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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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Giving veterans the support fit for heroes

Labour has marked Armistice Day with a pledge to support the armed forces and the nation’s veterans with better working conditions, against a backdrop of falling pay and privatisation.

The party’s manifesto, which will be released later this month, will include five major pledges to support the forces and their families:

1. Fair Pay – scrap the public sector pay cap, which has seen 5.8% real terms pay cut for the starting salary of an Army Private

2. Decent housing for forces and their families – end the growing reliance on the private rented sector

3. A voice for service men and women – consult on creating a representative body, similar to the Police Federation

4. End privatisation – root and branch review of outsourcing and a clear presumption in favour of public delivery of public contracts

5. Support for forces children – better access to schools with dedicated local authorities’ admissions strategy for the particular challenge of frequent school moves.

Labour’s candidate for Portsmouth South is a longstanding campaigner for better support for serving personnel and veterans.

He has been undertaking a variety of actions since getting elected to Parliament including calling on the Government to fund a veterans railcard, lobbying for bespoke mental health services and pressing Ministers to implement a scheme to record veteran suicide to understand the scale of the problem.

Stephen Morgan said:

“I have always been clear the Government has no higher duty than the protection of our citizens and the maintenance of national security.

Yet since 2010, we have seen 5,000 Royal Navy jobs cut, 12 ships axed, 91 defence sites sold off and the lowest defence spending for 20 years. It is clear you cannot trust the Conservatives’ record when it comes to safeguarding our armed forces.

When I asked the previous Government to begin recording veteran suicide? They refused. When I asked for the dry dock to come to Portsmouth? They refused. When I asked the Government to extend the forces rail card to veterans? They refused.
Enough is enough. Labour’s veterans pledge is a testament to the fact that they are the only party prioritising our armed forces personnel.”

Stephen has a strong record of delivery when it comes to standing up for our veterans. He has Hosted a debate in Parliament. Written out to 98 coroners. Hosted roundtable meetings with veterans in his office. Worked alongside local organisations such as All Call Signs and urged Government to instate a veteran’s railcard.

Stephen said:

“With a record of delivery standing up for our armed forces and our nation’s veterans already, I promise to do so much more.

As a strong national voice on defence, I will continue to put our armed forces first. I welcome the comprehensive plan announced today to help achieve that”

Stephen Morgan has cited his grandfather, a D-Day veteran from Portsmouth, as the motivation behind his relentless efforts to see our armed forces personal treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.

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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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You can’t trust the Tories with our NHS

Today, Freedom of Information (FoI) data obtained by Labour has revealed that there has been a huge increase in the number of cancelled operations because of staffing issues and equipment failures.

The simple truth is under the Tories, patients wait longer and longer for vital care. This General Election is about the future of the NHS and ensuring quality care for all.

Under the Tories, so many more people in pain and distress are forced to endure cancelled operations, including increasingly on the day they were supposed to have treatment. It is a shameful indictment of a decade of Tory cutbacks running our NHS into the ground.

Labour will fully fund our NHS, recruit the doctors and nurses we need and safeguard our NHS from a Trump deal sell off that could cost the NHS £500 million a week.

Responding to the release of the data, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Our NHS is the most cherished British institution. Its introduction over 70 years ago has transformed people’s lives, giving access to world-class healthcare for all, regardless of the ability to pay.

Since becoming the MP for Portsmouth South, it has been a top priority of mine to care for it – standing up locally and in Parliament for our hospitals, community care, dentistry and GP services.

I’m proud of the record of delivery since 2017 on this most pressing of issues for Portsmouth people. Helping to secure £58m of investment to enhance urgent care at QA Hospital, new community services at St Mary’s and lobbying for improvements to meet growing demands on local mental health services.

I’ve also been taking action meeting the workforce that makes our local NHS so special. Regularly visiting services, nominating an NHS cleaner for the national NHS awards, hosting events to thank those who work in health and care services locally and hearing from frontline staff the challenges our NHS faces.

It is clear there is so much more to do.

Under this Government, so many more people in pain and distress are forced to endure cancelled operations, including increasingly on the day they were supposed to have treatment. It is a shameful indictment of a decade of Tory and Lib Dem cutbacks running our NHS into the ground.

As Britain goes to the polls next month, we have the chance to secure a better future for our local NHS that ensures quality care for all people in Portsmouth. It is time we give the NHS the care it needs”.

The figures obtained under FOI review some worrying findings:

• Last year, 78,981 operations were cancelled. These operations were either classed as urgent or were elective operations cancelled at the last minute – either on the day the patient was due to arrive in hospital or after they had already arrived.

