We must see an end to hospital parking charges

Labour MP for Portsmouth South has responded to news that hospital trusts in Hampshire have raked in more than £5.6m this year by charging for parking.
Stephen Morgan MP said:
“After listening to patients, their families and patient advocacy groups, I know how frustrated people can be about hospital parking charges on our area.
These charges are an unnecessary burden on our families. Our hospitals are struggling from underfunding at the hands of Theresa May’s Conservative government, but the gap should not be filled by charging sick patients, anxious relatives and already hard-pressed NHS staff for an essential service.
That’s why I back Labour’s pledge to end hospital parking charges”.

City MP pays tribute to Portsmouth’s veterans

Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, hosted a Christmas reception on Friday at his new constituency office to pay tribute to all those who have served the nation in the armed forces.
The event, which also saw representatives from local groups who support ex-service personnel in attendance, saw veterans from across the city join the reception for festive refreshments and entertainment from Craneswater Junior School choir.
Stephen Morgan MP said:
“I’m hugely proud of our city’s rich military heritage, with Portsmouth the home of the Royal Navy. 
We’re also home to a wide range of excellent charitable and community organisations supporting ex-service personnel and their families. 
The least I could do this Christmas was to throw open the doors to the new constituency office and thank our great city’s veterans.
It was so good to see so many people who have served our nation over the decades come together and get into the festive spirit”.

Portsmouth South MP’s Christmas praise to our Posties

Stephen Morgan thanks postal workers on tour of delivery office.
Stephen Morgan, MP for Portsmouth South, got an early start today as he visited postal workers at the Royal Mail Delivery Office at Voyager Park. The Labour MP toured the facility with Southsea postie Liam Turish and spoke with postal workers as they approach the climax of the Christmas rush.
Today alone the delivery office will deal with over 20,000 parcels for residents in Portsmouth.
Stephen said:
“Portsmouth’s postal workers work day in, day out, through some treacherous weather conditions to provide an invaluable service for our local community.
It was fantastic to be up bright and early this morning to go and see first-hand the hard work being done by staff at the delivery office and across Portsmouth.
The festive period is inevitably an incredibly busy time of year for our posties and on behalf of everyone in our great city I want to give them our sincere thanks for all they do for Portsmouth and wish them a very happy Christmas”.

City MP thanks local charities

Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, has used Local Charities Day to thank all those who work or volunteer for the city’s charitable sector.
Local Charities Day, held on Friday 15 December aims to highlight the work of small charities that are making remarkable differences in their communities.
The Lloyds Bank Foundation has published a report highlighting the challenges faced by small charities and has called for the government to also tackle the issues holding the sector back.
Stephen Morgan MP said:
“Research tells us that two thirds of people are unable to name a local charity, yet often it is these small, grassroots organisations that make the biggest difference to people’s lives.
That’s why days like today are so important, because they allow us to shine a spotlight on the unsung heroes in our communities and celebrate the commitment of those people who devote their time to improving the lives of others.
I thank all those working on the frontline in our city for their efforts in tackling disadvantage and delivering positive change in Portsmouth”.
Anything that celebrates and highlights the important contribution made by small and local charities is welcomed by Stephen, a former charity chief executive, but government must do more to support these vital organisations.
Stephen regularly visits local charities in his constituency and this Friday was delighted to join Churches Homeless Action as part of their Christmas campaign fundraising event at St Mary’s in Fratton.
At the event local charities were present as well as Portsmouth Churches Housing Association, Portsmouth Domestic Abuse Service, the LifeHouse and the EC Roberts Centre who have benefited from the fundraising.
The Labour MP for Portsmouth South, added:
Homelessness has more than doubled in our great city in recent years and it has often been left to our brilliant local charities to step up and fill the void. Smaller organisations remain vital in providing invaluable support.
It was fantastic to attend the event with local charities by Churches Homeless Action today. They are a prime example of the powerful impact our community can have in tackling the greatest issues of social justice we face today.
They do, however, need our support too and I will be keeping the pressure up on Government to do far more to help local charities on the frontline in our city and across the UK”.

