At a meeting in Westminster, Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith has backed Transport for the North’s 30-year plan to upgrade rail links between Northern cities, and called on the Government match TfN’s ambition with investment and new devolved powers.
The new plan centres on the Norther Powerhouse Rail link that will stretch from Liverpool to Leeds. It will ensure that 1.3 million people can reach the North’s four largest cities (Bradford, Leeds, Liverpool & Manchester) in less than an hour. Currently that figures stands at 10,000.
Transport for the North estimate that the service from Liverpool to Manchester could take just 28 minutes on the new line, compared to 50 minutes at the moment.
Commenting on the plan, Jeff said: “For too long, the North has been starved of transport investment – Londoners receive £1,500 more per person in transport investment than those living in the North
This strategy is a crucial intervention to redress that balance – now the Government must back the plan.
That means providing the investment we need to implement the plan, as well as upgrading Transport for the North’s status so that it can directly control transport investment and raise its own funds.
Anything less will be yet more evidence that this Government has given up on the Northern Powerhouse.”
At a meeting in Westminster, Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith has backed Transport for the North’s 30-year plan to upgrade rail links between Northern cities, and called on the Government...
Jeff Smith, MP for Manchester Withington, has backed an ambitious £1.5 billion plan to transform Greater Manchester into a world-class region for cycling and walking.
His support comes after Greater Manchester’s first Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Chris Boardman MBE, appointed by Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, presented his ‘Made to Move’ report at a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group in Westminster on January 23.
Made to Move sets out how Greater Manchester intends to lead the way in increasing levels of cycling and walking. The report, which was initially presented to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) by Chris in December, outlines how cycling and walking can help improve air quality, tackle congestion and boost public health and wellbeing across the region.
The 15-point plan includes proposals to establish a ring-fenced, 10-year, £1.5 billion infrastructure fund for walking and cycling and to publish a detailed 2018 Greater Manchester-wide walking and cycling infrastructure plan. This would bring Greater Manchester’s spend on cycling and walking in line with other major conurbations, including London and Oslo.
Chris’s proposals – which he suggests would take Greater Manchester to 2050 – build on research indicating that a significant majority of Greater Manchester residents (77%) are in favour of more protected cycle lanes, even if it means less road space for other road traffic.
‘Bike Life Greater Manchester 2017’, published in November 2017 by sustainable travel charity Sustrans and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), also identified that almost seven in 10 people say Greater Manchester would be a better place to live and work if more people cycled.
Jeff said: “I am impressed by the ambitious plans in Chris' Made to Move report, which will hopefully encourage more people to walk and cycle across south Manchester.
“Obviously, his plans will not be implemented overnight but this is a great start. I’m confident that this level of investment in the long term will help improve the health, wellbeing and environment for people across Manchester.
Chris Boardman said: “There’s no doubt that Made to Move is an incredibly ambitious but wholly deliverable plan to get Greater Manchester moving by bike and walking, and I’m really pleased that Jeff is supporting it.
“The Mayor of Greater Manchester tasked me with thinking creatively, challenging assumptions and pushing the boundaries of what should be possible. My proposals, the product of many months of work, will ease congestion on our overcrowded roads, improve our general health and wellbeing and help us breathe cleaner air in a greener region.
“It will require significant support, but the decades of improved living that we, our children and grandchildren will be able enjoy will make it worthwhile.”
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, said: “This is a bold and ambitious plan to get people cycling and walking.
“Investing in cycling and walking will not only improve the air that we breathe, it will help tackle our crippling congestion problem and improve our health, wellbeing and environment.”
To read and download the Made to Move report, visit the GMCA website.
Jeff Smith, MP for Manchester Withington, has backed an ambitious £1.5 billion plan to transform Greater Manchester into a world-class region for cycling and walking. His support comes after Greater...
Manchester Withington MP and Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Mental Health Jeff Smith has called out the Prime Minister for the ‘yawning gap’ between her rhetoric and the reality of mental health services.
