Posts

, , , , , ,

City MP renews pledge to prioritise climate change at online The Time Is Now event

At an event organised by the Climate Coalition, Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan reaffirmed his commitment for the three principles of The Climate Coalition Declaration.

The national event, called The Time Is Now, saw thousands participate across the country by engaging with local MPs via localised virtual meetings. Constituents had the opportunity to both hear from Stephen in terms of his climate change actions and pose questions about future strategies.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“As Britain gets on the road to recovery from this pandemic, we should aim to build back better, which means acting now to lay the foundation blocks for long term, sustainable growth and creating large numbers of good green jobs.

As Friends of the Earth has said, Labour is the most ambitious party in parliament backing strong climate change action. I am delighted to sign up to The Climate Coalition’s Declaration which chimes precisely with the aims and objectives of the Labour party.

The key commitments that Stephen Morgan MP signed up to include:

  • Unleash a clean energy revolution that boosts jobs across the UK, making our transport, power and housing fit for the future
  • Protect, restore and expand our green and wild spaces; allowing nature to thrive, taking carbon from the air and boosting the nation’s health
  • Leave no one behind by increasing support to those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change at home and abroad

This event comes the same day that Labour’s consultation on a Green Recovery closes. The Green Recovery report is being written as we speak and will be published shortly.

Mr Morgan added:

“I am pleased that so many constituents want to reach out and talk to their MP about climate change which is one of the greatest challenges we face.

Individuals from Portsmouth have shown outstanding leadership in tackling climate change, from the Pompey Street Space Campaign to recent uptake rates in active travel.

What we now need to see is government match this ambition. The UK must lead the world by ensuring our recovery gets us on track to net-zero emissions and limits the rise in global temperature to 1.5 degrees C. Our best chance of building a resilient economy goes hand in hand with tackling climate change.”

The Portsmouth South MP has long held tackling climate change as a key priority. This month alone he has grilled Ministers to encourage green international trade, submitted written questions, taken action to support Pompey Street Space in achieving increases in active travel uptake and written to the Transport Secretary to push for greener travel.

 

 

, , , , , , ,

City MP and Google team up to support Portsmouth’s pubs and hospitality businesses

Ahead of some pubs and businesses reopening this Saturday, 4 July, Stephen Morgan MP is hosting an online event to help Portsmouth’s pubs and local traders on the road to recovery. 

The hospitality sector employs more than 3.2 million people nationally, adding up to 10% of UK employment, this amounts to 322,000 people employed in the sector in the South East making it an integral contributor to the local economy.

Local pubs and sector representatives have informed Mr Morgan that a lack of clarity over social distancing guidelines as well as concerns around PPE supply and safety equipment is threatening their futures.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Portsmouth is fortunate enough to be home to a thriving pub scene that contributes greatly to the city’s culture and economy. The impacts of Covid-19 combined with unclear and problematic government guidance is putting this at risk.

The most important thing here is to listen to the people dealing with these issues. That’s why I am hosting this event with Google, seeking to give local pubs the opportunity to have their voice heard.

I urge anyone working in association with any of our city’s pubs and hospitality businesses to sign up to the call and be part of the discussion as we get our city on the road to recovery.”

The city MP’s event is part of a string of actions that he has taken to support small businesses struggling to deal with the impacts of Covid-19.

He has already liaised with representatives, lobbied Ministers in the House of Commons over guidance to businesses, encouraged residents to support local traders and continues to engage with the Federation of Small Business on remaining problems. 

Kicking off with an online event, support to businesses will continue with a free online Digital Marketing Course run by Google’s leading experts.

For businesses to register for the event, taking place on Thursday  2 July from 10:00 until 11:30 follow the registration link here: https://events.withgoogle.com/portsmouth-south-google-digital-garage/registrations/new/

 

, , , , ,

Keir Starmer throws weight behind ‘reinvigorated’ Labour Friends of Forces on Armed Forces Day

Marking the 14th anniversary of Labour introduced Armed Forces Day and against the backdrop of a decade of Tory failure to invest in defence, Labour’s leadership has today supported the relaunch of a renewed Labour Friends of Forces (LFF), a key priority for city MP, Stephen Morgan.

