MP meets probation peer support group

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan joined representatives of the Open Door service user group at their weekly meeting earlier this month.

Open Door is a group for offenders and former offenders that is supported by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Rehabilitation Company (HIOW CRC). The group meet weekly at St Luke’s church in Southsea.
Stephen said:
I was pleased to meet members of the Open Door group and hear about the issues facing those on probation. I was impressed by the supportive nature of the group and how proactive the members are.”
Probation staff Rachael Loveridge and Sue Vigar-Taylor also met with the MP and discussed the role the HIOW CRC plays in supporting rehabilitation.
Rachael, network developer for HIOW CRC, said: 
Open Door is a successful peer support group which empowers offenders and former offenders to seek solutions and advice to help them to stop reoffending.
Group members help each other with practical support and accessing local resources. They also become positive role models. The group helps members to integrate into their local community, which is a key principle of our new model of rehabilitation – Interchange.”

Open Door has been running for more than three years. During that time group members have accessed training courses and gained paid employment, found housing and support to maintain a healthy lifestyle and formed positive social networks.
Neil Bailey, Open Door member, said on behalf of the group: 
Stephen listened carefully to what we said and showed that he understood the issues facing people coming out of prison and those supervised in the community.
We spoke about the challenges of finding a job whilst having a criminal record. We felt valued and we were honoured that Stephen took the time to come and meet with us.”


Government are failing UK defence workers

Stephen Morgan MP has called on the Government to increase defence spending and invest it back into the UK industry. This comes after BAE Systems announced plans to cut almost 2,000 jobs, including 340 in Portsmouth due to current uncertainties and lack of confidence in the industry.
By 2020, nearly 25 pence in every pound of defence spending will be in US factories, as confirmed at a briefing with defence workers and Members of Parliament today.
There is serious concern that current defence spending plans are based on significant savings being made despite it not yet being disclosed where these savings are going to fall. The Royal Navy plans to take two minehunters out of service and the Government has refused to rule out decommissioning HMS Bulwark and HMS Albion – the only Navy warships with amphibious capability.
Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, who met with BAE Systems workers in the House of Commons today, said:
Scraping past our NATO-mandated commitment on defence spending is simply not good enough. 2% will not keep our country safe and will not protect jobs. In the 1980s, defence spending was at 5% of GDP, and even as recently as the 1990s it was at 3%.
The Government have repeatedly dodged questions seeking clarification and assurance on the future of our military, the Royal Navy in particular. They’ve refused to give industry the certainty it needs to sustain skill bases and protect jobs.”
There is also growing concern that an increasing reliance on foreign suppliers is weakening the UK’s sovereign capability and providing poor value for money.
The recently announced shipbuilding strategy invites overseas shipyards to bid for contracts for the building of the new Type 31e frigates; in the last decade, approximately 50,000 jobs have been lost from the UK defence manufacturing industry.
Stephen  added:
“The MoD will spend £178bn on defence in the next ten years. All I’m asking is that the Government prioritises investment into our own shipyards and factories, rather than farming out yet more contracts abroad.
I’m seriously concerned about the hollowing out of our sovereign capability. Relying on other nations to supply our military not only threatens UK jobs, but our security too. What’s more, buying British represents great value for money. RUSI estimates that 36 per cent of the value of government orders in the UK defence sector is returned to the Treasury via taxation.
The Government needs urgently to show its commitment to our nation’s defence, and those who work so hard to secure it, by spending more and spending here.”


