City MP graduates from Armed Forces scheme

Stephen Morgan MP completes programme of visits to meet troops across the UK as part of Parliamentary scheme

The Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme opens a unique window into the world of everyday life in the armed forces and the tasks they are asked to undertake on our behalf.

The objective of the scheme is to help parliamentarians understand the work of the armed forces and foster genuine personally informed contributions to participate in defence debates.

In his first year, Stephen chose to join the Royal Navy Scheme. In addition to his regular visits to HMNB Portsmouth, he met service personnel at bases across the UK including, Faslane, Plymouth, Yeovilton, the Defence Academy, and London, and visited those on deployment in Cyprus and Kenya. He’s observed peace-keeping operations, Operation Shader – the fight against ISIS in Syria, and the UK’s fleet of submarines based in Scotland.

Spending time with our troops enabled Stephen to identify a number of issues that informed his campaigning in Parliament including armed forces pay, recruitment and retention issues, cyber-warfare developments, and the black hole in the defence budget.

This year, Stephen has once again signed up to the scheme, this time joining the RAF to find out more about their work protecting our nation, in partnership with the Royal Navy.

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Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“It has been a real honour to join the brave men and women of our armed forces to see their skill and commitment first hand.

As MP for the home of the Royal Navy and a proud champion of our Armed Forces, it’s been incredibly valuable to speak with and observe the operations of service personnel over the last year.

It’s something I’ll continue to do as I fight for a strong defence of our nation and proper recognition and pay for those who serve it.”

I want to thank all the people who make this scheme possible, especially those members of the armed forces who’ve hosted me and made my time so far in the programme so instructive.

AFPS hasn’t just been informative from an operational perspective, it’s been great to spend time off-duty with service personnel and hear about their daily lives and how I can support them more widely.”

Just over 30 MPs from across the House and parties ‘graduated’ from the programme. MPs and peers attended a ceremony at the National RAF Museum with the Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson and Shadow Defence Secretary, Nia Griffith.

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New integrated primary care service welcomed

MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, has visited staff at the new 24/7 primary care service in central Portsmouth.

The Integrated Primary Care Service has been established to enhance patient experience and improve access to GP services in the city. The service opened earlier this year and incorporates the existing Acute Visiting Service and Extended Access Service and adds Out of Hours provision overnight.

The linking of these services leads to the provision of a more streamlined and unified model for people needing urgent out-of-hospital care.

Appointments can be accessed during the evenings and weekends at a city-wide hub at Lake Road Health Centre. Additional routine appointments are available as well as urgent same-day appointment every day until 10pm 365 days a year.

The service sees around 2,500 patients referred each month.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“The IPC Service is a brilliant example of our city’s NHS innovating and improving in the face of significant demographic and financial challenges.

The commitment and skill of the staff I spoke to was obvious and this new system will ensure that they can continue to help people in Portsmouth. 

This is an incredibly busy service and this new integration should go some way in reducing pressure on our A&E as well as improving access to GPs.”

 

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Budget was a ‘missed opportunity’ for Portsmouth’s schools

City MP Stephen Morgan has shared his frustration about the missed opportunity in yesterday’s budget to invest in Portsmouth schools.

The Portsmouth South MP has been working with others to lobby Ministers for proper funding for the city’s schools.

As a former pupil of schools in his constituency and ex-chair of governors, he has been visiting local schools to hear current concerns and challenges faced by heads, teachers and support staff.

Responding with disappointment to the Chancellor’s announcement on schools in the Budget Statement in the House of Commons yesterday, Mr Morgan said:

“This was the Government’s opportunity to change course and properly fund the schools our children deserve. Instead the Tories have failed children once again.

I’m stunned that the Government would disregard hundreds of thousands of teachers, parents, heads and governors calling for a reversal of cuts – including a growing number here in Portsmouth.

More and more people in our city are backing my Portsmouth Against School Cuts campaign.

Yesterday the Chancellor let our city down. But the people of Portsmouth can rest assured, that for me, the fight for fairer funding for our city’s schools goes on”.

The budget provided no money whatsoever to plug the gap in core school finances. Instead 17,942 schools faced cuts yesterday and 17,942 schools continue to face cuts today. In Portsmouth 50 schools are affected by government cuts.

