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Covid-19: City MP continues stand up for Portsmouth’s self-employed

As a direct response to the Chancellor’s statement made on 26 March, Stephen Morgan MP has lobbied the Government again over protections for all of Portsmouth’s self-employed as gaps in the proposals announced last night emerge.

While the Portsmouth South representative has welcomed steps made by government to provide support to this group, he has vowed to scrutinise the detail to help the self-employed in the city.

Listening to further concerns expressed by constituents he has this evening lobbied the Chancellor for further improvements to the package of support being proposed.

Self-employed people in the city have already shared issues over the impact that lengthy waiting times for financial aid will have, the lack of coverage for the newly self-employed and overall lack of detail of the proposals.

In relation to when payments will be made, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“The Chancellor’s statement announced yesterday was a step in the right direction and did cover some of the requests that I put to him last week. However, there are measures that still need to be taken.

News that self-employed people will have to wait until June before seeing any financial respite is deeply concerning. Frankly, it will be too little too late for many and could force some into continuing to work, which could have dangerous implications for the spread of Covid-19.

I have asked the Government to urgently reconsider this decision and pay these hard-working people promptly. They are a crucial part of Portsmouth’s economy; if we are all in this together we cannot afford for some to go under.”

The Chancellor yesterday announced that tax returns from the 2019 financial year would be used to project earnings covered under the scheme. This means that those who recently transitioned to self-employed status will miss out and have to claim Universal Credit.

On more encompassing support, Mr Morgan said:

“Constituents are increasingly contacting me to exemplify the gaps in the Chancellor’s proposals. One constituent has made me aware that he became a sole trader during the 2018-2019 tax year. He transitioned from a PAYE employee to self-employed towards the end of that tax year, and therefore the 2019 tax assessment is not an accurate indication of his earnings.

He will be left heavily out of pocket under the government’s current proposals. I have therefore requested that the potential option of using April 2020 tax returns is explored so that a fairer, more accurate package of support can be offered.

Comprehensive support must be offered to all, not a select few. We cannot leave people behind at this time of emergency.”

The city MP has vowed to continue relaying constituents concerns to the highest level in a bid to ensure ‘nobody is left behind’ and assist  the Government in securing comparable support for the self-employed.

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“The devil will be in the detail” says City MP over proposed support for self-employed

Responding to the Chancellor’s much-anticipated support package for the self-employed announced tonight, Portsmouth South’s MP Stephen Morgan has vowed to keep a ‘close eye on the details’ of the proposals as concerns are raised by constituents.

The MP has previously said it would be ‘perverse’ to leave out the self-employed from Government support being put in place to help those whose livelihoods are increasingly disrupted by the events of recent weeks. Hundreds have shared views with the Portsmouth South MP who has been taking their case to HM Treasury.

With as many as 7,100 self-employed people in the constituency facing uncertainty, progress in finding a solution was cautiously welcomed this evening by the city MP who has vowed to continue to scrutinise the detail.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Research by the IFS has shown that the pockets of the self-employed have been hit hard as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s why I’ve been calling for proper protection for Portsmouth’s self-employed. Taking action, I’ve been listening to local concerns and lobbying the Government, joining calls from the Federation of Small Business for action, and writing an urgent letter to the Chancellor directly.

After days of delay and uncertainty, the Government’s new measures announced tonight can be cautiously welcomed”.

Specifically, on the proposals announced by the Government this evening, the Portsmouth South representative added:

“While I am relieved that the Chancellor is listening, as always with big announcements by this Government, the devil will be in the detail.

Asking people to rely on Universal Credit when more than 130,000 people are queuing online will be worrying to many people. There is a real risk that without support until a few months’ time, the self-employed will feel they have to keep working, putting their own and others’ health at risk.

My concern is that if people cannot get access to the protection scheme until June, it will simply be too late for millions. People need support in the coming days and over the next fortnight. Our city’s self-employed need security now, it is not feasible to wait until June.

