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Government now need a ‘comprehensive plan’ to return home stranded Britons

Responding to the Government announcement tonight on Britain’s trapped abroad due to the coronavirus crisis, Stephen Morgan MP has said the government now needs to produce a comprehensive plan to help return home desperate British nationals.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“The Foreign Secretary’s statement tonight was welcome, but long overdue. Hundreds of thousands of Britons are stranded abroad. They are in desperate need of urgent action by Government.

We were promised a detailed plan today. Instead we got more of the same.

My constituents stuck abroad are telling me they feel abandoned by Government. Worried families are at their wit’s end. I am hearing from vulnerable people needing to get back to loved ones, and other travellers running out of essential medical supplies.

Earlier today I wrote to the Foreign Secretary, continuing to take action for Portsmouth families affected, offering practical ideas to help address the issues British nationals are facing abroad.

Rather than vague promises, we now need Government to set out a comprehensive, fully funded plan to bring our British nationals home. That’s what Britons stuck abroad deserve, and their loved ones back home expect”.

 

 

 

 

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Government ‘must do better’ to bring home Britons says City MP

Portsmouth South’s MP Stephen Morgan is piling on the pressure calling for the Foreign Office to do better to bring home British travellers stuck abroad.

The call comes after the MP has been liaising daily with the Government about constituents unable to return home due to the coronavirus crisis.

Stephen Morgan MP shares people’s frustrations about the lack of information and advice that they have received from the Foreign Office, especially problems getting through to speak to people on the phone.

The Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has admitted the Government has been struggling to manage the level of calls that they were receiving and have now  doubled their call centre capacity.

As well as lobbying the Foreign Secretary to take urgent action, the city MP has been in daily contact with the Foreign Office about individual cases of Portsmouth people who have had difficulties getting back to the UK from around the world, liaising with the families affected, as well as sharing information with the Shadow Foreign Secretary to push for further action by Government.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“It is clear from the daily correspondence I am getting from constituents stuck abroad and cases I am hearing about from other parliamentarians, that the Foreign Office’s current efforts to support people to return to the UK have not been adequate.

This is causing a huge amount of distress to those affected from our city and their families.

I will continue to prioritise helping Portsmouth people who are encountering serious problems abroad and have not received adequate assistance from the Foreign Office.

The Government must do better and now prioritise the resources needed to bring Britons back safely and swiftly”.

Despite calls, the Government has not been able to give an exact figure for the number of British nationals currently stranded abroad, only estimating numbers between 500,000 and 700,000 people.

Labour has called for more comprehensive information on the scale of the problem and for Government to work with airlines to get data on how many people have been able to get home so far, so that resources can help secure the return of all British travellers.

Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry MP added:

“While I appreciate that the FCO staff are all working very hard, the direction from those at the top hasn’t been good enough and it is clear from the emails that I have received and the cases MPs have sent my way that they need to take further steps to provide a more comprehensive repatriation offer to Brits stuck overseas.

I have made it very clear that the government should not be leaving people to the mercy of exploitative private airlines who are ripping vulnerable people off, without helping them to get home”.

The Portsmouth South MP believes that leaving people to rely solely on commercial options to return to the UK is not acceptable and is calling on the Government to work more closely with the airline companies to find a solution.

 

 

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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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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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Covid-19: Your frequently asked questions

Last updated 30 March 2020 at 12:19. 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

I am self-employed, who do I contact to get information about my eligibility for financial assistance?

Government guidance on what is being offered to self-employed people has recently changed. Packages of support are available, but it depends on the how long you have been self-employed for, earnings and other factors. Stephen in continuing to lobby hard for more encompassing support packages and quicker financial aid payments for Portsmouth people.

HMRC have a team in place to deal directly with individual enquiries they can be contacted here: 0800 0159 559

Government guidelines can be found here

Should I still be using public transport?

The government are advising against non-essential travel via public transport. Bus and rail services have now reduced, with South West Trains cutting down on journeys. The information about these changes can be found here.