In recent weeks education unions have been lobbying Ministers for extra resources for children with special educational needs and disabilities who need urgent education. More than 2,000 children are still awaiting appropriate provision. But there was no attempt by the Government in the Budget to address the crisis in SEND.

Responding to the Chancellor’s promise of “little extras” for school buildings and equipment, Mr Morgan added:

“The one-off sums offered for so called ‘little extras’ simply don’t cut it when our schools are in disrepair after years of cuts. The school capital budget was down by £2.6 billion compared to 2010. With Hammond’s little extras, it will still be down by £2.1 billion.

I know, like me, parents, teachers and governors will be disappointed by announcements yesterday. Portsmouth’s schools deserve better”.

As a result of the budget the City MP plans to escalate his campaign to reverse school cuts in Portsmouth in the coming weeks.

 

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‘If austerity is over, the Chancellor missed the memo’ Stephen reacts to 2018 Budget

Years of austerity mean the consequences for Britain are piling up. Our NHS has been pushed to the brink with waiting times soaring; our social care system is in crisis; teachers are reliant on parents to fund school supplies, and crime is rising at a record rate.

Today the Chancellor presented his budget in the House of Commons. For the last eight years, the Tories have made cut after cut to the detriment of our communities.

In advance of the Government statement, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South Stephen Morgan set out his demands of the Chancellor for Portsmouth, building on his efforts locally and in Parliament. His priorities set out publicly are:

1) Stop the £3.7m cuts to Portsmouth’s schools 

2) Properly equipped Royal Navy, recruiting the sailors our Carriers need

3) Bobbies back on the beat, policing cuts cancelled

4) Tackling the social care crisis and proper funding for our local NHS

5) Devolution for Solent to unlock growth and develop infrastructure

6) Protect local services and restore millions axed from city council’s budget

Unfortunately, none of them have been fully met by the Government in the Chancellor’s statement today.

Reacting to the Chancellor’s 2018 Budget, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“If the PM thinks austerity is over, she clearly forgot to tell her Chancellor.

Today saw a raft of sticking plasters for the big issues that matter most to people in Portsmouth. Our city’s police and schools are still on course for devastating cuts and Portsmouth has been left behind yet again.

The Chancellor referred to helping schools with an ‘extra bit of kit’. Well, I don’t class our hardworking teachers and school staff as ‘extra kit’ and frankly, £10k per primary won’t pay their wages. It’s never been more obvious just how out of touch this Government is.

Some extra money for defence is welcome, but with a £20bn black hole, £1bn is nothing but a sticking plaster. Our armed forces remain overstretched and unvalued.

As much as the Chancellor tries to dress this up as a win for working people, the fact is he’s cut tax for higher-rate earners and found nothing for the services that families in Portsmouth depend on to keep them safe, educated and healthy.

Ultimately, the Tories’ actions speak louder than their words and this budget saw more new money for a no-deal Brexit and potholes than our NHS, schools, and police combined.

With the deficit set to rise again next year and permanent stagnated growth, it’s clear austerity isn’t working. More of the same from the Tories simply won’t do; sadly, that’s exactly what Portsmouth got today.”

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City MP attends launch of Portsmouth Poppy Appeal

Portsmouth’s Poppy Appeal was launched today. City MP Stephen Morgan added with Deputy Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr David Fuller.
Stephen Morgan MP said:
It was privilege to attend the launch of Portsmouth’s Poppy Appeal for 2018 down at Gunwharf Quay today. 
Sunday November 11 marks 100 years since the end of the First World War.
So it is only fitting that this year we specifically say ‘Thank You’ to the First World War generation who served, sacrificed and changed our world.
Thousands of volunteers will help sell and distribute paper poppies in the following days. I will be out and about in our city doing my bit too.
I want to take this opportunity to offer my appreciation to those in Portsmouth doing our city proud by volunteering with the appeal and in respect of all those who sacrificed their lives for a more peaceful world”.
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Portsmouth MP supports Bill to improve living conditions for tenants

City MP Stephen Morgan joined Karen Buck MP yesterdayin Parliament to support her Private Members Bill that will improve living standards for thousands of tenants in Portsmouth. 

