Thanks for taking the time to visit my website. Here you can find out more about all the work I am doing for the people of Stoke-on-Trent North and Kidsgrove.

  • Featured post

    Statement on the Westminster Terror Attack

    The events of yesterday were tragic and heart breaking. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.

    This was a despicable and cowardly act by a man who sought to devastate and to divide. It is thanks only to the extraordinary courage of our Police and first responders that there were not even more casualties.

    We owe all of them a debt of gratitude, but none more so than PC Keith Palmer, who lost his own life defending the lives of others. His bravery is an inspiration to all of us, and his loss is a stark reminder of the danger that the men and women of our police forces face every day in order to keep us safe.

    The incredible outpouring of love and support we have seen in the last few hours is proof that those who seek to make us afraid or to destroy our way of life will fail. We will not allow this tragedy to divide us or to deter us from democracy.  

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    Budget fails to meet the challenges we face

    Ruth Smeeth MP has said the chancellor has no post-Brexit economic plan for Stoke-on-Trent

    Ruth welcomed the chancellor’s announcement of a further £2 billion for health and social care but said that the sums were ‘too little too late’ and would not address the challenges our local NHS faces.

    Ruth said: “Our health and social care system is crying out for investment so any further funding is welcome. But when our local hospital trust is facing a £100 million deficit, the investment announced today is a drop in the ocean. 

    “The Tories are tinkering around the edges of a health and social care system in crisis.”

    “Our social care system is facing a £4.6 billion black hole. This is too little too late after years of chronic underfunding of our NHS.”

    And she raised concern that the Government’s ‘small and unimaginative’ budget fails to step up to the challenges the country faces. 

     Ruth said: “The glaring hole in this budget is clear: there is no plan for how Stoke-on-Trent can best benefit from Brexit.

    “Our city needs proper investment in schools, skills and infrastructure. But the chancellor is choking the life out of the public education system while pouring £320 million into free schools.

     “Schools in my own constituency are losing an average of £400 per pupil and our childrens’ centres are facing closure. How can we expect to train our young people for the jobs of tomorrow when their opportunities are being taken from them today?”

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    Statement on the resignation of Tristram Hunt MP

    ‘For me there is no greater privilege than representing the people of Stoke-on-Trent and I can't begin to imagine why anyone would walk away from that. I’m sorry that Tristram is stepping down but I wish him the best and I know he’ll continue to contribute greatly to public life as the new director of the V&A museum.

    He leaves behind a track record of delivering for Stoke-on-Trent: saving the Wedgwood Collection, securing tax breaks for the ceramics industry, and helping to create a state of the art Maths Hub to improve our schools.

    I hope the Labour Party will act quickly to select a strong, local candidate who can continue Labour's record of standing up for the Potteries. Now more than ever we need a Labour MP to champion Stoke-on-Trent Central in Westminster, to stand up for our NHS and to fight Tory plans to cut our childrens' centres.’

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    Ruth continues to fight for Kidsgrove Station

    Ruth met with the transport minister, Paul Maynard MP, this week to discuss the importance of redeveloping Kidsgrove Station.
     
    The improvements, including a new pedestrian bridge, have been the aim of a long-standing local campaign to improve transport networks in the town.
     
    And with the transport team finally listening to the concerns of local people, there may still be hope for the project.
     
    Ruth said: ‘I had an extremely productive discussion with the transport minister this week, and I’m hopeful that we can make some progress in the near future.
     
    Kidsgrove station is a vital transport hub for the community and these improvements would be a great boost.’
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  • Featured post

    Children’s Centre Closures will ‘take our city backwards’

    Ruth Smeeth MP has slammed plans by Stoke-on-Trent City Council to close six children’s centres across the city.

    The Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent North and Kidsgrove, fears the cuts could impact on the life chances of young people across Stoke-on-Trent.

    And she said that the city’s poor performance in this years Ofsted report means we should be investing more, not less, in early years support.

    It was recently revealed that the number of children in early years’ education achieving a good level of development is well below the national average.

    Ruth said: ‘These cuts will have a devastating impact on our young people and on educational attainment across our city.

    Childrens centres play a vital role in supporting children and parents to give our kids the best start in life. Losing this service will be a huge blow to local families and will take our city backwards.’

    This is an act of educational sabotage by a reckless administration. By squandering millions of pounds in the council's reserves they have left themselves with a financial black hole, and our children are paying the price.’

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  • Featured post

    Ruth welcomes Government U-Turn on apprenticeship funding cuts

    Ruth has welcomed the Government's decision this week to U-turn on initial plans to cut apprenticeship funding by up to 50%.

    The decision is a major victory for the #SaveOurApprenticeships campaign, which is led by Labour and fully supported by Ruth. It aims to ensure young people have the opportunity to develop their practical and vocational skills.

    The cuts were initially announced during the Summer recess without any opportunity for MPs to debate or scrutinise the decision. But thanks to fierce opposition from both the Labour Party and the British public  the decision has been overturned.

