2011 Press Releases

20/12/11 'Sweetheart' tax deals slammed
17/12/11 MP's call over carbon monoxide alarms
30/11/11 Local MP pledges to help hard pressed constituents escape the misery of living in fuel poverty this winter
24/11/11 Put NHS reorganisation on hold until risks are established
24/11/11 Housing decline in the North East
20/11/11 Plea for organisations to apply for funds to mark First World War centenaries
16/11/11 Blaydon MP questions government plan to cut MOT frequency
09/11/11 Dave Anderson MP rounds on the health Bill
05/11/11 Co-operative Party activists demonstrate outside Northern Rock HQ
01/11/11 Damning official report on flood protection
27/10/11 Action against loan sharks
19/10/11 Action needed against the energy rip-off according to local MP
12/10/11 Charity morale boost
10/10/11 MP shown to be milking it
07/10/11 Cuts in legal aid to hit youngsters
01/10/11 Tyneside MP's plea to rethink economic strategy
28/09/11 Number's up: local MP takes part in MS challenge
09/09/11 Love Our NHS
23/08/11 Action on Hearing Loss
14/08/11 MP to visit Dove
09/08/11 MP appeals for help in nominating exemplary young people for national awards
15/07/11 Lottery boost for Cuthbert
07/07/11 Commissioning Ceremony for biggest private sector solar array in the North East
06/07/11 Dave Anderson backs mass messaging about Murdoch's empire
04/07/11 Celebs join local pupils in Send My Sister to School Campaign
30/06/11 Dave Anderson's comment on today's strike
24/06/11 Dave Anderson joins cross-party call to rein in "debt exploitation" firms
21/06/11 MP's appeal for local 16 year olds to take part in the Summer of a Lifetime
20/06/11 MP welcomes critical independent report on social care underfunding
16/06/11 Appeal to help Duchenne project win a lottery award
09/06/11 Blaydon MP backs local business over solar power setback and urges PM to intervene
30/05/11 Dave Anderson comment on AEI Cables redundancies
19/05/11 Westminster votes Blaydon MP Charity Champion for "changing lives of thousands"
18/05/11 Backing for climate change moves
15/05/11 Call to scrap unworkable health changes
14/05/11 Appeal for new humanitarian service medal
08/05/11 Caution needed over home improvements
06/05/11 Comment from Dave Anderson MP on the Gateshead Council results
28/04/11 Tuition Fees farce slammed
09/04/11 Ministers should get their act together on solar power
31/03/11 Dave Anderson on protecting and promoting our natural heritage
30/03/11 Dave Anderson on rogue landlords
29/03/11 North East support for one person one vote campaign
25/03/11 MP in line for charity champion award
11/03/11 Action on muscular dystrophy welcomed by Dave Anderson MP
17/02/11 Words of caution on forest sell-off policy from Dave Anderson MP
11/02/11 Egyptians now control their fate
09/02/11 Defending Sure Start
02/02/11 Dave Anderson on local police cuts
27/01/11 Blaydon MP pledges support to Chopwell Woods campaign
25/01/11 Dave Anderson comment on PM and Murdoch
25/01/11 Dave Anderson urges improved disabled access for stage and screen
17/01/11 Dave Anderson slams disability cuts
10/01/11 Tyneside MP's bee in the bonnet

Return to Homepage Current Press Releases


'Sweetheart' tax deals slammed

HMRC 20 Dec 2011

Dave has called the revelations that billions have been lost to the taxpayer a shocking indictment of the tax system.

This comes after the Commons Public Accounts Committee reported that HMRC failed to handle tax negotiations with some big companies properly.

In particular, MPs said large firms got favourable treatment and there was a lack of public accountability over how deals are done, with especial criticism for Dave Hartnett, permanent secretary for tax. They accused him of mishandling tax negotiations with companies such as Goldman Sachs, letting it off from millions in tax.

Dave said,

"The news that up to £25 billion is being lost by the taxpayer thanks to sweetheart deals between the tax authorities and major companies is a shocking indictment of the tax system which is punitive towards some lower paid people but soft on the rich. Tax is the subscription working people and business pay for a civilised society. Never has the government slogan that we are all in it together seemed more hollow. Tough action is needed to rectify this gross imbalance."

The PAC said that HRMC's relationship with big companies such as Goldman Sachs and Vodafone was too cosy.

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MP's call over carbon monoxide alarms

17 Dec 2011

The dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning are being highlighted as families start to come together for Christmas as part of a campaign to boost the use of audible alarms to stop preventable deaths.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who is supporting the call for people to buy such alarms, said:

"Many of us will be eating and drinking with our families and gently snoozing afterwards in front of the fire and the television. Sadly, some people will be suffering the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning and may die."

He added:

"Carbon monoxide is a lethal gas that is difficult to detect because it is colourless and has no taste or smell. It is produced by faulty or poorly maintained or ventilated fossil fuel burning appliances and blocked flues. About 50 people die each year - or one a week. But there are many unreported near misses and some get the symptoms which are like flu or food poisoning.

"So my plea is for people to think about themselves and their family, friends and neighbours. An audible carbon monoxide alarm could be the best Christmas present ever. They are available at hardware stores and supermarkets."

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Local MP pledges to help hard pressed constituents escape the misery of living in fuel poverty this winter

Dave at Birtley Villas 30 Nov 2011

Dave Anderson, MP for Blaydon, is backing the Warm Homes Campaign 2011 and is stressing that community engagement is vital in combating rising levels of fuel poverty in the North East.

The Warm Homes Campaign is a national campaign run by the UK's leading fuel poverty charity National Energy Action, and supported by E.ON, to raise awareness of fuel poverty and the issues surrounding living in a cold home.

Mr Anderson marked his support by meeting with NEA, and local company's Warm Zone and The Gateshead Housing Company, to visit a social housing renovation scheme that has recently started work in Birtley.

The 1970s built Birtley Villas have been a concern of Gateshead Council's for years due to their flat roof design and old fashioned layout, making them difficult to insulate and unattractive to perspective elderly tenants. Working with the local Warm Zone a solution was provided to insulate the accommodation thoroughly whilst bringing the flats up-to-date making them more appealing to residents.

Dave Anderson MP 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.

"Inefficient housing is one of the main problems when tackling fuel poverty. Finding innovative ways of providing insulation to hard-to-treat homes, such as the work currently being carried out at Birtley Villas, can help protect residents from both the cold and high energy prices.

"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:

"For 30 years NEA has been building awareness and tackling the causes and symptoms of this national problem. In our experience, the most rational and sustainable solution is locally based schemes that improve heating and insulation, income maximisation and lower tariffs. These are the real tools to tackle the problem within local communities. We are currently working hard with the Government and our supporters to help design and implement policies and programmes that deliver that help at a neighbourhood level".

This year has seen energy prices rise to record levels and the number of fuel poor households in the UK is now over 6.6 million. Over 33 per cent of households in the North East are struggling to heat their homes, with hard-to-treat properties posing the greatest problems.

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Put NHS reorganisation on hold until risks are established

24 Nov 2011 2011

The increased risk of the government's planned re-organisation of the NHS to patient safety and safeguarding of children has been uncovered in an internal report on London but which has implications for the North East and more widely, according to Blaydon MP Dave Anderson.

