‘We all have a responsibility towards tackling social isolation’: City MP on financial scamming and those most vulnerable

City MP Stephen Morgan was invited to speak at a special Financial Scamming Event today organised by Paul Murray Investments.

The event was held at the Marriott Hotel in Paulsgrove and aimed to bring local businesses, charities and local authorities together to support the cause of standing against financial scamming.

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Speaking at the event Stephen Morgan MP said:

“The elderly and socially isolated are vulnerable to financial, emotional and psychological harm from criminals who target them with the full range of scamming.

The average age of a victim is 63, and men and women are equally susceptible to being targeted.

More than a million older people say they go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member, and evidence suggests that this can make people more vulnerable to financial scammers.

There is already some great work going on to support those who may be at risk. Age UK, and Age UK Portsmouth where I’ve been a trustee, along with their other campaigns to support those who feel socially isolated, have an initiative for example for volunteers to become digital champions to offer this very support.

Hampshire Constabulary have developed a banking protocol which encourages staff working in branches to recognise the signs of a potential scam. This has stopped more than £130,000 being handed over to potential scammers last month alone.

However, to tackle this issue we all need to be willing to step in and make a difference.

We all have a responsibility towards tackling social isolation.”

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Veterans charities join Shadow Minister in talk about improving support

City MP Stephen Morgan has welcomed Gerald Jones MP, Shadow Minister for Veterans, Reserves and Personnel to visit Portsmouth.
During his visit, the Shadow Minister met with the MoD Police at Portsmouth Naval Base and joined a round table discussion with Armed Forces charities about veteran’s mental health.
During the round table meeting, charities and organisations who provide support to veterans across Portsmouth were given the opportunity to share with the Shadow Minister Issues, concerns and ideas for improving services for ex-service personnel in Portsmouth and across the country.
The group talked about strategies for working together to improve life for veterans, including those who experience complex mental health conditions such as PTSD.
Mr Jones also had the opportunity to meet with the MoD Policen and was given a full tour of the site where he was able to learn more about Portsmouth Naval Base and the challenges faced by the MoD Police.
City MP Stephen Morgan has been calling for the Armed Forces covenant commitments to be met, with a nationwide mentoring service, training not just for veterans but employers, increased investment in specialised mental health treatment, an extended transition period, and proper enforcement of the covenant.
He has also called for better data capture around veteran suicides, pressuring Ministers and calling for the Government to impose a duty on coroners to record veteran status.
Shadow Defence Minister Gerald Jones MP said:
As the home of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth plays an important part in our country’s defence infrastructure and it was good to see first-hand what the MoD Police do at the Naval Base.
Armed Forces personnel who serve our country deserve the very best, including when they transition into civilian life. The charities and veterans support groups that I met during the roundtable do so much for our Armed Forces Community, but it is time for the government to step up and play its part in ensuring that veterans can access good housing, healthcare and training opportunities – areas that have all seen large government cuts in recent years.
I’d like to thank Stephen for organising a really informative visit. I know that supporting our servicemembers and veterans is something that he is passionate about.”
Stephen Morgan MP said:
It was really good to have Gerald Jones to visit our great city and see some of what happens at the Naval Base and across Portsmouth.  
As someone who really cares about serving and ex-service personnel, and as a campaigner for more veteran’s mental health support, I felt the meeting with the Shadow Minister was a useful initiative.
It was helpful to not only talk about the reality of what some veterans are facing in our city, including social isolation, barriers to employment, knowledge of support services but also the challenges local groups face in providing assistance.
But to talk about ways in which those who support them can work together to improve services.”
 
 
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City MP launches survey to understand latest pressures on Portsmouth schools

Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, has launched a survey for headteachers, teachers and governors to share with him their views and concerns over school cuts to Portsmouth.

Writing to Headteachers this week with questions ranging from class sizes, levels of staffing, impact of cuts on equipment and resources and calling for case studies of Government cuts, the MP plans to use the findings to keep pressure on Ministers to provide fairer funding to Portsmouth.

Under Government plans, Portsmouth is set to lose £3.7m, affecting over 50 schools and colleges in the city.

Earlier this year Mr Morgan launched his ‘Portsmouth Against School Cuts’ campaign bringing local people, teachers and school staff together to lobby against the cuts in the city.

In the letter to Heads, Stephen said:

“You may be aware of my drive for fairer funding for Portsmouth schools.

