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MP pays tribute to local family as they call for action on Cystic Fibrosis

Stephen Morgan MP says he is proud to back Ivy and her family as they deliver letters to the Prime Minister
MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, has given his support to a city family today as they delivered more than 1,000 letters from sufferers of Cystic Fibrosis to Downing Street.
The letters, written by children across the UK, call for the Government to urgently provide access to new treatments for Cystic Fibrosis.
Cystic Fibrosis is the UK’s most common life-threatening genetic condition that affects the lungs, digestive system and other organs. The build-up of mucus in the lungs causes chronic infections, meaning that people with cystic fibrosis struggle with reduced lung function. The average age of those with CF who died last year, was just 28.
Two years ago, a precision medicine called Orkambi, was approved for use by the EMA that can extend lives by treating the root cause of CF.
In July 2016, NICE recognised Orkambi as an ‘important treatment’ for CF, but refused Orkambi based on lack of long term data and the cost.
They stated that they would review the drug again, should any new data or reimbursement scheme be proposed. Campaigners are asking that NICE and Department of Health and Social Care review Orkambi again now; as there is now further data that was not included in the July 2016 review, and that Vertex have put forward a ‘bold new offer’ in terms of reimbursement.
Stephen has written to the Secretary of State for Health and met with Ian Austin, MP for Dudley North, who hosted a roundtable meeting with representatives from Vertex and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
Stephen Morgan MP said:
‘I’m pleased to hear that, following the Westminster Hall debate earlier this year, NHS England and Vertex have had a constructive meeting.
Having written to the Secretary of State, I am encouraged that there is political will for finally securing results for the 10,400 people with CF in the UK.
But children like Ivy shouldn’t have to wait for treatment whilst corporations and Governments go around in circles on funding.
People with cystic fibrosis are being denied access to vital new precision treatments, including Orkambi, that NICE recommendations show add years to their lives.
I hope that in delivering the letters to Downing Street today Ivy can show the Government just how urgent this is.’

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MPs take big step towards a plastic-free Parliament

House of Commons will ban sale of plastic water bottles after campaign from MPs including Portsmouth’s Stephen Morgan
Parliament will end the use of plastic sachets and sales of mineral water in plastic bottles as MPs seek to dramatically reduce the Westminster’s plastic waste.
The list of new measures, announced by the Commons Administration Committee, have come following a long-term campaign from a group of MPs including Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan.
From coffee cups and straws to plastic bags and water bottles, these integrated measures will virtually eliminate single-use avoidable plastics from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, replacing them with compostable alternatives or reusable options. This holistically designed approach to improving sustainability will minimise single-use plastic consumption across Parliament.
The key changes that will be implemented over the next 12 months include:
• Ending sales of mineral water in plastic bottles.
• Introducing a 25p charge for hot drinks purchased in disposable take away coffee cups (for a trial period).
• Selling re-usable coffee cups at competitive prices in catering outlets.
• Incentivising the use of reusable cups at Catering venues across the entire estate.
• Eliminating condiment sachets in the House of Commons by introducing condiment dispense units.
• Switching the non-recyclable catering disposable items such as coffee cups, cutlery and straws with compostable alternatives which can be recycled.
• Introducing a third bin system in offices to ensure the compostable items are separated effectively to enable them to be recycled.
• Substitute plastic tumblers with compostable cups across the estate.
• Substitute plastic carrier bags with paper ones in retail outlets.
• Implementing a ‘green stationery’ catalogue.
• Issuing revised guidance to assist House staff to score the environmental impact of packaging within relevant procurement exercises.
• Piloting a re-usable packaging ‘totes’ scheme at the Off-site Consolidation Centre (OSCC) for deliveries to the Estate.
In 2017 the House of Commons used almost 700,000 coffee cups, 733,000 pieces of plastic cutlery, and 334,800 condiment sachets.
Stephen Morgan MP, said:
‘I am delighted our campaigning has paid off with this important first step in tackling single use avoidable plastics in Parliament.
It’s vitally important that, as the people who set the rules on environmental issues we in Parliament also set an example.
The Commons must lead the way in environmental sustainability and I look forward to continuing the campaign in Portsmouth’.

