work of the Institute for Ageing and Health at Newcastle University."

Say no to ageism: Please sign the at

http://www.ncl.ac.uk/about/changingage/pledge.htm

Dave's full Early Day Motion reads:

Early Day Motion
EDM 137
NEWCASTLE CHARTER FOR CHANGING AGE
02.06.2010
Anderson, David
That this House warmly supports the launch by Newcastle University's Institute for Ageing and Health of the Newcastle Charter for Changing Age which recognises that the number of older people in the UK's population has increased dramatically, will continue for the foreseeable future and requires a radical reassessment of the place of older people in society with a profound change in attitudes to ageing, informed by facts and not by outdated misconceptions; urges policymakers and others to accept that population ageing should not be viewed as a negative issue and a burden to be managed and that, through centuries of scientific research, ingenuity and perseverance, ageing is one of humanity's greatest achievements; believes that increasing life expectancy is an economic good, leading to older people as contributors and consumers of products and services and adding substantially to economic growth; recognises that ageism, in its widespread and corrosive forms, where older people are marginalised through arbitrary ages of compulsory retirement or of exclusion from full participation in any social activity, including education, can no longer be accepted; and agrees that health research and service provision should take account of new advances in understanding the connections between ageing and health and that the UK needs to adapt national and local infrastructures for transport, housing and communications to accommodate the changing age structure of its population, which will itself create major opportunities for industrial growth.

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Police funding cuts deplored

29 May 2010

A government decision to cut police and counter-terrorism funding in England and Wales has been slammed as "highly damaging" by Blaydon MP Dave Anderson.

Mr Anderson said:

" Recorded crime fell by over a third under Labour and these cuts of £125 million in revenue, £10 million in capital and £10 million from the counter-terrorism budget will have a serious impact on fighting crime. The Tories and LibDems did not oppose this funding when it came before Parliament earlier this year. Sadly, they have now ratted on their position."


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Dave Anderson disappointment with Sir Alan Beith over Building Schools for the Future issue

25 May 2010

Senior LibDem MP Sir Alan Beith has refused to defend the Building Schools for the Future funding of Gateshead schools which could be scrapped by the new Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government.

Blaydon MP, Dave Anderson who directly challenged him at the first opportunity in a Commons Debate on the Queen's Speech, commented:

"I am deeply disappointed that Sir Alan, who used to have a strong record of standing up for the north of England, could not bring himself to defend funding for the vital refurbishment of Gateshead schools. It's particularly ironic given that the schools in question fall in Liberal Democrat wards. I was hoping that Sir Alan would have shown more bottle in defending these important gains. It illustrates that LibDems seem to have little influence over decisions and does not augur well for the future. If Sir Alan's government reverses the funding for which I and others fought for years, it will be a major blow to the pupils, parents and teachers of these schools as well as the wider economy in the North East. I hope that Alan reconsiders his position."

Commons intervention

Mr Anderson has also tabled two Commons questions on the future of the Building Schools for the Future programme and one to the Transport Minister asking him to confirm that the offer of funding made to Nexus on 2nd February 2010 in relation to the reinvigoration of the Tyne and Wear Metro will be honoured in full.


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Dave Anderson to host high-level energy meeting in the Commons

21 May 2010

A high level meeting in the Commons on energy policy is being hosted next week by Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, a former miner and keen advocate of clean coal to tap into the vast resources of the North East.

Mr Anderson said:

"I am very pleased that the UNISON union has put together its Energy Prospectus with essays on the challenges facing the energy sector after 20 years of privatisation. It unites many energy experts to help shape policies to ensure secure supplies of energy, boost jobs and tackle climate change. We may have a new government but this country still needs to make sensible and long-term plans for its energy needs. I very much hope that the government is open to fresh thinking and I will do my best in this Parliament to persuade them to adopt our policies."

The meeting is at the House of Commons from 3-4 p.m. on Wednesday 26 May 2010.


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Fury over proposals to scrap school building plans

15 May 2010

News that a major school rebuilding programme which had given badly needed funds to refurbish Gateshead schools has been frozen and may be scrapped by the new Con-Dem government has been condemned by Blaydon MP Dave Anderson.

Mr Anderson said:

"I am shocked that the new government appears to be halting new schools in Whickham, Blaydon Ryton and the west of the borough. Teachers, councillors, MPs and others fought for years for government money to make our schools fit for purpose. Their rebuilding would greatly help pupils and also create much needed jobs and apprenticeships. Pupils, parents and teachers were pleased with the proposals. But it seems that all that can be scrapped with the stroke of a pen on an ideological whim. I shall raise this in Parliament as soon as it returns on Tuesday. I also appeal to local Liberal Democrats to find their conscience and condemn the Con-Dems on this."


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Backing for Walk to School week in Blaydon

13 May 2010

Primary school pupils across Blaydon taking to the pavements as part of National Walk to School Week 2010 (17 - 21 May), organised by the national charity Living Streets to persuade over two million children, parents and teachers to leave the car at home and walk to school.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who is backing the initiative said:

"Over the last 20 years, the number of children who walk to school has dropped from 62% to 48%, with an enormous 43% being driven to school although most primary school pupils live within a 20 minute walk of their school."

Mr Anderson added:

"This pedestrian initiative, in the best sense of the word, is about encouraging parents and children to get to know their local neighbourhood better by exploring it on foot. As well as learning more about their local environment, children will be able to become 'streetwise,' develop independence and help keep fit."

These are the local schools taking part: Chopwell Primary School; Crookhill Primary School; Ryton Clover Hill Primary School, Whickham; Dunston Hill Primary School; Emmaville Primary School, Crawcrook; Front Street Primary School, Whickham; High Spen Primary School; Highfield Primary School; St Mary & St Thomas Aquinas Primary School, Blaydon.

Tony Armstrong, Chief Executive of Living Streets said:

"Young children are often bundled from front door to car door without the opportunity to get out on foot, to learn about road safety and to get to know their local neighbourhood.

"Often parents say they don't have the time to walk, but many people underestimate the time it takes to travel by car or public transport and overestimate how long it takes to walk. By walking, children can be taught important road safety messages, feel part of their community and gain the confidence they deserve.

"Even if you feel you live too far to commute the whole way on foot, why not try to 'park and stride'? You can find somewhere to park away from the school and walk the rest of the way. Not only will you miss the rush to find a parking space, but you will also help ease congestion around the school and fit in some exercise for you and your children."


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Dave Anderson helps mark Workers' Memorial Day at Gateshead event on Wednesday 28th April

26 Apr 2010

Dave Anderson is helping dedicate the new stone on Workers' Memorial Day on Wednesday 28th April, which is organised by the Gateshead Trades Union Council.

The event will take place from 12.45 to 1.45 at the Rose Garden, Saltwell Park in Gateshead. There will also be a service conducted by the Industrial Chaplain Lynn Jameson and the Mayor of Gateshead will be in attendance.

Dave Anderson said:

"Today is the annual International Workers' Memorial Day to remember those who have lost their lives, were injured or fell ill through unsafe, unhealthy or unsustainable work. This year's theme is that 'Unions make work safer.' There are about 360,000 fatal work accidents every year, and almost 2 million fatal work-related diseases. Every day, about a million people hurt because of accidents and over 5,000 workers die from work-related diseases. Health and safety at work has always been one of my top priorities as a union activist and in the last Parliament. People complain that the election focuses too much on personalities. I think we need to focus on real issues that affect working people and this has got to be one of the most important issues."


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Dave Anderson comments on the Cameron threat to the North East

26 Apr 2010

"David Cameron has admitted under pressure that he would cut the public sector in the North East. This isn't a dry academic point because many people rely on the public sector for their jobs and services. I agree that we need to increase private sector activity especially in small and medium businesses and in the last Parliament I actively sought to encourage this and will do if re-elected. But we have been warned - the Tories just don't get the North East. We can do without their slash and burn approach. The reality is that when the Tories were last in power they destroyed businesses, jobs and communities in the North East. The public sector filled the void and dealt with the negative impact of their callous disregard."

He added:

"Make no mistake - they would repeat the devastation that they wreaked on the 80s and 90s when they decimated the coal, steel and shipbuilding industries and gave away our utilities to Sid."


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Dave Anderson comment on pulling together to help people in trouble because of airspace closure

19 Apr 2010

"The current closure of UK airspace means that many thousands of people are having to ring travel and insurance companies to check things out. They are being reminded, as they often hang on for ages for a human voice, that far too many organisations insist that people use expensive premium rate numbers. Too many companies are fleecing their customers by insisting that they pay and arm and a leg to contact them. It's poor customer relations. I raised this issue in the last Parliament and will do so again if I am re-elected. We should all be working together to limit the impact of this natural emergency. That includes politicians, businesses and public bodies."


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Dave Anderson comment on the launch of Labour's regional manifesto

19 Apr 2010

Labour's parliamentary candidate in Blaydon, Dave Anderson:

"We helped lead the first industrial revolution and the North East should be in the vanguard of the green industrial revolution. This will allow us to exploit wind turbines, green cars and clean coal technology to regenerate our economy, secure energy supplies and tackle climate change."


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LibDem proposals could endanger jobs in Blaydon, according to Labour's candidate Dave Anderson

Biometric passport 18 Apr 2010

Dave Anderson is worried that proposals to scrap biometric passports could mean job losses at the De La Rue plant in Blaydon.