Our ‘Portsmouth Against School Cuts’ campaign has been received incredibly well by local people, parents and teachers and with our city’s schools set to lose £3.7 million under this government, it’s not surprising that the concern is palpable.

I’m hearing again and again when I visit Portsmouth schools, or meeting teachers and support staff, how stretched our schools and colleges are.

But I’m keen to get a more specific picture of how budget cuts are impacting Portsmouth pupils and those dedicated to teaching them, as well the tough choices you may be having to make”.

The amount of per pupil spending in England’s schools has fallen by 8% since 2010, says an analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

The study says rising pupil numbers – and cuts to local authorities and sixth form funding – have caused a real-term reduction in school spending.

School leaders have been protesting that cash shortages have forced them to cut staff and to ask parents for financial assistance.

The findings from the survey will feed into a meeting Stephen hopes to have with the Minister for School Standards in Parliament soon.

On the survey he said:

“Not only will the survey give me a better idea of pinch points and specific issues but will also be invaluable in my work lobbying government including a forthcoming meeting with the Schools Minister”.

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Department of Transport unprepared for no-deal Brexit – cross party committee

Public Accounts Committee also raises concerns about hushing up through Non-disclosure agreements

There is a real risk that the Department for Transport will not be ready in the event of the UK departing the EU without a negotiated deal, according to Stephen Morgan MP and the Public Accounts Committee.

In their latest report in a series looking at Government’s preparations for Brexit the PAC has expressed serious concern about how well Government is prepared.

There is a real prospect of major disruption at ports. The slow progress and poor communication around work to avoid this through schemes such as Project Brock is cause for worry, say the cross-party group of MPs.

The lack of detailed information provided to businesses to help them prepare and the secrecy surrounding discussions through the use of non-disclosure agreements is hampering businesses’ ability to plan.

Added to this is the Department’s uphill task to pass the necessary legislation in time, the majority of which the Department sees as essential, whilst allowing time for proper scrutiny of this.

Even if a deal is agreed, the Department faces a challenging workload during the proposed transition period.

Member of the Committee, Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“It’s deeply concerning that the Government is so unprepared for a no-deal Brexit so close to exit day.

As the MP for a city with a port, I know how crucial it is that they deliver –  Portsmouth can’t afford for the Department to get it wrong.

Our committee has spent a great deal of time pouring over the DfT’s plans and its clear the process of preparing for no deal has been poorly executed, with little time left to make amends. Failure would result in chaos in our city and disaster for business.

We’ll be keeping a very close eye on the Department and hope to see serious improvement as we edge ever closer to Brexit.”

Chair of the PAC, Meg Hillier MP, said:

“The future of road, rail, maritime and air access to Europe after Brexit remains unclear and the Department for Transport has a critical role in ensuring the UK is prepared.

With so little time remaining, there is still much to do. The risks associated with no-deal are severe yet plans for avoiding disruption around major ports in particular are worryingly under-developed.

The Department plans to spend £30-35 million this year on Project Brock, intended to manage traffic and lorry-queuing at Dover. But it is still to carry out proposed desk-based testing of the system and engagement with businesses has been poor.

The secrecy around the Department’s preparations, and the shortcomings in assurance on its progress, are a potentially toxic combination. It must be more open about what needs to be achieved, and work with business and others to deliver it. We urge it to respond meaningfully to our concerns in the weeks ahead.”

 

 

 

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Portsmouth schools join MP for Suffragette singalong in Westminster

MP Stephen Morgan has hosted a special performance to mark the 100-year anniversary of the first women being given the vote.  Thirty young people from Portsmouth schools travelled up to sing in Westminster.

Portsmouth Music Hub has been working with schools from the city to compose three songs to mark 100 years of women’s suffrage. They performed their songs in front of the Suffragette statue in Parliament Square. Stephen Morgan MP invited a selection of MP’s and Lords to watch the singing.

Prior to performance, the young people took a tour of the Palace of Westminster to learn a little more about how parliament runs on a day to day basis.

The event forms part of Stephen’s Vote 100 Portsmouth campaign, which both aims to celebrate the centenary of women’s right to vote and look forward to what women can achieve in the next 100 years with a series of local events and activities throughout the year.

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Stephen Morgan MP said: 

“I really enjoyed hearing the young people of Portsmouth singing their songs; Deeds Not Words, Hear Our Voice and The Suffragettes. Even after all that has been achieved in the last century, there remains a great need for better gender balance in elected roles.