Tonight’s announcement deserves robust scrutiny to ensure they are up to the mark. I will continue to keep a close eye on the detail of these proposals from HM Treasury to make sure the self-employed in Portsmouth have comparable protections during this economic crisis”.

The MP has vowed to continue to work constructively with Government, and lobbying Ministers for action, to protect Portsmouth people and to ensure the best possible response to the coronavirus crisis.

If any self-employed people or small business requires help, support is available from the FSB at www.fsb.org.uk/campaign/covid19

Information about the government’s support can be found at www.businesssupport.gov.uk

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City MP says ‘government must do more’ to protect front line health and social care workers

Stephen Morgan MP, also Shadow Local Government Minister, has today lobbied government over their failure to provide Covid-19 tests and protective equipment to frontline health and social care staff, writing an urgent letter to the Health Secretary calling for action

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has vehemently stated the best way to ‘attack’ Covid-19 is increase the rate of testing. Mounting evidence also suggests that ensuring healthcare professionals are tested, and removed where results are positive, can greatly impact the spread of the virus.

On testing frontline staff, the city MP said:

“Despite 4 months warning from other countries and global bodies, government is not testing frontline health and social care staff for Covid-19. Why is this important? Because evidence suggests you can get Covid-19 twice meaning health and social care staff, vulnerable patients and their families are at even greater risk.

Government is not only failing to test relevant workers; they have not yet even provided a date for when they will. I have today put pressure on the Health Secretary to provide clarity to this situation and made the case for an immediate strategy for boosting tests for these brave men and women.”

Mr Morgan also applied pressure to the Health Secretary over the apparent lack of equipment for the health and social care workforce.

This joins calls from the head of NHS Providers, the Chief Executive of Women’s Resource Centre and trade unions who have expressed ‘deep’ concern over the Health Secretary’s lack of action to provide masks, aprons, gloves and hand sanitizer to at-risk front-line staff.

On equipment issues, Mr Morgan said:

“Evidenced reports of frontline healthcare providers being told to spend £100 of their own money on safety equipment and further reports of incorrect, ineffective masks being issued is not what these heroes and heroines deserve. It also puts their often-vulnerable patients at risk.

Why don’t these vital workers have the equipment they need? When will they get this equipment? Why are they being forced to fork out fortunes on their own protective get up?

Today I have demanded answers to these questions directly from the Health Secretary. These are unacceptable conditions for healthcare workers and the British public.”

The city MP also hit home the fact that the social care system was under considerable strain prior to this pandemic and that current conditions could push it beyond breaking point.

On social care, Mr Morgan added:

It is important to look at the state of social care before the Covid-19 outbreak. It was already massively underfunded and understaffed with 120,000 vacancies across the country. With additional pressures now placed on services, this could exceed 200,000 vacancies if 20% of the workforce have to self-isolate.

This means it is a life or death situation for hundreds of thousands of vulnerable care receivers. I therefore urge you to take action to protect these life-saving workers.

This crisis follows a decade of social care cuts that have left a system on its knees. Urgent and drastic action is needed to both protect staff and vulnerable care receivers.”

Mr Morgan’s parliamentary action echoes the concerns of many who work in health social care and have contacted him since the crisis began.

He has vowed to continue working constructively with Ministers and scrutinising the government’s decision making around the Covid-19 outbreak to ensure care givers and receivers are not put at risk.

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Chancellor must go further and protect self-employed

Responding to new measures announced by the Chancellor to deal with the coronavirus and economic crisis, Stephen Morgan MP, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, is calling on the Government to go further as 7,100 self-employed people in the constituency face uncertainty, and protect councils and charities on the frontline.

Following the statement made by the Chancellor last night, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“After much lobbying, the Government has finally shifted direction. I welcome a number of the measures the Chancellor is now making to help protect people during this public health emergency and economic crisis.

The Chancellor keeps saying he would ‘do whatever it takes’. To show these aren’t just empty words, he can and should go further.

