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City MP calls on new PM to be a statesman and apologise to Portsmouth people 

In 2007, then Mayoral candidate and education spokesman Boris Johnson was chauffeur-driven to Portsmouth where he made ill-informed and inaccurate claims about the city.

Today, Stephen Morgan MP demanded an apology.

The new appointed Prime Minister claimed that [Portsmouth is] “too full of drugs, obesity, underachievement and Labour MPs.”

On the premier day of the Prime Minister’s leadership, local-born MP, Stephen Morgan has written to him outlining the cuts his city has faced under the Conservative and Lib Dem regime of austerity and demanding an apology for his previous insults.

Stephen Morgan MP said:
“Under the Tories, Hampshire has lost over 1000 police officers. Portsmouth’s schools are losing £3.7 million. Our local authority has seen the local services we all rely on slashed by 48 percent since 2011, equating to £73m.
To say such things about Portsmouth, when representing a party that has consistently done everything in its power to rip the heart out of the community, is highly offensive to our great city.
Mr Johnson hasn’t won the support of our country nor will he win the support of our city. To earn respect, he needs to demonstrate he’s a statesman with his words and his deeds.
I have demanded an apology for Portsmouth and now that Mr Johnson is in a position of power with the privilege of high office, urged him to show leadership and transform lives by investing in Portsmouth and its people.
Will he do this? I am not so confident.”
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Labour to revolutionise local services putting people at the heart

Decades of forced outsourcing of local services have hollowed out councils and left communities with little control over key public services says Stephen Morgan MP.

Backing a commitment to reverse the trend of public services being outsourced to private providers and bring these services back ‘in house’, to be delivered by the public sector city MP Stephen Morgan has backed announcements by Labour to revolutionise local public services.

Criticising the “scandal” of “rip off” outsourcing of key public services the Shadow Chancellor and Shadow Communities Secretary are committing Labour to ‘insourcing’ the delivery of key public services to improve services, save taxpayers’ money and increase democratic accountability of public services.

Labour’s plans will roll back decades of orthodoxy that have seen local councils forced into outsourcing the delivery of key public services to private companies, including construction and maintenance work, bin collections, cleaning, school dinners, playing field maintenance and the management of local leisure centres.

Announcing the plans, Labour have also criticised the legacy of decades of outsourcing in local government, with private companies failing to uphold their contracts to deliver services, standards deteriorating and the taxpayer picking up the bill.

Under the new plans, Labour will:

  • Legislate to ensure that local authorities review all service contracts when they expire;
  • Legislate to create a presumption that service contracts will be brought back inhouse and delivered by the public sector unless certain conditions and exemptions are met;
  • Empower citizens and community groups by giving them the right to request information from councils showing that any outsourcing decision is consistent with these criteria;
  • Transform the legislative framework around outsourcing contacts by making them subject to the Human Rights Act and the Freedom of Information Act and introducing a new set of minimum standards in contracts where outsourcing has to continue, including a fair wage clause, trade union recognition, support local labour and supply chains, annual gender pay audits and time-limited contracts;
  • Support local government in delivering these changes by providing a model contract (to save councils time and resources), access to the Government Legal Department for contract management and greater support for collaboration amongst councillors.

Democratising Local Public Services: A Plan for Twenty-First Century Insourcing – Labour’s blueprint for a radical overhaul of local government – was announced at an event in London held by Labour’s Community Wealth Building Unit, a network of councillors and experts working together to rebuild local economies, renew faith in local services and deliver a renaissance of local government in communities across Britain in the face of austerity.

Newly appointed Shadow Communities Minister, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Decades of forced outsourcing of local services have hollowed out councils and left communities with little control over key public services.

The current law is stacked against councils taking back control and heavily tilted in favour of outsourcing.

Yet across our country Labour councils are leading the way in taking back control of local services, and showing that inhouse delivery improves service delivery while saving money.

That’s why I back my party’s pledge to see an end to the privatisation circus and put the power with the people proven to be most effective: local communities”.

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP said:

“After year upon year of failures the public has rightly lost confidence in the privatisation of our public services and the carve up of the public realm for private profit.

The government’s ideological pursuit of privatisation and outsourcing has seen the public pay the price as fat cat bosses count their profits.

It’s time to end the outsourcing scandal which has seen private companies rip off the taxpayer, degrade our public services and put people at risk whilst remaining wholly unaccountable to the people who rely on and fund these services.”

