GRAHAME MORRIS MP DISHES UP “FREE CHIPS” FOR ALL AT DOGS TRUST RECEPTION

Grahame Morris MP supports launch of Dogs Trust Chip My Dog website at annual House of Commons Reception

Grahame Morris (Custom)

Yesterday Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, showcased its chipmydog.org.uk website with the support of a host of MPs. The website is a unique “one-stop-shop” for all microchipping queries. Members of the public are now just a click away from a wealth of information on this important element of dog welfare, including:

  • Details of free microchipping activity across the UK via a quick and easy postcode search
  • Advice on how to update microchip details with a click-through function to UK databases
  • Guidance on the upcoming change of law in England and Wales
  • Advice on what to do if you have lost or found a dog
  • Frequently Asked Questions on all elements of microchipping

To mark the launch of the site, MPs were invited to take part in a photo opportunity which saw them manning a mocked up “chip van” which appears to offer free microchips to queues of dogs, and even a few fellow Parliamentarians!

Graham Morris MP for Easington said:

“I am delighted to support Dogs Trust and help the charity launch its Chip My Dog website. I am supportive of the charity’s microchipping campaign and greatly welcomed the Government’s announcement on the introduction of compulsory microchipping for all dogs in England from April 2016. Compulsory microchipping will make it easier to reunite lost dogs with their owners and cut unnecessary kennelling costs for Local Authorities. I urge my dog-owning constituents to get their canine companions microchipped and visit chipmydog.org.uk to find out more about this vital component of dog welfare before the new law comes into force”.

Clarissa Baldwin OBE, Dogs Trust CEO, says:

“Microchipping has been at the heart of Dogs Trust activities for a long time and we’re now looking forward to an exciting few years during which it will become compulsory in England, Wales and – we hope – Scotland. Chipmydog.org.uk will be the portal for all microchipping questions and we hope it will ensure that no dog is left unchipped when the laws change.”

“Whilst only the size of a grain of rice, a microchip can be a highly effective means of reuniting a lost dog with its owner. Results from our recent Stray Dog Survey showed that just over 10,000 dogs were returned to their owners for this exact reason. However, it is vital to update your details! Just as you would tell your bank you’ve moved house, so too should you inform your database. Sadly without up-to-date information a microchip on its own is redundant.”

To find out more about when the roaming Dogs Trust teams will be in your area or learn more about the benefits of microchipping visit www.chipmydog.org.uk.

Justice for the Coalfield Communities

DMGParliament will, this week, discuss justice for our coalfield communities.

It is essentially two debates; the first is about the historic wrongs of the miners’ strike, the actions of the Thatcher Government influencing and politicising the police, as well as lying to the country regarding the pre-meditated plan to close pits at the cost of 65,000 jobs. Most importantly there will be a call for an independent enquiry which I hope will clear the names of innocent men wrongly convicted for their activities on picket lines through fabricated and falsified police evidence.

However, it is also important that we look to the future. We will never secure justice for the coalfield communities if the legacy of unemployment caused through the loss of our traditional industries is not reversed.

East Durham has a strong base. In Peterlee we have world-renowned engineering and manufacturing businesses such as The GT Group, Caterpillar and NSK.

The East Durham Heritage Coast offers opportunities to exploit the natural beauty of our award-winning coastline and to expand our local hospitality and tourism industry.

We also have a growing retail sector with the soon to be expanded Dalton Park which will provide new shopping and leisure facilities for the area.

In order to seize new opportunities to expand and grow we will need the support and assistance of a government with the political will to transform East Durham. With this we can create a resilient and sustainable local economy and deliver the jobs of the future whilst delivering justice for the coalfield communities.

This will involve investing in projects such as the Centre of Creative Excellence, which has the potential to reinvent East Durham from a former mining community to an international hub for digital media and film. Not only would this deliver thousands of new jobs in an expanding sector, it would also provide the educational facilities required to allow our young people to compete for and secure these jobs. However, we would need the government to reverse their London-centric approach which has them focussing on new runways at Heathrow at the expense of our underutilised regional airports or concentrating on vanity projects such as HS2 which have little benefit to the North East, let alone East Durham which requires greater connectivity to the existing rail system.

