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Portsmouth MP backs Bill to reduce cost of school uniform

A proposed new law that will reduce the cost of school uniforms for hard-pressed families has won the backing of Stephen Morgan MP.

The MP for Portsmouth South has pledged his support for the Bill, introduced by fellow Labour MP Mike Amesbury, that would aim to strengthen existing guidance encouraging schools to keep down costs.

The Bill is gaining cross-party support and has won the backing of the government.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“According to research by the Children’s Society, families are spending an average of around £337 per year on uniform for each child at secondary school, while parents of primary school children spent £315 on average.

This is having a hugely detrimental impact on many of my constituents and I really hope that we can get this bill passed into law and alleviate what has become a financial burden for so many families.”

Mike Amesbury MP added:

“I’m delighted to receive the support of Stephen Morgan MP.

His backing is crucial if this bill is to become law and I firmly believe it will have a hugely beneficial impact not only to those people in both of our constituencies, but to families right across the country too.”

Mr Morgan was present in the House of Commons today as the bill had its second reading. It now must gain the support of MPs if it is to become law.

The Bill is progressing as the Children’s Society today launched the latest in their ‘The Wrong Blazer’  series of reports, making the case for action to tackle the cost of school uniform.  The organisation supports the Bill.

The Portsmouth South MP added:

“School is a place where young people should be able to aim high, work hard and achieve. They should be able to pursue their goals free from any additional pressure around uniform.

I know many Portsmouth families work relentlessly to support their children in their academic endeavours but when 1 in 8 families get into debt trying to keep up with uniform costs, change needs to happen.

I will continue to support legislation that works to this end.”

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“Study after study must be replaced by action after action” says Shadow Defence Minister following government’s veterans’ statement today

Today the Government made a statement in the House of Commons about serving and former members of the armed forces ending their lives, following an internal review commissioned by the Secretary of State for Defence.

Responding to the statement in the Commons for the official opposition, Shadow Defence Minister Stephen Morgan MP probed the Minister for Defence People and Veterans to push for faster action.

The Portsmouth South MP identified three main areas that require urgent action by Government.

The need for Ministers to ensure coroners start to record veteran suicide, address the number of veterans not seeking mental health support, and improvements to the transitional support services offered backed up with proper funding.

Responding to the Minister’s statement, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“I welcome the Minister’s statement today; nonetheless, there is still much more that needs to be done.

We know that some veterans who struggle ultimately and tragically end up taking their own lives. Indeed, there are reports that 14 former and current serving personnel have committed suicide in the past 2 months alone – many of them having served in Afghanistan.

The Minister has raised the point about data collection for serving personnel, however, we do not know the full scale of this crisis for veterans because unlike major allies such as Canada, New Zealand, and the US, coroners in the UK do not record veterans’ suicides. This lack of data makes it extremely difficult to know the full scale of the problem but also makes it difficult to be able to provide better, more targeted interventions”.

Mr Morgan also raised the fact that additional funding offered to veteran’s services in the Budget was merely a drop in the ocean. Citing the fact that veterans’ services currently only receive the equivalent of 0.007% of the NHS budget.

A Defence Select Committee report revealed that 60% of veterans requiring support fail to seek services due to issues around stigma was also raised.

Mr Morgan added:

“Our armed forces work hard to keep us safe so that we can live our lives to the full without fear. Day in day out, they do things that cross the line into the remarkable. It is only just, fair and right that we have veteran’s mental health care provision worthy of these men and women.

Tragically, we hear case after case of stories similar in nature to that of David Dukes that I shared last year. Every moment of dither and delay puts more veterans at risk. There are simple steps we can make immediately that will bring about major change.

I hope the government now gives this important issue the urgency it deserves. It is high time to move beyond study after study, to action after action. “

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Portsmouth MP urges patients to tell him concerns over local GP services

Following more and more people raising with the Portsmouth South MP concerns over access to local health services such as their GP, Stephen Morgan has set up a constituency-wide survey for constituents to have their say.

Prompted by a spate of proposed closures to local GP practices, Mr Morgan is taking further action to help protect local provision and raise awareness of the Portsmouth issue in Parliament.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“We’ve already lost just over 1,600 full time GPs under this Government. That’s not good for you, for your family, or for Portsmouth. We need more nurses and doctors to help give patients the care they need.

We all know how difficult it is already to get a GP appointment, trying to get through on the phone and then forced to wait weeks to see a family doctor.

Cuts and other challenges mean a number of GP practices in Portsmouth have  closed down whilst others consider merging with different surgeries, including my own.

That’s why I back calls to put investment back into our NHS, expanding GP training places by 5,000 a year, and building up the workforce so that we can have 27 million extra GP appointments there for you when you need it.

