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Victorious another success

Commenting on this year’s Victorious Festival in Portsmouth, city MP Stephen Morgan said:

“I’m so proud we have the UK’s largest metropolitan festival here in Portsmouth. Bringing together thousands of local people and visitors to enjoy music and family activities, the festival also brings in over £5m to our local economy.

From belting out Beach Boys tunes with Brian Wilson to enjoying a dance to Paloma Faith, having a rave with The Prodigy, spending time at the world music stage or supporting our own Southsea Alternative Choir, this weekend was a fantastic time to remember.

Where else in the world can you listen and enjoy acts with the beautiful and historic backdrop that is Southsea seafront as a performance stage?

With another Victorious under our city’s belt, it’s a festival which is well and truly continuing to put Portsmouth on the map”.

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City MP brings Portsmouth community together to transform Synagogue garden

Young people from National Citizens Service cleared historic synagogue outdoor space in coordination with congregation

After Stephen Morgan MP became aware of the overgrown state of the Portsmouth And Southsea Synagogue garden during a visit to the local Jewish community, he set about connecting local young people and leaders in an effort that has transformed the once unusable space.

After being contacted by Stephen, volunteers from a local National Citizens Service (NCS) group spent a week clearing overgrown vegetation and obstructions at the site at the heart of one of the UK’s oldest Jewish communities.

The scheme is run in Portsmouth by Pompey in the Community and engages approximately 460 young people in over 37 projects across the city.

Locals praised the speedy work done by the NCS group as their work uncovered a pond and pathway that had previously been lost under a mass of overgrowth, and it is now hoped the recovered space will be used to host events and raise funds for the further development and maintenance of the historic synagogue in Southsea. 

The volunteers braved a torrential downpour and warm weather as they battled to finish the work within a week. Once the clearing was complete, Mr Morgan undertook a follow up visit to congratulate volunteers and the NCS team personally at a celebration event at the end of the week.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“This project showed our city and its young people at their very best. It was great to get stuck in myself and help, but the difference in the space I saw on my return to the Synagogue on Friday is simply brilliant, and all down to this incredibly dedicated NCS group and our friends at the only local synagogue.

 

I couldn’t be prouder of our city’s young people or Pompey in the Community for the brilliant work they’re doing across Portsmouth. I want to thank them and the team leaders for their storming efforts.

 

This is about more than just a week of hard graft and teambuilding, the NCS volunteers have provided our local Jewish community with a legacy that will hopefully raise funds for years to come, as well as recovering a valuable asset and green space for the wider community to enjoy.”

Tony Cooper, Warden at Portsmouth Synagogue, added:

The garden is a great testament to the unique bond that the Jewish Community and Portsmouth have had for nearly three hundred years.

We as a community are lucky to have such a good friend in Stephen.”

Today’s GCSE results

Commenting on the city’s GCSE results today, Stephen Morgan MP, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, said:

“I’d like to congratulate every single young person in Portsmouth collecting their GCSE results today. Every student in our city has the right to quality education and it is so important that we give our young people the best chance of reaching their potential. 

Growing up in Portsmouth I learnt that if you aim high and work hard, you will achieve. It’s great to hear so many success stories of young people doing just that across Portsmouth schools today.

I would also like to thank all the headteachers and their teams whose hard work in difficult times is paying off. Today’s results are testament to their drive to ensure that every young person in our city has the best start in life.”

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MP meets Camber right of way campaigners

Stephen Morgan MP joins locals in Old Portsmouth on a walkabout to listen to concerns on access to the historic Camber

Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, has offered his support to Old Portsmouth campaigners following a walkabout around the area to hear from concerned residents who have been campaigning for a Byway to reopen access to the historic Camber.

Residents launched the campaign over new obstructions to the route around the Camber, an important asset at the mouth of the city’s harbour.

Mr Morgan visited the Camber with representatives from Friends of Old Portsmouth (FOOPA) after a long-running and hard-fought campaign resulted in the Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, ruling that the City Council must draft an Order for a restricted Byway, re-opening access to the route.

However, at time of writing, the council has yet to be forthcoming in providing such an order since the instruction was made in February, much to the frustration of local residents. 

Mr Morgan has now offered his backing in achieving long-awaited progress on this issue, and will be pushing forward in efforts to expedite matters for all involved.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“The Camber is a real asset to our city’s seafront and local residents have led a brilliant campaign to get it back open for the public to enjoy.

The order from DEFRA is clear and the council needs to get on with the drafting so local people can make the most of a historic area of our great city. It was good to see the issue for myself and hear from Old Portsmouth campaigners about their concerns and frustrations.

For the sake of residents and Portsmouth’s heritage, we must move forward in implementing the right of way and facilitating happy co-existence between Camber businesses and pedestrians.

I’ll be doing all I can to achieve progress for the people of Old Portsmouth.”

The city MP met with FOOPA Chair Gail Baird who had requested a meeting Mr Morgan after months of being frustrated by the City Council’s lack of progress in drafting an Order for a Restricted Byway following the Secretary of State’s ruling in February. 