    Ruth said: "It's great news that the Government has caved in to public pressure and reversed their decision to slash funding for apprenticeships."

    "Vocational education and training is vital to ensuring our country's prosperity and to giving our all of our young people the opportunity to succeed. We need to ensure that young people here in Stoke-on-Trent have the chance to fulfil their potential and learn the skills they need to succeed in the economy of tomorrow."

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  • Featured post

    We need to create a lasting legacy from this years Olympic Games

    I’m sure readers are as excited as I am about the Olympic games. As this years European City of Sport Stoke-on-Trent has a unique opportunity to use this year’s games as a springboard to a local legacy of health, fitness and sporting prowess. 
     
    But the Rio Olympics have also been a rallying point for a wider campaign to tackle one of the issues that I have been campaigning on since my election – the scourge of child poverty and holiday hunger. 
     
    Child poverty remains a serious issue here in North Staffordshire, as the government’s Index of Multiple Deprivation makes clear. Stoke-on-Trent as a whole is ranked as the 13th most deprived authority out of 326. In one school in my constituency 52% of pupils qualify for free school meals.
     
    But this is not just a local issue. A recent survey found that almost three quarters of teachers across the UK have seen pupils coming to school hungry ad over a quarter said they had given food to hungry pupils themselves.
     
    This problem only gets worse during the school holidays. A recent report by Kellogg’s found that a third of parents have skipped a meal so that their kids could eat during the school holidays. Seeing our children going hungry is heartbreaking, and it has real consequences for their learning and development.
     
    We know that too many children in this country are failing to fulfil their potential simply because they do not have access to decent, nutritious food. 
     
    We can’t start to narrow this attainment gap until we recognise the gulf in opportunity between our poorest students and the rest. Nor can we expect teachers, even great teachers, to keep a child’s development on track without dealing with these inequalities. We can’t keep pretending that inspiration alone can overcome starvation.
     
    It’s heart-breaking to see this level of hunger in our own communities, in one of the richest countries in the world. But the Making Rio Count campaign offers clear goals and fresh opportunities to improve the lives of the poorest.
     
    In the years since the London Games the International Development Goals have been agreed by the UN General Assembly and set ambitious targets for all countries, developed and developing, rich or poor. The primary goal is simple: to end hunger in our lifetime.
     
    It also challenges all nations, including the UK, to ensure access to safe nutritious and sufficient food all year round, especially for children and young people.
     
    Charities and campaigners have been working hard to tackle the awful plight of our most vulnerable children, with organisations such as the Alice Charity working to highlight and alleviate the problem.
     
    But this is a national problem and it needs a national solution. We cannot expect charities and community groups to tackle the crisis of child food poverty by themselves, the Government must recognise the problem and support plans to fix it. Making Rio Count is our opportunity to put the issue on the agenda and push the Government to act.
     
    Now the games are upon us and the sport and the spectacle will give all of us reason to cheer. But the Olympics has always been more than just a display of athleticism. 
     
    Its message of struggle and improvement, of being the best that we can be, should inspire all of us - not just the elite athletes among us. And it is an ambition that applies as much to societies as to individuals.
     
    So for this year’s games, lets all be inspired to Make Rio Count, and work together to help feed our kids and improve the lives of our young people.
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  • Featured post

    Statement on the proposed closure of GE Kidsgrove

    It was announced today that GE is considering the closure of the Kidsgrove site, which employs 243 local people.

    This news is a terrible shock to me and to my constituents, nearly 250 of whom have woken up this morning to find their livelihoods under threat.

    I’m extremely concerned that GE has made no effort to notify or consult with anyone before this decision was made. This behaviour shows a total disregard for the concerns of local, loyal employees here in Kidsgrove.

    I have been in contact with UNITE, and I will be meeting as soon as possible with local union reps and will be working with them in the days ahead. I have also contacted the Business Secretary to seek additional support for the future of the site and have secured an urgent meeting with GE’s management.

    My priority is the future of our community, and the wellbeing of those people whose jobs are affected and their families.

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  • Featured post

    Statement on the Dubs Amendment

    I am bitterly disappointed that the Government has voted down an amendment to help 3,000 vulnerable child refugees.

    We have heard terrifying reports that 10,000 children have already gone missing in Europe since fleeing the warzones in Syria, Libya and elsewhere. These children could be in the hands of traffickers or child abusers, some of them may already be dead.

    This amendment was Britain’s opportunity to do something concrete to help the most vulnerable victims of this crisis. It was brought forward by Lord Dubs, who arrived in this country as a refugee himself during the Kindertransport scheme in 1939.

    I was in Russia as part of a Defence Select Committee investigation at the time of the vote, however I was paired (an agreement between MPs of opposing parties to not vote in a particular division) to ensure my absence would not effect the vote in any way.

    I would like to pay tribute to my colleagues who argued so passionately for Britain to play our part and give these children the security they so desperately need.

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