That means giving security for people who are self-employed and it means easing the strain on councils and charities who are on the front line of defence in combating the coronavirus pandemic.

It would be perverse to leave the self-employed out of the new support being put in place to help those whose livelihoods are increasing disrupted by the events of recent weeks.

I will continue to work constructively with Government, and lobbying Ministers for action, to protect Portsmouth people and to ensure the best possible response to the coronavirus crisis”.

The self-employed already lack all of the legal protections of redundancy and other rights already in place to help protect employees, including those they employ themselves, from a sudden lack of income.

The self-employed are also the most likely section of the workforce to suffer from a disability or health condition.

If any self-employed or small businesses in the constituency is looking for help, support is available from the FSB at www.fsb.org.uk/campaign/covid19.

 

 

 

 

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Portsmouth MP urges Government to support charities at time of crisis

Taking action after hearing concerns from Portsmouth’s voluntary and community sector, city MP Stephen Morgan is calling on the Government to support charities as they help the most vulnerable through the public health emergency and economic crisis

The Portsmouth South representative, formerly a charity chief executive himself, has already this week written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer raising concerns from the city’s voluntary and community sector.

A number of local groups and charities across Portsmouth have been reaching out to older people, vulnerable and high risk groups, whilst residents have been setting up online support groups to share advice and information.

Now working with NCVO, an umbrella group for the charities, he is calling on the government to do more to support.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“We are in unprecedented times, but history has shown us what the charitable sector is capable of. I see for myself day in, day out, the difference voluntary and community groups make to people’s lives in Portsmouth.

They are already stepping up to protect the most vulnerable during this national crisis, and with Government support, they can do even more”.

A number of charities help alleviate the pressure on our NHS and social care services and provide support to people suffering from the economic and social impact of the pandemic, as well as helping with everything from mental health impacts to support for vulnerable families.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO), and the Charity Finance Group have issued their own urgent calls to protect the charity sector.

Joining other MPs and these national associations calling on the Government to act Stephen Morgan MP added:

“Without an immediate injection of money, many charities of all sizes will soon close. Charity funds are running out, and some are already considering redundancies.

The NCVO predicts that charities will miss out on a minimum of £4.3bn of income over the coming 12 weeks. The figure could be far higher”.

The NCVO are requesting Government to:

  • Provide immediate emergency funding for frontline charities and volunteers supporting the response to the coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis
  • Provide a ‘stabilisation fund’ for all charities to help them stay afloat, pay staff and continue operating during the course of the pandemic
  • Establish an emergency grant fund
  • Confirm that charities are eligible for similar business interruption measures announced for business.
  • Urgently clarify the situation for the differing governance models of charities
  • Work with the UK’s largest philanthropic organisations and foundations, the National Lottery and others to identify grant funding which can be drawn down early over the coming days, or in addition from their reserves and existing grant programmes to help fill the growing gaps in the sector.

As well as this national lobbying the Portsmouth South MP is working with HIVE Portsmouth to ensure local voluntary and community efforts to help residents during this difficult time, are co-ordinated and helping the most vulnerable.

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Covid-19: City MP teams up with Hive Portsmouth to protect access to vital goods for vulnerable people 

In response to supermarket shelves being laid bare of essential goods due to unnecessary stockpiling and panic buying, Stephen Morgan MP has taken steps to protect access for city’s most vulnerable working alongside Hive Portsmouth.

Mr Morgan has written out to over 50 supermarkets and food stores across the Portsmouth South constituency, thanking retail staff for their efforts at this time of crisis and asking store managers to take two simple steps which could help save lives.

The Portsmouth South MP said:

“I firstly want to convey my heartfelt thanks to the store workers working for the good of our community. They are playing a crucial role in keeping the nation fed and supplied at this time of uncertainty and emergency. While many are at home, they are on the frontline making a difference where it matters. We all owe them a debt.

I have had reports of older community members left crying in the aisles because they can’t access essential goods. We’re all in this together and cannot leave anyone behind, let alone our most vulnerable.

