Fighting for Labour values

 

I campaigned to remain in the EU and the triggering of Article 50 is not the outcome Labour fought for last summer. But together, we can challenge Tory plans at every stage of this process. We must ensure that jobs, living standards and your rights at work are protected.

Labour’s focus is on making sure this Tory Government guarantees the rights and protections we value most. We cannot allow Britain to become a low-pay tax haven that only works for a few.

I will fight for real protection for the economy and the same benefits currently enjoyed within the single market. The UK needs to retain a strong relationship with our international partners, because important issues like climate change and cross-border crime cannot be tackled by one country in isolation.

Mr Corvan’s Music Hall is touring the region!

After the success of Hadaway Harry, it’s time for Edward “Ned” Corvan (1827-1865), the first North East singer/songwriting superstar to take a bow!

Mr Corvan’s Music Hall is touring the region in May/June, and it has its world premiere at Durham Gala Theatre on May 25, 26 and 27 (evening and matinee) before touring the region. See image below for venues and dates.

List of dates - poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wisecrack Productions says:

It’s the most eagerly awaited new writing in the region this year, a play with great music. We’ve brought in Benny Graham (Pitman Poets) and Johnny Handle (folk superstar) to help with Ned’s brilliant songs.

We have two of the top actors in the North East – Jamie Brown and Chris Connel – and the former Bellowhead violinist, Rachael McShane, as the cast.

Anti-establishment to the core, Ned was a great favourite in the Durham and Northumberland coalfields. He dedicated his first book of songs to “keelmen, colliers and working men in general”.

A virtuoso violinist, singer/songwriter, comedian and artist, Ned’s story is funny and tragic, and inspirational.

We’ve pegged the tickets at £15 to make this accessible. It’s about our North East heritage.

A fortnight ago we – Wisecrack Productions – stormed the Theatre Royal, Newcastle (standing ovations) with Hadaway Harry (about Harry Clasper). See quotes below. The week before Hadaway Harry played to full houses and standing ovations in Putney, London.

Details at https://www.mrcorvansmusichall.co.uk New window

Support the Great Daffodil Appeal 2017

Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal has been raising awareness and funds since 1986.

Every March, millions of people across the UK show their support for their work, simply by giving a donation to wear a daffodil pin.

Every hour donated by collectors, every penny raised, every daffodil people wear – it all helps fund crucial hours of care at home for people living with any terminal illness.

Without this generosity, thousands of families across the UK wouldn’t be able to make the most of the precious time they have left together.

The charity’s nurses work night and day, caring for people in their homes and in their nine hospices. They’re also there for people throughout their illness by giving practical information, offering support from trained volunteers and being there when someone wants to talk.

Anyone with a terminal illness, or a family member or friend, can request this help through their GP, district nurse, hospital nurse or consultant.

Last year, they provided care and support for more than 50,000 people living with a terminal illness, and their families.

Just £20 funds one hour of nursing care, so please donate

 

How will you make Earth Hour matter?

MPs are celebrating Earth Hour to send a message that they care about the natural world and help inspire their constituents to go beyond the hour to build a sustainable future for both people and the planet.
FACT: 2016 was the hottest year on record for the third year in a row
FACT: 16 of the 17 warmest years have been recorded this century
FACT: 1 in 6 species are now at risk of extinction from climate change

Grahame Morris MP said: “Our natural world is precious to all life that inhabits it, but we need to do more to protect it. WWF’s Earth Hour reminds us that there are simple things we can all do for the planet, not for just one hour, but every day. It’s a great opportunity to bring together millions of people from across the world with one united goal – to help protect our planet. That’s why this Earth Hour I’m showing I care about the future of our planet by making a special pledge for a low carbon future.”

Every year Earth Hour inspires millions of people around the world to come together and switch off their lights for one hour in a symbolic act to show they care about our brilliant planet. WWF already works to tackle a lot of environmental challenges – like deforestation, threats to endangered species, and the impacts of climate change – but Earth Hour is a chance for everyone to say they’ll do their bit to help create a sustainable future. It reminds us that together we have the power to make change happen.

If everyone in the world lived as we do in the UK, we’d need 3 planets to support us, but by making small changes every day we can make our daily lives more sustainable.