Gail Baird said:

“The visit gave applicant and long-standing Old Portsmouth resident Ken Bailey the opportunity to explain to our MP exactly how the Right of Way route has been obstructed, giving rise to the application in 2014. Mr Morgan was keen to offer his support to expedite the process and will address relevant Officers.

FOOPA has supported the Right of Way campaign since the applicants first requested the route to be recorded on the Definitive Map.

The objective remains the same: that this route is an important historic asset for the City whose quays should be kept open and accessible as a protected public amenity co-existing with all Camber business uses as it always has been in the past”. 

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Major questions for industry remain unanswered says MP on visit to Airbus

Government still leaving Great British business in the dark on Brexit

Stephen Morgan MP visited Airbus in Portsmouth today to discuss the space industry, Brexit, meet apprentices and view the clean rooms where local engineers work on world-leading satellites.

The Portsmouth South MP also warned that the Government risks holding the UK Space Industry back through its indecision on Brexit. The Government has yet to provide clarity on key issues, from freedom of movement to the future of European research cooperation and funding.

Airbus is the third largest aerospace and defence employer in the UK, with 1 in 60 jobs in Portsmouth calculated to be supported by the company and over 1,000 directly employed in the city. Airbus in Portsmouth designs, procures, integrates, and tests the payloads (‘brains’) of 25% of the world’s satellites.

However, there are fears that the no-deal Brexit proposed by the Government will put at risk the UK’s world-leading position in space exploration and utilisation. Many, though not afraid of a direct loss of jobs, are nonetheless concerned about a loss of competence.

A radical change in the UK’s relationship with the EU will inevitably require the redistribution of space industry workers, breaking up teams and increasing the difficulty of retaining skills and expertise.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“Airbus is a Great British business in every sense, and our city should be proud that Portsmouth has lead at the forefront of satellite technology for over 50 years. 

The Government must abandon no-deal, or risk abandoning one of our country’s most productive and highly skilled industries. This is a time when we should be increasing international cooperation in scientific research and funding, not retreating from it for the sake of the dogma of Tory backbenchers.

Seeing the fantastic work done by Portsmouth’s engineers up close reinforced to me just how important it is that protect the UKs aerospace and defence workers from the reckless ideology of the Government.

I’ll continue to keep the pressure up on Government to finally put our industry and city first when it comes to Brexit.”

 

 

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MP visits St Mary’s site ahead of ground-breaking

Stephen Morgan goes on a walkabout at St Mary’s as £10 million redevelopment approaches

MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, this week paid a visit to Solent NHS Trust before work starts on a £10.3 million re-development of clinical services at St Mary’s Community Health Campus.

The work is expected to transform the site into a key health hub for the city of Portsmouth, catering for a wide range of community care and mental health services. Ground will be broken next month and it is hoped the work will be completed by October 2019.

The older persons mental health community team, physiotherapy department, and out-patient therapies will be moved from from the Turner Centre at St James’ Hospital to St Mary’s Hospital’s newly refurbished Block B, which will also become the base for a new state-of-the-art automated pharmacy service.

Stephen met with Mark Young, Solent NHS Trust’s Head of Estates, and toured the site whilst being briefed on the latest developments.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“This is a truly exciting time for St Mary’s, the Trust, and our city.

The redevelopment will see the site transformed into an invaluable community health hub and prove a crucial resource for our local NHS and the people it so ably serves.

It was great to see it for myself on the ground today and get a real idea of the plans.

Healthcare in Portsmouth needs this sort of investment to support our community and I’ll continue to be there each step of the way as the project progresses”.

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Today’s A-level results

Responding to today’s A-level results in Portsmouth, city MP Stephen Morgan said:

Many congratulations to all those in Portsmouth receiving their A-level results today, every one of those young people should be very proud of their achievements. 

I want to make sure every young person in our city has the best possible chance in life, and education has a huge role to play in allowing young people to reach their potential.
 
This year’s results are another step in the right direction to closing the disadvantage gap in the city that sadly still holds so many back.
 
I would like to thank all the college leaders, teachers and support staff who work consistently hard to ensure that every young person has the opportunity to succeed in Portsmouth, regardless of background.”

1,000 days since Orkambi is licensed in the UK, Cystic Fibrosis drug still denied to UK patients

Orkambi

1,000 days since Cystic Fibrosis medicine Orkambi was licensed in the UK, Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan has again called for the Cystic Fibrosis medicine Orkambi to be made available on the NHS.

During the 1000 days that have passed, more than 200 people who may have benefited from this life enhancing and potentially life prolonging drug have sadly died.

Cystic fibrosis is a terrible and debilitating life-shortening illness that leads to a severely reduced quality of life. It causes a build-up of thick, sticky mucus, chronic lung infections and progressive lung damage.

Orkambi is a precision medicine that nearly half of the more than 10,000 people in the UK with cystic fibrosis, including children aged six or over, could benefit from. While conventional cystic fibrosis treatments target the symptoms, precision medicines such as Orkambi tackle the underlying genetic defects that cause the condition.

