Jeff Smith MP learns how to stack the odds against cancer

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Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith attended a Cancer Research UK event in Westminster last week to learn more about how lifestyle changes can reduce people’s risk of getting cancer.

Jeff met with campaigners and nurses from the charity’s Cancer Awareness Roadshow, to find out more about their work on cancer prevention.

More than four in ten cancer cases in the UK could be prevented each year, with smoking and obesity being the biggest avoidable causes of the disease.

But while the dangers of smoking are well known, many are unaware of the link between obesity and cancer.

This is particularly concerning when 61% of people in the North West are currently overweight or obese.

Jeff Smith MP said: “I am proud to have The Christie Hospital in my constituency, the largest cancer hospital in Europe, treating over 40,000 patients each year.  

While we’ve come such a long way in the fight against cancer, it’s shocking to hear that so many cases in Manchester Withington and across the region, could be prevented.

The numbers make it clear we need to act now to help people to make positive lifestyle changes, such as becoming more active and maintaining a healthy weight.

While there are no guarantees against the disease, I want to do everything I can to help my constituents and their families stack the odds in their favour and lead long and healthy lives.”

The Westminster event coincided with the launch of Cancer Research UK’s new ‘Junk Free TV’ campaign, which aims to help address children’s obesity.

It calls for the removal of junk food adverts on TV before the 9pm watershed, to help reduce the impact of this negative influence over children’s food choices.

Alison Cox, Director of Cancer Prevention at Cancer Research UK, said: “It’s great to have Jeff Smith’s support with raising awareness of how people can reduce their risk of cancer.

“There are a lot of things working against us when it comes to making healthier choices. We’re all bombarded by advertising of junk foods packed with extra calories and this leads kids to pester their parents to buy unhealthy food for them.

“That’s why we’re calling on Government to introduce a number of measures to protect the health of the nation’s children, including removing junk food advertising on TV before the 9pm watershed.

“Obese children are more likely to be obese as adults, so it’s vital that young people are encouraged to eat healthily and keep active and that healthy choices are easy to make.”

To support the Junk Free TV campaign, visit cruk.org/junkfreetv.

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Jeff Smith MP helps constituents to get gas and electricity under control with smart meters

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Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith showed support for the smart meter rollout at a briefing in Parliament last week.

By 2020, every home in Britain will be offered a smart meter at no additional cost.  Smart meters provide accurate bills in real time, showing your gas and electricity usage in pounds and pence. With this information consumers will know exactly how much the next bill will be, and will no longer received estimated bills based on manual meter readings.

A recent customer survey showed that more than eight in ten people with a smart meter would recommend the technology to a friend, neighbour or relative, and nearly four in five (79 per cent) are confident that their bills are accurate, whereas only 59 per cent of those without feel the same.

Jeff Smith said: “Smart meters will give us all much more control of what we spend on gas and electricity, and finally put an end to estimated bills.

I was delighted to see first-hand how smart meters will benefit my constituents. I encourage everyone to visit Smart Energy GB’s website or visit their local Post Office branch to pick up a leaflet to find out more about smart meters.”

To find out more about the smart meter rollout, contact your energy supplier, pick up a leaflet from your local Post Office branch or visit www.smartenergygb.org/get-yours.

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Jeff Smith MP calls on Government to act on cardiovascular diseases in Manchester

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Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith urged the Government to tackle high rates of premature deaths due to cardiovascular diseases in Manchester.

NHS figures released last week showed that 142 people per 100,000 in Manchester die prematurely due to a cardiovascular disease, nearly double the national average. 

Manchester has retained its position as having the highest rates of premature deaths from a heart attack or a stroke in the country, with 372 people dying of cardiovascular diseases in 2014.

Jeff called on the Government to make time to debate the specific drivers of cardiovascular disease in the region, given that almost all areas of Greater Manchester had higher than average results.

Commenting on the figures, Jeff said: ‘You are more likely to die prematurely of a cardiovascular disease in Manchester than anywhere else in the country.

These figures represent the continuation of a worrying pattern for the Greater Manchester region and remind us that urgent action is needed.

The Government should act quickly to assess the specific drivers of cardiovascular disease in the region and work with Manchester City Council to reverse this concerning trend.’

