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Restored entrance to Middlesbrough train station formally re-opened

The main entrance to Middlesbrough train station has today, Monday 09 April 2018, been formally reopened after extensive works were completed by Network Rail to the station building and roof.

I am delighted to be asked to officially mark the re-opening of the Zetland Road Southern entrance to our railway station.  The entrance to the station has been out of bounds for several years plagued by severe structural issues but it is a joy to see the entrance opened up again today. This is yet another positive step forward for our station.

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Front row with Dave Budd, Elected Mayor of Middlesbrough, Mike Drewery, Group Station Manager East, TransPennine Express and Andy McDonald, MP for Middlesbrough and Shadow Secretary of State for Transport cut the ribbon re-opening the station entrance, with representatives of Network Rail and Colt Construction.

This entrance to the Grade II listed station building now provides a step free route from the station direct to Middlesbrough town centre via Zetland Road.  It was formally reopened by local Member of Parliament and Shadow Secretary of State for Transport Andy McDonald, accompanied by David Budd, Mayor of Middlesbrough, and representatives from TransPennine Express, Network Rail and Middlesbrough Council.

Investment of £3m has been made by Network Rail in the station building and roof, restoring it to a safe and watertight condition for decades to come.  The works also enabled the station entrance to be restored and a vehicle turning circle installed enabling customers to be dropped off by car from Zetland Road for trains.

The works have been completed in advance of a major new train timetable being introduced this May which will see TransPennine Express operate earlier and later services from Middlesbrough on Mondays to Saturdays and double the frequency of trains on Sundays to a train ever hour.  Furthermore, TransPennine Express will introduce brand new state of the art Nova 3 five carriage trains on its services to/from Middlesbrough this autumn, increasing the number of seats available per train and enhancing the overall customer experience.

Graham Meiklejohn, Regional Development Manager for TransPennine Express, said: “The re-opening of the traditional entrance to this historic station at Middlesbrough provides customers with a restored, step free, well-lit and direct walking route into the town centre.  This, combined with the completed works to the roof, provides an enhanced environment in time for the introduction of our additional train services this May and our new five carriage Nova 3 trains this autumn.  It also provides a powerful launch to the phased delivery of improvements through the station masterplan delivered and funded in partnership by a range of organisations.”

Lisa McGuinness, Commercial Scheme Sponsor at Network Rail, said: “A lot has been done to get the southern entrance reopened and I’m delighted that by working closely with Middlesbrough Council and TransPennine Express we have been able to resolve this long running problem for customers at Middlesbrough. Network Rail is grateful for the patience of those who have been inconvenienced by the closure and we look forward to continuing to work with Middlesbrough Station’s stakeholders to further enhance the station and its surroundings.”

Right from first being elected I have campaigned to secure better rail services for Middlesbrough. Over the last several years, together with Middlesbrough Council, I have led a taskforce including Network Rail and TPE and others and working in partnership and now bringing to fruition what is the latest phase in a wonderful restoration of our much loved and iconic Victorian station. The latest announcement of new timetable updates and additional weekend services recognises the latent demand that exists and reflects the capacity for proper investment in rail transport to add both social and economic value to our city region , as well as providing the levels of comfort, convenience and safety that customers deserve.

I congratulate Network Rail and all their fabulous contractors and craftsmen and craftswomen who have expertly utilised £3m worth of investment as can be seen in the restored main entrance, the superb stonemasonry and Welsh Slate roof works. The skill and attention to detail is quite magnificent.  But there is a long way to go before we see the full realisation of our aspirations to create a city-scape transport hub for Middlesbrough right at the heart of our city region. We've had financial commitments for further work on the project running to £5m from Network Rail, Middlesbrough Council and now the Tees Valley Combined Authority which will take us further on the journey and part of that exercise will be to secure the tens of millions pounds that the full scheme will need.

As for today, we can delight that pedestrian access is now safer, more accessible and directly connects to the town centre.  I am sure it will be greatly welcomed by customers. This is a very significant development and signals again our determination to keep pressing on to deliver the full transformational vision set out in the Station Master Plan launched last month.