Drive for equality impact assessments supported

Labour have secured an important three hour debate on Equality Impact Assessments for the Committee of the Whole House of the Finance Bill next Tuesday.
The party have tabled a ‘New Clause’ to require the Chancellor of the Exchequer to ‘carry out and publish a review of the effects of the provisions of the Bill on equality in relation to households with different levels of income, people with protected characteristics, the Treasury’s public sector equality duty and on a regional basis’.
Labour have also tabled a second New Clause to require the Office for Budgetary Responsibility to carry out a review of the effects of the provisions of the Bill on equality in relation to households with different levels of income, people with protected characteristics, the Treasury’s public sector equality duty and on a regional basis.
Dawn Butler MP, Shadow Equalities Secretary said:
“Despite Theresa May herself warning in 2010 that cuts would disproportionality impact on those with protected characteristics, her government continues to pursue an economic agenda based on discrimination and inequality which has hit women the hardest”.
Stephen Morgan MP said:
“It’s hugely important that budgets are audited to understand their impact on communities, so that equality is at the heart of economic policy-making. Labour’s actions on this have my full support”.

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New charity to tackle isolation backed by City MP

The Good Company – Portsmouth, a newly registered charity which aims to tackle the growing issue of loneliness and isolation, is being backed by city MP, Stephen Morgan, a long-term advocate for more action to tackle this social problem.
The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South has been invited, and accepted, to be the new charity’s honorary ‘patron’ it was announced today by the charity.
Good Company-Portsmouth, whose coffee shop ‘Home Coffee’ is based on Albert Road, reaches out to and provides support for members of the community who might be suffering from loneliness.
Last year, Good Company opened the doors to its coffee shops in Southsea and Cosham to offer free coffee and companionship to those who would otherwise be alone on Christmas Day. They will be doing the same this year, keeping tills closed and encouraging anyone feeling lonely over the festive period to come pop in.
Through its coffee shop, dedicated staff, and community network, the charity seeks to tackle a growing crisis in our city and across the country – that of loneliness and isolation.
A study by The Co-op and the British Red Cross reveals over 9 million people in the UK across all adult ages – more than the population of London – are either always or often lonely. Across Portsmouth and our nation a number of groups and charities are doing their bit to tackle the issue.
Stephen Morgan MP, said:
“I was really honoured to be approached by the team at Good Company to become patron of this brilliant new charity. As my colleague Rachel Reeves MP said just yesterday, loneliness truly is one of the great evils of our society today.
I’ve seen first-hand the power of what Good Company is doing in connecting and supporting socially and economically isolated people in our great city. Seeing how they are harnessing the talents and generosity of our community gives me great hope for the wider challenges we face in tackling loneliness.
I look forward supporting the team and this important cause as they go from strength to strength. Good Company is exactly the kind of project that makes me so proud to represent Portsmouth”.
A spokesperson for the Good Company – Portsmouth, added:
“We can’t thank Stephen enough for this honour and all his support. This will truly help us reach more people this Christmas and throughout the year”.
A patron is someone who agrees to lend their name to an organisation as a way of supporting its cause. To find out more about the Good Company – Portsmouth, and to get involved, visit: www.facebook.com/goodcompanyportsmouth

Portsmouth teachers forced to fund pupils’ supplies, City MP tells Minister

Stephen Morgan MP has raised concerns in the House of Commons today over the adequacy of funding for school buildings and worrying research suggesting that 94% of teachers are paying for essential classroom supplies, according to a National Education Union/TES report.
Member of Parliament, Stephen Morgan, used Education Questions to highlight recent research which found that 94% of teachers are being forced to purchase basic school supplies for their pupils, including in his constituency of Portsmouth South.
Mr Morgan told the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening, and her minister, the Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP, that ‘hard-working staff at schools in Portsmouth are buying glue sticks’ for children in the city and asked whether the Minister ‘still maintains that Portsmouth schools have enough money and resources?’
According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Government education cuts will mean a 4.6 per cent cuts for schools between 2015 and 2018. The severity of cuts means there are over half a million primary-age children now in large classes over 30, with around 40,000 pupils being taught in classes of 36 or more.
Stephen Morgan MP, said:
“Local schools in Portsmouth are raising numerous issues with me ranging from lack of funding for essential school building works, to a lack of funding for vital equipment.
We are seeing budgets cuts for our schools for the first time in twenty years and this is having a devastating impact in our city. I remain committed to giving our schools a strong voice in Westminster.
It is absolutely disgraceful that children are having to rely on the generosity of staff in order to receive basic supplies such as pencils and glue-sticks. What is particularly outrageous is that the Tories are passing the buck to overstretched teachers whose pay they continue to cap below inflation.
The response I received from the Government today was typically disappointing. Instead of answering my question, the Minister simply talked about parents paying for school trips and changes to the curriculum.  Children and teachers in Portsmouth are facing a real crisis and deserve far better”.