In order to achieve this we would need to see a reverse in the horrendous disparity in resources which has seen infrastructure spending skewed towards the South East and London at the expense of people in the North East despite repeated promises from the Government claiming that they intend to rebalance our economy.

Justice for our coalfield communities can only be achieved through securing closure of the past but more importantly having a plan of how we will create a better future.

Grahame Morris MP joins the ‘Nation of Lifesavers’ campaign to save 5,000 lives

~ Calls for secondary schools to register for free innovative CPR training kit ~

Easington MP Grahame Morris is urging people to join the campaign to dramatically increase the number of people trained in life-saving CPR and help create a Nation of Lifesavers.

More than 30,0001 people suffer an out of hospital cardiac arrest in the UK every year – 80%2 of which occur in the home, often in front of family members and loved ones.

But fewer than one in ten people survive3, partly because not enough people have the skills and confidence to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

The British Heart Foundation says that the Nation of Lifesavers initiative could save around 5,000 additional lives a year in the UK, based on survival rates in countries like Norway (25%)4 where CPR training is mandatory in schools.

The BHF is calling for CPR and public access defibrillator (PAD) awareness to be taught in all secondary schools and a recent survey showed 82%5 of people would be behind this move.
Since the launch of the campaign on October 16, more than 5,000 people have already signed the petition to make these skills part of the curriculum.

Today, Grahame Morris MP has pledged their support for the Nation of Lifesavers campaign and called on secondary schools and community groups in East Durham to order their free Call Push Rescue Training Kit.

Grahame Morris MP said: “Cardiac arrest survival rates in the UK fall way behind survival rates in other countries where CPR training is part of the curriculum.

“By joining the Nation of Lifesavers I want to see every child in the UK finish school equipped with the necessary skills to respond in a medical emergency.

“CPR is an important skill and just 30 minutes of training could save someone’s life.”

Grahame Morris MP was joined by Samantha Hobbs, who at 14 helped to save her mum’s life by performing CPR. With her dad, they kept her mum alive until the emergency services arrived and could get her heart beating again with a single electric shock from a defibrillator.

Samantha had been trained in CPR so she knew what to do. Now she’s campaigning to raise awareness amongst others so that more people are trained and more lives can be saved.

Samantha said: “I was only able to help save my mum’s life because I’d been trained in CPR. I don’t know what might have happened if I hadn’t. We’re really pleased to be able to support the BHF’s Nation of Lifesavers campaign and spread the message about the importance of CPR. I hope more lives are saved.”

On October 16, the BHF trained nearly 12,000 schoolchildren at the launch of a new CPR training programme which is free for schools to register for.

The innovative training programme enables schools, workplaces, and community groups to become completely self-sufficient in teaching the three simple steps that could save a life: Call. Push. Rescue.

Simon Gillespie, BHF Chief Executive, said: “Too many lives are lost needlessly because people don’t have the basic CPR skills to act in life-threatening situations.

“We’re determined to radically improve the country’s shocking survival rates and mandatory training in secondary schools will go a long way towards that.

“We need every school, workplace, community group and individual to join the Nation of Lifesavers and help make the UK a safer place to live.”

To help the BHF create a Nation of Lifesavers visit www.bhf.org.uk/lifesavers and sign our petition at bhf.org.uk/cprpetition

First World War funding for heritage projects available for communities

Grahame M. Morris MP urges local Easington communities to apply for National Lottery money available to mark the Centenary  

Wor WarOn Wednesday 22nd October, Grahame M. Morris MP for Easington attended a House of Commons event hosted by TV historian Dan Snow, to find out how people from his constituency can secure Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) money to help them mark the Centenary of the First World War.

The event showcased just a handful of over 1000 First World War projects taking place across the UK, thanks to more than £60million of investment from HLF.

