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Government ‘must do better’ to bring home Britons says City MP

Portsmouth South’s MP Stephen Morgan is piling on the pressure calling for the Foreign Office to do better to bring home British travellers stuck abroad.

The call comes after the MP has been liaising daily with the Government about constituents unable to return home due to the coronavirus crisis.

Stephen Morgan MP shares people’s frustrations about the lack of information and advice that they have received from the Foreign Office, especially problems getting through to speak to people on the phone.

The Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has admitted the Government has been struggling to manage the level of calls that they were receiving and have now  doubled their call centre capacity.

As well as lobbying the Foreign Secretary to take urgent action, the city MP has been in daily contact with the Foreign Office about individual cases of Portsmouth people who have had difficulties getting back to the UK from around the world, liaising with the families affected, as well as sharing information with the Shadow Foreign Secretary to push for further action by Government.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“It is clear from the daily correspondence I am getting from constituents stuck abroad and cases I am hearing about from other parliamentarians, that the Foreign Office’s current efforts to support people to return to the UK have not been adequate.

This is causing a huge amount of distress to those affected from our city and their families.

I will continue to prioritise helping Portsmouth people who are encountering serious problems abroad and have not received adequate assistance from the Foreign Office.

The Government must do better and now prioritise the resources needed to bring Britons back safely and swiftly”.

Despite calls, the Government has not been able to give an exact figure for the number of British nationals currently stranded abroad, only estimating numbers between 500,000 and 700,000 people.

Labour has called for more comprehensive information on the scale of the problem and for Government to work with airlines to get data on how many people have been able to get home so far, so that resources can help secure the return of all British travellers.

Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry MP added:

“While I appreciate that the FCO staff are all working very hard, the direction from those at the top hasn’t been good enough and it is clear from the emails that I have received and the cases MPs have sent my way that they need to take further steps to provide a more comprehensive repatriation offer to Brits stuck overseas.

I have made it very clear that the government should not be leaving people to the mercy of exploitative private airlines who are ripping vulnerable people off, without helping them to get home”.

The Portsmouth South MP believes that leaving people to rely solely on commercial options to return to the UK is not acceptable and is calling on the Government to work more closely with the airline companies to find a solution.

 

 

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Covid-19: City MP continues stand up for Portsmouth’s self-employed

As a direct response to the Chancellor’s statement made on 26 March, Stephen Morgan MP has lobbied the Government again over protections for all of Portsmouth’s self-employed as gaps in the proposals announced last night emerge.

While the Portsmouth South representative has welcomed steps made by government to provide support to this group, he has vowed to scrutinise the detail to help the self-employed in the city.

Listening to further concerns expressed by constituents he has this evening lobbied the Chancellor for further improvements to the package of support being proposed.

Self-employed people in the city have already shared issues over the impact that lengthy waiting times for financial aid will have, the lack of coverage for the newly self-employed and overall lack of detail of the proposals.

In relation to when payments will be made, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“The Chancellor’s statement announced yesterday was a step in the right direction and did cover some of the requests that I put to him last week. However, there are measures that still need to be taken.

News that self-employed people will have to wait until June before seeing any financial respite is deeply concerning. Frankly, it will be too little too late for many and could force some into continuing to work, which could have dangerous implications for the spread of Covid-19.

I have asked the Government to urgently reconsider this decision and pay these hard-working people promptly. They are a crucial part of Portsmouth’s economy; if we are all in this together we cannot afford for some to go under.”

The Chancellor yesterday announced that tax returns from the 2019 financial year would be used to project earnings covered under the scheme. This means that those who recently transitioned to self-employed status will miss out and have to claim Universal Credit.

On more encompassing support, Mr Morgan said:

“Constituents are increasingly contacting me to exemplify the gaps in the Chancellor’s proposals. One constituent has made me aware that he became a sole trader during the 2018-2019 tax year. He transitioned from a PAYE employee to self-employed towards the end of that tax year, and therefore the 2019 tax assessment is not an accurate indication of his earnings.

