Concern raised over introduction of a ‘tip tax’ in Portsmouth

New charges will soon be imposed on Portsmouth residents as a result of Hampshire County Council led changes to waste recycling services. Concerns have been raised by the city’s Labour Environment and Community Safety spokesperson.
From October 1, residents in Portsmouth will have to pay to leave soil and rubble, plasterboard and asbestos at the city’s Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) in Port Solent. This is a result of county council led plans.
Proposals were discussed at the Cabinet Member for Environment and Community Safety decision-making meeting on Thursday 22 September.
Portsmouth Labour have criticised the decision to make any changes to the well-used facilities in the north of the city.
Stephen Morgan is city councillor for Charles Dickens ward and Labour’s spokesperson for the environment and community safety. He joined others with concerns by calling the proposals a ‘tip tax’ on local people.
Further service changes include reducing opening hours at the Port Solent site by 2 hours per day. From January 2017, revised hours will be 11am-6pm in the summer and 11am-4pm in the Winter.
What’s more, the site will be closed altogether every Thursday.
Over the past two years, government statistics show that the problem of flytipping is getting worse with 90,000 cases of flytipping in England alone last year.
Flytipping blights the environment in cities as well as the countryside. It also presents a potential danger to public health, and has a significant financial impact to local authorities who have to clear up the mess.
Cllr Stephen Morgan said:
“The county’s own decision making report recognises that these changes may lead directly to increased fly tipping. A better strategy is needed.
A number of residents have already contacted me with concerns over changes to bulk refuse collection and fly tipping levels across our city.
These new proposals will reduce essential services, cut opening times at our only waste recycling centre and introduce charging. None of these changes represent good news for those of us who want to see Portsmouth become a cleaner and tidier city.
The ‘tip tax’ will hit hard working families and the vulnerable. This is an attempt at a quick fix to save money, but it may result in costly, long term damage to our city”.

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Fratton Family Festival a huge success

The September sun and locals came out for another successful Fratton Family Festival this Sunday, 18 September. 
Building on a popular community fun day last year, the Fratton Family Festival was organised by local people and volunteers as part of the Fratton Big Local initiative.
Over 40 stalls pitched up along Fratton Road including community information stands, live music, world food stalls and children’s activities.
Volunteers helped steward the event with the resident-led partnership ensuring a smooth running to the day.


Stephen Morgan

Cllr Stephen Morgan, ward councillor for Charles Dickens ward which includes the western side of Fratton Road attended the event to enjoy the fun day with other local people.
Cllr Morgan said:
“I’ve helped set up Big Local initiatives in other parts of the country, so it was fantastic to go along to such a brilliant event organised by our own here in the heart of Portsmouth.
It is great to see people coming together, side by side and having fun. A big thanks to all those that have organised today. Long may the Fratton Family Festival continue!”
Fratton Big Local is a Big Lottery funded 10 year project which aims to make a lasting improvement to Fratton.
Run by a partnership of local residents who make decisions about how to spend the funding, the partnership spent nearly two years talking to Fratton residents to find out what improvements people would like to see, then wrote a plan based on what had been said. It started practical work in Autumn 2014.
Aims agreed in the action plan include:

  • making Fratton an attractive destination
  • improving and making the best of the green space available
  • developing and improving community life
  • working with people to help them think about what they want, hope and need
  • breaking down barriers and involving the whole community.

 For more information about the Fratton Big Local visit: www.frattonbiglocal.org.uk

Not too late to have your say on Solent Deal

On Wednesday 14 September at 7.30pm in the Council Chamber at the Portsmouth Guildhall residents will get a chance quiz the Leader of the Council and have their say on the proposed Solent Deal which aims to create a new Mayoral authority for the Solent area.
The new deal plans to create a combined authority where the councils of Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight work together to promote prosperity over the whole Solent area.
By cooperating on issues like transport and housing, which affect the whole of the Solent, it’s hoped that they can be tackled more effectively.
The creation of a combined authority would also free up access to crucial government funds and powers. £30 million each year for 30 years would be supplied by central government to be invested into the area. The £900 million total that would be made available over the 30 years could be key to fixing some of the area’s major long term issues such as lack of housing and poor transport links.
However there have been concerns raised over the proposed deal.
Some may argue that the creation of new posts, including an elected mayor and two other statutory positions, would create extra bureaucracy costs. Others believe the economic benefits of a combined authority would far outweigh these.
A new directly elected Mayor is also seen by others as unnecessary, and there are fears that it could over-politicise local politics. Unfortunately the Government has made it clear during discussions that the only way to access the new powers and funds is by the creation of a Mayoral Combined Authority. Therefore some local political leaders see the elected mayor as a necessity to improving the future of Portsmouth.
Cllr Stephen Morgan, Labour’s deputy group leader said:
“The formal public consultation on this important proposal for the future of our great city ends on 18 September.
As well as a survey, the meeting this Wednesday allows the opportunity to put your questions directly to the Leader of the Council who has been working with other political leaders in the respective authorities on the deal being struck with central government.
Be sure to have your voice heard”.
More information on the proposals and how you can have your say can be found at http://www.solentdeal.co.uk

