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Reversing cuts to youth services key to reducing ASB, says Portsmouth MP

New youth services policy would help cut ASB and divert young people from crime according to Stephen Morgan

MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, has said Labour’s new Youth Service policy would help ease the burden on overstretched and underpaid police officers by preventing young people from falling into crime and making them less vulnerable to exploitation by gangs. The MP believes drastic cuts to youth services under the Tories has resulted in the loss of a vital diversionary tool.

Today, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Cat Smith MP, Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs announced Labour’s plans for a Statutory Youth Service alongside a new consultation.

Labour has announced it would mandate a national body with dedicated ring-fenced funding to oversee youth service provision across England. This national body would work with local youth partnerships in every local area to support service delivery across the country.

Stephen is encouraging anyone with interest in shaping youth services to take part in a new consultation which will be led by Cat Smith MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs.

The consultation is the first step in delivering youth services that support young people and prevent them from being exploited by gangs and falling into a life of crime.

New analysis by the House of Commons Library commissioned by Labour indicates that local authority spending on universal youth services has fallen by 52% in real terms since 2012. Furthermore, research shows that under the Conservatives, over 600 youth centres have closed.

With crime up by 10% in Portsmouth, Stephen is committed to reversing cuts to youth services and providing good quality youth services in every community as part of a public health approach to tackling anti-social behaviour and violent crime and to help young people reach their potential.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“Where you are born in life shouldn’t determine where you end up. As someone who has worked in play and youth services I know how important these services are to improving chances for all young people.Sadly, youth services in Portsmouth have been dealt a hard blow by this Government.

These incredibly short-sighted Tory cuts have been borne out on Portsmouth streets, with anti-social behaviour on the up and our young people left disillusioned.

We’ve seen crime rise by 10% in Portsmouth, and, with frontline policing continuing to be cut by the Government, we need to do all we can to ease the burden on our local forces and get tough on the causes of crime.

That’s why Labour is launching this consultation on a statutory youth service. We’re fortunate to have many talented people in our city working to improve the opportunities available to young people, I’d encourage all of them to get involved.”

Cat Smith MP, Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs, said:

“The Government has left youth services across the country devastated after eight years of unnecessary and unjustified austerity.

With youth services targeted for budget cuts, the Tories have created the conditions in which crime can thrive, leaving young people vulnerable to violence and denied the opportunity to build a positive future.

Enough is enough. Today, we are launching our consultation on a statutory youth service which outlines a bold vision of what a Labour government will achieve.

I urge anyone who wants to improve the opportunities available to young people to get involved. Together, we will rebuild youth services to create a system that truly works for the many, not the few.”

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Improvements being made with city’s water treatment works but more to do says City MP

Stephen Morgan MP began Parliamentary recess by getting stuck into local issues with Southern Water

As MPs across the country headed off from Westminster for the summer, Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan wasted no time in getting stuck into the less glamorous side of political life.

Stephen paid a visit to Budd’s Farm, Southern Water’s Sewage Treatment Plant, to view the site, hear about Southern’s ‘Keep it Clear’ campaign, and share issues from his postbag.

Budds Farm Wastewater Treatment Works treats the wastewater from homes across Portsmouth, Havant, Hayling Island, Cosham, Paulsgrove, Waterlooville, Horndean and Hambledon.

It serves nearly 410,000 people and during normal weather conditions treats almost 109 million litres of wastewater per day,enough to fill nearly 47 Olympic-sized swimming pools. During storm conditions it can treat up to 200 million litres per day.

During the visit Stephen learnt about the company’s improvements to its services and investment in infrastructure after being fined £150,000 for a number of ‘illegal discharges’ into Langstone Harbour which is a site of special scientific interest several years ago.

Commenting on the visit Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“It was very useful to get over to Budds Farm to talk with Southern Water and see first-hand their work treating hundreds of millions of litres of Portsmouth’s water.

I was assured to hear the investment and improvements the company has made are making a difference, and understand the further actions they intend to take.

Our city relies on this plant to keep our region functioning and our water supply clean; the visit also provided me with a valuable opportunity to tell Southern Water all about the issues and concerns faced by people in Portsmouth – from bills to blockages”.

Of interest too was Southern Water’s new plastics policy that not only sets targets for plastic waste reduction, but also works with suppliers to increase recycling rates and fund academic studies into the removal and recycling of plastic waste.

