2014 Press Releases

10/12/14 Support for humanitarian appeal for refugees and displaced people
21/11/14 Campaign for older people's minister
21/11/14 Cross-party push by local MP for speedier treatment of rare diseases
17/11/14 Move to cut beer prices
03/11/14 Fixing the engineering skills shortage
08/09/14 Welcome for De La Rue news
04/09/14 Awards for young people for financial literacy
08/08/14 Dave Anderson MP backs cross-party call for energy efficiency
06/07/14 Urgent action to save postal deliveries and services
30/06/14 Blaydon restaurant Jamdani is Highly Commended in the Tiffin Cup 2014
29/05/14 Lottery funds for veterans, 70th anniversary of D Day
21/05/14 Veterans' courts set for the region
20/05/14 Whickham eatery in running for national award
16/05/14 Dave Anderson MP backs Shopworkers and Families over Sunday Opening Hours
12/09/14 Tyneside MP nominated as a grassroots diplomat
09/05/14 Dave Anderson MP on disability and employment
04/05/14 Dave Anderson slams chumocracy and LibDem human shields
01/05/14 Let Libraries lend ebooks
24/04/14 Dave Anderson MP urges schools to take part in competition to boost position of girls globally
11/04/14 Universal credit 'unfair' and stops people looking for work
14/03/14 Tony Benn - 'huge sadness'
13/03/14 Backing for youth job plan funded by taxing bankers' bonuses
10/03/14 Bob Crow will be missed

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Support for humanitarian appeal for refugees and displaced people

10 Dec 2014

An urgent humanitarian appeal for money and vital goods to hundreds of thousands of people who have sought sanctuary in Iraqi Kurdistan from the so-called Islamic State has been launched at the Commons with support from MPs.

Mary Glindon MP, who hosted the meeting, said:

"The scale of brutality is shocking, and 1.5 million people who have lost everything are living in tents and construction sites in Kurdistan. The very cold winter, snow and rain will soon make their lives even more miserable and deadly for the old and the young."

The North Tyneside MP, added:

"I know how the Kurds bounced back from the savagery of Saddam Hussein, are building a decent democracy, and are pluralist and tolerant of different faiths. Their economy was doing very well but the influx of 1.5 million people is a major strain on their resources. It is like an extra 50,000 people suddenly tipping up in North Tyneside with nothing but the clothes on their backs."

"My fear is that people will die of the cold and that is why this urgent humanitarian appeal for money and new blankets is so important. The refugees and internally displaced people are in this perilous plight through no fault of their own. The Kurds are our allies in the fight against the 'Islamic State' which has killed British citizens and would kill more if it gets a permanent grip on territory in Iraq and Syria. Their defeat is the best way to allow the refugees to return home, as they all want. In the meantime, the British public can lend a hand in line with our long-standing standards of decency and compassion. I commend the Kurdistan Emergency Appeal."

Fellow North East MP Dave Anderson, the Secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Kurdistan Region, has also tabled a Commons motion, together with Mary Glindon.

The Blaydon MP said:

"The Kurds have often been refugees themselves and are now tremendously generous to those who have taken refuge in their country. But their resources are small, the UN is slow and some of the gap can be filled by British and global generosity to save lives during this very cold winter. Please add some cheer to their lives by putting a few bob their way."

Details of the Kurdistan Emergency Appeal are at kurdistanemergency.org/

The text of the Commons motion is as follows:

Kurdistan Emergency Appeal

That this House warmly welcomes the Kurdistan Emergency Appeal launched by the Kurdistan Regional Government UK Representation, the Kurdish community and the APPG on the Kurdistan Region; notes that the appeal for funds and goods such as blankets has been necessitated by the presence in Kurdistan, whose population is normally five million people, of about 1.5 million refugees and internally displaced people, most of whom arrived with nothing to their name; recognises that the KRG has sought to urgently provide shelter but this has been stymied by an Iraqi federal government decision this year to cut budget payments to the region, UN funding shortfalls and bureaucracy; is concerned that deaths will result from the coming cold winter and rains; and commends the appeal as allowing the British public and the Kurdish Diaspora once again to contribute directly to relieving the plight of those escaping from the so-called Islamic State.

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Campaign for older people's minister

The care needs of older people will rise with an againg population. 21 Nov 2014

Dave is backing a campaign for there to be a Minister for Older People.

He has signed a letter along with other campaigners on the issue calling for a minister of cabinet rank to join up services that affect old people - health, social care, housing, transport.