City MP fights for better deal for Portsmouth schools

Teachers from Portsmouth schools met with City MP Stephen Morgan today with their concerns about the current and future level of school funding in the city.
The National Education Union (NEU) is running a campaign and website demonstrating that 88% of school budgets are being cut by Government in real terms compared with 2015. There is widespread awareness that present and future levels of financial commitment fall well short of what is needed to maintain real terms 2015/16 funding.
£2.8 billion has been cut from school budgets since 2015 and school funding is £2bn a year less than it was.
Under Government plans 92% of the city’s schools are set to lose out. Average pupil funding in Portsmouth will drop by £273.00 per pupil which equates to a -6% reduction.  At Ark Charter Academy in the heart of the city, there is a £650.00 reduction per pupil.
Stephen Morgan MP for Portsmouth South said:
“It was good to welcome local teachers to Parliament today. From what they’ve said, it is clear that school funding is in crisis, and we must have a response from Government which appreciates the magnitude of the problem, and invests accordingly in the country’s future.
In next month’s Budget, I am urging the Chancellor to make sure the right sums are allocated for the Department of Education.
As someone who benefited from Portsmouth’s schools, I won’t rest until they are given a better deal from this Government.
It is high time our city’s schools get the resources they so desperately need to give every single child in Portsmouth the best possible start in life”.


Our police officers and communities deserve better

Police budgets are due to be cut by a further £23 million in the next three years as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) announces rise in violent crime.
Stephen Morgan, Labour MP for Portsmouth South, has expressed his concern at rising crime rates and backed a letter sent by Neighbourhood Watch in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, condemning any further cuts to police budgets.
In the letter, the Neighbourhood Watch Association calls on the Government to reverse cuts to policing and invest more in local forces. 
Since 2010, Hampshire Constabulary has had to make cumulative annual savings of £82million (24%). With further estimated budget cuts of £23million by 2020/21 there is expected to be a significant impact on police capacity.
Margaret Filley, President of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Neighbourhood Watch Association, said:
Hampshire residents are very concerned that front line officer numbers are being reduced and even cover for holidays, absence, maternity leave etc is not available.
With the reductions in other public services, fewer Police officers are dealing with more community problems such as mental health issues. This is not only alarming but dangerous”. 
MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:
Our police officers and support officers and the communities they so bravely serve deserve more from this Government. Over 20,000 police officers and 6,000 community support officers have been axed despite promises to protect the frontline.
I have seen first-hand the impact cuts to policing are having in our great city, with local businesses, families, and, importantly, police officers themselves suffering the consequences.
I will continue to oppose deep Tory cuts to the police and press the Government to provide those who risk their lives to protect ours with the resources they need to do their jobs safely and effectively”.
The Office of National Statistics this week announced that the number of annually recorded crimes in England and Wales has passed 5million for the first time in ten years, rising by 13%. Violent crime rose by 19%, the ONS said.

Stephen Morgan MP, added:
This is the worst possible time to cut police budgets. Whilst officer numbers have fallen to their lowest level in 30 years, the police have also recorded the highest crime rises in a decade. 
Labour will hire extra officers to prioritise neighbourhood policing and bear down on crime and its causes”.

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Portsmouth pup Albert seeks the paw-blic vote 

Stephen Morgan MP’s dog, Albert Attlee, is taking part in the Dog’s Trust and Kennel Club’s Westminster Dog of the Year Competition.
Next Thursday, Albert, the labradoodle owned by Portsmouth South’s MP Stephen Morgan, will compete alongside his fellow parliamentary canines for the public vote to raise awareness of animal welfare issues.
The theme of this year’s event focuses on training and behaviour and the vital skills which all dogs and their owners need to build strong relationships with each other. As well as this, the competition encourages an open dialogue on important dog welfare. 

Stephen Morgan MP, said:
I can’t wait to bring Albert to Parliament to show him off and introduce him to his new colleagues. I hope the morning will be good fun, and ultimately confirm what I have always suspected – that Albert is the greatest dog in history.
But this event also represents a valuable opportunity to raise awareness of dog welfare issues. The Animal and Plant Health Agency in partnership with the Dogs Trust have seized approximately 600 puppies at Dover since their initiative began. We really need tighter controls on puppy smuggling.’
MPs will also be calling for their supporters to vote for their canine companion, in a bid to win the ‘paw-blic’ vote, with additional judging on the day by representatives from Dogs Trust and the Kennel Club, which will review the contestants on their heroic doggy deeds and winning personalities. 
After all the votes have been cast, one lucky pooch will take home the ultimate parliamentary privilege of the ‘Westminster Dog of the Year 2017’ title.
The Westminster Dog of the Year 2017 competition takes place on Thursday 26 October at Victoria Tower Gardens, Westminster. 
The judging panel that will determine which pooch wins the highly desired crown includes last year’s winning dog owner Jonathan Reynolds MP, Stephen Jenkinson of the Kennel Club and Graeme Robertson from Dogs Trust.
You can vote for Portsmouth pup Albert for Westminster Dog of the Year at: www.thekennelclub.org.uk/events/westminster-dog-of-the-year/stephen-morgan-and-albert/