He will be left heavily out of pocket under the government’s current proposals. I have therefore requested that the potential option of using April 2020 tax returns is explored so that a fairer, more accurate package of support can be offered.

Comprehensive support must be offered to all, not a select few. We cannot leave people behind at this time of emergency.”

The city MP has vowed to continue relaying constituents concerns to the highest level in a bid to ensure ‘nobody is left behind’ and assist  the Government in securing comparable support for the self-employed.

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“The devil will be in the detail” says City MP over proposed support for self-employed

Responding to the Chancellor’s much-anticipated support package for the self-employed announced tonight, Portsmouth South’s MP Stephen Morgan has vowed to keep a ‘close eye on the details’ of the proposals as concerns are raised by constituents.

The MP has previously said it would be ‘perverse’ to leave out the self-employed from Government support being put in place to help those whose livelihoods are increasingly disrupted by the events of recent weeks. Hundreds have shared views with the Portsmouth South MP who has been taking their case to HM Treasury.

With as many as 7,100 self-employed people in the constituency facing uncertainty, progress in finding a solution was cautiously welcomed this evening by the city MP who has vowed to continue to scrutinise the detail.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Research by the IFS has shown that the pockets of the self-employed have been hit hard as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s why I’ve been calling for proper protection for Portsmouth’s self-employed. Taking action, I’ve been listening to local concerns and lobbying the Government, joining calls from the Federation of Small Business for action, and writing an urgent letter to the Chancellor directly.

After days of delay and uncertainty, the Government’s new measures announced tonight can be cautiously welcomed”.

Specifically, on the proposals announced by the Government this evening, the Portsmouth South representative added:

“While I am relieved that the Chancellor is listening, as always with big announcements by this Government, the devil will be in the detail.

Asking people to rely on Universal Credit when more than 130,000 people are queuing online will be worrying to many people. There is a real risk that without support until a few months’ time, the self-employed will feel they have to keep working, putting their own and others’ health at risk.

My concern is that if people cannot get access to the protection scheme until June, it will simply be too late for millions. People need support in the coming days and over the next fortnight. Our city’s self-employed need security now, it is not feasible to wait until June.

Tonight’s announcement deserves robust scrutiny to ensure they are up to the mark. I will continue to keep a close eye on the detail of these proposals from HM Treasury to make sure the self-employed in Portsmouth have comparable protections during this economic crisis”.

The MP has vowed to 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.

If any self-employed people or small business requires help, support is available from the FSB at www.fsb.org.uk/campaign/covid19

Information about the government’s support can be found at www.businesssupport.gov.uk

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City MP says ‘government must do more’ to protect front line health and social care workers

Stephen Morgan MP, also Shadow Local Government Minister, has today lobbied government over their failure to provide Covid-19 tests and protective equipment to frontline health and social care staff, writing an urgent letter to the Health Secretary calling for action

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has vehemently stated the best way to ‘attack’ Covid-19 is increase the rate of testing. Mounting evidence also suggests that ensuring healthcare professionals are tested, and removed where results are positive, can greatly impact the spread of the virus.

On testing frontline staff, the city MP said:

“Despite 4 months warning from other countries and global bodies, government is not testing frontline health and social care staff for Covid-19. Why is this important? Because evidence suggests you can get Covid-19 twice meaning health and social care staff, vulnerable patients and their families are at even greater risk.

Government is not only failing to test relevant workers; they have not yet even provided a date for when they will. I have today put pressure on the Health Secretary to provide clarity to this situation and made the case for an immediate strategy for boosting tests for these brave men and women.”

Mr Morgan also applied pressure to the Health Secretary over the apparent lack of equipment for the health and social care workforce.

This joins calls from the head of NHS Providers, the Chief Executive of Women’s Resource Centre and trade unions who have expressed ‘deep’ concern over the Health Secretary’s lack of action to provide masks, aprons, gloves and hand sanitizer to at-risk front-line staff.

On equipment issues, Mr Morgan said:

“Evidenced reports of frontline healthcare providers being told to spend £100 of their own money on safety equipment and further reports of incorrect, ineffective masks being issued is not what these heroes and heroines deserve. It also puts their often-vulnerable patients at risk.