Dave Anderson, who lobbied hard for the contract to come to Blaydon in the first place, said:

"Scrapping these passports is part of the price Clegg demands to fund his gimmick giveaway of raising tax thresholds, which would only disproportionately benefit well-off people.

"The trouble is that sacrificing biometric passports, which are part of improving our security, could mean the loss of 160 good quality jobs in Blaydon.

"I am asking the LibDem candidate to clarify this LibDem muddle on biometric passports and tell local people where he stands on the issue. Is he happy that his party wants to axe jobs to win votes?

"I hope that he will join me in standing up for Blaydon and winning new jobs rather than chopping local employment.

"The small print of LibDem proposals is coming back to haunt their candidate in Blaydon. Other countries will be moving to biometrics and we could lose out to the competition."


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Dave Anderson pledges to continue fight against muscle disease

16 Apr 2010

Dave Anderson has pledged to continue the fight against muscle disease if elected on May 6 and is urging candidates across the UK to back a Muscle Manifesto.

The Blaydon Labour candidate supports families and patients living with muscle disease in their campaign for better health services and chaired the All Party Parliamentary Group for Muscular Dystrophy for the past five years in the last Parliament. Dave's family has also been affected by these devastating conditions, as he lost a sister and a brother to muscular dystrophy.

Candidates are being asked to sign up to six key pledges, including supporting campaigning groups and putting pressure on the NHS to improve muscle disease health services.

Dave Anderson gave patients and families backing at meetings in the last Parliament and in confronting regional health bosses.

Dave Anderson said:

"One of the most rewarding areas of my work in the last Parliament was my involvement with the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign and the chances it has given me to make a real difference in the lives of other families going through the same things as mine. If I am re-elected on May 6 then I will definitely be continuing the fight against muscle disease and for better health services."

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign's director of policy and operations Robert Meadowcroft said:

"The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign wishes to thank Dave Anderson for his commitment and vision as Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Muscular Dystrophy - he has been a strong and passionate voice in Parliament for families affected by these devastating conditions.

"Dave persuaded others to put their political differences to one side and join the fight against muscle disease. It's a cause close to Dave; having lost a brother and a sister to the condition.

"Since he was elected in 2005, Dave has worked tirelessly with our charity to help countless families affected by muscular dystrophy in Blaydon and across the country."

The six pledges Dave has made and is encouraging other candidates to make are:

  1. to join the new All Party Parliamentary Group for Muscular Dystrophy which raises awareness of the conditions
  2. to meet their local Muscle Group, a campaigning forum for patients and their families
  3. to meet their local health bosses and find out what they are doing to improve muscle disease health services
  4. to support a new All Party Parliamentary Group for Young Disabled People
  5. to meet their local Trailblazer ambassador, part of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign's young disabled campaigners group, and help them fight to improve access to education, leisure facilities and public transport
  6. to ensure vital funding for potential new therapies is a high priority for the NHS.

To find out more about the work of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign go to www.muscular-dystrophy.org.

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign is the leading UK charity focusing on muscle disease. It has pioneered the search for treatments and cures for over 50 years, and is dedicated to improving the lives of all children and adults affected by muscle disease.

It funds world-class research to find effective treatments and cures; provides free practical and emotional support; campaigns to raise awareness and bring about change and awards grants towards the cost of specialist equipment, such as powered wheelchairs.


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Dave wants people to get on their bikes

14 Apr 2010

Labour's candidate in Blaydon Dave Anderson wants people to get on their bikes by backing Sir Chris Hoy's campaign to keep racing on the roads.

Mr Anderson said:

"The British Cycling campaign tells me that despite the general boom in cycling and the success of our top riders, road racing in the UK faces an uncertain future. Road racing remains the largest discipline of the sport but the number of events has declined as volunteer race organisers are finding the barriers too difficult to navigate. They rightly say that there are relatively simple solutions which require the next Parliament to amend and update the law and encourage the police to work with the organisers of this legitimate activity. I have signed up to their Facebook campaign and pledged to help if elected to the next Parliament."


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Comment on the Conservative manifesto

13 Apr 2010

"The Conservatives are trying to take us for fools. Their economic policy combines small giveaways with major transfers of wealth to the richest 3,000 families whilst proposing measures that would endanger our recovery. It contrasts to Labour's record in dealing with the recession and its commitment to fairness which is solid and sound rather than glitzy and gimmicky. People are rightly suspicious of the Tories who always leave working people to fend for themselves."


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Comment on Labour manifesto

12 Apr 2010

Blaydon's Labour parliamentary candidate Dave Anderson commented on the Labour Party manifesto launched today:

"I am pleased that my party is proposing a wide range of policies to secure the recovery and protect working people. I am also delighted as a long-standing campaigner on this issue that Labour promises to continue to work with our international partners to introduce a global levy on financial services so that banks across the world contribute fairly to the society in which they are based. I have actively backed the Robin Hood Tax on financial transactions which could raise many billions to tackle poverty at home and abroad. It is only fair that the global banks pay their share especially as their greedy actions tipped us into a recession in the first place."


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Support for literacy campaign

9 Apr 2010

One in six adults in the UK has lower literacy than that expected of an 11-year-old according to the National Literacy Trust which is campaigning for the public to Vote for Literacy.

Blaydon's Labour candidate Dave Anderson has endorsed the campaign:

"This non-party campaign rightly says that literacy has a massive impact on a wide range of outcomes for people. Their manifesto recommends support for family literacy and a focus on enjoyment of reading. Increasing literacy is important for the individual and has a great benefit to society as a whole."

You can find out more about the campaign at

http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/voteforliteracy


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UK should lead debate on miners' safety

8 Apr 2010

The British Government should take on the role of leading the international debate on the ethics of putting miners' safety before profits, according to former miner Dave Anderson in his final Commons contribution in Parliament before the election.

The Blaydon MP passionately argued that,

"In the past two weeks we have seen the true cost of trying to run the world on cheap coal, with 150 Chinese miners trapped underground in a country where 6,000 miners die every year, and 25 miners killed in West Virginia - employees of a serial violator of mine legislation."

The Energy Secretary Ed Miliband told the Commons that Dave Anderson had raised this important issue with him and that

"It is right that we take up these issues through organisations such as the International Labour Organisation and other international bodies and I have said to him that we will do so."

Mr Anderson later commented that

"This is very welcome and I would also say that miners' safety should also be on the agenda of the World Trade Organisation to force companies and countries to treat miners properly. We did it in this country only to be undercut by those for whom life is cheap. Western nations seem to think it's OK to burn coal with blood on it as long as it is not theirs."

Commons Question


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Success for elephants

African Elephant (c) Sam Stearman 7 Apr 2010

Improved protection for endangered elephants in Africa from the illegal and brutal trade in ivory has been secured thanks to a half a million strong global petition organised by Will Travers of the Born Free Foundation.

Dave Anderson, who supported the petition, said:

"This is a great result that shows how people can make their voices heard for those who cannot voice their own concerns. People power has helped stop those lobbying for the ivory trade. I do my best to make sure that animal welfare is not the elephant in the room, so to speak, but an important issue in parliament and politics."


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Welcome for successful campaign to slash mobile phone charges

Happy mobile phone user 1 Apr 2010

Mobile phone charges will be slashed thanks to a concerted campaign by MPs and over 130,000 consumers to persuade the phone regulator to take action.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who was a supporter of the Terminate the Rate campaign, said,

"This grassroots and parliamentary pressure forced the regulator to sit up and listen to people who thought they were paying over the odds. I am very pleased that the regulator has made the right call in instructing phone companies to reduce the cost of calls between different providers. I also think they should move much more quickly. Mobiles are fast becoming essential for most people and the costs should be kept down as far as possible."


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Call for fire safer cigarettes

31 Mar 2010

MPs and firefighters have united behind calls for fire safer cigarettes to prevent fires which claim 7 lives and 90 injuries every month in hundreds of household fires.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson has backed a cross-party motion in the Commons which urges the UK and the European Union to introduce "reduced ignition propensity" cigarettes.

Mr Anderson said:

"These fire safer cigarettes use ultra-thin bands in the cigarette paper to restrict oxygen to the burning end of the cigarette. If you fall asleep on the sofa the cigarette will go out and the risk of fire will be reduced. The firefighters' union backs this campaign and they know too well the damage and misery caused by fires. Of course, people could quit smoking but about a fifth of the population still smoke and we should do what we can to improve fire safety for them and their loved ones."


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Primary schools urged to enter IT competition

29 Mar 2010

Primary schools in Blaydon are being urged by local MP Dave Anderson to participate in a parliamentary competition which showcases children's technology talents and could win cash prizes of up to £5,200 as well as tea at the Commons.

Mr Anderson said:

"This prestigious competition aims to inspire young people about the potential of technology. This year's theme is 'Get Your Community Online' and seeks to nurture imaginative pupil initiatives that show everyone how to make use of the exciting possibilities of the internet. For most children and young people computers and the internet are second nature. They can do much to assist us older folk in bridging the digital divide so we all benefit from the social and economic benefits the internet can bring."

See the Make IT Happy website http://makeithappy.cc4g.net


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MP with a bee in his bonnet

Dave, on the right, learns about bees
Dave, on the right, learns about bees
19 Mar 2010

A Tyneside MP with a bee in the bonnet about the plight of the honey bee has adopted a beehive and is encouraging others to follow his example.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson has signed up to the British Beekeepers' Association scheme, which is also supported by Michelin-starred chef Raymond Blanc.