The letter, published in the national press, reads:


The ballooning figures for life expectancy at birth and at age 65 in England and Wales highlight the fact that the care of Britain's ageing population needs to be addressed urgently.

The social care system is in crisis, with the number of over-85s expected to double by 2030. It will be the scandal of our generation if we do not act to meet the needs of our ageing population - after all, the younger people of today are simply the older people of tomorrow.

The Grey Pride campaign has called for the introduction of a minister for older people in Cabinet. This would provide someone who can take responsibility for joining up services that affect old people - health, social care, housing, transport.

We call on the three major parties to commit themselves to such an appointment in their election manifestos.

Jane Ashcroft Chief Executive, Anchor Janet Davies Executive Director for Nursing & Service Delivery, The Royal College of Nursing Professor Martin Green Chief Executive, Care England Malcolm Booth CEO, National Federation of Occupational Pensioners Nick Bunting Secretary General, Royal Air Forces Association Simon Bottery Director of Policy and External Relations, Independent Age Denise Keating Chief Executive, Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion Nigel Wilson CEO, Legal & General Michael Voges Executive Director of Associated Retirement Community Operators Bob Green CEO, Stonewall Housing David Orr Chief Executive, National Housing Federation Stephen Burke Director, United for All Ages and Good Care Guide Des Kelly Executive Director, National Care Forum Jeff Skipp CEO, Deafblind UK Sam Smethers Chief Executive, Grandparents Plus Colin Nee Chief Executive, British Geriatrics SocietyPaul Burstow MPLiz Kendall MP DaveAnderson MP Nic Dakin MP Jason McCartney MP Dame Joan Ruddock MP Tracey Crouch MP Dame Angela Watkinson MP Nick De Bois MP Kevin Barron MP Rosie Cooper MP Alison Seabeck MPHilda Hayo CEO, Dementia UK

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Cross-party push by local MP for speedier treatment of rare diseases

21 Nov 2014

A Government review into the speed at which patients can access treatments on the NHS has been welcomed by a leading Tyneside MP who also chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group for Muscular Dystrophy.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who lost his brother, sister, nephew and two nieces to the muscle wasting disease, said:

"Each day makes a huge difference for families affected by muscle-wasting conditions, many of which are life-limiting. Families are waiting desperately for a potential drug that could treat their condition."

Dave Anderson added:

"NHS England will soon announce its assessment of a treatment which could keep boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy on their feet for longer and which will help delay the progression of this devastating condition. If NHS England refuses to fund this innovative drug then the announcement will mean very little. Ministers must determine how to fund treatments for rare diseases. Due to the small number of patients who would benefit, treatment costs are often much higher compared to more common conditions. Muscular dystrophy campaigners and myself are concerned that a lack of ring-fenced funding within the NHS for rare disease drugs could prevent treatments from reaching patients. I hope that fast access to a treatment is at the heart of this review."

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign hopes to play a prominent role in the review. Robert Meadowcroft, Chief Executive of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, said:

"We welcome the Government's commitment to review how access to treatments can be sped up."

Minister for Life Sciences, George Freeman MP, said:

"I fully appreciate the urgency facing families in waiting for a treatment to reach their child. As Minister for Life Sciences, I am committed to helping speed up access to potential treatments for families. I would like to pay tribute to the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign...for the invaluable work they do in pressing for faster access to potential treatments."

Emma Morgan's son, Oliver, aged 5, has Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Emma said:

"Oliver is a lively and outgoing character who brings joy to all who meet him. He truly is a special boy. We hope that should effective treatments become available we can keep Oliver with us for longer and watch him enjoy a fun and rewarding life.

"Our big fear is that if treatments for Duchenne muscular dystrophy do become available, we will face an endless wait for the NHS to actually deliver them. Oliver's condition is affecting him more and more each day. The sooner treatments are available the less irreversible damage will be done. We must plan ahead to make sure not a moment is wasted if a therapy is shown to work."

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Move to cut beer prices

17 Nov 2014 Dave supporting his local pub since at least 2008

Pub landlords should be able to buy beer at market rates rather than extortionate rates levied by large pub companies, according to a Tyneside MP.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said,

"This would cut beer prices to competitive levels, benefit over 10,000 pubs, help pub tenants make a living, help keep pubs open and help keep the cost of a pint affordable to customers."

