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City MP backs constituent unfairly dismissed while pregnant

Following correspondence with constituent Helen Larkin, Stephen Morgan MP has taken firm action to highlight the unfair treatment of pregnant women in the workplace.

Ms. Larkin raised her case with Mr Morgan in January 2020 following her unfair dismissal from The Liz Earle Beauty Company while she was eight months pregnant.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Ms Larkin’s case highlights gaps in the support network offered to pregnant women undergoing an employment tribunal. It is imperative that structures are in place that prevent discrimination of any kind and take into account the personal situations of employees, especially when pregnant or during maternity periods.

It is Government’s responsibility to look after its citizens, if this is the way that pregnant women are being treated, it is clear that improvements must be made.”

Upon hearing about the case and with the support of women’s rights group, Pregnant then Screwed, Mr Morgan took immediate action in parliament.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“In order to highlight Government’s failings and urge action, I have submitted parliamentary questions and written directly to the Secretary of State responsible.

Government must change the law to give pregnant women extended time for employment tribunals, urgently reassess the law when it comes to making pregnant women redundant and come up with a strategy for urgent reform of current processes.

I will continue to apply pressure until justice for Helen and others is seen.”

Olga Fitzroy from Pregnant then Screwed said:

“We have long campaigned against pregnancy and maternity discrimination and strived to support women like Helen who have been treated badly by exploitative employers.

The government must step up and extend the time limits that new mums and pregnant women have to bring a tribunal claim, as the current rule of 3 months is inhumane and can damage mothers and babies mental and physical health.

We are delighted to have the support of Stephen Morgan MP and look forward to continuing to work with him in highlighting where change needs to occur.”

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Portsmouth MP continues call on Government to act following latest city high street casualty

Stephen Morgan MP has slammed Government inaction following yet another high street closure planned for Portsmouth’s high streets, this time Halifax bank on Palmerston Road.

Mr Morgan has raised specific concerns about the effect that this closure will have on older community members and small businesses.

Mr Morgan said:

“This Government is failing the nation’s high streets and with it, the people of Portsmouth. Already we have seen Knight & Lee put down its shutters for the last time and Debenhams disappear from Palmerston Road.

Now the imminent closure of Halifax bank will be to the detriment of our older community members who may prefer face to face transactions and small businesses, who are already under considerable strain.

I am in discussion with Lloyds Banking Group, who are the decision makers when it comes to the Halifax closure. I will be urging them to think very carefully about their proposals which is yet another decision putting our high streets at risk”.

Mr Morgan has long been taking action to support the high streets. He has created a support local campaign backing small business, hosted roundtable meetings with SMEs and is lobbying for business rate reform.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Hampshire has already seen 1,600 shop closures in recent years affecting hundreds of local jobs and leaving high streets bare and neglected.

Experts warn that with closures of high street banks comes damaging consequences for independent shops due to decreased footfall.

The issue we are seeing is indicative of a bleak national picture born out of Government’s failure to address challenges faced by the high street. I will continue to make the case for action to bring our shopping areas back from the brink”

 

 

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City MP praises NHS staff as QA rated “good”

Stephen Morgan MP has praised the efforts of local NHS staff in an open letter sent out today. The MP’s action follows today’s announcement by regulator, Quality Care Commission (CQC), that the hospital has been awarded a ‘good’ rating.

A team of CQC inspectors visited the hospital in October and November 2019. Upon inspecting the quality of care being provided, the overall rating of the trust has improved from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“It is the staff at QA hospital who are the driving force behind recent improvements. Their dedication and relentless work ethic make a difference where it matters, on the front line of care giving.

Hospital staff often see us at our most vulnerable and when we are most in need of care, today’s announcement will reassure all QA users that they are in safe hands.

I know I speak for many within the city when I convey my appreciation and thanks to QA staff for the improvements made and look forward to seeing further progress in the future”.

CQC inspected five core services and leadership at the trust. Ratings for medical care and surgery had both improved overall and are now rated good, outpatients remains rated good overall.

Catherine Campbell, CQC’s Head of Hospital Inspection for the South East said: 

“Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust has made improvements since our last inspection. Overall, the trust has improved from requires improvement to good which is great news for people using these services.

Our inspectors found that the culture within the trust had improved and patients benefited from more coordinated care with local organisations. We found that care was inclusive, and staff supported people’s needs and preferences.

All the staff at Portsmouth should be proud of the positive progress that’s been made.”

Mr Morgan’s letter sent out today follows recent action taken over QA Hospital. The city MP helped to secure £58 m for the hospital trust through lobbying efforts, hosted the Shadow Health Secretary at the hospital, nominated a QA staff member for a national award during the 70th anniversary of the NHS and has spent time walking wards with staff. 

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City MP delivers cutting scrutiny of Government’s children’s care record from dispatch box

Shadow Communities Minister, Stephen Morgan MP, has grilled the Housing and Communities Secretary over the soaring numbers of children in care being housed in illegal or unregulated care homes.

Mr Morgan’s action in parliament from the front-benches follows official figures revealing at least 23 local authorities over a three-month period handed children over to care providers deemed ‘unsuitable’ and falling far short of the mark. These providers had not been assessed by Ofsted.

The Shadow Minister said:

“This Government’s reckless neglect and cuts to local authorities coupled with soaring rates of young people requiring care is putting unprecedented strain on the system.

More and more vulnerable young people being housed in illegal, unsuitable or inadequate housing miles away from their schools and friends.

With local authorities having 60 pence out of every pound slashed from their budgets and 20,000 more young people in care since the Tories came to power, the responsibility inextricably lies at the feet of Government.”

Research conducted by The Guardian found the number of times children were housed in unregulated accommodation – which means they faced no checks by Ofsted, which typically inspects homes – rose by 22% between 2016-17 and 2018-19.

The number of times children were placed in unregistered homes rose from 129 to 212 in the same period.

Stephen Morgan MP added:

The police, charities and children’s commissioner have issued stark warnings that the current situation is leaving children in our communities open to exploitation from predators and drug gangs.

One child being in an unregulated care placement is an outrage, the current situation is a stain on our society.

I am a firm believer that a society is judged by the way in which vulnerable people are supported, by that criteria the Government is catastrophically failing. I will be using my position on the front benches to hold them to account over their shoddy record.”

Despite joining the front benches back in July, this is the first time Stephen Morgan MP has had the opportunity to speak at the Dispatch Box.

The government has canceled two sets of Housing, Communities and Local Government questions along with two debates on children’s services; this has prompted criticism from MPs and organisations over their attitudes to the current crisis in the sector.

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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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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.