Category Archives: Blog

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”.

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 www.ncsyes.co.uk 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.

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2017-06-21.336.h&s=section%3Awrans+speaker%3A24715#g336.q0

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2017-04-24.71776.h&s=section%3Awrans+speaker%3A24715#g71776.q0

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2017-06-29.2058.h&s=section%3Awrans+speaker%3A24715#g2058.q0

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 Kate.Dove@Parliament.uk 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
ha
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 admin@ddsupport.org.uk.

 

 

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


 

 


 

Grahame Morris encourages teachers to get involved with Parliament

The Parliamentary Education Service provides a wide variety of educational opportunities. It provides subsidies to support schools around the country making visits to Parliament and the free teacher training and teaching resources that are available; and have made it possible for schools around the country to access parliament.

Children at Ribbon Academy, Cotsford Junior school, Westlea Primary, Shotton Hall primary, Dene House Primary and Ropery Walk have used this service to learn about parliament and how it works. In addition, teachers from the region have accessed the teacher training services over the previous week through Teachers’ institute. Since it was launched in 2006, “Teachers’ Institute” has trained more than 600 teachers, from all parts of the UK, giving them skills and knowledge of Parliament to pass on to their students and fellow teachers.

Vicky Cathrine, a teacher from South Hetton Primary School in County Durham, was selected to take part in “Teachers’ Institute” in the Houses of Parliament. She applied to Parliament’s open call and was selected from more than 100 applicants to attend the three-day event in Parliament. Fully funded by Parliament’s Education Service, Vicky Cathrine got to participate in question and answer sessions with the Speaker and the Lord Speaker, and hear from parliamentarians of all parties about their work in Parliament.

Grahame Morris MP commented “I am delighted that Vicky Cathrine, a teacher from my constituency, is attending the Teachers’ Institute at Parliament. Teachers have so many opportunities to engage young people with Parliament and their democratic heritage, and I am sure that the students in South Hetton Primary School will benefit from Vicky’s experience.”

John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons, said: “I am proud that this excellent initiative continues to provide such an invaluable service. Better engagement and dialogue with young people is of fundamental importance to our democracy, and I am sure that the teachers attending will find the experience both useful and enlightening.”

This programme has been extremely well received, particularly by the primary schools in the area. It has not been used as successfully by the secondary schools, despite this, the visit subsidies, teacher training and teaching resources are available for secondary schools and they are encouraged to use these as much as possible. It provides opportunities for schools to visit and access resources that can enhance and develop teachers and students understanding of parliament.

2017 Miners’ Gala – 133 years of a strong socialist community

Durham is approaching that time of the year again when all the brass bands are ready to march and people are booking up hotels. In fact, this year there are expected to be around 200,000 attendants, meaning that hotels have been sold out and camping has taken over, this could be the biggest gala yet.

The Gala has a long tradition of significant Labour figures attending, MPs such as Tony Benn and Dennis Skinner have spoken to the crowds. Moreover, previous potential labour leaders, in 2015 Liz Kendall, Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham, have turned out but the star of this year’s show will clearly be Jeremy Corbyn. Jeremy is following a long line of Labour leaders to attend, Clement Atlee, Harold Wilson and Michael Foot who all met the crowds. Corbyn has clearly moved back to the grassroots campaigning of an older Labour and is not following the same line as Blair or Brown who notably did not attend. Corbyn’s recent spike in popularity is the clear reason for the expected rise in attendance this year.

The Gala is a highly significant cultural event, not only in Durham or the North East but the whole country. The Gala attracts music from around the country and even sometimes as wide as Europe but perhaps more significant is the wide reach to unions. Union leaders such as Tosh McDonald, Len McCluskey and Arthur Scargill have attended. This sums up the Miners’ Gala, it centres around unions and focuses on workers’ rights. Unison, Unite, RMT, NUT and many more unions turnout in force making it the worlds’ largest trade union event. This is of particular significance when union membership has dropped this year, this is a chance for the Labour Party and others to revive the movement that was so central to their foundation. This is Corbyn’s chance to consolidate on his work that has helped unions and workers’ rights return to the mainstream political agenda.

This Gala should be one to remember, with the strongest Labour Party we have had in years, out in force, this is the time when we can make change. Durham Day is a time to celebrate the success we have had in the recent election and a time to add more energy to our campaign.

Durham Miners’ Gala is on the 8th July, don’t forget to go along to the Labour Tea Tent and watch the speeches at mid-day.

To find out more go to http://www.durhamminers.org/news

To look at camping follow this link: CLICK HERE TO BOOK CAMPING AT DURHAM MINERS’ GALA 2017

 

It’s time to take the fight to the Tories!

It has been a whirlwind of an election campaign and I’m extremely privileged to be back in Parliament!

This election was quite clearly a rejection of cruel Tory policies and sent a message that they are not welcome in the North.

I have waited my whole political life to stand on the 2017 Labour Manfiesto and it humbles me that so many people agree that we need a Britain that works for the many, not the few.

Labour won seats we didn’t expect to win, Stockton South, Canterbury and Kensington to name but a few. However the fight continues as the Conservatives are attempting to force through a Queen’s speech with the help of the DUP.

This simply cannot work, and if there is another General election soon, then we must be prepared.

I am ready to hit the ground running and hold this Tory Government to account on behalf of all of the good people of Easington. Bring it on…