Orkambi has been found to slow decline in lung function by up to 42 per cent – the most common cause of death for people with cystic fibrosis. It has also been shown to reduce chest infections requiring hospital treatment by up to 61 per cent.

Orkambi received its European license on 20 November 2015 and in June the following year the UK government agency the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recognised Orkambi as an important treatment.

Yet despite this it is unavailable to most people with cystic fibrosis across the UK. And today it is 1,000 days since it was licensed for use in Europe and therefore the UK.

Earlier this year, MPs debated making Orkambi available while hundreds of children wrote personal, heartfelt letters to the Prime Minister pleading for it to be made available

However, over the summer talks between the drugs manufacturer Vertex and NHS England broke down, shattering the hopes of thousands of people.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

 “It is so disappointing that although Orkambi has been made available in the UK, sufferers of Cystic Fibrosis still do not have access to it.

 “The Prime Minister said she wanted to see a quick resolution to the negotiations to ensure people can access these drugs however we are no further along than we were 1000 days ago.

 “I will continue to campaign for those suffering with this debilitating condition in Portsmouth and across the UK.”

 

As rail fares look set to rise again City MP meets South Western Railways Chief

 

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As the cost of rail fares look set to rise again tomorrow, Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan has visited Portsmouth Harbour Station to meet network franchise holder South Western Railways.

Mr Morgan met with South Western Rail Managing Director Andy Mellors where they discussed much-needed improvement to services, his plans for the future of the franchise and some of the concerns of local people.

Points of discussion included the speed of services between Portsmouth and London Waterloo, the introduction of new flexi-fares enabling different prices for different travel times, re-introduction of 4 across seating and much needed capital investment at both Portsmouth Harbour and Portsmouth and Southsea stations.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“It was helpful to meet Mr Mellors today and hear about his plans for the future of South Western Railway and also discuss some of the concerns that local people have written to me about.

 A year ago, when South Western Railway changed hands, I vowed to keep a close eye on the franchise and its delivery of services to and from Portsmouth. There have been some welcomed improvements and I am assured there are plans for the future improvement of rail services to and from the city.

“That being said, there is still a lot more to do to ensure that the people of Portsmouth are served with the quality of rail services they are paying for.”

 On capital improvements to the city’s stations Stephen added:

“Our city’s train stations are looking tired at a time we are working hard to strengthen our local economy and make Portsmouth an even better destination for visitors and business.

“I have urged the Managing Director to do all he can to invest in our train stations, and will keep the pressure on for South Western Railways to deliver for the people of Portsmouth.”

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‘Too little, too late’: City MP says Tories’ rough sleeping plan shows no urgency and no new money

Newly announced strategy contains no new money to tackle homelessness and stretches to 2027 

Stephen Morgan MP has criticised the Government’s rough-sleeping strategy for failing the growing number of homeless people on Portsmouth’s streets.

Before his election, the Portsmouth South MP was Chief Executive of a homelessness charity people and has said that the lack of attention and funding from the Conservatives will mean the pressure will continue to rise on smaller voluntary organisations and charities who are filling the vacuum.

Mr Morgan says the plan completely lacks any sense of urgency or proper funding. The Government had initially promised £100 million towards the new strategy. However, this figure has subsequently been thrown into doubt after Secretary of State, James Brokenshire, today appeared to indicate that half is already assigned to rough sleeping and half has been moved from other budgets.

Portsmouth has some of the highest rates of homelessness in the country, with almost 5 rough sleepers for every 10,000 households. This is compared to 0.4 per 10,000 in neighbouring East Hampshire.

Labour’s New Deal on homelessness would introduce a new national plan to end rough sleeping, starting by doubling the number of affordable homes reserved for those with a history of sleeping rough.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“It’s clear we have a homelessness crisis in Portsmouth. The fact that the Government isn’t willing to put any new money into tackling it shows just how far down this problem, and our city, is on their agenda.

Before I was elected, I was Chief Executive of a homelessness charity running day support services for rough-sleepers so I know what a difference public money can make to people living on the street and those that support them. The financial sleight of hand by the Government will be a real blow.

This ‘strategy’ is no such thing. With the Secretary of State appearing to confirm that the supposed ‘£100 million’ is really just clever accounting its little wonder his department has estimated it will decade before it can fix rough sleeping.

Portsmouth can’t wait any longer for the Tories to take this seriously. Labour would build the homes needed to end rough sleeping. In the face of Government inaction, I’ll continue to support and engage with the number of brilliant local charities and organisations in Portsmouth who are doing such important work in assisting those on our streets.”   

Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, John Healy MP, said:

“The Government’s rough sleeping plan has unravelled just hours after it was announced. It’s now clear there is no additional money for the Housing Department to tackle the crisis of rough sleeping.

Rough sleeping has more than doubled since 2010 thanks to decisions made by Tory Ministers, but this feeble plan lacks any urgency.

The next Labour Government will end rough sleeping within our first term in office, making 8,000 homes available for people with a history of rough sleeping.”