Andrew Smith MP

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Ahead of the 2017 Autumn Statement, Andrew is urging the Chancellor to provide funds to ensure childcare providers avoid closure, and are able to meet the demands of 30 hours free childcare per week.

Hundreds of nurseries are at risk of closure across the country as a result of the Government’s plans.

The Government’s new Early Years Funding formula leaves over one quarter of local authorities facing a reduction in funding, and many others still unable to meet rising costs that result from expanded childcare places. Nurseries are facing a crisis.

Childcare professionals, local authorities, and parents have been clear that fair and proper funding will be necessary to ensure the 30 hours pledge is not another broken promise. Andrew is joining them by demanding that the Government provides the funding and keeps its promises to parents and teachers across the country.

Following the launch of a Labour campaign to safeguard nurseries and childcare, Andrew said: “I am very concerned about the continuing lack of early years provision and threats to its future. The Labour Party's Sure Start Grant which funded many children’s centres and nurseries was one of the things first cut in 2010 when the Coalition Government took power. It is awful to see that a great and valuable initiative is continuing to be underfunded.

Save the Children research shows evidence of a wider trend revealing that there has been a significant reduction in the quality and quantity of childcare provision across Oxfordshire, as in the country more generally. Between 2009 and 2015 the number of childcare places in Oxfordshire fell by over 2,000 and the number of childcare providers fell by over 200. This is deeply concerning, especially for many constituents relying on the valuable service provided by Nurseries and Childcare Centres.

With my fellow Labour MPs I am calling on the Chancellor to set out a sustainable funding plan for Early Years Education in the forthcoming Autumn statement. It is vital that the funding for this is put in place.”

Andrew presses for Government funding to save local nurseries

Ahead of the 2017 Autumn Statement, Andrew is urging the Chancellor to provide funds to ensure childcare providers avoid closure, and are able to meet the demands of 30 hours...

Andrew is backing a hard-hitting new campaign from Cancer Research UK to remove junk food advertising from TV before the 9pm watershed. 

Andrew joined campaigners in Westminster last week (Tuesday 5 July) to find out more about the ‘Junk Free TV’ campaign, which aims to help tackle children’s obesity.

In the South East around one in five (20.3%) children are overweight or obese*, and people who are obese as children are more likely to be obese as adults which increases their risk of developing cancer.

Research shows children who see junk food advertised on TV eat more unhealthy food.

While such ads have already been removed during children’s TV shows, young viewers are regularly exposed to alluring marketing during other programming, such as family entertainment.

The launch of the campaign is accompanied by a report** featuring interviews with eight-12 year olds. It illustrates the persuasive impact of TV junk food advertising on youngsters.

Of one particular advert, a child said: “It makes you feel as if you’re happy and excited, and it feels like you want to try it because the guy’s dancing in it because he’s eaten it and it tastes good.”

Another child said they wanted to “lick the screen”, while others said they had “begged” and “pestered” their parents to buy junk food they’d enjoyed watching the adverts for.

Andrew says: “With stark levels of childhood obesity in Oxford and across the UK, it’s clear we need to act now to help give children the best chance of a healthy future.

“Obese children are more likely to be obese as adults, so it’s vital that young people are encouraged to eat healthily and keep active and that healthy choices are easy to make.

“I wholeheartedly support Cancer Research UK’s efforts to reduce the insidious influence of TV junk food advertising on children’s lives.”

Obesity is the biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking and is linked to ten different types including two of the most common cancers, breast and bowel and two of the hardest to treat, oesophageal and pancreatic.

Cancer Research UK is campaigning for a comprehensive childhood obesity strategy from Government to help protect children and save more lives in the future.

As well as calling for the removal of junk food advertising on TV before the 9pm watershed, the charity wants to see the promised tax on sugary drinks brought into effect and the introduction of Government-led targets for reducing the amount of fat and sugar in food.

Alison Cox, Cancer Research UK’s Director of Cancer Prevention, said: “Junk food is everywhere. Children are bombarded by advertising tailored to tempt them with pretty colours and cartoons which all influence the food they prefer. We need stronger action to help our children have healthier diets, and eat fewer unhealthy foods packed with extra calories.’