Why don’t these vital workers have the equipment they need? When will they get this equipment? Why are they being forced to fork out fortunes on their own protective get up?

Today I have demanded answers to these questions directly from the Health Secretary. These are unacceptable conditions for healthcare workers and the British public.”

The city MP also hit home the fact that the social care system was under considerable strain prior to this pandemic and that current conditions could push it beyond breaking point.

On social care, Mr Morgan added:

It is important to look at the state of social care before the Covid-19 outbreak. It was already massively underfunded and understaffed with 120,000 vacancies across the country. With additional pressures now placed on services, this could exceed 200,000 vacancies if 20% of the workforce have to self-isolate.

This means it is a life or death situation for hundreds of thousands of vulnerable care receivers. I therefore urge you to take action to protect these life-saving workers.

This crisis follows a decade of social care cuts that have left a system on its knees. Urgent and drastic action is needed to both protect staff and vulnerable care receivers.”

Mr Morgan’s parliamentary action echoes the concerns of many who work in health social care and have contacted him since the crisis began.

He has vowed to continue working constructively with Ministers and scrutinising the government’s decision making around the Covid-19 outbreak to ensure care givers and receivers are not put at risk.

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Covid-19: Portsmouth MP responds to PM’s statement

Responding to the Prime Minister’s statement tonight, Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP said:

“We are in unprecedented times and public health and safety must come first.

This outbreak demands strong leadership to protect lives. We have seen over the course of the last few weeks other countries taking further far reaching social distancing measures to prevent the spread of the virus, so tonight’s announcement is long overdue, but welcome.

We now need to understand the details of the enforcement, who can and can’t travel to work and guidance for employers and workers. The Prime Minister must set this out very clearly.

Government must now give detail to provide clarity and certainty for Portsmouth people.  

We all have a part to play. Proudly, Portsmouth people have shown in the past we can rise to a challenge. It is time to do so again”.

Stephen’s frequently asked questions page will be updated once Government advice has been published. Information will be updated here

 

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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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Covid-19: Action update from Stephen Morgan MP

The Covid-19 emergency risks hitting our most vulnerable hardest. We all have a role to play in working to protect our community.

Today I have been taking action to see to it our older and more vulnerable community members are supported along with the voluntary sector that relentlessly puts others first.

Actions I have taken in the House of Commons today include:

  • Reached out to city schools – I have today contacted all headteachers in constituency schools offering a channel for them, governors, staff, and trade union representatives to share views and concerns to feed this into government planning. Tonight the education secretary has announced school closures for all those except key workers and vulnerable children.

 

  • Working to strengthen our city’s voluntary organisations – Panic buying has left some supermarket shelves bear with reports of vulnerable people crying in the aisles. A number of volunteers and local groups are working tirelessly to help people across the constituency and I will continue to link them with Portsmouth Hive. This paves the way for volunteers to access priority goods for vulnerable people.

 

  • Standing up for cultural assets – The Mary Rose museum is a cultural asset of international significance and one of Portsmouth’s most-cherished attractions. Covid-19 runs the risk of financially challenging a number of museums. Today I wrote to the Culture Secretary to urge a package of care for the Mary Rose and similar institutions.

 

  • Raising the need for tailored financial support for voluntary organisations – Voluntary organisations are stepping up amid to the Covid-19 crisis, from delivering food to vulnerable people to tackling social isolation. They are looking after our communities, but they need the tools to do that. Today I set out to the Chancellor what additional measures need to be taken to give voluntary organisations the financial tools they need to stay afloat.

 

  • Representing Portsmouth from the frontbenches – Democracy must continue despite the crisis. Today, as Shadow Communities Minister l joined colleagues to hold the government to account on their plans for social care. Local authorities are responsible for looking after some of society’s most vulnerable and they are under considerable strain already. Today I worked with others to raise this point to the Minister in the chamber.