Grants of between £3,000 to £10,000 will continue to be available throughout the Centenary through HLF’s ‘First World War: then and now’ programme which is enabling people to explore, conserve and share their First World War heritage. Groups that need a grant of more than £10,000 for a project can apply to HLF through its open programmes.

Projects on display showed the breadth and scale of First World War stories being explored and shared across the country:

  • in Coventry, young people have been researching the rise and decline of women’s football during and following the end of the War;
  • groups across Hertfordshire have uncovered the stories of those remembered on local war memorials across the county;
  • in Belfast a project has been exploring why Irish nationalists volunteered to fight for the British army during the conflict; and
  • a stone memorial has been created in Derby to recognise the contribution of the very many Sikhs who served in the war

Grahame M. Morris MP, said: “The projects and stories I’ve seen here today have been an inspiration. It’s so important that we remember the impact of this war one hundred years on.   There is still time to apply for money and I would urge anyone in my constituency with an idea for their own project to get in touch with HLF.”

Carole Souter, Chief Executive of HLF, said: “It’s been wonderful to see so many communities take up this opportunity to explore how the First World War affected their local area. So many interesting and unexpected stories have been uncovered, helping us to develop a rich and long-lasting picture of how this momentous conflict touched and shaped every corner of the UK.”

The event also saw the launch of Historypin’s First World War Centenary hub. The hub is a free online space where people right across the UK can share all the historical and contemporary photographs, films and audios clips that have been collected while marking the Centenary of the First World War. It has been developed in partnership with HLF, Jisc, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Imperial War Museums.

More information on how to apply for HLF funding is available at www.hlf.org.uk

Easington MP condemns the Government’s shameful action in blocking a new state of the art hospital for the people of East Durham.

Commons ChamberEasington MP Grahame Morris has hit out after plans for a new state of the art hospital at Wynyard were shelved due to the lack of political support from the Government.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust’s board has announced they will pause the development work on the new hospital.

The trust unanimously committed to developing a new hospital to meet the future healthcare needs of the people of Hartlepool, Stockton, Easington and Sedgefield, but the board stated the complexities of the approval process are such that without high-level political support it was unable to secure a decision before the end of this parliament.

Chief Executive Alan Foster said: “The new hospital is a fundamental part of our integrated health and social care strategy for the 21st century. When the momentum: pathways to healthcare programme was launched it was one of the three strategic aims of the programme, and it still is.

“However a general election is now looming and the board recognises that any new government is likely to wish to review all new developments in the light of its own priorities. As a result, there will inevitably be further delay in the completion of a new hospital. The board has therefore decided to pause the development work on the new hospital.

After hearing the announcement Easington MP Grahame Morris said: “It is clearly a political decision and the Government should be ashamed of themselves for failing to support new state of the art health services for people in East Durham, and the North East.

The Tories have undermined the plans for the new hospital from the day they were elected. They withdrew the £464 million the previous Labour Government ring-fenced for the project, forcing the Trust into an expensive PFI, and to downsize the hospital by a third.

It took Monitor eight months to consider the proposals, instead of the promised six weeks, and the Treasury has purposely delayed the process to block the building of the new hospital. The lack of political will from this Government for the new hospital has been truly reprehensible.

Under this Government our health service is rapidly declining, with rising waiting times, a crisis in A&E and patients denied access to treatment. Despite having some of the highest levels of deprivation and health inequalities the Prime Minister does not believe we should have access to the same levels of high quality health services enjoyed in the rest of the country.

It is no wonder that David Cameron refuses to show his face in East Durham. In four years, he has blocked investment in our schools, there are huge disparities in transport infrastructure spending, and now he refuses to support our new hospital.

I am concerned that patients in East Durham are in the worst possible situation with the majority of hospital services being transferred to an outdated, inaccessible and cramped site at Stockton, North Tees.

The Health Trust must begin to prepare plans to return hospital services to Hartlepool if the proposals for a new hospital are going to be suspended indefinitely. 

The Tories have abandoned the North East, starved us of investment, and hit the most vulnerable in society with massive spending cuts in vital public services.

It is clear to everyone in the North East, you can never trust the Tories with the NHS.”