In Prime Minister’s Questions, Jeff raised the case of a constituent whose son was taken to A&E during a mental health crisis earlier this year. She was told that the nearest bed was in West Sussex, 215 miles away from her home in Burnage, Manchester.
Out-of-area beds - Out-of-area mental health placements are becoming more frequent than ever, as the number of specialist beds falls under this Government. There are currently 18,353 mental health beds in the UK - 2.5% lower than last year, 16.7% lower than five years ago, and 32% lower than ten years ago.
As a result, the number of people being send out of their area for mental health treatment increased almost 40% last year. These beds are frequently in private hospitals, with the NHS spending £159 million in 2016/17 in commissioning mental health beds in private settings (up 47% from 2014/15).
Manchester - Manchester Mental Health Trust (MMHT) is one of the worst affected areas by the squeeze on funding for mental health beds, ranking the highest in out-of-area placements of anywhere outside London. MMHT doubled the amount it spent on commissioning out-of-area beds over the last two years from £3 million to £6 million.
Commenting after PMQs, Jeff said: “The tragic case of my constituent Carol and her son highlights the yawning gap between the Prime Minister’s rhetoric on mental health and the reality on the ground.
Almost a year ago to the day the Prime Minister announced her plan to ‘transform’ mental health services but our NHS is spending more today on commissioning out-of-area private beds than ever before.
People in crisis need support networks close by but for my constituent, seeing her son means a 450 mile round-trip. Unfortunately, her case is far from unique with 6,000 people in crisis sent as far as 587 miles to get the treatment they needed last year.
A Labour government would ring-fence mental health budgets to ensure that funding reaches the frontline and bring treatment closer to home by ending out-of-area placements.
Unless she makes the same commitments, the Prime Minister’s warm words on mental health will never become a reality.”
Manchester Withington MP and Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Mental Health Jeff Smith has called out the Prime Minister for the ‘yawning gap’ between her rhetoric and the...
Raising the case of constituent Anthony Molyneux in a speech in parliament on the treatment of SMEs by Royal Bank of Scotland's Global Restructuring Group, Jeff said:
"Mr Molyneux’s experience is one of the thousands of cases in which RBS has put its profits before small businesses that needed, expected and deserved its support to turn their businesses around.
It is clear from this debate that my constituent’s experience is one of many examples in which SMEs have been the victims of a banking sector that is focused solely on profit, not on supporting its customers or our wider economy.
I want to add my voice to that of those calling for a proper inquiry into the scandal, and a proper tribunal system for dealing with SMEs that are in difficulty."
"These businesses needed, expected, and deserved RBS's support" - Jeff's speech on RBS Global Restructuring Group
Raising the case of constituent Anthony Molyneux in a speech in parliament on the treatment of SMEs by Royal Bank of Scotland's Global Restructuring Group, Jeff said: "Mr Molyneux’s experience...
Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith has shown his support for a campaign from Manchester Islamic High School for Girls to collect food for a local food bank.
Manchester Islamic High School for Girls are asking people to donate food (full list of items below) to the school at 55 High Lane, Manchester, M21 9FA between 9am – 3:15pm. The deadline for all items is 25th January.
Jeff said: “I’d like to commend the pupils from Manchester Islamic High School for Girls for their initiative to collect food for vulnerable people in Manchester and Salford.
Although of course it is disappointing that there is a demand for food banks in Manchester, it’s great to see the school play such a strong role helping the local community.”
Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith has shown his support for a campaign from Manchester Islamic High School for Girls to collect food for a local food bank. Manchester Islamic High...
Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith will be in parliament this Friday (19 Jan) to support the Bill being introduced by Labour MP Karen Buck which will give renters a new legal right to ensure their home is ‘fit for human habitation’.
The new legislation, long campaigned for by Labour, could help renters in 162,000 dangerously unfit properties across the North West. Nationally, there are over one million rented properties containing the most serious ‘category 1’ hazards, including homes that have unsafe electrics, vermin infestations, or aren’t fire safe. The Labour Bill will give tenants new legal powers to enforce their right to a decent home by taking their landlord to court if the property they live in is not fit.