Middlesbrough’s Elected Mayor Dave Budd said: “It’s brilliant to see the re-opening of the southern entrance of Middlesbrough train station. The station is an important part of the history of Middlesbrough and also has a major role to play in its future as we continue to develop our city-scale aspirations. These improvements are just the start of the bigger picture and I would like to thank and congratulate all those who have been involved in the works.”

 

ENDS

Restored entrance to Middlesbrough Rail Station officially opened

Restored entrance to Middlesbrough train station formally re-opened The main entrance to Middlesbrough train station has today, Monday 09 April 2018, been formally reopened after extensive works were completed by...

I've pledged to be an Arthritis Champion and speak up in Parliament for people with arthritis so that people living with these conditions have their needs recognised.

I learnt about the huge impact that arthritis related conditions have on 17.8 million people across the UK, after attending a parliamentary event on Tuesday 20 March 2018.

It was shocking to learn that in Middlesbrough, 6,749 people aged over 45 live with osteoarthritis of the knee, 3,961 people aged over 45 live with osteoarthritis of the hip, and 15,411 live with back pain. Too many people locally are living with daily pain, fatigue, and isolation. This is unacceptable.   

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MPs who attended the event also met people living with arthritis, who explained how the condition can affect their lives in different ways – from going to work, to coping with the daily tasks such as cooking or driving that many of us take for granted. 

The event coincided with the launch of Arthritis Research UK’s new ‘Ask Us’ campaign, which encourages those living with arthritis to reach out to the charity and ask questions about their condition. The campaign directs people to information and advice provided by the charity, which is based on many years of research and knowledge from experts and patients. This information and advice is provided via their online information, helpline, and online ‘Virtual Assistant’.

By working together with MPs like myself, the charity hopes to encourage people to find the answers to their queries from a source they can trust. 

Jennylyn Williams, a campaigner and volunteer who spoke to MPs at the event, said, “I enjoyed taking part in the parliamentary reception, and feel that it was good for MPs to meet someone in person with experience of the condition. I think many MPs were surprised by the fact I was diagnosed at 31, as well as learning about the impact the condition has on my body – especially my hands. I was able to explain to them what it's like to live with arthritis every day. 

I was honoured to be a voice in parliament for the many people living with arthritis across the country.  I hope that having met me, and hearing my story, MPs from all parties will be more likely to call for improvements for people with arthritis.”

I hope that my colleagues will join me in ensuring that constituents living with arthritis get the support they need, and I urge people affected to reach out to Arthritis Research UK for expert information. Together, we can do more to fight the devastating impact that arthritis has on the lives of more than 17.8 million people across the UK.

Shona Cleland, Public Affairs Manager at Arthritis Research UK, said: “It was great to see Mr McDonald at our event. Arthritis can cause severe pain and fatigue and its effects can be devastating. We believe all people with arthritis should have support to live full and active lives. To make this a reality, we need MPs to tell their constituents about the help on offer,  raise awareness of arthritis in Parliament, and work to ensure that all people with arthritis get the services and support they need.”

To find out more about the charity and to ask any question about arthritis please visit

www.arthritisresearchuk.org/askus

 

Speaking up for people with arthritis

I've pledged to be an Arthritis Champion and speak up in Parliament for people with arthritis so that people living with these conditions have their needs recognised. I learnt about...

I want to say how proud I am of my office staff and how pleased I am for Emma Chesworth (Senior Caseworker) and Matt Storey (Constituency Office Manager) that they have been recognised for their wider contribution to the Labour Party and our local area.
 
Emma received the award of “Woman of the Year” at the Labour North Regional Awards Dinner on Friday, 16th March while Matt received the Ashok Kumar Award for “Campaigner of the Year”. I heartily congratulate them both on accolades decided by the Regional Panel that are  richly deserved.
 
Emma’s work on ‘No Page 3’, the 8th Plinth and ‘Period Poverty’ have been highlighted but this is only part of her cause about which she speaks passionately:  "I fight for women's rights because every day I see the inequalities that women and girls face.
 
“I want to play my part, alongside my sisters, to challenge these issues and enact change. I want to show young girls that they do have a voice and they deserve every opportunity.
 
“Through my writing and activism I want to challenge decision makers, who are all too often men. While girls are missing out on school because they cannot afford sanitary protection, I will not stay quiet. I will shout up, stand tall and centre the needs of women".
 