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Jeff Smith MP supports devolution plan to improve the lived experience of people with dementia in Greater Manchester

Jeff Smith MP for Manchester Withington joined other MP’s from across Greater Manchester for a parliamentary briefing about plans underway to make Greater Manchester the best place for people with dementia and their carers to live.

As part of the historic Greater Manchester devolution agreement, dementia has been set as an early priority for health and social care reform in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority area. Sir David Dalton, Chief Executive of Salford Royal Foundation Trust, is leading a dementia transformation programme called ‘Dementia United’. Over the next five years, this programme of work aims to bring together partners from across Greater Manchester to improve the experiences of people with dementia and reduce pressure on the health and social care system.

George McNamara, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Alzheimer’s Society said: “Across Greater Manchester Alzheimer’s Society has been working to support this project, which we believe has the potential not only to transform dementia care in Greater Manchester, but to serve as a catalyst to improve life for people affected by dementia nationally.

Over the next five years Dementia United will work with partners from across the 10 Greater Manchester boroughs, as well as people with dementia and carers, voluntary sector groups, providers, academics and businesses to meet this ambition. The programme is likely to include piloting new key worker models; developing new assistive technology; regularly monitoring and comparing data from across Greater Manchester to reduce variance in dementia care; and ensuring people with dementia and carers are at the heart of designing the programme.”

Jeff Smith MP said: “It was great to join colleagues from across Greater Manchester at the Alzheimer’s Society’s parliamentary briefing on Wednesday to hear about the changes taking place in Greater Manchester to transform dementia support and the developments that are expected over the next five years.

I support plans to ensure that every person with dementia, and, every carer gets the high quality support and care they deserve in Manchester Withington. Together, we can make Greater Manchester a world leader when it comes to dementia.”

 

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Jeff Smith supports free trees in schools scheme

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Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith is promoting a scheme run by the Woodland Trust to plant 400,000 new trees in primary schools around the country.

The new scheme offers state-funded primary schools a free trees pack with everything they need to start planting, and guidance on how to make their school grounds and communities greener. 

The pack includes help with finding a space to plant the trees, information on how to protect the trees and help them grow, and on-line resources to support teachers to plan lessons on the environment.

Beccy Speight, Chief Executive of The Woodland Trust said: “It’s vitally important that children get the chance to plant a tree. We know from our research it’s a memory they’ll treasure for years to come, and often starts their relationship off with the natural world and all the benefits that brings. 

This scheme offers schools which have found it hard in the past a new way to plant trees, and bring an oasis of green into their community.”

Jeff Smith said: “This scheme is a fantastic way to encourage children to learn about nature while making their school grounds greener. 

I’m encouraging all eligible primary schools to apply for a free tree pack and start planting!”

Apply for a free tree pack on the Woodland Trust website here. The deadline for applications in September 7th.

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Jeff Smith calls for London-style bus franchising in Greater Manchester

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Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith joined Transport for Greater Manchester in Parliament to show support for the upcoming Buses Bill.

Announced in this year’s Queen’s Speech, the Buses Bill will give the elected Mayor of Manchester the power to introduce a London-style bus franchising system.  Analysts at the think-tank IPPR predict that the bill could bring ticket prices down, pave the way for an Oyster-card equivalent in Manchester, and allow the Mayor to provide new routes in suburban areas.

Jeff said: ‘I’m pleased to join Transport for Greater Manchester to show our support for the devolution of bus franchising powers to Greater Manchester.

In Manchester, we’ve been calling for the same powers as London for many years so I’m glad that the Government has finally agreed.

The Buses Bill could be the first step towards the flexible and interconnected transport system that Manchester so desperately needs.’

Jeff raised the potential benefits of the Buses Bill in his response to the Queen’s Speech earlier this year.  Read the full speech here.

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Jeff Smith urges constituents to have their say on West Coast Rail Franchise

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Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith has called on Manchester residents to share their views and concerns on train services during the new consultation on the InterCity West Coast (ICWC) franchise.

The West Coast franchise connects Manchester to London, Birmingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh, making it the most important intercity passenger route in the UK.  The contract is currently held by Virgin Trains, but is due to end in April 2018.

Local businesses and passengers are invited to make submissions to the consultation document.  Passengers are asked for their views on areas such as train timetabling, the price of tickets, the frequency of the services, and the accessibility of stations and trains.  These views will form the backbone of  the guidelines issued to companies bidding to run the service later this year.

