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Stephen Morgan backs positive plan for small business

Stephen Morgan has backed his party’s small business pledge which seeks to support local organisations through Green investment, upgrading essential infrastructure, reforming the business rates system and stamping out late payments.

This commitment comes as Labour launches 20 pledges to help small businesses and rejuvenate Britain’s high streets. The Federation of Small Businesses has said that “the business support landscape is complex, with a patchwork of public and private sector initiatives at both local and national levels” which Labour has sought to address with the pledges.

Stephen Morgan said:

“We need a Government that both invests in small business and works to foster an environment that encourages their success

Unfortunately, in recent times we have seen periodic hikes in business rates that can make life impossible for SMEs, and there has been made no serious attempt to stop big business making late payments to smaller enterprises – which we know can fatally undermine a struggling company.

Labour is the true party of small business. This is Labour’s plan to end that unfairness, and level the business playing field in Portsmouth South and across the country. That’s real change for small businesses.”

• £19 billion investment for Labour’s Green Transformation Fund
• Upgrade the region’s infrastructure by connecting 3.9 million households and businesses to full-fibre Broadband including and South Coast rail capacity improvements
• 393 Post Banks in the South East providing face-to-face, relationship banking,
• Stamp out late payments
• Scrap quarterly reporting for the smallest businesses
• Fundamentally reform business rates

Stephen Morgan has a record of delivery when it comes to standing up for small business. He has created a support local campaign, worked closely with others over the crisis on our high streets, hosted roundtable action meetings with other SMEs, created local awards for business, backed Labour’s 5 point plan for the highstreets and regularly meets with business leaders.

Additional pledges in the 20-point plan include:

· A £250 billion UK National Investment Bank and network of Regional and National Development Banks to give small businesses and the industries of the future the funding they need.

· Stamping out late payments that hit smaller businesses.

· Providing free full fibre broadband to every business premises.

· Giving SMEs access to funding for training raised through the Apprenticeship Levy.

·Scraping quarterly reporting for businesses with a turnover of under £85,000.

· Using government procurement to support SMEs and economic growth.

· Fundamentally reforming the outdated business rates system, including switching to annual valuations.

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City MP and University of Portsmouth continue actions over Stanhope House crisis

In his latest in a series of actions to assist students affected by the accommodation crisis at Stanhope House, working alongside the university the city MP is demanding more answers from Prime Student Living (PSL), the provider in question.

Today’s letter follows a string of actions taken by the MP with local ward councillor Cal Corkery, student campaigners and in consultation with the vice-chancellor of the university.  So far including demanding an urgent meeting with the Government Minister responsible, hitting out at PSL, speaking with students affected, meeting with the university and visiting the site to see the problem first hand.

On his latest action Mr Morgan said:

“While dealing with the provider in question directly is just one of many ways to address this issue, I hope that the stern letter sent to PSL asking them to outline responses to my concerns will shed light on what the provider is doing to assist students affected.

PSL have in some instances been vague about certain aspects of their response to the situation, including reimbursement mechanisms, transparency about when they knew the project would not be finished and what support was offered, if any, to the 54 students who had their contracts torn up.

I will not leave any stone left un-turned when it comes to students’ academic futures, the Portsmouth community and the tax payers’ purse.”

Mr Morgan has advocated for an encompassing approach to this issue and has suggested that the problem lies with a regulatory gap that falls short when dealing with the private sector.

This is an issue he is addressing in Parliament after submitting a series of written questions and writing to the minister by urging Government to act and close the gap.

The Portsmouth South representative said:

“While individual private accommodation providers are at the surface level of the problem, this issue is much bigger.

The problem is this. The Office for Students (OfS) regulates universities but has no regulatory power over private student accommodation providers. There is a clear gap that needs closing.

A similar, albeit less severe, problem occurred last year with Crown Place and my information is that there are over 20 similar problems around the country this year.  We need to do more to protect students.

So far, I have spoken with students affected, met with the university, written to the regulator, corresponded multiple times with PSL, written to the relevant Minister and raised the issue through parliamentary questions. I will continue to take action until a solution is found to the wider problem.”

Mr Morgan’s letter today is in response to a letter sent to the MP on 4 October 2019 and was written with the support of the University of Portsmouth.

 

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Rallying cries of ‘’the fight will go on” resonate from standing room only WASPI event hosted by city MP

Stephen Morgan MP has hosted a heavily oversubscribed event in Portsmouth offering a platform for discussion to women affected by state pension inequality.

The greatly successful event came in the wake of news that the High Court would not rule in favour of WASPI women and consisted of the MP’s renewed declaration of support for the cause, an open discussion and a Q&A session.

Mr Morgan said:

The resilience and determination demonstrated by WASPI women is an inspiration to grass roots movements across the nation.

The high attendance, passionate discussion and innovative ideas coming from the event that I was proud to host on Saturday is a testament to the fight left in this movement.

I consider it a privilege to have hosted numerous events and parliamentary activities alongside WASPI women and will continue to work shoulder to shoulder with members until we see a positive solution to this injustice.

Some women have been forced into homelessness and destitution, others have lost up to £47,000. They have all been grossly mistreated by Government and I will continue to act as a strong voice for them in Parliament.”