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust’s board promised to keep their position under active review in the light of national developments and will continue to work closely with local NHS commissioners and with its partners in local government to improve the integration and quality of care for local people.

 

 

Save UK Rail

Durham Train StationThe North East has a long and proud connection to the railways. In 1825, George Stephenson’s engine – locomotion, became the world’s first steam locomotive to carry passengers, and the public railway was born. In the years following thousands of miles of rail track were laid connecting every part of the UK, as the industrial revolution became driven by steam.

The railways today remain an essential part of our national infrastructure and their success or failure inevitably has an impact on the strength of our economy. However, too many people have been priced out of rail, and those with no option but to commute by rail face excessive year on year fare rises, overcrowding and little sign of improvement despite billions of pounds in subsidies provided to the train operators. According to the report Rebuilding Rail, the cost of a privatised railway has been £1.2 billion a year more, than had it remained in public ownership. 

The Northern Rail franchises (North Rail and Transpennine Express), serving a population of around 15 million people, are the latest to be put up for tender under the flawed franchise process. However, prior to the bids, the Government conducted a consultation on how the service should be run. They set out various expectations, including the introduction of Driver Only Operation, whereby there will be no guards or conductors, undermining rail safety, “more modern ticket retailing”, a coded message for ticket office closure and staff redundancies, and an increase to fares, to help pay for better services, despite Government plans to remove existing provisions.

I have previously accused the Conservative Government of taking an ideological approach to railways as they reject any suggestion to return this vital service back into public ownership. However, recent research shows that UK rail services are under state-ownership, they just happen to be the French, German and Dutch states. 

Following the decision to award the Scotrail franchise to Dutch state-owned firm Abellio, research has shown that 20 of the UK’s 27 private rail services are owned by foreign state-owned or backed railways. The UK suffers from some of the highest rail prices in Europe, with profits taken out of our railways subsidising lower fares and better services for European commuters.

It is time for Parliament to act, and we require an urgent inquiry into our railways and the dominance of foreign state owned companies providing these services. The Labour Party have promised to take action calling for a UK state owned rail company allowing them to bid for rail franchises. Currently, Directly Operated Railways, the UK publicly owned company which took over the East Coast Mainline when National Express abandoned their contract, have been banned from bidding for the franchise as the Government seeking to privatise the line. However, failed operators, who let the public down and failed to honour their contact are not excluded from the process. 

My preferred option would be to return our rail network into public ownership as the franchises expire.  I believe Directly Operated Railways can deliver a better service and value for the taxpayer as they have shown on the East Coast Mainline.

As with health, and energy, the railways are too important to fail due to the catastrophic effect failure would have on the public and our economy. No matter how much or how often private companies fail in any of these sectors, the Government will always bail them out, as we have seen twice on the East Coast Mainline. This is an example of the Government privatising the profits, and nationalising the risk.

As the home of the railways, I want a government who will strengthen services in the north not undermine them. The franchise process fails the nation, but the Government’s rail strategy fails our region.  The importance of the railways as a driver for national growth is such that David Cameron is willing to commit at least £50 billion to High Speed Rail. However, the North East is not included, with high the speed line ending at Leeds. In fact, a consultation document by HS2 and Network Rail suggests by 2033 journey times from Durham to London would be just 11 minutes faster; we are likely to lose direct services to London, and we can expect slower times to major Scottish cities, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow as direct trains are replaced with stopping services.

On this basis, I cannot support HS2, which will be a waste of taxpayers money, fail to improve rail services in the North East, and are likely to contribute to exacerbating the economic imbalance between the North and the South.

The priorities should be to improve our connectivity to major lines and rail services, and we continue to work towards a new rail stop at Horden, Seaview. I would like the Government to get behind these plans, which are a tiny fraction of the cost of HS2, but would see our communities connected to neighbouring cities, and the UK rail network, helping us to create new economic activity and opportunities for our former mining communities.

We need a national plan for rail to make it accessible and affordable to everyone. A service which is run in the public interest, and does not subsidise commuters in Amsterdam, Paris and Berlin. We need a rail service which supports efforts to rebalance the UK economy and does not exacerbate the economic divide.

