Jeff Smith

Standing up for Manchester Withington

News

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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 calls for disability equality training for all taxi 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,...

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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.

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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.

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Christmas Card Competition Winner 2016

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...

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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.

Christmas opening times

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...

Bus_Services.jpgOn 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.”

 

Jeff Smith MP stands up for bus passengers

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...

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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 shows support for women and men affected by breast cancer at Parliamentary Reception

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

“Standing up 4 Sitting Down”: Jeff backs campaigns for more seating in public spaces

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...

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Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith has signed a pledge to defend the UK’s countryside and wild places, and support UK action on climate change.

The pledge calls on the government to ensure strong environmental standards following the EU referendum vote. Dozens of our environmental rules in the UK, including those leading to healthier beaches, cleaner air, and the protection of marine environments and rare species, started life as European agreements.

Signed by over 85 MPs from across the political spectrum, the pledge calls on the Government to ensure that those EU environmental protections are replaced by equally strong UK standards.

Jeff said: “In the wake of the referendum it’s vital for us to reassert the importance of a clean, green and healthy environment – whether that is in South Manchester, across the UK or overseas. The UK can and should be a world leader in dealing with environmental issues.”

Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth chief executive, said:  “People voted to leave the EU for a variety of different reasons but one thing is clear: it wasn’t a vote to weaken protections for our nature, wildlife and environment.

“By signing the Pledge for the Environment, Jeff Smith has shown that he understands how important it is that we help our wildlife and countryside to thrive and take a leading role in addressing climate change to create a better environment for us all.”

The full text of the pledge signed by Jeff can be found here.

Jeff pledges his support for stronger national action on the environment following referendum vote

Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith has signed a pledge to defend the UK’s countryside and wild places, and support UK action on climate change. The pledge calls on the government...

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Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith visited The Oliver King Foundation at their launch event in Westminster to show support for their Restart a Heart campaign day.

The Oliver King Foundation was set up following the tragic death of 12-year-old Oliver King from a sudden cardiac arrest, to raise awareness about the need for defibrillators in public places.  Jeff signed up to become a Defibrillator Champion at the event, pledging to work with his local community in Manchester Withington to place defibrillators in schools, parks, libraries and elsewhere.

Jeff said: “For every minute that passes following a cardiac arrest, the chances of survival decrease by 10% so this campaign to raise awareness of the difference defibrillators can make is very important.

I am pleased to become a Defibrillator Champion and I’m looking forward to supporting local schools in my constituency to fundraise and get lifesaving defibrillators in our area.”

Jake Morrison, Chief Executive of The Oliver King Foundation said: “We are delighted that Jeff Smith has signed up as a Defibrillator Champion. It is important that we spread awareness of the vital need for this equipment in our communities.

Our Members of Parliament have a great platform and connection in their constituencies to spread this message.  We look forward to working with Jeff and saving lives for years to come.”

For more information please contact The Oliver King Foundation on 01517283470 or email info@theoliverkingfoundation.co.uk

Jeff joins campaign to put life-saving defibrillators in schools

Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith visited The Oliver King Foundation at their launch event in Westminster to show support for their Restart a Heart campaign day. The Oliver King Foundation...

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Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith has joined with the members of the retail union Usdaw to call for an end to abuse in the workplace.

As part of the Freedom From Fear Campaign, which seeks to prevent violence, threats and abuse directed at retail staff, Usdaw members are highlighting the problems faced by staff during Respect for Shopworkers Week, which runs from 14 to 20 November.

Jeff said: "Too often retail employees are confronted with violence, threats and abuse whilst serving the public.

It is really important we stand together and ask people to keep their cool and respect shopworkers, especially as we approach the busy Christmas shopping period.

We must give a clear message that abusing or assaulting workers who are serving the public is totally unacceptable."

John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: "We are grateful to Jeff Smith for supporting our campaign to keep our members safe at work.

"Often, in the course of their duties, shopworkers are expected to deal with tense and difficult situations. Unfortunately these can escalate to verbal abuse and assault. Over 300 shopworkers are assaulted every day and it is time to say enough is enough.

Parliament has placed the legal obligation on shopworkers to enforce the law in relation to age restricted sales and Parliament must also ensure that the law also protects shopworkers who are doing their job. Politicians and members of the public must work together to ensure that shopworkers get the respect they deserve."

Jeff Smith MP supports Usdaw's campaign to protect shopworkers from violence, threats and abuse

Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith has joined with the members of the retail union Usdaw to call for an end to abuse in the workplace. As part of the Freedom...

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