Author Archives: Grahame Morris

Reducing anti-social behaviour in the car park at Asda Peterlee

The number of incidents of ‘boy racers’ causing anti-social behaviour at ASDA in Peterlee has reduced significantly, thanks to an initiative between ASDA and Durham Constabulary.

A barrier was erected at the entrance to the car park, and is routinely used every night, to stop people from driving into the car park and driving dangerously.

ASDA’s People Trading Manager, Julie Pearson, said “We’ve always been pleased to work with the Police to deal with incidents. Since the barrier was put in place, the number of complaints has gone down. There used to be several every month, but now there are very few indeed.“

Ron Hogg, Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington said “I’d really like to thank ASDA for putting the barrier in place. It has obviously made a difference to the area, to the benefit of local people”.

Grahame Morris MP said “This is a great example of partnership working between ASDA and Durham Police to address a serious and ongoing community issue. I would like to thank ASDA and the Police for doing all they can to stop ‘boy racers’ and dangerous driving in Peterlee”.


Easington MP Grahame Morris is urging local charities and community groups to apply for a share of over £4 million of funding raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Applications for the latest round of funding are now open and will close on the 28th August.

Both charities and community groups are eligible to apply for the grants of between £500 and £20,000.

The funding will be allocated through one of three Trusts, which support different categories of projects:

• People’s Postcode Trust seeks applications for projects that focus on the prevention of poverty, promotion of human rights, equal rights and conflict resolution for some of society’s most vulnerable groups.

• Postcode Local Trust supports wildlife, sustainability, play areas and green spaces.

• Postcode Community Trust focuses on grass-roots sports, arts, recreation and healthy living programmes.

Over 400 projects were awarded with grants in the last funding round. With previously funded projects ranging from sports clubs, to mental health groups, to wildlife conservation charities, this is a fantastic opportunity for groups to access funding to make a difference in the local community.

Grahame Morris MP said:

“ I know many local charities and community groups do fantastic work on very limited budgets but securing extra funds can make a huge difference both for the charity and the local people it supports. I thus urge all local charities and groups to consider making an application to this funding raised by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery and to do so now. It is not difficult to make an application so I hope as many local groups as possible get involved.”

Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said:

“ More than £4 million injected into grass roots projects across Great Britain will have a tremendous impact in local communities. Between the three Trusts, a very wide range of causes are supported, so I’d urge groups to have a look at the websites to see where their project fits – no matter how big or small – and get applying.”

Players of People’s Postcode Lottery have so far raised more than £221.2 million to date for over 3,000 good causes across Great Britain and internationally.

For more information on how to apply for funding, please visit the Trusts’ websites:

Teenagers Engaged in Social Action Projects in East Durham

This week I visited Peterlee to meet a group of 60 inspiring teenagers who are currently taking part in the National Citizen Service (NCS).

The group are taking part in the programme with East Durham College and I dropped in to hear their ideas for a series of community projects that they’ve planned, that aim to improve the local area or assist particular causes.


First of all, I was mightily impressed that almost 200 16 and 17 year olds from the Easington constituency signed up to take part in this summer’s NCS scheme. I was also encouraged to hear that participants had improved confidence and leadership skills whilst on an outdoor adventure, and had also prepared for work and life during a skills-building week.

What’s worth noting is that many of the young people I saw today had only met for the first time two weeks ago. In teams of 15, the young people are mixed with those from other schools – and it’s clear to see new friendships had been formed.

I heard ‘social action pitches’ from four groups and it was really pleasing to hear the young people discuss their plans to get out and change East Durham next week.

The projects included a cancer awareness project to highlight to men in particular to be smart on the signs of cancer; and I was impressed that another team had researched the needs of the University Hospital of Hartlepool and were fundraising for their chemotherapy ward.

A third group pitched their ideas for a community fun day event with proceeds going towards a local homelessness charity, whilst the final team were planning to visit a care home to deliver care packages for the residents; it was great to see that their project is bringing different generations together.

It was brilliant to see young people from the constituency coming together to empower change. I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on the outcomes of the four projects; they’re delivering them next week – I wish them the best of luck!

Parents and young people looking to find out more information about NCS can visit or call 0191 247 4020 to sign up. The next programmes will be taking place in autumn 2017 and summer 2018.

