Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith, as a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs), has called on the government to take against the machines.
The All-Party Group, formed to investigate the impact of FOBTs on communities, launched an inquiry in June 2016 which invited policymakers, bookmakers, those with gambling addictions and others to submit evidence.
FOBTs, also known as B2s, are touch-screen roulette machines on which gamblers can play casino-style games. Concern has grown that the machines are both highly addictive and not adequately regulated, and offer high stakes casino style gambling with gamblers at risk of losing £100 every 20 seconds.
Commenting at the report launch, Jeff said: “I’m pleased to have taken part in this important inquiry into the damaging impact these machines can have on our communities and families.
The government must now listen to the findings and take concrete action to limit the most harmful aspects of FOBTs. That means reducing the stake and speed with which people can gamble, and giving Local Authorities the planning powers they need to prevent the clustering of betting shops.
I saw during this inquiry how Fixed Odds Betting Terminals can cause bankruptcy, family breakdown and antisocial behaviour. It’s time for the Government to act.”
You can find a copy of the full report here.
Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith, as a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs), has called on the government to take against the machines. The...
Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith met residents and staff for lunch recently at L’Arche Manchester.
L’Arche is a community based home in Withington, where people with and without learning disabilities share life together, living and working in the community. Although grounded in the Christian tradition, L'Arche Communities welcomes people of all faiths.
Jeff said: “It was great to get a tour of the home by one of the residents and see the fantastic work they do in the community. I want to thank the residents and the staff for welcoming me into their home.”
To find out more about L’Arche go to www.larche.org.uk
Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith met residents and staff for lunch recently at L’Arche Manchester. L’Arche is a community based home in Withington, where people with and without learning disabilities...
We should show leadership and compassion by guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens": My letter to the Prime Minister
Last week Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment.
In doing so, he pledged his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who were murdered during the Holocaust as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people.
Friday 27th January will mark the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history.
In the lead up to and on Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events will be arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. The theme for this year’s commemorations is ‘How can life go on?’
After signing the Book of Commitment, Jeff commented: “Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity for people from Manchester Withington and across the country to reflect on the tragic events of the Holocaust.
As the Holocaust moves from living history, to just history, it becomes ever more important that we take the time to remember the victims and also pay tribute to the survivors.”
Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “Our mission is to educate young people from every background about the Holocaust and its contemporary relevance.
We are very grateful to Jeff for signing the Book of Commitment, signalling a continued commitment to remembering the victims of the Holocaust as well as challenging antisemitism, prejudice and bigotry in all its forms.”
Last week Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment. In doing so, he pledged his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who...
In September, I wrote to constituents to say that I would not vote for a Brexit deal that was not in the best interests of the people of South Manchester and the UK as a whole.
I campaigned strongly for a remain vote. I believe in internationalism, and that our future should be at the heart of Europe. I was dismayed and saddened by the referendum result nationally, but in representing the voters and interests of Manchester Withington, I am conscious that our area voted with a large majority to remain.
This week, I will vote against triggering Article 50 and against starting the process of leaving the EU. This was not a decision I took lightly, but I asked the following questions:
1) Does the government have a convincing plan for leaving the European Union?
While the country voted to leave the EU, it did not vote to harm our economy or diminish our values. ‘Brexit means Brexit’ is not a credible plan to reassure my constituents that the government is prioritising the issues that they care about.
While the government can claim a mandate to leave the EU, there is no mandate to leave the single market or the customs union, and I disagree strongly with the way that Theresa May is setting out her position on behalf of the UK. We were told by the leave campaign that the vote wasn't about leaving the single market, and the Conservative manifesto said they would “safeguard British interests in the Single Market”. A hard Brexit would be bad for the UK economy and our people, and we should not be rushing into it.
We’ve heard no detail on whether European citizens living here will have their rights guaranteed. Our universities – so important to south Manchester – are worried about the future, with no assurance they will be able to access valuable European research contracts or retain talented staff from the EU. It looks certain that we will abandon the European Convention on Human Rights.
There have been no guarantees that in the long term workers’ rights will continue to be respected, or that EU environmental protections will remain after we leave.
On the basis of the government's position on the negotiations, I cannot support triggering Article 50.
2) Will the public get a chance to consider and approve (or not) any deal for leaving?
There were only two options on the ballot paper on June 23rd, but the way in which we leave the European Union will affect our economy and our society for decades to come.
