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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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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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Stephen Morgan backs Labour’s game-changing social care plan

Labour has announced its game-changing plans to head off the social care crisis through introducing free personal care and increasing the number of care packages provided to working age adults and older people each year.

Recent Labour Party research has also revealed that since April 2017, over 9,200 people have approached their local authority for help to pay for their social care, after running out of money.

Free personal care will ensure people with dementia receive the same care as those with other conditions, reduce the burden on unpaid carers and benefit the NHS by reducing delayed transfers of care from hospital and admissions to care homes and hospitals.

Stephen Morgan said:

“Portsmouth City Council has been far from exempt in terms of local authority cuts with local services we all rely on slashed by 48 percent since 2011, equating to £73m. This means that care services are in crisis.

I am proud to stand on a manifesto that sets out a strategy for real change and will properly fund social care for our older community members and reform the way we think about caring for people I need.“

Stephen Morgan has a record of delivery when it comes to standing against the social care crisis. He has worked with Alzheimer’s UK to call for funding for dementia care, held officials to account while working in the Public Accounts Committee and constantly grilled Ministers in Parliament to fund local authorities properly.

Labour’s National Care Service will provide publicly funded care to all those that need it.

The next Labour government will:

• Introduce free personal care for older people
• Fund social care properly with £10 billion of additional funding by 2023/24
• Cap care costs
• Reform provision of care by ensuring care providers meet ethical standards of care
• Support the care workforce better to ensure people receive support from trained staff
New Labour research reveals that:
• 9,290 people have approached their local authority for help with their social care costs after running out of money to pay for it themselves – called ‘self-funders with depleted funds’ – since April 2017.
• 5,385 people – almost 15 a day – approached their local authority for help in 2018/19, an increase of 38% on the previous year.
• Based on the average cost of a home care package being £16 an hour and the average recipient of free personal care in Scotland receiving 8.8 hours of free personal care a week, free personal care will save older people £7,321 a year, drastically reducing the number of people depleting their savings to pay for their care.

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Positive plan for Portsmouth Pensioners Announced

Stephen Morgan backs Labour’s seven policies which have been released as part of the ‘Pensioners Pledge’. These seek to “restore dignity and support” for older people living in Britain.

Labour has set out a positive plan for Portsmouth pensioners in more detail with a new ‘Pensioners Pledge Card’, after the Tories chose to ignore the biggest issue affecting older people in their manifesto; the social care crisis.

Labour’s ‘Pensioners Pledge Card’ includes plans to:

  •  Introduce free personal care and invest £10.8 billion in social care provision
  • Keep the free bus pass for older people
  • Restore 3,000 bus routes that have been cut under the Tories and give Portsmouth City Council the powers to regulate services again
  • Stop the Tories taking free TV licences from the up to 3540 households with someone over-75 in Portsmouth South (69% of all households in the constituency)
  • Pay-outs of up to £31,000 for the 4300 women in Portsmouth South who lost out unfairly when the Tories changed the state pension age without fair notice
  • Invest in Warm Homes for All with insulation for every home – and in the process create 1475 unionised construction jobs and supply chain jobs for the next generation in Portsmouth
  • End the injustice of the state skimming 50% off the mineworkers’ pensions schemes

Stephen Morgan, Labour’s candidate in Portsmouth South, said,

“People who have dedicated so many years to their families and communities deserve to be treated with respect. But years of Tory and Lib Dem cuts have robbed so many pensioners of their dignity. Look at what’s happened to our country in the last few years: more pensioners in poverty, and more children suffering the same.

This a rich country – we can do better than this. Labour will deliver real change for pensioners, supporting them to live the comfortable lives they deserve. Labour’s on your side.”

The Conservatives have cut £8 billion from social care since 2010 – and have not allocated one penny extra to social care in their manifesto. According to Age UK, 1.5 million older people are not getting the care they need.

Stephen Morgan added:

“One of the things that inspired me to get into politics was seeing my D-Day veteran Southsea grandfather not get the standard of care he deserved. Since then, I have done everything in my power to stand up for our city’s older residents.

I have a record of delivery when it comes to standing up for older people. Relentlessly lobbying the Government over the Tories snatching away the free TV licence, fighting for investment in social care, consulting the community to improve bus services, meeting regularly with groups to discuss better dementia care and support for older people, and liaising with the Portsmouth Pensioners on their concerns and ideas.

I have made progress, but there is so much more to do. In order to carry on this vital work, I need your support on Thursday 12 December”.

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Stephen Morgan’s hard work for WASPI women pays off as Labour announce ground breaking pledge

Labour have announced that if they win the election they will compensate 1950s women with a “weekly redress” based on the number of lost weeks of their pension and the amount of time they had to prepare.

This follows a relentless record of delivery by Stephen Morgan that includes hosting pubic rallies, meetings in parliament, speaking in debates, writing to the Shadow Minister responsible urging robust manifesto pledges and grilling government ministers over the inequality.

The 2017 Election winner said:

“1950’s women were the people who rebuilt Britain. Millions have been neglected and betrayed by Lib Dem and Tory Government’s and had their retirement plans taken away from them after decades of giving to this nation.

I have had the privilege of standing shoulder to shoulder with these grassroots activists since 2016. From speaking out on in parliament as Portsmouth South’s MP to hosting large-scale public rallies, we have been working hard to hold government to account.

Labour’s promise to go further than any other party to address this vast injustice committed against WASPI women demonstrates yet again that they are the party of social justice and equality.”

Labour’s WASPI pledge is a full weekly redress payment of £100, the average compensation would be £15,400, paid in instalments over five years. Labour will compensate women born between 6 April 1950 and 5 April 1955 by £100 for each “lost week” of their pension, and a tapered compensation rate for those born after 5 April 1955. Individual total redress payments would vary between nil and £31,400, with an average of £15,379.

Stephen Morgan said:

“I met with WASPI women just last week and justice for their movement will always remain a high priority.

Labour’s pledge combined with my record of delivery on this matter means that anyone who feels the need to see the WASPI matter redressed must vote for Labour on the 12 December.”

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“The generation to whom we all owe so much deserves a Government that won’t cut the benefits they rely on”- Stephen Morgan vows to carry on fight for free TV licences for over 75s

In 2017, the Conservatives stood on a manifesto that pledged not to touch benefits for the elderly. The have gone back on this promise and Government has forced through policy that saw the free TV licence snatched away from over 75s.

Prior to the Government change, Mr Morgan been engaging with thousands of Portsmouth residents about this issue. Since, he has spoken in parliamentary debates, written a joint letter with Portsmouth Pensioners to the PM, grilled Government Ministers in parliament, met with Age UK and conducted independent research. Alongside this record of delivery, Mr Morgan has pledged to do more and said he will not put down the gauntlet until he sees the vital benefit restored.

What does this mean? 1.3 million of the poorest over 75s left with another big bill to contend with. 3 million households worse off. 500,000 people living with dementia facing a new difficult bill.

Stephen Morgan said:

“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 Labour candidate who has already served 2 years as local MP has also been working with others to look into how certain more vulnerable demographics will be affected by the change.

This includes those with dementia, veterans and those who have lost cognitive brain function through injury or illness and struggle with submitting applications.

Mr Morgan said:

“As if committing a policy U-turn on benefits for over 75s wasn’t enough, we also know that of the 80% of pensioners set to lose out, over 900,000 are brave veterans who have gone above and beyond to protect this great nation.

How is the Government paying tribute to them? By leaving another hefty bill on their doorstep.

This combined with the fact that 500,000 people living with dementia facing a new difficult bill is demonstration that Conservatives really are the nasty party.”

The extensive work Mr Morgan has done for older members of the community is not limited to action on the free TV licence. He has worked hard on increasing bus routes, called for a veteran’s railcard pledged unconditional support for the winter fuel allowance and regularly meets with Portsmouth Pensioners to ensure they have a voice in parliament.

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WASPI fight goes on, vows Portsmouth MP

Responding to the judgement from the High Court today over the raising of the state pension age and the impact this had on women born in the 1950s, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“This is a terrible blow for the millions of women across our country and the 9,000 women affected in Portsmouth who will have been hoping for a very different outcome today.

The decision to hike the state pension age with next to no notice didn’t just throw their retirement plans up in the air, it also left many women on lower incomes really struggling to make ends meet.

I support the equalisation of the state pension age so that men and women retire at the same age, but believe any changes should be carried out in a fair way. Portsmouth people have told me their concerns over the Government’s decision to speed up the rise in the age for women and how this has affected them. Some are now facing real hardship as a result.

Justice and the state pension that was so cruelly snatched away from so many women remains disappointingly out of reach.

Despite today’s decision women born in the 1950s will not give up their campaign to get back what they are rightly owed and nor will I. Our fight goes on to end this injustice.

Since becoming a City MP, Mr Morgan has been taking action over the Government’s unfair changes to the State Pension Age imposed on women born in the 1950s. 

The Portsmouth South MP has now called a public meeting to hear views of women affected and continue to take action:

The ‘Have your say on pensions fairness’ event is taking place on Saturday 12 October 2019, 12-1.30pm at the John Pounds Centre,23 Queen Street, Portsmouth PO1 3HN. This is a public event for the Portsmouth South constituency with Solent WASPI. To confirm your place visit www.stephenmorgan.org.uk/waspi

Encouraging women affected to attend his public meeting, Stephen Morgan MP added:

“For the sake of my own Mother, and over 9,000 women affected in Portsmouth, I will continue to work hard to end this injustice.

Please come along to this important public meeting, bring a friend and tell a neighbour. Make sure your voice is heard. Together let’s get the Government to finally act”.

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“Holistic, comprehensive support for our veterans is vital – We should settle for nothing less” – City MP speaks out after visit to veterans charity 

Stephen Morgan MP has put recess time to good use and spent a day with forces charity Blind Veterans UK, a Brighton based organisation that seeks to provide holistic care and support for veterans who have suffered blindness.

The visit allowed Mr Morgan meet with veterans, or members as charity sees them, to observe first-hand the ground-breaking technology being trialled and hear feedback on the research being conducted at the centre.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“The work being conducted at Blind Veterans UK is truly remarkable. It only takes a conversation with one of the many members of the charity to hear how it has touched the lives of not just them, but their families.

Organisations such as this are essential because they provide a well-rounded, comprehensive level of support. From tackling social-isolation through group-based sports activities, to providing vital skills through educational services – the centres capabilities are impressive.”

The Portsmouth South representative’s visit culminated in a demonstration of the driverless cars being tested at the facility, paving the way for potentially changing the game when it comes ensuring blind veterans remain independent.

The visit also included discussions with the centres resident doctor about the highly-advanced research being conducted at the centre, and interactive demonstrations of the way Virtual Reality is being used to support charity members.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“The level of care provided to our ex-armed forces community by the Government does not go far enough, organisations such as Blind Veterans UK are pioneers when it comes to what can be achieved.

Well-being, education, fitness, medical care and support are all provided. We should strive to replicate this when it comes to how veterans are treated across the board.

For some time now, I have been calling on the Government to do more when it comes to tailored, bespoke services for our forces community. Spending time with the members at this organisation is a testament to how and why this should be achieved. “

Mr Morgan’s visit formed part of his long-running strategy for improving life for veterans. He has made repeated calls for veteran suicide to be recorded, written to the Government asking for further rights such as railcards to be extended to veterans, met with The British Legion, hosted Westminster Hall debates on veteran welfare and regularly meets local organisations such as all call signs.

City MP, Stephen Morgan said:

“Growing up in Portsmouth and having a grandfather who crossed the channel on D-Day makes it difficult to miss the immense efforts of our armed forces community.

My aim is simple, improve the services offered to ex-service and serving personnel so that the system is worthy of the men and women who use it.

Visits like this are integral to this process, if we can observe the challenges and successes faced by organisations such as Blind Veterans UK, we can use this a blueprint for change. I look forward to continuing to raise the issue of the wellbeing of our armed forces in Parliament and ensuring their voice is heard.”

 

 

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City MP hits out at Government as veterans hounded over TV licences

Stephen Morgan MP has expressed disgust over news that 900,000 veterans will now have an additional bill to contend with.

As of next June, the Government has decided to betray pensioners by performing an unprecedented U-turn on their previous promise to safeguard benefits for over 75s.

The new rules mean that only those who receive pension credit will be eligible for the free TV licence. This leaves the door open to injustice, says city MP Stephen Morgan.

Mr Morgan said:

“Of the 80% of pensioners set to lose out, over 900,000 are brave veterans who have gone above and beyond to protect this great nation. How is the Government paying tribute to them? By leaving another hefty bill on their doorstep.

The fact that the Government has rescinded this vital benefit will mean that some veterans will now be hounded to pay for their TV licence.

At a time when Mr Johnson has just offered a tax cut to the highest earners, I find this morally repugnant.”

The policy U-turn has sparked outrage amongst charities such as Age UK and MP’s from across the house because the Conservatives pledged in their 2017 snap general election manifesto to maintain free TV licences for the rest of this Parliament, due to run until 2022.

The Portsmouth South MP said:

“Some of those veterans affected will have fought in Korea, The Falkland Islands, Bosnia, Iraq and other areas where they selflessly put themselves in harm’s way in the name of this nation. What sort of country have we become where the Government brutally strips away vital benefits one at a time from the individuals who have given the most?

I will not stand idly by while this Government acts like some kind of Twisted Robin Hood, taking from the citizens who give the most and giving to the highest earners.

I will continue to raise this matter both in and outside parliament until the Government realises the consequences of its ill-thought actions.”

Stephen Morgan MP has already taken decisive action against the implementation of the policy.

So far, he has written out to over 10,000 Portsmouth people in his patch asking for feedback, met with Age UK, spoken out in Parliament, delivered a speech in a Westminster Hall debate, voiced concerns with the Minister responsible and met with local pensioners groups.

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Hundreds flock to City MP’s bus bolstering local roadshow

Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan, has held a public consultation alongside First Bus for Portsmouth residents so that community members share their views. The event comes at a time when across the country people voice concerns over dwindling routes, soaring fares and reduced access.

The roadshow, which took place on Commercial Road, involved a static bus where residents could meet with the Portsmouth South representative and senior members of the First Bus team and saw people attend in their hundreds.

Mr Morgan said:

“Bus services are a vital lifeline for many within our community here in Portsmouth. Whether it is helping elderly people visit friends and family or providing those who live with a disability with independence – buses play a crucial role in connecting communities and fending off social isolation and loneliness.

This roadshow gave the people who use the services a platform to speak on the matters that concern them and ensured their voice is heard. As someone who does not drive and uses either buses or bicycle to get around our city, I know how important this is.”

Mr Morgan’s action on bus access comes at a time when the sector is under strain. Across the country over 3,000 bus routes have been cut or withdrawn while fares have risen at over twice the rate of wages, hitting the poorest hardest and particularly affecting the young, the elderly and people with disabilities.

The local MP said:

“This event was as useful to me as it was for my fellow community members. Not only did it provide them with the means to relay feedback, it has produced vital information on the key themes affecting local residents with regard to buses.

I am committed to ensuring that this feedback is utilised by First Bus and is taken back to Westminster where it will feed into correspondence with the Department for Transport and help influence my work as Shadow Communities Minister.

Portsmouth has seen 17% less bus journeys in the space of just one year making it the second worst affected city in the UK. I am a firm believer in getting out and speaking to people, that is the best way to address a community issue.”

At a time when the Conservatives have seen 3,000 routes cut, Labour has expressed a will to subsidise non-profitable but socially important bus routes, simplify ticketing options and make all bus travel free for under 25s.

Mr Morgan said:

“Our city has an issue with air quality, congestion and environmental degradation. Sustainable travel offers a viable solution to these problems.

I am committed to ensuring that access to buses for Portsmouth peoples remains high on the Labour agenda both in our city and in Parliament.”