The MP is backing a cross party amendment to the Small Business Bill that would stop large pub companies forcing up beer prices charged to pub tenants to unacceptable levels. It would allow pub tenants tied to the large pub companies (more than 500 pubs) to opt for a rental only deal, allowing them to buy beer on the open market at prices up to 70% below what pub companies currently force them to pay.

The move, which will be voted on today (18 November) has been backed by 211 MPs from all parties and the national Fair Deal for Your Local campaign which consists of ten leading national organisations, including CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale), the Federation of Small Businesses, the Forum for Private Business and licensee organisations.

Tim Page, CAMRA Chief Executive added:

"CAMRA is very pleased that Dave Anderson has added their name to an amendment, which calls for an important change to improve the relationship between pub-owning companies and their tenants. It is simply unacceptable that so many tenants running successful pubs are earning less than the minimum wage and are unable to invest in the future of their pub. Far too many pubs have been lost permanently as a result of the pub companies squeezing the life out of them with excessive rents and tied beer prices."

The organisations behind the Fair Deal for Your Local campaign are:

The Fair Deal for Your Local campaign website is www.fairdealforyourlocal.com

and on Twitter use @fairdeal4yourlocal and #fairdeal4yourlocal.

A 2013 independent survey commissioned by CAMRA indicated that the majority (57%) of publicans tied the large pub companies earn less than £10,000 a year as a result of excessive rents and high tied beer prices. This is despite the majority (64%) of publicans tied to the large pub companies generating sales above £200,000 every year. Survey report available from CAMRA

The cross party new clause has been tabled by Greg Mulholland, Chair of the Parliamentary Save the Pub Group, Adrian Bailey, Chair of the BIS Select Committee and Brian Binley, a member of the Select Committee and President of the Save the Pub Group with support from MPs across the house.

The market rent only option would come in gradually, at renewals, rent reviews, change of terms or change of ownership of the pub.

All the 'family' (regional) brewers would be excluded as the statutory code would only apply to companies who own more than 500 pubs.

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Fixing the engineering skills shortage

3 Nov 2014

The engineering skills shortage can be fixed if employers work with schools and colleges to give young people work experience opportunities and inspire interest in exciting careers in engineering and technology, according to a Tyneside MP.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, himself a former engineer, said that Tomorrow's Engineers Week this week,

"Can galvanise engineering companies in Blaydon to work closely with local schools and colleges and create a pipeline of talent to fix the skills shortage in engineering."

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Chief Executive, Nigel Fine, explains:

"Demand for engineers in the UK remains high. We need 87,000 new engineers each year for the next decade, so there is a critical need to do more to promote engineering as an appealing career choice to young people.

"It is encouraging to see from our survey that over half of engineering employers recognise that they have a crucial role to play here - as well as in helping to shape the curriculum so that young people enter the world of work with the skills that employers want."

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Welcome for De La Rue news

8 Sep 2014

News that the Bank of England has selected De La Rue as its "preferred bidder" in the tender for its banknote printing contract has been welcomed by a leading Tyneside MP.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said:

"There are a few more hurdles before it is finalised but this preliminary announcement is still excellent news for a British manufacturer which has invested heavily over the long term in the North East, and one that will enhance its reputation in foreign markets."

Dave Anderson added:

"De La Rue's position as a world leader in printing currencies is very important for our local economy and for the UK's balance of trade."

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Awards for young people for financial literacy

4 Sep 2014

£500 grants to hundreds of 16 to 24 year olds are on offer in a national competition to encourage young people to improve their money management skills.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who is encouraging participation in the Money for Life Challenge, said:

"Handling money wisely is one of the most important life skills. The Lloyds Banking Group Challenge aims to find the most successful and innovative ways to improve the money management skills of learners, their friends, families and communities. Project team members are between 16 and 24 years old and in further education, work based learning or adult community learning."

The Challenge gives awards to those who want to run a money management activity in their community with the best projects going head to head to win a coveted place at the National and UK Grand Finals.

Last year, the Challenge helped launch more than 300 new projects with the Grand Final winner Woodley Wallet Watchers, from Stockport, working with a local Credit Union to help young adults in their community get saving and improve their financial literacy.

Teams can apply for £500 grants from Monday 1 September until Friday 21 November simply by visiting the Money for Life Challenge website: www.moneyforlifechallenge.org.uk

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Dave Anderson MP backs cross-party call for energy efficiency

8 Aug 2014

Greater energy efficiency and cost effective measures to generate energy from buildings can reduce fuel bills and help curb fuel poverty, according to a new cross-party campaign championed by a leading Tyneside MP.