 

GRAHAME MORRIS MP WECLOMES PLAN TO GIVE THE LOCAL COMMUNITY MORE SAY IN WHERE NEW HOMES GO AND FIRST TIME BUYERS IN THE AREA PRIORITY

HoCEasington MP Grahame Morris has heralded sweeping reforms announced by Ed Miliband to tackle the housing crisis. Labour’s plans will help that people in East Durham have greater say over where new homes are built and ensure that first time buyers from the area are given priority access rights when these houses go on sale.

David Cameron’s Government has presided over the lowest levels of house-building in peacetime since the 1920s and home ownership has declined to its lowest level in 30 years. By 2020 the average deposit for a home in the UK could be £72,000 and many first-time buyers are seeing their dream of homeownership disappear.

The independent Lyons Housing Report launched today (16th October 2014) sets out a comprehensive housing plan – the first of its kind in a generation – to meet Labour’s commitment of building 200,000 homes a year by 2020 and set a course for doubling the number of first-time buyers over the next decade. As part of this, local communities will be given the power to build the homes needed locally in the places people want to live and first time buyers from the area will be able to get priority access rights when these new homes go on sale.

Grahame Morris MP, said:

“Too often, people don’t feel that the right kind of homes are getting built in the places they want. Developers seem to be in control rather than local people and the community doesn’t feel that the current housing system works for them. Labour will change that.”

“If we are to tackle the housing crisis in our area, people in East Durham must be given more say over where the new homes needed locally are built and the power to ensure that first time buyers from the area are given priority access rights when these houses go on sale.”

Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, said:

“There has been a systematic failure to build the homes our country needs. Too much development land is held as a speculative investment when local people need homes. Too often the trickle of new developments that get completed are snapped up before people from the area can benefit, undermining support for much needed further development. And, for too many young families, the dream of home ownership is fading fast.

“Only Labour has a plan to build the homes that our country, our local communities and our families need. As Ed Balls has said, the next Labour government will make housing a bigger priority within the existing capital settlement for the next Parliament. We will get Britain building again by insisting local authorities have a plan to meet the need for housing in their area – and that the big developers play their part rather than hold land back. 

“But we will also make sure that communities get the benefit from new home development by guaranteeing that where communities take the lead in bringing forward additional developments, a significant proportion of homes on those sites cannot be bought by anyone before first-time buyers from the area have been given the chance. This is not only a fairer system, it is also one which will encourage local communities and local authorities to support the development that our country so desperately needs.”

Easington MP Calls for Parliament Inquiry as Research Shows Three Quarters of UK Rail Services are Foreign Owned

Network Rail

Grahame Morris, MP for Easington, has called for parliamentary inquiry as new research shows three quarters of UK rail services are now owned by foreign state owned companies

Following the decision to award the Scotrail franchise to Dutch state owned firm Abellio, new research from the rail union RMT research shows the growing domination of foreign state owned rail companies over the UK’s railways.

Twenty of the UK’s twenty seven private rail contracts, the equivalent of seventy four per cent, are now owned by foreign state owned/ backed railways with the vast majority being from France, Germany and the Netherlands.

The UK’s privatised railway has the highest rail fares in Europe and MPs from the RMT’s Parliamentary group have called for an urgent parliamentary inquiry into concerns foreign state owned companies are sucking profits from the UK privatised rail industry so that passengers in foreign states are benefiting from lower fares and better services at the expense of UK passengers.

In fact, a German Transport Ministry spokesperson has openly admitted such a strategy in relation to its state operator Deutsche Bahn. “We’re skimming profit for the entire Deutsche Bahn and ensuring that it is anchored in our budget – that way we can make sure it is invested in the rail network here in Germany”.

The growing domination of UK railways by foreign states is also demonstrated by additional research which shows that Dutch state firm Abellio now operates a network in Britain over two and a half times the size of the one in Netherlands.