With a new offer to members, fresh mission statement and support from the Labour leader, LFF has set out how exactly it will create an effective forum for bolstering the party’s connection with the force’s community and winning back the public’s faith Labour’s stance on defence.

Shadow Armed Forces Minister, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“While the challenges faced by our nation continue to change through the ages, one thing remains the same – the immeasurable value of our troops.

Labour stands four-square behind our Armed Forces, their families and our veterans. But we have to be in listening mode. To win back the trust of the public and that of our troops, we need to ensure we are open and engaging with the communities we are seeking to serve.

With the new programme of events, offer to members and support of the leadership, this idea of listening will be at the core of everything Labour Friends of the Forces stands for.”

This year’s Armed Forces Day comes against a backdrop of Tory defence failure. Troop pay increases have been delayed for a second year running, for the fourth consecutive year the Ombudsman has found a vastly under-performing complaints system, and satisfaction along with morale has been declining for a decade as the armed forces continuous attitudes survey has revealed.

And, the current administration is not just failing the troops themselves. A decade of crude Tory defence cuts has left the Army alone falling 8,000 personnel short of the Government’s own targets.

Labour Friends of the Forces has announced a renewed offer to its members including direct line to frontbench Shadow Defence team; a programme of events spanning every region across the UK; cut-rate membership and access to a group of other individuals interested in defence.

The mission statement of LFF is to build the party’s relationship with serving personnel, veterans and their families; nurture and identify future candidates from a military background; improve the party’s understanding of issues effecting the service community; and create a forum for training, discussion and development for the group’s membership.

Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party, said:

“I am proud of my country and proud of those who serve it. I want to open up Labour again to our Armed Forces, their families and veterans across our country.

Today’s event marks the start of an exciting new dialogue with forces communities with an ambitious new Labour Friends of the Forces scheme.

As we celebrate Armed Forces Day, I say thank you to our forces communities for the role they play both at home and abroad. I will make sure we listen to you and learn from you.”

, , , ,

Why Keir Starmer’s backing of a reinvigorated Labour Friends of the Forces is more important than ever

Shadow Armed Forces Minister Stephen Morgan MP, along with current LFF Chair Toby Perkins, outline the group’s bold new offer and why it is so important ahead of Armed Forces Day on 27 June.

Labour has a long history of standing four-square behind our armed forces personnel. From Clement Attlee’s frontline involvement in the Gallipoli campaign to Major Denis Healey’s ‘good war’ which culminated in him being the beach master at Anzio in 1944, the party’s military heritage is as rich as it is varied.

Our recognition that to become the party of the armed forces we must work harder to welcome those who have served, was a driving force behind the formation of the Labour Friends of the Forces and saw Major Dan Jarvis become a Labour MP in 2011.

Labour Governments have spent a greater proportion of GDP on defence but this hasn’t always cut through on the doorstep, and the party’s standing on defence has been weakened in recent years. This means that just 14% of voters think Labour is the best party on defence issues and only 28% of our heartland voters believe Labour would protect the UK from global threats. If Labour wants to win back credibility on this crucial issue, it’s a long journey to rebuild trust, by being united and putting protecting the public first.

Our new party leader recognises the challenges ahead and has said the first way to rebuild trust is to listen to people.

As we approach Armed Forces Day, we are delighted to lay another marker in the sand – the relaunch of Labour Friends of the Forces (LFF), and with it a bold package of commitments that will help the party listen and rebuild ties with those who have served and their families.

Armed Forces Day on 27 June, the brainchild of the last Labour government, is a celebration of our troops’ intrinsic value and ordinarily sees the presentation of medals to personnel along with commemorative activities.