Blaydon MP, Dave Anderson, who is backing the Sustainable Energy Association's manifesto, said:

"The campaign has taken official figures and worked out that an energy from buildings strategy could save every Briton £186 per year, and the UK economy nearly £12 billion a year."

Dave Anderson added:

"MPs from across the spectrum have devised a Bill which would require the relevant minister to implement a strategy for insulating buildings, and producing more energy directly from buildings."

Dave Sowden, Chief Executive of the Sustainable Energy Association said:

"We have known for a long time that energy measures in buildings are cheaper in the long-run. Now the Government's own tools and assumptions yield the same answer. There is a compelling case here to create a much stronger focus in energy policies on buildings. This will reduce waste, enhance energy security, reduce imported fossil fuels, lower people's fuel bills and make a huge contribution to the UK economy. It is win/win all round.

"Technology manufacturers, installers, merchants, financiers and engineers; all have mobilised to identify how we can deliver an ambitious and affordable energy future for the UK. This Manifesto is our appeal to all the main political parties to come with us and build new consensus on energy policy, with buildings at its heart."

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Urgent action to save postal deliveries and services

Royal Mail 6 Jul 2014

The Royal Mail's call to review the threat posed to the Universal Postal Service by unfair direct delivery competition has been backed by Blaydon MP Dave Anderson.

Dave Anderson, who is backing a cross-party Commons motion urging the regulator, Ofcom to urgently investigate the threat to the valued one-price-goes-anywhere service, said:

"My grave fear is that daily collections and deliveries in many areas could become financially unsustainable if regulation do not stop Royal Mail being undercut by rivals delivering only to towns and with reduced service standards. These companies will just unfairly cherry-pick profitable services."

Dave Anderson has also written to the Ofcom boss to express his concern that

"erosion of Royal Mail's revenue will threaten local post offices. Post offices rely on Royal Mail for a third of their revenue and many branches are already in financial difficulty. I do not understand why Ofcom, whose primary duty is to protect the Universal Service, does not launch a full and immediate investigation into what can be done to sustain the six day a week service."

The provider of the Universal Postal Service, Royal Mail, recently warned that the emergence of cut price, selective delivery competition is increasingly undermining its ability to sustainably deliver six days a week across the UK. Rival postal operator TNT Post UK (TNT) is now delivering mail in easy to reach, profitable urban centres and leaving Royal Mail to pick up expensive rural deliveries, for which it cannot make a profit.

TNT offers a basic service, delivering two to three times a week in London, Manchester and Liverpool. They deliver only bulk business mail and do not offer collection services to the public, unlike Royal Mail which collects from 115,000 post boxes across the UK, 6 days a week. They have said their aim is to deliver to around 45% of UK addresses by 2017 - but only to densely populated urban centres covering 8.5% of the UK landmass.

Royal Mail made a formal evidence submission on Friday 20 June to Ofcom setting out the threat to the universal postal service posed by unfettered direct delivery competition. It requests that Ofcom commences an immediate review of direct delivery and determines quickly the regulatory changes needed to safeguard the universal service. The submission is published at


The National Federation of Subpostmasters has said:

"NFSP is backing an urgent call for Ofcom to take action over the serious threat to the universal postal service posed by unrestricted direct delivery competition.

It is lending full support to the Royal Mail's formal evidence submission to Ofcom which requests an immediate review of direct delivery to determine the regulatory changes needed to safeguard the universal service.

Allowing private delivery companies such as TNT to target highly-profitable urban routes could ultimately spell the end of the standard price postal service offered by Royal Mail, the NFSP has warned. It costs substantially more for the Royal Mail to deliver to rural areas but private companies are not obliged to provide this service.

The risk to Royal Mail also threatens the post office network which is very reliant on Royal Mail business. One third of Post Office income and half of all Post Office customer visits come from people using Royal Mail services.

George Thomson, General Secretary of the NFSP, said:

"The Universal Service provides a lifeline to small business and people living in rural areas throughout the UK, but it is under grave threat because of the activities of private delivery companies."

"Critically, if Ofcom doesn't act, there will be a very serious impact on the sustainability of the post office network."