Government urged to act over accidents on the A19

Easington MP Grahame Morris said “Anyone who uses the A19 regularly as part of their daily commute will know there are frequent delays due to accidents.

The road is dangerous but the Government have dismissed road safety concerns as a matter for the police only. [The fact that there are two police forces involved Durham and Northumbria makes a co-ordinate response more difficult.]

I have called on the Government
to commission a review into the causes of injuries and fatalities at accident blackspots on the A19.

I hope this review takes place sooner rather than later as delays will risk further loss of life and injury. There are also important issues about blue light ambulances being delayed due to accidents on the A19 en route to hospital specialist units and accident & emergency departments. ”

We need more decisive action from the Minister”

Please see my written questions to the minister on this issue.

Constituents Visiting the UK Parliament

I am always pleased to arrange tours of the Houses of Parliament for constituents who are visiting London, subject to Parliamentary business and ongoing repairs to the main building, which can sometimes restrict public access on the day.

A full ‘line of route’ tour of the Palace of Westminster starts at the Sovereign’s Entrance, Norman Porch, Royal Gallery, Prince’s Chamber, the House of Lords Chamber, includes Central Lobby, Voting Lobby, Members’ Lobby, the House of Commons Chamber, and you can also see St Stephen’s Hall and Westminster Hall

Due to the high demand for these tours, it is best to get in touch with the office as soon as possible to check on availability and make arrangements; ideally up to 3 months before your planned visit to avoid disappointment.

During parliamentary sessions

  • Monday: 9.00am-12noon (full tour)
  • Tuesday and Wednesday: 9.00am-9.55am (full tour)
  • Tuesday and Wednesday: 10.00am-12noon (partial tour; House of Lords only)
  • Thursday: no tours
  • Sitting Fridays: 3.30pm-5.15pm (full tour)
  • Non-Sitting Fridays: 9.30am-5.15pm (full tour)

During parliamentary recesses

  • Summer recess: Monday morning 9.30am-12.30pm (except Bank Holidays)
  • Short November recess: 9.30am-5.15pm
  • All other recesses: Monday 9.30am-5.15pm (except Bank Holidays when an alternative day will be made available)

Christmas / New Year Closed from the rise of both Houses to after the New Year Holiday

Prorogation – There will be no tours during this period

  • August – Wednesdays 09.30 to 12 noon
  • September – Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 09.30 to 12 noon

There are no tours on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Please note that other closures may be announced at short notice due to Parliamentary business.

We can also arrange for groups of up to 16 people to climb the Clock Tower (Big Ben), however this must be booked at least 2 months in advance due to strong demand.

Please e-mail Kate Dove in my office on for help planning your visit.

The Parliamentary Education Service also runs a year-round programme of visits and workshops for school groups from KS2 to KS5.

To get in touch with the Education Unit, call 020 7219 4496, or visit their website .

Separate arrangements including subsidised travel apply for organised official school visits from East Durham seeking educational tours of Parliament [click here] for more details on the excellent Parliamentary Education Unit. Please note conditions apply to travel subsidy.

Supporting deaf people in East Durham

Durham Deafened Support helps and supports people who
ve hearing loss who find that a hearing aid is not enough.

I recently visited the Durham Deafened support group in Horden and held a question and answer session where the members, who live throughout East Durham, raised some specific concerns about how we are falling short on supporting deaf people. I was really interested to see the new technology and specific devices that are available free on loan from the group to people who struggle with daily activities at home, this allows sufferers to test out products before buying them to see what works for them. My late father suffered from tinnitus and industrial deafness from working in the coal mines, he struggled to hear the television and the devices now available would have been very helpful.

The DDS provide information, support and advocacy to enable deaf people to cope with their disability and to understand and meet their communication needs.

DDS has valuable experience in seeking out and bringing together people who have become socially excluded and isolated because of their hearing loss. Through communication techniques, advice and support their reintegration programmed “Life After Deaf” has shown that early intervention reduces the incidence of mental health problems and has enabled late deafened adults to have a better quality of life and gain equal access to services.