 

  • Conducting constituent Covid-19 casework –This pandemic affects every aspect of daily life, for some more than others. My team and I are busy helping with casework inquiries as well as receiving a high volume of questions and issues. Today I spent time helping constituents access voluntary support and worked with the City Council to help resolve housing issues.

These are just some of the actions I have taken for our community today. I will continue to represent Portsmouth in parliament and be a voice for our community where it matters.

 

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Stephen Morgan MP’s action update on Covid-19

It is apparent that the economic shockwaves of this pandemic will have implications for Portsmouth.

We have a thriving independent shopping scene and a host of small businesses that our community both relies upon and is immensely proud of. Today, alongside raising public health concerns, I have been taking action to protect these small businesses.

Actions I have taken in the House of Commons today include:

  • Speaking up for Portsmouth small businesses: Today I put pressure on the Business Secretary to protect pubs, restaurants, coffee shops and other small businesses by reducing the ambiguity around banning attendance to pave the way for simpler insurance claims.
  • Being a voice for the solo self-employed: Most self-employed have no HR department to give them guidance, no sick pay to fall back on, and are facing the likelihood of less work. Today I wrote to the relevant government official to ask what they are doing to assist those who are self-employed.
  • Building a support network for Portsmouth small businesses: Today I have been liaising with Hampshire Chamber of Commerce and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership to encourage a package of support is being offered to small businesses that have been affected by Covid-19.
  • Protecting local democracy: Today I lobbied the council to find technological solutions to maintain local democracy amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Solutions have been found that will help councillors continue to represent their communities safely and effectively. It is vital that councillors are role models for residents in changing the way we work in crisis.
  • Representing our city from parliament’s frontbenches: Today during the Foreign Office and Commonwealth Department statement on Covid-19 I worked with colleagues on the frontbenches, helping opposition MPs apply scrutiny to government travel policy.
  • Making sure information is at the fingertips of Portsmouth people: Information is key at times of crisis. That is why I have been working to create a Frequently Asked Questions page based on the most common enquiries I receive. This can be found here.
  • Put measures in place to maintain support to constituents: Today I put in place protections to carry on providing casework support to constituents while keeping staff safe amid the Covid-10 outbreak.
  • Standing up for the most vulnerable in our community: Working with Cllr Cal Corkery, today I submitted parliamentary questions urging the government to take special measures to support homeless people and rough sleepers who are at greater risk due to Covid-19.

As the effects of Covid-19 progress, so will my work standing up for our community. I will endeavour to keep you up to date on my actions and what I am doing to help mitigate the effects of this pandemic.

 

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Covid-19: Your frequently asked questions

Last updated 28 March 2020 at 09:40. Please note that whilst we update this page regularly, information is subject to change.

What are the key sites for information?

Portsmouth City Council Covid-19 updates can be found here

NHS Covid-19 updates can be found here

Stay home and save lives instructions can be found here

What are the hotlines and government websites for help?

​Government Business Support:​ 0300 456 3565 ​and www.gov.uk/business-support-helpline  ​

​HMRC Coronavirus Tax:​ 0800 015 9559​ and www.gov.uk/difficulties-paying-hmrc  ​

​Universal Credit:​ 0800 328 5644​ and www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/already-claimed/helpline/  ​

School Closures: 0800 046 8687​ and www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19

Should I be staying at home?

Absolutely. Stephen has been encouraging people to stay at home only popping out if you really have to or to get food supplies.

Following the statement by the Prime Minister on Monday 23 March, the Government introduced three new measures: requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes; closing non-essential shops and community spaces; and; stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public.

Guidance has been produced and is available here

Stephen is calling on the Government to provide greater clarity to employers and workers on this announcement with clear details above and beyond this guidance.

We must work together to beat the coronavirus. If you stay at home you are helping our NHS to save lives. If you go out unnecessarily you are helping to spread the virus. Show your support for staying at home to save lives by sharing Stephen’s tweet

Why have the government shut schools?