Grahame Morris MP said:

“We are made to suffer the highest prices in Europe and have experienced substandard services for decades. Often, the very same operators that are using British commuters as cash cows are foreign state-owned companies that then hold down fairs and improve services back in their own countries.”

Mr. Morris added: “The TransPennine route is operated by a French state owned company. This means that if I travel from Newcastle to Liverpool I am subsidising the travel of passengers in Bordeaux and Lille. That British commuters are expected to both suffer the failure of rail privatisation as well as subsidise commuters in Holland, Germany and France adds insult to injury.”

Easington MP welcomes new user friendly tool to assess the challenge of keeping a pet

Commons ChamberEasington MP Grahame Morris has welcomed the new science-based tool called ‘EMODE’, which assesses the difficulty of keeping a particular animal.

The new user-friendly EMODE ‘tool’ classifies animals as Easy, Moderate, Difficult or Extreme in terms of how challenging they are to keep.

Thousands of animal species are now sold as pets through licensed outlets, and there are growing concerns regarding the way in which all animals are promoted, managed in shops, and kept.

Local authorities and private purchasers often face a raft of serious problems because animals are commonly mass-marketed and mis-described as ‘easy to keep’, resulting in vast numbers of pets languishing in poor conditions and dying prematurely.

There are increasing numbers of domestic and exotic pets being abandoned at rescue centres or released into the environment potentially resulting in both welfare concerns and causing damage to ecosystems at great cost to the public purse. There are also serious and growing concerns about public health and safety risks linked to, notably, exotic pet-keeping, with many animals being described as ‘Trojan horses’ of infection in the home.

Grahame Morris M.P., said,

“I welcome any means to improve animal welfare and to help the public make a reasoned and informed choice as to whether they can manage to care for their pet.

Too many animals are being abandoned or left at rescue centres by owners who were unaware of the responsibilities which they were taking on and are unable to cope with the demands and needs of their pet.

I hope the new EMODE system will be embraced by all those who care about animal welfare, and is used as a tool by Local Authorities when considering which animals can be sold locally”

EMODE has been welcomed by European and global organisations, including Eurogroup for Animals, which is the leading voice for animals at EU-level, International Animal Rescue, and World Animal Protection.

What the Tories really think of the Minimum Wage

David Cameron’s welfare minister has advocated treating those most in need differently by paying them below the national minimum wage.

Lord David Freud, talking amongst friends at Conservative Party Conference, said he thought there was “a group” of disabled people who are “not worth the full wage”.

Lord Freud is not the only Conservative seeking to undermine the minimum wage:

In 2012, Andrea Leadsom said that businesses with three employees and fewer should be exempt from minimum wage, as well as regulation like maternity and paternity rights. Leadsom said:

“I genuinely think we do need to do more for growth . . . above all we have to focus on deregulation.” She continued: “No minimum wage; no unfair dismissal; no maternity or paternity rights; no national insurance or employer pension contributions; a flat rate of tax; no red tape,”

Leadsom also argued that the “massive hurdle of regulation” was daunting and meant people were put off self-employment by the complexity of setting up a business
Times, 24 May 2012, www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/politics/article3424472.ece

Tory MP Dominic Raab called for the minimum wage to be suspended for 16-21 year olds www.conservativehome.com/thecolumnists/2011/11/dominic-raab-mp-small-firms-and-start-ups-are-being-stifled-by-red-tape.html

“Why not suspend the minimum wage for 16 to 21 year olds working for small businesses, in order to give them a foot on the ladder? The talented and hard-working won’t stay on the bottom rung for long, but they must first be given the chance to work.”

Tory Philip Davies MP said that disabled people should be allowed to work for less than the minimum wage. He said it should be allowed for disabled people to be paid less than the minimum wage, arguing it was a “hindrance” to jobseekers.

 

 

Additionally, Tory MPs Christopher Chope, Peter Bone, Mark Field, Adam Afriyie, Douglas Carswell (UKIP) and David Nuttall all signed a Bill in June 2010 calling for employees to be allowed to opt out of the minimum wage
http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2010-11/employmentopportunities.html