Nick Smith MP

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Nick Smith MP has branded the Government’s flagship voting changes as “a body blow to democracy” as a million people have already fallen off the register.

 

In the same week as Voter Registration Day, it was revealed that despite Government assurances, the General Election’s result has been jeopardised by the new system.

 

The Blaenau Gwent MP had already revealed that more than 2,000 people had vanished from the register in his constituency due to Individual Electoral Registration – a fact that has been repeated up and down the country.

 

For the 373 local Authorities for which data has been processed, 307 have seen a reduction in the electoral roll. In these Local Authorities 1,016,024 fewer voters are registered in 2015, compared with in 2014.

 

Mr Smith pressed the Government repeatedly in a debate in Parliament this week, demanding to know why private databases such as Experian were not used to help complete records.

 

With young people being the most at risk of falling off due to moving for education and mortgage applications needing voter registration to be approved, Mr Smith said the Government had failed in their efforts at the worst possible time.

 

“We have had several elections between now and when these plans were approved. Why is it the most important elections for this country have been used as a guinea pig?” he said.

 

“I’ve spoken to front line staff trying to make this work, but they haven’t been given all the tools I think they need.

 

“They should be out there on the doorstep talking to voters and signing them up and instead they are chasing National Insurance Numbers and getting bogged down in process.

 

“The Government should be ashamed at this crisis of democracy – a crisis of their own doing.

 

“We should be engaging with lapsed voters and young voters in particular, but instead we’ve got a system that is quietly pushing them into irrelevance.

 

“One voter who turns up on voting day to find out they can’t vote is one too many. People fought and died for the right to vote, so we should be doing everything in our power to make sure our democracy is open to all.”

 

You can register to vote online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

A million less voters - caused by Government reform

  Nick Smith MP has branded the Government’s flagship voting changes as “a body blow to democracy” as a million people have already fallen off the register.  

Nick Smith MP has backed a bill that would see top companies forced to come clean if they don’t pay a fair wage to their workers.

 

The Blaenau Gwent MP was a sponsor on the Living Wage (Reporting) 10 minute rule bill, which would require listed companies to report annually on the percentage of their staff paid below a Living Wage.

 

The Living Wage, which talks about how much is needed to provide a basic quality of life, currently stand at £7.85 an hour in the UK.

 

However, 4.9m working people in the country are paid below this much-needed amount – 20% of the workforce.

 

Speaking after the Bill was agreed in Parliament and will now get a second reading in March, Mr Smith said it was about introducing fairness to the system.

 

“The economic recovery might mean business at the top is booming, but it just hasn’t trickled down to all the people who helped to get in back there with their hard work”, he said.

 

“We’ve got a system where the taxpayer is propping up hard workers with tax credits and in-work housing benefit. It’s fantastic that we are able to help those who still need support and rightfully so, but shouldn’t work pay?”

 

Listed companies are already required to produce annual remuneration reports, but these are focused on the pay of Directors.

 

The Living Wage (Reporting) Bill would be a company-wide report in comparison generated by the companies.

 

Only 18 of the current top 100 FTSE companies pay a living wage, and Mr Smith said this concentration of wealth was an example of the system not benefitting everyone.

 

“People are told if they work hard and do well for their company, they will be rewarded for their diligence”, he said.

 

“Yet most of the top companies would rather squeeze their lowest paid staff. It’s short-term thinking of profit over people and in the long run hurts us all.”

Companies must come clean on Living Wage

Nick Smith MP has backed a bill that would see top companies forced to come clean if they don’t pay a fair wage to their workers.

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Nick Smith MP has attacked the Government for letting down Blaenau Gwent after the latest unemployment figures were revealed.

The latest Jobseekers Allowance figures have shown that despite the claims from the Tory Government that the recovery is well underway, 420 people over the age of 25 are still claiming JSA more than two years after being made unemployed.

The Blaenau Gwent MP has been doing his bit to try to reverse the trend, backing the Blaenau Gwent Work Experience Programme to help youngsters get a much needed foot on the ladder.

However, Mr Smith said without a Government willing to face up to the problem, people are being denied the chance to get back into work.

“Here in Blaenau Gwent long term unemployment is still unacceptably high and 120 young people have been out of work for a year or more.  This government is still letting down our area”, he said.

“We urgently need action to get local people into work. This is why Labour is calling for a compulsory jobs guarantee, which will get any adult out of work for more than two years, or young person out of work for a year, into a job – one they would be required to take.

“Blaenau Gwent can’t wait any longer for action. Ministers must get off their hands and start helping now before they condemn a whole generation to joblessness.”

In Wales employment has increased by 4,000 on the previous quarter, but unemployment has increased even further - by 9,000 on the previous quarter, currently standing at 103,000.

The Government are abandoning Blaenau Gwent jobless

Nick Smith MP has attacked the Government for letting down Blaenau Gwent after the latest unemployment figures were revealed.


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