Jeff Smith

Standing up for Manchester Withington

News

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Last week Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith joined the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaigners and UNISON in calling on the government to introduce transitional arrangements for all women affected by changes in the state pension age in the budget.

MPs from most political parties signed this pledge, representing the widespread concern of parliamentarians of this issue.  The campaign is fighting for compensation for women born on or after 6 April 1951 who are facing hardship in retirement as a result of the government’s changes to their state pension age.

The 1995 Pensions Act increased women’s state pension age to 65, the same as men’s. At the time, many organisations recommended that the government should ensure that the women affected were given fair notice of the changes.

These recommendations were ignored by the government and as a result hundreds of thousands of women have had no time to make alternative arrangements and their plans for retirement have been shattered.

Commenting at the event, Jeff said: “It is totally unacceptable that these women are heading for financial hardship in retirement because the government failed to communicate the changes with them effectively.

The government must reconsider their stance on this important issue and implement fair transitional State Pension arrangements so that these women get the retirement they deserve.”

Jeff calls for fair treatment for WASPI women

Last week Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith joined the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaigners and UNISON in calling on the government to introduce transitional arrangements for all women...

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Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith and Harry Potter actor Jason Isaacs have joined forces to ‘Make Every Daffodil Count’ and help Marie Curie provide care and support to people living with a terminal illness.

Jeff pledged his support to the daffodil appeal and is encouraging local people to help the charity raise more money than ever before by simply giving a donation and wearing a Marie Curie daffodil pin, available from volunteers across the country, or Superdrug, Spar and Poundworld stores, and Wyevale Garden Centres, during March.  

Jeff said: “Marie Cure staff provide vital care for more than 50,000 people living with terminal illnesses across the UK.

Their nurses and hospices are renowned for the specialist medical knowledge and emotional support they provide, so I’m happy to be supporting this year’s Daffodil appeal.”

Jason, who is best known for playing Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, said: “I’m delighted to be here with Jeff to help launch Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal.

“Please help us make every daffodil count.  The charity is also calling on more people to help with local collections.  Volunteering a couple hours of your time will make such a difference to the care and support that Marie Curie can provide.”

Scott Sinclair, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Marie Curie, said: “Having the support of Jeff and Jason makes a huge difference to Marie Curie in terms of raising awareness about what we do and helping us to reach more people who need us.

“One in four people miss out on the care and support they need at the end of life.  We don’t think that's good enough. That’s why we are asking MPs to help support our annual Marie Curie fundraising appeal to help enable us to reach more people affected by terminal illness.”

“Our services rely on charitable donations, so I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who gives a donation and wears a daffodil pin during March.”

Sally Monger Godfrey, Marie Curie Nurse and face of The Great Daffodil Appeal, said: “Make every daffodil count. Your daffodil means I can care for someone in their own home, and be there for them through the night. You make a difference to people at the end of their lives, which in many ways is just as important as at the start.”

For more information about volunteering for a local collection call 0800 304 7025 or visit www.mariecurie.org.uk/daffodil

Jeff ‘Makes Every Daffodil Count’ for Marie Curie

Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith and Harry Potter actor Jason Isaacs have joined forces to ‘Make Every Daffodil Count’ and help Marie Curie provide care and support to people living...

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Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith has backed the campaign for automatic voter registration at all Higher Education institutions, following figures published last week that show the loss of almost 5,000 voters in the constituency between 2015 and 2016.

Electoral Commission reports show that young people are vastly under-represented on the electoral register, particularly students who do not register while at university.  Although voter registration in the country rose sharply in advance of the EU Referendum, student registration has remained low.

An amendment to the Higher Education and Research Bill from Labour Peer Baroness Royall seeks to make it easier for students to register to vote by requiring universities to offer students the opportunity to register to vote at the point of enrolment or re-registration as a student at their university.  This idea was first put forward by Labour MP Paul Blomfield, but it was defeated by the Government.

This amendment will now be considered by the House of Commons, and the Labour Party is pressing the government to add it to the Bill.

Commenting on the figures, Jeff said: “It is deeply worrying that Manchester Withington lost almost 5,000 voters between 2015 and 2016, more than any other constituency in the UK.

We have a large student community in the constituency, many of whom may never have been made aware of how to register to vote during their studies.

This amendment is vital in ensuring that students’ voices are heard while at university and I hope the government listens to Labour Party and accepts changes to the Bill.

It is important that everyone in Manchester Withington registers to vote. It’s quick and easy - you can register in just three minutes by going to www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.”  

Jeff backs campaign to implement automatic voter registration in all universities

Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith has backed the campaign for automatic voter registration at all Higher Education institutions, following figures published last week that show the loss of almost 5,000...

This morning, the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has launched its East Africa appeal, with the UK Government committing to match every pound donated up to £5 million.

In the four countries in the region where famine has been declared – South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia – drought and conflict have left more than 16 million people in the region facing severe malnutrition.  This includes 800,000 children under the age of five who are at risk of starvation in the region.

In South Sudan alone over 40% of the population, 4.9 million people, are considered severely food insecure as a result of 9 months of conflict and a collapsing domestic economy. 