Mr Anderson said:

"I cannot keep my own hive but have long expressed concern in Parliament about our bees which play a vital role in the eco-system. Adopting a beehive will help the British Beekeepers Association to drive more research and awareness. I know that many people will get a great buzz out of adopting a beehive and I hope they do so."

To Adopt a Beehive for a year costs £29.50 and each person will receive a welcome pack including a jar of British honey or a jar of honey mustard, a fridge magnet, a wooden honey dipper, postcards, facts sheet and certificate. To sign up for Adopt a Beehive visit www.adoptabeehive.co.uk and meet the colony of 14 beekeepers whose progress can be followed on-line.


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Sure Start not Sure Stop

17 Mar 2010

"Sure Start services are good for everyone," according to Blaydon MP Dave Anderson who adds that "the Conservatives would turn Sure Start into Sure Stop with heavy cuts that could close one in five children's centres."

Mr Anderson said:

"We all know that a child's experience before birth and in their earliest years plays a massive role in their lifelong health, happiness and achievements. Our Sure Start Children's Centres aim to develop strong family relationships with 3,500 centres helping 2.5m children."

Mr Anderson is visiting a local Sure Start centre on Friday 19 March at 9.30 a.m. It's at Shibdon Bank, Bleach Green, Blaydon on Tyne, NE21 5EZ

The MP is also backing a new campaign at www.saveoursurestart.com.


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Creative work earns MP's praise for college students

Dave with Ian Lucas MP, Minister for Business and Regulatory Reform visiting staff and students at Gateshead's Skills Academy for Automotive Engineering, Manufacturing and Logistics in Team Valley.
Dave with Ian Lucas MP, Minister for Business and Regulatory Reform visiting staff and students at Gateshead's Skills Academy for Automotive Engineering, Manufacturing and Logistics in Team Valley.
(Photo: North News & Pictures Ltd )
16 Mar 2010

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson has praised Gateshead College students after their creative talents have boosted public awareness of a new community centre.

The eight skills and working life students designed and produced leaflets and a DVD to promote the services available at the Birtley Community Hub to local people and businesses.

The project, which was funded by Young Enterprise, saw the young students, who all have learning difficulties or disabilities and are aged between 16 - 18, produce 2,000 leaflets in their enterprise class.

These were then distributed to local people and businesses to help local parents, young people and the elderly find out more about the services available at the Hub.

These include a Citizen's Advice Bureau, which holds drop-in sessions, a Credit Union, literacy and numeracy classes, internet facilities and a coffee shop

Four police officers also work from the centre, while the North East Council for Addictions has an information point located on site.

After completing the leaflets and DVD the students gave a presentation to Hub volunteers about the project, why they had done it and what they had learnt.

Dave Anderson MP, who watched the presentation, praised the students' work and thanked them.

He said:

"They have done a terrific job in promoting the Hub and raising awareness of its many services among local people.

"They have clearly shown talent, hard work and determination - attributes that will stand them in good stead in future life.

"It is vital that we continue to invest in young people like these equipping them with beneficial skills and helping them to find pathways to rewarding and useful lives."

Some students will now be continuing their skills and working life studies to gain further experience in the workplace.

Gateshead College is a leading North East provider of skills and employment skills' courses and works closely with young people to equip them with practical new skills and the willingness to contribute on a voluntary basis.

Tracey Wallace, skills and work course leader at Gateshead College said the work has given the students valuable experience, social skills and confidence.

She said:

"They have all worked very hard and seen how they can contribute in a positive way to improving the lives of others.

"I'm sure that equipped with the new skills they've gained and the confidence which comes with working in the community that they can go on to even more success."

Ian Caddy MBE, project leader at the Hub, added:

"All the Hub's volunteers have been impressed by the students' work and the amount of effort that they've put in.

"It's definitely helped to promote the centre and ensure as many people as possible are aware of what we do and can offer."


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Support for talking buses campaign

Transport Policy Officer John Welsman with guide dog Sorrel and Dave
Transport Policy Officer John Welsman with guide dog Sorrel and Dave
12 Mar 2010

Buses and coaches should have audible as well as visual announcements about next stop and final destination according to the Guide Dogs' 'Talking Buses' campaign to make bus travel easier and safer for passengers.

Blaydon MP, Dave Anderson who is backing the campaign said:

"Many blind, disabled and elderly people cannot use buses independently and with confidence for fear of being stranded at the wrong stop. They are often left feeling anxious and unsafe, and some give up using the bus altogether. Audible announcements will make it easier for them to use the bus."

The Guide Dogs charity is calling for all buses in the UK to have audible as well as visible announcements on-board, similar to those on trains. It is urging the government to make it compulsory for audio-visual (AV) information systems to be installed on all new buses and coaches. It is also encouraging councils and bus operators to look at providing systems on existing vehicles to improve the accessibility and quality of services for local people.

In a recent YouGov survey, 66 per cent of respondents said they thought it would make bus travel easier if there were on-board announcements about where the bus is going and what stop is coming up.

David Cowdrey, Guide Dogs' campaign manager, says:

"A lack of information undermines the independence and safety of vulnerable people who rely on buses to get around. Blind and partially-sighted people, for example, cannot see where they are, while wheelchair users often end up placed facing backwards. These people risk ending up at the wrong stop.

"As well as disabled people, Talking Buses improve travel for all passengers - including visitors to the area - hopefully encouraging more to leave their cars at home. And in an emergency, an AV announcement system enables the driver to warn passengers."

Companies including Transport for London, Trent Barton Buses (Nottingham and Leicester) and Thamesdown Transport (Swindon) have successfully rolled out AV systems on their buses.

Guide Dogs' Talking Buses campaign has the support of 24 national disability organisations.

People can find out more about Guide Dogs' 'Talking Buses' campaign, and lend their own voices, by visiting www.guidedogs.org.uk/talkingbuses.


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Volunteering pledge

12 Mar 2010

"Volunteering is vital to maintaining the fabric of society and needs to be encouraged," according to Blaydon MP Dave Anderson who has signed Volunteering England's national Pledge.

Dave Anderson promised

"To work hard to support volunteers and organisations that involve volunteers, both in my constituency and across the country. Lots of good people give their time willingly and cheerfully doing the thousand and one things that make us a civilised country. Examples include delivering meals to elderly residents, mentoring young people and helping out in hospices and hospitals. Volunteering also boosts their skills, confidence and job prospects."

Volunteering England is the volunteer development agency for England. We work with private, public and voluntary sector organisations and individuals to increase the quality, quantity, impact and accessibility of volunteering.

www.volunteeringengland.org


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Cross-party move on rare diseases

9 Mar 2010

Moves by more than 100 patient organisations, clinicians and academics to raise awareness of 6000 incurable rare diseases affecting 3.5 million British people have been backed by Blaydon MP Dave Anderson.

The MP, who chairs the all-party group on Muscular Dystrophy, has supported a cross-party motion welcoming the third International Rare Disease Day:

"These many rare diseases add up and make them very common for millions of people. This motion is a small part of a wider campaign to focus attention by ministers and others on such diseases and to mobilise research to improve the lives of people with rare diseases and their families."


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Government announces major investment for Gateshead schools

School children 8 Mar 2010

Dave has welcomed a major boost for education in Gateshead.

The government has announced a huge investment in the future of Gateshead's youngsters by rebuilding or refurbishing four secondary schools.

Dave said,

"The Government's announcement to approve Gateshead Council's bid for £90 million to rebuild or refurbish 4 secondary schools is great news for pupils, parents, teachers and the whole community. The four schools, Whickham School, St. Thomas More R.C. School (Blaydon), Joseph Swan School (Gateshead) and Ryton/Hookergate replacement school will now be better able to match the commitment and dedication of their teachers with state-of-the-art facilities.

"I have been working with Gateshead Council and my colleagues, Schools Secretary Ed Balls and Schools Minister Vernon Coaker to bring forward this investment. It will allow us to build on the tremendous improvements in standards and results that have been achieved over the last decade. We have every reason to celebrate in Gateshead today."


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Dave Anderson welcomes adult autism strategy

4 Mar 2010

People with autism who feel isolated, ignored and often at breaking point will be helped by a new strategy to boost awareness training for employment advisers so that about 300,000 adults with autism have equal access to jobs, education and good healthcare.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who works closely with the National Autistic Society, said:

"We must tackle the ignorance and inequality constantly experienced by people with autism. This strategy is the first step to recognising their needs. The next step is for local services to get the necessary support to drive these changes and make a difference for people affected by the condition. One third of adults with autism are experiencing serious mental health difficulties due to lack of support. This government pledge will enable them to use their talents more fully and so benefit society as a whole."

Mark Lever, chief executive of the NAS, said;

"We are delighted to have the support of Dave Anderson. This long awaited strategy is the first step to ensuring adults with autism will be able to enjoy the same rights and freedoms as the rest of society. Crucially, the strategy recognises the importance of specialist autism teams which we know are extremely successful at driving improvements in autism support. So now the next step will be to translate the strategy into decisive action at a local level - this momentous opportunity to transform the lives of people with autism and their families must not be wasted."

