Labour calls for public's support to save North charity

Support the ROCK FoundationLabour in the North has today (Wednesday 27 July 2011) launched a campaign to show public support for The Northern Rock Foundation.


The North-East based charity has an uncertain future after the Tory-led Government announced plans to sell off Northern Rock to the highest bidder without any safeguards to secure the future of the Foundation.


Last year the Foundation granted nearly £12m of funding to 147 community projects across the North East and Cumbria.


Gateshead Labour MP, Ian Mearns has tabled an Early Day Motion backing the charity which has attracted support from Members of Parliament from across the political parties.


Earlier this month, Mr Mearns also led a delegation of MPs and Lords to see Treasury Minister, Mark Hoban to highlight the importance of the Foundation.


Now Mr Mearns is calling on people across the North East and Cumbria to join the campaign by signing a "People's Early Day Motion" online.


Ian Mearns MP said:


"The Northern Rock Foundation has helped thousands of community groups and projects across the region over the years. To lose it would be a huge blow and will make the struggle to find funding even more difficult for our hard-pressed community groups.


"When Northern Rock converted from a building society to a bank, the Foundation was created as recognition of part the region played in the company's founding.


"If the government is serious about supporting a Big Society they need to look at how they can guarantee a future for the Northern Rock Foundation. When Labour was in government, Alastair Darling ensured that funding for the Foundation continued despite the problems with Northern Rock. I'm not sure the present government understands how important the Foundation is to the region.


"I want the people of the North East and Cumbria to join me in this campaign. Members of Parliament from all political parties have put their names to my Early Day Motion but now I want local people to join in the campaign to show the government just how much the work of the Foundation is valued."


People can sign the people's Early Day Motion online at http://www.campaignengineroom.org.uk/support-the-foundation


ENDS


Notes to Editors:


1. Early Day Motion 1952 to the House of Commons was proposed by Ian Mearns MP and has been supported by 39 Members of Parliament from different parties (as of 26 July 2011). North East and Cumbria MPs who have signed the EDM include Tom Blenkinsop, Jenny Chapman, Alex Cunningham, Pat Glass, Mary Glindon, Kevan Jones, Ian Lavery, Catherine McKinnell, Iain Wright, David Miliband, Grahame Morris (Labour) and Sir Alan Beith (Liberal Democrat).


2. Text of Early Day Motion 1952: 

That this House fully recognises the widespread popularity of and respect for the work of the Northern Rock Foundation, which once received 5 per cent. but has used 1 per cent. of pre-tax profits from Northern Rock Plc in recent years to disburse millions to deserving causes in the North East and Cumbria; notes that the Foundation has made over 3,700 grants and supported nearly 2,000 different organisations over the last 13 years; further notes that an independent study by the Centre for Effective Philanthropy shows the Foundation is viewed as exemplary; deeply regrets that Ministers have so far failed to make retention of the Foundation a condition of the sale of Northern Rock but have taken refuge in the vague aspiration that bidders may keep the Foundation beyond December 2012; and urges Ministers to toughen their stance so that the Foundation can continue to play a pivotal role in the Big Society in the North East and Cumbria.