I urge all Portsmouth people to think before panic buying or stockpiling. People should only buy what goods they and their family need. There is plenty to go around, but people need to be mindful of their behaviour.

In writing out to every supermarket and food store in the constituency, I hope to both inform supermarkets of the problem and connect them with Hive volunteers – local people giving up their time for free and working relentlessly for the good of the community.”

Mr Morgan’s action firstly asks supermarkets to allow time for Hive volunteers to access priority goods for older people before shelves can be stripped. This is so ‘care bundles’ of essential goods can be assembled for vulnerable people across Portsmouth.

Secondly, the city MP is urging supermarkets to allow Hive volunteers access to food and essentials at priority times to ensure that foodbank shelves do not become too depleted.

Mr Morgan added:

“While Hive and the shop workers are doing outstanding work in our community, we also need to see leadership from government on the issue of panic buying.

Bare supermarket shelves could cost lives. That is why I have also been taking action in parliament, asking Ministers questions and putting pressure on government to find a solution.

I will continue to take joined up action locally and nationally to protect vulnerable people in Portsmouth. Portsmouth has got through tough times before through team work. Everyone has a part to play.”

Stephen Morgan MP has also lobbied the Chancellor of the Exchequer to ask for urgent support to the voluntary sector, issued information locally warning about the dangers of panic buying and is running a campaign to encourage community action. 

The MP has praised the work of food banks and community initiatives across the city collecting food for those in need. In this photo: St George’s Food bank organised by Harbour Church. Food collection organised by local families and the fantastic Portsea Events Group.

A dedicated FAQs page at here is helping constituents with finding out the detail of government announcements.

 

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Covid-19: Action update from Stephen Morgan MP

The Covid-19 emergency risks hitting our most vulnerable hardest. We all have a role to play in working to protect our community.

Today I have been taking action to see to it our older and more vulnerable community members are supported along with the voluntary sector that relentlessly puts others first.

Actions I have taken in the House of Commons today include:

  • Reached out to city schools – I have today contacted all headteachers in constituency schools offering a channel for them, governors, staff, and trade union representatives to share views and concerns to feed this into government planning. Tonight the education secretary has announced school closures for all those except key workers and vulnerable children.

 

  • Working to strengthen our city’s voluntary organisations – Panic buying has left some supermarket shelves bear with reports of vulnerable people crying in the aisles. A number of volunteers and local groups are working tirelessly to help people across the constituency and I will continue to link them with Portsmouth Hive. This paves the way for volunteers to access priority goods for vulnerable people.

 

  • Standing up for cultural assets – The Mary Rose museum is a cultural asset of international significance and one of Portsmouth’s most-cherished attractions. Covid-19 runs the risk of financially challenging a number of museums. Today I wrote to the Culture Secretary to urge a package of care for the Mary Rose and similar institutions.

 

  • Raising the need for tailored financial support for voluntary organisations – Voluntary organisations are stepping up amid to the Covid-19 crisis, from delivering food to vulnerable people to tackling social isolation. They are looking after our communities, but they need the tools to do that. Today I set out to the Chancellor what additional measures need to be taken to give voluntary organisations the financial tools they need to stay afloat.

 

  • Representing Portsmouth from the frontbenches – Democracy must continue despite the crisis. Today, as Shadow Communities Minister l joined colleagues to hold the government to account on their plans for social care. Local authorities are responsible for looking after some of society’s most vulnerable and they are under considerable strain already. Today I worked with others to raise this point to the Minister in the chamber.

 

  • Conducting constituent Covid-19 casework –This pandemic affects every aspect of daily life, for some more than others. My team and I are busy helping with casework inquiries as well as receiving a high volume of questions and issues. Today I spent time helping constituents access voluntary support and worked with the City Council to help resolve housing issues.

These are just some of the actions I have taken for our community today. I will continue to represent Portsmouth in parliament and be a voice for our community where it matters.