While the centenary is an opportunity for us to recognise how far we have progressed in the fight for gender equality, it’s also important we recognise how much further we have to go.

My Vote 100 Portsmouth campaign aims to address these issues, to inspire more young women to use their democratic voice and to encourage women into elected roles. I look forward to continuing to mark this important year through ongoing Vote 100 events

I’d like to thank Cottage Grove Primary School, Craneswater Junior School, St. Edmund’s Catholic School, St. John’s Cathedral Catholic Primary School, Charter Academy and St. Swithun’s Catholic Primary School for their hard work and enthusiasm”.

Sue Beckett, CEO of Portsmouth Music Hub, said:

“Music can bring history to life, and children from Portsmouth Schools have captured an important moment in time, when our country took a leap towards a fairer world.

Singing 3 songs, composed by the award-winning team of composers at Portsmouth Music Hub, the children evoke and remember the struggle of the Suffragette movement; the passion, the dedication and the courage.

The children’s performance at Parliament, beneath the statue of the campaigner Millicent Fawcett, is a celebration of all the progress that has been made to end discrimination in our laws and in our lives.”

 

 

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City MP backs climate change target

Stephen Morgan, MP for Portsmouth South, has backed calls for the Government to end the UK’s contribution to climate change. 

The aim is to bring the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement placing the UK at the forefront of the race for investment in clean industries, creating jobs and inspiring the next generation. 

Members of Parliament are being invited to sign a letter to the Prime Minister, which welcomes the announcement that Ministers have asked the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) for advice on reaching a new zero emissions target, asking the Government to do more. 

A net zero emissions target will cut energy bills by improving the efficiency of homes and businesses, abolish exhaust pipe emissions that pollute the air, and help bring about the restoration of natural habitats.

Attending an event this week which marked ten years since the Climate Change Act was passed, Stephen Morgan MP said:

I have joined calls for the Prime Minister to do more to tackle climate change because without ambitious action climate change will remain one of the greatest threats to our environment.

As one of the most densely populated cities in the UK, Portsmouth will benefit greatly from Ministers taking climate change seriously.

It’s really important that we work to improve to make our city cleaner, more energy efficient and protect our natural environment by joining the rest of the UK in shouldering our responsibility and leading the fight against climate change.”

Paula Ann Savage, Milton campaigner joined Mr Morgan for the event in Parliament. Backing the action by the city MP she added:

“The council and local people have a key role to play to create low carbon and climate-resilient communities. 

By all working together on this we can improve health outcomes, save the council money, create jobs, boost the local economy, enhance the natural environment and strengthen local transport. 

As a local campaigner I want to work with Stephen to realisethese benefits and opportunities of climate action in my local area and Portsmouth as a whole”.

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Portsmouth women join Stephen’s ‘Ask Her to Stand’ call

Portsmouth South MP invites local women to Parliament to encourage greater female involvement in politics as part of his ‘Vote 100 Portsmouth’ campaign

Stephen Morgan MP today spent time with two Portsmouth women in the House of Commons as part of the national scheme ‘Ask Her to Stand’, encouraging them and others to enter political life. Paula Ann Savage, Milton campaigner, and Isabelle Séné, Paulsgrove campaigner, represented both constituencies in the city on this special occasion and attended a number of workshops and lectures throughout the day.

The day saw MPs from all parties invite women from their constituencies to take part and was organised by 50:50 Parliament, Jo Cox Foundation, and Centenary Action.

The purpose of the day is to inspire and encourage a diverse range of women to stand for political office. In the last 100 years, only 491 women have gained seats at Westminster, compared to 4,503 men.

At the last election, only 12 additional women were elected. At this rate it will take over 50 years to achieve the gender-balanced Parliament all parties have agreed it desirable.

Earlier this year Stephen launched his Vote 100 Portsmouth campaign to celebrate the centenary of women’s suffrage and encourage local women and girls to encourage more in our democracy. 50 Portsmouth School girls were brought up to visit the Houses of Parliament and a further 50 will do so next week to sing specially written songs to mark the centenary. Stephen has also held a sash competition asking Portsmouth school children to design a suffragette sash for the 21st century.

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Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“I was really pleased to invite Paula and Isabelle up to Parliament today. We need to make it clear that Westminster welcomes women.

Progress isn’t moving nearly fast enough, which is why I back the efforts for 50:50 representation in Parliament and why initiatives like this are so important.