This year, announced by the Leader of the Opposition and with his full support, Labour Friends of the Forces is proudly making renewed commitments to serve the forces community and setting out the means by which it aims to achieve this goal. A timetable of 8 events in just 10 months spanning every region in the UK, cut rate membership for forces affiliated personnel, a direct channel of communication to Labour’s defence frontbench and access to the continents’ leading defence minds form a bold new offer to LFF supporters.

Accompanying the groups’ new offer to its members is a reinvigorated set of objectives. A will to build the party’s relationship with serving personnel, veterans and their families; nurture and identify future candidates from a military background; improve the party’s understanding of issues effecting the service community; and create a forum for training, discussion and development for the group’s membership. The fact the leadership has thrown its full, weight behind these ambitious aims only adds to the significance of the group’s ambitious new plans.

But why is it so important for Labour to show leadership on Armed Forces Day? Because government is failing to do so. Troop pay increases have been delayed for a second year running, for the fourth consecutive year the Ombudsman has found a vastly underperforming complaints system, and satisfaction along with morale has been declining for a decade as the armed forces continuous attitudes survey has revealed. And, the current administration is not just failing the troops themselves. A decade of crude Tory defence cuts has left the Army alone falling 8,000 personnel short of the Government’s own targets.

These factors alongside statistics revealing that between 2010 and 2015, Britain’s defence budget fell by £8 billion, with no real confirmation of when this will step up again, demonstrates this government’s lack of commitment to our service personnel. Adding insult to injury is that fact that all this is going on against the backdrop of our troops playing such a vital role in combatting Covid-19.

Our armed forces deserve so much more than dwindling troop numbers, incessant cuts to the defence budget and a decade of failure in addressing lagging morale. Labour knows this, and through the Labour Friends of the Forces, seeks to provide a forum to listen and for tackling these issues head on.

Against the backdrop of Covid-19, where our armed forces continue to go above and beyond in delivering for the nation, it is important that political parties deliver for them. A decade of Tory defence decline presents an opportunity for Labour to return as the party to stand up for our troops once again.

This Armed Forces Day, with the support of our new leader, we are delighted to announce a reinvigorated group rooted in our service communities, for our service communities – Labour Friends of the Forces.

 

, , , , , , ,

Shadow Armed Forces Minister, Stephen Morgan MP on the importance of recognising our troops on Armed Forces Day

First introduced by the last Labour Government, Armed Forces Day is an opportunity to pay tribute to the men and women who deliver for the nation.

A day for celebration rather than remembrance, it is as important as ever to recognise the pride we have in the excellence and professionalism of our service men and women. Just as our Armed Forces work to keep us all safe and our country secure, we must do all we can to support them.

While the challenges faced by our communities continue to change, one thing has remained steadfast – our reliance on our forces and their families when times get tough. Historically they have guided us through the darkest hours in our country’s history. Now, amid this pandemic, they are helping keep the nation going by providing vital PPE, supporting frontline services and setting up test centres across the UK.

While it is right that today is about paying tribute to the efforts of our troops, we would be doing them a significant disservice if we did not speak out on the issues affecting them most.

Ten years of cuts to the defence budget, troop pay increases delayed for a second year running, a fourth year of the Ombudsman finding a vastly under performing complaints system, while satisfaction along with morale has been declining for a decade as the forces attitudes survey has revealed. It is high time our troops treatment matched the degree to which we rely on them, and the high standards they hold themselves to.

So, this Armed Forces Day, despite the celebrations being curtailed due to Covid, we must all do our bit to recognise the efforts of our service community. Against the backdrop of the public health emergency and economic crisis, where our armed forces continue to go above and beyond in delivering for us, it is important that we deliver for them.

