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

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    Ruth's Personally Speaking Column - 19th March 2018

    In many ways, the local bank branch is the heart of a community. It is a lifeline to many residents, especially the elderly and vulnerable for whom the baffling, faceless world of online banking can be a real struggle. And it plays a vital role supporting local businesses.
    That’s why I led a debate in Parliament on the importance of community banking and urged the Government to do more to make sure that banks are considering the needs of their customers, especially the elderly and disabled.
    I raised the proposed closures of bank branches across Stoke-on-Trent and the damage that losing these services can do for the local communities on which they depend.
    At a time when the Cooperative Bank is planning to close branches in Tunstall and Kidsgrove, and when Burslem is at risk of losing its very last bank in town, it is no surprise that local residents are concerned and angry. The proposed bank closures across our city could have a huge impact on our towns.
    Communities across Stoke-on-Trent have come together to voice their objections, and petitions against the closures in my own constituency have attracted thousands of signatures.
    These worries are being mirrored in communities up and down our country. In 1988 there were 20,585 bank branches across the country. By 2012 that figure had dropped to just 8,837, and the numbers are still falling.
    These branches aren’t losing money, they’re popular and well-used local amenities. As a local resident and a Co-op customer myself I know that the Tunstall branch is always busy. But in their narrow focus on maximising short-term profits banks are cutting back on staff and property and in doing so are undermining the very communities they exist to serve.
    The truth is there is still huge demand for the services that local branches provide. While 63% of people in the UK reported using online banking in 2017, only 30% of those over the age of 65 have done so. Meanwhile, local businesses who deal with high volumes of cash trade find themselves forced to travel to neighbouring towns just to deposit their takings.
    We want strong towns, with successful local businesses. Having access to a high street bank plays a major role in achieving that. We cannot allow these community assets to be reduced to more empty shop fronts.


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    Information on Bus Service Changes

    I have recently been contacted by First Bus Potteries with information about upcoming reductions to local services. The following routes will be changing from 26th November 2017.

    Route 5: Hanley - Abbey Hulton

    The following Saturday departures are withdrawn:

    From Hanley: 0600, 0630, 0700, 0730, 0803, 1823, 1845, 1900, 1915, 1930

    From Abbey Hulton: 0613, 0643, 0713, 0742, 0802, 0822

    Route 6: Hanley - Longton - Meir

    This service will now terminate at Colaville/Weston Coyney and will no longer link with service 11A

    On Sundays, the last departure from Hanley will be 2000

    Route 7: Hanley - Smallthorne - Ball Green

    Route 7A: Hanley - Smallthorne - Chell - Biddulph

    On Sundays the last departures from Hanley are 1716 (7) and 1736, 1835 (7A). From Kidsgrove the last departure is 1956 and from Biddulph is 1919.

    Route 8: Hanley - Smallthorne - Ball Green

    Route 8A: Hanley - Smallthorne - Endon Fountain

    Changes on Mondays - Fridays

    - The 0620 service 8 departure from Ball Green and the 0628 service 8A departure from Endon Fountain are now joined into a single journey, departing Endon Fountain at 0612 and Ball Green at 0625

    - The 1815 departure from Hanley on service 8 is withdrawn

    The following Saturday journeys are also withdrawn:

    - Departures at 1733 (8A) and 1915 (8) from Hanley, 1810 from Endon Fountain

    - Departures at 0615 from Ball Green and 0731 from Endon Fountain

    The Sunday service on both of these routes is being withdrawn.

    Route 18: Hanley - Sneyd Green - Leek

    On Mondays to Fridays, the 2000 departure from Hanley and the 2041 departure from Leek are both withdrawn

    Route 98: Newcastle - Porthill - Burslem - Ball Green

    The following journeys are all withdrawn:

    Monday - Friday, 0555, 1749, 1841 from Ball Green and the 1839 from Newcastle

    Saturdays - 0813 from Porthole to Newcastle, 1749 and 1841 from Ball Green and the 1839 from Newcastle

    Sundays - 1708 departure from Ball Green

    Route 99: Newcastle - Porthill - Tunstall - Chell

    The Sunday service is withdrawn entirely. In addition the following journeys are all withdrawn:

    Mondays - Fridays: 1733 from Chell heath and the 1800, 1900 from Bradely, the 1829 from Newcastle

    Saturdays: 1800, 1900 from Bradley and the 1801, 1829 from Newcastle

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    Ruth's Holiday Hunger campaign gets national recognition from Labour Party