For more information on the adult autism strategy visit www.autism.org.uk/dhstrategy


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Dave Anderson challenges local Conservative over Ashcroft cash and tax status

2 Mar 2010

The local Conservative candidate should come clean about Conservative Deputy Chairman Lord Ashcroft's extensive funding of the Conservative party despite refusing to pay tax in Britain like everyone else, according to Dave Anderson MP.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said:

"Leading Conservatives including David Cameron have hidden the truth about this billionaire's bankrolling of the party for a decade. We now find out that he has been a non-dom and yet has sunk his millions into seeking to buy the election. This offends the British sense of fair play and will be seen as morally repugnant by most people. By all means, let's have a fair debate about the choice before the British people but one that is funded by those who live here and pay their taxes here. Lord Ashcroft's offshore taxation arrangements have deprived this country of many millions of pounds which could have funded hospitals and schools."

Mr Anderson added three pointed questions to the Conservative candidate in Blaydon:

"Was David Cameron right to conceal the truth about Lord Ashcroft's status? Will they pay back any money they took from him directly or indirectly? And will they rule out any future donations from him or his companies? The Ashcroft affair stinks and completely undermines the idea that the Conservative Party has changed under David Cameron. We won't be conned in Blaydon but others may not be as wise."

In 1999, Conservative leader William Hague first recommended Lord Ashcroft for a Peerage, he was rejected. It was only in 2000, after he promised to return to live in Britain and pay tax here, that the House of Lords allowed him to become a member. This week we found out that was a promise he never kept.

Lord Ashcroft is trying to redefine his original promise. He wants to suggest that when he said he would become resident, he didn't actually mean "resident"; that when he said he would cease to be a "tax exile", he didn't mean he would cease to be a non-dom; that when he said he would come and "live in Britain", he didn't mean full-time.

On December 9 1999, following legal action with The Times, Ashcroft agreed a statement "that he intends to reorganise his affairs in order to return to live in Britain."

William Hague wrote to confirm that Lord Ashcroft would become resident in Britain , adding that "this decision will cost him (and benefit the Treasury) tens of millions a year in tax.""

"Mr Ashcroft has told The Times that he recognises the public concern about the foreign funding of British politics, and that he intends to reorganise his affairs in order to return to live in Britain." (The Times, December 9 1999)

"After Lord Ashcroft nomination for a peerage was rejected in 1999 - in part because of his status as a tax exile - Mr Hague wrote to Downing Street demanding a change of heart on the grounds that the businessman intended to become resident in Britain "in order properly to fulfil his responsibilities in the House of Lords". Mr Hague added: "This decision will cost him (and benefit the Treasury) tens of millions a year in tax, yet he considers it worthwhile."" Guardian, 9 November 2007 http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2007/nov/09/uk.conservatives2

In his memorandum to William Hague in 2000, Lord Ashcroft promised to become "resident" - not just "ordinarily resident", but "resident". If you are "resident" you'd pay tax on all your earned income - not just your UK income.

However you can get round paying tax on your foreign earned income if you use an accounting definition that allows you to be "ordinarily resident" but not actually "resident". This would allow you to be a non-dom and pay tax only on your UK income. However to satisfy that requirement you would need to spend fewer than 183 days a year in the country - which hardly sounds like returning to live in the UK.

Is Lord Ashcroft technically a "resident" taxpayer?

Does Lord Ashcroft spend more than a 183 days a year in the UK?

I have now given well in excess of £10 million to the Conservative Party. I will never know whether I am the largest political donor of all time because, until recently, the size of political donations was never made public. (Dirty Politics..., (London, 2006), p.304)

His company, Bearwood Corporate Services, is at the centre of a major investigation by the Electoral Commission.


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Local schools encouraged to get free energy display meters

23 Feb 2010

"Pupils and teachers can plug themselves into seeing how much energy their school consumes to encourage greater understanding of how they can save energy, cut costs and help save the planet," according to Blaydon MP Dave Anderson.

Mr Anderson said:

"Local schools can take advantage of a government initiative and secure a free digital energy display meter. These meters monitor energy use and display real-time information. This enables everyone to follow energy use in their school and how changing their behaviour can curb energy waste. The display can be used in the classroom, and features such as graphics and characters can bring the subject of energy to life for children of all ages.

"I hope all local schools will apply for a free meter. As well as helping children learn about climate change as part of their lessons, they will help schools cut their carbon emissions and save money too. Research by the Carbon Trust shows that smart meters and wider changes in using energy could shave up to 15% off fuel bills. The average primary school could save up to £700 a year and the average secondary school more than £3,000 a year on fuel bills alone."

Schools can get a free meter by registering at http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/energydisplaymeter


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Dave backing a local pub
Dave backing a local pub

Dave Anderson: backing for Camra campaign for decent local pubs

22 Feb 2010

"Well-run community pubs are needed to deliver a better deal for consumers and to help solve the problem of alcohol abuse," according to Blaydon MP Dave Anderson who is backing the Campaign for Real Ale's new Beer Drinkers and Pub Goers Charter.

Mr Anderson said:

"Camra has done a sterling job over the years in highlighting their contribution and I am very happy to back their Charter. Decent and well-run pubs are the bedrock of our communities and deserve our support."

Specific proposals include rebalancing alcohol taxation to support beer and pubs and reforming the beer tie to deliver a fair deal for consumers.

Mike Benner, CAMRA's Chief Executive welcomed Dave Anderson's support for the Charter:

"We are delighted that Dave Anderson has promised to work to promote the interests of beer drinkers and pub goers. Well-run pubs make a huge contribution to community life, each of which injects £80,000 into their local economy every year. Amid growing concern over the loss of more than 5 pubs a day, it is now more important than ever to support well-run community pubs, to promote local brewers and to protect the interests of consumers."


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BACK L-R: Eva Anderson, Councillor Lynne Caffrey, Dave Anderson MP, Councillor John Hamilton, Peter Shaw (Tesco Store Manager), George Forster (Tesco). FRONT L-R: Dawn Gillot and Joleen Coultas (both Tesco).
BACK L-R: Eva Anderson, Councillor Lynne Caffrey, Dave Anderson MP, Councillor John Hamilton, Peter Shaw (Tesco Store Manager), George Forster (Tesco). FRONT L-R: Dawn Gillot and Joleen Coultas (both Tesco).

MP celebrates charity success at local supermarket

22 Feb 2010

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson paid a visit to local Tesco staff this weekend to thank them for their fund-raising efforts for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign and to mark the end of the charity's Tesco Charity of the Year 2009 partnership.

Mr Anderson was joined by his wife Eva and local councillors Lynne Caffrey and John Hamilton as they met Tesco staff from the Rowlands Gill Metro store. Generous staff were holding their final customer collection for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign as they move into the last week of their Tesco Charity of the Year 2009 partnership.

All money raised by the store throughout the year will provide vital, life-changing equipment, such as powered wheelchairs and electric beds, for children in the North East with muscle-wasting disease.

Mr Anderson is a long-standing supporter of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign having had several family members diagnosed with the condition. He currently chairs the all-party parliamentary group on muscular dystrophy, campaigning for improved services for the UK's 70,000 people with affected by the condition.

Dave Anderson MP said:

"It's fantastic to see the enthusiasm and dedication of Tesco staff in Rowlands Gill, and I'm delighted that they've given such strong support to the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign as Tesco Charity of the Year.

"All the money raised by staff and customers in Tesco stores around the region will make a huge difference to the lives of children across the North East with this devastating condition."


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Dogs tearing an animal apart
Dogs tearing an animal apart

Dave pledges 'No Return to Cruelty'

22 Feb 2010

Dave backs IFAW in Action campaign to safeguard Hunting Ban and pledges 'No Return to Cruelty'

He pledged "no return to cruelty" as he backed an IFAW in Action campaign to protect the ban on the cruel sport of hunting with dogs. Dave recently launched a Parliamentary petition against the legalisation of hunting with dogs.

Five years after the Hunting Act came into force in England and Wales, IFAW in Action, a part of the global International Fund for Animal Welfare movement, has published a new report 'No Return to Cruelty', and released a three-minute compilation of video footage showing examples of hunting cruelty before the ban.

The new report and footage were sent to MPs and prospective parliamentary candidates, urging them to remember the horrific cruelty inflicted on foxes, deer, hares and mink before the introduction of the Hunting Act and to work to protect the ban.

Dave said:

"The Hunting Act was introduced because the majority of the British public found it abhorrent that animals could be chased and ripped apart for fun. I have read IFAW in Action's report and watched the horrific footage of pre-ban hunt cruelty. I urge members of the public to do the same. We must all work to ensure the Hunting Act is protected."

Conservative Party leader David Cameron has pledged to allow MPs a free vote on whether to repeal the Act if he becomes Prime Minister. This is despite the fact that a return to hunting would be completely out of step with the views of the majority of the British public, including his own party.

Polling by Ipsos MORI* in September 2009 found strong cross-party support for maintaining the ban, including almost twice as many intending Conservative supporters backing the Act as those that want it repealed (62% vs. 33%). Overall, 75% of the British public do not want fox hunting to be made legal again.

Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW in Action, said:

"As a nation of animal lovers, the majority of the British public have long opposed animal cruelty and do not want the archaic practice of hunting with dogs to return to our countryside. We urge everyone to visit our website and remember why this vital ban was introduced."

To read the No Return to Cruelty report and view the footage visit www.ifaw.org/noreturntocruelty where you can also email your other local parliamentary candidates and ask where they stand on the issue.