Dave Anderson said:

"This previously private document assesses the risks in London but the scale of the government's gamble and the risks will be similar across the country. The report warns that experienced staff will be lost and this could increase preventable harm to children.

"The report reveals worries that winter plans may not be sufficiently robust which could compromise clinical care and patient safety. It highlights the risk that women could be exposed to unsafe maternity services. Overall it says that reorganisation could be disruptive with patients receiving sub-optimal care."

Dave Anderson added:

"This report shows that ministers are stumbling and bumbling with our NHS and putting ideology ahead of patient safety. We need to flush out the whole national picture and get a better sense of how the North East will be affected. And they should halt these so-called reforms until the implications of these reports are fully in the public domain."

The NHS London report can be found here. (PDF file)

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Housing decline in the North East

Aerial view of housing 24 Nov 2011

Government claims to be tackling the housing crisis have been undermined by new figures showing that starts for affordable homes fell by nearly 100% and there was also nearly a one-third fall in completed homes in the North East in the last year, according to Blaydon MP Dave Anderson.

Dave Anderson said:

"Sadly these figures expose the gulf between reality and rhetoric and the impact of the unjustified 60% cut of £4bn to Labour's Affordable Homes Programme. Promises to return one-tenth of that cut mean just 3,000 new homes. But that doesn't even cover 10% of the fall in the affordable homes starts in the last 6 months."

Mr Anderson added,

"Repeating the bankers' bonus tax would enable 25,000 new affordable homes. A 5% cut to VAT on home improvements would mean more and better homes and boost jobs and apprenticeships."

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Plea for organisations to apply for funds to mark First World War centenaries

20 Nov 2011

Those who fought in the First World War have passed on but a series of centenaries provides opportunities to remember their sacrifices and learn from history, according to Blaydon MP Dave Anderson.

Mr Anderson said:

"The first centenary in 2014 will mark the outbreak of the war. It may seem some time off but work is starting now to ensure that these tragic and momentous events are remembered in the best way. The Imperial War Museums and the Heritage Lottery Fund have launched a campaign encouraging organisations to apply for funding to help commemorate various anniversaries."

He added:

"Interested groups should start thinking now about how they can apply for grants and help explore the history and legacy of the war in their own community in order to remember the past and educate future generations."

Details can be found at www.hlf.org.uk/FirstWorldWar

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Blaydon MP questions government plan to cut MOT frequency

Dave Anderson (right), MP for Blaydon, observing Halfords Autocentre senior technician Michael Twist conduct an MOT when he visited the centre in Gateshead at the invitation of Pr oMOTe, a campaign launched by the industry to combat the Government's plans to change the MOT system. Also pictured is Halfords Autocentre manager Ray Lee
Dave Anderson (right), MP for Blaydon, observing Halfords Autocentre senior technician Michael Twist conduct an MOT when he visited the centre in Gateshead at the invitation of Pr oMOTe, a campaign launched by the industry to combat the Government's plans to change the MOT system. Also pictured is Halfords Autocentre manager Ray Lee
(Photo: Professional Images)
16 Nov 2011

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson visited a local MOT Testing Centre this week (Wednesday 16th November) to find out for himself the implications of new Government proposals to reduce the frequency of MOT testing.

Mr Anderson visited Halford's Auto Centre on Team Valley to observe the safety checks carried out in an MOT test. Operations manager Ray Lee and his staff were on hand to explain the checks and to hear their concerns about the impact of the proposed changes.

Ministers are seeking to review the existing 3-1-1 system which sees all new cars and vans being tested after three years and every year thereafter. Britain's roads are the safest in the world, according to the OECD, and the DfT has published figures which show that last year the UK had the lowest number of road deaths since records began. Other EU countries have a worse safety record than the UK and most operate a 4-2-2 system which tests new cars at four years and then at two-yearly intervals thereafter.

After the visit Dave Anderson MP said:

"I am concerned that the move to testing vehicles every two years instead of every year, as it is now, will reduce vehicle safety - and that means our roads could become less safe for all of us. This proposal is a move in the wrong direction for road safety."

The visit was organised by the Pro-MOTe campaign, a group of 25 organisations representing motorists, road safety campaigners, cyclists, small businesses, insurers and the wider motor industry. Pro-MOTe campaign co-ordinator, Bill Duffy said

"We welcome Dave Anderson's clear understanding of the issues and concerns plus his support for the campaign. It is very clear that changing MOT frequency is a bad idea for Mr Anderson's constituents and for the UK in general".

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Dave Anderson MP rounds on the health Bill

Nurse at work 9 Nov 2011

The biggest reorganisation of the NHS since 1948 is needless, unpopular and an expensive distraction from continuing need for reform in co-operation with health professionals and in the interests of all patients, according to Blaydon MP Dave Anderson.

Mr Anderson said:

"The people have an opportunity to make it plain to the Prime Minister that they stop ploughing on with their reckless plans to curb accountability, boost private beds whilst making waiting lists longer and waste billions on pointless reshuffling of positions. They are doing what they promised not to do and need to be halted in their tracks. As Nye Bevan, the founder of the NHS put it, 'the NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it.'"

People can join in by signing the petition at www.dropthebill.com

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Co-operative Party activists demonstrate outside Northern Rock HQ

5 Nov 2011

Activists from the North East Co-operative Party are protesting about the government's imminent sale of Northern Rock at the bank's headquarters. Activists are forming a queue outside of the Newcastle HQ to symbolise the risk that the government's plan for the bank will lead to another collapse. Final bids for the Newcastle-based bank have been tabled by Richard Branson's Virgin Money and NBNK, a private venture from a former Northern Rock senior staff member.

Co-operative Party members are calling for the state-owned bank to be put back into the ownership of its customers as a new co-operative building society. The model, developed by the Co-operative Party, would see customers owning the bank mutually and paying back taxpayers over time. Building societies are less risky than other banks as they operate for the benefit of their customers rather than the short term profit of shareholders.

A petition from the Co-operative Party calling for George Osborne to halt the sale has been signed by hundreds of people in just a few months, whilst a recent national campaign day (15th October) saw protests and street stalls across the country.

Speaking in support of the Co-operative Party's proposals, Labour MP for Blaydon Dave Anderson said:

"Labour and Co-operative party activists in the North East are right to stand up against the fire-sale of Northern Rock. George Osborne should have heeded the Co-op Party's idea of turning the Rock back into a building society, owned by its customers and serving its community."

The Co-operative Party is the political arm of the co-operative movement and Labour's sister party. There are 29 Labour Co-operative MPs and over a 1000 Labour Co-operative local councillors.

The Party has been calling for the re-mutualisation of Northern Rock as part of the national campaign 'The Feeling's Mutual'. www.thefeelingsmutual.org.uk

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Damning official report on flood protection

The new Butterfly Bridge
The new Butterfly Bridge
(Photo: http://www.bridgesonthetyne.co.uk/buttfly.html)
1 Nov 2011

A damning report on Britain's flood defences from an official watchdog has slammed Government cuts to capital investment in flood defence schemes and questioned the ability of local government to take up this capacity.

The report from the National Audit Office says that capital funding for flood defences is now lower than before the major floods of 2007 and reverses good progress under the last Government.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson has welcomed the report:

"The Environment Agency estimates we need an extra £20 million each year just to sustain the current levels of flood protection. I am deeply concerned about homes and businesses being able to access insurance when Labour's deal with the insurance industry expires in 2013. I'm dubious about the private sector filling the funding gap given that their contribution has so far been very shallow."