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Blaydon restaurant Jamdani is Highly Commended in the Tiffin Cup 2014

Jamdani Restaurant 30 Jun 2014

The Jamdani restaurant in Blaydon has been Highly Commended in the prestigious Tiffin Cup competition and will receive a certificate and embroidered Tiffin Cup 2014 chef jacket to mark their achievement in this year's competition.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who nominated the restaurant, said:

"Jamdani has done well even if they didn't this time reach the Grand Final, and better luck next time. But the honour is still a testament to the efforts of all staff and their regulars."

Keith Vaz MP, the co chair of the Tiffin Cup said:

"We are delighted that Jamdani has been Highly Commended in the Tiffin Cup 2014. This is a great tribute not just to the nomination of local MP Dave Anderson but also to the constituency of Blaydon as a whole."

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Lottery funds for veterans, 70th anniversary of D Day

29 May 2014

The 70th anniversary on 6 June of the D Day landings will see many Second World War veterans going back to Normandy and other sites with grants from the Big Lottery Fund

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said:

"Those who battled up the beaches on D Day made all the difference in defeating the Nazis and it's only right that they want to see where they fought and where their brother soldiers died. It will be the last opportunity for many. It's still not too late for veterans to apply for funding for such visits through the Heroes Return 2 programme. I urge people to take this up by contacting my office on 0191 414 2488 for details."

WW2 veterans can receive grants from £165 to £8,140 towards travel and accommodation expenses to enable them their spouse and carers to make trips back to places across the world where they served, or make a commemorative visit in the UK.

To date over £28 million has gone to more than 57,000 veterans, their widows, spouses and carers, for journeys in the UK, France, Germany, the Middle East, Far East and beyond.

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Veterans' courts set for the region

British troops 21 May 2014

A groundbreaking legal scheme that would establish specialist courts for veterans could be set up in the North East.

Labour's Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said the initiative, mirroring a successful one in the US, will get the go-ahead if his party wins the next General Election.

His pledge came after an exchange visit saw US veterans come to the region at the invitation of North-East-based charity Forward Assist, which has led the calls for the specialist courts to be set up in the UK.

It is a peer-led support group headed by Tony Wright which helps personnel who have left the forces and are struggling to adapt to civilian life.

Mr Anderson, patron of the group, was recently nominated Grassroots Diplomat of the Year for his work with it.

He said:

"I got involved with it about four years ago and it's taken over my life.

"The work it is doing is so important. These are people who are getting lost in the system and going off the rails.

"They are like lads I went to school with. We've asked them to do horrible, horrible things and then they have to come home.

"I spoke to one lad who has been so affected by his experiences that he told his wife not to leave him alone with his kids for fear of what he might do."

Last year Forward Assist took a group of veterans to the US, with their trip including a visit to a Veterans Treatment Court in Buffalo. It is staffed by officials who were veterans themselves or linked to the forces and presided over by a judge rather than a jury.

Those who pass through its doors are given specialist help and a treatment programme as well as being assigned a mentor, again with military experience, to offer them help and advice.

As of last year, of more than 300 who went through its doors, none have since re-offended.

Mr Wright said:

"These exchange visits are instrumental in getting things moving here."

Mr Anderson added:

"We have a model to follow with the family courts. It makes sense to base it in this region because it is a prime recruitment area for the forces."

He said some people had asked him why veterans should he treated differently.

"The answer is because they are different.

"We ask them to kill and if they don't they could end up in prison, the opposite to what happens in everyday life."

Ex-forces personnel in jail make up 4% of the prison population according to official figures but some put it as high as 11%.

Mr Anderson said:

"It costs about £1,000 a week to keep someone in jail. So it's a win-win situation all the way down the line. We help people who need help and we keep them out of prison and save the country money."

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Whickham eatery in running for national award

20 May 2014

A popular Whickham eatery is in the running for an award for the best South Asian restaurant in the country.

The Jamdani, which has been nominated by local MP Dave Anderson, is a contender for the prestigious Tiffin Cup competition.

Dave Anderson said:

"The Tiffin Cup is nearly ten years old and not only aims to find the best restaurants but also to raise money for charity, this year for 'World Vision'."

The Grand Final of the Tiffin Cup 2014 is to be held in the Commons in July and is hosted by Keith Vaz MP.

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Dave Anderson MP backs Shopworkers and Families over Sunday Opening Hours

16 May 2014

Shopworkers who fear that they would lose even more of their precious weekend time if an amendment is passed to extend the hours of Sunday opening for large shops have been backed by a Tyneside MP

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said:

"It is only right that shopworkers hold on to some family time and keep Sundays special. Sunday is a special day for everyone - families and communities - whatever your religion. It is the only day that many families get to spend together."