To view the report and footage visit www.ifaw.org/noreturntocruelty

IFAW in Action is an independent part of the International Fund for Animal Welfare family (IFAW), which is one of the world's leading animal welfare organisations. IFAW has representation in 16 countries and carries out its animal welfare work in more than 40. IFAW works from its global headquarters in the United States and focuses its campaigns on improving the welfare of wild and domestic animals by reducing the commercial exploitation of animals, protecting wildlife habitats and assisting animals in distress. IFAW works both on the ground and in the halls of government to safeguard wild and domestic animals and seeks to motivate the public to prevent cruelty to animals and to promote animal welfare and conservation policies that advance the well-being of both animals and people. Visit www.ifaw.org

* Ipsos MORI interviewed a nationally representative quota sample of 2,003 adults in GB aged 15+. Interviews were carried out face-to-face, in home, using CAPI (Computer Aided Personal Interviewing Laptops), as part of the Ipsos MORI Omnibus (Capibus). The sample design ensures that the Omnibus accurately reflects the GB population in terms of region and area types as well as respondent demographics. The survey data were weighted to the known population of this audience. Fieldwork was conducted between 4-10 September 2009. Results are based on all respondents unless otherwise stated. Where results do not sum to 100%, this may be due to multiple responses, computer rounding or the exclusion of don't knows/not stated.

For further details, please contact Sir Robert Worcester KBE DL or John Leaman at Ipsos MORI on 020 7347 3000 or see:

www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/poll.aspx?oItemId=2479

No Return to Cruelty is promoted by IFAW in Action (company registration number 1556892), registered office 87-90 Albert Embankment, London, SE1 7UD


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Dave Anderson MP supports Fuel Poverty Awareness Day

Gas fire 11 Feb 2010

Dave is supporting Fuel Poverty Awareness Day 2010 a national campaign which aims to highlight the effects of living in a cold home on people's health.

Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, run by National Energy Action (NEA) and sponsored by EDF Energy, takes place on 12th February and has received backing from high profile health professional Dr. Miriam Stoppard and Government's Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson.

Having just experienced the most severe winter in over 30 years, the campaign aims to draw attention to the health problems caused by living in a cold, damp home and urges vulnerable people to keep their heating on until winter ends and temperatures start to warm up.

Last winter temperatures remained as low as minus 6 degrees well into March, leading to concerns that people may have been risking their health by turning their heating off too early in order to save money on their fuel bills.

Dave, Member of Parliament for Blaydon, said,

"Living in a cold damp home can lead to extremely poor health, especially in those who are vulnerable such as older people, young children whose immune system has not yet fully developed and those with long terms sickness and disabilities.

"It is important that people know that there are schemes in place to help them, and to ensure they are keeping warm and healthy throughout the winter period and for as long as the cold weather lasts. Fuel Poverty Awareness day is about acknowledging the issues, helping people to understand the links between fuel poverty and poor health, and making them aware of the help that is available to ensue they are kept warm and well.

"The most important message is that here is help out there for vulnerable households. I urge everyone who is concerned about their fuel bill to contact their energy supplier or to call the Home Heat Helpline on 0800 33 66 99 to access help and advice on staying warm when it is cold without the fear of fuel debt and ill health."

  1. Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, sponsored by EDF Energy, takes place on 12th February 2010 and aims to raise awareness of the issue of health and cold weather and point people to places where they can get help and support
  2. Excess winter mortality is calculated as winter deaths (deaths occurring through December to March) minus the average of non-winter deaths (April to July of the current year and August to November of the previous year).
  3. The Home Heat Helpline is a free, not for profit phone line set up to help British energy customers who are struggling to pay their fuel bill and keep warm. The Home Heat Helpline was launched by the Energy Retail Association in October 2005 and has become a cornerstone service for low-income households in urgent need of heating help and advice.
  4. Cold and damp homes affect people's health and well-being and are linked to serious cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses. The elderly, young children and people with people with disabilities are particularly at risk. There were over 40,000 excess winter deaths linked to cold homes in 2008-09 in the UK.
  5. Fuel Poverty is defined as the need to spend over 10% of household income on fuel costs to maintain adequate warmth for health and comfort.
  6. NEA is the leading Fuel Poverty charity campaigning for affordable warmth in the homes of vulnerable people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. For further details visit http://www.nea.org.uk
  7. Current grant programmes are Warm Front in England (0800 408 2095) http://www.warmfront.co.uk/ . The Energy Assistance Package in Scotland (0800 512 012) www.energyassistancepackage.com. The Home Energy Efficiency Scheme (HEES) in Wales (0800 316 2815) http://www.heeswales.co.uk/


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Welcome for new compensation tracking scheme

11 Feb 2010

Government proposals will mean that thousands of people with serious industrial diseases who miss out because they cannot trace their employers' insurance records should be able to claim compensation.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson welcomed the move:

"It is something I have been promoting for some time along with other asbestos campaigners. The proposed Employers' Liability Tracing Office will help people track down their bosses' liability insurance policies. It's a very good idea for those who have been negligently exposed. The delay between exposure to a chemical or asbestos and the development of diseases can be lengthy and mean that it's very difficult to trace who the insurer was at the time of exposure. This practical measure means that where an insurer cannot be traced those who develop a disease will receive compensation in the same way that someone hit by a car will be compensated where the vehicle owner cannot be traced."

The MP, who is a stalwart supporter of the campaign for justice for those with Pleural Plaques, added:

"But I also say directly to ministers that they should urgently reverse the House of Lords ruling to remove the right to compensation for those who develop pleural plaques. Myself and other MPs will continue to campaign for this."

The proposed tracing office will incorporate an electronic database of employers' liability insurance policies, which should make it easier to track down these records and improve the existing tracing service.

The consultation will consider how the tracing office could be best managed and funded. It will also look at the scope of help that could be provided by an employers' liability insurance bureau, the timing of claims and how much compensation could be paid. It will also examine what more employers can do to meet their obligations to maintain employers' liability compulsory insurance.

Where a person is injured or made ill through their work, as a result of the employer's negligence they would normally claim civil damages from the employer.

However, a number of people have been unable to trace their employers' liability insurance policy and make a claim. This is because some industrial diseases only appear decades later when employers may have ceased trading or they may have not kept old insurance records or lost them.

A voluntary Code of Practice for tracing Employers' Liability insurance policies, set up in 1999 has led to some improvements, but many individuals are still left without help.

The consultation, 'Accessing Compensation - supporting people who need to trace Employers' Liability Insurance', is available at www.dwp.gov.uk/consultations

When it's not possible to claim civil compensation for people with certain lung diseases, including mesothelioma, the Government provides help through the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers' Compensation) Act 1979 and 2008 Mesothelioma Scheme.

Written Ministerial Statement

10 February 2010

THE DEPARTMENT FOR WORK AND PENSIONS

Employers' Liability Insurance Bureau

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Yvette Cooper): I am today publishing a consultation document on proposals to improve the tracing of Employers' Liability Insurance policies and establish a fund of last resort to make payments in cases where employers are insolvent and insurers cannot be traced.

Today Britain is rightly recognised as having one of the best health and safety records in the world. This was not always the case though and good health and safety has not always been a priority for business. A key step for employees was therefore the introduction of the Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969. This landmark legislation has helped to ensure that the vast majority of those who are injured or made ill as a result of employment are able to receive appropriate compensation.

We know, however, that in some cases - particularly cases where a disease develops many years after exposure - it can be very difficult to identify the relevant insurer. This includes some of the most serious industrial diseases, such as pneumoconiosis, caused by exposure to coal dust, and asbestos-related cancers.

In 1999 we launched, in conjunction with the insurance industry, a voluntary code of practice to help trace these policies where other routes had failed. The code has led to some improvements but too many people are still not able to secure the compensation they deserve. This is not acceptable and we believe that more must be done. The consultation document sets out two further measures to improve this situation.

We believe that an essential first step is the creation of an Employers' Liability Tracing Office to manage an electronic database of EL policies and to operate the tracing service. We will be seeking to work with the Association of British Insurers and others to drive this forward, informed by the outcome of the consultation. We envisage that the database will initially be voluntary, but become mandatory in time to ensure that all insurers publish the relevant policy details. We expect the Financial Services Authority to consult shortly on ways to make the provision of policy information mandatory.

A Tracing Office will initially have to be populated with existing trace data but new and renewed policies will be included shortly afterwards. One of the issues explored in the consultation is the extent to which historic insurance records can be added to the database.

While a Tracing Office will ensure that, in future, more people can obtain civil damages for industrial disease, we also know from experience that it may still be very difficult to trace historic policies, especially for those individuals suffering from long-tail diseases such as mesothelioma. We therefore also propose to establish an Employers' Liability Insurance Bureau, which will provide a fund of last resort in cases if all other efforts to trace an employer or insurer have failed. This will, for example, give peace of mind to many workers who know that they were exposed to asbestos but who do not now have symptoms. They will have confidence that if they later develop an asbestos-related disease, they will be able to claim the civil compensation to which they are entitled.

The consultation launched today will examine what the Bureau should cover; the impact on insurers and employers; how much should be paid by way of compensation; and limitations on claiming from the Bureau. The Government will consider fully the responses to the consultation before determining next steps towards the Bureau's introduction.

We believe that the changes we are proposing will make a real difference to the lives of people who suffer from these terrible work-related diseases, and to their families.

The consultation will run from 12 weeks from today, in line with the government Code of Practice on Consultation.

The consultation document is available on DWP's website at www.dwp.gsi.gov.uk/consultations.