The event allowed WASPI women direct access to their MP and subsequently resulted in Mr Morgan taking a number of immediate actions.

One action that arose was that many women had written to the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) to complain about the issue, however, they had been told they must wait for the High Court ruling before getting a response. Many of the women are still awaiting feedback.

In response to this, Mr Morgan has written out to the PHSO urging swift response and requesting a time frame for response.

In his letter, the Mr Morgan wrote:

Now that the High Court has ruled their decision, I am writing to request a date by which women affected by these state pension changes will receive a response to their letters of complaint. Please, could you (PHSO) provide this information as a matter of urgency?”

Other actions taken by the MP following the open consultation include lobbying his frontbench Labour colleagues to include clear manifesto pledges in favour of WASPI women.

Mr Morgan’s support for the WASPI cause predate his premiership as an MP and over the years has seen him speak at events, host members in parliament, meet people affected in Portsmouth and submit written questions to the Minister responsible. Mr Morgan is set to host WASPI women again on Wednesday 16 October. 

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“Let’s work together to ensure today’s generation have the digital skills for the future” says City MP at launch of Google Digital Garage

Today, Google opened a training hub in Portsmouth South. Delivering a speech to local community and business leaders, the city MP helped declare the hub open.

The Google Digital Garage is a multi-million-pound initiative that helps people, small businesses, and charities in Britain learn crucial skills for the digital age and is supported by the council and other local agencies. The city MP has been lobbying for this to come to his city for well over year.

Google Digital Garage offers free workshops and 1:1 mentoring sessions, enabling everyone to harness the power of the internet. Stephen Morgan has spent a great deal of time lobbying for its presence in Portsmouth.

Addressing attendees at the opening, Mr Morgan said:

“While businesses in Portsmouth are thriving and do justice to the ingenuity and resilience the city is famed for, the importance of developing digital prowess cannot be overestimated, we must continue to make our mark.

Digital technology has revolutionised the way we work – but many smaller businesses that lack digital skills are being left behind.

The fact that 55% of small business owners reported growth after just 14 weeks of receiving Google Hub training means that these issues will be tackled head on.”

The city MP stressed the importance of digital training in relation to social inequality. This is in line with the State of the Nation report which found that 49 percent of the poorest adults had received no digital training after leaving school, while 20 percent of the richest adults had. 

Mr Morgan said:

“Not only are digital skills essential to business progression, they are also a vital tool in the fight against inequality and help with self-liberation.

Through closing the digital divide, we will be able to make it easier for those at the bottom of the ladder to climb up.

We know that in Portsmouth, deprivation is higher than average at over 25% and 9,000 children live in poverty. Improving digital literacy is one tool we can use in the fight against deprivation and injustice.”

Since 2015, Google Garage has visited more than 500 locations across the UK and trained more than 400,000 people. Statistics show that 75% of small business owners changed the way they use digital marketing to advertise or sell online and 90% of learners took action after Google Digital Garage training. 43% said they had used more digital tools at work, and 77% said Google Digital Garage had helped improve their professional profile.

Mr Morgan said:

“The reason I have lobbied so hard for the Garage to come to my patch is because of the proven track record it has in up-skilling local communities and fostering an atmosphere of progression.

In my maiden speech, I said this is a city of makers and doers. With the likes of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Charles Dickens emerging form this city, this is undeniable. I want to see this continue and believe that if we are to continue to leave our mark, ensuring equal access to digital skills for all will play a crucial role.”

Mr Morgan has not stopped at bringing the hub to his constituency, he is now in discussions with Google about a string of events at the hub and the touring of a Google Skills Bus around the constituency to reach marginalised communities.

 

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Labour to end universal credit misery

Universal Credit is causing misery and hardship wherever it is rolled out. Today Labour confirmed that when in Government they will scrap it and replace it with a social security system dedicated to dignity, universalism and ending poverty.

The party has announced they will implement an emergency package of reforms to mitigate some of the worst features of UC while they develop a replacement system.

The plan will also lift up to 300,000 children out of poverty by scrapping the two child limit and benefit cap. It will reduce hardship by ending the five week wait, introducing fortnightly payments, suspending sanctions and ending the digital only approach. The party will also protect women by making split payments the default and reduce homelessness by paying the housing element direct to landlords.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Universal Credit is a vehicle for cuts and is causing severe hardship wherever it has been rolled out across our country.

Our social security system has lost its way; we need to rebuild it up from the principles on which it was founded – supporting people rather than policing them, alleviating poverty rather than driving people into it.

Social security should lift people out of poverty but Universal Credit is leaving people in debt and rent arrears, and forcing people to turn to food banks to survive.

Despite mounting evidence of its failure, the Tories are pressing ahead with the roll-out, rather than scrapping and replacing it. I’m pleased Labour has said when in Government that is what they will do”.

The city MP has been listening to views and concerns over the future of social security, visited the local job centre, met with charities which support people on benefits and hosted a consultation to hear people’s views.

Today Labour has announced they will:

  • Change the culture of the DWP so that treats people with dignity and respect, and supports them in finding work and accessing the benefits they are entitled to instead of punishing and policing people.
  • This cultural change will take time but we will start on day one by replacing the DWP with a Department for Social Security.
  • Scrap UC and develop a new social security system.