Stephen added:

One of the main issues people in Portsmouth are writing to me about at the moment is the amount of plastic waste in the Solent and our nation’s waterways. 

We’ve become reliant on single-use plastics and we must do more to reduce plastic waste in our communities and workplaces. 

Every business can make their mark and I am pleased to hear about Southern Water’s collaboration with our city’s university to intervene and prevent plastics from entering the Solent’s environment”.

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City MP backs campaign to bring public toilets to popular Portsmouth park

Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, has thrown his weight behind a campaign led by Fratton residents for public convenience facilities at Kingston Recreation ground.

The popular park in Fratton has seen a transformation in recent months, helped by the team at Fratton Big Local.

The new play facilities at the site were unveiled last month following extensive consultation with local people.

Now community campaigners are calling on the city council to support the area’s families by investing in new conveniences and baby changing facilities.

A petition has been set up by Fratton mum Nikki Coles, a regular user of the park with her family. Residents can show their support for the plan by signing up to an online petition.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Kingston Rec has certainly come a long way since the days I used to play there as a child.

With the help of Fratton Big Local, it’s become a really brilliant green space at the heart of our city and so it’s no surprise its drawing in more and more Portsmouth families.

But, in the face of devastating Tory and Lib Dem cuts to local services, Kingston Rec toilets were closed in 2013 meaning these families now face a 15-minute trek to the nearest facilities at the community centre.

So I’m delighted to give my support to this excellent campaign by a local mum Nikki and team to reverse this damage so that children and parents across the community can really make the most of this transformed public asset in the heart of Portsmouth”.

You can sign the community petition here and it’s open to anyone who lives, works or studies in Portsmouth. The petition runs until 2 October 2018.  

 

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No veteran should be forced to sleep on the streets

As part of Stephen Morgan’s campaign to ensure a better deal for our armed services and veterans, this week the City MP visited a home set up to support ex-service personnel who are homeless or vulnerable.

The Portsmouth South Member of Parliament has been meeting with, and visiting the services of, a number of organisations in our area to understand the challenges veterans face, and raising issues in Parliament and with Ministers. 

On Armed Forces Day last month Stephen wrote to the Defence Secretary calling for the government to do more to support serving and ex-service personnel. An armed forces covenant is in place to help support the transition to civilian life but Stephen is pushing for the plan to have “teeth” and greater backing from government and businesses alike.

Responding to a visit this week to see firsthand the work of Alabare – a charity based in the region supporting the homeless – Stephen Morgan MP said:

Our nation’s veterans are without doubt exceptional men and women who have loyally served their country, committed to excellence, duty, and public service.

Yet despite this, when choosing to finish their service in the military, veterans often find the transition back to civilian life fraught with uncertainty and extremely stressful. 

Our country owes it to them to help them get back on their feet during times of difficulty. And certainly no veteran should ever be forced to sleep on our nation’s streets”.

Alabare’s Homes for Veterans service is the largest provider of supported accommodation for homeless veterans of working age outside of London. Every night the charity provides over 120 beds across 27 homes dedicated to ex-service personnel who are homeless and vulnerable.

On the visit, Stephen met with a number of people who have been helped by the work of the charity or reside at one of their homes. 

Brian served a total of 15 years around the world including on multiple tours in Northern Ireland and Cyprus. After retiring from the Marines, his relationship broke down and he had no where to live other than a van. Alabare provided a roof over Brian’s head, supporting him with financial issues, depression and general health. 

Speaking about the service received Brian said: “I am so lucky in the help I received. I cannot thank the staff at Alabare’s Homes for Veterans enough”.

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Andrew Lord, Alabare Chief Executive said:

It was a real pleasure to welcome the MP for Portsmouth South Stephen Morgan to one of our Hampshire services.

Stephen was able to spend the afternoon hearing the stories of our service users and how Alabaré is helping them in their time of need upon leaving the forces.

Our service users also had the opportunity to pose questions to Stephen and discuss what more can be done to help Veterans make a successful transition in to civilian life”. 

Stephen Morgan MP added:

I have been really impressed by the work of Alabare and welcomed the visit to see their work firsthand. 

As well as offering supported housing, I am pleased to learn about their specialist care and guidance to vulnerable veterans over the age of 65.

I will continue to stand up for service personnel and veterans in Parliament and work with local groups to ensure in Portsmouth they always get the support they need”. 