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MP's backing for the Robin Hood Tax campaign being launched today

10 Feb 2010

The national launch of campaign today by development, green, poverty groups and unions for a "Robin Hood Tax" on banks' financial transactions to raise hundreds of billions for good causes has been enthusiastically backed by Blaydon MP Dave Anderson who has long been a keen supporter of such moves.

Mr Anderson said:

"I have been helping with this campaign for a global tax on the banks to help repair the human damage caused by the global economic crisis, protect public services at home, fight poverty abroad and help foot the bill for climate change. It's encouraging that it now has the backing of an unprecedented coalition of domestic charities, aid agencies, unions, faith organisations and green groups."

He added:

"Such a global tax was previously dismissed by some who felt the banks could do no wrong. We all know that those days are over and that it is only right that the banks should make a fair contribution from now on. The support of leading financial and political figures makes this a very real and feasible proposal. The proceeds from the very few would be enormous without damaging the interests of the many."

The campaign, supported by almost 50 organisations including Oxfam, the TUC, Barnardo's, The Salvation Army, ActionAid and Save the Children, is launched with a promotional film starring Bill Nighy, and written and directed by Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Comic Relief). It is backed by regional events, advertising and online promotions challenging politicians, banks and the public to Be Part of the World's Greatest Bank Job.

The Robin Hood Tax is backed by financiers and hundreds of economists who have signed a letter supporting the campaign.

The Robin Hood Tax would not be levied on banks' transactions with their high street customers, but only apply to transactions between financial institutions. While different rates of tax would apply to different types of transaction, they would start at just five pence for every thousand pounds traded - an average of 0.05 per cent.

But even such tiny taxes would raise hundreds of billions of dollars a year given the scale of transactions - equivalent to $10,000 a day for every one of the 1.2 billion inhabitants of the world's 30 richest countries in the OECD. Experts have estimated an international transaction tax system could eventually raise as much as £250bn ($400bn) every year.

The UK campaign is part of an international movement with similar calls being made in the USA, Europe and across the developing world. Gordon Brown, Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy, Nancy Pelosi, Jose Manuel Barroso, Meles Zenawi (Ethiopia) have all spoken out in recent months in support of some form of transaction tax.


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Big welcome for personalised cancer care at home plans

8 Feb 2010

Free and personalised home care by specialist nurses for cancer sufferers paid for by reducing hospital admissions has been proposed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and enthusiastically endorsed by Blaydon MP Dave Anderson.

Mr Anderson said:

"Most of us would want to be treated and hopefully recover from cancer at home if at all possible. It allows people to maintain their independence where they are most comfortable and also saves the NHS money by freeing up beds. As a former care worker with elderly people I am delighted to see the issue of care is being addressed properly by my government. Quality care cannot be done on the cheap as some others believe and we need much closer co operation and integration between the NHS and all care providers."

Mr Anderson added:

"I am glad that the party which introduced the NHS in the first place is coming forward with ideas to improve and increase its services, not least as more and more people now live longer."


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Beware scam letters

8 Feb 2010

People who are sick and tired of receiving letters from fraudsters in the post are being invited to take part in the Office of Fair Trading's nationwide Scams Awareness month.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who supports the campaign, points out that,

"Over three million folk fall victim to scams sent by email, internet, post, text and the telephone at a cost to themselves of about £3.5 billion. Previous campaigns that call on consumers to drop such scam mailings into designated Scamnesty boxes at local libraries have proved useful in increasing awareness about how to spot these scams and avoid being conned."

Over the previous two years, residents in nearly 100 local authorities dropped over 20,000 scam mailings in Scamnesty bins across the country. The campaign revealed that the top five mass marketed scam mailings in the UK at that time were: 1) deceptive sweepstakes; 2) misleading prize draws; 3) fake clairvoyants/psychics; 4) bogus foreign lotteries; and 5) 'miracle' health cures.

If you think you have been the victim of a scam, or you suspect a scam, visit Consumer Direct for clear and practical advice at www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/scamnesty

During Scamnesty month (February 2010), they can also report on-line scams to the 'virtual bin' on the Consumer Direct website. www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/scamnesty

The OFT's advice to anyone who receives a possible scam offer is: 'Stop, think, and think again'. Do not be rushed into sending off money straight away to someone you do not know. How likely is it that you have been especially chosen for this offer? Thousands of other people are likely to have received the same offer, Think again - read the offer carefully. If you are unsure, speak to family or friends or seek advice.


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Northern Ireland news welcome but need to bring children together

8 Feb 2010

"The deal on policing and parades in Northern Ireland is very welcome but the long-term normalisation of society there could be boosted by measures that bring ordinary people together starting with schools and young people," according to Blaydon MP Dave Anderson.

The campaigning MP who has engaged with Irish affairs over many years has tabled a Commons motion which has already won cross-party support including from a former Conservative minister in Northern Ireland and a prominent unionist as well as those who sympathise with nationalist views.

The MPs say that power-sharing would be massively enhanced with greater moves to bringing Catholics and Protestants together in daily life, especially in housing and education. It points out that people are deeply segregated with "only about 6% of children attending integrated schools which seek to promote mutual understanding" and that increasing this number should be a far greater priority.


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  Fact logo

Staying safe in the sun

7 Feb 2010

We may be in the grip of the coldest winter for a generation but Blaydon MP Dave Anderson MP is helping to shine a light on how young people can stay safe in the sun.

Mr Anderson, who is the patron of local charity Fighting All Cancers Together, has praised them for running sessions in local primary schools to convey the dangers of skin cancer and how to stay safe. Young people do puzzles, colouring in, competitions and dress in yellow for the day. Several local schools have already signed up for the project.

Dave Anderson MP said:

"This charity is making an important difference to people's lives, FACT are giving young people information which could keep them safe throughout their lives, but having a lot of fun at the same time."

Joanne Smith Chair of Trustees of FACT says,

"Dave Anderson is such a supportive local MP and has worked tirelessly to help the project fundraise and get out in the local community. We are really grateful for his support."


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Event proves just the job for school leavers

5 Feb 2010
Dave gets the treatment from some young apprentices
Dave gets the treatment from some young apprentices

A local MP joined hundreds of pupils to find out more about the opportunities available for young people in the North East after they leave school.

Blaydon MP, Dave Anderson, joined students at an open event held at Gateshead College's Skills Academy (February 5) to hear more about what it is like to take Apprenticeships in areas like construction, engineering, retail, motor vehicle trades, hairdressing and business.

Mr Anderson, who took an apprenticeship as a fitter after leaving school, said:

"Events such as this are extremely important in ensuring our young people are fully informed about the many options available to them after leaving school.

"Apprenticeships and work-based learning provide a great opportunity to study and gain experience and skills at the same time. They offer a very direct route into employment and employers are increasingly recognising the benefits they get from hiring apprentices."

The Get Up and Go event was organised by Connexions Gateshead in partnership with Gateshead Collective, a group of work based learning providers and supported by the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS). Connexions personal advisers were available throughout the event to offer useful advice and information to pupils and their parents.

Alan Mulholland, 18, has just started a business administration Apprenticeship with Access Training and is employed by NAS. He was at the event to talk to pupils about his Apprenticeship.

He said:

"It's great to be earning money while I'm learning and I'm really enjoying the course so far.

"I think it is important that more emphasis is placed on Apprenticeships and more events like this take place to make people aware of the possibilities."

Richard Thorold, principal at Gateshead College, said:

"It's really important that these young people are being made aware of the work-based learning and Apprenticeships schemes available to them after leave school, as they can often be overlooked.

"Gateshead College and our Gateshead Collective partners offer a fantastic range of Apprenticeship and work-place learning programmes across a variety of sectors. Our students have the opportunity to learn, earn money and achieve qualifications doing something they love and want to carve a career out of."


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Backing the Legion

5 Feb 2010 Dave at the signing

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson has promised to "do my bit for the British Armed Forces family" and is encouraging all politicians to do the same.

Dave Anderson, who has signed the Royal British Legion pledge, said:

"Their manifesto details policies to improve conditions for the British Armed Forces, their families, the bereaved, veterans and dependants. Some proposals have been implemented or are being considered. I am proud as a ministerial aide in the Ministry of Defence to work with the Royal British Legion and ministers to safeguard our armed forces which are doing a vital job in protecting our interests."

Dave Anderson added:

"I would encourage everyone to visit www.timetodoyourbit.org.uk - to find out how they can get involved in the campaign."

People without access to the internet can also get involved by ordering a campaign pack on 01304 205 900.

Kevin Shinkwin, the Legion's Head of Public Affairs, said:

"We're really grateful to Dave Anderson for pledging to do his bit. The entire Armed Forces family needs the support of politicians from all parties, and our manifesto outlines practical ways the next government can help. We hope all the parties will give it serious consideration and that every MP and candidate will pledge to do their bit".

The Royal British Legion is the nation's leading Armed Forces charity providing care and support to all members of the British Armed Forces past and present and their families. It is also the national Custodian of Remembrance and safeguards the Military Covenant between the nation and its Armed Forces. It is best known for the annual Poppy Appeal and its emblem the red poppy -- www.britishlegion.org.uk


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Call for urgent reforms to energy market

3 Feb 2010

Far reaching energy market reforms to ensure secure supplies and help progress towards climate change targets are needed, according to the energy regulator Ofgem's Project Discovery.