Campaigning is what Matt does. He has a passion for taking Labour’s messages onto the streets and to people’s doorstep. “I want to stand up for the things that matter to people. I want to engage with them on their doorstep.
 
“This is often isn’t easy to do because not everyone will agree with us. What is important, though, is to respect voters,  to have an open-minded conversation them and try build a relationship of trust about why Labour is on their side, trying to achieve what’s best for the town informed by what they think, what best meets their own needs and those of the area in which they live.
 
“I am leading campaigns all year round not just in the run-up to election day – something no other political party does in our town. We have positive ideas that have practical outcomes that will change things for the better.

“Austerity has been imposed on us by the Tories, it is unfair and has unjust consequences for everyone in Middlesbrough and that is something I will always speak out against and help voters to understand”.
 
I think it is best to hear what Emma and Matt have to say in their own way about what drives them to put their all into changing lives for the better and building a better society. That is their way – and it is what Labour stand for and makes our movement stronger.
 

ENDS

Staff recognised with Regional Awards

I want to say how proud I am of my office staff and how pleased I am for Emma Chesworth (Senior Caseworker) and Matt Storey (Constituency Office Manager) that they...

This needs to be seen as widely as possible. I fully endorse @MayorDaveBudd in the way he explains how irresponsible and embarrassing the Tory & Independent Councillors on Middlesbrough Council have been towards setting the budget.

Dave writes: "[On Wednesday, 7th March], the Tory-Independent opposition presented possibly the daftest budget proposal I have ever seen. They demonstrated, yet again, their incapability of engaging with the hard graft and tough decisions needed in running Middlesbrough, and highlighted why we need to beat them at the next local elections. 

Middlesbrough Council passed its 100-page budget for the coming year. To keep vital services such as children’s social care, care for older people, community hubs and area care, we voted to make savings and raise council tax.

I have explained previously how the Tory Government expect councils to raise council tax to plug the hole in public spending left by their reckless cuts, and that we have reluctantly had to do this. Despite supporting the Tory government and their cuts agenda, however, the local Tory/Independent opposition decided they also opposed tax rises and claimed to have an alternative budget to avoid it.

When they came to present their budget however, the Council’s most senior legal and financial officers - who are politically-neutral and there to ensure the Council conducts its business on a legal basis - warned the Council that at no point had the Tory/Independent coalition bothered to submit their ‘alternative budget’ to be checked to see if it was legal. Nor that it was balanced (a legal requirement). The ‘alternative budget’ had no equality impact assessment or any ability for the public to be consulted, either. Officers therefore gave the opinion that the Council would be acting outside of the law in considering it.

This was disappointing as many wanted to hear how our local Tories had managed to do what 95% of councils across the country have failed to do this year – deal with government cuts without raising council tax.

Fortunately, a few copies of their bungled budget were left in the Council chamber. It amounted to just one page and was probably one of the daftest proposals I have ever seen. It included:

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 *Chief Officer Initiatives*- The Council's Corporate Initiatives budget is the budget that events such as Remembrance Day are funded from. 

*Merging the post of the Mayor and Chief Executive* – this is actually illegal as an elected politician cannot also work for the Council.

*Cap salaries at £75.000* – Not only would this leave Middlesbrough hugely out of step with every other council in the country and unable to recruit officers to head up vital service areas like Children’s Social Care, it would be impossible to meddle with existing staff contracts in time for the start of the financial year. – plus the cost of redundancies would have to be considered.

*Big Screen* – The current screen is not in use and there are no current plans to replace it. There is a one-off £500,000 in our investment programme for infrastructure to Centre Square to make it easier for events to be put on, not on a new TV screen. This money is a one-off investment in our capital budget, which cannot be transferred to our revenue budget – a key point that the opposition never bother to try to understand.

*Reduce Spending in Legal Overspend* – our legal team work extremely hard -ensuring the Council meets its legal duties and obligations- with increasing workloads. It is not clear how the Tories plan to achieve a whopping £800,000 cut here.

*Cease Funding for the Member’s Lounge Refreshments* – Anyone who has ever used the old coffee machine in the Town Hall would feel very short-changed by this figure.

* Cease grant to Mima* aside from putting the future of a world-famous symbol of Middlesbrough and its culture, we have a contractual obligation with the University, so the Council would be acting unlawfully and in breach of contract and potentially liable to pay a much greater sum if sued.