Dave Anderson added:

"The current arrangement that large stores can open for six hours gives them an opportunity to trade, whilst largely retaining Sunday as a special day and giving shopworkers a breather in an otherwise 24-hour a day industry. yet the Government added amendments at the last minute which is not the right way to go about changing something as important as Sundays."

John Hannett, General Secretary of the Usdaw shopworkers' union said:

"Usdaw and our members are very grateful to Dave Anderson MP for his support in keeping Sundays special - not just for the 3 million people who work in shops, but for all of us. Sundays are very important for family and community life. Many retailers have recognised that extending the hours of opening would simply increase overheads without raising extra revenue through the tills and that is the last thing the retail sector needs in what are difficult times for most."

Phil from Keighley said,

"Sunday is the only day I get to spend with my children so that is very precious to me. At the moment I can choose not to work Sundays, but if the trading hours are extended I will have to work which will be very hard - both for me and my children."

Dee from Dagenham had to resist pressure on her to work on Sundays,

"In the past my employer tried to get me to change my contract to work on Sundays and made it very difficult for me when I refused because I go to church. Now I have opted out of Sunday working as I also like to spend time with my family and cook Sunday dinner, but new starters - including my daughter - have to work Sundays. My daughter is on a flexi-contract and gets told to work on a Sunday with only 24 hours' notice."

Brian from Harlow saw the effect of the longer hours of Sunday working on staff during the Olympics when large stores were allowed to open for longer hours on Sundays,

"Managers were pressuring the staff to work the longer hours on Sundays when they didn't want to, especially the new staff. In the end I retired early after nearly 20 years with the company because of the pressure they put me under to work hours that I couldn't do because of my caring commitments."

Simon from Portsmouth feels very strongly about Sundays as he works full time,

"Sunday is the only day my wife and I get to spend together as I have to work Saturdays. My store opened during the Olympics but we didn't get any extra customers - they were just spread out more over the day. If Sunday trading was extended permanently, customers wouldn't spend more but they would shop on Sunday evenings instead of at other times in the week. There wouldn't be extra jobs, staff would just be cut from the shifts during the week."

Derean from Enfield has 3 young children and appreciates the weekends to spend time with them,

"I am lucky that I do not work on Saturdays or Sundays so I can spend time with my oldest child who is at school in the week. Staff in my store are always under pressure to change their contracts to work Sundays and longer opening hours would make it worse."

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Tyneside MP nominated as a grassroots diplomat

12 May 2014

A Tyneside MP has been nominated as a Grassroot Diplomat by an independent and international group composed of celebrities and high-ranking officials.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson MP said:

"The Grassroot Diplomat has nominated me for supporting Forward Assist, a charity that helps former armed services personnel experiencing difficulties in adjusting to civilian life. I have come to understand how some veterans who were prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for our collective security suffer a great deal of individual insecurity and feel abandoned when they leave the forces."

Dave Anderson added:

"It's been inspiring to have seen the good work of Forward Assist, which is based in the North East, and to have helped to increase its support for former service personnel. Their exchange programme with America was life changing for those who went there and those who came here. Its work in encouraging prisons to help veterans who end up inside can reduce the chance so reoffending and put people back on the straight and narrow. Keeping people out of jail reduces the cost to the community and allows these great people a chance to contribute to the community once again."

The award ceremony takes place in Mayfair on 15th May.

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Dave Anderson MP on disability and employment

Wheelchair user at computer 9 May 2014

Too many disabled people are having to give up their jobs because some employers are not flexible enough in meeting their needs, according to a Tyneside MP.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said:

"Disability could happen to any of us. People who are disabled may be less mobile but haven't lost their abilities or talents. Society has rightly become more open to meeting the needs of disabled people. But recent reports from the disability campaign group Scope show that there is a long way to go in the world of work."

Dave Anderson added:

"The Scope reports show that nearly half a million disabled people quit their jobs last year but only about half that number found employment. Sensible employers would recognise that accommodating disabled workers would work wonders for them. It appears that many disabled people have felt forced to leave jobs because there aren't enough ramps or room for wheelchairs or flexible working so people can have medical treatment."

Richard Hawkes, Scope chief executive commented:

"The employment rate for disabled people remains alarmingly low. France, Germany and Canada all have higher rates. It's now clear that we've been blinkered in our approach to disabled people at work. We need to look into how we can make work places more flexible, welcoming environments where disabled people flourish rather than struggle."