• The number of operations cancelled because of staffing issues and equipment failures have each increased by a third in two years. Last year, 10,900 were cancelled because of staffing issues and 4800 were cancelled because of equipment failures.

• There are currently over 100,000 staff vacancies in the NHS, with shortages of 10,000 doctors and 43,000 nurses. Cuts to NHS Capital Budgets have left the health service with a £6.5 billion repair bill.

Under this Government, so many more people in pain and distress are forced to endure cancelled operations, including increasingly on the day they were supposed to have treatment. It is a shameful indictment of a decade of Tory and Lib Dem cutbacks running our NHS into the ground.

As Britain goes to the polls next month, we have the chance to secure a better future for our local NHS that ensures quality care for all people in Portsmouth.
It is time we give the NHS the care it needs.

 

 

 

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City MP vows to continue to protect our NHS services from Tory privatisation plans

The Conservative expansion of the internal market has led to one third of contracts being awarded to private providers since the Health and Social Care Act it has been found. Some of these contracts are vast and their failures have wasted millions of pounds of public money.

Concerned residents of Portsmouth have been contacting city MP Stephen Morgan over Tory plans. This follows a debate last week as part of the Queen’s Speech when the Conservatives voted against Labour’s motion to protect our NHS, along with the DUP and the Liberal Democrats shamefully abstained.

Mr Morgan, along with key agencies and hundreds of his constituents, have expressed deep concerns over the current Government’s plans to sell off vital NHS services.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“It is clear that our NHS is not safe in the hands of a Tory government, especially one so keen on securing a quick free trade agreement with President Trump.

Warm words and promises that the NHS is not on the table when it comes to trade agreements is not sufficient, especially when a Tory government seeks to trade away our vital public services under the table”

This comes as the Tories and Trump want to lock-in privatisation into public services and erode the NHS’s power to negotiate affordable drug prices.

This along with the will to sell off access to the UK cache of patient data and to prevent future governments from taking policy decisions in the interest of public health over private profits has received great opposition from Labour.

The City MP said:

“The NHS, founded by Labour, should be a free at the point of delivery universal service for all. Its sole purpose should be the provision of healthcare. Successive Conservative Governments have flagrantly abandoned this principal by incessantly selling bits off to the highest bidder and pursuing a system of profit.

It came as no surprise then that the Tories voted against the Labour amendment that would safeguard NHS services and repeal the widely critics system of privatisation.

We need legally binding commitments and clearly defined negotiating mandates that ensure preservations and protections in all aspects of trade agreements, so our vital NHS services are safeguarded.”

Vital votes have taken place on ending privatisation and repealing the widely criticised 2012 Health and Social Care Act. The votes took place as part of the Queen’s Speech Debate and were a result of Labour adding an amendment that sought to put an end to further privatisation of the National Health Service.

Mr Morgan added:

“The Tories’ expansion of the internal market has led to one-third of contracts being awarded to private providers since the Health and Social Care Act. Some of these contracts are vast and their failures have wasted millions of pounds of public money.

The Lib Dems also flashed their true colours, by shying away from the vote and refusing to even take part the Lib Dems have sent a clear message that they put profit over people and would not be willing to stand up against NHS exploitation and privatisation.

We had the opportunity to put an end to this. Sadly the Lib Dems jumped straight back in with their old coalition partners”.

Stephen Morgan and Labour have repeatedly stood up for the NHS and sought to include legal protections in future trade agreements through a series of amendments to the Trade Bill as introduced in 2017.

 

 

 

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City MP announces major community policing consultation

Stephen Morgan MP has orchestrated a large-scale open consultation giving local residents the chance to have their say on the future of Portsmouth policing.

Answering constituent concerns alongside the Portsmouth South representative will be leading national policing figure and Chair of the Police Federation, John Apter and the city’s District Commander has also been invited to attend.

Mr Morgan said:

“From chatting to local residents on the doorstep and through communicating through my office, I know issues relating to police and crime are high on the agenda for Portsmouth people.

I believe that the community must be at the centre of discussions driving change and that Portsmouth people should have direct access to both their elected representatives and those tasked with keeping them safe.

That is why I have organised this open consultation. This is about frank, open discussion with the community at the heart of it.”

The Office for National Statistics showed that in 2018 there was a 27 percent increase in possession of weapons, a 17 percent rise in sex crimes, a 33 percent hike in robbery and an 11 percent increase in violence in Hampshire. This has meant that issues relating to policing and crime are a key community concern.