A simple online survey has been set up for constituents to have their say by answering the questions on the MP’s website. Constituents are also encouraged to make contact with Mr Morgan in the usual way with ideas and views.”

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has suggested that blame lies with government over the current emergency. GP partners taking on roles in surgeries fell from 24,521 to 21,161 and 68% of GPs in England have struggled to recruit new doctors to their practices.

The Portsmouth South MP added:

“As your MP I’ve been taking action listening to views, sharing concerns with decision makers, meeting key groups and lobbying Ministers to end the GP crisis, invest in our NHS and restore local services.

To carry on this vital I need to hear from you about the challenges in accessing local NHS services. Please complete my simple survey so that I can take concerns directly to Government and help me to protect Portsmouth’s health services we all rely on”.

The survey can be found at www.stephenmorgan.org.uk/gp-survey and takes just two minutes to complete.

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“Education and remembrance are the only cures for hatred and bigotry” – City MP delivers powerful speech from dispatch box

Stephen Morgan MP today took to the dispatch box in the House of Commons to represent his party in the Holocaust Memorial Debate.

The speech honed in on the importance of education in tackling prejudice and specifically talked of how lessons from nearly 75 years ago are very relevant today.

The Shadow Communities Minister said:

“The immeasurable tragedy of the holocaust has darkened lives on an infinite scale. We owe it to all those who suffered brutally at the hands of the Nazis to take measures to stop this from ever happening again.

Education and remembrance are the only cures for hatred and bigotry, and it falls on all our shoulders to drum out prejudice and racism whenever we encounter it.”

Mr Morgan closed the debate, a privilege reserved for frontbench Shadow Ministers and took time to thank and mention MPs from all parties who spoke in the debate.

Addressing the chamber, Mr Morgan also spoke of his pride in Portsmouth’s Jewish community and the need for all parties in parliament to look internally to eradicate hate.

Mr Morgan said:

“Our city is privileged to have one of the oldest Jewish communities in Britain, having been established in 1746. As city MP, I have a responsibility to my friends in that community to lead from the front and make sure there is zero tolerance of any form of hate crime.

With around 300 police reported incidents of hate crime taking place each day and nearly 80% of cases not resulting in further action being taken, now more than ever we must take decisive steps to drum out this rot.

I remain committed to being a strong voice on all forms of hate crime and prejudice and I will always fight for equality, justice and fairness. “

Stephen Morgan MP’s actions in parliament are not the first in his work to combat prejudice and hatred. He has signed up to the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, signed the Book of Commitment, grilled Government ministers over rises in hate crime, regularly meets with hate crime recording organisations such as CST and is hosting events in Portsmouth alongside Tell MAMA.

 

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City MP to host anti-islamophobia event in Portsmouth

Stephen Morgan MP has announced he is hosting a joint event with Tell MAMA, a national organisation that seeks to combat islamophobia through recording incidents of hate crime.

The event, scheduled for Saturday 25 January from 13:30 until 15:00, will take place in Mr Morgan’s constituency office at 72 Albert Road. It is a drop-in style format that will allow people to pop in and learn more about Tell MAMA’s work.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Islamophobia is up 26% and at the highest level we have seen since records began. I will not stand idly by and allow this rot to set in. Combating the problem lies in community engagement, dialogue and shows of unity.

Whether you are a taxi driver who has suffered abuse or you have witnessed hate crime while out shopping, Tell MAMA and I want to help. This event will provide an opportunity to learn more about the importance of recording hate crime and give access to the expertise of a major national organisation. Islamophobia is not a problem confined to one section of our community, we must all work to eradicate it.

Our city’s strength lies in our diversity, it is vital we both recognise and act upon this fact. The well-established Muslim community in Portsmouth are a vital asset to our city and it is only right that we stand in solidarity in the face of oppression and hate. “

Tell MAMA said:

“With hate crime on the rise and islamophobia rife, now more than ever we need ambassadors for change like Stephen Morgan taking proactive steps in their communities.

We have worked with Mr Morgan already and look forward to our continued partnership, fighting hate crime on the front line and making our communities safer and more welcoming.”

The city MP has vocally condemned hate crime in all its forms and has worked with CST from the Jewish community, started a campaign to halt hate crime committed against LGBT+ people and continues to raise the issue in parliament.

register your place at the event, please visit here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/tell-mama-tickets-90128511805

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“Nothing short of a crisis” –Stephen Morgan MP on the growing General Practice emergency

Stephen Morgan MP responds to national research by Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) on changes over investment, recruitment, and access to primary care.

