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Expansion and transformation of universal childcare will transform lives of Portsmouth families

Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan backs Labour childcare reform on visit to local nursery

On a visit today to a nursery in the city, MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, spoke of how Labour would transform childcare for families in Portsmouth. This comes after Labour announced a radical expansion and transformation of free universal childcare benefiting more than a million children and their families.

Currently, patchy support for childcare is holding back too many parents and families. Universal free high quality childcare will benefit parents, families and children across our country. 

Under Labour’s plans, 30 hours of high quality, genuinely free childcare will be available to all 2, 3 and 4 year olds, with no means testing. In a major new announcement, the party set out plans to provide additional subsided hours of childcare on top of the free 30 hour allowance. These additional hours will be free for those on the lowest incomes and, for those on the highest incomes, they will be offered for no more than £4 per hour. 

Mr Morgan also shared his party’s plans to improve children’s life chances by dramatically raising standards of childcare.

Labour will achieve this by introducing a two-term plan to shift to a graduate-led workforce. This will improve the pay and skill levels of childcare staff, drive up standards to improve our children’s life chances and close the attainment gap, which is locking in inequality while children are still infants.

The city MP paid a visit to Baffins Nature Nursery based at the Stacey Centre, an innovative nursery focusing on child-initiated play and outdoor learning. With its mature fruit orchard, wild areas and raised flowerbeds, the nursery offers a unique environment for children to experience the full benefits of playing and learning outdoors.

Mr Morgan was impressed with the staff’s commitment to reducing plastic waste and learning inspired by the natural world.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“This is a vital and long overdue change that would transform the lives of families in Portsmouth. If we don’t invest in our children and support working families then our country can’t expect to thrive. 

Currently, our childcare system is complex and chronically underfunded. The cost of childcare has risen by between 32% and 47% across England since 2010, but wages have only risen by around 16%. We need to do far better by families.

I know what a difference free childcare will make to parents in Portsmouth, visiting the brilliant Baffins Nature nursery reinforced how urgent and important this is for our city.”

 


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Labour is ready to rebuild Britain

This week Labour has been hosting its annual conference in Liverpool. The event was packed with events, debates and policy announcements.

From our communities to our economy, from industry to our public services, Labour are committed to rebuilding Britain for the many, not the few.

Responding to the conclusion of the conference and speech by the Leader of the Opposition, Stephen Morgan MP said:

Today Jeremy set out a clear vision for our country. Labour will rebuild Britain around the ideals and institutions that its people value most – education, safe communities, strong public services and a healthy economy.

This means properly funding schools so where you’re born doesn’t dictate where you end up. It means 10,000 more police officers to make our streets safe again. It means providing small and large businesses with the support and highly skilled workers they need to thrive.

But, as Keir made clear yesterday, it also means avoiding a disastrous Tory Brexit. It’s only right that we keep all options on the table when it comes to protecting the economy and peoples’ jobs. Labour takes Brexit seriously, and we’ll listen to the people, not Rees-Mogg and Johnson.

My party is offering change from this broken Tory Government. We’ll invest in renewable energy, skills, security, our NHS and invest in our regions.

Labour is ready to transform our great city’s communities and rebuild Britain“.

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Portsmouth police being forced to ask other forces for help reveals city’s rough deal

Stephen Morgan calls for urgent action after Chief Constable warns pressure on force has ‘never been higher’

MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, has called on the Government to take urgent action to address the imbalance in police funding for Hampshire.

The Government’s national funding formula for policing has led to Hampshire Constabulary losing almost 1,000 officers amidst a 10% rise in crime in Portsmouth. What’s more, the local policing budget is set to be slashed by a further £25 million over the next four years. This summer, Hampshire Constabulary was forced to ask for mutual aid from other forces.

Olivia Pinkney, Chief Constable, has warned that pressure on officers has ‘never been higher’, adding, ‘we’ve been open about the fact that pressure on operational policing in Hampshire has never been higher.’

‘We have repeatedly made the point that national funding for policing does not deliver a fair deal for the people of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.’

The national audit office has recently reported that the Home Office’s decision to take a light touch approach to overseeing police forces means it does not know if the police system is financially sustainable.

Mr Morgan regularly meets with the police chiefs and the Police Federation and goes out on patrol with local officers in Portsmouth.

He has repeatedly lobbied the Home Secretary and Prime Minister for fairer police funding, raising the issue in numerous letters and at Prime Ministers’ Question Time and holding a summit in Westminster with small businesses affected by the rise in crime.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“I’m fed up of Portsmouth being treated as the poor relation of other areas, especially when it comes to keeping our communities safe.

It’s shameful our local constabulary has been forced to ask other forces to help plug the gaps and that the Tories continue to insist that it’s business as usual. Crime is rising and resources shrinking – it’s not good enough.

The Chief Constable is right to raise this issue. I’ll continue to fight for her officers and the local people they protect.”

 

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City MP helps host launch of new plans for St Luke’s

Inner-city Portsmouth church St Luke’s has launched its redevelopment plans with an event hosted by Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan.