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Hundreds attend Heritage Open Days

This weekend hundreds of local people and visitors enjoyed accessing some of the city’s historic gems as part of the Open Heritage Days.
Hidden treasures and well known local attractions flung open their doors to offer an insight into the heritage of Portsmouth.
Cllr Stephen Morgan, the city’s newly-appointed heritage champion joined local people with a marathon-like tour around the city to see the sights.
His visits over the weekend included a tour of the Kings Theatre in Southsea, a trip to see the drill room on Whale Island and HMS Excellent, a trip up to Wymering Manor Portsmouth’s oldest building, Hilsea Lido, a tour round the recently-opened new stage area at the New Theatre Royal and a visit over to the Victorian pumping station at Eastney.


A visit to Eastney Pumping Station

Cllr Morgan said:
“This weekend has shown Pompey at its best. We should be rightly proud of our fantastic heritage and historic assets, and their potential, with suitable investment and care, for the future.
It has been great to meet so many volunteers who gave up their time to open the doors of sites across the city and improve access for all local people. I thank all those involved over the Heritage Open days for their hard work”.
Last week the council’s Cabinet appointed Cllr Morgan the city’s first heritage champion, a new role which aims to generate enthusiasm and awareness for the importance of the historic environment within the local authority and wider community.
Cllr Morgan added:
“This year’s events have been a great success, but too few people knew what was going on. We can change that with the help of others. Next year I want to work with local groups to make Heritage Open Days in Portsmouth even bigger and better”.

Get involved with the Heritage Open Days in Portsmouth this weekend

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pJdn4EQLbU&w=560&h=315]
For more information about what’s on this weekend visit: www.visitportsmouth.co.uk/whats-on

Doors open to show off Portsmouth’s fantastic heritage

Have you ever fancied seeing Mary Rose artefacts that aren’t on display to the public?
Or instead, gaining access to centuries-old fortifications that have never before permitted visitors?
Or a trip to what’s thought to be Portsmouth’s oldest property, which was even mentioned in the Domesday Book….?
Portsmouth is celebrating its rich arrange of historic and heritage assets this weekend by opening up local attractions for the public to see.
All this and more are on offer this weekend, all free, as part of the Heritage Open Days.
Every September some 40,000 volunteers across the country organise 5,000 events to celebrate the nation’s fantastic history, architecture and culture.
Speaking on the eve of the four day festival, national festival patron Loyd Grossman CBE said:
“Let’s open the doors! Heritage Open Days is an exercise in public consciousness. You can’t love and protect something unless you know about it!”
Cllr Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth’s newly-appointed heritage champion said:
“As someone who has lived in this great city all my life I’ve had the opportunity to visit some of the brilliant historic assets we are fortunate to have here in Portsmouth.
This weekend not only provides the opportunity to see some of these for free but also is your chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences.
The Heritage Open Days are a great way to see Pompey at its best and I urge all local people to take advantage of what will be an exciting weekend”.
To see what is open to the public this weekend check out the listings at: www.visitportsmouth.co.uk/whats-on/event-highlights/heritage-open-days


Charles Dickens councillor is Portsmouth’s new heritage champion

 Elected in May 2016, Cllr Stephen Morgan of the Labour group is one of Portsmouth’s newest councillors. 

As a representative for Charles Dickens ward, Cllr Morgan focuses on getting things done today, while exploring ways to improve future opportunities for local people. 
Now, in a brand new role, he will also be responsible for preserving, promoting and getting the best from the city’s past.
The city council has appointed him Portsmouth’s first ever ‘heritage champion’. With a citywide remit, the post has been created to be an advocate for our historic environment.
The council collaborated with Historic England to develop the role, and Cllr Morgan will build close ties with the organisation, and with local community groups and trusts. He will be responsible for generating enthusiasm and awareness, across the council and the community, around the importance of the city’s heritage.
This will include identifying opportunities to promote the historic environment, and ensuring it is properly cared for.
The role is all about inspiring and influencing others, so Cllr Morgan will work closely with the council’s planning and city development team to help shape strategies for historic sites.
He will also be a key point of contact for suggestions about protecting local heritage.
Cllr Morgan’s appointment has been welcomed by the leader of the council’s Labour group, Cllr John Ferrett, who says:
“I’m really pleased that Stephen has been appointed to this role. The city has a remarkable and unique cultural history and its naval heritage is internationally renowned. I’m sure Stephen will bring the drive and energy needed to ensure that the city makes the most of its cultural and heritage assets.”

