In a debate on the Local Government Finance Bill, Jeff called the legislation a ‘missed opportunity to properly support local government’.
The Bill outlines how, by 2020, all councils will be able to retain 100% of the revenue raised from business rates. The Bill has been criticised for not providing details on the redistribution mechanism that will be necessary to ensure that the most deprived areas, who can raise substantially less revenue, are not left worse off. Westminster, for example, can raise £1.8bn in business rates revenue, more than Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool and Bristol combined.
The Bill also does not contain any new local government funding, despite the fact that local councils are facing a £5.8bn shortfall by 2020, including a £2.6bn deficit in adult social care funding.
Speaking in the debate, Jeff said: “During my time as Executive Member for Finance at Manchester City Council, I saw first-hand the damage done to local government by the Lib Dem/Tory coalition.
This Bill provides no solutions to the funding crisis facing local government and does nothing to help the most deprived communities that have been hit the hardest by austerity.
I will need to see far more detail before I’m convinced that this is the right Bill for Manchester.”
You can watch Jeff’s speech in the debate here.
In a debate on the Local Government Finance Bill, Jeff called the legislation a ‘missed opportunity to properly support local government’. The Bill outlines how, by 2020, all councils will...
Last week, Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith chaired an expert panel on the future of the creative industries in the North.
Bringing together experts from TV, film and other media, the panel discussed the major challenges lying ahead for the creative sector. Panellists discussed how Brexit, digitalisation and new international market competitors are issues for the sector and how start-ups and SMEs in the North can attract investment.
Commenting following the event Jeff said: “As a former DJ and events producer in Manchester, I know the creative potential of our city and the value of a vibrant creative sector to our economy and our society.
There are over 8,000 digital and creative businesses in Greater Manchester, generating £2bn in economic output and supporting more than 45,000 jobs.
We’re in a great position to build on the rich cultural history of our city, but we must ensure creative businesses have access to the finance, training infrastructure and talent they need to grow.”
Last week, Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith chaired an expert panel on the future of the creative industries in the North. Bringing together experts from TV, film and other media,...
Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith is supporting a new resource for parents to help keep children safe on Facebook.
Facebook has collaborated with cyber security and child safeguarding experts to design a new information hub for parents to help them ensure their child is using Facebook safely.
How to prevent online bullying, block explicit or offensive content and safeguard against cyber fraud are all included in the toolkit, alongside educational facilities for children and adolescents themselves.
Jeff said: “The internet can be a fantastic resource for young people, bringing a world of possibilities and information.
However, parents understandably have concerns that their children may be exposed to dangerous content and placed at risk of abuse.
Resources like Facebook’s Parent Portal are a useful way to reassure parents that their children can enjoy the benefits that the Internet brings while staying safe online.”
You can access the Parent Portal here.
Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith is supporting a new resource for parents to help keep children safe on Facebook. Facebook has collaborated with cyber security and child safeguarding experts to...
Jeff Smith MP visited a Guide Dogs event in Parliament recently to show his support for taxi and minicab drivers receiving disability equality training when getting their licence.
At the event, guide dog owners told the MP for Manchester Withington how taxi and minicab drivers refused to carry them because they had their guide dog with them. They explained that they had missed important appointments due to the refusals and how it had left them anxious and reluctant to use taxis and minicabs again.
Although the Equality Act 2010 makes it illegal for a taxi or minicab driver to refuse to carry an assistance dog, Guide Dogs research found that 42% of people living with sight loss were turned away by a taxi or minicab in the last year because of their guide dog. The research also uncovered that 38% of assistance dog owners have illegally been asked to pay an extra fare for carrying their dog.
Guide Dogs is calling for disability equality training to be made a requirement for all taxi and minicab drivers to help them understand the rights and needs of disabled people and how to welcome assistance dog owners. A Private Member’s Bill that sought to introduce such training was debated on 18th November but was not voted on due to a lack of time.
Jeff commented: “It is very disappointing to hear from so many people who are illegally turned away from taxis and minicabs because they travel with an assistance dog.
We’re asking the Government to act to ensure all taxi and minicab drivers receive disability equality training so they are aware of the law and how to assist their disabled customers in the right way.”
James White, Senior Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs, commented: “Imagine you were turned away by a taxi driver or asked to pay an extra fare, for no good reason. Despite legal protection, this regularly happens to people living with sight loss because they are travelling with a guide dog.
“This discrimination is not only illegal, it knocks people’s confidence and can stop them doing everyday things that most people take for granted.
