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“We need a serious overhaul of the way we think about waste” as City MP signs Manchester Declaration

Shadow Communities Minister, Stephen Morgan MP has pledged support for a fresh, green campaign aimed at making our household goods easier to repair and less disposable. 

Mr Morgan is one of the first MPs to add his name to “The Manchester Declaration”, an open letter aimed at manufacturers, policy makers and designers seeking to make items less disposable and easier to repair.

Mr Morgan said:

“From phone batteries that cannot be easily replaced to cables that are deliberately given a short life span, coaxing the public into spending more hard-earned cash – everywhere we look is the unnecessary disposal of goods.

If we are to address the climate emergency, it will require a serious overhaul of the way we think about waste. Support for this campaign ties in with a great deal of the other work that I am doing to tackle climate change.

Whether lobbying for better active travel in Portsmouth or meeting with Friends of the Earth and voting in favour of a climate emergency – this issue will remain a priority.

The Manchester Declaration, orchestrated by grass roots community repair movements, is a major first step on the road to reducing excess. I am proud to be one of the first MPs to add their name to the declaration and look forward to raising the awareness of this valid campaign in Parliament.”

Stephen Morgan MP is no stranger to taking a proactive stance to tackling climate change.

The city MP regularly holds green coffee mornings, is involved in local beach plastic collections, played an instrumental role in declaring a Climate Emergency locally and nationally, has close ties with Friends of the Earth and has lobbied Government hard over Portsmouth’s poor air quality.

Clare Seek, Founder of Repair café Portsmouth said:

“I am delighted that Stephen Morgan MP is one of just five MPs to add their name to The Manchester Declaration.

Whilst the strength of this movement lies in its grass-roots mentality, it is essential that politicians get on board and promote this push for sustainability, including legislative change to bring us a real Right to Repair.

I hope that Stephen, taking this proactive stance to tackle the climate emergency, inspires other MPs and community groups to get involved.

I look forward to continuing to help the people of Portsmouth keep their products lasting longer; saving them money, saving the planet, sharing skills and having fun along the way.”

The movement was born out of the 2018 FixFest, a regular global gathering of repairers, activists, policy makers and companies from all over the world.

The aim is to ensure that appliances that fail prematurely can be fixed rather than disposed of.

The UK repair community largely offers collaborative repair opportunities in the form of community café’s in easy to access spaces. The idea is spreading across the nation and most cities across the country offer the service.

The City MP said:

“Not only is the campaign helping our communities go greener and saving us money, it is spreading new skills in a fun way.

Learning to fix an electrical appliance in a safe environment could be the spark that ignites an interest in engineering or mechanics. This coupled with the fact these events are in open local spaces fosters a community spirit and gives people the chance to meet others who share their interest.”

Portsmouth’s Repair Café is on the 3rd Saturday of each month, from 10.30am to 1pm at Buckland URC, 174 Kingston Road, Fratton. Find your nearest Repair Café at https://repaircafe.org/en/visit/

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“A stain on our society” City MP brands new figures showing 80% rise in homeless children

New national analysis on the number of children in temporary accommodation has highlighted the complete failure of the Tory Government to deal with this important issue despite the Conservatives saying their success will be judged by how ‘we care for the weakest and most vulnerable at home.’

Figures buried in the website of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government show that since the Tories took office the number of children in temporary accommodation accepted by local authorities has increased by 80%.

The latest figures also reveal that the number of households in temporary accommodation has increased by 74% from 2010 to 2018.

City MP Stephen Morgan has contacted the Local Authority in a bid to find out exactly how many have been affected in his patch.

Mr Morgan, commenting on these figures, said:

“When this Conservative Government ends, the national shame of rising homelessness will be on its political tombstone.

Homelessness fell at an unprecedented rate under Labour, but under the Tories even more children will be homeless this Christmas.

This is a direct result of Conservative decisions to slash investment for affordable homes, cut back housing benefit, reduce funding for homelessness services, and deny protection to private renters.

I hope the city council shares with me the detailed city-wide data so that we can see the extent of the problem locally and draw up plans to hold the Government to account over their neglect.

The fact that we have homeless children is stain on our society. It must be addressed.”

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“Fratton is a place to be proud of” says City MP as excitement builds before local festival

As part of the Fratton Family Festival this weekend, Stephen Morgan MP will be awarding upstanding members of the community with Inspiring Fratton Awards. 

The awards, which were pioneered by the local-born MP and Fratton Big Local, will commend members of the community that have a long-running connection with the ward and who have gone above and beyond to enrich the local area.

Mr Morgan said:

“As someone who was born and raised in Fratton, I know that there are certain people in the community who go out of their way to improve their local area.

Despite the fact our communities would not be the same without them, their work often goes without recognition. These awards are about making sure they get the credit they deserve for making our communities brighter.