Labour’s Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary Andrew Gwynne MP said:

“Labour will end this racket and ensure that our vital public services are delivered in the interests of the people our local authorities are here to serve, not in the interest of outsourcing firms’ profit margins and wealthy shareholders.

People are more important than profit, and our public services belong to local people.

Labour will set out in law that inhouse delivery of public services delivered by the public sector will be the default option for councils.

In government, Labour will boost local economies by spending taxpayers’ money on local suppliers and local workers, and we will support councils as they deliver radical change and give power back to our communities.

Our plan is a plan for public services run for the many, not the private interests of the few.”

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Newly appointed Shadow Minister for Communities pays thanks to all council officers

Stephen Morgan MP, who was appointed to a Shadow Ministerial position within the Communities and Local Government team earlier this week, has made his agenda clear by sending an open letter to all council officers.

The letter expressed gratitude to the local authority workers, explicitly thanking them for their often-unrecognised services to the nation.

Mr Morgan said:

“Council workers are the unsung heroes who keep our communities safe.

From making sure the food we eat in restaurants is acceptable to keeping our neighbourhoods clean and maintained – their often-invisible work is the lifeblood of our nation.

I wanted to ensure that in my first move as Shadow Minister, I send out a clear message that their vital work is appreciated.”

Mr Morgan, who prior to becoming an MP spent 15 years working in local Government, cited his experience in play and leisure, community involvement, strategy and performance and other departments as his motivation for sending out the letter.

The Portsmouth South MP said:

“When I was first elected, I asked a council manager what advice he could give. His answer was plain and simple. Take notice of the vital work conducted by council officers.

With less money, less resources and more responsibility, councils across our great nation continue to deliver the much-needed services, day in, day out from cradle to grave.

Without this vital cohesive element, our communities would fall apart. It is an understatement to say that they are the glue that holds society together.”

Mr Morgan’s first act as Shadow Minister is an indication of where his priorities lie and demonstrates his commitment to ensuring that recognition is given to those who work at local authority level. While the letter expressed gratitude, it also included pledges upheld by his party.

Mr Morgan pledged:

“From Portsmouth to Penrith, up and down our country, council officers keep our communities running.

In this new role, I will work hard to give more money, more power and more support to councils across the country. “

Mr Morgan joins the Communities and Local Government team headed by Shadow Secretary Andrew Gwynne MP where he will work alongside Shadow Minister for Devolution and Finance, Jim McMahon and Shadow Minister for Planning Roberta Blackman-Woods.

 

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City MP calls for ambition in wake of Portsmouth’s failed Future High Streets bid

News has broken that Portsmouth’s bid for £50 million as part of the Government’s future High Streets Fund has failed.

The fund, designed to support local areas’ plans to make their high streets and town centres fit for the future, would have been welcome as the city has faced major high street closures in recent times.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

 “I have long argued that the Government needs to do better, and the council do more, to bring our city’s high streets back from the brink.

Only this weekend we saw Knight & Lee and Portsmouth say good bye, with Debenhams set to go next and other stores in our city under threat.

We need a bold and ambitious plan to revitalise our city’s shopping centres, which is why Portsmouth Labour submitted positive budget proposals to get to the heart of the problem. Sadly, the Tories and Lib Dems voted it down, and continue to neglect our communities.

Raising the issue directly with the Prime Minister, hosting a roundtable with businesses to find solutions, calling for business rate reform, submitting parliamentary questions and writing to the Council Leader, I will continue to put pressure on the Government to invest and the Council to show leadership, to sort this pressing issue for Portsmouth once and for all”.

Portsmouth’s high streets have faced trying times, losing a number of major retail pillars and leaving the flourishing independent shopping scene vulnerable now that there is less footfall.

The Portsmouth MP has backed Labour’s five-point plan to reinvigorate the high street, including a major overhaul of the current business rates system.

Mr Morgan said:

“A major contributing factor to the decline of the high streets is the outdated and broken business rates system, we need to bring the current system into the 21st century.

That is why I proudly support Labour’s 5-point plan which would see a major overhaul and an end to retailers being hit unfair and unsustainable fees.”

Labours 5-point plan also includes free bus travel for all under 25s, free WIFI in city centres, an end to ATM charges and would establish a register of landlords of empty shops in each local authority.