Everyone can join the celebration for WWF’s Earth Hour on Saturday 25th March at 8:30pm, For more information and to sign up please visit wwf.org.uk/earthhour

Join in the conversation on Twitter with hashtag #EarthHourUK and @wwf_uk.

About Earth Hour
Earth Hour, organised by WWF, is the world’s biggest celebration for our amazing planet. In the UK last year, over 10 million people took part, along with over 4,800 schools, 200 landmarks and thousands of businesses and organisations. Iconic landmarks including Big Ben and Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, Blackpool Tower, The Kelpies, Caerphilly Castle and many more joined the global lights out.

Globally, from Samoa to Tahiti, a record 172 countries and territories took part in the world’s biggest Earth Hour yet. The Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa in Dubai, South Africa’s Table Mountain, The Acropolis in Athens, The Eiffel Tower in Paris, The Empire State Building and Times Square in New York City, and the Las Vegas Strip were just a few of the world-famous landmarks that joined in.

About WWF
WWF is one of the world’s largest independent conservation organisations, with more than five million supporters and a global network active in more than one hundred countries. Through our engagement with the public, businesses and government, we focus on safeguarding the natural world, creating solutions to the most serious environmental issues facing our planet, so that people and nature thrive. Find out more about our work, past and present at wwf.org.uk.

 

Grahame Morris MP puts Easington’s heritage on the map

Heritage Lottery Fund reveal the impact of National Lottery investment in Easington and its position on the RSA’s Heritage Index

I have been in touch with the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to learn more about the impact of National Lottery investment in my constituency and where it’s ranked on the RSA’s 2016 Heritage Index.

Produced in collaboration with the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Heritage Index is an annual index that combines over 120 metrics, from historic buildings to local delicacies, revealing which local authorities are best at using heritage to foster a distinctive identity – and which could do better.

Analysis of this year’s index reveals that places which do most with their heritage have a higher quality of life (ONS well-being measures) than areas which have low levels of activity. As well as inherited physical assets such as battlefields and castles, the index measures new forms of heritage activity like community initiatives and volunteering.

Easington sits in the 183rd position overall in England, but that there is potential to make more of its heritage. 

Since The National Lottery started in 1994, the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded over £3.2 million to more than 60 projects in Easington. This includes funding for parks, miners banners, restoration of churches, war memorials, and much more.

It was great to learn more about Easington’s heritage assets and how they are being used by the community.  I would urge constituents to think about the local heritage where they live, and think about how they could apply to HLF to undertake a project to explore it further.

The Heritage Lottery Fund were involved in National Lottery in Parliament: a week-long exhibition to raise awareness among politicians in Westminster of the National Lottery funding available to their constituencies and demonstrate how National Lottery players’ money is changing people’s lives and improving the nation’s wellbeing.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of HLF, said: “Heritage is at the heart of what makes a place distinctive. The Heritage Index is a vital tool which is helping communities to better understand that heritage and tap into its vast potential. Securing National Lottery funding is one way of helping to fulfill that potential and it’s been making a difference to local communities across the UK for over 20 years.” 

Find out more about the Heritage Index 2016 at the RSA’s here: www.thersa.org/heritage and here http://bit.ly/RSAHeritageIndexdata. Find out more about accessing National Lottery funding for heritage projects at www.hlf.org.uk

Walkers to Consult on Peterlee Crisp Factory Closure

The loss of Walkers Crisps is a devastating blow to the workforce at Peterlee and manufacturing in East Durham.

In the immediate aftermath of this decision my thoughts are with the employees and their families. In the weeks ahead support will be made available via Jobcentre Plus Rapid Response Team to help those affected who may need to retrain and upskill. The Rapid Response Team have been successful in the past assisting many of those made redundant from SSI on Teesside to make the transition into alternative employment.

It is quite right that we question the reasons given by Walkers to justify the closure of the Peterlee factory. Walkers have indicated the decision will improve productivity and deliver savings, however, locating production facilities in the South will increase their transport costs to the North of England and Scotland.

I hope Walkers will also be honest about the improvements required to retain East Durham’s manufacturing competitiveness, such as investment in transport infrastructure, skills and training.

The structural weaknesses in our local economy are issues that I will continue to raise with Government Ministers and the Local Enterprise Partnership who are tasked with strengthening and expanding business and employment opportunities in East Durham.

The Business Minister states the Government have invested £379.6m in the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, however, there is little practical evidence of this investment in East Durham. Ministers are quick to exalt Nissan, however, our manufacturing base is much wider than one specific industry, and their over-reliance of a single business as an example of regional success is a worrying feature of the Government’s rhetoric.

Words are cheap. What we need now is practical support, to help those at Walkers, but also to deliver the growth required to provide the jobs we need for the future.

However, whether it is housing, education, transport investment, local government funding or business support, the North East is being hit first and hit hardest with spending cuts that are kicking away the ladders of opportunity that a responsible government would be looking to build.

To see the Government’s response to my questions about manufacturing in East Durham and Walkers Crisps, please visit: theyworkforyou.com

Invitation to sports funding workshop in Easington

Date: Thursday 6th April
Time: 6pm – 7pm
Venue: Shotton Community Centre, Bridge Road, Shotton Colliery, DH6 2PQ

Do you know how to access funding so that you can improve or upgrade your club?

Grahame Morris MP will be hosting a Sport England workshop on Thursday 6 April with Sport England experts who will be answering any questions you may have.

Sport England is the Government Agency working with grassroots sport. Its investment and expertise has helped thousands of clubs, such as yours, get more people playing sport more often.

Sport England understands that many clubs need that little bit of help and support when they are applying for funding, whether it is being directed to the right funding stream or making sure they take the correct steps when applying. The workshop will explain the funding available, which fund would be most appropriate for your project, and how to apply.

If you would like to attend please email: lee.longstaff@parliament.uk

International Women’s Day- #BeBoldForChange

International Women’s Day, held on 8 March, marks a celebration of the economic, social, cultural and political achievements of women.

Every person – women, men and non-binary people – can play a part in helping drive better outcomes for women. Through meaningful celebration and targeted bold action, we can all be responsive and responsible leaders in creating a more gender inclusive world.

The World Economic Forum predicts the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2186. This is too long to wait. So around the world, International Women’s Day provides an important opportunity for ground breaking action that can truly drive greater change for women.

This year, the 2017 Spring Budget falls on International Women’s Day, but women won’t have much to celebrate under this government.

Never have we needed a Labour government more. Both at home and internationally we are seeing a worrying erosion of women’s rights and freedoms.

Labour has a strong record on advancing women’s rights and freedoms that we can be proud of. Almost every major piece of legislation that has improved the lives of working women has been introduced by a Labour Government. They brought in the Equal Pay Act, the Sex Discrimination Act, The Equality Act, the minimum wage and introduced Surestart.

A woman I would like to pay tribute to today is Ruth Dodds.

Ruth was born on 8 May 1890 in Gateshead and attended Gateshead High School for Girls. Ruth wrote a number of plays reflecting her historical and political interests, including The Pitman’s Pay, about Thomas Hepburn, the miners’ union pioneer. Ruth was Secretary of the Gateshead branch of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies and became more politically active around 1915.

During the War she started work in her family’s printing business on Newcastle Quayside until a disagreement with her brother in 1926 regarding the General Strike led her to leave the business.

After the War Ruth Dodds joined the Labour Party and her involvement in local politics grew. She served on a number of Gateshead Council committees as a co-opted member and in 1925 took over as editor of the monthly newspaper, Gateshead Labour News (later renamed the Gateshead Herald). In 1929 she was elected as a Labour councillor and retained this position for most of the next decade. Wider political ambitions, however, were not fulfilled as she failed to gain selection as Parliamentary candidate for Gateshead in 1931 or 1936.

Ruth found herself as one of thousands of North East women who worked long shifts in the region’s munitions factories. In her diaries she records observations on her working life at Armstrong’s armaments factory in Newcastle, and also her feelings about the war.

“I hate war and I hate killing and yet I am right to make munitions. I thought once that I could not, but since then I have changed my mind. And our men write saying that every shell helps to save their lives.

“I admire the German women who are working day and night for their men, and shall I not imitate what I admire? I cannot stop the war by holding back, but I and my like may shorten this war by working.

“And I cannot escape blood-guiltiness by sitting at home idle. Thank goodness I have no time for thinking these things when I am actually at work.”

Ruth Dodds’ contribution to her hometown was recognised in 1966 when she became the first woman to be made a Freeman of Gateshead.