Commenting on the appeal, Jeff said: “This appeal comes at a crucial time in the drive to prevent the suffering of the millions of children currently at risk of starvation in East Africa.

I’m glad to see the UK Government taking a role in tackling this humanitarian crisis, and I encourage everyone to give what they can to help.”

You can find out more about the work of the Disasters Emergency Committee here, and donate to their East Africa appeal here.

Disasters Emergency Committee launches East Africa Crisis Appeal

This morning, the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has launched its East Africa appeal, with the UK Government committing to match every pound donated up to £5 million. In the four...

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In the run up to the Metro Mayor election on 4 May, young people from the newly established Greater Manchester Youth Assembly have organised a special hustings event to give young people the chance to quiz the candidates on their visions and priorities in Greater Manchester.

The hustings follows new research from Dr Andy Mycock (Huddersfield University) and Councillor Beth Knowles which revealed that young people are sceptical about the Mayor’s ability to make an impact on their lives.  The aim of the research, and the hustings, is to engage young people in the opportunities of devolution and ensure that it delivers for them.

The details of the hustings are:

When: 6 April 2017 18:00-20:00

Where: Friends Meeting House Manchester, Upper Hall, Mount Street, M2 5NS

Candidates:

Andy Burnham – Labour

Sean Anstee – Conservative

Jane Brophy – Liberal Democrats

Will Patterson – Green

Shneur Odze - UKIP

There is limited capacity for this event, to reserve a space please register on the Eventbrite page here.

Invitation: Youth Mayoral Election Hustings

In the run up to the Metro Mayor election on 4 May, young people from the newly established Greater Manchester Youth Assembly have organised a special hustings event to give...

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Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith is supporting Time to Change’s campaign to encourage men to be more open and supportive when talking about mental health.

While there has been a positive step change in the way mental health is viewed and talked about in England, with 3.4 million people having improved attitudes, research shows a persistent gap between the attitudes of men and women.

Time to Change, the mental health campaign run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, carried out research into men’s attitudes towards mental health over the course of a year, which included feedback from 18 focus groups across the country. This new insight revealed a number of barriers preventing men in particular from opening up to the topic of mental health. 

Compared to women, men are far less likely to report their own experiences of mental health problems and less likely to discuss mental health problems with a professional.  They are more likely to say that mental health problems are the result of a ‘lack of self-discipline and willpower’.  This difference can be fatal, with men three times more likely to take their own lives than women and suicide being the leading cause of death in men under 45.

Matthew Williams, 42, from Middlesbrough has depression. He credits his two close friends for being there when he was struggling with his mental health:

“I’m very lucky to have two lifelong friends who have been a huge support to me when I was ill. I’ve always talked to Craig about everything. Simon, whilst we had never really talked a great deal about personal things, showed me he cared in other ways, by getting me out the house regularly to play darts, giving me a short break from everything that was going on in my head.

“Having depression can be incredibly isolating but knowing that Craig and Simon are in my corner makes me feel like I’m not fighting it on my own.”

Jo Loughran, Director of Operations at Time to Change, said:

“Our research clearly shows that mental health problems are just not on the radar for men. However, we also know that men feel strongly about brotherhood and friendship and can play a vital role in looking out for their friends’ mental health and wellbeing.

“We want to show that being in your friend’s corner doesn’t have to be difficult or awkward. Breaking the cycle of men feeling unable to reach out has never been more urgent. We need to help men realise they can make a real difference, even change someone’s life.”

Jeff said: “We all have mental and physical health, but for many men discussing depression or anxiety is far harder than talking about a broken leg or a sprained wrist.

This is a vital campaign to remove the stigma that still exists around mental health among some men.  As someone who has suffered from depression in the past, I know that calling on friends and family is one of the most effective ways of getting through difficult times.”

To find out more information about the campaign and how you can get involved, visit: www.time-to-change.org.uk/inyourcorner

You can watch the launch video for the campaign here.

New campaign to encourage men to speak openly about mental health

Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith is supporting Time to Change’s campaign to encourage men to be more open and supportive when talking about mental health. While there has been a...

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Last week, Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith welcomed to parliament the six shortlisted candidates for the Emmeline Pankhurst statue to be built in Manchester city centre.

 

The vast majority of statues around the UK are of men and Manchester currently has no statues of women other than Queen Victoria. Thanks to a great local campaign, that’s about to change.

 

Manchester Councillor Andrew Simcock launched the ‘WoManchester’ campaign to build a statue of a ‘woman of significance to the city’ in 2014. A shortlist of 20 noteworthy women was drawn up that included novelist and social reformer Elizabeth Gaskell, birth control pioneer Marie Stopes, mathematician and former Lord Mayor of Manchester Kathleen Ollerenshaw, and sisters Christabel and Sylvia Pankhurst.

 

It was Sylvia and Christabel’s mother, Emmeline Pankhurst, who emerged as the overwhelming choice of over 5,000 people in a public poll. Born in Moss Side in 1858, the leading suffragist and founder of the Women’s Social and Political Union was known for her dedication to “deeds, not words” in the campaign for universal women’s suffrage.