St Luke’s Church wants to use its city centre location to serve those who live and work in the local community more effectively. That includes those who work in the city centre and thousands of students living in newly-built tower blocks nearby.

Worshippers want to open up its building to passers-by on Isambard Brunel Road, creating a brand new entrance and a café on the west side of the existing building – as well as revamping the existing community garden.

The £1.5m project would also involve revamping the interior of the Victorian church and its adjoining church hall, providing better facilities for community groups that already use the building and making it available for others too.

The church is also working with Portsmouth City Council on plans to redevelop the area to the west of the building, with an nearby underpass filled in and landscaping to make the area look more attractive.

It also hopes to employ two people who can work alongside young adults who may need help to take advantage of local employment opportunities.

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan – who is also the local ward councillor – is enthusiastically supporting the plans. He offered to host a launch event for local residents, community groups, councillors and interested parties.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

It was great to host this event launching these exciting plans for the Church. I’m really excited about the difference this development could make to this special part of our great city.

There has been a lot of re-development recently, and there are many more people living locally, as well as all those who work in the city centre.

Having a place in the heart of Portsmouth that can give them some spiritual support, as well as the chance to relax and unwind in the café or community garden, will be really helpful.

St Luke’s has already done a lot to bring people together – it hosts an annual barbecue at the start of each autumn term to bring together brand new students and local residents. It also runs community fairs and fun days, and hosts all sorts of local community groups.

I’m hoping this development will make it even easier for them to bring local people together.”

The Diocese of Portsmouth has indicated its support for the plans, which will shortly be considered by Portsmouth City Council.

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Portsmouth MP and Shadow Financial Secretary raise concern over HMRC Brexit preparedness amidst cuts and closures

Stephen Morgan and Anneliese Dodds attended the Portsmouth HMRC Office Lynx House ahead of planned closure

The so-called ‘modernisation’ of HMRC operations across the country is really just a guise for massive cuts and closures that will end up costing the Treasury more than its saving – this is the warning today from Stephen Morgan MP and Shadow Treasury Secretary, Anneliese Dodds.

The Government plans to close all offices in Portsmouth, with Lynx House to follow Wingfield House which has already been shut down.

The Conservatives’ ‘Building for Our Future’ programme will close and replace the regional operations of 43 offices with just two ‘hubs’ in Stratford and Croydon.

Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan, has expressed his fears about the impact of the new hub system on customs preparedness, in the light of additional pressures from Brexit, a topic he has been investigating in his role on the Public Accounts Committee.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“Shutting down Portsmouth’s HMRC offices isn’t just going to cost our city jobs, it’s going to end up costing the Treasury money.

These are extremely skilled people and in cutting their roles the Government is losing valuable expertise in tax collection and evasion and customs handling.

It’s yet another example of disastrous short-termism from the Government. The HMRC workforce is already down 30% since 2007 and, as we head for Brexit, pressure is only go to increase on our customs workers.

The Tories need to have a serious rethink.”

 

Portsmouth MP hosts information morning for WASPI women

WASPI 1

City MP Stephen Morgan has hosted another coffee and information morning for the Solent WASPI women at his constituency office in Albert Road.

WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) are women born in the 1950s who have faced pension injustice from the Government – Mr Morgan has been supporting them throughout their campaign for equality.

The coffee morning served as a get together for those involved, an information and drop-in event and a discussion with Mr Morgan on how he can continue to help going forward.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“It was good to host another information coffee morning with Solent WASPI who are campaigning on behalf of the 9,000 women in our city affected by this.

“Whether it is by writing to Ministers, helping raise awareness or hosting events, I will continue to do anything I can to support those campaigning for justice.”

 Solent WASPI said:

“We are grateful for Stephen Morgan MP’s continued support to our efforts and willingness to help women affected by the change in state pension age.

“This event helped raise the profile of the issue and provide much needed advice to local women”.

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Cuts to Sixth-Form and FE colleges must end, says Portsmouth MP

MP speaks out as Institute for Fiscal Studies says colleges have been squeezed the hardest under Tories

Funding per student aged 16–18 has seen the biggest squeeze of all stages of education for young people in recent years, according to a new report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS). 

School sixth forms have faced budget cuts of 21% per student since their peak in 2010–11, while further education and sixth-form college funding per student has fallen by roughly 8% over the same period.

By 2019–20, funding per young person in further education will be around the same as in 2006–07: only 10% higher than it was 30 years earlier.

Spending per student in school sixth forms will be lower than at any point since at least 2002.

Stephen has been working with the Association of Colleges to listen to concerns, better understand the situation in Portsmouth, and lobby Ministers for extra cash.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

 

“The Government is leaving our city’s young people behind. You simply cannot cut a college budgets by almost a quarter and expect there to be no consequences for students and staff.

The Tories have gutted our colleges’ resources on a shocking scale, they clearly don’t care a jot about Portsmouth pupils.