Mr Anderson added:

"It wasn't that long ago that we had floods in the Derwent Valley which washed away the landmark Butterfly footbridge and devastated several homes. It is the first duty of government to protect its citizens and flood defences are an essential part of that."

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Action against loan sharks

Ten pound notes 27 Oct 2011

Legal loan sharks fleecing cash-strapped people are being targeted by a new national newspaper campaign supported by MPs to force a Commons debate and "urgent government action to rein in companies that charge eye-boggling interest rates," according to Blaydon MP Dave Anderson.

Dave Anderson said:

"I know from my postbag and surgeries how easy it can be to be seduced by these companies. It is a major national scandal that they can get away with charging sky-high interest rates to people who often feel they need them to buy food or, with Christmas looming, presents for their kids. It may be legal for now but it's not moral or just."

"Britain has the unenviable reputation of being an easy touch for these companies. Other nations cap what they charge to much more reasonable levels. We should do the same and more urgently than the government suggests. They have said that they will take action late next year but that's too late for the victims who will fall prey to them now and there's every danger that such pledges are scrapped."

Mr Anderson added:

"the Mirror's e-petition provides a golden opportunity for quicker action. If it gets 100,000 supporters it can be considered in a Commons debate and there will be a head of steam to force ministers to pull their finger out in time for the Christmas rush."

"The strong evidence is that the number of those using payday companies and the like is soaring as is crippling debt problems. I strongly urge everyone to sign the petition at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/20219 and encourage their friends to do the same."

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  Gas fire

Action needed against the energy rip-off according to local MP

19 Oct 2011

The Big Six energy companies should stop ripping us off, according to a major new Friends of the Earth petition aiming to put pressure on the Government to take action.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who is encouraging people to sign the petition, said:

"I am 120% with Friends of the Earth on this. The energy company rip-off is a national scandal. The Big Six supply 99% of households and make billions in profits by keeping us hooked on expensive dirty fuels. And they have the Government wrapped around their little fingers. It's time for our leaders to stand up to the Big Six and give us energy we can all afford."

Mr Anderson added:

"Energy is clearly one of the basics of civilised life. It's time the PM launched an independent public inquiry into the Big Six's power over consumers and influence over politicians. The Government should also not slash support for clean British energy produced by communities, councils, business and householders."

The petition can be found at www.foe.co.uk

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Charity morale boost

12 Oct 2011

People who run charities have been given a morale-booster by a local MP in the run-up to a national week devoted to "the dedicated few that do so much work for so many."

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said:

"We have about 125 charities in Blaydon and over the years I have seen the moving and vital work that so many do for the community. The national Trustees' Week is an opportunity to remind the wider public that the efforts of these charity champions are, well, champion."

Mr Anderson added:

"I also hope that it will encourage more people to come forward and do their bit for charities that contribute to wider well-being and allow individuals to develop their own skills."

Trustees Week runs from 31 October to 6 November 2011. To learn more about Trustees' Week and trusteeship, visit www.trusteesweek.org.uk.

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MP shown to be milking it

Dave at The Willows. Ryton, with children and milk
Dave at The Willows. Ryton, with children and milk
10 Oct 2011

Dave celebrated 'World School Milk Day 2011 by visiting pupils and staff at The Willows Montessori Nursery, Ryton recently.

The Willows was one of thousands of schools across more than 40 countries taking part in celebrations dedicated to World School Milk Day this month. The day encourages children to drink milk and aims to educate them about the benefits of milk.

At the event Dave said,

"School milk plays an important role in getting children off to a healthy start in life. I am happy to be here in Ryton to share the time with the children and show my support for continued school milk. Milk is one of nature’s greatest gifts and a wonderful way to give our children a great start to the day."

In the UK, school milk is free for children in day-care or primary education under the age of five, and subsidised for school students aged five to eleven. Milk is delivered fresh and chilled to the classroom, distributed by students and consumed as a group. This process helps teach children responsibility, independence, manners and numeracy, and provides important social time in a child's day. Further, milk is vital for building healthy bones and teeth and improves a child's concentration, memory and creativity.

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Cuts in legal aid to hit youngsters

Court room 7 Oct 2011

Over 200,000 children and young people will be affected by the government's proposed cuts to civil legal aid according to an authoritative report from the Law Society.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said:

"Young people with serious legal problems about employment, education, welfare, benefits, homelessness, debt and family breakdown will be left high and dry by this monstrous cut. We are all supposed to be equal before the law but this will make

it impossible for many vulnerable young people to cope with a complex and confusing legal system by themselves."

Mr Anderson added:

"The Law Society, itself a highly respected and independent body, estimates that the real cost to Government of unmet advice needs amongst young people runs into hundreds of millions of pounds a year. When they don't get good advice their problems often cascade and create the conditions for offending and debt problems. This means that any short-term headline savings will be illusory. The often-repeated mantra of this government and previous ones is that early intervention stops problems getting worse - a stitch in time saves nine, to use an old phrase. I will work with the Law Society and MPs from all parties to alert the public to the serious damage this will cause and to seek ways of modifying it before it is too late."

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  Job Centre

Tyneside MP's plea to rethink economic strategy

1 Oct 2011

Private sector jobs are declining in most cities according to independent research which "calls into question the government's aggressive austerity drive" according to a Tyneside MP

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said:

"The analysis by the leading think tank for urban economies, Centre for Cities, sadly illustrates that the economy is in for a rougher and rougher ride. The vast majority of cities suffered a net decline in their private sector jobs base between 2009 to 2010, which will be worsened as public sector cuts bite deeper."

Mr Anderson added:

"We lost 1080 council posts in Gateshead in April alone with at least as many possibly to go by next April. We will see huge losses of uniformed and civilian police staff and maybe in fire service jobs and services in coming years. The private sector has not been able to fill that void despite their continuing efforts and because growth in the manufacturing industry has also stalled. I will keep urging the government to face reality and at the very least modify its strategy."

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  Dave at the MS stand at the Labour Conference

Number's up: local MP takes part in MS challenge

28 Sep 2011

The spotlight was on Dave Anderson, MP for Blaydon, at this week's Labour Party conference in Liverpool, as he took part in the 'Can you beat the MS lottery' challenge.

The interactive challenge, which was designed by the MS Society, tests politicians' knowledge of multiple sclerosis (MS) by asking them to match numbered lottery balls to a range of statements. MPs are called upon to guess on everything from the UK's ranking amongst EU countries for access to MS treatments to how much money local councils are cutting from care budgets.

Laura Weir, Head of Policy and Campaigns at the MS Society, explained:

"With changes currently being made to the NHS and welfare benefits, there has never been a more important time to make politicians aware of the difficulties facing people with MS across the country in obtaining the drugs, specialist care and welfare support they need. This is what we are aiming to do with our MS lottery challenge."

Mr Anderson approached the MS Society after local constituents with MS got in touch. Mr Anderson said:

"People with MS face a lottery on a daily basis when it comes to accessing treatments, care and welfare support. I will continue to work with the MS Society to ensure that people affected by MS in Blaydon receive the treatments and support they need."

For more information on MS and the support available to those affected by the condition visit the MS Society's website: www.mssociety.org.uk.

