Jeff Smith

Standing up for south Manchester

News

Figures released today by the British Medical Association (BMA) show that most mental healthcare commissioners and providers don’t record the number of people waiting for specialist therapies.
 
Freedom of Information (FoI) requests made by the BMA to Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and NHS mental health trusts revealed nine in 10 (166) of the 183 CCGs who responded have no records of waiting times for talking therapies for treating severe mental illness last year.
 
For those CCGs and Trusts which did respond, the BMA found 3,700 patients waited more than six months for talking therapies. Around 1,500 patients waited longer than a year before therapy started, with year-long waits found in two-thirds of responding mental health trusts. Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust recorded 373 patients currently waiting over a year to access talking therapies.
 
Hospital trusts pointed to rising demand and a national shortage of the right kind of therapists, as reasons for long waits.
 
Commenting on the figures, Jeff said:
 
“For those living with severe mental health conditions, waiting over a year can be devastating.
 
It’s clear from the BMA’s investigation that not only are waiting times for specialist therapies too long, but we lack the data needed to hold trusts, CCGS, and ultimately the Government accountable.
 
These figures are yet more evidence of the yawning gap between the Prime Minister’s promise to ‘transform mental health services’ and the reality facing cash-strapped CCGs and trusts.
 
Ministers must ask themselves how long they can go on cutting mental health budgets while patients and staff are put under unbearable pressure.
 
It’s time Jeremy Hunt faced the reality on the ground and ring-fenced mental health budgets.”
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New figures show NHS blind spot on mental health waiting times

Figures released today by the British Medical Association (BMA) show that most mental healthcare commissioners and providers don’t record the number of people waiting for specialist therapies.   Freedom of...

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Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith has joined growing calls to protect the world’s oceans through the creation of a Blue Belt.

The campaign for a Blue Belt is calling on the UK government and its Overseas Territories to create a series of large protected areas of ocean around 7 of the 14 British Overseas Territories.

The creation of the Blue Belt would involve establishing a 500,000 km² fully protected Marine Protected Area around the South Sandwich Islands in 2018, establishing a fully protected Marine Protected Area in at least 50% of Ascension Island’s waters in 2019, and supporting the establishment of a locally-led marine protection regime throughout the waters of Tristan da Cunha and St Helena.

Jeff said: “The UK and its overseas territories have a responsibility to protect the vast oceans surrounding our shores.

These oceans are home to a diverse range of marine life and important ecological processes. Indeed, they contain the world’s largest coral atoll as well as a quarter of the world’s penguins.

By creating a Blue Belt of protected oceans, the UK can lead the world on ocean preservation and ensure these important and fragile environments are protected for decades to come.

I call on the government to work with the Overseas Territories to take these crucial steps as quickly as possible.”

You can find out more about the campaign here: https://greatbritishoceans.org/

 

Jeff joins campaign to create The Blue Belt

Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith has joined growing calls to protect the world’s oceans through the creation of a Blue Belt. The campaign for a Blue Belt is calling on...

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Today Jeff is supporting Time to Talk Day, organised by Time to Change, the national campaign to fight the stigma associated with mental health.

Each year, Time to Talk day brings together campaigners, politicians, charities, and the public to encourage people to be open about mental health.

Commenting on the campaign, Jeff said:

“Too often, it’s left to people with mental health problems to talk about mental health but it affects us all.

Too many people with mental health problems are still made to feel isolated, worthless, and ashamed. Conversations have the power to change lives, and maybe even save them.

I’d encourage employers, schools, and community groups to get involved and help to tackle the stigma associated with mental health”

You can find ways to get involved, and free resources on the Time to Talk Day website here.

“It’s good to talk” – Jeff supporting Time to Talk Day 2018

Today Jeff is supporting Time to Talk Day, organised by Time to Change, the national campaign to fight the stigma associated with mental health. Each year, Time to Talk day...

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A new report from the Centre for Economic and Business Research has revealed that almost £3 million was lost on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) in south Manchester in 2016.

As a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on FOBTs’,  Jeff pledged his support to see the maximum stake reduced to £2 on these machines in order to limit the damage to gamblers and their families.

The highly addictive machines which have been dubbed the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’ allow punters to stake £100 every 20 seconds on electronic versions of casino games such as roulette, but in a low supervision high street bookmaker environment.

New research shows that FOBT problem gamblers could be imposing a cost of £1.5 billion on themselves, their families and their wider social networks. The report published by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR), found that those on lower incomes or in deprived areas are the main beneficiaries of a reduction to a £2 stake.

Supporters of the campaign which includes the General Synod of the Church of England, 93 local authorities, the Royal Society for Public Health and politicians from all parties, have called on the Government to take action on these machine in order to protect the most vulnerable in the society.

Lending his support to the campaign for a stake reduction, Jeff said:

“The case for action on FOBTs is clear and I urge the Government to view this process as an opportunity to protect the most vulnerable members of our society from harm.

“These machines have had devastating effects on families, individuals and communities, causing unemployment, violence and in some cases even, suicides.  This cannot continue.

“I am extremely concerned to hear that £2,820,232 was lost to FOBTs in south Manchester in 2016. The Secretary of State has a unique window of opportunity to cut the stake on FOBTs to £2, a level at which the harm to families and individuals is significantly reduced.

“I would urge anyone affected by these machines to respond to the Government’s consultation by visiting the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport website.”

The Government is seeking to reduce the stake on FOBTs from £100 to between £50 and £2, and has launched a 12 week public consultation on the stake options, which closes, midday on 23rd January.

 

Jeff Calls for Action on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals

A new report from the Centre for Economic and Business Research has revealed that almost £3 million was lost on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) in south Manchester in 2016....

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.”

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Jeff backs 30-year investment plan for transport in the North

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...

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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 backs Chris Boardman’s £ 1.5bn cycling and walking vision for Greater Manchester

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.”

Jeff calls on Government to tackle mental health beds scandal

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."

You can read Jeff's full speech here, and find more information about RBS Global Restructuring Group here.

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"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...

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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.”  

Jeff backs school campaign to support local food banks

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...

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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."

Jeff backs Labour legislation to protect renters from homes unfit 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...

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