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Portsmouth MP says police cuts have consequences as new report reveals harsh reality on mental health

It has emerged, following research conducted by the University of Cambridge, that almost 1 in 5 police officers suffer from PTSD.

The largest and most comprehensive force-wide survey was orientated around the wellbeing of officers and screening for clinical symptoms associated with PTSD.

The results also showed that 90% of officers had been exposed to incidents of trauma and the study suggests that overall PTSD rates in law enforcement are almost five times higher than general UK population levels. 

Stephen Morgan, MP for Portsmouth South has for some time been liaising with local officers to hear about their experiences and has been out on patrol with them several times across the constituency. He has also discussed concerns over the wellbeing of personnel with senior police officers and representatives of the Police Federation.

Responding to the University Cambridge report, Mr Morgan said:

“I have seen first-hand whilst out on patrol in Portsmouth that police officers are willingly putting themselves in harm’s way to protect us day in, day out. They save lives, prevent crime and are there for us in our darkest hour.

The findings of this important research on PTSD demonstrates that the Government is not willing to reciprocate this dedication.

Unprecedented cuts to our police force, £90m in Hampshire alone between 2011/12 and 2018/19, means that officers are being required to deal with an everchanging criminal landscape with less people and less resources. This is simply not good enough”.

The results of the study come at a time when local taxpayers across Hampshire will be footing the bill for policing in the coming years.

A lack of central government funding for police forces has meant that residents will see an increase in their council tax precept to fill the gap. Another issue that the Portsmouth MP has been calling on the Government to act on.

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European elections: lessons for Labour

Responding to the European election results, Stephen Morgan MP, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, said:
“I am delighted hard-working John Howarth has been re-elected as Labour’s MEP for our region. John will continue to stand up for Portsmouth working people in the European Parliament. 
These elections were set against a polarised environment for voters on all sides of the debate, a Tory Party in chaos and a divided nation.
Although Nigel Farage may have topped the poll, that does not mean a majority of voters, let alone a majority of the country, want his backward-looking, catastrophic vision of Brexit.
On this most crucial issue in a generation, Labour must learn lessons and find itself on the right side of its members, voters and history.
The way to do that is to recognise the only democratic way to solve this crisis, break the parliamentary deadlock and establish a lasting settlement over Brexit, is by putting this crucial question back to the people.
We need to end the impasse now with a final say. Brexit started with the people, the decision should be handed back to the people. I’ll keep fighting and campaigning for just that as it’s what Portsmouth deserves”. 
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More trees for Portsmouth leaves Vote 100 legacy

Local people and school children come together to plant trees across Portsmouth as part of city MP Stephen Morgan’s Vote 100 Plant 100 efforts

One hundred trees to commemorate the centenary of women’s suffrage have been planted to celebrate the centenary of women’s right to vote as well as looking forward to what women can achieve in the next 100 years.

Recent planting included at Newbridge Junior School in Fratton and Home of Comfort Charitable Nursing Home in Southsea.

Joined by local tree wardens, community members and school children, the initiative brings to an end Stephen Morgan MP’s series of ideas and events over the last year to celebrate 100 years since the first women were given the right to vote and stand for Parliament.

This celebration has culminated in a constituency-wide venture to plant one hundred trees in Portsmouth South. The community has come together to support Stephen with the plan to trees at various locations across the city’s communities to leave a legacy for the future. Stephen has been joined by volunteers ranging from 4 years old to residents of a local nursing home getting their hands dirty and planting.

A team from Newbridge Junior School and residents at Home of Comfort Nursing Home joined the MP on the latest round of planting, with the support of Octopus Energy.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“It is great to mark a centenary of women’s suffrage by planting 100 trees in Portsmouth South as part of my Vote 100 Portsmouth initiative.

It is so important to pay tribute to the heroic women who tirelessly fought for their democratic rights 100 years ago as well as seize the opportunity to look forward to what women will achieve in the next 100 years. This project has highlighted how much the people of Portsmouth value the contribution women made a century ago in their fight for equality.

It is wonderful to have had such a great response from the community. The tree wardens have been invaluable in sharing their extensive knowledge with volunteers from across the city.

I‘m hugely thankful for the donation of trees from both The Tree Council and Octopus Energy as well as their support with pupils from Newbridge Junior and residents from Home of Comfort for planting them. 

We are all looking forward to seeing our trees grow and flourish in the future.”

The Vote 100 Plant 100 project has been supported by Portsmouth-based international design company I Love Dust who designed the logo for the project as well as creating a map to plot where the 100 trees were planted.

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City MP backs plan for dementia care

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan is supporting a call by the Alzheimer’s Society for a £2.4bn Dementia Fund to cover “unfair” care costs.