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Love Our NHS

Rt. Hon John Healey MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Health, with Dave at the 'We love our NHS' event in the Commons yesterday
Rt. Hon John Healey MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Health, with Dave at the 'We love our NHS' event in the Commons yesterday
9 Sep 2011

Dave has been contacted by a huge number of constituents in the last week all asking him to protect the NHS by voting against the Health and Social Care Bill when it returned to the Commons this week.

Dave had no hesitation in telling them that he fully shared their concerns and would be voting against the Bill.

Dave says,

"I am determined to keep on opposing this bill . My postbag on this issue tells me that my constituents care about the NHS as much as I do and we can say together "We Love our NHS"."

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Dave Anderson MP, Councillor Mary Foy at Gateshead Hear to Help
Dave Anderson MP, Councillor Mary Foy at Gateshead Hear to Help

Action on Hearing Loss

23 Aug 2011

"A world where hearing loss doesn't needlessly limit or label people and where people value and look after their hearing" is being championed by a Tyneside MP.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson is visiting the pioneering Gateshead Hear to Help project tomorrow (24 August) which trains volunteers, many with impaired hearing loss themselves, to show people how to make the most of their NHS hearing aids.

Mr Anderson said:

"The project is part of the work of the Action on Hearing Loss, a major charity supporting the deaf and hard of hearing. Their basic case is that it usually takes about ten years for people to act over hearing loss but the longer it is allowed to develop the harder it can be to adjust to the use of hearing aids. People often abandon their hearing aids because they do not receive enough support with their use and maintenance. Anything that enables people with hearing loss to reduce their social isolation is good for them as individuals and for society as a whole."

The volunteers help reduce social isolation by showing people how to carry out basic maintenance on their hearing aids, such as replacing tubing and batteries, so that they can hear more clearly and improve communication with friends, family and colleagues.

The Gateshead Hear to Help project, of which the Birtley Nursing Medical Unit drop-in session is a part, is delivered in partnership with Gateshead Hospital Audiology Department and is funded by the Co-operative's Charity of the Year fund-raising.

The MP's visit starts at 10 am at the Birtley Nursing Medical Unit. Photographs at 10.45 am. he will be accompanied by Councillor Mary Foy, Portfolio holder for Health at Gateshead Council.

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MP to visit Dove

14 Aug 2011

One of the North East's oldest building merchants is seeking political support for playing a bigger part in greening the local economy.

Managers at J T Dove Ltd, Northumberland's premier independent building materials' supplier are opening their branch in Birtley for inspection by Blaydon MP Dave Anderson to persuade him to lobby ministers to allow such companies to compete on fair and equal terms to help people improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

Mr Anderson said:

"I am keen to hear how the company can make a decent contribution to reducing our carbon footprint. I know that they believe that a lower VAT rate could revitalise building repair, maintenance and improvement works. It could also be a big boost to our flagging economy. I will be all ears and take their message to ministers in Parliament. Part of my job is to understand the concerns of local entrepreneurs and how government can do more to help them to create jobs and grow the private sector."

J T Dove is a £25 million business, founded over 140 years ago, employing 160 staff in 12 branches across the North East, the Lakes and the Scottish Borders. In the 1950s, the Dove family put the company into a trust - similar to the John Lewis Partnership - in which staff receive a share of any annual profits.

The merchant sells a complete range of building, roofing, insulating and timber materials - as well as electrical, decorating and garden and landscaping products. J T Dove has specialist heating and plumbing departments, a dedicated bathroom and kitchen showroom, and its own quayside timber importing and treatment facility, to support its branch network.

During his visit, the MP will meet Branch Manager, Kevin Hopps and his team to better understand the value of builders and allied trades in creating and capturing local jobs and growth and how the building materials' supply chain is evolving through the recession.

The visit, on Thursday 18 August 2011, takes place at J T Dove Ltd, Shadon Way, Portobello Industrial Estate, Birtley, County Durham DH3 2SW, between 15:00-16:30.

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MP appeals for help in nominating exemplary young people for national awards

9 Aug 2011

Local young people who make a positive difference to the community could be in line for a prestigious national Youth Hearing Unheard Voices award that recognises and encourages their hard work.

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

"We all know that the vast majority of our young people are a great credit to their families and the community although that can be obscured by the antics of a small number of people. The organisers are looking for young people between 11-18 who have really made a difference, deserve a special award for their campaigning work, have been creative, gone beyond the call of duty, turned their life around or who have united groups to achieve their goals. I am asking people to take part in the search for such exemplary young people."

If you want to nominate someone, contact Dave.

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Lottery boost for Cuthbert

15 Jul 2011

The campaign to acquire the ancient St Cuthbert Gospel for display in the North East has been boosted by a major multi-million pound grant from the Lottery to the British Library

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said:

"This £4.5 million grant brings the British Library much closer to raising the necessary funding. If they can close the gap this historic manuscript of the Gospel of St John will be displayed in Durham Cathedral for half the year. It will add to the may attractions of our region."

The manuscript was produced in the North East of England in the 7th century and buried alongside St Cuthbert on Lindisfarne in 698AD.

It was later found in the saint's coffin at Durham Cathedral in 1104AD.

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Commissioning Ceremony for biggest private sector solar array in the North East

7 Jul 2011

The biggest private solar PV array in the North East is being commissioned on Friday in Blaydon.

Local MP Dave Anderson, an enthusiastic supporter of renewable energy who is formally opening the state of the art project, said:

"A great deal of hard work has gone into bringing this superb project to life and once more shows that the North East is at the vanguard of pioneering new technologies that exploit renewable sources of energy. We need more projects like this is we are to tackle climate change, reduce our energy consumption and our bills at the same time. Sadly, this project could have been bigger if the Government hadn't ratted on plans to encourage the solar industry but it is still a fantastic start."

Chris Hughes of Inherent Energy said:

"This project could have been double the size if the government hadn't changed its policy from 1 August. This policy shift has stopped this becoming even more environmentally friendly and generating even more much needed renewable energy. Despite this Inherent Energy has developed the skills base - with several high-quality jobs - and the supply chain needed to make this a reality. The key thing, however, is the contribution even this smaller than necessary project will make to energy saving."

Mr Anderson added:

"Blaydon should be proud that it is leading the way and I shall keep up the pressure on ministers to reverse their policy to allow bigger such projects in the future. For now I take my hat off to all those involved and I am proud to back a great local success."

Norman Bell, Managing Director at Petersen Stainless Rigging Limited, commented:

"The PV array will reduce the electricity consumption at our manufacturing plant by approximately 50%, and will help to reduce the impact of energy price rises in the future. This project highlights our commitment to green issues and takes us one step further to reducing our carbon footprint."

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Dave Anderson backs mass messaging about Murdoch's empire

Rupert Murdoch 6 Jul 2011

Many thousands of people have flooded the Government with messages urging ministers to stop Rupert Murdoch extending his grip on BSkyB in the wake of serious allegations concerning phone hacking of murdered Milly Dowler, the Soham girls, and the 7/7 families.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who is backing the mass messaging about Murdoch, said,

"We have all been sickened by these allegations and need to have a free media based on strong ethics. Messages sent on this via www.avaaz.org/en/murdoch_messages_2/?vl by Friday will have to be read and may count in preserving the plurality of the press."