Services they provide include:

  • Lip-reading/support groups, 10 throughout County Durham, kept small to enable members to get the maximum amount of benefit from the Support they receive.
  • 1:1 and family support / home visits. Understanding and making changes to cope with hearing loss
  • Dealing with Deafness rehabilitation weeks (brief synopsis below)
  • Resource centres in Peterlee and Keller Court, both are BT Try Before You Buy centres.  We also have products from Sarabec and Action on Hearing Loss to try.
  • 1:1 and group support for people with Tinnitus (noises in the ears and head)
  • CI Friendship group. These are informal meetings for people considering having or who have had a Cochlea Implant.
  • Sign post to welfare rights /access to work
  • One off events such as visits by the Bionic Ear – please keep a look out for specific events

Other projects are: Tai Chi, Yoga, Crafts, Reflexology, Walking Groups, Young Man’s Group and basic communication via IT

Dealing with Deafness (DWD) Rehabilitation week

Dealing with Deafness is a five day non-residential rehabilitation week, aimed at helping people with hearing loss and their families to deal with the traumatic effect that hearing loss can have.

The course covers topics that will help deafened people and their partners, families or close friends to understand more about deafness and how to deal with the anger, anxiety, fear and frustration associated with acquired hearing loss. Topics covered include

  • Communication skills/ awareness
  • Cochlear Impant – a users perspective
  • Tinnitus/ balance problems
  • Welfare Rights
  • Keep safe – Police and Fire Brigade
  • Hearing dogs for deaf people
  • Relaxation

All our groups are free to attend but they ask all participants to become members of DDS and pay a donation of £5 each year membership fee.

If you are interested in coming along or know someone who could benefit please contact the DDS in the first instance on 0191 5183358 or E-mail



Cross-Party support for the clean air bill

I am calling on Michael Gove to adopt a clean air bill in a new strategy to tackle the crisis of air pollution in the UK.

More than half of the British public believe air pollution levels across the UK are damaging to their health and almost two-thirds back proposals for new laws to tackle the issue, according to research.

Levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), emitted mostly by diesel vehicles, have been above legal limits in almost 90% of urban areas in the UK since 2010. The toxic fumes are estimated to cause 23,500 early deaths a year and the problem was declared a public health emergency by a cross-party committee of MPs in April 2016.

The government’s plans to tackle air pollution have been found by judges to be so poor that they are unlawful. Gove has until the end of July to come up with a new air quality strategy which will cut emissions in the shortest possible time.


Sixty five MP’s, including myself, have signed this letter by Labour MP Geraint Davies, who introduced the clean air bill into the last Parliament:


Dear Michael,

Ahead of the imminent deadline for the Government’s Clean Air Strategy, due by 31st July, we are writing to ask that the following provisions from the Clean Air Bill are included in the strategy:

·         Restrictions on access for the most polluting vehicles in urban areas

·         Targeted diesel scrappage schemes

·         New powers for local authorities and the Environment Agency to enforce clean air zones and combat “idling”.

·         Incentives for people to switch to cleaner alternatives in all modes of transport

·         Reliable, real-time emissions testing

·         Rapid development of infrastructure of electric car charging points (at car parks in preference to      petrol stations), the main constraint on increasing the number of electric cars on the road

·         Action on air quality at ports and airports

·         An air quality fiscal strategy

Please support the Bill and include these provisions in the Government’s imminent Clean Air Strategy.

As you know, 40,000 people die prematurely at a cost of £20 billion each year from diesel air pollution, according to the Royal College of Physicians, who support my Clean Air Bill. Four select committees – Health, Transport, DEFRA and Environmental Audit – had planned joint hearings on Air Quality before the deadline but the general election has prevented that.

Many thanks for your cooperation on matter which is of such importance to all our constituencies.

Best wishes

Grahame Morris MP





Easington MP, Grahame Morris, has committed his support to help Cancer Research UK save more lives in his constituency and across the UK.

The MP attended a parliamentary event held by Cancer Research UK in Westminster to find out how he can keep cancer at the top of the new Parliament’s agenda. Over the course of this Parliament, two million people will be diagnosed with cancer across the UK, so Cancer Research UK needs political support in order to continue to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. Cancer survival in the UK is still lagging behind other countries and too many cancers are diagnosed at an advanced stage, when they are harder to treat successfully. At the event, Mr Morris met some of Cancer Research UK’s dedicated volunteer Campaign Ambassadors. He found out how many people in Easington constituency are diagnosed with cancer each year, underlining the need for MPs to join the fight against the disease.