 

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Stephen Morgan MP’s action update on Covid-19

It is apparent that the economic shockwaves of this pandemic will have implications for Portsmouth.

We have a thriving independent shopping scene and a host of small businesses that our community both relies upon and is immensely proud of. Today, alongside raising public health concerns, I have been taking action to protect these small businesses.

Actions I have taken in the House of Commons today include:

  • Speaking up for Portsmouth small businesses: Today I put pressure on the Business Secretary to protect pubs, restaurants, coffee shops and other small businesses by reducing the ambiguity around banning attendance to pave the way for simpler insurance claims.
  • Being a voice for the solo self-employed: Most self-employed have no HR department to give them guidance, no sick pay to fall back on, and are facing the likelihood of less work. Today I wrote to the relevant government official to ask what they are doing to assist those who are self-employed.
  • Building a support network for Portsmouth small businesses: Today I have been liaising with Hampshire Chamber of Commerce and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership to encourage a package of support is being offered to small businesses that have been affected by Covid-19.
  • Protecting local democracy: Today I lobbied the council to find technological solutions to maintain local democracy amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Solutions have been found that will help councillors continue to represent their communities safely and effectively. It is vital that councillors are role models for residents in changing the way we work in crisis.
  • Representing our city from parliament’s frontbenches: Today during the Foreign Office and Commonwealth Department statement on Covid-19 I worked with colleagues on the frontbenches, helping opposition MPs apply scrutiny to government travel policy.
  • Making sure information is at the fingertips of Portsmouth people: Information is key at times of crisis. That is why I have been working to create a Frequently Asked Questions page based on the most common enquiries I receive. This can be found here.
  • Put measures in place to maintain support to constituents: Today I put in place protections to carry on providing casework support to constituents while keeping staff safe amid the Covid-10 outbreak.
  • Standing up for the most vulnerable in our community: Working with Cllr Cal Corkery, today I submitted parliamentary questions urging the government to take special measures to support homeless people and rough sleepers who are at greater risk due to Covid-19.

As the effects of Covid-19 progress, so will my work standing up for our community. I will endeavour to keep you up to date on my actions and what I am doing to help mitigate the effects of this pandemic.

 

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Covid-19: Your frequently asked questions

Last updated 28 March 2020 at 09:40. Please note that whilst we update this page regularly, information is subject to change.

What are the key sites for information?

Portsmouth City Council Covid-19 updates can be found here

NHS Covid-19 updates can be found here

Stay home and save lives instructions can be found here

What are the hotlines and government websites for help?

​Government Business Support:​ 0300 456 3565 ​and www.gov.uk/business-support-helpline  ​

​HMRC Coronavirus Tax:​ 0800 015 9559​ and www.gov.uk/difficulties-paying-hmrc  ​

​Universal Credit:​ 0800 328 5644​ and www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/already-claimed/helpline/  ​

School Closures: 0800 046 8687​ and www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19

Should I be staying at home?

Absolutely. Stephen has been encouraging people to stay at home only popping out if you really have to or to get food supplies.

Following the statement by the Prime Minister on Monday 23 March, the Government introduced three new measures: requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes; closing non-essential shops and community spaces; and; stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public.

Guidance has been produced and is available here

Stephen is calling on the Government to provide greater clarity to employers and workers on this announcement with clear details above and beyond this guidance.

We must work together to beat the coronavirus. If you stay at home you are helping our NHS to save lives. If you go out unnecessarily you are helping to spread the virus. Show your support for staying at home to save lives by sharing Stephen’s tweet

Why have the government shut schools?

The government has now shut schools since 20 March 2020. The exception is for the children of key workers and vulnerable young people. Their reasoning is that Heads and teachers are just as at risk as anyone else, and as more and more staff called in sick – increasing numbers of schools started to fall like dominoes under the weight of this pandemic.