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Celebs join local pupils in Send My Sister to School Campaign

4 Jul 2011

Local pupils, celebrities such as Claudia Winkelman, Dermot O'Leary and Sara Cox and politicians have joined forces in support of the Send My Sister to School campaign which highlights the fact that over 35 million girls globally are missing out on an education.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said:

"Pupils at Kingsmeadow Comprehensive and Ryton Junior have taken part in this with enthusiasm. I fully support their work which brings alive a very important issue which I am sure will have a big impact on them and the rest of us."

Claudia Winkelman said

"Every extra year that a girl stays in school has a great impact on her future; it helps her get work, earn more, keeps her safe from HIV/AIDS and reduces the risk that her child will die in infancy. I'm supporting Send My Sister to School, to try and get every girl in the world - as well as every boy - a chance to have a good education and a better future."

Mr Anderson added:

"Back in 2000, world leaders promised that every child would complete a quality education by 2015. However, 67 million children still lack primary education with many millions more forced to drop out of school before they finish their education. This is a terrible waste or potential and talent."

Nicola Cadbury, Global Campaign for Education Co-ordinator said:

"We have created campaign activities and classroom resources to enable pupils in the UK to learn about their peers in the developing world who miss out on school. We hope these will help to inspire and motivate them to become active global citizens. In 2010 a staggering 1 million pupils took part and we hope that this year both boys and girls across the UK will feel passionate about speaking up for girls' education."

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Dave Anderson's comment on today's strike

30 Jun 2011

"People don't strike and lose pay on a whim but the government refuses proper negotiations about changes that would impact badly on millions of often low-paid workers.

"It is right that people defend themselves when they are robbed by the government just as much as householders can defend themselves from burglars.

"Government claims that public sector pensions are unaffordable have also been exposed as false. The overall cost will actually fall in future years. This is typical of the current government - they exaggerate in order to bamboozle people into accepting their policies.

"People rightly resent a government of millionaires that has let the bankers off the hook although they caused the economic crisis in the first place. People wouldn't have to protest and strike if there were genuine fairness in sacrifice to revive our economy but the burden is being placed on the least well off. It's sad when people have to strike to make their voice heard and none of those on strike would have wanted to disrupt the services that they deliver day in day out for their fellow citizens."

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Dave Anderson joins cross-party call to rein in "debt exploitation" firms

Bill to pay 24 Jun 2011

Companies making money out of people in debt and flouting consumer protection laws should be reined in and better regulated according to a new cross-party campaign.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who is an enthusiastic supporter, said:

"Too many firms are really just debt exploitation rather than debt management companies. The worse just prey on the vulnerable and rip them off. The sector's better companies would benefit from regulation so that consumers know who they can trust."

Mr Anderson added:

"I would always recommend that people worried about their debt seek free advice from their local Citizens Advice Bureau."

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MP's appeal for local 16 year olds to take part in the Summer of a Lifetime

21 Jun 2011

Sixteen year-olds in Gateshead can take advantage of a free outward bound and volunteering programme over the summer with mentoring from athletes Craig Heap and Chris Cook but "they best get their skates on," according to Blaydon MP Dave Anderson.

Mr Anderson said:

"The Summer of a Lifetime project will involve sixty young people spending a fortnight away from home on teambuilding and outdoor activities plus their own project to help Gateshead. I think it will be both exciting and also teach skills that will help young people get a foothold in the workplace. They can help themselves and others at the same time."

The voluntary programme will take place over seven weeks starting on 8 July and it is totally free of charge. It will include exciting outdoor physical challenges away from home and also involve planning, designing and delivering social action projects within their local community. Sign-up days are planned for 20 June and 1 July. To book a place, contact Adam Graham, Project Co-ordinator, on (0191) 478 4103 or adamgraham@gvoc.org.uk

It is funded by v, The National Young Volunteers Service in partnership with the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust and run in Gateshead by GVOC.

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MP welcomes critical independent report on social care underfunding

20 Jun 2011

An independent report on the neglect of elderly people has been welcomed by a Tyneside MP as a "long overdue assessment of a Cinderella service that needs to be reformed as a matter of urgency."

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, himself a former carer for elderly people, said:

"Sadly, this comes as no surprise to me after a few years on the front-line myself. The Equality and Human Rights Commission's report details the devastating impact of underfunding social care on too many older people. It's a sorry saga in which underpaid workers combined with minimal management and supervision means poor quality for too many people who have worked hard and deserve much better in the twilight of their lives."

Mr Anderson added:

"My sympathies are also with staff who do a very complex job with frail and vulnerable older people, receive little training and support and are often forced to rush between cases to save travel time, for which they are not paid."

Mr Anderson also commented:

"This has persisted for far too long because it hasn't been given enough media or political coverage. The Commission's report is a wake-up call for society to build a more civilised system of social care which requires cross-party support because it is a long-term mission. We need to accept the fact that we can have quality care or cheap care. We can't have both and elderly people in this country deserve to be treated with dignity and real care."

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Appeal to help Duchenne project win a lottery award

16 Jun 2011

A project to help boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy who often experience speech, language and behaviour difficulties could win a prestigious national lottery award if enough people vote for it, according to a campaigning local MP.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said:

"Duchenne is often misunderstood with children wrongly seen as stubborn or naughty. The good thing is that an online literacy programme called Decipha has made the semi-finals of just ten projects for a prestigious annual award which will be announced on national television. Winning would lift the project's profile and enable it to do more good work. Voting is underway now until 20 June."

People can either call the hotline number 0844 836 9683 or vote online at http://www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards/best-education-project/103/

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Blaydon MP backs local business over solar power setback and urges PM to intervene

9 Jun 2011

Ministers have extinguished the UK solar industry for larger projects that allow companies to produce higher percentages of their power by renewable means, according to industry sources.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who is enthusiastic about using the renewable power of the sun, said:

"This just beggars belief. The rest of the world is making better use of the sun and we are falling behind in a technology that can create jobs and save energy. I fear that this means that investors will switch to other countries."

Mr Anderson added:

"The worst thing is that one Department seems to get it - the minister for Energy Change and Climate Change rightly says that solar has far more potential than has previously been thought. Yet the Treasury has been allowed to stomp its size ten hobnailed boots on this policy and just hasn't got to grips with it. We need urgent action by the Prime Minister to knock some heads together and put the UK solar industry back into the picture."

Mr Anderson continued:

"I endorse the view of the Solar Trade Association that crushing solar makes zero economic sense for UK plc because it will lose major manufacturing opportunities, jobs and global competitiveness. It also risks locking us in to more expensive energy options in future."

Chris Hughes of the Blaydon based Inherent Energy company, which Dave Anderson has visited, said:

"We are clearly disappointed that this policy constrains the potential for growth in the only private sector industry that has such potential. We were hoping that the government would live up to its promise that it would be the greenest government ever. It clearly isn't so far proving to be the case."

Recent research shows that solar will be competitive with grid electricity in major EU countries in less than five years and solar could easily generate more than 30% of electricity in the UK.

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'Disgust' at AEI treatment of workforce

AEI Cables, Birtley 30 May 2011

Dave has expressed his disgust at the sacking of 126 workers at AEI Cables in Birtley.

The company employs about 350 people and makes cables for the defence and civil engineering sectors, but is stopping the manufacture of house wiring cables 'due to difficult trading conditions'.