City MP goes out with out-of-hours GP service

A city Member of Parliament spent a cold December night going out seeing firsthand how the city’s health and care services work together to improve the health and wellbeing of local people.
Stephen Morgan MP had a tour around QA Hospital’s Accident and Emergency department on Friday with the lead consultant and the hospital trust’s chief executive, then joined a GP in a medic’s car visiting patients as part of the out-of-hours service.
The MP spent the night with a local GP going to residents homes and shadowing the professional to understand the liaison between 111, paramedics and other health services, to understand the pressures these services are under.
Stephen said:
“It was hugely helpful to get tour around A&E and go out on visits with doctors to understand how this important service works in our city and surrounding area.
I was impressed with how the out-of-hours service eases the pressure on our emergency department at QA as patients who visit A&E but do not need emergency treatment can be quickly directed to a GP or other medical support, and patients in the GP service who are diagnosed with a serious illness can be quickly admitted to hospital.
By different parts of our health and social care system working together it’s really possible to improve care and safety for all patients.”
The out-of-hours service is for urgent problems that cannot wait until a GP surgery opens. It offers advice and assessment when a GP surgery is closed. Patients are advised how best to care for themselves at home, referred to the most appropriate service to meet needs or asked to wait until surgery opening hours.

Stephen is the first MP in our area to go out with a GP and see the service in this way.

He added:
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank those dedicated and hard working health professionals I met whilst shadowing the team. I’ll be taking back the experience to inform debates in Parliament and to continue to stand up for our local health services”.

City MP hosts event on state pension age change

Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, is continuing his support for women born in the 1950s who have faced pension injustice from the Government.
On Friday, Stephen hosted an information and drop-in event for the public with Solent WASPI and Portsmouth Citizens Advice for anyone facing difficulty due to changes to the state pension age.
Stephen agrees with campaigners that women born in the 1950s need action now from the Government to end the pension injustice.
Labour proposed in their manifesto an extension of pension credit to all those affected from the 1995 state pension age timetable. This would provide hundreds of thousands of women with up to £156 per week. They have repeatedly called on the Government to implement this costed measure.

Stephen Morgan MP said:
“Over 9,000 in Portsmouth are affected by the change in pension age. It is essential a resolution is found for those affected.
I will continue to work with Portsmouth women and local groups to right the wrong that they have been dealt.
It is vital that the necessary and appropriate transitional protections to end this injustice are put in place”.
Solent WASPI said:
“We are grateful for Stephen Morgan MP’s continued support to our efforts and willingness to help women affected by the change in state pension age.
This event helped raise the profile of the issue and provide much needed advice to local women”.

Proud day for Portsmouth as Queen Elizabeth commissions carrier

Stephen Morgan MP today attended the commissioning of the new Aircraft Carrier by HM Queen Elizabeth II.
Labour MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, has welcomed Her Majesty the Queen to his hometown for the commissioning of the first of the Royal Navy’s new Aircraft Carriers.
Stephen joined Armed Forces personnel and their families, alongside the First Sea Lord, as Her Majesty boarded her namesake ship for the official ceremony marking the vessel’s entry into service.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is the largest and most expensive ship in the history of the Royal Navy. She is part of the newly developed Carrier Strike Group and will be joined by her sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, which will also be based in Portsmouth.
The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Phillip Jones, said:
“We have been on a long, complicated – but committed – journey to get to this point and commissioning the ship is a key milestone. The point of the big grey ship is it’s enormously big, flexible, capable, and adaptable”.
Stephen Morgan MP, added:
“This is an immensely proud day for our great city and a transformational moment in the defence of our nation.
It was a real privilege to be on board for Her Majesty the Queen’s official acceptance of the Carrier.

I’d like to thank everyone whose hard work has gone into making the construction and commissioning of HMS QE such a success as well the 700 strong crew who I know will so ably serve her and our nation.
In Portsmouth’s long history as the home of the Royal Navy, this is by far the largest and most advanced ship we’ve ever had the honour to have based in our dockyard. The new aircraft carriers will be at the centre of a revolutionised maritime capability and a new era in UK naval defence”.