There are too many uncertainties ahead for the public not to be able to take a view on the deal that is negotiated. The British people must be able to hold our government to account during this process, and the most democratic means of doing that is a second vote on the final deal.
Without this, we are being forced to give a blank cheque to the Prime Minister to negotiate a deal of any kind, at any cost.
3) Is triggering Article 50 in the best interest of my constituents?
A clear majority of people in South Manchester voted to remain in the European Union and since the result, many constituents have told me clearly that the government’s plan for Brexit will leave us worse off in the future. As their MP, it’s vital that those views are represented in parliament.
It's clear to me that the answer to these three questions is ‘no’, so I will represent the majority of my constituents in opposing the triggering of Article 50.
In September, I wrote to constituents to say that I would not vote for a Brexit deal that was not in the best interests of the people of South Manchester...
After President Donald Trump announced over the weekend that he has blocked entry to the US for refugees from Syria and citizens from 7 Muslim-majority nations, Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith responded:
“This Executive Order is wrong and counterproductive. The President is denying sanctuary to some of the most vulnerable refugees in the world, while buying into the false narrative that citizens of these countries are enemies of the West. It can only promote division and resentment.
Our Prime Minister has failed to take the danger of the new President’s sanctions seriously. It took this government 38 hours to choose a position on this disgraceful policy, and the best the Foreign Secretary could do yesterday was “this wouldn’t be our policy”.
This is not good enough, and the Prime Minister must now stand up for the values of tolerance and diversity by postponing any planned State Visit until this Executive Order has been withdrawn.
This can no longer be “business as usual”, the Prime Minister must show leadership by unequivocally condemning this policy.”
After President Donald Trump announced over the weekend that he has blocked entry to the US for refugees from Syria and citizens from 7 Muslim-majority nations, Manchester Withington MP Jeff...
Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith met residents who have moved into the new Oasis Close in Burnage alongside Lord Mayor Carl Austin.
Oasis Close is a new development by local housing provider Southway. The new, smaller properties will allow people the opportunity to downsize to brand new homes while freeing up three-bedroom houses for local families. Pictured above is long time Burnage resident Elsie, who was happy to move into the new development, along with some of her other neighbours from the local area.
Commenting on the development, Jeff said: “As a former board member of Southway, I’m delighted to see the trust take advantage of opportunities to provide new affordable housing in South Manchester.
I wish Elsie and the other people moving into the new development the best of luck as they settle in.”
Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith met residents who have moved into the new Oasis Close in Burnage alongside Lord Mayor Carl Austin. Oasis Close is a new development by local...
Last week, Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith spoke at a roundtable to discuss air pollution in our towns and cities.
Up to 40,000 people die prematurely as a result of air pollution. Poor air quality is linked with lung cancer, asthma, strokes and heart disease and around 3,000 schools are on sites with dangerous levels of pollution.
Organised by the thinktank IPPR North, the event brought together public health, transport, environmental and local government policy experts to highlight local and national solutions to the problem.
The discussion took place in the context of the High Court’s verdict in November that judged the government’s plans to bring air pollution under control to be insufficient. The government must now return with a new plan on air quality before July this year, in particular focusing on tackling Nitrogen Dioxide emissions.
Following the verdict, Jeff has been campaigning in parliament for the government to expand the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) program which aims to reduce pollution in city centres and incentivise the replacement of old, high-emission vehicles. As it stands the government is only funding and supporting 5 CAZs across the country, drawing criticism from the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee.
Jeff said: “Air pollution is a public health crisis and, as November’s High Court ruling showed, this government has comprehensively failed to tackle it.
The development of Greater Manchester’s Low-Emission Strategy and Air Quality Action Plan represent the city region stepping up to the task. It’s now time that the government followed suit and showed some leadership on the issue.
In particular, I’m calling on the government to fund and support a Clean Air Zone in Greater Manchester and a national car-scrappage scheme for older, high-emission diesel vehicles.
I’m looking forward to working closely with Manchester City Council on an upcoming inquiry into air pollution in our city, consulting with environmental experts to find effective local solutions.
I hope that the government listens to the High Court verdict and commits to working with growing urban centres like Greater Manchester to tackle this issue.”
You can read more about Jeff’s work in parliament on air pollution here.
Last week, Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith spoke at a roundtable to discuss air pollution in our towns and cities. Up to 40,000 people die prematurely as a result of...
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,...