These are the people that make Fratton not just a place to live, but a place to call home

I urge everyone from Fratton, and the surrounding areas, to head down and get involved. Not every community has what Fratton has, we should celebrate what it has to offer.”

The Fratton Traders Association and Fratton Big Local have worked together tirelessly to bring music, performance, children’s activities and stalls to the south end of Fratton on Sunday 15th September 11.00am – 4.30pm

The event, which features no cars, lots of family fun and this year for the first time the presentation of the Inspiring Fratton Awards by Stephen Morgan MP to 11 local people, is set to be a highly successful event.

Ahead of the festivities, the city MP said:

“So many people just drive through Fratton, not realising the community spirit held in the ward. At the Festival they get a chance to stop and relax in the area.

From discovering the diversity of food available to seeing the many skilled barbers and hidden gems like the My Dog Sighs Mural in Cornwall road – the event offers a first-rate experience in Fratton.

Fratton is strengthened by its diversity and the importance of bringing the community together cannot be underestimated.

I look forward to continuing to working with others in and around Fratton to help foster a sense of unity and pride in our area.”

Bob White Chair of Fratton Big Local said:

“The Fratton Family Festival is now a well-established part of the calendar and is a day for celebrating the life and diversity of the Fratton community.

I enjoy seeing the great cross section of ages, backgrounds and cultures mingling and enjoying the music and activities together. This year we are delighted to be presenting our first ever ‘Inspiring Fratton Awards’ to recognise those in our community who have contributed to our life together.”

Big Local is being delivered by Local Trust and a range of partners. The event seeks to bring together local talent, community members, residents and ambitious individuals with the view of making the community an even better place to live.

Big Local puts residents in 150 areas across England in the driving seat. Residents in each of these areas are provided with all the support they need to identify their priorities and plan how to invest £1 million over at least the next 10 years.

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Pick Portsmouth’s best boozer

City MP Stephen Morgan is asking Portsmouth people to nominate their best local pub for the Parliamentary Pub of the Year Awards.

The award focuses on celebrating pubs in the community and will give 650 Members of Parliament the opportunity to nominate a pub to be recognised as the Parliamentary Pub of the Year.

The criteria for selecting your pub of choice is that they must be great at what they do. Whether this is pouring the perfect pint or serving up the best pub-grub and regularly hosting live music, the choice is yours.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Pubs are often at the hearts of our communities. By providing people with a place to meet and socialise they help to act as the glue keeping communities together.

We are fortunate in Portsmouth to have a thriving pub scene with an abundance of live music, top food and great beer.

I want to encourage as many people in Portsmouth to tell me their favourite local in my constituency so that we can commend the efforts of these vital community outlets.”

Research by CAMRA has found that pubs are continuing to struggle with 18 closing a week in Britain, according to the latest industry figures. We know that there were 476 closures in the first six months of the year, 13 more than in the last six months of 2017.

The Shadow Minister, who has a policy responsibility on community pubs added:

“Our British pubs sector supports 900,000 jobs, generates £23 billion in economic value and provides £13 billion in tax revenues. In addition, 30 million of us visit the pub every month. I even host some of my constituency meetings in them.

I believe that these vital economic and social outlets must be protected.

That is why I am proud to have stood on a manifesto that committed to set up an analysis for how best to support of local pubs to examine the causes for their decline, as well as establishing a joint taskforce that will consider their future sustainability. I also have worked hard to give communities more power to shape their town centres, including by strengthening powers to protect pubs.

If you want to help protect our locals and commend the publicans that make our pubs so successful, please get in touch.”

Before selecting the nomination for Portsmouth South, Mr Morgan is encouraging pub goers to nominate their favourite local in the city online. The deadline for doing so is 22 September.

To nominate your favourite Portsmouth pub please follow the link.

http://www.portsmouthlabourparty.org.uk/parliamentary-pub-of-the-year/

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“These young activists have shown true Pompey spirit by being the change they want to see in the community” – City MP joins young people at LifeHouse support centre

In support of a set of Southsea schoolchildren doing their best to improve their local community, Stephen Morgan MP has visited LifeHouse on Albert Road. 

The three children, Eva, Marley and Ava, all aged 11, have spent time preparing care packages for service users at the facility and were joined by the city MP while meeting those at LifeHouse.

Mr Morgan said:

“One of the things that I am most proud about the city I grew up in is the sense of community and pride in Portsmouth. These young activists have exemplified the ethos of our city by being the change they want to see and reaching out to community members who need our support.

LifeHouse does vital work in our community by providing a resource, support centre and kitchen for those who need it and I am grateful to young people Eva, Ava and Marley for showing such initiative and support for the organisation.”

The schoolchildren, who all attend schools in Southsea, have for some time been thinking about how to do their bit for the local community and cited their distress at seeing local Portsmouth people in need as the motivation for their activism.

