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HIV.jpgAndrew Smith MP has stressed the importance of HIV testing ahead of National HIV Testing Week.

Between 9am and 5pm next Thursday 28th November people can attend a free, confidential HIV session at Oxford Leys Pharmacy. People can also contact the Oxford centre to book an appointment at an alternative time by calling (01865) 243 389 or emailing info.oxford@tht.org.uk.

Andrew said: "I welcome the testing week. As the World Health Organisation and the Terrence Higgins Trust say, it is vitally important that people who want to learn their HIV status should be able to get tested, with supportive counselling."

There are around 100,000 people living with HIV in the UK, but a quarter of these people are undiagnosed and therefore unaware they have the virus. Coordinated by Terrence Higgins Trust on behalf of HIV Prevention England, National HIV Testing Week aims to drive down undiagnosed HIV by encouraging those most at risk to get tested.

Anyone who thinks they might have been at risk is encouraged to attend for a test. Testing is done using a finger-prick blood test, with the results provided within fifteen minutes. Those who attend the clinic will be given information and support before and after the test, and anyone who tests positive will be referred immediately to a specialist clinic.

Andrew supports National HIV Testing Week

Andrew Smith MP has stressed the importance of HIV testing ahead of National HIV Testing Week.

ADS-TEST-WEBSITE.jpgAndrew Smith MP is backing the call on the coalition to 'tune into road safety'.

Government figures released in November showed that the number of motorcycling and cycling casualties on our roads has risen in comparison to the same period last year. Cyclist casualties rose 12% while motorcyclist casualties went up by 4%.

Cycling accidents hit a five-year high in Oxford this year, with many of the collisions happening along Cowley Road and at The Plain. Andrew is actively engaging with local residents, cycling experts, East Oxford businesses, and planners to make sure that the investment of nearly £1m in The Plain's redevelopment gives cycling safety proper consideration.

Road Safety Week, coordinated by the road safety charity Brake, is the UK's leading event to promote safer road use. This year Road Safety Week focuses on preventing collisions caused by distractions such as mobile phone use and will be supported by extra police enforcement coordinated by the Association of Chief Police Officers.

Alongside Brake, Andrew is pressing the coalition government to focus on road safety and make the issue a national priority.

Andrew Smith MP said: "Worrying increases in the number of casualties for those on two wheels compel us to tune into road safety. If a driver is distracted they are two to three times more likely to crash and cause a serious injury.

"I want Ministers to put the most vulnerable first and reverse their decision to get rid of targets for lowering the number of injuries and fatalities on our roads."

Andrew supports 'Tune Into Road Safety'

Andrew Smith MP is backing the call on the coalition to 'tune into road safety'.

NEW_MINI.jpgAndrew Smith MP welcomed the world launch of the new generation of MINI today at the Oxford plant. 

Andrew said: "I was really pleased to see the new MINI launched exclusively here in Cowley. The massive investment which BMW have put it in very welcome, and a huge tribute to the local workforce, who have made such a success of the production of this iconic model."

"This latest generation of MINI has an exciting and attractive design, with performance to match, which I am sure will lead to continued success for sales, and all that this means for jobs and prosperity here in Oxford."

The new MINI goes into full production later this week, and will be on sale early next year.

Andrew welcomes new generation MINI

Andrew Smith MP welcomed the world launch of the new generation of MINI today at the Oxford plant. 

Bedroom_Tax_10.jpgAndrew will vote today to abolish the bedroom tax being imposed by the Lib Dem / Tory government. 

The Bedroom Tax hits over 400,000 disabled people nationwide. The Housing Federation estimates there are 3247 households affected in Oxfordshire, 777 of them in Oxford East. For the vast majority of those affected, there is nowhere smaller to move to, hitting vulnerable people with an average bill of £720 a year through no fault of their own. Instead of reducing the housing benefit bill, there is now a real risk the Bedroom Tax will cost more than it saves, as rent arrears mounts up and an increasing number of tenants are faced with the possibility of eviction.

Andrew said: "The Bedroom Tax is leaving many local families with nowhere to go and on the edge of spiralling debt. It is important that people know that if elected to government in 2015 Labour will abolish this unfair charge; but it would be even better if we could get it abolished now. That is why I am proud to say I will vote today to do just that.

"The Labour Party has promised to repeal the tax in government, and because we know that in these tough financial times we can't borrow more to pay for social security, we've set out a clear plan to pay for the repeals by cutting down on tax loop holes and avoidance." 

The next Labour Government will repeal the Bedroom Tax without extra borrowing. To cover the £470m cost of repealing the Bedroom Tax, funds have been earmarked from:

* reversing George Osborne's recent tax cut for hedge funds announced in Budget 2013;
* reversing George Osborne's controversial "shares for rights" scheme which has been rejected by businesses, has opened up a tax loophole and according to the Office for Budget Responsibility will lead to £1bn being lost to the Exchequer; and
* tackling disguised employment in the construction industry.

Andrew went on to say: "At the same time as the Coalition Government is cutting taxes for the wealthiest, they are penalising disabled people and their loved ones that work so hard caring for them.

"It's heartbreaking to see the effect of this policy on some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Many constituents who have contacted me to express their concerns are disabled, or are on very low incomes and simply can't find the money to meet the shortfall. The shortage of affordable housing in Oxford means that downsizing simply isn't an option for many of those affected.

"Not only is the policy cruel and unworkable for all those affected, but it is placing a huge strain on local authorities such as Oxford City Council to meet the shortfall and to protect the most vulnerable - which means valuable resources are diverted from elsewhere. The Labour Party's policy to repeal this tax isn't only fair but makes sense. The Tory-led Government should follow our lead."

Andrew backs calls to repeal the 'bedroom tax'

Andrew will vote today to abolish the bedroom tax being imposed by the Lib Dem / Tory government. 

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