Since 2009, the number of full-time equivalent GPs per 100,000 people has fallen year on year. All the while demand is increasing with people living longer and with multiple complex conditions.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Under this Government, we have seen General Practice partners taking on roles in surgeries drastically fall from 24,521 to 21,161 and we know that 68% of GPs in England have struggled to recruit new doctors to their practices, according to the Royal College of General Practitioners.

Behind these troubling statistics are real stories of people waiting longer to have serious conditions diagnosed and people in pain missing out on referrals. The Government has failed.

These are affects I have seen first-hand in Portsmouth South with the imminent closure of Hanway Medical Centre. The NHS is a cornerstone of what makes this nation great. I will continue to take action so that the Government invests and improves access to local NHS services”.

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP)has pressed Ministers this week for the need for urgent action. It has warned that unless effective measures are put in place, more GPs will leave the profession, exacerbating the issue.

On a solution to the problem, Mr Morgan has outlined what needs to be done:

Central to solving this crisis is holding the Government to account over their actions.

We cannot allow Ministers to shirk responsibility for training, recruiting and retaining NHS staff. The responsibility lies at their feet. This means educating and training staff, which the RCGP has suggested needs to be around 5000 and making changes to the unmanageable workload of GPs.

By the end of 2020, there needs to be comprehensive Government plans to expand and improve GP services. I will be keeping a close eye on Government and doing everything in my power to ensure they reach this essential target.

I have already submitted questions directly to the Secretary of State on this matter and will not stand idly by while GPs practices, the vital lifelines in our community, are ripped out.“

The city MP has been taking action both nationally and locally on this matter through raising questions in parliament, visiting practices at risk of closure, spending time with constituents affected and putting pressure on the Secretary of State.

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“Social Isolation and loneliness don’t stop when the Christmas tree comes down” says Stephen Morgan MP

As many headlines warn, Christmas can see loneliness and social isolation heightened, especially amongst older community members. However, newly re-elected MP Stephen Morgan has spoken out saying society must do better year-round to tackle the issue.

Research has linked social isolation and loneliness to higher risks for a variety of physical and mental conditions: high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“While I welcome the recognition that social isolation and loneliness receives over Christmas, I believe we cannot afford to let the issue fall when the festive season finishes.

Loneliness doesn’t stop when the Christmas tree comes down, there is work to be done. Since being elected in 2017, I have had the opportunity to work with organisations such as Age UK, The Good Company and The British Legion in tackling these social problems.

I am committed to continuing this vital work now that I have been re-elected to parliament and look forward to continued cooperation with organisations both in Portsmouth and in Parliament.”

The Jo Cox Commission started a national conversation on loneliness and successfully encouraged the Government to accept many of its recommendations with the appointment of a Minister for Loneliness to take forward the work.

However, the Government has failed to implement some of the policies and has gone against previous commitments to safeguard benefits that help to combat loneliness.

Stephen Morgan said:

“Through work with Age UK and Portsmouth pensioners, I know how important certain benefits are in combatting isolation and loneliness.

That is why It is an outrage that this Government is overseeing the scrapping of free TV licences for 3 million older people, leaving a Tory manifesto promise in tatters.

We know that around 1.3 million over-75s are eligible for Pension Credit but do not or cannot claim for the benefit. This means at least 650,000 of our poorest pensioners facing an ominous new annual bill they simply can’t afford.”

The extensive work Mr Morgan has done for to combat isolation and loneliness is not limited to action on the free TV licence. He has worked hard on increasing bus routes, called for a veteran’s railcard, regular meets with Age UK and has a close relationship Portsmouth Pensioners to ensure they have a voice in parliament.

 

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City MP Stephen Morgan has launched a Christmas appeal in support of St Swithun’s homeless mission

Reliant on donations from the public, the Southsea church is running a project to help vulnerable people by providing hot meals, support and essential goods.

Following a visit to the project a few weeks ago, the re-elected Portsmouth South MP and Shadow Communities Minister has done a call out on social media requesting constituents donate men’s gloves, warm socks and razors with shaving foam to help the homeless in Portsmouth this Christmas.

Residents, local groups and businesses are encouraged to drop off these items only to the MP’s constituency office this Friday or Monday. Speaking at the appeal,

Stephen Morgan MP said

“An estimated 280,000 homeless people will be sleeping rough or living in temporary housing and hostels on Christmas Day.

According to Shelter, that’s about one in every 200 of the total population. Behind these statistics are real people and this crisis should shame us all.

As Portsmouth South’s MP, I will continue to press the new government to confront this huge challenge and do something radical to implement.

In Southsea, St Swithun’s tireless work has been going under the radar, with volunteers donating hundreds of hours helping those in need. I urge constituents to do their bit by giving a little and helping this appeal this Christmas”.

