Andrew Smith MP

On your side in Oxford East

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Andrew Smith MP joined Usdaw members in the House of Commons on their campaign to persuade the Lib Dem / Tory Coalition Government to change Universal Credit rules that mean working people will only be allowed to keep 24p in every extra pound they earn.

Shopworkers trade union leader John Hannett believes that the huge 76% claw-back of additional earnings from workers on Universal Credit is unfair and a massive disincentive for people to look for ways to increase their income and work their way off benefits altogether.

Andrew said: "Usdaw are right to highlight this problem with the Coalition Government's Universal Credit and I hope Ministers will listen and act before the scheme is fully rolled out. Many working people will be clobbered by this 76% marginal deduction rate for taxpayers on Universal Credit. That will put off claimants from working longer hours and potential second earners from working at all, perpetuating the poverty trap for families on low pay."

Andrew raised the question of the 76% clawback in a Westminster debate on taxation priorities, saying: "There is a real risk that this encourages people to work less hours, or to do undeclared work on the side".

Andrew added: "I was shocked to meet Usdaw members who will be thousands of pounds worse off under Universal Credit, and concerned that thousands of my hard-working constituents would also lose out under the Coalition Government's current plans. I want to hear from people in Oxford East about how they will be affected. You can check out your Universal Credit entitlement by visiting www.entitledto.com

"Whilst I support the principle of Universal Credit which should make it easier for people who are unemployed to move into some work, I am calling on the Coalition to reduce the net earnings claw-back to 55%, as originally proposed by the Centre for Social Justice, to ensure that the aims of Universal Credit are fulfilled so that extra work will always pay and to support hard working families."

Andrew raised the question of the 76% clawback in a Westminster debate on taxation priorities. "There is a real risk that this encourages people to work less hours, or to do undeclared work on the side" he said.

John Hannett -- Usdaw General Secretary said: "We are grateful for the support of Andrew Smith MP. Whilst Universal Credit affects households differently, many of our members working long hours are going to be worse off when they are transferred onto Universal Credit. That loss of income is compounded because they will find it incredibly difficult to make up the shortfall by working longer hours. That is why the claw-back from additional earnings is incredibly unfair, trapping households in poverty and creating a disincentive to work. So we want the Coalition Government to ensure that work does pay by lowering the claw-back to 55p in the pound."

Andrew backs Usdaw’s campaign to stop the Universal Credit disincentive to work

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Andrew Smith MP has welcomed the news that if elected, an incoming Labour Government would repeal the Gagging Act immediately after the 2015 election.

A future Labour Government is committed to working with the charities and campaigners that this Lib Dem / Tory Coalition Government ignored in order to ensure transparency and fairness when protecting free speech.

Andrew met Oxford campaigners against the Gagging Law to receive their petition calling on the Government to drop the anti-democratic provisions to its legislation. Andrew also read many letters and emails from constituents calling for the protection of their free voices, and made representations to the Government on their behalf many times.

Although the Bill did pass because of the Coalition Government whipping of its Lib Dem and Tory MPs, the strength of opposition was an impressive example of the free speech we should protect.

Andrew said: "I campaigned with local residents against the Gagging Law and voted against the Bill at every opportunity. With the public support to elect a Labour government we would be able to end these unjustified restrictions on free speech and campaigning."

Labour pledges to scrap Lib Dem / Tory Gagging Act

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On the one year anniversary of the Bedroom Tax, Andrew Smith MP pledged a Labour government will scrap the Bedroom Tax which has hit 729 families in Oxford.

Since the Lib Dem / Tory Coalition Government introduced the Bedroom Tax low-income households have been forced to find, on average an extra £720 a year.

Figures from the National Housing Federation show that two thirds of households hit by the Bedroom Tax cannot find the money to pay their rents and one in seven are at risk of eviction.

Andrew said: "We can't afford another year of the Lib Dem / Tory Bedroom Tax. 729 households in Oxford have been hit by this cruel and costly tax. It's time for the Coalition to ditch the Bedroom Tax, If they don't, then a Labour government will."

Labour pledges to scrap Lib Dem / Tory Bedroom Tax

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This morning Andrew Smith MP joined other Cowley car enthusiasts to support a convoy of cars marking 101 years of motor manufacturing in Cowley.

Andrew, who yesterday in Parliament praised the success of motor manufacturing in Cowley, said: "This event is a great tribute to the fantastic history of quality car manufacturing here in Cowley. It was great to see so many different models taking part in the convoy which will travel from the MINI Plant to Nuffield Place in Henley-on-Thames."

Also waving off the convoy was local businessman, and Lord Nuffield's great, great nephew, Kevin Minns.

Celebrating 101 years of motor manufacturing in Cowley

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