Dave said,

"I am disgusted, frankly, at this bitter blow to our local economy and believe that this is no way to treat a dedicated workforce. I will, therefore, be supporting the union and seeking talks with managers who I have met on several previous occasions. I shall also be urging the Department of Works and Pensions locally, the Council and other agencies to assemble a response team to help. I will also urge the Government to tell AEI Cables that it can't evade its responsibilities."

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Westminster votes Blaydon MP Charity Champion for "changing lives of thousands"

Dave receiving his award at Westminster
Dave receiving his award at Westminster
(Photo: Paul Heartfield)
19 May 2011

A Tyneside MP battling for patients affected by devastating muscle-wasting diseases after losing ten close relatives to the condition, has been voted Westminster's Charity Champion for the remarkable difference his work has made to many thousands of families nationwide.

MPs and Peers backed Blaydon MP Dave Anderson to win the prestigious Dods Charity Champion award for what supporters say is five years of tireless campaigning for specialist healthcare and support for the 70,000 UK families living with a muscle-wasting condition. He was nominated by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.

At a packed ceremony in the Speaker's residence, Mr Anderson pipped two other MPs to the post of Dods Charity Champion for Health and Well-being.

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign says his campaign work has changed the lives of people affected by progressive and debilitating muscle conditions.

Since becoming Chair of the cross-party parliamentary group five years ago, Mr Anderson has helped to more than double the number of expert muscle-wasting disease Care Advisors from 13 partly charity-funded posts to 30 fully-funded NHS posts, with more expected to follow.

Care Advisors are described as "life-changing" by people affected by muscle diseases. The conditions are rare and many general health professionals, GPs and hospital staff know very little about them. Patients say that access to expert advice on healthcare is therefore vital, and helps to keep them healthy and out of hospital, even significantly improving life-expectancy for people with severe muscle diseases.

Patrick Bailly (45) from Nookside, Sunderland, whose 8-year-old son Pascal has the severe, debilitating condition Duchenne muscular dystrophy, said:

"Dave has gone through a lot in his life, but continues to fight for other people. He is so completely deserving of this award. He's been an incredible asset for us in our battle for care and in helping us to raise awareness of muscle-wasting disease.

"Without fighting for community services such as specialist physiotherapy and respiratory care, my son and many other patients across the country will continue to struggle to get the kind of support they need to keep them well and out of hospital. In just a few years Dave has helped us make incredible progress in this struggle."

Dave Anderson said:

"I feel immensely proud to have been nominated for this award by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. Through my time working with the charity I have met numerous patients and family members who are battling courageously to raise standards for muscle-wasting disease care. It has been my privilege to give them a voice in Parliament. I will continue to do so."

Nic Bungay for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign said:

"Dave Anderson has been a sincere and tireless voice in Parliament for muscle-wasting disease patients and their families. In just a few years he has helped us to take giant leaps towards ending the UK's shameful record on healthcare and emotional support for people affected by these progressive, debilitating conditions.

"When a family faces a diagnosis of a muscle-wasting disease, often in a young child and often without ongoing specialist support, the effects are devastating and far reaching. With Dave's help we are fighting to ensure that no more families are left to cope alone. "We, alongside thousands of patients and their family members, believe that there is no one more deserving than Dave for a Dods Charity Champion Award."

The Dods Charity Champion Awards, now in their eighth year, provide a platform for charities to highlight the work that they do whilst saying thank you to those who have supported them in the political arena.

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-disease 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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Backing for climate change moves

18 May 2011

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson has welcomed the government's decision to accept the recommendations of the independent climate change committee as

"an important move to embracing the low carbon economy that we need and a triumph for the hard work of climate change campaigners."

Mr Anderson added:

"Despite deep disagreements in the cabinet, the government have now done the right thing and accepted independent scientific advice. The pledges to carbon reductions arise from Labour's historic 2008 Climate Change Act which established the committee on climate change and set the world's first legally binding targets for cutting carbon emissions. We will of course remain vigilant to prevent any back-sliding or dilution. I shall watch them like a hawk to make sure they don't use get-out clauses in meeting the new carbon limits."

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Call to scrap unworkable health changes

15 May 2011

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson is backing calls "to put the government's paused and shambolic health plan out of its misery by scrapping it altogether" following reports that the Chairman of the Prime Minister's own NHS Future Forum believes Andrew Lansley's plans are 'unworkable' and 'destabilising'.

Mr Anderson said:

"First the government promised not to undertake top-down reorganisations of the NHS then came up with a reorganisation so large it could be seen from outer space, as one top health official put it. Then they paused it once they realised it was going down badly with the vast majority of health professionals. It is now time they gave up the ghost and stopped this needless change."

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Appeal for new humanitarian service medal

14 May 2011

A new Humanitarian Service Medal for volunteers should be created according to a fast-growing petition.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who has signed up, said:

"Our society would be a harsher and less happy place without the contributions of so many people who give freely of their time to help others at home and abroad. They don't do it for reward or recognition but that's no reason why society cannot give them due praise in the same way we give honours to those who serve with distinction in other walks of life."

The petition is at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/humanitarianservicemedal/

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Caution needed over home improvements

8 May 2011

People buying double-glazing and conservatories for their homes should be on their guard against cowboys whose guarantees can be worthless according to a new report.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who has welcomed the report, said:

"The report shows continuing failures in consumer protection. Most schemes have flaws and many reassuring logos used by double-glazing companies are simply worthless labels for trade associations rather than formal warranty schemes.

The MP added:

"We spend about £3 billion a year in improving our homes so it's worth everyone making sure that they are not throwing their hard-earned money away. I suggest that people take a look at the new and free Double Glazing and Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme (www.dgcos.org.uk) which offers homeowners peace of mind and protection if jobs go wrong and communications break down."

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Comment from Dave Anderson MP on the Gateshead Council results

6 May 2011

"The results in Gateshead are a tremendous victory for Labour whose candidates in 19 out of 22 seats achieved an average of 70% of the vote.

"This amounts to a massive renewal of the party's mandate to defend and promote the interests of Gateshead against central government and to help rejuvenate the North East region. The vote also sends a very clear message that the people of Gateshead are disgusted that the LibDems are human shields for a right-wing Tory government."

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Tuition Fees farce slammed

28 Apr 2011

The pledge that annual university tuition fees would only reach £9,000 'in exceptional circumstances' has been breached with news that most universities will charge the top rate from next year.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson has slammed the government's "naive assumption" that the top rate would be rare:

"Sadly, ministers seem to have made their calculations on the back of an envelope. Their woefully inaccurate estimates could mean a funding shortfall of up to half a billion pounds in 2014-15 thanks to this trebling of fees. This in turn could means even deeper cuts in university teaching budgets and up to 36,000 fewer places."

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  Solar panels on a house

Ministers should get their act together on solar power

9 Apr 2011

Efforts to involve companies in exploiting the power of the sun through photovoltaic panels to produce electricity have been undermined by inter-departmental disagreement and dithering, according to a Tyneside MP.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change says that because the use of solar power could exceed expectations it may limit the size of the scheme which will discourage companies from producing higher percentages of their power by renewable means.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said:

"The Department is reviewing the scheme but this creates uncertainty and could discourage companies which wish to invest. It seems to me that the left hand at the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the right hand at the Business Department don't know what each is up to. I am therefore urging ministers to get a grip on this."