Mr Morgan said:

“Having been out with bobbies on the beat in every patch in my constituency, I have seen first-hand the challenges faced by our police force and the types of crime our community deals with daily.

In Hampshire alone we have 1,050 less officers than we did in 2010 and funding is down by a staggering 19%. This means that at a time when we have more crime, there are less officers and resources to deal with it.

Inevitably this means that it is our police force and our community who pay the price for Government funding cuts to public services. For this reason, it is essential that people have a platform to be heard.”

The city MP is no stranger to making a stand over policing and has already launched an online petition, has been out in every ward in his patch with local officers, regularly meets with the District Commander and Police Federation and has raised the issue consistently in parliament.

The event will be taking place on Friday 8 November 2019 at St Georges Church, Portsea, Portsmouth PO1 3AT on Friday 8 November from 17:00 until 18:30. Mr Morgan has stated that all Portsmouth residents are welcome.

Book your place at the event here: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/policing-in-portsmouth-public-meeting-tickets-79200714469

To show support for the campaign please visit: http://www.stephenmorgan.org.uk/police/

 

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“Portsmouth needs to do more to tackle climate emergency “ – states city MP

Friends of the Earth have produced detailed, local authority specific data for the ranking of councils across Britain on their record of tackling climate change.

Portsmouth has finished low down in the bottom quarter with just a 60% rating, putting it amongst some of the nation’s lowest-scoring. The data release coincides with national media coverage this week outlining how Portsmouth clean air charging zone is being scaled back.

Considering recent developments on the clean air zone, Mr Morgan said:

“Portsmouth is in the midst of an air pollution crisis that has been described by experts as ‘dangerous’. The fact that the centre of Portsmouth could become a chargeable clean air zone – rather than the whole of Portsea Island – is the manifestation of the Council Leader’s indifference to the matter.

We know as a result the 11,000 people in this city who live with heart conditions are at greater risk of stroke and heart attack and our children’s lung capacity is heavily reduced. We need a radical overhaul of the way we tackle air pollution, not this lack-lustre tokenistic gesture.”

City MP, Stephen Morgan has for some time been speaking out against the ‘reactionary’ approach taken by the city council to datel in tackling climate change locally and has cited the air pollution crisis as a testament to the current council administration’s indifference to the issue.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

The reason that the council is performing so poorly when it comes to tackling climate change is simple. The current administration is not taking the issue seriously enough.

The Lib Dems are presiding over an avoidable air pollution crisis, which has been allowed to reach highly dangerous levels and meant the Council Leader has subsequently gone to beg at the feet of Government for help.

We have some of the worst recycling rates, which is again one of the lowest in the country at 24%. There has been a failure to take any action over implementing a cycle hire scheme. We have some of the lowest tree coverage in the country. Our city really does deserve much better.

Climate Change is not something that you can shirk or avoid. These helpful findings from Friends of the Earth remind us again that the administration’s ‘dog ate my homework’ approach is not the bold attitude we need to address the biggest issue our city and our planet has ever faced. This report must now act as a wakeup call to the Council Leader to do better.”

In March Portsmouth Labour worked with community activists to force the council to declare a climate emergency. Since then, Labour councillors have been working hard to push the council into action.

The city MP added:

“It was the Labour Group, under my leadership, who pioneered the movement locally to declare a climate emergency. It was Labour who tabled the motion nationally to declare the same in Parliament.

Local authorities have an important and often over-looked role in cutting carbon emissions and solving the climate crisis. But they can’t do it all themselves, which is why I am pushing for more powers and finance alongside government action.

Since joining the shadow front benches, I have been visiting local authorities leading the charge when it comes to climate change to formulate party policy on best practice. In seeing these trailblazers, it made was apparent that Portsmouth must do so much more.

I will continue to put pressure on the government and council to place the climate emergency at the front of all decision making. Change starts at home”.

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Portsmouth MP sets out changes needed to combat climate change during Queen’s Speech debate

Stephen Morgan MP has delivered an impassioned speech to parliament today setting out what needs to be done to tackle climate change and applying scrutiny to the Government’s ropey track record on the issue.

The MP spoke out on the 4th day of debates relating to the Queen’s Speech and called on his colleagues to regard climate change at the top of the parliamentary agenda and to work together to achieve progress.

While delivering the speech, Mr Morgan said:

“The mildly technical nature and distant-sounding threat of ‘climate change’ may not be enough to invoke people to come out fighting from their beds.

But pretty much all of us would do so to protect our loved ones, our homes and our livelihoods, and to build a better world.