The Ofgem report says that:

"The unprecedented combination of the global financial crisis, tough environmental targets, increasing gas import dependency and the closure of ageing power stations has combined to cast reasonable doubt over whether the current energy arrangements will deliver secure and sustainable energy supplies."

But the regulator says that:

"Prompt action will reduce risk to energy supplies, help lower costs to consumers and help progress towards climate change targets."

Gas and electricity could be sold to consumers via a state-controlled energy buyer with Ofgem setting minimum supply obligations on energy companies to make sure power supplies aren't affected.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who is a member of the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee, was quick to welcome the regulator's radical report, which is based on a year of extensive consultation:

"Ofgem rightly says that we need long-term decisions and, in my view, this highlights the failure of 25 years of letting the market dictate energy policy. The market has failed to invest in infrastructure and upskill the workforce. It has also despicably forced the worst off in society to pay more for less."

Former miner Dave Anderson added:

"Despite complaints about nationalisation we didn't get power shortages because we had an integrated system with the number one priority being security of supply. Over the last 25 years the number one priority has been security of profiteering. I'd welcome taking energy back into public ownership, but if that isn't going to happen the Government needs to be more proactive and ensure greater public control over the energy sector so that it meets our needs. Energy companies want public support and substantial investment by taxpayers but we need a decent get a quid pro quo for the people of this country."

"It is also clear both from this report and from my work on the Energy Select Committee that Ofgem has not been up to the job of getting best value for the customer out of the energy companies and the Government needs to have a long hard look at how it can give the regulator real teeth."


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Parent and child with a laptop
Parent and child with a laptop
(Photo: Home Access)

Free laptops and internet access

2 Feb 2010

Free laptops and broadband access are being offered to hundreds of local families with school age children in a move by the government that has been acclaimed by Blaydon MP Dave Anderson.

Mr Anderson said:

"I am myself a reluctant surfer but I know that the Internet is vital in this viral economy. PCs are as important as pens and paper nowadays. This scheme will allow very many pupils to learn on-line at home and so improve their school work. Parents can also make use of the Internet not just to help their children but also to help themselves by developing on-line skills and applying for jobs, for example."

Mr Anderson added:

"I would urge parents to check whether they qualify under the Home Access programme. Families with a child in years 3 to 9 at school and eligible for free school meals can apply for the special laptop and broadband access by calling 0333 200 1004 or visiting www.homeaccess.org.uk"


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Dave talks to staff at  eaga
Dave talks to staff at eaga

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson visits eaga

2 Feb 2010

North East MP David Anderson has praised green services company eaga for its environmental and social inclusion work.

The MP for Blaydon and Member of the Climate Change Committee also met with a number of constituents who are eaga employees.

With around 1,500 North East-based staff eaga is an important local employer.

During his visit Mr Anderson was shown examples of eaga's work in delivering large scale renewable energy solutions, green training programmes and benefit advice services for the vulnerable.

Through its work with social landlords, central and devolved government and energy suppliers, eaga visits up to 3,000 households every working day, helping to make their homes warmer, greener and more affordable to heat.

The FTSE 250 company is also using its training academy to build what it describes as a green collar workforce with the skills for a low carbon economy.

Indeed, a first batch of trainees has just started a three-year apprenticeship course in gas and renewable energy heating. More than 400 staff across the UK have also completed an NVQ level 3 in loft and cavity wall insulation.

Mr Anderson was also introduced to eaga's Advice Services, which provides telephone-based benefit entitlement, debt, housing and legal advice to customers.

Last year more than 84,000 Benefit Entitlement Checks were carried out, resulting in around 40% of customers receiving an average increase in annual income in excess of £1,600.

Mr Anderson said:

"I was extremely impressed with the work being undertaken by eaga in promoting environmental and social inclusion. As a local MP it is also extremely encouraging to see a North-East business leading the way in green technologies. The transition to low and zero-carbon living is gathering pace and it is crucial that we have a workforce with the relevant skills and that technologies like solar available to all in society - regardless of their ability to pay.

eaga Government Affairs Officer Damian Lee added:

"As a member of the Government and Energy and Climate Change Committee Mr Anderson has a vital understanding of the needs being met by eaga's work. We were delighted that he would take the time to understand how eaga's operations are helping to address the pressing issues of climate change and social inclusion."

  1. eaga plc is a green support services and outsourcing company. It is also the UK's largest residential energy efficiency provider.
  2. eaga was established in Newcastle in 1990 and operates across the UK and in the Republic of Ireland, India and Canada. It employs over 5,000 people.
  3. eaga works in partnership with central and local Government, all six major energy suppliers, local authorities, social housing providers and is increasing its share of the able-to-pay private market.
  4. Since its inception, eaga has made a positive difference to over 5 million disadvantaged households across the UK, by installing energy efficiency insulation and central heating.

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  Train at Newcastle

Ministers should intervene over rail safety

1 Feb 2010

"Rail safety should be the prime priority" according to Blaydon MP Dave Anderson who has urged ministers to step in following the axing of at least 1500 rail maintenance jobs.

Mr Anderson shares the concerns of the RMT railway union that staff cuts have already left many depots short of staff as vacancies have been left unfilled.

Mr Anderson said:

"Ministers say that job numbers are the responsibility of the employer, Network Rail which is accountable to the Rail Regulator. But I am urging ministers to personally intervene and to ensure that cost savings do not endanger lives."

He added:

"I am deeply worried to hear that Network Rail has made such cuts. Have we learnt no lessons from the rail crashes at Paddington and Hatfield? It is a disgrace."

The MP supports a Commons motion which warns that the decision of Network Rail to announce the loss of thousands of front-line maintenance jobs by spring 2010 will mean that in a matter of months there will be a drop of up to 20%. in the number of rail workers carrying out essential inspection and maintenance work. The motion notes genuine and urgent concerns as to whether Network Rail will be able to ensure the safe and efficient running of the railway, including the adequate inspection and repair of track, signals, overhead lines and other infrastructure and calls on the Government to use its power as the primary funder of Network Rail to intervene to ensure that Network Rail directors put safety first.


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New home scheme for soldiers

28 Jan 2010

A new £20 million Home Ownership Pilot Scheme for members of the armed forces has been launched by the government and backed by local MP Dave Anderson.

Mr Anderson, who is Parliamentary Private Secretary at the MOD, said:

"We owe members of our armed forces a great deal for their bravery in protecting our country. I am very pleased that this pilot scheme will provide members of the Armed Forces with up to 50% of a property's value. Personnel will be allowed to purchase properties anywhere in England to meet the needs of a mobile workforce."

He added:

"This welcome initiative, which has been introduced by fellow North East MP Kevan Jones, also allows applicants to sub-let their properties. They will not normally pay any fees on the equity while they remain serving members of the armed forces. We should continue to ensure that our soldiers are not disadvantaged by the demands of service life."

This £20 million pilot will initially run until Spring 2013 and will be funded by the MOD and managed and delivered by the Homes and Communities Agency with Swaythling Housing Society. Regular members of the Armed Forces who have served between four to six years and could not otherwise afford to get their foot on the ladder will be eligible to apply.


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  Blaydon Dairy

Good news for dairy

27 Jan 2010

The news that Blaydon Dairy is to reopen has been applauded by local MP Dave Anderson.

Mr Anderson, who battled to save the old DFB Dairy, said:

"It's great news for local workers and the economy that Medina Dairies Ltd, the largest independent dairy business in the UK, has bought the dairy. They tell me that it will be a modern and well run dairy and that they intend to have it up and running by the end of March. I understand that they have started to recruit key staff immediately and are looking for suitable local direct farm supplies. They are looking to employ 50 people but this will increase as they win more business."

Commenting of the purchase, Sheazad Hussain Chief Executive of the Medina Group said,

"This is excellent news for Medina and will allow the group to carry on with its ambitions to be a truly national player within the UK. It is also great news for all of our employees and suppliers further strengthening our position as the UK's largest independent dairy company."


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Local MP commits to safeguard the legacy of Holocaust Survivors

Dave signing the Book of Commitment in the House of Commons
Dave signing the Book of Commitment in the House of Commons
26 Jan 2010

Today Dave pledged his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day by signing a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons to honour those who perished in the Holocaust.

With 27th January marking the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and extermination camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Holocaust Educational Trust placed a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons to give MPs the opportunity to remember those who were persecuted and murdered during the Holocaust - and to support a 'Legacy of Hope', learning from Survivors' experiences to help create a future free from hatred and prejudice.

In doing so, Dave paid tribute to those remarkable individuals who survived the appalling events of the Holocaust and have since dedicated their lives to educating younger generations about the dangers of allowing persecution and intolerance to take hold in society.

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 subsequent genocides. 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. This year is the ninth year that Holocaust Memorial Day has been commemorated in the UK.

Dave said:

"Holocaust Survivors are extraordinary people. We have a duty to them to pass on the lessons of the Holocaust to future generations. Holocaust Memorial Day gives us an opportunity to reflect on the legacy of Holocaust Survivors, to commemorate the millions who died under Hitler's regime and to commit to a future free from racism and discrimination."

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

"We are delighted that MP NAME is supporting Holocaust Memorial Day. Remembering and learning about the Holocaust is more important now than ever before. This year's theme, 'The Legacy of Hope' highlights the important role young people have to play in taking the Survivors' mantle forward and educating their peers about the Holocaust.