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Dave Anderson slams chumocracy and LibDem human shields

Vince Cable, 'human shield'. 4 May 2014

News that a Conservative MP was paid handsomely for work for one of the big City investors given priority access to shares in the recently privatised Royal Mail has been slammed by a Tyneside MP.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said:

"I am taken aback that a Tory MP was hired by this company, which also funds the Tory party. It all smacks of the comfortable chumocracy operated by the Tories to milk and manipulate public assets in their own narrow self-interest."

Dave Anderson added:

"The sale of this vital and much lived public institution also failed to raise enough money for the public purse. It is deeply shameful that LibDem Vince Cable willingly acted as government negotiator in this cack handed saga and became a hapless human shield for the Tories. This whole sad episode tells people just how far the Lib Dems have fallen and how keen to cling onto their cabinet seats and cars."

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Let Libraries lend ebooks

ebook in a reader 1 May 2014

Public libraries should be allowed to catch up with massive changes in the books market and lend ebooks just as they lend printed books according to a Tyneside MP.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said:

"Nearly one third of all books bought last year were electronic but under half a percent of books lent by libraries were ebooks. The reason that most ebooks aren't available from libraries is that publishers are very obstructive. Our libraries should be allowed to keep up with the electronic revolution in reading and publishing."

Dave Anderson added:

"I support the campaign being waged by the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals, largely directed at the European Union, for public libraries to have the statutory right to lend ebooks. It should be possible to satisfy publishers, authors, and readers."

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Dave Anderson MP urges schools to take part in competition to boost position of girls globally

24 Apr 2014

School students across Tyneside are being asked to take part in a government-sponsored competition about creating more opportunities for girls across the globe.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who is urging local schools to back the initiative said,

"Half of society is routinely excluded or worse in many countries. Changing that for girls and women is rightly a major goal of development policy. This year's 'Shape the Future' competition asks British students aged 11-16 to undertake projects on promoting girls' prospects. The enthusiasm of students and teachers for this will be great for them and make a wider contribution."

Finalists will present their ideas at a youth event before the Girl Summit 2014 which the Prime Minister is hosting in London on 22 July. The Girl Summit will focus on tackling FGM (female genital mutilation) and CEFM (child, early and forced marriage) at home and overseas. The winning school last year presented its ideas to Bill Gates.

Details are at www.globaldimension.org.uk/shapethefuture2014

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Universal credit 'unfair' and stops people looking for work

11 Apr 2014

Unfair Universal Credit rules that mean working people keep just 24p in every extra pound earned will deter people looking for work and moving off benefits, according to a Tyneside MP.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson, who is backing the shop workers' union campaign, said:

"This whacking 76% claw-back of additional earnings from workers on Universal Credit is ludicrous and counter-productive."

Dave Anderson added:

"I support reforms that make it easier for people who are unemployed to move into some work. I urge the Government to reduce the net earnings claw-back to 55%, as originally proposed by the Minister, Iain Duncan Smith's own Centre for Social Justice, to ensure that the aims of Universal Credit are fulfilled so that extra work will always pay. Clobbering people in this way will mean that shopworkers and others will be thousands of pounds worse off under Universal Credit. People can check out their Universal Credit entitlement by visiting www.entitledto.com"

John Hannett - Usdaw General Secretary says:

"We are grateful for the support of Dave Anderson. Whilst Universal Credit affects households differently, many of our members working long hours are going to be worse off when they are transferred onto Universal Credit. That loss of income is compounded because they will find it incredibly difficult to make up the shortfall by working longer hours. That is why the claw-back from additional earnings is incredibly unfair, trapping households in poverty and creating a disincentive to work. So we want the Government to ensure that work does pay by lowering the claw-back to 55p in the pound."

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 431,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 17% in the last five years and by nearly a third in the last decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the Union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

Usdaw members attending the House of Commons event, 9 April 2014:

Carrie Fineran and her husband live with their two daughters, aged 14 and 11 on the Isle of Wight. Carrie's husband works full-time for 40 hours a week and Carrie works for 13 hours per week at a local supermarket, earning just over the minimum wage. They own their own home. They currently receive Child Tax Credit of £49 per week. Under Universal Credit, when their transitional protection ends, this would be reduced to just £31 per week - a reduction of £943 per year, triggered by any change of circumstances such as a change in income, a different job, long-term illness or one of their children leaving education. The family may also be affected by the reduction in the disabled child element of Universal Credit. As their elder daughter has a long-term illness, Carrie has been advised to claim Disability Living Allowance and is in the process of doing this. If the claim is allowed, they will also be entitled to the disabled child element of Child Tax Credit, which is an extra £60 per week. Under Universal Credit, the disabled child element is less than half at just £28.50 per week. In this case, the family would lose over £2,500 when they transferred to Universal Credit.