As the Shadow Armed Forces Minister, I want to open up Labour again to our Armed Forces, their families and the veterans who have already served our country. I want Labour to hear their voices and views. We’ve got to understand where we’ve gone wrong in the past and change. We’ve got to understand the hopes and aspirations of the armed forces community, as well as the problems they face after a decade of declining numbers.

As an MP representing a city proud to be heart and home to the Royal Navy, and as Shadow Armed Forces Minister, I will continue to ensure the Labour party is listening to the forces community and take action to speak out on the matters that affect them most.

Stephen Morgan MP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

, , ,

Bringing down crime at Southsea Common, seafront and Hotwalls

Following concerns raised with Stephen Morgan MP over recent weeks about anti-social behaviour and crime at Southsea Common, the Hotwalls, other public spaces including parks in Milton, Fratton, and across the whole constituency, Stephen continues to take action on behalf of constituents to ensure the police, council and other bodies are doing all they can to address issues.

As result of further conversations, lobbying and liaison with senior officers today, the following is an update on efforts by key public services and what we can expect over the coming days to manage the situation:

Hampshire Constabulary efforts

Stephen is in regular contact with the District Commander and his senior leadership team and receives a full briefing on the police’s response to the coronavirus crisis weekly.

The police locally have dedicated Covid patrol teams, who will be resourced for Portsmouth this weekend. They also have response and patrol teams with a patrol plan to focus upon locations, where the community have guided the force to consider in relation to groups gathering and breaches of Covid-19 guidance compliance taking place.

Community Wardens will also be patrolling across the city including supporting the Hotwalls area and Southsea Common.

Working with the city council additional security will be provided in some locations and a community advisers foot team will be pro-active in engaging with the public again on social distancing.

Street Pastors will also be providing support engaging with members of the public, and the Ministry of Defence police will be on duty assisting across the constituency.

Hampshire Constabulary – update for 26 June 2020

  • Two more people have been arrested following incidents in the area, one for failure to comply with a S35 dispersal notice and another for obstructing / resisting a police officer in execution of duty, assaulting an emergency worker (police officer) and possession of a class B drug.
  • The local police are implementing a dispersal order for the zone identified and will extend the order for another 48 hours.
  • This means the order will be in place from midday today (Friday 26 June) and it will remain in place until midday on Sunday 28 June and could be extended further.
  • The order gives us the power to order someone to leave the designated area and not return for 24 hours to prevent crime and disorder. Failure to comply with this is a criminal offence.
  • Additional police patrols are taking place in Southsea and Old Portsmouth.

Portsmouth City Council – update for 26 June 2020

  • Community Advisors will continue to be on patrol across the seafront both Saturday and Sunday they will be pro-actively supporting safe social distancing, handing out bio-degradable bags to encourage people to take their litter home with them and supporting safe use of BBQs in the correct areas.
  • Open Spaces Mitigation measures work remains on-going to reinforce and reduce the risk of further traveller incursion onto the public open spaces.  A new delivery of larger boulders is expected very soon which will be used to reinforce the common and provide more of a barrier for ingress.  Further additional posts are also due to be put in place to prevent vehicle movement across public footpaths where practical.
  • Grounds Maintenance Team have been extremely busy despite the heat.  All the summer bedding in now in including a dedicated ‘NHS thank you’ bed at the end of Avenue de Caen.  The team are also working hard to manage the increased levels of rubbish being left in the area.  The council has increased both the number and the capacity of the bins right across the seafront and are also currently in a trial with staff volunteering to work expanded hours to be able to provide a litter clearing operation until 7pm in the evening.  They are also encouraging the public to dispose of BBQs in the designated bins so the hot coals are safely managed.
  • Deploying additional security in the Hotwalls area to have a presence and to positively engage with young people. The council is aware that the more regular youth services will be stepping up to have some deployment in areas such as the Hotwalls and Ferry Road areas.

 

 

, , , , ,

“Recognising the immeasurable value of our reserves is as important as ever” – Shadow Armed Forces Minister on Reserves Day

Making up around a sixth of our armed forces capability, forming 100 national units across the tri-services and recruiting from all over the UK, our reserve forces are a powerful part in Britain’s military capability.