The MP has backed calls to the Health Secretary Matt Hancock proposing the idea during Dementia Awareness Week, met with local volunteers supporting people with dementia and as part of a release of an Alzheimer’s Society report outlining the proposal.

Speaking after joining local people and volunteers who support the work of the Alzheimer’s Society in Portsmouth, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“I am working with other MPs committed to improving support for people with dementia. We are calling for concerted government action to tackle the dementia care crisis.

A Dementia Fund could provide help to remedy the situation for people with dementia, while we wait for the much-delayed Green Paper. A long-term sustainable funding solution for social care is much overdue”.

With few treatments available for people living with dementia and no cure in sight, social care is the majority of care people will get after a dementia diagnosis. It means basic support to eat, wash, dress and take their medication. For most people, this kind of quality care is actually the only form of treatment they have available.

People with dementia are the largest users of social care: 70% of care home places are occupied by people with dementia, and 60% of people receiving homecare have dementia.

This means that social care is undeniably a dementia issue. When we are talking about social care, we are essentially talking about dementia care.

In its Fix Dementia Care report, the Alzheimer’s Society calls for urgent investment in high quality, person-centred care through a dedicated Dementia Fund to end the dementia penalty face when paying for care.

The report reveals that dementia care costs are 15% more than standard care costs with people typically spending £100,000.

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Society, said: 

“If you develop cancer or heart disease, your care is covered by the NHS. People with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia have the right and expectation that the NHS will also support them. 

We are calling for urgent investment in high quality care through a dedicated Dementia Fund. It’s time to end the dementia penalty that‘s preventing people from getting the care they need and deserve.”

You can support the campaign by visiting alzheimers.org.uk/fixdementiacare

 

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Pressure mounts on Government to act over veteran suicide as Portsmouth MP presses PM

The Prime Minister must do more for our veterans in the lead up to D-Day 75 commemorations says Stephen Morgan MP.

Today, during Prime Minister’s Questions, the Portsmouth South MP urged the Government to begin recording the number of suicides that take place within the veteran community.

The calls come from the MP amid planning for the D-Day 75’s international commemorations set to take place on the 5 June in his home city.

In relation to his question to the Prime Minister, Mr Morgan said:

“This government must stop turning a blind eye to veteran suicide. Without a quantifiable record, it is impossible to understand the scale of the problem. Our brave ex-service people are being let down.

In response to my question, the Prime Minister’s Government has again kicked the can down the road and refused to offer any glimmer of an answer, showing a complete disregard for the welfare of our ex-service personnel.

At a time when the world will be looking back on the unprecedented sacrifices made by the brave service personnel who set sail from Portsmouth 75 years ago, I want to make sure we are also looking forward to how we can improve services for today’s veterans.

There has been enough talk on this issue now. We need to see action. I want to see the Prime Minister commit to making these changes as a matter of urgency.”

Mr Morgan’s fresh calls on the Prime Minister form part of a long-running campaign alongside veterans’ organisations like All Call Signs and Combat Stress.

Mr Morgan has already hosted roundtable discussions with local and national veterans’ organisations, hosted a Westminster Hall debate in Parliament, written to the new Defence Secretary and had countless communications with the MoD.

Mr Morgan said:

“The ex-leader of the armed forces, the ex-commander of forces in Afghanistan, the Defence Select Committee and the Health Minister responsible have all agreed that we need to see this data recorded. All the government has offered is excuses and refusals.

I am committed to raising this issue inside and out of Parliament until veterans get the respect they have earned.”

Veteran and co-founder of veteran’s organisation All Call Signs, Stephen James has said:

“We are grateful to our MP for again raising this pressing issue in Parliament. These changes were promised around last year’s November remembrance service, here we are at D-Day still without progress.

I would urge the Government to stop wasting time and commit to implementing these much-needed changes.”

Mr Morgan’s commitment to ensuring veterans get the respect they deserve is multi-faceted, the Portsmouth MP has also been seeking assurances from Government that the D-Day 75 commemorations will be worthy of the brave veterans who are set to attend.

This has included meeting with the Government Minister responsible along with senior MoD officials, a meeting with the Director of the British Legion and continued correspondence with the Local Authority and Public Services to make sure it is a day to remember.

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We must work together to stop snatching of free TV licence for over-75s

MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, has vowed to work with others in the city to stop the Government taking away free TV licences for the over-75s

The commitment comes after the city MP hosted a roundtable summit with representatives of The Portsmouth Pensioners Association.

The discussions held in the MP’s constituency office, were an opportunity for Mr Morgan to set out the campaign undertaken to date to force the Government to listen to pensioner concerns.