Why should defending against climate change be any different?

So, let’s be honest about the challenges we face, let’s tackle it together, and let’s redouble our efforts.”

Responding to Ministerial statements after the speech, Mr Morgan highlighted the Government’s poor track on climate change.

Mr Morgan said:

This Government, led by an ambassador of climate change indifference, is falling far short of the mark.

Failure to deliver on 24 out of 25 emissions-reducing actions recommended by the climate committee in 2018.

Just 7 of 24 indicators showing the UK’s underlying progress towards its climate goals being met.

Missed targets for the fourth and fifth Carbon Budgets, even more than predicted in last year’s official update.

We need to see a party in power that set aside serious proposals for tackling the world’s most pressing issue.”

Mr Morgan has also stressed the need for robust legislation and binding agreements, which experts such as Friends of the Earth have warned are essential in formulating an appropriate climate change bill.

On the introduction of a new environment change bill, Mr Morgan said:

“We must see an environment Bill strong enough to create change throughout Government, industry and society.

Allowing this Bill to be consumed by the Brexit shadow would be a fatal mistake and it is integral that we see an end to toothless scrutiny and non-binding legislation.”

The MP’s actions in parliament today are part of a broad campaign aimed at raising the profile and rate of action over tackling climate change. Mr Morgan regularly meets with Friends of the Earth, lead the Labour Group locally to declaring a climate emergency, has consistently voted in favour of climate legislation, hosts meeting with local activist and speaks out regularly in Parliament.

Mr Morgan also used the opportunity to lobby Government over illegal air pollution levels in the city and need to meet in Southsea Sea Defence Scheme.

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“The closure of Lynx House will be a disaster for Portsmouth” – City MP grills Government over implications of HMRC closures under no-deal

Today, during questions in the House of Commons, Stephen Morgan MP continued to apply pressure to Government over the proposed plans to close the HMRC centre, Lynx House in Portsmouth.

Mr Morgan’s chief concern raised today was that if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal, the HMRC workload is set to increase from 55 million customs declarations to 270 million according the National Audit Office.

Mr Morgan said:

“The fact that Government is planning to shut Lynx House, which provides vital employment to nearly 1000 members of the community, at a time when the HMRC workload is set to increase by nearly five times demonstrates their poor foresight and lack of planning.

A no-deal Brexit will be disastrous for Portsmouth and this nation anyway, the added implications of Government cuts to HMRC and staffing and resource levels down 17 per cent since 2010, is a recipe for disaster”.

Mr Morgan has been fighting alongside the trade unions to retain Lynx House since becoming MP in 2017 and has already brought the Shadow Treasury Minister responsible to the site to see for herself the issues faced by staff as part of a long-running campaign against closure.

Mr Morgan said:

“Anyone who watches the International Trade Secretary’s response to my serious question about Portsmouth will see that it is both vague and lacking in substance. No robust plans are offered in response to how HMRC will deal with the increased workload and I am deeply concerned that adequate planning is not taking place.

Portsmouth needs urgent action from this Government. That is why I have written to the Chief Secretary in a bid to get the Government to take notice of the people at the coal-face raising alarms about HMRC closures at Lynx House.

I have urged the Chief Secretary to rapidly respond by paying a visit to Portsmouth and to see for himself the issues faced here.”

Stephen Morgan MP has so far met with local HMRC staff, spoken with the unions, raised the issue in parliament, supported council motions and brought frontbench colleagues to visit the site and written to the Minister responsible.

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Responding to the DfT announcement of £400,000 for Portsmouth International Port today, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Whilst today’s announcement is long-overdue, and helps provide much needed support for Portsmouth International Port at this time of huge uncertainty, the allocation is a mere drop in the ocean for the challenges that the city will face under a no-deal Brexit.

With no-deal preparations costing the nation £170,000 per hour, that’s money better spent on our city’s schools and hospitals.

The city council has said relations with the Department of Transport had been ‘highly problematical’. We had high hopes the Transport Secretary had listened to Portsmouth when he finally visited the Port last week to hear how the council and its partners had been spending taxpayer’s money preparing for a no-deal Brexit and trying to avoid traffic chaos and congestion in our city. It now seems this may not be the case.

I’ll keep lobbying for Portsmouth to push this Government to invest in our city. The port’s success is our city’s success. Our economy and the public services we all rely on depend on it”.

It has been confirmed that £400,000 has been allocated towards a gate camera and vehicle booking system for Portsmouth. The Port was hoping for double that amount of funding and may need to find other ways to meet the shortfall.