He said: “We must not underestimate the devastating impact cancer will have on people in Easington constituency now and in the future, so it gives me hope to hear that Cancer Research UK’s pioneering research is turning the tables on the disease.

“The outlook for new and better cancer treatments in the UK is bright. However, it is clear that there is a critical role for politicians to play in helping to prevent and detect cancer earlier and bring innovative new treatments to patients faster.

“One life lost to this terrible disease is one too many and that’s why I’m supporting Cancer Research UK in their mission to beat cancer sooner.”

Matt Davies, Cancer Research UK’s Head of Public Affairs and Campaigning said: “At Cancer Research UK, we’re resolute in our ambition to see 3 in 4 patients surviving cancer by 2034. To achieve this we need cancer at the top of the political agenda and so we’re grateful to Grahame Morris MP for helping to highlight the importance of research and action in beating the disease.

“Survival in the UK has doubled in the last 40 years. But there’s still so much more to do and we cannot do it alone.

“Creating the right environment for cancer research alongside cancer prevention, early diagnosis and ensuring patients have access to the best possible treatments must be key priorities for the new Government.”

Grahame Morris MP supports heart disease and stroke patients in Easington.

More than 11,900 people in Easington are living with cardiovascular disease ~ Last week Grahame Morris MP met with health experts to discuss the burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in Easington.

Latest figures show that there are 11,900 people living with heart disease and stroke in Easington.

Grahame attended an event in Westminster held by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Heart Disease and met with experts from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to learn more about the levels of CVD locally, and ways to improve patient care.

They also discussed the progress the group had made on other issues such as heart failure, and inherited heart conditions.

Grahame said: “Cardiovascular disease is a devastating condition responsible for more than a quarter of all UK deaths, and it is the most common cause of hospital admission for people over 65 years of age.

“Politicians in Westminster and the British Heart Foundation are working to support people burdened by heart disease and stroke, and find new ways of improving care in Easington.. “It’s vitally important that we work together to ensure that people living with cardiovascular disease in Easington get access to the care and support they need.”


New figures highlight financial burden on taxpayer

There is a crisis of low pay in Britain’s older industrial areas, says a report released today.

Although there has been progress in replacing the jobs lost from industries such as coal, steel, engineering and textiles, too many of the new jobs pay low wages and too many are insecure and short-term.

The new report from the Industrial Communities Alliance highlights the extent to which pay in older industrial areas has fallen behind the national average and behind the levels in the most prosperous parts of the country

The report also exposes the alarming extent to which the government has had to step in to prop-up low-wage families though Tax Credits.

The research shows that across older industrial Britain as a whole, median earnings – that is, the pay of an employee in the middle of the local wage spectrum – are just 73 per cent of the London level for men and 63 per cent for women. This equates to pre-tax gaps of £184 a week for men and £182 for women.

Median earnings in many local authority districts across older industrial Britain are barely 60 per cent of the level in London.

The poorest-paid 10 per cent in older industrial areas earn less than one-third of median earnings across Britain as a whole.

None of these comparisons are distorted by high-earning bankers or other well-paid London professionals.

Far too many workers have therefore had to rely on Tax Credits and other means-tested benefits, such as Housing Benefit, to top up miserably low wages. Across most of older industrial Britain, Tax Credit payments average between £650 and £1,000 a year per adult of working age.

For many households, Tax Credits of well over £2,000 a year have become the norm. Looking ahead, however, poorer households face big financial losses as planned cuts to in-work benefits, announced in the last Parliament, are gradually implemented.

Cllr Terry O’Neill, National Chair of the Industrial Communities Alliance, said:

“The weakness of the economy in so many of our areas has made it easier for employers to recruit the workers they need and to get away with low wages. The newly-elected government should do more to outlaw unfair employment practices and should increase the minimum wage.

“But a lasting solution to the problems in our areas also requires serious efforts to rebuild the industrial base of the economy. Manufacturing is a high-value, high-productivity sector that offers the potential to deliver higher wages.

“Older industrial Britain is a big part of the country, accounting for around 30 per cent of the entire population. If the Prime Minister is serious about helping the people and places left behind, our communities need to be top of her list.”