You can find out more about the Holocaust Educational Trust's work at: http://www.het.org.uk/


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Dave Anderson's warm welcome for government help to tackle repossessions in Gateshead

25 Jan 2010

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson reacted positively to the news that Housing Minister John Healey is extending the Government's national campaign to Gateshead "to help struggling homeowners get a grip on their finances and avoid the Repo man."

Dave Anderson said:

"I am particularly pleased that the government is announcing a special helpline and website in 30 more hotspot areas, including Gateshead, with high risk of repossession. Having a roof over your head is of vital importance to folk and it is only right that an active government does its bit to help protect people's homes, rather than losing them. It's in stark contrast to the last recession when the market was left to its own harsh devices and thousands of people got no help whatsoever."

Mr Anderson added:

"I also welcome this major extension of the campaign to promote the free help and advice available through an imminent advertising drive in 56 repossession hotspot areas such as Sunderland, Derwentside, Easington, Middlesbrough, Sedgefield, South Tyneside, Blyth Valley and Chester-le-Street in the North East.

John Healey Extends Government Drive To Tackle Repossessions

Housing Minister John Healey is today extending the Government's campaign to help struggling homeowners get a grip on their finances and avoid repossession. In a major extension of the campaign to promote the free help and advice available the minister has announced a new advertising drive and local mortgage help events in 56 repossession hotspot areas starting next week . And he is also announcing local promotion of a special helpline and website in another 30 hotspot areas with high risk of repossession.

Over 330,000 households have had help and advice with their mortgages over the past year, and repossessions are currently running at nearly half the rate of the last recession. But with the pressure on families likely to remain high throughout 2010, the Government is working with the Citizens Advice Bureau to run a string of local help events in 56 repossession 'hotspots', so that struggling homeowners can get impartial face-to-face help and advice to keep their home. New radio and local press advertising in all 56 areas will also promote the special website and free telephone advice line to help homeowners struggling with their mortgage payments

John Healey said today:

"With the pressure on homeowners set to continue this year, I'm determined that they get the help they need.

"That's why I'm extending our campaign so families across the country can get the free, impartial advice they need on-line, on the phone or on the high street.

"The comprehensive range of Government help available - and tougher rules on lenders - will mean that repossessions remain the last resort."

Nearly 88,000 people have gone to www.direct.gov.uk/mortgagehelp since its launch in September, over 26,000 of whom have used it to develop personal action plans tailored to their individual circumstances. This help has also proved valuable for those feeling the pinch after Christmas - over 17,000 people have visited the website since 1 January.


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MP backs campaign to urge carbon monoxide alarms in homes

CO alarm 24 Jan 2010

Tyneside MP Dave Anderson has backed a new Zero Deaths national campaign to encourage householders, and especially landlords, to install audible Carbon Monoxide alarms.

Mr Anderson said:

"This silent killer is produced when fuel-burning appliances such as boilers are incorrectly fitted, badly repaired, poorly maintained or if flues, chimneys and vents are blocked. Boilers should be checked every year but having an alarm provides a permanent check on Carbon Monoxide which has no colour, taste or smell but is lethal."

The campaigning MP added:

"I'm keen that all landlords are legally required to fit audible Carbon Monoxide alarms for them to receive their annual gas safety certificate. All new homes should include these alarms as is the case for smoke alarms. The alarms are widely available and some retailers are even offering discounts in support of the campaign."

Gas, oil and solid fuels such as coal, coke and wood can all produce Carbon Monoxide. There are around 30 deaths each year from Carbon Monoxide poisoning and many more people suffer health problems due to Carbon Monoxide exposure. Some 20 million households in the UK don't have their appliances checked regularly enough or have an audible Carbon Monoxide alarm - leaving them under-protected and at risk of Carbon Monoxide poisoning.


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Government record on compensation claim praised and urged to settle Pleural Plaques issue

23 Jan 2010

"The Government has a very good record in compensating people for industrial diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and vibration white finger (VVF),"

according to Blaydon MP and former miner Dave Anderson.

Mr Anderson said:

"New official figures show that £4.1 billion has been paid out to those with COPD and VVF in the last decade. They also show that virtually 100% of the nearly 760,000 claims have been settled. The figures for Blaydon show that nearly £21 million has been paid out in 3,892 cases and that just six claims are outstanding."

Mr Anderson added:

"I am very proud of this record which does, however, point to the need to settle the case for reinstating compensation for Pleural Plaques. Such working class occupational diseases deserve the greatest sympathy by society towards people whose hard work contributed to the common good but at the expense of their own health.

"It's especially important to do this because these people were exposed to asbestos by employers who knew the poisonous dangers and deliberately and, to my mind, criminally ignored them. We have a duty to look after such victims."


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Ensure disabled access at polling stations

22 Jan 2010

"Polling stations should be fully accessible to disabled people,"

according to Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who has written to the local council asking them to ensure this at the coming general and local elections.

Mr Anderson said:

"At the 2005 General Election, over two-thirds of polling stations had one or more serious access barriers that could prevent a disabled voter from voting independently. We should do better in this year's elections. Democrats of all parties are anxious to make sure we have the highest possible turnout and this includes making sure that disabled people can vote in person."


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MP's advice on water charges and burst pipes

Water tap 22 Jan 2010

"Water customers, particularly those on meters, should not be subject to unjustified additional charges that could result from leakage associated with burst supply pipes," according to advice from Environment Minister Hilary Benn received by Blaydon MP Dave Anderson.

Mr Anderson said:

"I was worried that local folk would be charged for water they hadn't actually used through pipes bursting when things thawed after the cold snap. I am very pleased that the Cabinet Minister has let me know that water customers shouldn't have to stump up extra in these cases. He tells me that water companies have a duty under the law to adjust people's bills when there is a leak. This is mandatory on the first leak and afterwards on a case by case basis."

The issue has additional relevance in Mr Anderson's constituency after a major pipeline burst which affected the Ryton and Crawcrook area during the recent cold spell.

Constituents with issues are free to contact Dave via this website or on 0191 4142488.


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Warning on battery farmed pet dogs by Blaydon MP

19 Jan 2010

"Dog lovers shouldn't be fooled into buying pets from cruel puppy farms," says Blaydon MP Dave Anderson who is backing a new campaign by welfare charity Dogs Trust.

Mr Anderson, the proud owner of Bess, a 12 year old border collie said:

"Most people don't want to buy a dog from a puppy farm but campaigners reckon that nearly a million people may have done so without knowing. My fear is that this not only sustains what campaigners rightly call 'battery farming' of dogs but could also land people with sick pets that need very expensive treatment at the vet."

Mr Anderson added:

"I am asking people to be very wary of buying a dog from the internet, a newspaper, a pet shop or garden centre. It's wise to see the pup interacting with its mother and worry if excuses are made as to why you can't and be suspicious if previous owner details have been removed from or disguised in the paperwork."

Clarissa Baldwin of Dogs Trust, said:

"Battery farming of dogs is an appalling practice, abhorrent to all decent members of society. Breeding bitches are kept in unthinkably cruel conditions and bred from continuously until they are too old, then discarded. Puppies often suffer from medical problems and behavioural issues as a result of being inadequately socialised.

"Most reputable breeders would never sell their dogs through newspaper adverts, pet shops or superstores, garden centres or internet websites. Anyone who sees an animal for sale in any of these places should be suspicious. Newspaper adverts and on-line websites are of particular concern since unscrupulous breeders or middle men (dealers) are difficult to identify, often posing as members of the public selling 'puppies from unplanned litters'."


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Blaydon MP hails schools results revolution in Gateshead

13 Jan 2010

"GCSE results in Gateshead have soared in the last decade and teachers and pupils deserve congratulations rather than these results being talked down by some,"

according to Blaydon MP Dave Anderson.

Official figures show that the number of pupils achieving five or more GCSEs has more than doubled in the last ten years with a rise of 41 percentage points (from 39-81%) in those reaching five or more GCSEs at A*-C grade.

The figures also show a lesser but substantial increase when the vital subjects of English and Maths are included. The number of pupils attaining five or more GCSEs in these and other subjects has increased over the last ten years from 32% to 52%. This is more than a 50% increase but, according to Dave Anderson, "we clearly need to do more work to boost literacy and numeracy and must never be complacent"

Dave Anderson said:

"Overall, this very positive news is thanks to extra investment with more teachers and teaching assistants as well as improved school buildings and facilities. We have also seen more young people staying on in education or doing an apprenticeship at 16."

Mr Anderson pointed out that the number of teaching assistants in Gateshead has increased from 190-550 and that there has also been an increase in other support staff from 190-480 in the same period.

Mr Anderson added:

"The modern economy requires increasing educational standards if we are to compete and create the wealth for the best things in life. We rely on our children to do better and better at school and then in life. These new figures should be celebrated but are due to hard work by the government in providing the wherewithal to help pupils make the most of their potential. That doesn't happen by chance but as a policy which means that since 1997 over 600,000 more students have left school with at least five good GCSEs. I think that the Tories would endanger this progress whilst we aim to build on it."


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Be an MP for a Week, says Dave Anderson

12 Jan 2010

The House of Commons Education Service has launched MP for a Week, a pioneering online game as an educational resource for students and teachers but which is accessible to anyone who wants to get an idea about an MP's working life.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said:

"Parliament is the property of the people and electors are entitled to know exactly what their representatives do. I hope that students, teachers and others interested in our work log on. I am very happy to talk about this at schools."


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