These brilliant Pompey women have a vital role to play in our politics and today hopefully acted as another nudge to more to get involved and engaged in our democracy.”

Paula Ann Savage from Milton, said:

“Today has been both inspiring and encouraging to be present in Parliament with my MP Stephen Morgan on such an important day for women in politics.

This week marks 100 years since the first women gained the right to stand for election. It has been an honour and an eye opener to be here, to see what has been achieved and what is left to do.

The 50:50 campaign is so important in highlighting how the female role is as important as the male role in Parliament.

I have had an insight into the daily running of Parliament, to understand how it works, and realise how the female voice should speak up and indeed speak louder”.

 

 

 

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Our fight for Cystic Fibrosis treatment goes on, says City MP

Stephen Morgan MP marks 3 years since licensing of Orkambi and presses for urgent provision

Yesterday marked the 3rd anniversary of the licensing of Orkambi, an effective precision medicine for patients of Cystic Fibrosis. Patients have been denied access to the treatment throughout this period. MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, joined campaigners and at an event in the House of Commons.

Stephen has called on the Government to consider the importance of securing access to new cystic fibrosis medications as a matter of utmost urgency.

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 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.

Stephen has previously met with the manufacturers of Orkambi and written on numerous occasions to the Health Secretary on this issue. He also joined Portsmouth parents and city campaigner Gemma Weir at Downing Street to hand in a petition from local children pressing the PM to personally intervene.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“The delay from Government is totally unacceptable and costing lives. Orkambi has been licensed for three years now. Patients in other nations from Ireland to Canada have access to it, but those in our country don’t.

I know this is an issue that affects families in my city and I won’t stop standing up for them and pushing for urgent agreement between government and the manufacturer.

This is too serious an issue to drag our feet on.”

City MP to host ‘Reflection of WW2’ event

City MP Stephen Morgan and historical writer Murray Rowlands will be hosting a special World War 2 event at Mr Morgan’s constituency office in Albert Road on 24 November between 15.30 and 17.00.  

The event, which will be a reflection of events in the city of Portsmouth during World War 2, will centre around Mr Rowlands books.

Discussion points will include the Portsmouth blitz, evacuation of children, the city’s support for the Dunkirk evacuation, Portsmouth’s focus in all kinds of ship building, D Day preparation, the changing role of women, Cockleshell heroes, VE Day and the 1945 Election in Portsmouth.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

I am pleased to be hosting this event with such a passionate local historian.

“As the home of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth is a city that played a huge part in World War 2 and has a strong foothold in military history, so what better place to hold this event.

“As well as looking forward I think it’s important to look back at the events and people that shaped our great city into what it is today.”

Murray Rowlands said:

“My passion for military history lead me to writing three books about it and holding numerous talks.

“Portsmouth played a huge part in WW2 and many people from the city played an important role throughout that era.

“This event, I hope, will offer something for everyone, whether that be looking back and remembering times gone by or learning about Portsmouth’s important role in WW2.

“Thank you to Mr Morgan for hosting this event at his constituency office.”

New Zealander Murray Rowlands has now written 3 books on military history – Innocents into War (about his great uncles in WW1), Aldershot in the Great War (about the centre of the British Army and Hampshire at War 1939 -45. he is currently working on a new biography of Sir Keith Park widely credited as being the key figure behind the victory in the Battle of Britain.

Booking is essential, places are limited, to reserve a space at this event please follow this link.

Portsmouth MP slams Government complacency after yet another rise in foodbank use

Between 1st April and 30th September in Portsmouth South, 3100 three-day emergency food supplies were given to local people in crisis, with 1087 going to children.

Across the UK, foodbanks in The Trussell Trust network distributed 658,048 three day emergency food supplies to help people in crisis, a rise of 13% for the same period last year. Of these, 232,761 went to children. This is a measure of volume rather than unique users, and on average people needed 1.7 foodbank referrals in a six month period.

The Trussell Trust is calling for the reduction in the 5 week minimum wait for the first UC payment, to prevent even more people being forced to foodbanks this winter.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“These latest statistics shouldn’t shock the Government, but they should shame it. Our city has been at the brunt of cuts and complacency and the effects are devastating for local families.

Real wages are still lower than in 2010 meaning in-work poverty is rife. I’m concerned that this will only become worse with the failed introduction of Universal Credit.

The Government continues to fail working families. It’s simply not right that after a long week at work, Portsmouth’s mothers and fathers, those employed in our NHS, should have to visit a food bank to put food on the table.”