The government has now shut schools since 20 March 2020. The exception is for the children of key workers and vulnerable young people. Their reasoning is that Heads and teachers are just as at risk as anyone else, and as more and more staff called in sick – increasing numbers of schools started to fall like dominoes under the weight of this pandemic.

The Government has now published information on school closures due to Covid-19 in the interests of public health and who they mean by “key workers” here

Although the decision gives certainty for now – you can find out more about what this means for things like exams, attendance and schools employees going forward from Government here

The Department for Education Coronavirus Helpline is 0800 046 8687

Should I be stockpiling from supermarkets?

Absolutely not. Government guidance suggests that there is no need to stockpile and in fact this may have an adverse effect on the community. Please do not put other people’s lives at risk.

UK retailers are taking steps to ask shoppers not to panic buy for fear it will cause unnecessary shortages. Current advice is to only buy what you and your family need.

Stephen has written to every local supermarket and food store in the constituency about this and encourages everyone in Portsmouth to play their part to make sure everyone can get the food supplied they need. He is also lobbying Government for further measures to stop panic buying.

You can find more about panic buying here

What support is being offered to small businesses? 

Liaising with the Solent LEP, the Chamber of Commerce and city council Stephen has been pushing for a co-ordinated effort to support small businesses in Portsmouth as a result of Covid-19.

There are a number of questions which remain unanswered by Government however lobbying continues. Solent LEP have now updated their website to set out the support being provided here

Government guidance for small businesses can be found here

Stephen is working with others to help the promotion of small businesses in Portsmouth at this difficult time and continues his Support Local campaign raising concerns of local businesses with the council, government and others.

Council support for small business which Stephen has been encouraging can be found here 

What support is available to my own business?

During the budget certain measures were announced to support businesses affected by Covid-19. These were revised by the chancellor on the 17 March who pledged £330bn of government-back loans and guarantees. The chancellor has said that for smaller businesses in that sector who don’t have insurance cash grants of £25,000 will be provided.

Government information can be found here

For detailed guidance and answers from The Confederation of British Industry here

If you are a business who needs any help or advice please call the Business Support Helpline – telephone: 0300 456 3565 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)

Can my employer “lay me off” or put me on a short time? 

Your employer might be able to ask you to stay at home or take unpaid leave if there’s not enough work for you. A lay-off is if you’re off work for at least 1 working day. Short-time working is when your hours are cut.

Unite the Union have some helpful material which can be found here: Temporary lay off advice sheet PDF

On Friday 20 March the government announced additional support for people in work when instructing bars, pubs and restaurants to shut or only provide takeaway facilities. Further details to follow.

I have a family member overseas, what should I do? 

Government and expert advice suggest that you should not travel overseas at this time. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented international border closures and other restrictions. All countries may restrict travel without notice.

The FCO travel advice remains the best and most up-to-date way to remain informed of travelling internationally and is currently being updated daily for many countries. Further instructions on how to get home are available on Travel Advice pages for each country, particularly the ‘Return to the UK’ page.

The Government recommend constituents should subscribe to travel advice email alerts for their destination, and continues to monitor the FCO coronavirus travel advice page.

These pages contain all the latest information and advice from the FCO on coronavirus for people living and travelling overseas. We also recommend your constituent follow their nearest Embassy or Consulate on social media.

Government guidance on this can be found here

Stephen is prioritising helping constituents who are currently abroad, and providing assistance to their families. If you know someone who is already overseas and is stranded, you can find consular support here

Should I be self-isolating?

If you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started.

If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days.

NHS guidelines on self-isolation can be found here

Government guidelines can be found here

I am over 70, what should I be doing?

Current government guidance states that all over 70s, regardless of medical condition, should carry out social distancing measures until further notice. This means avoiding gatherings, working from home, avoiding travel and a host of other measures.

Government information on this can be found here

I am self-isolating, what does this mean for my mental health?

Staying away from other people and staying at home could have mental health implications. But there are lots of things you can try that could help your wellbeing. It may seem daunting and scary but there are plenty of resources and people who can help.

Mental health charity, Mind has some guidelines here

The NHS has some guidelines here

What support is available to my business?