    Ruth Smeeth has put child food poverty back on the agenda after her Holiday Hunger campaign was taken up by the Labour Party as a national campaign focus.
    Two years ago, Ruth gave the first speech in the House of Commons on the issue of Holiday Hunger and asked what happens to children who are eligible for free school meals during the summer holidays.
    She revealed that six out of ten parents with household incomes of less than £25,000 have said they weren’t always able to buy food out of term times, and a third of parents have skipped a meal so that their children could eat during the school holidays.
    Since then Ruth Smeeth has run a national Holiday Hunger campaign alongside the GMB union and in 2016 she narrowly failed to get the issue discussed on the floor of Labour Party Conference.
    She has also worked with local businesses and charities to create the first comprehensive Holiday Hunger pilot project – which will serve 10,000 meals this summer in her constituency.
    Now the Labour Party are following suit with a national campaign to highlight the impact of Holiday Hunger.
    Ruth said she was delighted that Angela Rayner, the Shadow Education Secretary, has recognised the importance of the issue.
    Ruth said: “This campaign was the first issue I raised as a new Member of Parliament and it is an issue that’s incredibly close to my heart.
    “In my own constituency of Stoke-on-Trent North and Kidsgrove 31% of children are living in poverty. I’ve heard tragic stories from teachers about children coming back to school in September malnourished. This is simply heartbreaking.”
    I’ve worked with an incredible group of people to get this issue on the agenda and I’m absolutely delighted that Holiday Hunger is finally being recognised as a major issue.”
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    Statement on the Manchester attack

    The events in Manchester last night were tragic and heartbreaking. To target innocent people, innocent children, is an act of unspeakable evil.

    My heart goes out to the victims, their family and their loved ones.

    In last nights barbaric and cowardly attack we saw the very worst of humanity. In the response of the people of Manchester and our emergency services we have seen the very best.

    It is up to all of us in the days and weeks ahead to ensure that we remain united as a country and as a community and that we do not allow fear to triumph over hope.

    Those who seek to destroy our way of life, to weaken our resolve, to divide us from our friends and neighbours, will fail.

    As a mark of respect to the victims and their families I will be suspending my re-election campaign until further notice.

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    Statement on Kidsgrove Sports Centre

    Like many of you, I am totally disgusted by the decision of the Tory-run Staffordshire County Council to shut the doors on our Sports Centre in Kidsgrove. I've been working with the Labour Councillors on Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council on alternative provision and a way forward since the Staffordshire Tories first suggested they were going to pull the plug on the pool in the last few weeks.

    I can assure you that I won't rest until we have a proper level of leisure and swimming services re-instated in Kidsgrove. However, this may take some time to achieve, so I'm working with Newcastle-under-Lyme Council to ensure interim measures are in place while we develop a business case for a new facility. I will keep local residents informed of developments.

    The reality is that we are seeing the true impact of Tory 'austerity' measures on our community, in this case implemented by the Tory administration in Stafford.

    ​​​​​​​But I'll keep fighting for a new facility and proper provision for Kidsgrove.

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    Why I am re-standing for Stoke-on-Trent North and Kidsgrove

    It’s been the greatest privilege to represent you in the House of Commons for the last two years as your REAL Labour voice for Stoke-on-Trent North and Kidsgrove. I’m delighted that the Labour Party have today confirmed my candidacy fir the snap General Election on 8th June.

    Since 2015 I have tried everyday to represent you, fighting for more local investment, better jobs, a Brexit deal that works for the Potteries and real support and recognition for our Armed Forces. I’ve also fought alongside local people against cuts to our schools and NHS services and to oppose the attempted sell off of our local cancer and end-of-life care.

    I am proud of how much we achieved together in just two short years. But there is still so much to be done to ensure that everyone in Stoke-on-Trent North and Kidsgrove has the opportunity to live their lives in comfort and security, for our children to have the best start in life, and for our city to take its rightful place as the industrial heart and creative soul of Britain.

    As I’m asking for your vote I think its important that you know what makes me tick. So my priorities as your representative will be:

    1. A brexit deal which works for everyone in the Potteries, making sure we eliver on last years vote.
    2. Strong national defences, making sure that our Armed Forces have what they need to keep us safe and ensuring that we look after them when they retire.
    3. Holiday Hunger – fighting to end the blight of hungry kids in our community.

     You’ve been my priority since I got elected and I promise that won’t change after 8th June. So please make sure you vote and vote for your REAL Labour candidate. Vote for me!

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    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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