Jeff Smith said: ‘The Intercity West Coast franchise helps Manchester remain the thriving commercial and social hub that it is today.

It is vital that Manchester residents have their say, and I'm encouraging all constituents to feed into the document and make their views heard. This is our chance to shape our train service for the future.’

The consultation is open until August 2nd and can be found here.

 

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Jeff Smith helps celebrate Solar Independence Day

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Solar Independence Day is an annual celebration of solar energy run by the Solar Trade Association. This year it is being run as a social media event where people can take photos of themselves with solar and post on social media to show their support for solar power, and local MP Jeff Smith is encouraging south Manchester residents to get involved.

Jeff is pictured at Parrs Wood High School where he supported their plans to become one of the first ‘solar schools’ in the country.

Jeff Smith said:

“The benefits of solar energy are clear give us: independence from high energy prices by reducing our bills; and independence from energy imports from overseas by giving us a domestic source of energy; it’s also much more environmentally friendly source of energy than traditional fossil fuels.

“There are currently over 800,000 homes with solar panels on their roofs and 200,000 homes with solar thermal hot water panels. The UK has achieved a lot –  with one million solar homes in total but with the Government limiting its support, the UK solar industry is going through a difficult time at the moment. With time running out to avoid dangerous climate change it’s vital we encourage home owners, housing associations and businesses to take up solar energy.

“Solar Independence Day is a great opportunity for people to come together and show their support through social media.” 

 

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Jeff Smith takes part in Fast-a-thon Challenge to raise awareness of crisis in Syria

This Friday, Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith will fast as part of Syria Solidarity UK and Rethink Rebuild Society’s ‘fast-a-thon’ challenge.

The fast-a-thon campaign seeks to raise the profile of the 1 million Syrians currently under siege in Syria without access to humanitarian aid.  Any money raised will go to the work of Rethink Rebuild, a community organisation based in Manchester that runs community support groups for Syrians in Manchester and advocates on behalf of Syrians abroad.

Commenting on the campaign Jeff said: ‘I’m taking part in the fast-a-thon challenge to raise awareness of the daily suffering of the Syrian people. 

I hope my fast will act as a gesture of solidarity with Syrians across the world and I wish them all the best as they observe Ramadan.’

You can donate to Rethink Rebuild’s work via the crowdfunding page here.

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UK Votes to Leave the European Union – Comment from Jeff Smith MP

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As a Manchester MP and a Mancunian, I come from a diverse and proudly international city.

In the referendum on membership of the EU, Manchester voted to Remain by 121,823 votes (60.4%) to 79,991 votes (39.6%). I campaigned hard for a remain vote, and it’s bitterly disappointing that the UK as a whole voted to leave the European Union.

Hundreds of people have already contacted me about the call for a second referendum and over 4 million people have signed a national petition, which means it will be considered for a Parliamentary debate. I look forward to this debate and the opportunity to highlight the implications of this referendum for the country and for our communities.

We faced a Leave campaign that was fuelled by fear and lies about our NHS, levels of immigration and access to the single market.  These claims are now being exposed as Nigel Farage and Ian Duncan-Smith U-turn on the promise to give £350 million extra funding to the NHS and the Leave campaign admits that leaving the EU may not reduce levels of immigration.

I’m concerned about the impact that these lies and the Leave side’s poisonous campaign will have on our society.  I’m horrified to hear of attacks on immigrants in the past few days and following the disgraceful racist incidents we have seen in recent days, we should be clearer than ever that people from all backgrounds are welcome in our city.

We now need to be focused on securing the best future for the UK. 

In the light of the economic uncertainty cause by the vote, these are going to be difficult times for Manchester but our priorities must be to stabilise the local economy, ensure jobs are protected, and avoid further cuts to our public services. We must build city-city and region-region links in other EU countries to ensure that Manchester’s European links are maintained. 

We must reflect on the issues that were raised in this campaign such as low wages, the lack of social housing, insecure jobs and inadequate public services.

This result must galvanise us to provide a strong opposition to this Government and ensure that Manchester’s voice is heard in the negotiations.

I still strongly believe that our future would be best served by remaining in the EU, and while we must accept the result of this referendum, I will look carefully at any options that are available to undo the damage caused by the vote to leave.

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