*Reduction in the purchase of external publications*– a £20,000 saving which, if they had bothered to read the actual budget, is far smaller than the £65,000 saving identified over the next three years.

Yet again, the Conservative-Independent coalition has let down the people of Middlesbrough. Despite significant offers of assistance from politically-neutral officers, they chose to ignore all advice on how to put together a proposal. Yet again, they have failed to take Middlesbrough’s finances seriously and have instead tried to fool voters into thinking there are easy solutions to the most difficult problems.

Dave Budd

Elected Mayor of Middlesbrough

Mayor Dave Budd response to 'alternative budget'

This needs to be seen as widely as possible. I fully endorse @MayorDaveBudd in the way he explains how irresponsible and embarrassing the Tory & Independent Councillors on Middlesbrough Council...

The transformational and ambitious Master Plan for Middlesbrough Railway Station was reported in the evening news following the launch event on 2nd March 2018.

Here is the BBC Look North (North East & Cumbria) report.

The ITV News Tyne Tees report can be found here,

Click here> ITV News Tyne Tees

 

 

Middlesbrough Railway Station Masterplan News Reports

The transformational and ambitious Master Plan for Middlesbrough Railway Station was reported in the evening news following the launch event on 2nd March 2018. Here is the BBC Look North...

A masterplan to develop the historic Middlesbrough Railway Station into a destination fit for a city – and described as a “game changer” - is unveiled today.

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The concept – which offers short term proposals and a longer term vision – includes:

  • The re-opening of the southern entrance.
  • A stunning new glass frontage and concourse on Bridge Street.
  • An additional platform.
  • New commercial units.
  • Additional passenger facilities and;
  • Improved access for sustainable modes of transport such as buses, taxis, cars and cycles.

All of the ongoing design work also aims to protect, enhance and complement the station’s Victorian heritage, beauty and splendour.

The proposals are the result of a commission - led by Middlesbrough Council with support from Network Rail, Tees Valley Combined Authority and the rail franchisees – to provide a long-term vision for the rail station and the surrounding area.

As a result of the commission, Middlesbrough Council and Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald are working alongside the rail industry in the form of a joint programme board to realise both the site’s ambition and strategic potential over the coming years.

It will build upon work which is shortly to be complete in the form of Network Rail’s station renewals project that will see the completion of a 13 month, £3m project to repair the roof and stonework of the main station building.

Additionally, direct trains to London are due to begin from Middlesbrough in 2020.

Middlesbrough Mayor Dave Budd said: “Middlesbrough Railway Station is at the heart of our historic quarter and a central part of Middlesbrough Council’s investment plans to grow the local economy in line with our city scale ambitions.

“These proposals would make our iconic station even more attractive and also make better use of the space inside. Clearly, we are at an early stage, but it is wonderful to be able to make our ambitions public. The projects programme board will now begin action on how we can collaboratively work together to achieve this.”

Mr McDonald said: “The Consultants BDP have done some stunning visionary work that not only sees the station restored to its 19th century splendour including the southern Zetland Road elevation and the improved usage of the concourse and booking hall - much as the architect originally intended when the station as first designed- but transformationally presents a 21st century northern façade out onto Bridge Street that fits entirely with our European City aspirations and opens out into the emerging cityscape of Middlehaven. It’s an absolutely breathtakingly impressive proposal.

“What the entire proposal presents is a 21st century transport hub that is fit for purpose. This will be a game changer for Middlesbrough and the wider Tees Valley economy.

“So I heartily congratulate Middlesbrough Council, the Mayor Dave Budd his fellow Councillors and the superb officers who have driven this initiative forward and for the commitment that the Council has made to secure the achievements to date.”

ENDS

 

Middlesbrough Railway Station Masterplan Unveiled

A masterplan to develop the historic Middlesbrough Railway Station into a destination fit for a city – and described as a “game changer” - is unveiled today.    The concept...

I was invited to speak at the rally organised by local Labour Party activists outside James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough this afternoon.

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The terrific numbers of people from all walks of life who, despite the cold and rain, turned out for the rally at James Cook University Hospital, and all the members of the public who passed who showed their support, spoke volumes and it made crystal clear just how concerned everyone is about the state our precious NHS.