The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill, which is in its final stages, aims to improve standards in rental properties by placing an obligation on landlords, across the private and social rented sectors, to ensure that their homes are fit for human habitation. 

It aims to empower tenants by giving them a right to take action in the courts if this is not fulfilled.

The bill has received high levels of support from MPs, who gave their support on a ‘sitting Friday’, resulting in it now making it to the next stage (further reading).

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Portsmouth has a high percentage of both private and social tenants. 

Currently, landlords have no obligation to their tenants to put or keep the property in a condition fit for habitation and this simply isn’t good enough. 

Some renters face poor quality and unsuitable conditions. My postbag is regularly filled with concerns about this across our city.

If this bill is passed it will give tenants in Portsmouth and across the country more protection over the safety and condition of their rented properties”.

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City MP to welcome Lord Frank Judd to Portsmouth

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan will be hosting a special event next month with Lord Frank Judd of Portsea, Labour Peer and former Member of Parliament for Portsmouth West and North constituencies.
The special public event on November 11, will be held at Canoe Lake Tennis Pavilion between 4 and 6pm and will be an informal ‘audience with’, an open discussion and question and answer session.
Lord Frank Judd served as MP for Portsmouth West and North in the 1960s and 70s, served as a minister under Callaghan and Wilson, including Junior Minister for the Royal Navy, and entered the Lords in 1991.
Lord Frank Judd said:
“Having served as an MP in Portsmouth during the 1960s and 70s it is a city I hold fond memories of.
“I know Stephen well and fully supported his campaign to become the first Labour MP in Portsmouth South. He is committed to representing the great city that he was born bred in and I am delighted that he has invited me back on what is a special day in history.
“I look forward to sharing my memories, thoughts and observations on a range of issues and hearing those of the people of Portsmouth.”
Stephen Morgan MP said:
I am really looking forward to welcoming Lord Judd back to our great city. 
Portsmouth is a city that he has a lot of history with, he worked closely with the Royal Navy when he was Junior Minister and did some amazing work as Minister for Overseas Development so there’s lots we can learn from him.
“Frank endorsed my General Election campaign last year and I’d like to show my thanks for that support by inviting him back to Portsmouth this special event.”
Those interested in attending can visit: https://events.labour.org.uk/event/258244. Places are limited so booking is essential. The event is free to the public but donations are welcomed.

Delayed rollout not a solution to failing UC, says Commons committee

The introduction of Universal Credit is causing unacceptable hardship and difficulties for many of the claimants it was designed to help, according to Parliament oldest select committee.

The Public Accounts Committee, on which Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan sits, has condemned the Government’s approach to its Universal Credit roll-out as dismissive and opaque.

Mr Morgan and his colleagues reported that the DWP has persistently dismissed evidence that Universal Credit is causing hardship for claimants and additional burdens for local organisations, and refuses to measure what it does not want to see. 

In 2013 the Committee raised concerns about the Department’s culture of reporting good news and denying problems that emerge. In further reports in 2015 and 2016 the Committee warned about the Department’s continued lack of transparency. 

The PAC also said that the recent announcement by the SoS of a further delay and a “slow and measured” approach to the rollout is not a solution on its own and the SoS has admitted that some claimants will be worse off under UC.

If the current problems are not addressed and the funding needed is not forthcoming the hardship is likely to continue. The Department needs to work with third party organisations to help shape the new programme in light of the real life experiences of recipients. 

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“Universal Credit is already rolling out in Portsmouth and this report highlights our concern about potentially disastrous consequences for low-income families.

The DWP have met genuine and urgent anxiety from vulnerable people with defensiveness and denial. Instead of looking at the evidence, they’ve attempted to defend the indefensible.

The Secretary of State has now admitted that some families will be worse off under Universal Credit. She must now accept our recommendations and the hardship her  approach has already caused.” 

PAC Chair, Meg Hillier MP, said:

“This report provides further damning evidence of a culture of indifference at DWP – a Department disturbingly adrift from the real-world problems of the people it is there to support.

Its apparent determination to turn a deaf ear to the concerns of claimants, frontline organisations and Parliament is of real concern. The culture needs to change. A Department in denial cannot learn from its mistakes and take the action necessary to address the desperate hardship suffered by many Universal Credit claimants.

