Press Releases 1997

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05/12/97 MP Backs Lecturers in "Sign or be Sacked" Dilemma
01/12/97 Labour's New Money for the Health Service in County Durham
25/11/97 MP says Chancellor's Pre-Budget Report is Good News for Durham
20/11/97 Gerry speaks out on Tuition Fees

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MP Backs Lecturers in
"Sign or be Sacked" Dilemma

City of Durham MP, Gerry Steinberg, has taken up the case of three long-serving lecturers at Houghall College, Durham, who face dismissal if they refuse to sign a new contract by Monday, 8 December.

The lecturers - Sam Ellis, Richard Baker and John Bentley - have been given notice of termination of their contracts by managers at the College. This is despite the findings of the Further Education Funding Council that the College was in breach of the Statutory Articles of Government.

The lecturers attended ACAS meetings to try to resolve the contracts dispute, but last weekend the College withdrew from these meetings and reaffirmed its intention to dismiss. The College's Acting Principal, Ian Webster, has also refused the lecturers the right to appeal against the termination notices until after the deadline date.

Mr Steinberg raised the case with the Further Education Funding Council and has contacted the College to urge that the notices of termination be withdrawn immediately. He has also asked the Minister for Education and Employment to directly intervene to stop the sackings.

Mr Steinberg said, "It is absolutely appalling at the way in which these long-standing employees have been hounded in an attempt to force them to sign a new contract. I am disgusted at the way in which the College has acted and the total disregard it has shown for its staff.

"The refusal to allow appeals infringes the rules of natural justice - a basic employment right. I am appalled at the way the College has behaved and even the students have contacted me to express their support for the lecturers and the disgraceful predicament in which they have been placed."

5 December 1997

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Labour's New Money for the Health Service in County Durham

A new analysis of the Labour Government's new money, this year and next, for the Health Service for the City of Durham, published today by Gerry Steinberg MP, reveals the extent to which County Durham Health Authority has benefited in hard cash from the new Labour Government.

Gerry Steinberg's analysis reveals that, next year:

But that isn't all. Gerry Steinberg's analysis also show that, already this year:

Commenting on this analysis, Gerry Steinberg MP said:

"When I asked local people here in Durham to vote for me at the General Election, I promised Labour would rebuild the NHS. We are keeping that promise. We are rebuilding the NHS. -That's what we are doing now and what we'll continue to do in the future. We will shortly be publishing our plans for the NHS in a new White Paper. We want to have a National Health Service that is modern and dependable. A service that local people know they can rely on. That's what local people want. That's what I want. And that's what the new Government is determined to give the people of Durham.
"But it's not just new plans that we want. It's hard cash. And we are giving extra hard cash to the Health Service in County Durham Health Authority's area. The new figures I am publishing today show that we've more than doubled the amount of extra money the Tories were planning to give County Durham Health Authority. And we're already getting money out of the Tory red tape in the NHS and getting it working to improve local services, particularly for women needing breast cancer treatment.
"More money for the Health Service this year. More money for the Health Service next year. More money than the Tories or the Liberal Democrats promised the NHS at the Election. And a modern and dependable Health Service for the future. That's what Labour is giving the people of Durham."

1 December 1997

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Local MP says Chancellor's Pre-Budget Report is Good News for Durham

Local MP, Gerry Steinberg, today welcomed the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown's, Pre-Budget Report.

He said "The Pre-Budget Report shows how the Government is building long-term prosperity through measures to help people off welfare into work, improve competition, innovation and investment and ensure economic stability.

"Today's Pre-Budget Report is good news for the City of Durham. It meets the people's priorities - improving childcare, helping pensioners - building on what the Government has already done in health and education.

"The Chancellor announced new help for all pensioners with winter fuel bills. It means that, this year and next, 14,000 pensioners in Durham will benefit from the f20 fuel payment for all pensioner households and f50 for pensioner households on income support.

"The Chancellor's announcement of a f300m programme for childcare over the next five years is good news for all parents in Durham. With up to 30,000 childcare clubs and up to one million places across the country as a result of the new programme, there will be a massive expansion of childcare and a childcare club in every community.

"Other developments in the welfare to work programme announced by the Chancellor are very welcome, including the proposals to help tackle skill shortages. The 230 young unemployed over six months and 415 long-term unemployed in Durham will also benefit from the start of the New Deal nationwide next year.

"This Pre-Budget Report shows we can put behind us the years of Tory boom and bust and build for the long-term, benefiting all the people of Durham."

November 1997

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Gerry speaks out on Tuition Fees

Durham City M.P. Gerry Steinberg has spoken out over the question of tuition for higher education. Interviewed on BBC 2's North of Westminster, he stated his opposition to the government's plans to introduce such fees.

"I believe all education should be free," he said, "so to introduce these fees is a retrograde step." He expressed concern that the North East, which sends a low proportion of students to higher education compared with other parts of the country, would be at an even greater disadvantage.

When pressed about his voting intentions when the Bill comes before Parliament, Mr. Steinberg said this would depend on the way the Bill was brought forward. "The Bill will contain provisions about higher, secondary and primary education most of which I am in full agreement with, so of course I'll vote for it. But if the sections on tuition fees are debated separately, then it's almost certain that as things stand at present, I would vote against that section."

November 1997

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