Dodds was a pacifist and a Socialist; the last political action of her life was casting a postal vote in the municipal election of May 1972. Ruth was born into a world where women couldn’t even vote and yet she fought her way to become a councillor. Her admirable fight for what she believed in inspired the next generation of female politicians.

While International Women’s Day is about recognising how far we have travelled in the fight for gender equality, we must also recognise how much further we have to go, both in the UK and internationally.

In 2017, women in the UK are more likely to work for less pay than men, in low paid sectors and be disproportionately affected by cuts to public services

Empty words on equality and the occasional cash giveaway will not do. We need structural change, a budget and economy that work for everyone – not just a privileged few.

Under a Labour Government, all economic policies will be gender audited to ensure that we have an economy that works for all.

For International Women’s Day 2017, we’re asking you to #BeBoldForChange.

Call on the masses or call on yourself to help forge a better working world – a more gender inclusive world.

Grahame Morris MP supports NHS bill to put an end to privatisation

MP Grahame Morris has expressed his support for the NHS Bill currently going through parliament.

The NHS Bill is a Private Member’s Bill introduced by Margaret Greenwood MP.

The aim of the Bill is to return the NHS to its founding principles as a publicly-owned, planned and managed National Health Service.

The Bill reverses the core changes of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 which are leading to the break up and privatisation of the NHS.

It provides for the integration of health and social care, removes the costly and inefficient internal market and transfers PFI debt to the Treasury, allowing hospitals to get on with the job of treating patients.

Grahame said:

“The public is well aware of the damage being caused to the NHS by this government’s cuts.

“People in Easington are rightly concerned about the future of healthcare in the region.

“What is less well known is the impact that the 2012 Act is having on the NHS across England.

“As a result of that Act, NHS hospitals in England are now allowed to make up to 49% of their money out of private patients. This is just wrong; an increase in private patients in NHS hospitals will clearly mean longer waiting times for NHS patients.

“The 2012 Act passed by the Tories and Liberal Democrats also means that the NHS no longer has to provide a comprehensive service. As a result, we are seeing the rationing of services such as hip replacements and cataract operations.

“We are also seeing an increase in the number of contracts going to private companies, with the cherry-picking of services by private providers undermining the NHS and threatening the pay and conditions of NHS staff.

“The NHS Bill aims to stop the privatisation of the NHS, remove competition and the profit motive as a driver of policy and return it to its founding principles based on a sense of public service.”

“It really is important we make a stand and call on the government to put a stop to the privatisation of our National Health Service and support the NHS Bill.”

Stop attacks on NHS staff

Ahead of today’s Westminster Hall Debate relating to attacks on medical staff I would like to issue my support and solidarity to everyone working for the NHS.

They are the everyday heroes in our communities; from the doctor performing pioneering surgery, to the auxiliary bringing an old lady a cup of coffee, we cannot take them for granted.

I firmly believe that more action is needed to protect our healthcare staff from violence and aggression.

A survey by the Royal College of Nurses found that 56% of their members had experienced physical or verbal abuse from patients, and a further 63% from relatives of patients or members of the public. Their survey of lone working nurses also found that 10% reported being physically abused over the previous 2 years, and 60% suffered verbal abuse.

These figures correspond with reports from NHS Protect that show a 4% rise in physical assaults against healthcare workers in England from 67,864 in 2014/15 to 70,555 in 2015/16.

Whilst much of the current focus on violence in the NHS draws attention to pressures in Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments, I am also aware that physical assaults occur in a variety of environments including mental health and in the community. The risk of physical assault is even higher for staff working alone – the proportion of lone workers in the NHS sustaining an injury from a physical assault is approximately 9% higher compared to non-lone workers.

Criminal sanctions are not always appropriate and must go alongside prevention.

There are a number of preventative actions which can be taken to reduce and manage the risk of physical assaults such as training in conflict resolution, the provision of lone worker alarms and well-designed environments. However, the length of time waiting to be seen by a health professional is cited as a common factor behind assaults.

A specific offence would send out a strong deterrent message to those who wilfully assault professionals and other health care workers in the pursuit of their work. Such a law would need to be inclusive of all NHS staff working in a variety of environments.

The Tories have made it progressively harder to train and work in the NHS, despite a high demand for these professionals. Medical staff do not deserve to be abused whilst carrying out their job and I fully support any law that would protect them further.