“We are very disappointed that we didn’t see a vote on the Disability Equality Training Bill. We were encouraged by the Government’s supportive comments and hope they will take action to introduce training for all taxi and minicab drivers.”
Jeff Smith MP visited a Guide Dogs event in Parliament recently to show his support for taxi and minicab drivers receiving disability equality training when getting their licence. At the event,...
Jeff visited St Paul’s C of E Primary School on Friday to present a prize to the winner of his Christmas card competition for 2016. Nikita Biju from Year 6 at St Paul’s (pictured above) was the overall winner.
Here is the winning design from Nikita that has been printed on Jeff’s card this year. It has gone to local community groups, businesses and residents in South Manchester.
Jeff commented after meeting Nikita:
“Thank you to all the children and schools who took part this year in my Christmas card competition – the standard was extremely high once again and judging was difficult. Well done to Nikita, and to all the runners up too”
“I would also like to take the opportunity to wish everyone in the constituency a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”
The runners up for the competition were:
Afaf Odeh, Mauldeth Road Primary School, Withington
Alice Millard, Chorlton Park Primary School, Chorlton
Charlotte Blomfield, Didsbury C of E Primary School, Didsbury
Natalia Guttadauro, Barlow Hall Primary School, Chorlton
Laiba Hussain, Mauldeth Road Primary School, Withington
Jeff’s Christmas card in 2016 was sponsored by WH Frost Butchers and Barakah Foods in Chorlton. Prizes were donated by Khandoker Restaurant and Giddy Goat Toys from Didsbury.
Thank you to all the local businesses for their support this year.
Jeff visited St Paul’s C of E Primary School on Friday to present a prize to the winner of his Christmas card competition for 2016. Nikita Biju from Year 6...
In a debate in parliament last week, Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith urged the Government to meet the challenge of air pollution in the UK.
Poor air quality causes 40,000 premature deaths per year in the UK and has proven links with cancer, asthma, strokes and heart disease. 3,000 schools in the UK are on sites with dangerous levels of air pollution, with 1 in 4 school children in London being exposed to unsafe air.
The High Court ruled last month that the Government had failed to produce adequate plans to meet its international air quality targets. As a result, the Government is now reconsidering its policy on air pollution, with revised plans due in the New Year.
Manchester City Council have opened a Task and Finish group into air quality in Manchester, working with Jeff and environmental campaigners, businesses and local government officials to see what steps can be taken locally to tackle the problem.
In a debate responding to the latest report on air quality from the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, Jeff pushed the Government to support growing Northern cities like Manchester and called for a national diesel car scrappage scheme to take older, high-emission vehicles off the road.
Speaking in the debate, Jeff said:
“Last month’s High Court ruling was a damning indictment of the Government’s failure to tackle air pollution.
The Government’s approach now has to change, and working with growing urban centres like Greater Manchester will be vital to the success of any revised plans.
I’m calling on the Government to show leadership on this issue by looking again at a Clean Air Zone in Greater Manchester and a national car scrappage scheme for high-emission diesel vehicles.
I’m looking forward to working with Manchester City Council on a new inquiry into air quality in Manchester, consulting with environmental experts to find effective local solutions to go alongside the necessary changes in national policy.
After losing two cases in two years at the High Court, there is now no place to hide for the Government on air pollution.”
You can read Jeff’s speech here.
“Air pollution in the UK is a public health crisis” – Jeff Smith urges Government to act on poor air quality in the UK
In a debate in parliament last week, Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith urged the Government to meet the challenge of air pollution in the UK. Poor air quality causes 40,000...
Please note that over the Christmas Period the office will be closed from Friday 23 December 4pm - Tuesday 3rd January 10am.
There will also be no advice surgery on Friday 23rd December due to Burnage Library being closed.
Please do not hesitate to leave a message on the answerphone or send an email, as both will be monitored regularly over the Christmas period.
Please note that over the Christmas Period the office will be closed from Friday 23 December 4pm - Tuesday 3rd January 10am. There will also be no advice surgery on Friday...
On the 30 year anniversary of bus deregulation, campaigners are calling on MPs to ‘take control of our buses’ by opposing the government ban on new public bus companies.
The government wants the Bus Services Bill currently being debated to include clause 21 which would stop English local authorities from setting up new municipal bus companies. The clause was defeated in the House of Lords but is expected to be introduced again in the Commons.