During the budget certain measures were announced to support businesses affected by Covid-19. These were revised by the chancellor on the 17 March who pledged £330bn of government-back loans and guarantees. The chancellor has said that for smaller businesses in that sector who don’t have insurance cash grants of £25,000 will be provided.

Government information can be found here

For detailed guidance and answers from The Confederation of British Industry here

If you are a business who needs any help or advice please call the Business Support Helpline – telephone: 0300 456 3565 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)

Can Stephen still help with casework?

Yes. Stephen has taken a number of measures to ensure that his office is still able to help Portsmouth people with Casework while keeping staff safe.

While face-to-face contact have currently stopped, steps have been taken to continue providing service to constituents. If you have a casework inquiry or need urgent help please email or call.

Please note that Portsmouth City Council is at a ‘business critical’ phase. This means that if your enquiry relies on Stephen liaising with the council over a housing, planning or other council related issue, the council may be unlikely to provide a response at this time due to Covid-19 emergency measures.

How quickly can Stephen help?

We are currently receiving an extremely high level of contact at this uncertain time so correspondence is being prioritised and actioned as soon as possible.

You can email contact Stephen by emailing: stephen.morgan.mp@parliament.uk or calling the office on: 02392 29 1088

I want to volunteer and help others vulnerable to Covid-19, can I do this?

Stephen has been liaising with The Hive in Portsmouth who are coordinating a joined-up volunteer response.

There a lots of community groups and residents helping in lots of ways.From helping vulnerable people with shopping to tackling social isolation, there is a role for everyone.

You can contact The Hive here: info@hiveportsmouth.org.uk 023 9268 8880

I am worried about my rights as a self-employed person? 

Stephen has been lobbying government hard to provide a comprehensive package of support for self-employed workers and small businesses. Including better statutory sick pay and an Income Guarantee Scheme. Despite the announcements on 26 March, to date the package from Government has not been sufficient.

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.

Information, help and support is available at here

Government advice can be found here

HMRC have a dedicated line here 0800 0159 559.

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City MP takes action to protect Portsmouth’s small businesses

Stephen Morgan MP has today taken local business concerns over Covid-19 directly to the government following concerns from city pubs, clubs and shop owners.

The Portsmouth South MP has raised concerns over the implications of the Prime Minister’s statement yesterday. Namely, the fact that the government is advising people not to visit pubs, clubs, restaurants, coffee shops, and other small businesses rather than issuing a blanket ban.

This runs the risk of insurers not covering a loss of earnings, which many small businesses claim could put them out of business.

The city MP also called for emergency action to protect the self-employed who have do have the same structural protection as in-house staff.

Mr Morgan said:

“In a time of crisis ambiguity can be problematic. The government’s advice not to visit small businesses has put a stop to earnings for countless Portsmouth people. But their failure to implement a blanket ban has largely voided any chance of insurers acting to safeguard those affected.

There are also many countless solo self-employed who do not possess enough savings to weather the storm the Covid-19.

While I understand the need to prioritise public health, the Government has a responsibility to safeguard the livelihoods of hardworking people and our communities’ economy. “

The Federation of Small Businesses has specifically cited the fact many self-employed people will have no HR department to give them guidance as to what to do, no sick pay to fall back on, and may well find that there is little work coming in.

Mr Morgan added:

“Portsmouth’s vibrancy is based on its thriving independent small businesses that are often family-run and dependant on regular footfall. We cannot afford to lose this part of our communities’ identity.

Throughout the Covid-19 crisis, I will continue to act as a voice for the community I proudly represent. We are a resilient city, but we also need the government to give us the tools to fight against this pandemic.

I will be liaising with those organisations that support small businesses in our community to see how they can coordinate a package of support for those affected in Portsmouth.”

The city MP has described small businesses as the nation’s bedrock and vowed to put pressure on government to take measures to safeguard their interests throughout this crisis.

Current advice from Government for employers and businesses can be found: here and here.

Mr Morgan is lobbying the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to support Portsmouth’s small businesses.