Mr Morgan said:

“At a time when there are double the number of rough sleepers than there were in 2010 and 2017 saw a 15% rise on the previous year – community-based initiatives are integral to supporting the members of our community that need it.

These young people are doing their bit in Portsmouth, but it is up to the Government to address these major societal inequalities.

That is why I will continue to lobby the Government to ensure that local authorities receive the funding they need to provide vital services and to highlight their services failings when it comes to community support.”

Eva said:

“Just because someone is homeless doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings. Anyone could become homeless for any reason. We don’t need to be negative and judge people because of what they look like”

Ava said:

“I think there are a lot of homeless people here in Portsmouth and not everyone pays attention to them.”

Marley added:

“We want to raise awareness and encourage other people to help. Even though we are children doesn’t mean we don’t have a voice and don’t have anything to say.”

 

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“It rests on all of our shoulders to speak up for Portsmouth Port” – City MP joins Port representatives in Westminster 

Stephen Morgan MP has joined local representatives from Portsmouth in a bid to promote the interests of one of the city’s most valued assets – Portsmouth International Port.

The local-born MP met with key figures at the event in Westminster and where discussions took place about value of the port for the city’s economy, importance of keeping it at the forefront of the Government agenda and the positive effect it has on local services as well as highlighting no-deal concerns.

Mr Morgan said:

“Portsmouth international Port is a vital employer, an essential financial asset to our local economy and a gateway where products needed by our nation first land in the UK.

But it also so much more. It is part of our identity and the namesake of our city.

From 2017-18, the Port’s total gross value-added contribution to the local economy is nearly £190 million and for every £1 million the Port contributed in the region, this generated another £400,000”.

Following the event, Mr Morgan stressed the need to adequately fund the port at this time of uncertainty and the need for the Government to take heed of warnings in the case of a ‘catastrophic’ no-deal.

Mr Morgan said:

“No-deal would be utterly catastrophic for Portsmouth and the Government has done nowhere near enough when it comes to offering support to the Port.

No-deal likely to turn our city into a congested lorry park and could see supermarket shelves in the Channel Islands stripped bear of fresh produce in just days.

No-deal preparations are costing the city council around £4 m and no indication of how and when this funding will be reimbursed has been offered by the Government.

That is why I have written countless letters to the Department for Transport, MHCLG and Brexit Department asking for detailed analysis on no-deal preparations and information about when funding can be allocated.”

The Port, which is owned by Portsmouth City Council, brings in finances which are then used to fund vital local services. Something that Mr Morgan praised during his speech.

The city MP said:

“From helping our schools get the resources they need to providing funding for adult social care – the money generated by the Port for council coffers is intrinsic to our community’s wellbeing.

At a time when local authorities have lost 60 pence out of every pound they previously received from Government – these funds could not be more integral to the running of our city.”

Experts have warned that municipal ports such as the one in Portsmouth have not received the correct levels of funding and planning due to problems with Government calculations. This has given rise to claims that ports such as Dover are receiving disproportionate amounts of government attention. 

In relation to municipal Ports, Mr Morgan said:

“In 2017, the Port handled a staggering 3.9 million tonnes of goods, making it the 25th largest UK port in terms of cargo volume. Solidifying our city on the map as a regional power house and a formidable trading post.

As it stands, we see a conversation saturated by talks about Dover, while these talks are essential, we must all work together to ensure that Portsmouth International Port and others have their voice heard.

So far I have written to three Government departments countless times to raise this point and I will ensure that I continue to act as a voice for the city’s Port in Parliament.”

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“Portsmouth needs answers, not insults” City MP uses PMQs to highlight threats to local NHS under no-deal

Stephen Morgan MP has shot out of the blocks and wasted no time in grilling Mr Johnson in the first Prime Minister’s Questions post summer recess.

Mr Morgan hit out at the PM in the chamber over the projected disastrous consequences that a no-deal Brexit would have for the NHS, highlighting Mr Johnson’s own Health Secretary’s grave warnings.

The question follows hundreds of Portsmouth people writing to the MP setting out their concerns over the implications of a no-deal on the NHS.

Mr Morgan said:

“This is an issue that I get hundreds of emails about every day, and for good reason.

Crashing out of the EU without a deal will have catastrophic consequences for the most cherished of our services – The NHS.

The Health Secretary has refused to rule out the possibility of people dying from medicine shortages and warned a no-deal would “not be pretty” for the NHS.

We know that there are care staff shortages of 18,000 across the South East alone with no-deal set to exacerbate this due to a lack of clarity over working rights.

We know that the large amount of new paperwork and regulatory hurdles that a no-deal Brexit would create for imports is likely to increase shortages of medicines and medical devices.

I will do everything in my power to stop the disaster that is no-deal from destroying a service we all so greatly rely on.”