 

As I’ve said at PMQs, education cuts don’t heal. The Government must urgently reverse these devastating cuts or accept they’re jettisoning the futures of Portsmouth’s talented youth in the name of austerity.”

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Portsmouth MP celebrates with Pride

Stephen Morgan, the MP for Portsmouth South, has joined local leaders in opening the city’s fourth and biggest Pride celebration this weekend.

Mr Morgan helped lead the parade, which walked from the Coffee Cup in Eastney, to the Bandstand, where he then took to the stage to make an impassioned speech about the strength of diversity in Portsmouth.

With the aim of Pride being to raise awareness through entertainment, the day involved a host of fun activities. There were stalls from organisations and businesses from across Portsmouth and beyond, including one run by Mr Morgan and his team, who were one of several sponsors of the event. There was also entertainment from bands, musicians and Star of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Alexis Michelle, headlining on the main stage at the Bandstand.

As well as being an event sponsor, Mr Morgan also held a thank you reception at his constituency office in Albert Road for those in the Pride committee and volunteers who gave up their own time to organise and deliver this year’s celebration.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Pride truly is the word, I am incredibly proud that Portsmouth has hosted our biggest ever city-wide celebration of LGBTQ people here in Pompey and across the globe. And what a celebration it was.

“The diversity and passion of our city is the key to its strength. If any place knows that love is love, its Portsmouth.

“The team of volunteers behind it all have done our city proud and I’d like to thank them for all of their hard work, alongside their normal day jobs, towards making today the success that it was.”

 

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‘All change, and fast’: Portsmouth MP after new report shows city rock bottom for train trouble

A new report from rail expert Sir Michael Holden has revealed journeys to and from Portsmouth are most disrupted on the line

MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, has said that rail bosses are failing people in Portsmouth after the South Western Railway Independent Review reported journey times to and from Portsmouth to be significantly worse that those to comparable destinations.

In his presentation to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Wessex Rail, Sir Michael revealed data that shows Right Time Arrival (MAA) for the Portsmouth line was only 47% in the last quarter. Other services including Weymouth South Hants, and Windsor all had MAA above 55%.

Mr Morgan, a founding member and officer of the Wessex Rail APPG has previously called on the Secretary of State, Chris Grayling, to intervene and ‘get a grip’ on Portsmouth’s train services.

The review puts increasing disruption down to a number of factors linked to the mismanagement of the service.

For example, an overuse of temporary and emergency speed restrictions in critical locations on the Wessex Route, a shortage of fully trained drivers, ageing assets, and a serious loss of operational expertise and command control capability in control function before and after a move to Basingstoke.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

‘As a commuter myself, I’m as angry as anyone about the shambolic state of Portsmouth’s rail services. Passengers are paying through the nose and getting the region’s worst delays in return.

This report from Sir Michael brings into focus the failings of the train operators but, more importantly, shows what needs to be done to resolve them. I’m committed to working with the APPG and train bosses to ensure their rapid implementation.

I look forward to following up with rail officials and standing up for Portsmouth’s commuters, South Western Rail have a lot of explaining to do. But the buck stops at Chris Grayling’s desk, though if it’s being run by South Western Railway I doubt it’ll be on time.’

 

Portsmouth MP meets survivors of the Holocaust in Parliament

This week in Parliament, Stephen Morgan MP listened to Helen Aronson, who survived the Holocaust as a teenager, Hannah Lewis MBE, a survivor of the Holocaust, and Joan Salter MBE, a child survivor of the Holocaust, at the launch event in Parliament for Holocaust Memorial Day 2019. 

Holocaust Memorial Day, held on 27 January each year, remembers the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, and the millions of people killed under Nazi Persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

The date marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.

Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) supports HMD activities across the UK and chooses a theme each year. The theme for 2019 is Torn from home.

Stephen met with Joan Salter MBE (pictured), who was forced to flee from Europe and travel to America in 1943 without her parents at age three and Hannah Lewis MBE (pictured), who was born in Poland and lived in a labour camp called Adampol from 1943 until its liberation.

Survivor of the Łódź ghetto in Poland, Helen Aronson said:

It is vital that we do everything in our power to ensure that these things never happen again, anywhere in the world.

Children must be allowed to grow up safe and secure and not be wrenched from their homes, like I was. That’s why it is so important that you, as members of parliament are here today and that we make a commitment to mark Holocaust Memorial Day every January.’

Stephen Morgan MP, said: 

‘The experiences of survivors such as Helen, Joan and Hannah remind us about the importance of marking Holocaust Memorial Day – a day when we remember the millions of people who were affected by the Holocaust and subsequent genocides.

The greatest risk to our freedoms lies in believing that horrors like this can never happen again. I want to encourage everyone in Portsmouth to mark HMD in January whether than means individual reflection or a school visit to Poland.’ 

Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, said: 

‘As the world becomes more fractured and divided, we need to come together to learn from genocide – for a better future.

We can all mark HMD, and the resources HMDT provides enables individuals and organisations to organise their own HMD activity.’