With 75,000 patients waiting in the back of ambulances, the thousands kept waiting in A&E and the tens of thousands who’ve had their operations cancelled or postponed and 40,000 nursing vacancies, we are facing the worst winter crisis on record in our NHS while the Prime Minister and her government sit on their hands.

Jeremy Corbyn is absolutely right to call for an emergency budget to rescue this sorry state of affairs.

We cannot go on expecting the overstressed and underpaid staff who soldier on regardless to care for us.

The rally at James Cook University Hospital along with others in London and elsewhere should not be necessary. The whole country knows the NHS is in crisis; that it is entirely preventable and has come about as the direct result of Tory policies. 

They say that they value the NHS, but their actions tell us that their real priority is the ever increasing privatisation of the NHS and a Labour Government will bring such naked profiteering to an end.

We need a Labour government that will properly fund the NHS, properly fund social care, and keep our key public services where they belong, in public hands.

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NHS crisis is a direct result of Tory policies

I was invited to speak at the rally organised by local Labour Party activists outside James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough this afternoon. The terrific numbers of people from all...

I'm delighted at the news that Syrian asylum seeker, Yousef Hasan, has been granted the right to stay in the UK.

I've been campaigning and making representation to the Home Office to seek refugee status for Yousef to allow him to stay with his family in their adopted home in Middlesbrough.

Yousef fled Syria in 2014 and travelled to the UK to join his family who has already been granted asylum. Since then, he and his family have had to endure an agonising wait.

Now, he has received correspondence from the Home Office granting him Leave to Remain for five years.

This is absolutely fabulous news for Yousef and his family and friends. They have all been through the most desperate of experiences fleeing war and torture in their troubled homeland of Syria.

I want to thank the Home Office and all the Ministers who have been involved in this heartbreaking case and I and sincerely grateful to them for listening to the representations we made to them. I also want to thank my MEP colleagues Jude Kirton Darling and Paul Brannen for their assistance and support throughout this process.

That Yousef can now get on with his life, and with his family, continue to make such a great contribution to our community, is a massive relief to all concerned.

Yousef Hasan granted right to stay in the UK

I'm delighted at the news that Syrian asylum seeker, Yousef Hasan, has been granted the right to stay in the UK. I've been campaigning and making representation to the Home...

Last Friday I visited the Carillion Construction Training School at Cargo Fleet in Middlesbrough.

I wrote a piece to the media about it and about what will now happen to the apprentices. The piece was sent to media outlets including the Gazette together with a photograph of me at the premises.

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I’d gone along to speak to the management to try and learn at first-hand what was happening to the 150 apprentices being trained there. I was and still am exceedingly anxious about the futures of these young people.

I am pursuing fresh lines of enquiry and will speaking further on the subject shortly.

Unfortunately, the staff at Carillion were not allowed to speak to me last Friday. The Gazette duly ran with the story of my visit but included these curious words; ‘He claims he visited the site on Friday only to find he was ‘unable to engage’ with staff’, followed by; ’It seems pretty clear that they are not permitted to speak about the situation, he claimed’.

Just in case there is any doubt, I want to assure those apprentices and all my constituents that I did indeed attend the premises as I described.

I am saddened that our local paper saw fit to cast doubt on my word. I’m at a loss to understand why they would qualify my remarks and very curious as to why they would go to the trouble of publishing a facsimile of the photograph I provided them with but my presence removed.

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I want to reassure my constituents that when I said I visited the Carillion premises that I did exactly that despite insinuations to the contrary.

I will continue to try and secure the best possible outcome for our apprentices.

ENDS

When I said I visited the Carillion premises, I did exactly that despite insinuations to the contrary

Last Friday I visited the Carillion Construction Training School at Cargo Fleet in Middlesbrough. I wrote a piece to the media about it and about what will now happen to...

IPPR report exposes Government attempt to massage figures on transport spending in the north. Five times more is spent in the south on top of investment being pulled from our region. Labour will put that right and invest in transport to ensure north can fulfil its economic potential.

My BBC Tees interview on 24th January 2018.

Government massages figures on transport spending in the North

IPPR report exposes Government attempt to massage figures on transport spending in the north. Five times more is spent in the south on top of investment being pulled from our...

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