Feedback from hundreds of constituents has found that the Government’s regressive prospective policy to axe free TV licences for over-75s would impact on quality of life and efforts to tackle social isolation.

The summit also provided an opportunity for Portsmouth Pensioners to contribute their ideas and provide feedback to the MP on other social policy concerns.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“I am deeply concerned by the Government action, and inaction, towards our city’s pensioners in so many ways. The prospect of older people losing their free TV licence makes a mockery of the claim that austerity is over.

The summit was an excellent opportunity to inform the well-respected Portsmouth Pensioners of the work that I have been doing on their behalf and in particular concerns over the Government plans for the TV licence.

Pensioner poverty is on the rise again and scrapping the free licence could push 50,000 pensioners below the poverty line.

It was helpful to agree how collectively we can keep the pressure on Ministers to abandon their ideas to scrap the current much-loved social benefit.

I will continue to relay the comments and concerns raised by Portsmouth Pensioners, other local groups, and all older people in our city, in Parliament. The Government should step in and fund TV licences for the over-75s”.

The summit follows contacting constituents likely to be impacted by changes, with hundreds responding to the MP’s request for views and ideas.

Stephen added:

“The responses that I have had to the letter sent out on this issue have been overwhelming.

The analysis has shown that the most common issue raised by constituents is social isolation and loneliness, with many citing TV as their only company for long periods of time.

It is evident from the feedback that this is a hugely significant topic for people in our city, the emotion in the voices of many I have spoken to is an indicator that we need assurances from the Government quickly. I’ll keep pushing for action”.

Age UK has found that over one million over-75s would have to go without TV or cut back on essentials such as heating or eating if the concession is scrapped.

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Portsmouth MP backs campaign to tackle plastic pollution

Stephen Morgan MP has lent his support to a campaign by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) and Friends of the Earth to dramatically reduce plastic pollution and the amount of plastic we use.

The MP is supporting the Plastic Pollution Bill which calls for government to set targets to phase out non-essential single use plastics by 2025 and eradicate almost all plastic pollution by 2042.

The Portsmouth MP said:

“The people of Portsmouth have told me they want urgent action to tackle the plastic waste that is blighting our environment and harming our wildlife.

With 12 million tonnes of plastic ending up in the sea each year and as Portsmouth is a coastal community, we simply cannot wait any longer to take action.

That’s why I am backing the Plastic Pollution Bill to stem the plastic tide and help preserve our environment for future generations.”

Ann Jones, Vice Chair of the NFWI said:

“WI members have been taking action in their own communities to reduce their own use of plastic, and encourage others to the same but as individuals we can only do so much.

“The figures are shocking. Only 9% of all plastic waste has ever been recycled. And our research highlighted that by simply washing synthetic clothes this releases trillions of tiny plastic fibres every week.

“If we are to end the scourge of plastic pollution we need strategic action from government and we urge the government to take the opportunity to lead on this hugely important issue.”

Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth CEO said:

We’re delighted Stephen Morgan MP is backing the call for a new law to tackle the plastic crisis.

“The public is crying out for tougher action, with nearly nine out of ten people backing new legislation to end non-essential single-use plastics by 2025.

“The government must listen to growing concerns and turn the tide of plastic waste that’s polluting our environment and harming our wildlife.”

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Local MP backs call on PM to end wait on life saving CF drug

Vital drugs to the wellbeing of many of those who live with Cystic Fibrosis are essential yet campaigners are still to see any progress

The Prime Minister, a year ago, said she wanted a “speedy resolution” to the ongoing negotiations between NHS England, NICE and drug manufacturer Vertex so that cystic fibrosis patients could have access to Orkambi and Symkevi – but has failed to deliver.

To mark the anniversary of this stalemate, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and Zoey Jones, and her 12-month-old Eve who has cystic fibrosis, handed in 65 yellow roses to Theresa May at number 10 Downing Street.

Alongside the 65 roses – a term sometimes used by children to pronounce the name of their disease – the charity will deliver a cross party letter signed by Stephen Morgan MP inviting Theresa May to attend a Parliamentary Debate on June 10 on the issue. 

The letter asks for the Prime Minister to give an update to MPs on what must happen to bring an end to the ongoing negotiations and give cystic fibrosis patients access to these lifesaving precision medicine drugs – Orkambi and Symkevi.

Orkambi is the second precision medicine that targets the root cause of the disease and would benefit around half of people with cystic fibrosis (CF) in the UK. It has been licensed for use for over three years, but a deal to make it available on the NHS for patients in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is yet to be struck.

During that time, a third drug to treat the root cause of the condition, Symkevi, has been approved for use but is also not available on the NHS.

Stephen Morgan, MP for Portsmouth South said:

“I am backing the Cystic Fibrosis Trust’s campaign which calls for access to lifesaving drugs for those with Cystic Fibrosis.