Cllr Morgan will hit the ground running in his new role this weekend. As heritage champion, he will visit sites across Portsmouth as part of the national Heritage Open Days from 8-16 September.
He is looking forward to getting started. Cllr Morgan says:
“I’m honoured to be Portsmouth’s first Heritage Champion. It would be an important role anywhere but for a city with historic links as strong as ours it is vital.
In my own ward of Charles Dickens we have a fantastic array of heritage assets. 

I am excited to have the opportunity to work with others to see these unlocked, to increase accessibility and their benefit for all local people. 

“There are so many different elements to look at in the champion role and influences from throughout the years and I’m looking forward to learning more and helping safeguard them for the future. 

If you have ideas of how I can do this, or want to help, please get in touch.”

For more information about Stephen’s work as heritage champion, follow www.facebook.com/stephen4portsmouth or visit www.stephenjmorgan.org
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City’s new lottery offers innovative way to support good causes

Last week, the Portsmouth Lottery was launched. In the Spring of 2016, the Labour Group on the city council welcomed the proposal for an innovative way to fund local good causes. We are pleased that robust decisions have been taken about the administration of every aspect.
So what is the Portsmouth Lottery?
Think of it as a bespoke local version of the National Lottery’s Lotto. You buy a ticket to be in with a chance of winning a share of the pot. A big chunk of the money collected is given to good causes.
The success of Team GB at the Rio Olympics, many of whom benefitted from Lotto funding, demonstrates what a positive impact this kind of funding model can make.
The Portsmouth Lottery jackpot is capped at £25,000. There are also smaller prizes. At 50 to one, the odds of a win are significantly better than the Lotto!
Most importantly in the Labour group’s view, the money that goes on good causes is all distributed locally, making a real difference on our doorstep in these hard economic times.
How exactly does it work?
Tickets cost £1. For every ticket bought, 20p goes into the prize pot. 60p goes to local good causes. 20p covers the costs involved in managing and administering the Lottery.
The Lottery is not run by the city council. It is managed by an external company, Gatherwell, which specialises in this field. No taxpayers’ money is being diverted from services to set the project up, and none will be required to maintain it. The small start-up cost is covered by an underspend in the Council’s Resources budget. Ongoing costs will be covered by the administration fee.
Charities, voluntary organisations and other good causes that work in Portsmouth can benefit. Already, more than a dozen have signed up to be considered.
The decision about where to allocate funds will be taken by voluntary groups in collaboration with a cross-party group of councillors. These choices will be made on merit, and independent of council strategies and priorities.
Raising the profile of local charities
Stephen Morgan, deputy leader of the Labour group said:
“Research tells us that whilst many people can name a national charity, two thirds of people are unable to name a local charity.
I’m delighted to be involved with the launch of the new Portsmouth Lottery. Not only does it provide a fantastic opportunity to raise the profile of the local voluntary and community sector and the invaluable work local groups do to improve local life, it also helps raise much needed funds for good causes.
I am happy to support the Portsmouth Lottery because it means more good will be done for the most vulnerable in our city.”
If you are a good cause and would like to benefit, sign up at www.portsmouthlottery.co.uk


Student grants should return to help young people succeed

Scrapped student maintenance grants would be reinstated under a Labour government.
Labour nationally have announced they would also restore the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) for 16-18-year-olds.
The measures would support more than one million young people and increase the number of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds continuing in education. 
The government scrapped maintenance grants for university students in England earlier this year, replacing the payments of around £3,500 with additional loans which will have to be paid back at the end of an undergraduate course, once graduates are earning more than £21,000.
While in 2011 the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition withdrew the Education Maintenance Allowance, a payment of £30 a week to teenagers from poorer families to help them stay in education, and replaced it with a bursary scheme that gives some of the money to schools and colleges.
Proposals would help ensure that all of our young people, whatever their background, are able to succeed in whatever they aspire to and would have a meaningful impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of pupils. 
The number of state-educated pupils going to university and colleges fell by more than six per cent in the first year tuition fees were increased to £9,000, recent data found.
Official new figures recently released by the Department for Education revealed the drop from 66 per cent to 62 per cent between the 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 academic years was part of a nine percentage point drop in state school pupils carrying on into higher education since 2009/2010.
CqPK8CzWYAAenjD-1You can show support for these proposals by signing a petition at: www.labour.org.uk/education-petition