These are interim arrangements and alternative ways of handling refunds and delay-repay applications are being looked into.

Government has advised that a rigorous cleaning regime is taking place on public transport for those who do need to travel.

What does Covid-19 mean for my energy and water provision?

The BBC have reported that gas and electricity suppliers have agreed to an emergency package of measures to ensure vulnerable people do not get cut off during the COVID-19 crisis.

Those on pre-payment meters will receive help if they cannot get out to top up through credit being sent in the post or in funds and funds automatically being added to their meter.

Those who are struggling to pay bills will receive support and no credit meter disconnections will take place. There is also potential for bill payments and debt repayments to be paused, reassessed or reduced where necessary.

Additional information about what can be done about pre-paid energy whilst self-isolating can be found on the Money Saving Expert website. here

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.

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Stephen Morgan MP’s action update on Covid-19

As we approach the fast growth part of the virus curve and tragically the UK death toll rises to 53, I have been taking action in parliament to ensure Portsmouth people are as protected as they can be.

As measures are put in place by government there will be a number of economic, social and health implications in our community. Each day I will be working hard to see to it that voices are heard, and issues raised.

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

  • Putting pressure on government to stop evictions – I today wrote to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government demanding an eviction ban for renters affected by Covid-19. The proposal I made would safeguard more than 20 million people – eight and a half million households – who rent their homes from private, council or housing association landlords, including three million households with children.
  • Working to secure a joined-up volunteer response – Volunteers will help deal with everything from delivering shopping to tackling social isolation. I have reached out to Hive Portsmouth, responsible for coordinating volunteers in our community, to urge them to provide information on their volunteer strategy as we progress.
  • Being a voice for older community members – Following the Health Secretary’s advice for over 70s to isolate, I have taken action to tackle potential loneliness. I have today put pressure on the Culture Secretary to delay the introduction of TV licence fees for over 75s. It is imperative that our older community members have a timely flow of information throughout this crisis.
  • Raising our communities’ issues in parliament – As an MP I have the power to raise concerns immediately through written questions. I have today submitted targeted questions seeking government funding for council tax relief for those affected by Covid-19, applied pressure on how they will combat the stockpiling crisis, what role our armed forces will play and a host of other areas.
  • Being a strong voice for our armed forces – Part of tackling the Covid-19 crisis is safeguarding issues of national importance. Today I worked to ensure that action is taken to combat growing cyber security threats. We cannot afford to have another NHS cyber attack during the Covid-19 crisis.

These are the key actions I have taken today. I will continue to stand up for Portsmouth in the face of Covid-19 and will provide a regular update on actions. We are a resilient community made of tough stuff. Side by side by side we will overcome the Covid-19 crisis.

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City MP speaks up for Portsmouth rail users in Parliament

Speaking from the green benches in parliament, Stephen Morgan MP held the Transport Minister to account over the poor performance of South Western Railway.

In a bid to signal to government the effect of soaring prices and increasingly delayed running times, the Portsmouth South MP relayed rail concerns that many constituents contacted him about directly. 

In a rare display, the Minster praised Mr Morgan’s relentless efforts in speaking up for Portsmouth but offered no robust plans on how he would be improving the service.

Mr Morgan said:

“Portsmouth people rely on our rail network to get to work, for business and for important social occasions. I am told every week how plans have been scuppered by delays to the network all the while fares have soared.

Put simply, Portsmouth people are paying more but getting less. Government has a responsibility to ensure the smooth running of the nation’s rail network, as it stands, they are failing.

I have been listening to constituent’s transport concerns and today put these directly to the Government representative responsible. It is essential that we see improvements.”

According to South Western Railway’s own performance indicating website, over 50% of their trains failed to run at the right time. Despite this, customers saw an average of 2.7% rail fair surge in 2020.

Mr Morgan added:

“Effective running of our railways is not just an important local issue; it is vital in the battle against climate change.