It is now over a year since Theresa May said she was keen to see a ‘speedy resolution’ in the ongoing dialogue between NHS England and Vertex. Yet, the wait goes on.

I have signed a cross-party letter due to be delivered to Downing street today which calls on the Prime Minister to act and end the wait for thousands living with this life-threatening condition. We need to see these drugs made available now.”

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Portsmouth MP calls on Government to properly fund city colleges

From the 13-17 May it is #LoveOurColleges week, a week of action where colleges from across the nation will be hosting events and engaging with their local politicians in an effort to emphasise that the government needs to properly invest in the sector

The ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign is a partnership between Association of Colleges (AoC), National Union of Students (NUS), Association of College and School Leaders (ASCL), University and Colleges Union (UCU), Unison, GMB, TUC and National Education Union (NEU).

As it currently stands, 16-18-year olds receive the least money of any age group and experts widely agree that the base rate needs to be raised from £4,000 to £4.760 per sixth form student. 

Portsmouth MP, Stephen Morgan has said:

“In the last decade we have seen average funding cuts of 30% hit our colleges and we know that the current amount of money allocated to each student is not sufficient if we are to have a globally competitive education sector.

As someone who grew up in the city and attended Portsmouth College, I want future generations to see improvements.

Colleges are essential to social mobility, whether they are a stepping stone on the route to University or provide building blocks that set young people up for future careers, they play a crucial role in the prosperity of the nation.

Now is the time for action. We need to see a comprehensive plan from the Government setting out how they will address our colleges concerns. Following my raising of this in Parliament I am committed to continuing to call on Ministers until we see the improvements needed”.

In an attempt to raise awareness of this funding gap, Mr Morgan has already organised a meeting between the Education Minister responsible and Portsmouth College, spoken in a Parliamentary debate calling on the government to increase the funding and regularly he meets with the Association of Colleges to discuss future strategy.

Simon Barrable, Principal of Portsmouth College has said:

Colleges across the country are doing great work with 16 -18 year olds, adults and apprentices and Portsmouth College is no exception.

We are at the heart of our community and pride ourselves in doing all we can to meet that community’s needs. If we are to continue to build on this great work, we do need a fair funding settlement.

With basic funding for 16 – 18 year olds static since 2013 and funding for adult learners being cut, we are now feeling like the squeezed sector of the education system. That’s a shame when we have so many great ideas on how we can further improve post-16 education in the city.”

Colleges across England educate and train 2.2 million people every year and there is a growing acceptance that their role is vital in improving the country’s productivity and reducing the nation’s growing skills gap.

A recent survey showed that 6 in 10 SMEs say that finding employees with the right skills is their biggest concern – with 58% believing that the UK will get left behind if government doesn’t address the issue. These businesses said that colleges are best placed to skill the future workforce that they need.

David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said:

“The financial viability of colleges is as hard as it has ever been. This is despite the fact they are embedded within their local community and work with employers to provide solutions to people of all ages.

If we want to achieve success, locally, regionally and nationally, we must ensure they’re properly supported.”

 

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Local MP makes calls for more foster carers to change children’s futures

Stephen Morgan MP is calling for more people in Portsmouth to come forward to become foster carers, and to help change local children’s futures.

The call comes at the start of The Fostering Network’s annual Foster Care Fortnight campaign which seeks to raise awareness of the amazing role foster carers play in the lives of thousands of children and young people, and to encourage more people to foster.

In the South East, 7,600 children are living with 6,300 foster families, but there is a need for more foster carers.

This year alone, hundreds of new foster families are needed in Portsmouth to ensure that children coming into care have the best chance of finding a foster family that can meet their specific needs and help them build a positive future.

There is a particular need for foster carers to look after teenagers, disabled children and groups of brothers and sisters.

Stephen Morgan, MP for Portsmouth South said:

 ‘I’m delighted to be supporting Foster Care Fortnight. Foster carers play such a vital role in our society and I am so grateful to all the foster families here in Portsmouth.

However, we still need many more people who think they might have the right skills and experience to consider whether they could become foster carers and change the futures of children and young people who need support at a critical point in their young lives.’

Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network, the UK’s leading fostering charity, said:

‘We are absolutely thrilled that Stephen Morgan MP is supporting this year’s Foster Care Fortnight. We know that foster care can transform children’s lives and recognising the positive impact that foster carers and their families have on children and young people is so important.

‘The theme of this year’s campaign is #changeafuture and it is a really good time to think about fostering and whether you could change a future by becoming a foster carer.

‘If you think you have the qualities needed to provide a stable and nurturing home to children and young people in foster care, then please take the next step today by getting in touch with your local fostering service.’