 

The maquettes of the six shortlisted sculptors were brought to parliament to be viewed by MPs, collectors and members of the public.  Following the event, the six models are being auctioned off, with the proceeds going towards the construction fund for the statue itself. 

 

The project is at no cost to the taxpayer, with Councillor Simcock commencing fundraising with a 1,059 mile cycle ride from Lands’ End to John O’Groats in June 2015.  The campaign is also welcoming donations from individuals and organisations who would like to pledge to the construction fund.

 

Commenting on the campaign, Jeff Smith MP said: Like most cities, Manchester has not done enough to recognise the contribution that women have made in creating the society we live in today. I’m delighted to support the campaign to change that.

 

Emmeline Pankhurst is a worthy winner of the public poll, and it was fantastic that Helen Pankhurst joined us in parliament to celebrate her great-grandmother’s remarkable life."

 

Councillor Andrew Simcock said: “All the sculptors have been working hard on their maquettes of the Emmeline Pankhurst statue and I am delighted that we had a full house at the Houses of Parliament for the unveiling.

 

Helen Pankhurst said: “This moment, the Houses of Parliament unveiling, is a symbolically important one as part of the build up to the centenary celebrations of the one hundredth anniversary of women partially securing the vote in 1918.

 

There is much to celebrate in terms of the progress in women’s rights over the last hundred years.  However, there is also much more to be done, in the social, economic and political spheres.

 

Emmeline’s demands that we don’t just accept things as they are, but demand more of our institutions, our culture and of ourselves, remains as pertinent today as ever.”

 

More information on the sculptors and the campaign can be found here.

 

You can also support the campaign on Twitter, by voting for your favourite on the online poll or by donating to the statue fund here

 

Emmeline Pankhurst comes to Parliament as six candidates for Manchester statue unveiled

Last week, Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith welcomed to parliament the six shortlisted candidates for the Emmeline Pankhurst statue to be built in Manchester city centre.   The vast majority...

Last week Jeff joined Network Rail representatives and local Labour councillors to discuss improvements to railway bridges in south Manchester.

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Jeff visited the bridge in East Didsbury (pictured above) ask for work to tackle pigeon fouling, littering and fly-tipping on Network Rail land, and to create a new community art project on the bridge.

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At the weekend, Network Rail replaced the bridges at Fog Lane (pictured above) and Mauldeth Road, after routine inspections found that the bridges had reached the end of their design life.  You can see a video of Jeff’s visit to Fog Lane, along with Councillors Andrew Simcock and James Wilson, here

Commenting at the site, Jeff said: “The new bridge replacements have been 3 years in the planning so it’s great to see that the work was carried out so successfully.  The new bridges are designed to last for the next 125 years without major maintenance."

Councillor Simcock captured the bridge replacement in action in the photos below: 

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Jeff visits local railway bridges with Network Rail

Last week Jeff joined Network Rail representatives and local Labour councillors to discuss improvements to railway bridges in south Manchester. Jeff visited the bridge in East Didsbury (pictured above) ask...

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Following my recent discussions with the Regional Engagement Team at High-Speed 2 Ltd, I have organised for a representative and an engineer to come to my constituency office in Withington to answer any questions constituents have.

The details are:

Date: Friday 3rd March

Time: 13:00-14:30

Venue: Community Rooms 1 & 2, Withington Fire Station, Wilmslow Road, M20 4AW

There will be large-scale maps of the route under south Manchester (Didsbury and Withington)  which will include the detail of the line and vent shafts.

South Manchester residents are welcome to drop in on the day, but it would be helpful if you could let us know if you plan to attend. Please email will.archer@parliament.uk

HS2 Ltd. are also holding an information event on Saturday 25th February at the William Hulme Grammar School between 10:00-17:00.  Details of this event can be found here.

HS2 in south Manchester - Information drop in – Withington, Friday 3rd March

Following my recent discussions with the Regional Engagement Team at High-Speed 2 Ltd, I have organised for a representative and an engineer to come to my constituency office in Withington...

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Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith has shown his support for Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, a campaign organised by National Energy Action to raise awareness of the problem of fuel poverty.

Over four million households are currently unable to afford the energy they need to stay warm and healthy in their homes. It is a particular problem for those in low incomes living in energy inefficient homes that are difficult and expensive to heat.

Jeff said: “Living in a cold damp home can lead to extremely poor health, especially in those who are vulnerable such as older people, young children, and those with long term sickness and disabilities.

Not only will it be causing misery for millions of people this winter, but also placing a huge strain on our already stretched health services.

In Manchester Withington alone, 5,900 households are believed to be in fuel poverty. The Government must act to bring people’s fuel costs down.

Jenny Saunders OBE, Chief Executive of National Energy Action commented: “Fuel poverty is a serious problem and one that we cannot tackle alone. I am delighted that Jeff Smith is supporting the campaign and helping to ensure that his constituents can live warm, healthy and happy lives.” 

Jeff pledges to ‘tackle cold homes’ on Fuel Poverty Awareness Day

Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith has shown his support for Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, a campaign organised by National Energy Action to raise awareness of the problem of fuel poverty....

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