“Being overweight and obese is a major cause of preventable illness and death in the UK, costing the NHS billions of pounds each year. We owe it to future generations to reduce the devastating impact caused by the obesity epidemic and help save more lives.”

To support the campaign, visit cruk.org/junkfreetv.

Andrew backs campaign for ‘Junk Free TV’

Andrew is backing a hard-hitting new campaign from Cancer Research UK to remove junk food advertising from TV before the 9pm watershed. 

On June 23rd the British people have the choice on whether to stay in the European Union. Andrew has been a supporter of a referendum on Britain’s EU membership, and he is backing the Labour IN campaign to support Britain’s continued membership.

Andrew says:  “I voted for a referendum on the European Union in 2011, and I think it’s right that the people have a say on such an important issue for our country’s future.

The EU is not perfect, but history shows how important it is to maintain peace, co-operation and friendship in Europe.  If we were to leave, there would not only be economic uncertainty, but if we wanted to keep the benefits of the single market we would end up accepting EU regulations with no say in how they are made.  We would lose our excellent local MEP Anneliese Dodds as our elected voice in Europe, along with the important work she has done for international co-operation to make big, multinational companies pay their fair share of taxes in the way that small businesses have to.

In Oxford, thousands of jobs depend on trade with Europe. The success of the BMW plant in Cowley shows how important the single market is; but in such a market you need common action for workers’ rights such as minimum paid leave, paid maternity and paternity leave, equal pay, anti-discrimination laws, and protection for the workforce when companies change ownership.

You also need joint action to safeguard the environment. Pollution does not respect national frontiers. Furthermore, Oxfordshire also benefits massively from EU support for scientific research in which we are a world leader. Oxford University alone received over £60 million in EU grants in 2014/15.

In a heated campaign like this, a lot of overblown claims get made.  People I have talked with on the doorstep want accurate information on things like the importance of EU membership for jobs, workers’ rights, and our quality of life, so they can make a careful and considered judgement.  I believe that is what they will do. I also think people realise just how important it is that they use their vote for their own and Oxford’s future, where it is clear we  achieve more working together, enjoying the strengths and diversity of the European Union, than we would standing alone.  That is at the heart of Labour’s case for a vote to remain."

“We achieve more together than we would alone” says Andrew, backing the Labour IN campaign

On June 23rd the British people have the choice on whether to stay in the European Union. Andrew has been a supporter of a referendum on Britain’s EU membership, and he...

Andrew Smith MP met with guide dog owners in the Houses of Parliament to hear about their experiences of being turned away by businesses.

Over 100 guide dog owners had traveled to Westminster from across the country to talk to their MPs about the discrimination they face in their daily lives.

The MP for Oxford East gave support to the charity Guide Dogs’ “Access All Areas” campaign to ensure guide dog owners can carry out everyday activities such as travel by taxi or go to the local shops, without the risk of being turned away.

According to law, guide dog owners are allowed the same access to shops, restaurants and taxis as everyone else. Yet, all too often, guide dog owners are told that their dog is not welcome and not allowed in. In fact, three out of every four guide dog owners has been turned away from a taxi, business or service because of their dog.

Mr Smith is supporting Guide Dogs’ call for disability equality training, and for offenders to be properly punished under the law when they illegally discriminate against guide dog owners.

Andrew said: “It’s shocking to learn of people with guide dogs being turned away or refused services. It’s an important priority both to raise awareness of their legal rights, and to make sure the law is enforced.”

James White, Senior Advocacy Manager for Guide Dogs, said “Guide dog owners rely on their dogs to feel confident and supported. Being turned away by a business leaves people feeling angry, upset and embarrassed. It can rob people of their independence and can leave them unable to do everyday activities.”

“Despite the law being clear on this issue, guide dog owners are still experiencing this form of discrimination every day and this needs to change.”

Andrew calls for an end to discrimination against guide dog owners

Andrew Smith MP met with guide dog owners in the Houses of Parliament to hear about their experiences of being turned away by businesses.

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