Mr Anderson added:

"I have been told of local projects to invest in solar photovoltaic arrays that are now just hanging in the air. I am worried that the limit on schemes will be set too low. Not only would such projects help reduce our energy consumption and tackle climate change but they would also do much to promote regional and private sector growth as well as jobs. What should be a real boost to green jobs looks like actually costing jobs and business."

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Dave Anderson on protecting and promoting our natural heritage

Jim Cokill of Durham wildlife Trust with Dave at the Commons event
Jim Cokill of Durham wildlife Trust with Dave at the Commons event
31 Mar 2011

The UK's "wonderful natural heritage should be nurtured" according to conservationists who took their message to the Commons this week.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who attended the event organised by the Wildlife Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund, said:

"These groups have exciting projects that bring benefits to local wildlife and people. We have some of the best natural sights in Europe and locally and they deserve protection and promotion."

Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts, said:

"We are at a pivotal moment for nature which is vital to our lives and well-being. The Government has committed to producing a Natural Environment White Paper in May. We urge parliamentarians to ensure the Government delivers an ambitious and visionary Natural Environment White Paper in May."

Carole Souter CBE, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said:

"Over the past 16 years the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded around £100million towards Wildlife Trust projects. This forms part of our wider commitment of £390million to more than 3,000 projects which support nature conservation across the UK. Our funding has made it possible to help people learn about, conserve and protect our incredible natural heritage."

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Dave Anderson on rogue landlords

30 Mar 2011

Everyone deserves to feel safe and secure in their own home without abuse from rogue landlords.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who is backing the Shelter campaign to raise standards of rented accommodation, said:

"Most landlords are responsible but we need a national system to catch rogue landlords. No one should have to suffer ramshackle or dangerous living conditions, harassment and intimidation.

"The landlord accreditation scheme has made a world of difference and should become the norm. I support Shelter's campaign, and I encourage everyone to sign their petition."

Shelter's petition for standard schemes is at http://shltr.org.uk/15n

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  Polling Station (c) Free foto

North East support for one person one vote campaign

29 Mar 2011

The campaign to keep one person one vote received a boost yesterday with a cross-party launch at Westminster as the referendum on voting systems on 5 May comes closer.

Amongst MPs and Peers from different sides of the political spectrum were North East MPs Dave Anderson, Kevan Jones and Mary Glindon.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said:

"We want to keep the clarity that comes with the current one person one vote system rather than embrace what Nick Clegg rightly once called the miserable little compromise of the so-called alternative vote, which would also muddy the waters and pander to extremes."

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MP in line for charity champion award

25 Mar 2011

A prestigious Charity Champion award could be taken by a Tyneside MP in a vote between parliamentarians of all parties.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson is on a shortlist of three MPs to be the Health and Wellbeing Champion in the Dods Charity Champion Awards 2011 and has been nominated by the independent Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.

Dave Anderson, whose family has been blighted by muscular dystrophy, said:

"I want to do my bit in the fight against muscle disease. I work with some really great people in the All Party Parliamentary Group for Muscular Dystrophy, which I have chaired for over five years. We have been able to secure breakthroughs in NHS care and have persuaded ministers to move towards a national plan for neuromuscular services."

Dave Anderson added:

"I am delighted that these brilliant and determined campaigners have seen fit to nominate me for this prestigious award. If I win it will be a tribute to all of those fighting this pernicious disease."

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Action on muscular dystrophy welcomed by Dave Anderson MP

11 Mar 2011

A new national plan to make neuromuscular services a priority in the NHS was unveiled to the cross-party group on Muscular Dystrophy, chaired by Blaydon MP Dave Anderson.

Dave Anderson said:

"I have seen first hand just how devastating muscular dystrophy is to individuals, families, and communities. I am extremely enthusiastic about this new programme."

He added:

"This is the first time that neuromuscular services have been recognised as a national priority and indicates that dedicated cross-party pressure can sometimes make a difference. It is very good news and we will be monitoring it very closely to ensure that those with muscular dystrophy are treated much better in the future."

Senior NHS Director Teresa Moss made the announcement when giving evidence to the cross-party group's inquiry into access to specialist services. Her ministerial boss has also confirmed that a national working group will identify what is happening nationally in commissioning neuromuscular services. Neuromuscular services will be part of the annual work plan for all ten NHS Specialised Commissioning Groups across England - the first time a coherent, national approach has been taken to the commissioning of vital specialised neuromuscular services.

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Words of caution on forest sell-off policy from Dave Anderson MP

17 Feb 2011

"Whilst welcoming the Coalition Government's decision to halt the public consultation of the future of forests in England and removing forests from the Public Bodies Bill, I still remain unconvinced that we are out of the woods yet. The consultation was halted because the government has been overwhelmed by the people of this country who are insisting that they want the forests to remain in public ownership and control.

The government is not necessarily reversing its massively unpopular policy but may only be deferring it. This is nothing new. In 1992 after a huge public outcry Michael Heseltine halted plans to close 31 of the best coal mines in this country and set up a Review. 13 weeks later, after the momentum was lost the Review proposed the closure of - you guessed it - 31 pits.

I don't want to rain on the parade of all the great campaigners who have got us to this position as they get ready to party in the woods this weekend, but they need be wary, stay alert and feed in their views to the Independent Panel. The Secretary of State, Caroline Spelman was vague on the membership of the panel and side-stepped my question in the Commons asking if workers' representatives as well as environmental groups would be included, merely saying that 'people from the forestry industry' would be included.

She also stated that 'even the Forestry Commission accepts the need for Reform'. I worry that planned job cuts and huge budget cuts that have not been halted by this announcement will lead that so called reform to look remarkably like the plan that so many of us have rejected."

Text of Question on 17 February

Mr David Anderson (Blaydon) (Lab): I am sorry that the Chancellor has gone, because I wanted to thank him as well as the Secretary of State for the great boost they have given to Blaydon Labour party over the past few weeks during this fiasco. I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mary Creagh) for mentioning the great work that is being done by the people fighting to save Chopwell woods. My message to them is, "Don't stop fighting." What has happened today is not the end of the story. I want to ask the Secretary of State one specific question. Will there be a representative of the work force on the independent panel? They know what is going on.

Mrs Spelman: As I said clearly, the representation on the independent panel will be broad, with as wide a range of views as possible of those who have an interest in our forests and woodlands.

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Egyptians now control their fate

Demonstrators in Tahrir Square, Cairo.
Demonstrators in Tahrir Square, Cairo.
11 Feb 2011

Dave has described the toppling of Hosni Mubarak as momentous.

He says people power has ended the dictatorship but a democratic future for Egypt is far from certain.

Dave said,

"This day is one of the most momentous in history. People power has toppled a dictator and democracy is possible but not certain in an area that has seen much conflict, which often affects us. It will take time and is down to Egyptians to control their fate but all people of goodwill should do all they can to help cement genuine democracy at all levels of society."

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Defending Sure Start

9 Feb 2011

Vital services for young children and their parents should be protected by local councils such as Gateshead despite David Cameron's broken promise to defend spending on Sure Start Children's Centres.

Tyneside MP Dave Anderson has urged Gateshead Council to

"do all they can to guarantee that Children's Centres and other services are not axed despite central government slashing the funding of early years services."