The Government has now published information on school closures due to Covid-19 in the interests of public health and who they mean by “key workers” here

Although the decision gives certainty for now – you can find out more about what this means for things like exams, attendance and schools employees going forward from Government here

The Department for Education Coronavirus Helpline is 0800 046 8687

Should I be stockpiling from supermarkets?

Absolutely not. Government guidance suggests that there is no need to stockpile and in fact this may have an adverse effect on the community. Please do not put other people’s lives at risk.

UK retailers are taking steps to ask shoppers not to panic buy for fear it will cause unnecessary shortages. Current advice is to only buy what you and your family need.

Stephen has written to every local supermarket and food store in the constituency about this and encourages everyone in Portsmouth to play their part to make sure everyone can get the food supplied they need. He is also lobbying Government for further measures to stop panic buying.

You can find more about panic buying here

What support is being offered to small businesses? 

Liaising with the Solent LEP, the Chamber of Commerce and city council Stephen has been pushing for a co-ordinated effort to support small businesses in Portsmouth as a result of Covid-19.

There are a number of questions which remain unanswered by Government however lobbying continues. Solent LEP have now updated their website to set out the support being provided here

Government guidance for small businesses can be found here

Stephen is working with others to help the promotion of small businesses in Portsmouth at this difficult time and continues his Support Local campaign raising concerns of local businesses with the council, government and others.

Council support for small business which Stephen has been encouraging can be found here 

What support is available to my own business?

During the budget certain measures were announced to support businesses affected by Covid-19. These were revised by the chancellor on the 17 March who pledged £330bn of government-back loans and guarantees. The chancellor has said that for smaller businesses in that sector who don’t have insurance cash grants of £25,000 will be provided.

Government information can be found here

For detailed guidance and answers from The Confederation of British Industry here

If you are a business who needs any help or advice please call the Business Support Helpline – telephone: 0300 456 3565 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)

Can my employer “lay me off” or put me on a short time? 

Your employer might be able to ask you to stay at home or take unpaid leave if there’s not enough work for you. A lay-off is if you’re off work for at least 1 working day. Short-time working is when your hours are cut.

Unite the Union have some helpful material which can be found here: Temporary lay off advice sheet PDF

On Friday 20 March the government announced additional support for people in work when instructing bars, pubs and restaurants to shut or only provide takeaway facilities. Further details to follow.

I have a family member overseas, what should I do? 

Government and expert advice suggest that you should not travel overseas at this time. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented international border closures and other restrictions. All countries may restrict travel without notice.

The FCO travel advice remains the best and most up-to-date way to remain informed of travelling internationally and is currently being updated daily for many countries. Further instructions on how to get home are available on Travel Advice pages for each country, particularly the ‘Return to the UK’ page.

The Government recommend constituents should subscribe to travel advice email alerts for their destination, and continues to monitor the FCO coronavirus travel advice page.

These pages contain all the latest information and advice from the FCO on coronavirus for people living and travelling overseas. We also recommend your constituent follow their nearest Embassy or Consulate on social media.

Government guidance on this can be found here

Stephen is prioritising helping constituents who are currently abroad, and providing assistance to their families. If you know someone who is already overseas and is stranded, you can find consular support here

Should I be self-isolating?

If you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started.

If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days.

NHS guidelines on self-isolation can be found here

Government guidelines can be found here

I am over 70, what should I be doing?

Current government guidance states that all over 70s, regardless of medical condition, should carry out social distancing measures until further notice. This means avoiding gatherings, working from home, avoiding travel and a host of other measures.

Government information on this can be found here

I am self-isolating, what does this mean for my mental health?

Staying away from other people and staying at home could have mental health implications. But there are lots of things you can try that could help your wellbeing. It may seem daunting and scary but there are plenty of resources and people who can help.

Mental health charity, Mind has some guidelines here

The NHS has some guidelines here

What support is available to my business?

During the budget certain measures were announced to support businesses affected by Covid-19. These were revised by the chancellor on the 17 March who pledged £330bn of government-back loans and guarantees. The chancellor has said that for smaller businesses in that sector who don’t have insurance cash grants of £25,000 will be provided.