NHS70: Portsmouth MP hosts event to say ‘thank you’

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City MP Stephen Morgan has hosted a reception at his constituency office in celebration of the NHS turning 70 this year and to recognise the contribution of Portsmouth’s many valued NHS workers.

The event was attended by Rose Bennett, winner of the Parliamentary NHS ‘Health Heroes’ award for Lifetime Achievement and others who work tirelessly at all levels to support local NHS services.

Mr Morgan opened the event with a talk about how valued our local NHS services are, and how hard those in our NHS work. He also gave out certificates to the nominees of the Parliamentary NHS Health Heroes awards who have been recognised for their contribution to NHS services in Portsmouth.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“To mark the 70th birthday of one of the country’s much-loved institutions I wanted to host an event to say thank you to those who work so hard to make the NHS what it is today.

 The introduction of the NHS completely transformed people’s lives, giving access to world-class healthcare to all, regardless of their ability to pay.

“The NHS takes care of people from the first to the last day of their lives. As we mark its 70th birthday, I wanted to have the opportunity to thank the phenomenal NHS staff in our city who have delivered lifesaving work, even in the toughest times.”

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Mr Morgan had special postcards printed where members of the public wrote their personal experiences and messages of thanks to those who have made a difference to them in the NHS and these were presented to those who attended the reception.

No new Government money for pay rises means more cuts to frontline services, warns MP

Reports suggest that no new money will be allocated by the Treasury for pay rises above 1%, meaning today’s announcements will mean a new round of cuts to frontline services and actual pay cuts for some.

MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, has expressed his concern that the Government’s refusal to fund its recently announced public sector pay rise will lead to further cuts to services and even a real-terms pay cut from some workers.

The IFS say today’s announcement will cost £800m a year from existing budgets, including £320m from education budget. The announcement has been sneaked out by Government on the last day of Parliament before summer recess – leaving more questions than answers.

Consumer Price Inflation was 2.4% in the most recent ONS figures, meaning that any rises lower than inflation effectively amount to yet another pay cut.

Since his election, Stephen has been campaigning for the Government to lift the public sector pay cap. He’s asked questions in the House of Commons to a number of Secretaries of State and today called on the Chief Secretary of the Treasury to release detail on when armed forces personnel would receive their consolidated payments.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“At best, this is sleight of hand from the Government, and at worst, a scam. They’ve launched this small pay rise but without new money to fund it.

I’ve been taking action to address this issue for some time now and I welcome any movement. But many in our city will still find that their income lags behind inflation, and those who do receive a well-deserved pay rise will be rightly disappointed that the Tories have raided local services and schools to pay for it.

The Tories are running a false economy and its people in Portsmouth who are bearing the cost”.

Portsmouth MP receives non-answer from Chief Secretary on armed forces pay

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss refuses to tell Stephen Morgan MP when service personnel will see extra money in their bank accounts

MP for Portsmouth South Stephen Morgan today pressed Government Treasury officials for detail on when armed forces personnel would see their one off consolidated payment of 0.9% – sadly, to no avail. His question follows his campaign to give our armed forces a pay rise – a campaign he started leading a Westminster Hall debate on the issue last September.

In the House of Commons Chamber today, Stephen asked Liz Truss MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury when exactly servicemen and women would see the increase in their bank accounts. The Chief Secretary refused to give any detail stating only that the pay boost would be implemented ‘later this year’.

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Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“I’m pleased our armed forces personnel will be getting this consolidated payment, but remain concerned by the lack of specificity on time-frames from the Treasury.

We’re all too familiar with the Government’s habit of pushing back spending commitments, but our serving men and women can’t afford to wait – times are tough, pay is squeezed, and this payment needs to occur sooner rather than later.

It’s really frustrating the Tories won’t tell them when they can expect it.”

The Government also today announced a pay rise of 2% for armed forces personnel.

Stephen welcomes this long overdue, and well deserved, announcement on Armed Forces pay, but given the pressure that the MoD budget is already under, has voiced concern that there is no new money to fund it from outside the Department.

 

Young disabled people debate with Stephen Morgan MP for World Youth Skills Day

Leonard Cheshire debate

A group of young disabled people honed their debating skills in Portsmouth this Friday to celebrate World Youth Skills Day.  World Youth Skills Day (15th July) is a United Nations designated day to raise awareness on the importance of investing in youth skills development.

The debaters were volunteers from charity Leonard Cheshire’s Can Do programme, which supports young disabled people on their journey towards independence through giving them opportunities to build and develop skills.

The Can Doers first participated in a debating workshop at Portsmouth City Council, run by Portsmouth organisation Unloc, that aims to empower young people to be innovative changemakers who seek to build stronger communities and sustainable businesses.

Following the workshop, the Can Doers took part in a mock debate in Portsmouth City Council’s debating chambers, chaired by Stephen Morgan, Labour MP for Portsmouth South.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

 “It was a delight to take part in the debate with Can Do. These young people could have a bright future in politics ahead of them if they continue to debate as well as they did today. Supporting youth in developing their skills is something we should all get behind this World Youth Skills day.”

One of the Can Do debaters, Carly, said:

“Being part of this debate has given me the opportunity to give my own opinions and to have my voice heard on behalf of other people who aren’t as able or can’t communicate as well. Sometimes disabled people can experience a lack of encouragement and a lack of confidence because they are not listened to by professionals.

“Having the chance to talk to local decision makers about these issues is important because it helps to build confidence and we get to speak to and meet different people to develop our public speaking skills.”

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Portsmouth MP speaks out as new figures reveal violent crime up 19%

MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, has responded to today’s publication of figures from the Office of National Statistics which show a sharp rise in violent crime knife offensives.

Mr Morgan, who is sitting on the Bill Committee for the Offensive Weapons Bill as it progresses through Parliament, has said the statistics show the Government is putting lives at risk with unprecedented cuts to frontline policing.

The report shows:

• a continued rise in the number of offences involving knives or sharp instruments, with police recording 16% more offences this year compared with last year; provisional NHS data show a small proportion of these offences result in an admission to hospital with admissions for assaults involving a sharp instrument increasing by 14% for England in the last year

• the number of homicides recorded by the police showed a fourth consecutive rise, increasing by 12% compared with last year

• latest estimates from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) showed a 17% increase in vehicle-related thefts compared with the previous year, which is consistent with rises seen in the number of such offences recorded by the police

• the number of burglary offences recorded by the police has increased by 6% compared with the previous year

• the number of robberies recorded by the police also increased by 30% in the latest year

The news comes at a time when Hampshire Constabulary has lost 1,000 police officers and £28 million from its budget.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“In many ways, this further rise in violent crime isn’t the least bit surprising, but that makes it no less horrendous.

If you remove 21,000 police officers from this country’s streets then inevitably violent offences are far harder to prevent and prosecute. The Tories are putting the public, and the brave officers who serve to defend that at grave risk.

This Government has broken promises to protect our police. Portsmouth has fewer bobbies on the beat and those that remain are overworked and under-resourced.

The statistics from the ONS show just that it is more important than ever that the Offensive Weapons Bill is effective and comprehensive in helping our police forces keep knives and acid off our streets.”

Louise Haigh, Labour’s Shadow Policing Minister said:

“The Tories have lost control of the fight against serious crime.”

“Rather than tackle surging crime we have a Prime Minister so overwhelmed by fighting internal battles that she was desperate to go on holiday early.”

“It is high time the Prime Minister and Home Secretary faced up to their responsibility and urgently act to put police officers back on our streets. The Tory record on crime has seen eight years of wretched failure with devastating consequences for our communities.”

Copy and paste job by Government not good enough for Portsmouth

Stephen Morgan MP, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, has reacted to a letter from the Government following his lobbying for the city for extra cash as the council moves hundreds of local people and families out of Horatia and Leamington House in Somerstown.
A reply to Stephen’s letter to the Prime Minister of 7 June 2018 has now been received from the Housing Minister.
Stephen said:
Today I finally received a reply to my letter to the Prime Minister sent 6 weeks ago when news broke about the need to move residents out of their homes in the heart of Portsmouth.
 
Rather than committing to supporting our city’s residents at Horatia and Leamington House, providing funding to tackle this significant concern and agreeing to meet with me, the PM passed the letter to a junior Minister.
 
And with that, the people of Portsmouth got a slap dash job and a copy and paste reply. 
 
The Government’s complacency is appalling and somewhat surprising given the very genuine and live concerns regarding building safety in this country. The hundreds of residents affected by the council’s decision to move them out of their homes deserve better.
 
I will continue to work with the city council and stand up for residents. My constituents won’t be palmed off by this Government.”