Railways are in crisis across the nation. Regulated rail fares have risen by 40% since 2010, more than two and a half times the rate of median wages. At the same time, overcrowding on trains has increased and reliability has declined.

Government should be making it more attractive for people to use greener travel, not harder and more expensive.”

Since Mr Morgan was elected, he has been relentless in his calls for better rail services. Meeting with rail providers, attending cross-party parliamentary rail groups, asking questions in the chamber, submitting written questions and speaking to commuters in his patch. He has vowed to continue this important work.

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After a ‘decade of decline’ Budget brings more disappointment for Portsmouth people

Today (Wednesday 11 March 2020) the Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered this Government’s first Budget. Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP has slammed the Government’s budget for not ensuring an end to austerity and no real investment for the city.

Mr Morgan unpicked the Chancellor’s fiscal plans and called out the fact Portsmouth and the South East continue to be neglected with no robust plans to redress the inequality caused by Tory austerity.

Mr Morgan said:

“Over the last ten years we have seen a decade of decline. Cuts to public services we all rely on as we pay more, but get less, and infrastructure holding our city and our region back.

In today’s budget I know Portsmouth people were hoping for real investment for the city and an end to austerity.

Instead we saw a political panto in the House of Commons, with soundbites with no serious consideration of the challenges our city faces.

We now risk another five more years of more disappointment for Portsmouth”.

The IFS have said that cuts to funding from the government have led to a 17% fall in councils spending on local services since 2010. This has pushed local government to become reliant on local taxes for revenues, in particular council tax.

The Government’s financial plans also received heavy criticism on their failure to address national issues. No real solutions have been put forward to address the climate crisis through infrastructure projects, austerity has not ended and the NHS is creaking ahead of a potential coronavirus strain.

On the national picture, Mr Morgan said:

“In recent weeks, Government has utterly failed to provide leadership in response to storms, flooding, and the coronavirus outbreak.

Is this the budget that will combat issues of international significance such as Coronavirus, the Social Emergency, and Climate Change?  Regrettably there is no evidence to suggest it will.

It seems yet again Mr Johnson has delivered on nothing but empty promises and left the people of Britain to deal with the consequences.

The city MP has long been lobbying for a fairer funding formula for Hampshire Constabulary, calling out government cuts to city schools, championing the need for proper investment in Portsmouth Naval Base, calling for a solution to the social care crisis and the need for the black hole in Ministry of Defence funding to be addressed. The Budget today made no effort to combat these issues.

 

 

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“Government must go further to protect coastal communities” says city MP in parliamentary debate

Stephen Morgan MP today delivered a speech to parliament outlining areas where the government needs to go further to reduce flood risks.

The city MP honed in on the particular challenges faced for Portsmouth City Council and Southsea Sea Defence Scheme; Forcing the Minister to respond to questions about heritage sites, funding and austerity.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“With record rainfall in February and the last decade the warmest on record, coastal communities are at great risk of the impacts of climate change.

Major infrastructure projects like Southsea Sea Defence Scheme are needed to protect lives, homes and livelihoods.

Government funding, lack of recognition for heritage sites, and the impacts of austerity are undermining local efforts to protect our communities.”

Portsmouth City Council have stated the city coastline’s rich heritage sites mean that additional funding is required to secure cultural assets like Southsea Castle. Currently, government funding offers no weighting to communities who harbour heritage sites, which Mr Morgan has called on them to change.

Mr Morgan also stressed the national importance of our coastal communities, he added:

“Our coastal communities are rich in leisure, tourism and heritage activities. Their loss is the nation’s loss.

They must be protected. There are gaps in the government’s current strategy which need to be addressed.

It is high time the government took notice of this fact and started properly supporting coastal communities like Portsmouth.”

Stephen Morgan MP also raised in the chamber the fact the Minister had cancelled two meetings, one with the Council, to discuss Southsea Sea Defence Scheme.

The city MP has committed to continuing to raise the risk of flooding in order to safeguard the interests and livelihoods of constituents.