Government information can be found here

For detailed guidance and answers from The Confederation of British Industry here

If you are a business who needs any help or advice please call the Business Support Helpline – telephone: 0300 456 3565 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)

Can Stephen still help with casework?

Yes. Stephen has taken a number of measures to ensure that his office is still able to help Portsmouth people with Casework while keeping staff safe.

While face-to-face contact have currently stopped, steps have been taken to continue providing service to constituents. If you have a casework inquiry or need urgent help please email or call.

Please note that Portsmouth City Council is at a ‘business critical’ phase. This means that if your enquiry relies on Stephen liaising with the council over a housing, planning or other council related issue, the council may be unlikely to provide a response at this time due to Covid-19 emergency measures.

How quickly can Stephen help?

We are currently receiving an extremely high level of contact at this uncertain time so correspondence is being prioritised and actioned as soon as possible.

You can email contact Stephen by emailing: stephen.morgan.mp@parliament.uk or calling the office on: 02392 29 1088

I want to volunteer and help others vulnerable to Covid-19, can I do this?

Stephen has been liaising with The Hive in Portsmouth who are coordinating a joined-up volunteer response.

There a lots of community groups and residents helping in lots of ways.From helping vulnerable people with shopping to tackling social isolation, there is a role for everyone.

You can contact The Hive here: info@hiveportsmouth.org.uk 023 9268 8880

I am worried about my rights as a self-employed person? 

Stephen has been lobbying government hard to provide a comprehensive package of support for self-employed workers and small businesses. Including better statutory sick pay and an Income Guarantee Scheme. Despite the announcements on 26 March, to date the package from Government has not been sufficient.

The self-employed already lack all of the legal protections of redundancy and other rights already in place to help protect employees, including those they employ themselves, from a sudden lack of income.

Information, help and support is available at here

Government advice can be found here

HMRC have a dedicated line here 0800 0159 559.

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City MP takes action to protect Portsmouth’s small businesses

Stephen Morgan MP has today taken local business concerns over Covid-19 directly to the government following concerns from city pubs, clubs and shop owners.

The Portsmouth South MP has raised concerns over the implications of the Prime Minister’s statement yesterday. Namely, the fact that the government is advising people not to visit pubs, clubs, restaurants, coffee shops, and other small businesses rather than issuing a blanket ban.

This runs the risk of insurers not covering a loss of earnings, which many small businesses claim could put them out of business.

The city MP also called for emergency action to protect the self-employed who have do have the same structural protection as in-house staff.

Mr Morgan said:

“In a time of crisis ambiguity can be problematic. The government’s advice not to visit small businesses has put a stop to earnings for countless Portsmouth people. But their failure to implement a blanket ban has largely voided any chance of insurers acting to safeguard those affected.

There are also many countless solo self-employed who do not possess enough savings to weather the storm the Covid-19.

While I understand the need to prioritise public health, the Government has a responsibility to safeguard the livelihoods of hardworking people and our communities’ economy. “

The Federation of Small Businesses has specifically cited the fact many self-employed people will have no HR department to give them guidance as to what to do, no sick pay to fall back on, and may well find that there is little work coming in.

Mr Morgan added:

“Portsmouth’s vibrancy is based on its thriving independent small businesses that are often family-run and dependant on regular footfall. We cannot afford to lose this part of our communities’ identity.

Throughout the Covid-19 crisis, I will continue to act as a voice for the community I proudly represent. We are a resilient city, but we also need the government to give us the tools to fight against this pandemic.

I will be liaising with those organisations that support small businesses in our community to see how they can coordinate a package of support for those affected in Portsmouth.”

The city MP has described small businesses as the nation’s bedrock and vowed to put pressure on government to take measures to safeguard their interests throughout this crisis.

Current advice from Government for employers and businesses can be found: here and here.

Mr Morgan is lobbying the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to support Portsmouth’s small businesses.