City MP opens Mental Health Awareness Week at Hampshire Festival of the Mind

Portsmouth South MP delivers keynote address at Cathedral to mark start of Mental Health Awareness Week
The Government must match Labour’s pledge to ringfence mental health spending if they are to be taken seriously on mental health, says MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan.
Speaking at the opening of Hampshire Festival of the Mind at Portsmouth Cathedral, Mr Morgan said that ‘services are shrinking at a time when demand is rising’.
Analysis by the Royal College of Psychiatrist found that mental health services have less money to spend on patient care in real terms than they did in 2012 and the first part of the CQC’s Thematic Review found that children and young people are waiting up to 18 months to receive treatment for their mental health conditions.
Stephen Morgan MP, said:
‘It was a pleasure to speak at Portsmouth Festival of the Mind today.
Amidst all the problems we face, this event seeks to share information about what’s going on locally and celebrate the resilience and perseverance of small community and peer led projects alongside the larger agencies and organisations.
Mental health should be a top priority for Government. The Tories should follow Labour’s lead and commit to increase the proportion of the mental health budget spent on children and young people and ensure that access to a counselling service is available for all children in secondary schools’.
Hampshire Festival of the Mind takes place across Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight, Gosport and Havant and runs until June. For more information, visit: http://goodmentalhealth.org.uk/hampshire-festival-of-the-mind/
 
 

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Portsmouth MP welcomes call for all Navy ships to be built in UK

‘Buying British means buying Portsmouth’, says Stephen Morgan MP, as Labour calls for Government to back UK shipyards
MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan has welcomed the announcement from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn that his party are calling for all future Royal Navy and Fleet Auxiliary ships to be built in the United Kingdom.
New Fleet Solid Support ships are needed to service the Portsmouth-based £6.3 billion Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers and their strikeforce of new F-35 fighter planes.
The Government’s current policy is to build all Royal Navy warships in the UK but orders for RFA ships are put out to international tender. But Ministers are not bound by normal EU rules on competitive tendering when it comes to military ships.
Shipbuilding and ship repair employment in Great Britain has fallen from an estimated 122,200 in 1981 to under 32,000 in 2016 – threatening the UK’s sovereign defence manufacturing capability.
UK shipbuilding and repair contribute over £2 billion and 30,000 jobs to the economy. The union GMB estimates that £285 million would be returned to the taxpayer through income tax, national insurance contributions and lower welfare payments by keeping these contacts in the UK.
Concerns have also been raised that putting defence contracts out to tender abroad poses a serious long-term threat to national security.
Stephen Morgan MP, said:
‘Whilst the Tories continue to hollow out our sovereign capability by sending defence contracts abroad, Labour’s pledge to build all Navy ships here in the UK will strengthen our military and protect Portsmouth jobs.  
I’ve long been fighting for defence contracts to be awarded to our great city, it’s what’s best for our economy and security, and it’s welcome that the Leader of the Opposition agrees.
The Tories promised to bring shipbuilding back to our great city, only to abandon this pledge after the election.
But Labour won’t leave Portsmouth behind. We’re the home of the Royal Navy and have a proud military heritage; It’s clear that buying British means buying Portsmouth.’
 

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Social care sector needs funding, and funding fast, say PAC and Portsmouth MP

PAC reports urgent action also required to reverse care work’s poor public image and boost recruitment and retention
The adult social care sector is underfunded, with the care workforce suffering from low pay, low esteem and high turnover of staff, according to a newly released report from Parliament’s oldest select committee.
The Public Accounts Committee, of which Portsmouth South MP is a member, says the Department does not know whether the ways that local authorities commission care, and the prices they pay providers, are contributing to the problems within the care workforce.
The care sector is in a precarious state but the Department of Health and Social Care (the Department) has not yet said how it intends to put in place a long-term, sustainable funding regime to meet the ever-increasing demand for care.
The PAC also reports that the UK’s departure from the EU is causing uncertainty over how the workforce will be sustained, particularly in areas that are more reliant on non-UK workers.
There is an urgent need to reverse the poor public image that care work has to boost recruitment and retention across the care sector, as well as concern that the move to supporting people with substantive and critical care needs only is contributing to growing levels of unmet need for people with moderate care needs. These moderate needs may well grow into substantial or critical needs if support is not given.
The Department has committed to addressing all these issues through the health and care workforce strategy that it is currently consulting on, and the promised Green Paper on funding of care for older adults.
But given the pressures on the sector, there is concern that the Department sees the Green Paper as a cure all and underestimates the scale of the challenge.
Stephen Morgan MP, commented:
Social care is a vitally important sector that urgently needs a proper plan for its funding and staffing. Stop-gap solutions are no longer enough to keep social care going. The Government must, as a matter of priority, come up with a funding plan that is sustainable, long-term, and addresses growing pressures.
We also need to see social care workers treated and paid in a way that more truly reflects their immense value, the care of our elderly and vulnerable depends on it.’
Chair of the PAC, Meg Hillier, said:
‘Adult social care needs sustainable funding and a stable workforce. The sector is scraping by and without an explicit, long-term plan backed by Government it could soon be on its knees.
Levels of unmet need are high and rising; short-term funding fixes are a road to nowhere and the ingrained issues that lead to high turnover in the workforce could be compounded by Brexit.
Government should not content itself with councils’ ability simply to meet the legal minimum for care provision.
Nor should it seek solace in measures that risk opening a prolonged debate on the challenges facing the sector. Those challenges are already well-documented, clear and pressing.
We urge Government to publish this year, and then implement, a credible long-term funding plan for care.
This must go hand-in-hand with financial and other support to improve the recruitment, development and retention of the care workforce.
Skills for Care summed it up when it described perceptions of care work as a minimum wage sector as ‘a source of national shame’.
This skilled and vital work transforms people’s lives. It could and should be a source of national pride and we urge Government to give swift and serious consideration to the recommendations set out in our report.’