The new Prime Minister floundered following the question and failed to even address the topic of medicine and staff shortages arising from a no-deal Brexit.

Following the PM’s response, Mr Morgan said:

“Today, I gave Mr Johnson the opportunity to outline exactly how the Government proposes to prevent NHS medicine and staff shortages in the event of no-deal.

His utter refusal to answer my question is yet another example of him dodging democratic process and running scared from the people.

He has already ignored the letter I sent him the week of his premiership, heavily contravening parliamentary procedure, now he has ignored the voice of Portsmouth in Parliament.

I will be writing to the PM again requesting detailed analysis of no-deal implications for our city’s NHS, specifically how this will affect staff shortages and medicine supplies.”

Mr Morgan is not alone in his frustration at the PM’s disregard for the NHS. Independent organisations such as The Health Foundation, The King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust have all taken matters into their own hands by writing out to MPs warning them that No-Deal will be disastrous for the NHS.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“It is an insult to those pioneers who, in 1948, founded an NHS on the principles of fairness, equality and access for all.

We should be improving and increasing the use of the NHS, not hacking bits off, leaving it open to attack and gambling with its future.

I find it deeply saddening that we face times where we see a Prime Minister so recklessly willing to destroy such a cherished service in the name of his own ego-driven campaign for leaving with a no-deal.

I will not stand for this and will continue to make sure that I stand up for Portsmouth’s NHS both inside and out of Parliament.”

 

 

 

 

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Portsmouth MP hits out at Government as generation locked out of home ownership

Nearly 900,000 fewer under 45s are owning their own home at a time when more and more are turning to the bank of mum and dad to buy a property, city MP says.

Official government figures analysed by Labour show that in 2009-10 there were 4.46 million under 45s that either owned their own home outright or with a mortgage. In 2017-18 that fell to just 3.59 million. A drop of 870,000 households.

At a time when fewer young people are able to buy a property. More and more households are turning to the bank of mum and dad to help buy a house.

New analysis of the Government’s English Housing Survey shows that in 2010-11, 1.12 million households used a gift, loan or inherited money from family or friends to help finance the purchase of a home. In 2017-18 this rose to 1.78 million households. A rise of 630,000 households.

The failure to build the new homes needed has hit the hopes of local people too. In Portsmouth, there have been 354 homes built on average over the last five years. This compares to 810 in the year before the financial crisis.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“This analysis confirms a generation locked out of homeownership over the last decade and shows the scale of Conservative failure on housing. This is affecting Portsmouth people and it is simply not good enough.

The Tories are failing young people on ordinary incomes to realise their dream of homeownership. Five years ago, Conservative ministers promised to build 200,000 ‘starter homes’ but not a single one has been built, while the number of new low-cost homes to buy like shared ownership almost has halved since 2010.

The country needs a new plan to fix the housing crisis, not a new Tory leader. Labour will back first-time buyers with 100,000 discounted FirstBuy Homes, help curb renting costs and give first dibs on new homes for local people.”

 

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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 calls on new Veterans Minister to properly support our armed forces community 

Stephen Morgan MP has wasted no time in pressing the new Minister for Defence People and Veterans to extend the HM Forces Railcard to ex-service personnel. 

Currently, members of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces enjoy the benefits of reduced rate rail travel with the HM Forces Railcard, a benefit recently extended to Reservists. Now the local MP has made fresh calls for this to go further.

Mr Morgan said: 

“This is a simple issue. The current HM Forces Railcard, offering discount rates to service people on UK trains, does not include veterans. I believe this is wrong.

I do not believe that we should differentiate between those who currently serve and those who have served when it comes to paying tribute or supporting our armed forces community.

It is not like the physical and mental scars subside after these individuals leave the military, why then should their support network?

I have written the Defence Minister in the hope that he shares this perception and, in the hope, that he will act decisively and rectify this current injustice.”

The HM Forces Railcard costs £21 and saves individuals 1/3 on most rail fares throughout Great Britain for a whole year. This works out at under £2 a month and if used regularly, has large-scale money saving qualities. 

Stephen Morgan MP said: 

“Across this nation, we are not properly supporting our veterans. Whether that is failing to offer bespoke, tailored mental health services or not properly implementing or improving the Armed Forces Covenant – the Government can do a lot more.

Making changes like extending the Forces Railcard to veterans is a step in the right direction and I will require serious explanation if the Government chooses to defy my recommendation.

I will continue to lobby all colleagues at the MoD until we see a system worthy of the brave men and women who have given so much to this nation.”

Stephen Morgan MP has long been a champion of causes close to the hearts of the force’s community. He has hosted a Westminster hall debate on Veteran Suicide, regularly meets with organisations such as All Call Signs in his constituency and has expressed a commitment to ensuring the forces community have a voice in Parliament.