While at the peak in 2004, reservists made up 20% of those serving in Iraq and 12% of those in Afghanistan. These are often-unsung heroes who walk among us have been involved in crucial conflicts from across the globe. They continue to give up their spare time to keep our nation safe.

From medical expertise to unsurpassed cyber security capability, reservists make up some of the most able people in our armed forces. While we are aware of their involvement in major theatres of war, it is important to recognise too their contributions to civil society.

The ruthless nature of the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed their immeasurable value. Over 3,000 armed forces reservists have been called up to aid the military response to the coronavirus pandemic, providing support to the Covid Support Force by helping set up test sites and assisting in the delivery of PPE.

Looking back, reserves stepping in at the nation’s time of need is nothing new. We know that 2,100 reserve personnel provided support to the police and other civil authorities throughout Operation Olympics. This meant that during the 2012 London Olympic Games, they made up around 15% of the armed forces personnel working on the delivery of the Games. When Britain is on the backfoot, our reserves never fail stand up to be counted.

As we find ourselves in midst of Armed Forces Week and today on Reserves Day, I pay tribute to these brave men and women who continue to deliver for the nation.

As Shadow Armed Forces Minister, I know I speak for many within the nation when I extend my gratitude for their continued efforts in these challenging times.

Stephen Morgan MP is the Shadow Armed Forces Minister and Portsmouth South MP

 

 

, , , , , , ,

Covid-19: City MP highlights need for Government action on children’s mental health

With schools not expected to open fully until September at the earliest, educational psychologists are issuing stark warnings about the impacts on children’s mental health.

During today’s education questions in the House of Commons, Stephen Morgan MP pushed the Secretary of State to clarify the Government’s strategy for meeting children’s mental health needs amid Covid-19.

Mr Morgan’s actions follow data revealing calls to Childline are rising and YoungMinds has found that around 4 in 5 children with pre-existing mental health problems have had these problems worsened in this crisis, while referrals for CAMHS have been down by as much as 50% in some areas.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Lack of social interaction, increased risk to vulnerable children, reduced learning and a diminished peer contact is having severe mental health implications for children across the nation.

While demand has increased drastically, statistics show that provision has dropped by up to 50% in some areas. There are two pandemics at play here, Covid-19 and also the impacts it is having on mental health. Both are equally important and potentially dangerous.

I will continue to ask government the tough questions about when and how they will put measures in place to secure mental health provision.”

88% of school staff surveyed by Barnardo’s said that Covid-19 would have a negative impact on their pupils’ mental health and wellbeing. While 78% of respondents to the YoungMinds survey reported that additional pastoral support, such as in-school counselling, would be helpful, in order to support children as they return to school.

The Portsmouth South representative added:

“The looming crisis in children’s mental health comes at a time when provision is already under heavy strain.

Data exposed by The Children’s Society in 2019 found that around 60 per cent of those referred, approximately 110,000 children, were not treated that year for mental health needs.

While I welcome government allocating long-overdue funding to CAHMS services, we need a strategy now that details exactly how Minister’s plan to safeguard the nation’s children from the threat of the mental health emergency.”

, , , ,

‘I want a city where it doesn’t matter who you are or who you love’ says city MP on Portsmouth Pride

In a message to all Portsmouth residents as the city’s Pride event is cancelled due to Covid-19, and instead replaced with an online event, Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan has recorded a video message to those celebrating safely at home:

Today on Portsmouth Pride day, we must reflect on past achievements and recognise the challenges ahead.

I’m hugely proud of my party’s record on speaking up and taking action on advancing LGBT rights: abolishing the hateful Section 28; creating civil partnerships; introducing landmark legislation ending injustice and inequality; and If it wasn’t for the coronavirus crisis, I would be with you marking this year’s theme – the armed forces – as the Shadow Armed Forces Minister – proud that twenty years ago the ban was lifting on gay personnel serving.