This change in the law has been backed by Labour previously and was included in the Party’s June manifesto but has been blocked by the Tories on two previous occasions. However, following a Labour campaign, the government now say they will support the legislation.
Jeff said: “It’s shocking to hear that 14% of all homes across the North West are currently unfit for human habitation.
This Government has given bad landlords free reign to let inappropriate and often dangerous properties without fear of reprisal.
This Bill would change that, giving renters the rights they need to hold their landlords to account.”
Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, John Healey MP said:
“Our homes are at the centre of our lives but at the moment renters too often don’t have the basic rights that we take for granted in other areas.
“In practice you have fewer rights renting a family home than you do buying a fridge-freezer, and decisions made by Conservative Ministers have made it easier for bad landlords to let unfit homes. As a result, too many people are forced to put up with downright dangerous housing.
“After the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower, it’s even more important that we ensure all homes are fit for human habitation."
Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith will be in parliament this Friday (19 Jan) to support the Bill being introduced by Labour MP Karen Buck which will give renters a new...
Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith has today backed the Private Members Bill put forward by Labour MP John Spellar calling for greater protections for live music venues.
In particular, the Bill aims to enshrine the ‘agent of change’ principle into law. The principle protects venues by placing the person or business responsible for any change accountable for managing the impact of that change.
For example, if an apartment block is built near an established live music venue, it is the developer who would have to manage the costs to the new tenants. Similarly if a music venue upgrades its sound system, it would be their responsibility to ensure noise emissions don’t increase as a result. At the moment UK law says that whoever is making a nuisance is always responsible for managing the cost.
Commenting on the Bill, Jeff said: “From the Sex Pistols at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in 1976 to iconic nights at the Hacienda, live music has always been at the heart of Manchester’s history and culture.
Unfortunately, live music venues are under threat across the country and without legal protection, more and more will feel the financial pressure to close.
John’s Bill is a crucial step towards ensuring developers take responsibility for the environmental change that arise from new developments.
As a former DJ and events producer, I hope the Government listens to the concerns raised in the Bill, as well as those in the sector such as the Music Venues Trust, and backs the Bill.”
Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith has today backed the Private Members Bill put forward by Labour MP John Spellar calling for greater protections for live music venues. In particular, the...
Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith has been elected co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy Reform.
A cross-party group of MPs and Members of the House of Lords, the Group aims to influence policymakers in Westminster and Whitehall to adopt drug policies that are focused on harm reduction and led by the evidence on the ground.
Jeff said – “It’s clear that our drug laws aren’t working – 2016 saw the highest number of drug deaths on record and the UK is now responsible for a third of all drug deaths in Europe.
A growing international consensus that prohibition is failing, paired with the effects of austerity on our drug treatment services here in the UK, is leading more and more people towards new thinking on drug policy.
I’m looking forward to learning from the experiences of our international partners and making the case in parliament that it is time for progressive reform of our drug laws.”
Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith has been elected co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy Reform. A cross-party group of MPs and Members of the House of Lords,...
Tilly Ronald from Year 6 at Brookburn Primary School has won Jeff's annual Christmas Card competition this year. Her festive bee winning design was a very inventive entry and Jeff visited her school today (Friday) to present her with her certificate and prize. Jeff commented:
"Thank you to all the schools who entered my competition once again this year. I received 100s of entries and the creativity in all the designs was of a really high standard. It was great to see the Manchester Bee feature on the winning entry after all that has happened in our city this last year. Well done to Tilly for her winning entry and to all the runners up from other local schools too. May I take this opportunity to wish everyone in my constituency a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year"
Jeff's card was sponsored by Julian Wadden, Khandoker Restaurant and Sanskruti Restaturant in 2017.
Tilly Ronald from Year 6 at Brookburn Primary School has won Jeff's annual Christmas Card competition this year. Her festive bee winning design was a very inventive entry and Jeff visited...