New Portsmouth Labour team hit the ground running

Portsmouth’s new Labour team visited Parliament yesterday to meet with city MP Stephen Morgan and key members of the Shadow Cabinet
The visit to the House of Commons follows three gains at last week’s local elections and Labour’s share of the vote increasing by 12%, the highest of all political parties in Portsmouth.
New councillors Tom Coles, George Fielding and Judith Smyth, joined Cllr Yahiya Chowdhury in meeting the group leader and Portsmouth South Member of Parliament Stephen Morgan.
The group met with Andrew Gwynne, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Angela Rayner, Shadow Education Secretary, and deputy party leader Tom Watson.
Topics high on the list for discussion included better funding for Portsmouth, more resources for local schools, and ending Tory and Lib Dem austerity. Under the Tories, local government has been cut by over 40%, our city’s schools are set to lose £3.6m, and 1,000 police officers have been lost already.
Stephen Morgan MP said:
It’s so good to have a growing Labour team in Portsmouth. Working together, we will stand up for the public services we all rely on, both on the council and up in Westminster. 

The Government have their head in the sand over so many issues coming up on the doorstep in our great city and it’s great to have new councillors elected to fight for a fairer city which works for everyone”.
Andrew Gwynne, Shadow Communities Secretary added:
It was a pleasure to catch up with the new Labour councillor team and congratulate them on last week’s election results. 

I wasn’t surprised to see Labour in Portsmouth gaining in wards we have never won in before, and making significant progress in others, putting the party in a great place for future elections.

I will be working with Stephen on taking forward the ideas we discussed and know the team will serve Portsmouth well”.

PAC: Departments have no clear plan in face of impossible Brexit challenge

Committee Member and Portsmouth MP voices concern that continued uncertainty is sinking Whitehall’s planning capacity
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for International Trade (DIT) face an unprecedented challenge in preparing for Brexit, according to the cross-party Public Accounts Committee.
Portsmouth South MP and member of the PAC, Stephen Morgan, has said key Government Departments are still without coherent plans for post-Brexit Britain, almost two years after the referendum.
But the new report from Parliament’s oldest select committee says they are being hampered by the pervasive uncertainty about the UK’s future relationship with the EU, which leaves not only departments but also businesses in the dark about exactly what they need to do to prepare.
This means that Defra, in particular, is having to work up options for the three different scenarios – deal, no deal or transition. This is time consuming and costly. It also has to navigate new legislation and major IT programmes in very short time.
The committee is concerned about how realistic the departments’ plans for Brexit are, especially where new IT systems are required. But both departments appear optimistic that they can deliver what’s required to be ready for March 2019, whatever the outcome of the negotiations.
There is a lot at stake – a functioning trade policy is vital and if the UK leaves the single market and customs union there need to be clear alternatives in place or business and the economy will suffer.
MPs from all parties reported that DIT appears to have adopted a free trade policy but business needs time to adapt and there are still many uncertainties with no clear timetable for changes. Defra has said it will fall back on to manual systems as it seeks to deliver all that it needs to for Brexit, but this could impede or at least slow down imports and exports causing severe delays at the border.
Stephen Morgan MP, said:
‘The Government is running out of time to get its house in order on Brexit. Too many departments have too little idea of what arrangements will be made after we leave the EU.
Defra and DIT have no clear plan or even priorities as our country faces some of the most critical changes in recent political history. It’s not good enough and taxpayers deserve far better.’
Deputy Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, and Conservative MP, Sir Geoffrey Clifton Brown, said:
‘We welcome the Government’s confirmation that there are 325 workstreams, an increase from the initial 313 that were published in the National Audit Office’s report of November 2017.
Whilst it is useful to have an idea of the substantive areas that each department is working on to prepare for Brexit, at some stage Parliament needs to be given the opportunity to see how well prepared the Government is in its infrastructure and resources to successfully carry out this process.’
 