DWP’s dismissive attitude points to a troubling pattern of behaviour in the Department – something highlighted by our recent report on errors in Employment and Support Allowance.

The Department’s painfully slow approach to correcting underpayments, years after it accepted responsibility, indicated weaknesses at the highest levels of management. We will be watching Monday’s Budget carefully and, in its formal response to this report, expect Government to take meaningful action on our recommendations.”

 

 

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MP backs Portsmouth’s pubs ahead of Budget

MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, has pledged his support for the Long Live the Local Campaign to help pubs in Portsmouth remain open in what are difficult times for small business.

Stephen is calling on the Government to cut beer tax at the budget. With £1 in every £3 spent in UK pubs going to the taxman, British drinkers now pay 40% of all beer tax across the EU, but only drink 12% of the beer.

Breweries and pubs support 2124 jobs in Portsmouth and contribute £44.6 million to the local economy.

Commenting on the campaign, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Pubs are at the heart of communities in Portsmouth, but with three British pubs closing their doors for good every day the Government needs to cut beer tax to keep them open.

With my ‘pint with your MP’ sessions bringing politics to the local, it’s clear to me how central pubs are to tackling loneliness and connecting our communities.

The Government must do more to protect them.”

 

 

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MP asks Portsmouth parents to join fight against school cuts

Stephen Morgan MP has called for Portsmouth’s parents, governors, teachers and school staff to join him in telling the Education Secretary Damian Hinds the impact Government cuts are having on schools in the city.

As part of Stephen’s Portsmouth Against School Cuts campaign, and ahead of the Budget next week, the city MP is providing a template letter to concerned constituents enabling them to lobby the Secretary of State directly.

Portsmouth schools are due to lose £3.7m over the next few years, with per pupil funding cut by 8% since 2010. Stephen Morgan has been campaigning for the Tories to restore proper funding to the city and has issued a call to action to parents and teachers as the Autumn budget approaches.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“With the budget just a week away, it’s more important than ever that the Government hears directly from parents and teachers about the impact their cuts are having.

In Portsmouth, we’ve seen class sizes rise and budgets slashed. In some cases, parents are being asked to pay for basic supplies like glue sticks. It’s unacceptable, and I’m keeping up the fight for fairer funding.

I know how passionate parents in our city are about their children’s futures – it’s time for the Tories to hear from them what’s happening on the ground and in our classrooms.”

Constituents are also encouraged to sign up to Stephen’s campaign and show their support by displaying ‘a Portsmouth Against School Cuts’ poster in their window.

To receive a copy of the poster residents can email, pop into Stephen’s office at 72 Albert Road, Southsea PO5 2SL to collect one or download a school cuts file here.

A copy of the letter can be here: Letter template

TO TELL THE EDUCATION SECRETARY THAT ENOUGH IS ENOUGH ON SCHOOL CUTS, COMPLETE AND SEND THE SUGGESTED LETTER BELOW

Secretary of State for Education

Department for Education

20 Great Smith Street

Westminster, London

SW1P 3BT

Damian.hinds.mp@parliament.uk

Dear Secretary of State for Education,

Reverse Portsmouth school cuts now

I am writing about next week’s budget and am backing my local MP Stephen Morgan’s efforts to deliver more funding for Portsmouth schools and colleges.

Since 2010, there has been an 8 per cent cut in real terms in per pupil funding. This has had an enormous impact on education, leaving our schools in crisis.

In this budget, I am asking you to support my MP’s Portsmouth Against School Cuts campaign and take the necessary steps to urgently address the funding crisis.

Under your Government, Portsmouth is set to lose £3.7m in the coming years affecting 50 schools in our city.

Your budget next week must ensure that every school is guaranteed at least the same money per pupil, in real terms, as they did in 2015. Funding must also be increased for high needs and early years pupils. This must be genuine new money for schools, not funds taken from other areas of education spending.

Last week was ‘Love our Colleges’ week. In addition to funding for schools, Portsmouth’s fantastic further education colleges, who have suffered even bigger cuts since 2010, need proper investment.

Please invest in Portsmouth’s future by backing our teachers and their pupils with the resources they need.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Name of constituent and address