Whilst today we can celebrate safely at home, this virtual event should also act as a reminder that there is so much more to do both here, at home, and across the globe.

Poland has declared LGBT free zones across the country. Hungary has passed a law ending legal recognition for transgender people.

Here in the UK research is telling us that the LGBT community are more vulnerable to the effects of coronavirus as Covid-19 continues to thrive on inequality.

Ministers promised to ban conversion therapy, yet a few years later, still nothing has happened.

We’re still awaiting the Government response to reforms to the Gender Recognition Act risking rowing back the progress made on trans rights.

I want a city where it doesn’t matter who you are or who you love, and I want a country which is a global leader in fighting for equality for all.

To achieve this, we must all work together. And Portsmouth Pride is helping us do just that.

We all have a part to play.

Stephen Morgan MP

 

 

 

 

, , , , , ,

Covid-19: Government must act now on impact on BAME communities

This week’s report by Public Health England (PHE) looking into coronavirus inequalities, ‘Beyond the data: Understanding the impact of Covid-19 on BAME groups’ provides even more evidence of the structural and racial inequalities which have led to the Covid-19 pandemic hitting black, Asian and minority ethnic communities across the UK so very hard.

These recommendations should never have been blocked by Government in the first place.

Thousands of people and organisations across the country have made it clear that urgent, collaborative and decisive action is needed. I heard that view too listening to concerns amongst community leaders from across Portsmouth in a zoom call arranged by the social care team at the city council last week.

We now know that whilst people from ethnic minority backgrounds constitute 14% of the UK population, they worryingly account for 34% of critically ill Covid-19 patients and a similar percentage of all Covid-19 cases.

The PHE report makes seven recommendations to address inequalities:

  • Better data collection about ethnicity and religion, including having this recorded on death certificates to accurately monitor the impact on these communities
  • Supporting further research with the participation of ethnic minority communities to understand the increased risk and develop programmes to reduce it
  • Improving BAME groups’ access to, experiences of and outcomes from NHS and other services – using audits, health impact assessments and better representation of black and minority ethnic communities among staff
  • Developing risk assessments for black, Asian and minority ethnic workers in roles where they are exposed to a large section of the general public or those infected with the virus
  • Producing culturally sensitive education and prevention campaigns to rebuild trust and help communities access services such as contact tracing, antibody testing and a future vaccine
  • Targeting ethnic minority groups with culturally sensitive health messages to address conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma
  • Ensuring that Covid-19 recovery strategies actively address inequalities to create long-term change

Why are these recommendations so important? We know the health and care workforce in England are significantly over-represented by people from BAME groups. Often, BAME workers are in lower paid roles within the NHS, which means that these roles cannot be done remotely. Over 90% of the doctors who have died during the pandemic have been BAME, more than double the proportion in the medical workforce as a whole.

We also know that individuals from the most deprived communities are nearly twice as likely to be admitted to intensive care as the least deprived. The most recent research from the UK suggests that both ethnicity and income inequality are independently associated with COVID-19 mortality.

Most worryingly of all, according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies, the death rate among British black Africans and British Pakistanis from coronavirus in English hospitals is over 2.5 times that of the white population. The deaths of people from a black Caribbean background are 1.7 times higher than the white population.

The Government cannot make the same mistakes again if there is a second wave of coronavirus this Autumn. When PHE’s second report states that ‘historic racism’ may have been a factor which prevented individuals from speaking up about risk in the workplace, this must act as a wake-up call for decision-makers.

That’s why I want Ministers to act now and produce a detailed action plan on how the recommendations from the PHE report will be implemented.

I will continue to listen to local voices and Portsmouth’s BAME groups to make sure our views are heard in Westminster, and commit to holding the Government to account when mistakes are made.

Stephen Morgan MP