 
 

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Fratton’s new councillor and City MP praise work at Kingston Rec

The sunshine is back and Kingston Rec off St Marys Road reopened to the public ahead of an official reopening next month – with families across Fratton and beyond enjoying the new facilities.
Cllr Tom Coles, Fratton’s new ward councillor paid the park a visit this weekend with his family and city MP Stephen Morgan.
Fratton Big Local created a new design with additions like a double zip wire and a water play area in consultation with local people. The transformation was made possible though local grants ensuring the £300,000 met local demands.
Cllr Tom Coles said:
Our park has been transformed and will be the envy of every community in Portsmouth. I encourage every Fratton family to pay it a visit.

My thanks to Anna and the team at Fratton Big Local for delivering yet another successful project for our community”.
Stephen Morgan MP added:
“It was a pleasure to pop back and see the completed works at the Kingston Rec on a sunny day following a wander round on a wet day in April.

Being the park I went to growing up in Fratton, I’m hugely proud of those who have made this important project a success.

I look forward to working with the team to continue their good work”.

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Government must act on city’s air pollution

Portsmouth has some of the worst air pollution levels in the UK data has revealed.
The World Health Organisation has this week published figures which identifies 47 towns and cities across the country which match or exceed limits of air pollution.
Air pollution has an impact on people’s respiratory systems and can lead to health problems.
Portsmouth currently sits on the WHO’s air pollution limit of 10 micrograms per cubic metre, with Southampton on the same list.
Stephen Morgan MP has been raising concerns about the city’s air pollution levels in Parliament and will be working with Portsmouth Labour’s new councillors to tackle it.
He said:
“Our city’s air pollution is a huge concern. Yet when I have raised this with Government Ministers they’ve failed to act.
The government needs to stop shunting this problem on to local authorities and work with councils to finally tackle illegal air pollution”.


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Labour can win here – again!

Portsmouth Labour made progress towards taking back control of the city council this week, following a series of successful results across the city.
Labour candidates were elected in Fratton, Central Southsea and St Jude wards, with the share of the vote up +12% according to analysis by the BBC.
The party also did well, but did not win, in a number of other wards across the city, narrowly losing in Paulsgrove, beating the Lib Dems to second place in Eastney and Craneswater and helping to make St Thomas ward a three-way marginal for further local elections next year.
In St Jude, Cllr Judith Smyth made history being the first ever Labour councillor for the ward following Stephen Morgan’s historic general election victory in the constituency last year. George Fielding unseated the longstanding Lib Dem councillor overturning a significant majority, whilst local man Tom Coles took the seat for Labour in Fratton.
The Labour Group is now five strong with Cllrs Smyth, Fielding and Coles joining Cllr Yahiya Chowdhury and Cllr Stephen Morgan MP.
Stephen Morgan MP said:
“This year’s local elections for us were about demonstrating we could build on the historic win in Portsmouth South at last year’s general election.
 
I am over the moon we have taken seats from both the Tories and Lib Dems by offering a credible alternative to their running of the city over the years.
I look forward to working with the team to deliver on the promises we made on the doorstep and taking action to build a fairer city which works for everyone”.
Cllr George Fielding, Central Southsea ward councillor, said:
“These elections were an opportunity to tell the Tories and Lib Dems that they have ran the city for too long.
 
We ran a positive campaign across the whole city offering residents a plan which would ensure a team who would stand up for our schools, our police and help protect local services.
I’m delighted the people of Central Southsea have put their trust in me and other new Labour councillors”.
Portsmouth South wards saw Labour’s share of the vote the highest of all political parties in the city at 35%.