Since deregulation, fares have risen well above inflation and many routes have been cut. Fares in England (outside London) rose by 35 per cent above inflation between 1995 and 2013 and Bus mileage on local authority supported services in England outside London dropped by 12.3 per cent just in the last year.
While buses are privatised in most towns and cities across the UK, there are 12 local authority-owned bus companies, for examples in Edinburgh, Nottingham and Blackpool. In 4 of the last 5 years, local authority run buses have won Bus Operator of the Year at the Bus Awards. Municipal bus companies are common in other European countries such as Austria, France and Germany.
Jeff said: “Deregulation of the bus network has been a failure for Greater Manchester. While Oxford Road is one of the busiest routes in Europe with many different operators, some suburban areas are left without any service at all.
The Bus Services Bill is a promising first step towards the flexible and interconnected transport system Manchester so desperately needs. I welcome plans for London-style bus franchising powers for Manchester and across the country, but the Government must allow Local Authorities to play a leading role in designing a system to meet passenger needs."
Cat Hobbs, Director of We Own It said: "It's absurd that after 30 years of the failures of private bus companies, the government is ruling out new public ownership of buses.
It's time to take control of our buses and run them for people not profit. All councils should be not just allowed but encouraged to follow the lead of the public ownership success stories in Nottingham and Reading."
Daniel Zeichner MP, Labour’s Shadow Local Transport Minister, said: “Thanks to the damage done by deregulation, bus companies have been able to put profit above passengers for the past 30 years.
The Tories said deregulation would improve our buses but the proof has been in the pudding: rising fares, plummeting patronage and too many areas where pensioners have a bus pass but no bus. London rejected deregulation and has a much better service today.
Commercial operators can simply pull a route or service and stretched local authorities are left to pick up the pieces. With the Bus Services Bill soon to arrive in the House of Commons, Labour will be fighting to change that.”
On the 30 year anniversary of bus deregulation, campaigners are calling on MPs to ‘take control of our buses’ by opposing the government ban on new public bus companies. The government wants the...
Jeff Smith, MP for Manchester Withington, showed his support for women and men living with breast cancer this October by attending the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer’s (APPGBC) Reception in parliament.
More people are developing breast cancer than ever before – with 50,000 women and around 350 men diagnosed every year in the UK – and around 11,500 patients lose their lives to the disease each year.
The APPGBC reception was held in support of October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, to keep the issues that matter most to breast cancer patients high on the parliamentary agenda. The APPGBC also announced the launch of a new parliamentary inquiry into geographical inequalities in breast cancer services across England.
Currently, while breast cancer patients should receive the same high level of treatment across England, unfortunately this is often not the case. Many patients receive varying levels of care depending on where in the country they live, with inequalities throughout the patient pathway, from early diagnosis through to treatment and survival.
Jeff said: “The UK has some of the best cancer care institutions in the world, including the Christie Hospital in my constituency.
However there is too much variation across the UK so the APPGBC’s inquiry into geographical inequalities in breast cancer services is vital.
I’m looking forward to seeing the findings of the inquiry and ultimately finding ways to improve care for all patients, wherever they live.”
Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said:
“It was heartening to see so many MPs, peers, civil servants, healthcare professionals and patients come together to support those affected by breast cancer.
“Breast Cancer Awareness Month may have drawn to a close, but our work to save lives and to improve patients’ experiences across the country must now continue.
“We are so grateful to Jeff Smith for his continued support both for breast cancer research and for women and men living with this dreadful disease.”
Jeff Smith, MP for Manchester Withington, showed his support for women and men living with breast cancer this October by attending the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer’s (APPGBC) Reception...
Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith has backed campaigns to encourage retailers and high streets to provide more seating for elderly people in public spaces.
Anchor, the largest not-for-profit provider of housing and care for older people, is launching a campaign following new research showing that many shopping centres are currently inaccessible for older people due to the lack of seating and resting areas.
The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of the issue and encourage retailers, councils and shopping centres to ‘Stand up 4 Sitting Down’ and pledge to increase the amount of seating available.
Jeff said: “Ensuring that elderly people feel able to enjoy our high streets is important to our community and to our local economy.
We already have a great example of this in action locally through Southway Housing's Old Moat age friendly campaign, which has persuaded shops in Withington village to provide seating for older residents to use.
I support Anchor's campaign and I’m encouraging all local retailers to think about how they can make all our high streets more accessible.”
You can find out more about the campaign, and get involved, here.
Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith has backed campaigns to encourage retailers and high streets to provide more seating for elderly people in public spaces. Anchor, the largest not-for-profit provider of...