City MP backs new law to protect Portsmouth’s protectors

Portsmouth South’s MP Stephen Morgan is backing a potential new law that would offer more protection for police, firefighters and NHS workers in the city.
Stephen Morgan MP has given his support to a new law being proposed by Chris Bryant MP, which for the first time would make it an aggravated offence to attack an emergency worker.
With 699 police officers and 732 PCSOs assaulted in Hampshire last year and 222 assaults on local NHS workers in 2016, this law aims to help deter people from assaulting the workers who protect our public on a daily basis, and to ensure those that do face tough sanctions.
The new law has support from the Royal College of Nursing, Unison, the Fire Bridges Union, the Police Federation, The British Transport Police and the GMB union.
It comes after Chris Bryant MP came top of the ballot for ‘Private Members Bills’ in Parliament, a mechanism that allows an MP to put forward a proposal to be debated in parliament and potentially made into law. After opening a public vote on which issue to put forward, Mr Bryant went with the majority winner which was this Bill to stop attacks on emergency workers.
Stephen Morgan MP said:
I’m backing the bill to protect our protectors because it’s absolutely unacceptable that the hard-working men and women who work relentlessly day in, day out in our local NHS, Fire and Police services face serious assault and abuse simply for doing their jobs trying to keep us all safe and well.
Any assault on emergency workers is unacceptable, and it’s about time the law reflected the seriousness of attacks on people working for the public good.
Society owes a debt of thanks to our emergency workers, so Parliament now needs to give them the support and protection they need; that’s why I’m backing this important Bill”.
Chris Bryant MP said:
“I’m taking forward this Bill after hearing of the literally thousands of horrifying attacks on our emergency workers every year. No one should be attacked just for doing their job, let alone when that job is putting themselves on the line for the public good.
Passing this Bill will send a clear message that we will not tolerate violence and abuse towards those who protect us, and it will hopefully help stem the tide of this worrying trend of assaults towards them.”


Could you change a child's future?

In National Adoption Week, City MP Stephen Morgan is encouraging local people to consider adoption to help change a child’s life.
Adoption is a lifelong commitment, and one of the most amazing things you can do.  It is about providing a permanent family for children in care who cannot, for whatever reason, return home.
Adopters take on all the rights and responsibilities for the child that birth parents had, offering a child stability, love and security within a family home, throughout their childhood and beyond.
The Portsmouth Adoption Service is a government organisation that recruits adopters from across Hampshire, within 50 miles of Portsmouth city.  They hold regular information sessions twice per month. For anyone thinking of adopting a child or young person, the team try to make the process as quick, clear and seamless as possible.
Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, said:
“Last week it was a pleasure to welcome representatives of the city’s adoption team to the House of Commons, to thank them for all they do to help change children’s lives in our city.
Children need a loving, stable home. They need parents who will stick by them through the good times and the bad. They need support and love to help them overcome their troubled backgrounds, make sense of who they are and grow up to be safe and secure.
Adopting a child is a life-changing experience. It’s one of the most important decisions you could make, and there is support to help anyone who may feel are able to make it.
I would urge anyone considering adoption to get in touch with the team”.
For more information about how you can adopt visit www.adoption.portsmouth.gov.uk/


Stay well this winter urges MP

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has urged those in Portsmouth who are at risk of getting flu to get their free vaccine jab before winter sets in as it emerged that 27,288 missed out on protection last year across the city.
Flu vaccination rates continue to climb across the country, but remain lower than ideal in many areas.
Stephen Morgan’s call comes as the Chief Medical Officer warned last week that flu and complications associated with it cause 8,000 deaths on average a year in England – around 6,000 of which are people with existing heart and lung conditions.
And official figures show that just under 2.9m bed days were lost to flu and pneumonia last year in English hospitals, up almost 280,000 from the previous year – an 11% increase.
In the Portsmouth area last year:

  • 8,800 older people missed out on their jab, and among over-65s with long-term condition which make them more vulnerable to the effects of flu, just 49.5% were vaccinated.
  • A further 12,568 working age people with long-term conditions also didn’t get the vaccine.
  • Thousands of young children (2-4 year olds) also didn’t get the vaccine, including 136 who were classed as being at greater risk.
  • 927 pregnant women with no long-term conditions and 79 pregnant women with long-term conditions also didn’t get protected.

Stephen Morgan MP said:
“Getting the flu can be bad enough for even the fittest of us, but for older people and those with long-term conditions in particular it can cause serious health problems.
Getting the flu jab is free and easy, and offers the best chance of avoiding the flu that we have. I’d therefore urge all those eligible – including all care home staff for the first time – to speak to your GP or local pharmacist and get your vaccination booked in before the cold weather sets in.”
This year, more people than ever – around 21 million – will be offered the vaccination. Children in school year 4 will be offered the vaccine for the first time and children over age 4 in reception year can get their vaccine in school. 
A £10m programme will also see a free vaccination offered to all care home workers via their GP or pharmacist. Official figures show that older people are three times as likely to be admitted to hospital with flu if they live in a care home, with emergency flu and pneumonia admissions from care homes jumping by 16% last year alone to around 29,000.
The national drive marks the start of the Public Health England and NHS England’s joint Stay Well This Winter campaign, which helps the most vulnerable people prepare for winter and avoid having to visit hospital due to common winter illnesses.
NHS England’s National Medical Director for Acute Care, Professor Keith Willett, said:
“Hospitals and GPs are preparing intensively for this winter, and we would remind people of the importance of having a flu vaccination.
There are 21 million people eligible this year, but last year eight million people missed out and that is something we can all definitely change.”
More information on eligibility for the flu jab, and other tips on staying well this winter, can be found at www.nhs.uk/staywell

Statement by City MP on plans for city centre 

Responding to plans for city centre improvements in Portsmouth, local councillor and city MP Stephen Morgan said:
“I welcome any proposal to transform our city centre so that we can attract the much needed investment to put the heart back into it. 
We need an imaginative scheme that provides a range of much needed homes for local people, and a vibrant and competitive retail offer that brings in private investment. We also need good quality office accommodation to help businesses of all sizes thrive and grow again in the heart of our city. 
This project gives us an opportunity to reinvigorate our local economy and create well paid jobs for local people. I’m keen to ensure that it also puts the best principles of sustainability into practice so that we reduce the environmental impact of congestion and pollution on local communities.
Sadly though our great city isn’t getting its fair share from central government. The Tories must now prioritise Portsmouth and give the city the investment it so desperately needs so that we can work with business to create sustainable prosperity for future generations.
These proposals have been a long time coming and I’m happy to work with others to make them a reality. 
Now is the time to crack on and make our city centre a destination again. The council must now get on with that job”.


We need more ambitious action on climate change

Labour is scrutinising the government’s climate change plan as action on climate change is crucial to ensure the UK is protected from extreme weather events like flooding. But it is also an opportunity to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the UK. Our low carbon industries employ over 230,000 people full time and create a £43billion turnover in the economy.
After many delays, today the Government finally announced its Clean Growth Strategy. Pressure from Labour succeeded in getting the Government to finally publish this document.
Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, said:
“Labour have been pushing for months for the Government to release this long delayed plan. They have an abysmal track record of cancelling support for renewable energy and watering down building standards.
Climate change is an incredibly important issue. That’s why Labour is right to  scrutinise the government’s new climate change plans to make sure they will deliver the clean sustainable future we need”.
Now that a new plan has been published, Stephen wants to ensure the UK Government keeps its promises, achieves agreed targets and delivers a low carbon economy.
He added:
“I will keep fighting for Portsmouth South securing investment in our sustainable businesses, clean energy industries and the sustainable jobs of the future.”