Mark Payne and his partner Agnes live with their three children, aged 11, 9 and 2 in Port Glasgow. Mark is a driver for one of the large supermarket chain's home delivery service. He works full-time and earns just under £14,000 a year. Agnes works 11.5 hours at a local supermarket each week where she earns £7.28 per hour. They currently receive Child Tax Credit of £180 per week. Under Universal Credit, this would be reduced by £12.80 a week - a reduction of £665.47 per year. A reduction in their annual income of £665 is going to have a significant impact on their family budget which is already stretched.

Sam Day and her husband Derek live in Bordon, Hampshire, with their 2 children, aged 8 and 4. Derek normally works full-time - 38 hours per week, packing oncology drugs. Sam works 22 hours per week in a local supermarket. They are currently entitled to Child Tax Credit of £55 per week - £2,870 per year. Under Universal Credit, this would be reduced by nearly £1,800 to just £1,100 or £21 per week.

Early Day Motion: The effect of Universal Credit on Full-Time Workers

That this House believes that the claw-back rate under Universal Credit of 65% of net earnings, equal to a 76% marginal deduction rate for taxpayers on Universal Credit will disincentivise claimants from working longer hours and potential second earners from working at all, perpetuating the poverty trap for families on low pay; therefore whilst supporting the principle of Universal Credit which will make it easier for people who are unemployed to move into some work, calls on the Government to reduce the net earnings claw-back to 55%, as originally proposed by the Centre for Social Justice, to ensure that the aims of Universal Credit are fulfilled so that extra work will always pay and to support hard working families.

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Tony Benn - 'huge sadness'

Tony Benn (right) at Durham Big Meeting in 2007 with Bob Crow and Ricky Tomlinson 14 Mar 2014

Dave has expressed his 'huge sadness' at the death of Tony Benn.

Along with the death of Bob Crow, Dave says the world is a sadder place this week than last.

Dave said,

"I feel huge sadness at his passing. He was a stalwart of the left and never swayed from his view that the answer to the world's problems was socialism. Love him or hate him, you couldn't knock his passion, belief or intelligence. He gave hope to people who were in despair based on the simple belief that everyone was equal and no one should be treated any more badly than another because of an accident of birth.

"He was the last senior politician to develop a serious energy policy which was ripped up by Tories who led us to the mess we are in today where we are dependent on some of the most unstable regimes in the world for our energy supplies. With Tony Benn's death, and that of Bob Crow, the world is a sadder place at the end of this week than at the start."

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Backing for youth job plan funded by taxing bankers' bonuses

Young unemployed 13 Mar 2014

Thousands of young people out of work for over a year in the North East could be guaranteed a paid starter job according to a leading Tyneside MP.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said:

"Labour's Compulsory Jobs Guarantee would take money from bank bonuses to help young people who have been discarded on the dole. If it were in force today, it would help 5,000 young people in the North East to take up a starter job or lose their benefits."

Dave Anderson added:

"The Tory record is awful. The number of young people aged 18-24 claiming Jobseeker's Allowance for over a year has doubled from 28,300 in May 2010 to 56,100 today. In Blaydon there has been a 1500% increase - from 5-80 young people - in that time. It is a waste of talent that can hold them back for years in earnings and self-confidence."

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Bob Crow will be missed

Bob Crow 10 Mar 2014

Dave is saddened by the loss of RMT leader Bob Crow.

He said that the sudden death of Bob, General secretary of the Rail Maritime and Transport union has left the world of work weaker.

Dave said,

"I am desperately saddened by news of Bob's untimely death. I worked with him and his union for years and you always knew with Bob that what you saw was what you got. The world of work is weaker today with his passing, but his legacy will be the proud, strong union that he leaves behind. Bob had strong views. One of them was opposing the invasion of Iraq. Yet he and his union were big enough after that to extend their solidarity to the new unions in Iraq. On every level he showed that standing up for your beliefs and rights is a thing of honour and pride. We will miss him badly."

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