Andrew Smith MP

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This week Andrew Smith MP supported the first-ever Oxford Pumpkin Festival.

During Halloween, pumpkins can be found all over Oxford. This pumpkin-themed festival works to pull people over to the cause of healthier, sustainable eating. With more than a third of the world's food ending up in the bin - causing global warming, higher food prices, and world hunger - Good Food Oxford, a new group, have followed up the launch of their Food Charter in June with a new project in combination with Hubbub.

From cooking community soups to making pumpkin compost, the Festival will show festival-goers how to fully use their pumpkins after carving them over Halloween.

Community groups such as Conservation Volunteers, Community First, the Oxford Community Food Bank, and Rose Hill Regeneration, are all playing a part.

Andrew said, "I am pleased to support Oxford Pumpkin Festival, a fun way of showing how important it is that we get a handle on our out-of-control global warming. I supported the Good Food Charter during Low Carbon Week earlier this year and I am happy to reaffirm my support for healthier, sustainable eating."

"During this year, an Oxford household will bin just under a fifth of all the food that it buys", Andrew continued. "I hope this festival encourages residents to make the links between reducing the city's food waste and tackling our climate problem."

Andrew Smith MP welcomes the launch of Oxford Pumpkin Festival


On Friday 28th November MPs will debate Sarah Teather’s Bill to end retaliatory eviction. Here, Andrew Smith MP and Nicola Blackwood MP, explain what it means to them – and why they were willing to cross party divides to bring it to life. This guest blog first appeared on Shelter's website here: .

In July, we both pledged our support for Sarah Teather’s Tenancies (Reform) Bill. This Bill aims to protect private renters from retaliatory eviction. It will do this by preventing landlords from issuing a no-fault Section 21 eviction notice after they have been ordered to make improvements to their property by a local authority.

Oxford has one of the highest levels of private renting in the country. There are over 18,000 households renting across Oxford East and Oxford West & Abingdon. Private rented homes make up 21% of all homes in the two constituencies- well above the South West regional average of 16%.

For us, this Private Members Bill provided an opportunity to work outside the party political lines in the Commons- and work together in the interest of people right across our two constituencies.

Too many Oxford residents are forced to choose between keeping their home and living in decent conditions. Shelter found that 1 in 7 adults in the South East avoided asking their landlord to repair a problem or improve conditions in their home in the last year because they were scared of eviction. We put our name to this Bill because it is a welcome step forward in tenants’ rights and security.

But it is also very sensible. Its proposals are is based on legislation from countries that have a similar private rented sector to the UK- such as Australia and the United States. It is also consistent with existing English law. Landlords who have not protected their tenants’ deposit or have not licensed their property when they are required to do so are already prevented from serving a Section 21 notice. These reforms are simply applying the same principle to poor conditions.

This Bill is also committed to protecting good landlords from spurious or vexatious complaints. It will only impact good landlords positively. It will encourage responsible tenants to report repair work to their landlord in a timely fashion. Good landlords will respond swiftly to these reports- and will be better able to protect their properties from long term disrepair.

With such common sense measures, it is not surprising that this Bill has picked up cross-party support in the commons. Over 1.3 million families now rent privately, it is time for Parliament to work together to give these families the security they deserve.

Rt. Hon. Andrew Smith, Member of Parliament for Oxford East

Nicola Blackwood, Member of Parliament for Oxford West & Abingdon

Andrew Smith MP guest blogs for Shelter about his work to end revenge eviction


Andrew Smith MP restated his support for Friends of South Park, a group working to meet the needs of the wide variety of the park’s users.

Set up last October, the group has worked to make South Park a natural space that helps the city’s health and well-being. With less active, more stressful lifestyles on the rise, placing a strain on the NHS, South Park offers a wealth of opportunities for better health. Evidence shows that a brisk walk every day (in a green space) drops the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes by 50%, and Alzheimer’s by 25%.

The addition of new fitness stations and fixes to drainage at the eastern entrance by the City Council show the benefits of having a group in contact with Councillors. The group’s photography competition and use of facebook and newsletters to stay in touch with park users has also helped South Park to become more central to the local community.

Ahead of its first annual meeting at St Clement’s Family Centre, Andrew praised the work done in the last year to make the park more welcoming, better maintained, and safer, “Oxford is a beautiful city, rightly famed for its dreaming spires. Nowhere is this view better enjoyed than from South Park. This natural space is more than a viewing point though—it is a valued place for people to walk dogs, relax and chat, and, take exercise. I wish Friends of South Park every success for the years ahead.”

Andrew Smith MP congratulates Friends of South Park as it rounds off first year


Andrew will support in the Commons tomorrow the private member's bill to guarantee the amount of aid for some of the poorest countries of the world.

British aid saves a child's life every two minutes. Every day that aid makes a real difference to the poorest people's lives and livelihoods.

As a developed country, we have the power to support more people to access clean water, better healthcare, and a great education from the earliest age.

The International Development Bill before Parliament commits the Government of the day to use that power for good. It takes party politics out of this commitment to invest 0.7% of our national income on aid. By opting to honour our historic commitment, we rule out the need for annual debates on whether to keep it or not.

Andrew said, "I played a part in the Labour Government setting the UK on course to meet its commitment to invest 0.7% of national income in aid. I was re-elected in 2010 on a manifesto which promised to spend 0.7% of national income on aid and to put this commitment into law. I am backing this Private Member's Bill, which calls on the Coalition to follow Labour's lead in saving lives across the world."


Andrew Smith MP backs Britain's life-saving promise to the world's poorest people

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