The Blaydon MP said:

"Another day, another broken promise. Although David Cameron pledged to protect Sure Start, it is facing cuts across the country. They also lifted the ring fence, which prevents councils from using the money on other services and could tempt councils to dip into the pot to plug gaps in other areas."

Dave Anderson has also asked Gateshead council

"to protect facilities provided by Children's Centres following Government announcements that it will scrap key obligations for Centres in poorer areas which guarantee that good quality childcare is available during working hours."

Dave Anderson added:

"Gateshead Council has a great record in children's services and I am, therefore, confident that they will be working might and main to provide a shield against central government cuts and Diktats. It's not easy but they fully understand the importance of children's services in providing a platform for a happy and prosperous life."

Shadow Children and Families Minister, Sharon Hodgson MP added:

"Sure Start is one of the biggest success stories of the last decade - we now have a network of more than 3,500 centres across the country, providing support to 2.7million children and their families. They have a big impact on those children and families, so it is devastating that the Government now sees them as an easy target for cuts."

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Dave Anderson on local police cuts

2 Feb 2011

Northumbria police service faces a massive real terms cut of £41 million over the next two years according to House of Commons Library analysis. The cut will be 7.5% and 8.7% respectively in the next two years and around 20% over four years.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said:

"The first duty of government is to protect its citizens. My party accepts the need for some austerity but in a much more measured, balanced and slower way to be combined with a credible growth strategy. The Tory-led government, however, has thrown caution to the wind and is going too far, too fast. Its cuts will crack and maybe destroy some of the thin blue line on which a decent society depends. They are oblivious to warnings that these reckless cuts could mean thousands fewer police officers. This will undermine the good progress in tackling crime and anti-social behaviour."

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Protest in Chopwell Woods
Protest in Chopwell Woods

Blaydon MP pledges support to Chopwell Woods campaign

27 Jan 2011

Labour MP Dave Anderson has today pledged his support to a growing community campaign to oppose measures which could lead to the sell-off of Chopwell Wood and other publicly-owned woodland.

In a message to constituents gathered at a rally in Chopwell Wood at lunchtime today (26 January), Mr Anderson said:

"Chopwell Woods is a massively important part of our community. I know it is key to the lives of many of you and to many more people who are unable to attend today's event. I have already had a huge postbag on this issue, constituents who tell me that they use the woods for walking their dogs, running, cycling, horse riding or just being out in the fresh air in a beautiful and safe environment, so I know how much we all value the woods - and that's before we talk about their value to our local economy and our environment."

The rally was organised and supported by the Friends of Chopwell Wood. Chopwell Wood Horse Riding Association; North East Freeride Association; and Friends of Red Kites.

Protest in Chopwell Woods
Protest in Chopwell Woods

Under legislation in progress, the government would have powers to dispose of publicly-owned forests without the need to go back to Parliament. At the same time the government has already announced its intention to get rid of large amounts of Forestry Commission woodland. A local campaign has been set up to fight any proposal to sell-off Chopwell Wood, which has been designated PAWS - Plantation on Ancient Woodland Site

Mr Anderson continued:

"I will be doing everything in my power in Parliament and here with you in the constituency, to promote this campaign and to work with you to fight the Government's plans to sell off our woodland to the highest bidder.

"Chopwell Woods belongs to us all - and I am committed to working with you to keep it."

A DEFRA consultation on the Forest Estate is due to start in February.

Dave's supportive letter reads:

Dear Friends,

I am sorry I can't be with you in person today as I am in Westminster but please be assured that I am with you in spirit as you gather in Chopwell Woods.

Chopwell Woods is a massively important part of our community. I know it is key to the lives of many of you and to many more people who are unable to attend today's event. I have already had a huge postbag on this issue, constituents who tell me that they use the woods for walking their dogs, running, cycling, horse riding or just being out in the fresh air in a beautiful and safe environment, so I know how much we all value the woods - and that's before we talk about their value to our local economy and our environment.

I'd like to thank the Friends of Chopwell Wood for organising this event and the campaign to save our woodland and I want to pledge my absolute support for this campaign to stop the sell-off of our precious woodlands. The Labour Party, locally and nationally, is with you on this issue and will be fighting this coalition plan to take our forests and woodlands out of public ownership.

I will be doing everything in my power in Parliament and here with you in the constituency, to promote this campaign and to work with you to fight the Government's plans to sell off our woodland to the highest bidder.

Chopwell Woods belongs to us all - and I am committed to working with you to keep it.

Dave Anderson (signature)

Dave Anderson
Member of Parliament
for Blaydon Constituency

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Dave Anderson comment on PM and Murdoch

25 Jan 2011

"David Cameron appears to be careless in his relations with the Murdoch media empire. Having dinner with its leading figures whilst the government is in the middle of a quasi-judicial process concerning BSkyB is unwise and raises questions about his judgement. A pluralist media is an essential part of our democracy and this cack-handedness may even be a breach of the ministerial code."

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Dave Anderson urges improved disabled access for stage and screen

25 Jan 2011

Thousands of disabled people could be left out in the cold this winter because of access problems at theatres and cinemas.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said:

"Many of us seek the comfort and excitement of the stage and screen at this time of the year. Many venues have made huge strides in improving disabled access but I support the Scope disability charity in trying to raise awareness of the need to remove as many barriers as possible."

Mr Anderson added:

"Screenings should be wheelchair accessible with enhanced sound systems for the hard of hearing and subtitles. Staff should be trained and venues should advertise their access facilities. A decent and modern society should work with disability groups to ensure maximum participation by disabled people in the life of the community. As we all live longer more of us will be affected by disability so it's also in everyone's interests to boost access."

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Dave Anderson slams disability cuts

Elderly people in residential care will find it harder to visit family and friends.
Elderly people in residential care will find it harder to visit family and friends.
17 Jan 2011

A Tyneside MP has backed an alliance of respected disability groups over controversial governments cuts in allowances for people who live in residential care.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said:

"I strongly endorse their warning that removing the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance for an estimated 80,000 people will stop many meeting friends or going out on trips that keep them in touch and happier. These cuts will maroon them in their homes."

Mr Anderson added:

"This Tory-led government has had a compassion bypass. Such cuts will seriously affect many of the most vulnerable without saving a great deal of money. It is very significant that the Times newspaper which agrees with the government's overall cuts strategy wants this reversed. In my view it is another example of the government going too far, too fast. I hope that compassion triumphs."

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Tyneside MP's bee in the bonnet

Dave, on the right, learns about bees
Dave, on the right, learns about bees
10 Jan 2011

Chemical companies that are killing billions of bees should buzz off according to a Tyneside MP who has joined the global clamour for action to save the bees and preserve our food chain.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said:

"Sadly, billions of bees are dying off and our entire food chain is endangered because bees don't just produce honey but also pollinate 90% of our plants. This is a real issue for everyone. Without the bees doing their job our supplies of fruit, vegetables, nuts, oils and cotton could dry up."

Dave Anderson added:

"Expert studies have identified a group of toxic pesticides as the culprit and bees have soared back in four European countries where these products are banned. But some chemical barons are lobbying hard to keep selling this poison so we need to put massive pressure on America and the European Union to tell them to buzz off and ban the killer chemicals. I shall table Commons questions at the first opportunity and we can all sign the petition at https://secure.avaaz.org/en/save_the_bees/?vl"

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