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City MP backs call to help struggling PAYE freelancers

Acting on the behalf of local PAYE freelancers under strain, Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP has backed calls on government to offer more far reaching financial aid.

Holes in government support for freelancers is an issue that has been disproportionately affecting those working in the creative industry.

According to a BECTU survey, only 50% of creative industries workers have been able to access support through a Government income support scheme.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“From international-standard museums to media start-ups, Portsmouth has a thriving creative scene. The continuation of this is in the interest of the city economically and socially.

The fact that this sector is most at risk due to gaps in government support must be redressed. There are many freelancers out there who are unable to access any support through the Government’s financial assistance schemes.

If support does not come quickly, this could result in financial ruin for hundreds of hardworking Portsmouth people and risk the loss of a highly skilled section of the workforce.”

Despite direct calls last month from Labour’s Shadow Chancellor to look to address the gaps in the support schemes, no steps have been taken, leaving many workers in crisis and a very real risk of a skills blackhole in this vital, growing sector of the UK economy.

Within the creative industries sector there are a significant number of people who are unable to access either the job retention scheme (JRS) or the self-employed income support scheme (SEISS). Creative and cultural industries significantly contribute to the 5.3 million jobs across the DCMS sector, a sector that accounts for nearly 16% of all UK jobs.

Shadow Culture Secretary Jo Stevens MP:

“Creative industries have become a vital, successful part of the UK economy – outgrowing the UK economy on the whole and contributing £13 million every hour.

But many in the creative industries have been left to go through this crisis without support and their concerns and proposed solutions to the Government have so far been ignored.

The Chancellor needs to listen to these pleas. We know that many talented people are now considering their futures in the sector. If we lose these skills, it will prevent this critical sector from surviving and playing its part in our recovery once the virus is beaten for good.”

Stephen Morgan has been taking action to lobby Government over the concerns of freelancers since the onset of the pandemic. Already he has written twice to the Chancellor, submitted written questions and helped struggling individuals in the constituency with specific casework.

Information to support freelancers from BECTU can be found here

 

 

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Immigration Bill

Some constituents have been in touch with me about the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill which was debated in the House of Commons today – Monday 18 May 2020.

I deeply concerned by the Bill in its current form. This is because I believe it harms our NHS and social care sector, risking creating a shortage of nurses, carers and other key health workers in the middle of a global pandemic.

Labour believe rushing this Bill through Parliament during the current coronavirus crisis when many of those workers are saving lives and keeping the country running is unnecessary.  This legislation, which will hand over sweeping powers to the Government to create a new immigration system, without proper parliamentary scrutiny, that labels so many of the workers who are keeping our country running day by day as unskilled and unwelcome. That is unfair.

The new immigration system proposed by the Government contains a salary threshold of £25,600 that will exclude health and social care workers we desperately need from our country and will have a devastating impact on the health and social care sector. It values workers by what they earn and not what they contribute to our society.

In Portsmouth we rightly show our appreciation and gratitude for NHS staff and carers not just on Thursday evenings, but all year round. Yet this Bill will mean that care workers we need to fill vacancies would no longer be able to come to this country under the Government’s proposed immigration system – I don’t believe that is in the national interest.

For these reasons tonight I voted against the Bill at its Second Reading stage in Parliament.

Stephen Morgan MP

 

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New job opportunity: Parliamentary Assistant

New job opportunity: Parliamentary Assistant to Stephen Morgan MP

Salary: Up to £35,308 FTE plus benefits

Part-time: 22.5 per week (occasional weekend and evenings)

Location: Westminster (occasional work at the constituency office at 72 Albert Road, Southsea)

 

Want to help make a difference to peoples’ lives? 

Interested in working at the heart of British politics to help bring about positive change? 

Then an opportunity has arisen to join Stephen Morgan MP’s small parliamentary team based at the office in the House of Commons.

Stephen Morgan is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Portsmouth South, the first-ever Labour MP for the constituency, and newly appointed Shadow Minister for the Armed Forces.

A small parliamentary team works alongside the constituency office to assist with Stephen’s parliamentary duties and responsibilities as a member of the shadow frontbench.

This new and exciting role will help co-ordinate key policy, research, communications and project actions generated by Stephen’s activities in the House of Commons.

Please note the post is advertised at part-time, with the possibility of extending hours to full-time.

 

What to do next…

If you have what it takes to join the team, please submit a covering letter and CV electronically to:

Julie.Minal@parliament.uk by no later than Monday 11 May 2020, 12noon.

Please note that due to the high volume of interest expected, applicants will only hear if they are called to interview.

During Covid-19, further assessments of shortlisted applicants will be undertaken via video conferencing.

For further information about Stephen’s work for Portsmouth and in Parliament go to @StephenMorganMP on social media or visit www.stephenmorgan.org.uk

 

 

 

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City MP pays tribute to all those who have lost their lives at work on International Workers’ Memorial Day

Workers’ Memorial Day is commemorated throughout the world and is officially recognised by the UK Government. Stephen Morgan MP has joined local trade unions and others in remembering those who have lost their lives at work, or from work-related injury and diseases by completing a minute silence.

The city MP also called for renewed efforts to organise collectively to prevent more deaths, injuries and disease as a result of work, commending the trade unions for their work in the ongoing battle for increased employee rights and safety.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“It is a shocking fact that every year more people die from work related injuries than die in wars. This is not an inevitability that we have to accept, many of these deaths are preventable. Through appropriate regulation, increased workplace safety and creating a system where all employers care about the safety of workers, we can make a difference.

This year’s commemorations are even more important considering the coronavirus pandemic. Every day we are seeing brave frontline workers risking their lives on behalf of all of us.  Already many thousands of workers worldwide have died. More have fallen ill or continue to go to work for the good of the community.

International Worker’s Memorial Day is a vital way to stand in solidarity with those who have lost their lives, those who are still working and to highlight that much more must be done to improve safety at work.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank all trade unions for their tireless efforts and campaigning to stand up for workers’ rights and protections all year round”.

The city MP is joining the minute silence, taking a moment to pay tribute to the sacrifice made by so many workers during the pandemic, to remember those who’ve sadly lost their lives, and to thank all those who continue to do vital work at great risk.

The one minute silence is at 11am on 28 April 2020.

 

 

 

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Support to city’s small business must continue says Portsmouth MP

Since the Covid-19 lockdown began, small businesses have struggled. Many have been unable to pay employees sick pay and evidence suggested one fifth could go under.

The Chancellor has taken steps to mitigate against these impacts, but small businesses have described the support offered as patchy and restricted. On 2 April, the Chancellor updated government support and announced changes.

Stephen Morgan MP, who has been speaking up for small business amid the crisis, has responded to the Chancellor’s latest announcements. The city MP has welcomed the acceptance that previous support was not adequate but continues to highlight gaps in the package going forward.

The Coronavirus Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) before yesterday’s announcement yielded poor results with less than 1,000 out of 130,000 loans so far approved. The Government yesterday announced changes to this which only go part way in solving the issue.

Mr Morgan said:

“At this time of crisis, it is important that we all work together, and I am supportive of the Chancellor taking on board the calls from small businesses. However, I know from speaking to business owners that the original CBIL Scheme offered did not offer enough support to small businesses.

The scheme which some described as ‘fiddly’ placed too much weighting on power given to banks. This resulted in many small businesses in our community raising concerns directly with me around cash flow and loan application decisions.

I have been lobbying Government on this issue, highlighting the need for more comprehensive support packages and faster loan payments”.

The most important U-turn by the chancellor, Mr Sunak, is a change to the power held by banks. In their original CBILS banks were told that loans could only be offered to viable businesses that could not access finance on normal commercial terms.

Now “all viable businesses affected by Covid-19” will be eligible – taking on board Mr Morgan’s calls for more far reaching support.

While this issue does go part way supporting the city’s small businesses, no solution to the banks slow processing was offered.

Mr Morgan said:

“From speaking to small businesses in our community I know cash flow is one of the major issues faced. We all saw headlines earlier this week suggesting one fifth of small businesses could go under. The question we need to be asking is, do the chancellors new measures change this?

I am deeply concerned that a flood of lending was promised but is yet to happen. Banks claim that they are working flat out, but government must have processes in place that guarantee faster payments and an increased cash flow to small business amid this crisis. An issue of this importance cannot be left for the banks to run.

I will continue to keep a close eye on government’s steps to aid small businesses, we must work together to secure the future of our city’s business community”.

Stephen Morgan MP has been acting as voice for small business throughout the pandemic. Over three weeks ago he began discussions with the Federation of Small Business, has written to the Chancellor to highlight gaps in CBILS, has corresponded with the Solent LEP, raising issues in parliament and continuing to help with individual casework.

Some businesses may also be eligible for a Small Business Grant Fund. Government is providing additional funding for Local Authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.

Key support for available for city businesses:

 

 

 

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Chancellor must do ‘whatever it takes’ to support city’s self-employed says Portsmouth MP

In an urgent letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, today Stephen Morgan MP lobbied the Government for support for the self-employed who have been writing to the city MP as a result of the hardship caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a series of actions the Portsmouth South representative today lobbied government writing an urgent letter to the Chancellor.

The city MP said:

“There are 7,100 self-employed people in my constituency. Many are getting in touch with me desperately worried about making their rent, mortgage and other bill payments.

I appreciate your efforts to introduce a retention scheme for employees as announced on Friday.

However more and more self-employed people in my constituency are now asking me what help the Government is going to be put in place for them. Many of whom are being told by Ministers they cannot continue their work. 

Some feel they have been abandoned and are being treated as second-class citizens”.

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 Federation of Small Business has stated that the self-employed are also the most likely section of our nation’s workforce to suffer from a disability or health condition.

Stephen Morgan MP added:

“It would be perverse to leave the self-employed out of the new measures HM Treasury is putting in place to help those whose livelihoods are most disrupted by Covid-19.

The Government must now provide comparable support for the self-employed to end the uncertainty thousands face here in Portsmouth”.

In the letter the MP has asked for assurance that the Government is making plans and sought clarification on timescales.

 

 

 

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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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City MP calls on employers to tackle workplace sexual harassment

 

Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, is calling on the government to take immediate action to end sexual harassment in the workplace.

Despite it being 10 years since the Equality Act, TUC research shows that half of all women and two thirds of LGBT+ workers have been sexually harassed at work.

The existing laws rely on individuals reporting sexual harassment, however the TUC has found four out of five people still don’t feel able to tell their employer about it.

There is currently no legal duty on employers to take proactive action to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Stephen Morgan MP is pressing the government to ensure the new Employment Bill requires employers to take reasonable steps to protect workers from sexual harassment and victimisation, including setting up an independent regulator, and asking constituents to join them by signing a TUC petition.

The Portsmouth South representative is also calling on employers to work with their local trade unions and review their workplace policies to stamp out sexual harassment at work, provide proper training for staff.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“All workers in Portsmouth should feel safe in their working environment and free from sexual harassment. But research shows that it is still a huge problem, affecting millions of people across the UK.

The current legislation is clearly not working. We need to stand together to press the Government to do everything it can to make it stop.

I urge all my constituents to join me in showing support for change and consider signing this important petition.”

Rachael Maskell MP, Labour’s Shadow Employment Rights Secretary, said:

“In 2020 far too many people are still being subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace and the current legislation simply isn’t working.

The new Employment Bill is the perfect opportunity for the government to tackle this and ensure that the law provides greater protection from harassment at work.

We’re asking people to sign the petition and help us make sure the UK is a safe and positive place for us all to work.”

Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary, said:

“More than half of women in the UK have experienced sexual harassment at work. That is not right.

Sexual harassment has a huge impact on victims’ careers and lives. But the government is dragging its feet and is not making the legal changes needed to fix the problem.

We are calling for a change to the law so that responsibility for preventing harassment at work sits with employers, not victims. This would shift the burden of tackling sexual harassment away from those who suffer it. And it would help end toxic workplace cultures that silence those who’ve been harassed.

Unions have been leading the way in tackling sexual harassment. Anyone experiencing sexual harassment at work should join a union to make sure they are protected and respected at work.

The petition can be found here: https://www.megaphone.org.uk/petitions/uk-gov-act-to-prevent-sexual-harassment-at-work

 

 

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City MP calls on Government to tackle sexual harassment at work

Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, is calling on the government to take immediate action to end sexual harassment in the workplace.

Despite it being 10 years since the Equality Act, TUC research shows that half of all women and two thirds of LGBT+ workers have been sexually harassed at work.

The existing laws rely on individuals reporting sexual harassment, however the TUC has found four out of five people still don’t feel able to tell their employer about it.

There is currently no legal duty on employers to take proactive action to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Stephen Morgan MP is pressing the government to ensure the new Employment Bill requires employers to take reasonable steps to protect workers from sexual harassment and victimisation, including setting up an independent regulator, and asking constituents to join them by signing a TUC petition.

The Portsmouth South representative is also calling on employers to work with their local trade unions and review their workplace policies to stamp out sexual harassment at work, provide proper training for staff.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“All workers in Portsmouth should feel safe in their working environment and free from sexual harassment. But research shows that it is still a huge problem, affecting millions of people across the UK.

The current legislation is clearly not working. We need to stand together to press the Government to do everything it can to make it stop.

I urge all my constituents to join me in showing support for change and consider signing this important petition.”

Rachael Maskell MP, Labour’s Shadow Employment Rights Secretary, said:

“In 2020 far too many people are still being subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace and the current legislation simply isn’t working.

The new Employment Bill is the perfect opportunity for the government to tackle this and ensure that the law provides greater protection from harassment at work.

We’re asking people to sign the petition and help us make sure the UK is a safe and positive place for us all to work.”

Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary, said:

“More than half of women in the UK have experienced sexual harassment at work. That is not right.

Sexual harassment has a huge impact on victims’ careers and lives. But the government is dragging its feet and is not making the legal changes needed to fix the problem.

We are calling for a change to the law so that responsibility for preventing harassment at work sits with employers, not victims. This would shift the burden of tackling sexual harassment away from those who suffer it. And it would help end toxic workplace cultures that silence those who’ve been harassed.

Unions have been leading the way in tackling sexual harassment. Anyone experiencing sexual harassment at work should join a union to make sure they are protected and respected at work.

The petition can be found here: https://www.megaphone.org.uk/petitions/uk-gov-act-to-prevent-sexual-harassment-at-work

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Healthcare workers in Portsmouth join tactical voting websites in signing letter backing Stephen Morgan

Stephen Morgan, the 2017 General election winner and Portsmouth South Labour candidate, has been widely backed by major tactical voting websites and now healthcare professionals as the only candidate to beat the Tories here.

Local healthcare professionals in Portsmouth and Hampshire are among hundreds from across the country – many in target seats – who’ve signed an open letter urging people to vote tactically this Thursday to save the NHS from Brexit.

Mirek Synek, a former community paediatrician who worked in Portsmouth, said:

“I’ve signed the letter because I’m dead against privatisation of the NHS – it’s lunacy – a private healthcare system will be less accessible with lower quality of care. Before I retired, it was becoming more and more difficult to maintain good standards, due to the cuts facing the NHS.

If Boris Johnson wins a majority on Thursday, then a no deal Brexit is very much on the cards and it will mean complete disaster for the health service. The already poor levels of staffing will worsen. Many more EU doctors and nurses will leave.

That’s why, if you care about the future of the NHS, you need to vote tactically.”

Stephen Morgan said:

“We won here in 2017, it comes as no surprise that we are predicted to win here again on the 12 December. All recent polls, not paid for by any political party, put me a staggering 33 point lead over the Liberal Democrats.

The polling reflects my record of delivery in Portsmouth and the feedback that I am hearing from residents on the doorstep. I know that I am the only candidate capable of continuing to fight on behalf of our city, it’s great to know that the polling and major tactical voting websites agree.”

In their letter to all parliamentary candidates, the signatories point out that hospitals, health and care services across the country are already struggling to cope.

There are currently more than 100,000 unfilled posts across all English NHS trusts, including more than 40,000 nursing vacancies, a shortage of 11,000 doctors and 2,500 full time midwives in England. And there are a further 110,000 unfilled positions in social care.

People’s Vote, Best for Britain, For Our Future’s Sake, Vote for a Final Say and other tactical voting websites have all backed Stephen Morgan as the only candidate capable of beating the Tories in Portsmouth South.

Stephen Morgan said:

“From organising public rallies to attending meetings in parliament, I have been working with ‘People’s Vote’ for some time. I am the only local candidate who backs a final say. The Lib Dems want to ignore 17.4 million people while the Tories want to crash out with either a disastrous deal or a catastrophic no-deal.

People’s Vote have publicly stated that they believe I am the only candidate to beat the Tories and secure a final say on Brexit, where I will campaign to remain. This backs up recent comprehensive polling that puts me as the clear winner here Portsmouth South.”