The office is open for donations Friday and Monday 9-5pm at 72 Albert Road, Southsea PO5 2SL

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Stephen Morgan speaks up for social care as Government sets out agenda for the year

Portsmouth South’s MP Stephen Morgan, along with other representatives, today observed Her Majesty the Queen’s speech setting out the Government’s plan for the year.

As Shadow Communities Minister, Mr Morgan has singled out social care as an area that requires urgent attention, joining experts such as the Kings Fund in suggesting today’s commitments do not go far enough.

Mr Morgan said:

“It is telling that Mr Johnson chose not to mention Social Care in his victory speech last week. The proposals mentioned today are a mere drop in the ocean in comparison with what is needed.

When nearly £8bn has been taken from council budgets for social care since 2010, there are 1 million people not getting the care they need, and 87 people are dying a day waiting for care we need to see change.

The Government has dragged their heels, resulting in a social care system at crisis point. As Shadow Communities Minister, I will be applying the highest level of scrutiny to ensure that the Government faces the scale of the crisis at hand.

The more time wasted, the more our most vulnerable community members will suffer.”

A senior Government Minister was also forced to admit that her party’s manifesto did not include costed plans for social care reform, but only interim extra funding of £1 billion a year to fund the system in England.

The King’s Fund has said that this extra funding “is not enough to meet rising demand for care while maintaining the current quality and accessibility of services”.

Shadow Communities Minister, Stephen Morgan MP added:

“For more than two years, the Government has been promising to publish the social care green paper, which would lay out plans for addressing the adult social care funding crisis.

During the election period, Disability News Service reported that a senior Government minister admitted the Green Paper did not even exist. How are we meant to address this crisis when the can is constantly kicked down the road?

The Conservatives view the crisis in social care with utter contempt and it is people in our communities paying the price.

The Government should now stop the delay in delivering the long-term solution for social care, which secures these vital services for the future. “

Mr Morgan’s comments follow a September report highlighting how many big care providers have developed highly complex corporate structures involving offshore tax havens. Many claim this puts profit over people and sucks money out of the system.

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Shadow Communities Secretary and Shadow Treasury Minister visit Portsmouth to back Stephen Morgan

Today, 2017 General Election Winner Stephen Morgan welcomed two front bench big hitters to his home city. Andrew Gwynne (Shadow Communities Secretary) and Lyn Brown (Shadow Treasury Minister), both Labour grandees, visited Portsmouth to declare their support for Stephen ahead of the 2019 General Election.

The visit began with Stephen Morgan, alongside Shadow Communities Secretary Andrew Gwynne, presenting a cheque outside the civic offices denoting the amount that the Conservatives and Lib Dem’s had cut from Portsmouth City Council’s budget.

Stephen Morgan said:

“Under the Tories and Lib Dems our city has been consistently neglected, ignored and forgotten. £73 million pounds has been slashed from our budgets and it Portsmouth people who are paying the price. Rising homelessness with thousands on the council waiting list, less school funding and a social care crisis.

Tory cuts, which have been deliberately targeted at the poorest areas of the country, have plunged our councils into crisis and pushed many services to breaking point. Decades of privatisation and outsourcing have hollowed out council capacity, taken money out of communities and undermined democratic accountability.”

Stephen Morgan has a record of delivery when it comes to standing up for services we all rely on and local authorities across the country.

He has grilled Government Ministers in parliament demanding an end to cuts, spoken out in debates, written to council officers thanking them for their services, specifically taken action over cuts to city schools by bringing teachers up to parliament and visited 10 Downing Street to raise awareness of the damage local government reductions are doing.

Shadow Communities Secretary, Andrew Gwynne said:

“It is evident from speaking to people on the doorstep today with Stephen that he is doing an outstanding job in representing the concerns of his constituents.

I know first-hand how much he cares for his community through our work together in the Shadow Communities team and I sincerely hope that he is able to continue his vital efforts for Portsmouth South following the General election.

Portsmouth needs an MP with a track record of fighting the city’s corner, Stephen has consistently gone above and beyond and is the only person capable of beating the Tories in Portsmouth South.”

Stephen Morgan said:

“I am delighted to back Labour’s manifesto commitment to reverse the Tory decade of austerity for local government and our aim to restore council spending powers to 2010 levels over the lifetime of the Parliament.

While those who make decisions in Whitehall can seem distant and detached, our local councillors live among us, shopping on the same high street, using the same parks and leisure centres and sending their children to the same schools.

It is essential that they are given adequate power, funding and resource from central Government so that they can look out for our communities.”

Stephen Morgan then lobbied the Shadow Communities Secretary along with the Treasury Minister urging proper funding for Portsmouth.
The visit culminated in the Labour representative chatting to local residents on the doorstep with Stephen Morgan.