|Gerry Steinberg MP||In the House...|
Recent speeches and parliamentary questions in the House of CommonsWhile speaking in the chamber of the House is a high profile activity for an MP, much other work is done elsewhere, such as Gerry's work on the Public Accounts Committee and others, as well as a large casework load for constituents.
02/03/05 LG. Philips
21/02/05 Fixed Penalty Notices (Fireworks)
11/01/05 Road Safety Bill [11 Jan 2005]
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): Is the Prime Minister aware that this is a desperate day for Durham, my constituents, perhaps many of his constituents, and also for me, because I could be asking my last Prime Minister's Question on this sad note? Is he aware that LG. Philips today announced the closure of its Durham factory, which has made cathode tubes for televisions for more than 30 years in my constituency? It was announced this morning that 800 people will be made redundant, even though Philips knew for the past seven years that cathode televisions were becoming obsolete in favour of flat-screen televisions. Does the Prime Minister agree that Philips, in acting like an ostrich, has let down its loyal work force by failing to invest in new technology? Will he ensure that everything possible is done to alleviate this absolutely desperate situation and to assist the hundreds of workers who will be made redundant in July?
The Prime Minister: I am obviously aware of the situation. The reason why it is happening is the switch to flat-screen televisions. If my hon. Friend would like, he and I can meet to discuss how best to make progress. I assure him, however, that we will do whatever we can to put in place an emergency operation for the workers who might be made redundant so that we can work with them to provide additional jobs. I am happy to say that unemployment in County Durham is at a 30 or 40-year low, so other jobs are around. However, those people, especially skilled workers, will find things difficult, so we will do absolutely everything that we can to help them.
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): To ask the Secretary of State for Health:
Ms Rosie Winterton: Information is not held on the number of dentists who ceased providing national health service dental services altogether. The Office of Fair Trading report, "The private dentistry market in the UK", published in March 2003, estimated that out of 11,000 dental practices nationally, only about 210 are totally private.
The following table shows the number of dental patients registered with a general dental service (GDS) or personal dental service (PDS) dentist in England, and Durham and Chester-le-Street primary care trust area, as at 30 September each year.
|England||Durham and Chester-le-Street PCT|
Registrations in the GDS lapse if the patient has not returned to the dentist within 15 months. These figures do not include patients who get dental treatment without registration, for example in dental access centres.
Information is not available on patients who are unable to register with a dentist, but we are undertaking a wide range of initiatives to improve access to NHS dentistry. In the Durham and Chester-le-Street PCT, a local dental access scheme has been developed at a cost of £65,770 from central funds. Under the scheme, 10 practices, which were not previously taking on new NHS patients, have been funded to provide an agreed number of new patient contacts. From September 2004, the scheme has delivered 1,000 additional NHS appointments and expects shortly to deliver a further 300 appointments. As a result, between late September and November, all patients seeking a NHS dentist should have been able to access occasional NHS dental treatment and, in addition, some were able to register with a NHS dentist.
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many fixed penalty notices were issued during the last week of October and the first week of November 2004 for (a) letting off or throwing fireworks in any highway, street, thoroughfare or public place, (b) possession of fireworks in a public place by those under the age of 18 years and (c) breaching the curfew time for the use of fireworks. 
Ms Blears: The available information, relating to the four offences connected with fireworks for which penalty notices for disorder can be given, is contained in the table:
|Penalty notices for disorder issued for firework offences in England and Wales between 25 October and 7 November 2004 - provisional figures|
|Fireworks offence for which PND issued||Issued between 25-31 October inclusive||Issued between 1-7 November inclusive|
|Throwing fireworks in a thoroughfare||18||36|
|Breach of fireworks curfew||3||4|
|Possession of a Category 4 firework||2||3|
|Possession by under 18 of adult firework||-||-|
|Total PNDs issued for firework offences||23||47|
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many antisocial behaviour orders have been issued in the City of Durham since their inception. 
Ms Blears: Antisocial behaviour orders (ASBOs) have been available to the courts since 1 April 1999. From commencement, up to 30 June 2004 (latest available), the Home Office has been notified of nine ASBOs issued within the City of Durham.
Data up to 30 September 2004 will be available shortly.
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many repossessions by building societies and other providers of mortgages in the City of Durham there were in each of the last four years. 
Keith Hill: Figures for the total number of properties taken into possession by mortgage lenders are published half-yearly by the Council of Mortgage Lenders. These figures do not contain a district or regional breakdown. The most recent statistics published indicate that the number of properties taken into possession in the second half of 2004 was the lowest since 1982.
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): I suspect that, like me, every Member of Parliament has had a constituent who was killed by someone driving dangerously. With great respect to the Secretary of State, it is all right being sympathetic but, frankly, the Government do not take notice of Back Benchers. My hon. Friend the Member for Wansbeck (Mr. Murphy) outlined his incident. I can give one exactly the same.
We have debated the subject in the Chamber and Westminster Hall. We have received sympathy all along the line from Home Secretaries. I have met two Home Secretaries in the past four years and still nothing is being done. Week after week, our constituents are murdered by criminals on the road. It is not good enough for the Secretary of State to give us sympathy. We are not after that. We are after justice. It is about time that it was recognised that virtually every Member of Parliament wants something done about people who break the law in their cars and murder our constituents. It is like allowing them to do what they like with a gun.
Mr. Darling: I do not disagree with my hon. Friend. I said earlier that I find it difficult to make an intellectual differentiation between a person who sets out with a gun and shoots someone and a person who drives irresponsibly or dangerously and ends up killing someone. I said that the penalties for causing death by dangerous driving have been increased, but I do not agree with my hon. Friend that nothing has been happening. Although deaths have been increased slightly, serious injuries have fallen. We have introduced a range of measures, and there are further measures in the Bill that I hope to discuss in the not too distant future which will help. Three things are necessary - education and awareness; making sure that there is the right range of offences and penalties; and - this is not in the hands of the House and the Government - ensuring that people who administer the judicial system use the available powers so that if someone kills someone else, as my hon. Friend described, an appropriate penalty is visited on them. Road traffic offences should not be regarded as lesser offences. People are often left with the impression that although a death has been caused the perpetrator is dealt with quite differently from someone who sets out with a gun or something else.
Reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO