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‘Portsmouth against school cuts’ needs your help

Already stretched city schools and colleges across Portsmouth are set to lose a staggering £3.7m under the Tory government, meaning more cuts and reductions to key equipment for children and young people.

Long-time campaigner against these cuts Stephen Morgan MP is now calling on local people to help him in pushing the Prime Minister into action so that Portsmouth’s schools have the resources they need. One of the simple ways he’s asking for support is by asking residents to back the campaign by displaying a poster in their window at home.

Why is this campaign needed?

Last month’s Autumn budget saw the Government failing to listen to a growing number of teachers, parents and campaigners over their concerns on the schools and colleges funding crisis. Rather than the Chancellor tackling the issue head on, instead he offered only insulting ‘little extras’ to schools.

This was the Government’s opportunity to change course and properly fund education in Portsmouth. Yet instead the Prime Minister and her team offered:

  • No money whatsoever to plug the gaps in core school budgetsNationally 17,942 schools faced cuts before the budget; 17,942 schools still face cuts after. In Portsmouth 50 out of 56 schools are affected.
  • No money for children with special educational needs and disabilities – Children with special educational needs and disabilities need urgent education funding – more than 2,000 children with SEND are still awaiting provision. This year’s budget made no attempt to address the crisis in SEND.
  • “Little extras” for school buildings and equipment. The Chancellor only announced one-off capital funding. The school capital budget was down from £7.6bn in 2010 to £5.2bn before the budget. With Hammond’s little extras, it will be back up, but only to £5.6bn, and it’ll be back down to £4.5bn by 2020.

Local MP Stephen Morgan has been calling on the Government to give more resources to support Portsmouth schools.

After visiting lots of local schools and colleges he has launched with community campaigners and unions the ‘Portsmouth Against School Cuts Campaign’, encouraging local people and groups to work together to stop the £3.7m of cuts to the city’s schools.

The campaign builds on Stephen’s tireless efforts to get the Government to listen on school funding in Portsmouth, and follows questions raised with the Prime Minister, her Ministers, letters to the Department of Education and engaging with parents, teachers and teaching unions in the city.

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Stephen Morgan MP with Cllr Tom Coles outside a school in Fratton

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“I’m hearing again and again when I visit Portsmouth schools, or meet teachers and support staff, how stretched our schools and colleges are.

Last month the Chancellor had the chance to do something about this, but sadly he failed Portsmouth yet again.

I urge local people to join me with the Portsmouth Against Schools Cuts campaign, by getting in touch with your concerns, sharing with me the impact cuts are having on your child’s school, or simply taking one of my campaign posters to display in your window at home.

I will continue to raise local concerns in Parliament. I won’t give up until the Government acts and gives Portsmouth schools and colleges the resources they need”.

UnknownHow can you help?

There’s four simple things you can do to help our campaign in Portsmouth:

  1. Download Stephen’s Portsmouth Against School Cuts campaign poster here or email him at stephen.morgan.mp@parliament.uk to get a copy to you.
  2. Find out how Government cuts will affect your local school by visiting the school cuts website here 
  3. Write directly to the Education Secretary Damian Hinds MP at the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA with your concerns about Portsmouth’s schools
  4. Show your support on social media by sharing posts and tweets about Stephen’s campaign with the hashtag #portsmouthschoolsagainstcuts

Together lets stop the £3.7m of Tory cuts to Portsmouth’s schools

 

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MP says city can’t wait for action on bus cuts after meeting with First Bus Chief

Late running service from City Council needs to change, according to Stephen Morgan MP

MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, has called for City Council chiefs to step up and work with First Bus to replace bus services lost in the latest round of cuts.

Mr Morgan yesterday met again with Marc Reddy, Managing Director of the bus company, to raise constituents concerns and discuss cooperation with officials to find solutions to recent lost services. 

In line with statute, First Bus first notified the city council of planned changes affecting Old Portsmouth, Southsea and Tipner in June, but they have yet to announce any formal plans for mitigation.

Earlier this year, a Campaign for Better Transport report showed funding for supported buses has been halved in the last eight years.

Mr Morgan has raised the issue of bus services directly with Ministers in the House of Commons.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“It was really useful to meet again with the Managing Director of First Bus to share views raised with me by constituents over changes to local bus services.

I’m very concerned that services are falling by the wayside as fares increase. This is no way to build the sustainable public transport network our environment and our city needs.

So far we’ve heard nothing from the Council Leader about what he’s going to do about these route cancellations, despite the local authority being made aware months ago.

These changes could have a significant impact on social isolation and the accessibility of local services for our elderly in Portsmouth’s communities. 

The administration needs to catch up and get round the table with Mr Reddy to find a practical solution. At best the services should be reinstated or a new service introduced. 

Inaction just won’t do. I’ll continue to push for progress in this matter.”

 

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City MP says ‘scandalous’ cuts have ‘severely dented’ confidence in police

Financial pressures are undermining the police according to influential Public Accounts Committee of MPs

A new report from the cross-party Public Accounts Committee has said public confidence has been  ‘severely dented’ as forces reprioritise work in response to funding cuts.

The committee, of which Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan, is a member, reports that forces cannot do everything and are prioritising their work by cutting back in some areas, such as neighbourhood policing meaning fewer officers on the street.

Funding for police forces is down by nearly a fifth since 2010-11 and there are nearly a fifth fewer officers and staff. Inevitably there are consequences and forces are under increasing strain.

The PAC reports that public confidence in the police is declining and officers’ personal resilience is under pressure with this reduction in visibility.

The committee also found violent crime and sexual offences have increased and forces are dealing with more incidents which are not crime related, at the same time as coping with fewer frontline staff.

Forces are feeling the pressure of ‘cost shunting’ as cuts to other areas of public spending, such as health, are passed onto policing because it is so often the first line of response.

Member of the PAC, Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“Police forces can’t go on like this. In Portsmouth we’ve seen frontline policing cut to the bone and crime has risen by 10% – it’s not fair and it’s not safe.

People in our city understand that our police officers are doing their very best against an impossibly challenging background of repeated cuts. But they’ve also seen their streets become less safe. Our report shows just how severe the impact of current Government policy has been on the frontline.

It’s time for the Home Office to finally step up to the plate and fix this broken funding system.”

Chair of the Police Federation, John Apter, said:

“This report is the latest in a long series of huge red flags for the Government. This is now a critical situation and a national scandal. And they can’t say they weren’t warned

Dedicated police officers are at breaking point and are overwhelmed by the ever-increasing demands being heaped on them as a result of eight years of austerity.  

My already stretched members are having to work extended shifts and having their days off and leave cancelled to ensure public safety – which of course they will do.  

This is just one example of what we are facing every day across England and Wales and it cannot be maintained – despite the press releases there are ‘no extra officers’ – we are running on empty.

Our concerns are replicated by chief constables who are now admitting that they no longer have the resources to keep their communities safe, and by public bodies and parliamentary committees which say the police service is being let down by a lack of leadership.“

 

 

 

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City MP slams Minister for complacency on NEW police cuts

Further £4 million costs could be imposed on Police by Government as Minister says Police have ‘exaggerated’ cut numbers

Today in the House of Commons Stephen Morgan MP pressed the Minister for Policing on a proposed £4 million additional burden on the already overstretched Hampshire Constabulary.

It was revealed last week that the Government plans to transfer up to £4 million in pension liabilities to the local police force in Hampshire. Hampshire Constabulary have already lost almost 1,000 officers and over £80 million from its budget since 2010 with a further £28 million to be cut over the next four years.

Mr Morgan asked the Minister: “Mr Speaker, did he really think we wouldn’t notice this cut in disguise? How many more officers will it cost Portsmouth?

The additional £4 million squeeze from the Government could result in 350 officer and staff roles being cut.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“The Minister’s answer today showed just how much contempt this Government has for frontline policing. To accuse our police of ‘exaggerating’ the impact of cuts really takes the biscuit.

After losing 1,000 officers and coming up to £100 million in funding, and crime up 10%,  the answer to our overstretched and underpaid force is not £4 million more in cuts – Portsmouth can’t take any more.

These cuts are reckless and ultimately making our city less safe. I won’t give up the fight for fairer funding to protect Portsmouth communities and the brave men and women who serve them.”

Mr Morgan regularly meets with the police chiefs and the Police Federation and goes out on patrol with local officers in Portsmouth.

He has repeatedly lobbied the Home Secretary and Prime Minister for fairer police funding, raising the issue in numerous letters and at Prime Ministers’ Question Time and holding a summit in Westminster with small businesses affected by the rise in crime.

 

 

City MP pays respects to those fallen in WW1 at National Remembrance service

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Stephen Morgan MP joins fellow parliamentarians past and present at St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey

One hundred years ago this week, parliamentarians gathered in the Houses of Parliament to receive the formal announcement of the acceptance of the terms of Armistice imposed on Germany by the Allies and the US, marking the end of First World War.

On hearing the news, both Houses immediately left their chambers, and went to St Margaret’s to give thanks for the cessation of hostilities.

Today Members of both Houses attended a special national event to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War. The Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition were present as well as the speakers of both Houses.

City MP Stephen Morgan attended representing Portsmouth and said:

“Today it was a privilege to represent Portsmouth at a service in the same church that my predecessors attended one hundred years ago this week, to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.

“So many in Portsmouth and across our nation made sacrifices, suffered injuries or gave their lives in the cause of peace, not only for our country, but for the world of which we are part. 

“In the run up to local events in our great city, it was important to join national leaders past and present to give thanks for the faithful service of those who have gone before us”.

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Defence Equipment Plan still unaffordable, says NAO

Stephen Morgan MP says report shows MoD needs to start making tough decisions fast in face of escalating black hole

The Ministry of Defence’s Equipment Plan remains unaffordable and is not sustainable if the Department wants to deliver longer-term value for money, according to today’s report from the National Audit Office (NAO).

The Department’s forecast costs for the Plan exceed its budget by £7.0 billion in the next ten years. It forecasts £193.3 billion on equipment and support costs, against a £186.4 billion budget, including a £6.2 billion contingency. These costs could vary, and in a worst case scenario, should all the identified risks occur, this gap could grow to £14.8 billion.

The NAO report has found that the Department’s approach to forecasting costs is more realistic than in previous years. It has a fuller assessment of nuclear project costs, has used more accurate US dollar exchange rates, and now includes costs for the Type 31e frigates which were omitted from the previous year’s Plan. However, costs are still potentially understated by £3 billion.

Given 84% of the expected overspend in the Plan occurs over the next four years, decisions need to be made now, rather than relying on longer-term cuts or efficiencies.

In choosing to start the year with a forecast overspend, the Department needs to make in-year programme decisions to bring the Plan back into balance, a practice that the introduction of the Equipment Plan was meant to prevent.

Given the MDP has not yet completed, the Department has focused on making just the first year of its 10-year Plan affordable, but has had to find an additional £1.3 billion from the start of the year for 2018-19.

Delaying decisions, while the MDP is ongoing, increases the risk of the Department not achieving long-term affordability and value for money. This increases the likelihood of the Department returning to the past poor practices. For example, to make savings the Department delayed work to replace Astute-class submarines and introduce remotely controlled aircraft (Protector). This may have a longer-term impacts on production and costs.

Financial constraints in other areas of the Department are also limiting its ability to redirect other budgets to address shortfalls in the Plan, with overspend in the Plan having the potential to exacerbate these wider financial pressures. For example, the NAO has previously reported a £8.5 billion gap in the Department’s estate budget and pressures on its spending on staff.

The NAO recommends that the Department decides which programmes to defer, de-scope or delete as soon as possible.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“This report supplies some limited reassurance that the MoD is working to properly calculate the funding gap in the equipment plan. But the fact remains that cost estimates are still potentially out by billions of pounds and the black hole in the defence budget is vast. The scale of the issue is coming into focus, but not going away; defence is woefully underfunded.

It goes to highlight that the money announced for defence in the budget was really just a drop in the ocean.

We need a sustainable financial footing for our armed forces and whilst the accounting improvements at the MoD are welcome, this conversation starts at the Treasury.”

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said:

“The Equipment Plan 2018-28 shows that the Ministry of Defence has a clearer understanding of the affordability issues that it faces, but it equally shows how urgently it needs to get on and tackle them.”

 

Portsmouth MP continues support for WASPI women by hosting another information morning

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City MP Stephen Morgan has continued his support for the WASPI campaign by hosting another coffee and information morning at his constituency office in Albert Road.

WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) are women born in the 1950s who have faced pension injustice from the Government – Mr Morgan has been supporting them throughout their campaign for equality.

The coffee morning, which is at 10am – 12 on Saturday 3 November, will serve as another get together for those involved in campaigning, an information and drop-in event and a discussion with Mr Morgan on how he can continue to help going forward.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

 “I think It’s important that I continue to support this campaign for justice by hosting events, helping to raise awareness and writing to Ministers.

 “Nine thousand women in Portsmouth alone are affected by pension inequality so it was disappointing to find that nothing was mentioned in The Budget about this important issue.

 “I hope that hosting these events will go a small way towards helping Solent WASPI to get the justice they deserve.”

 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 will help raise the profile of the issue and provide much needed advice to local women”.

 

 

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Local MP encourages schools to take part in running challenge

Stephen Morgan, the MP for Portsmouth South, is supporting children’s health and fitness initiative, The Daily Mile, by encouraging every school in his constituency to take part in a 15 minute jog or run, at least three times per week.

The initiative has one aim – to improve the physical and mental health and well-being of UK children by encouraging more schools to participate in The Daily Mile. It helps to make children fitter, healthier and happier, and has a positive impact on their behaviour and concentration levels, which helps to raise attainment.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Schools are under a great deal of pressure to fit a number of things into the school day, but if Portsmouth schools can find the time to introduce this initiative then I am sure they will see benefits.

“Healthier children are tomorrow’s healthier adults and the Daily Mile is ensuring our children’s future health and will not only provide benefits to school children in the short term, but could reduce the pressure on vital NHS services in the long run.”

Members of Parliament across the UK are taking part in the MP Daily Mile Initiative between the 7th and 9th November, during Parliamentary recess, to encourage more schools to sign up to the growing children’s health and well-being movement.

Schools who are interested in starting the Daily Mile will find everything they need on their website, www.thedailymile.co.uk, including research showing the transformative impact that The Daily Mile can have on children’s physical and mental health and well-being.

Where’s the money for our police? Asks Portsmouth MP

After the Chancellor failed to announce any money for neighbourhood policing, Portsmouth MP reminds him you can’t protect public on the cheap.

Stephen Morgan MP has slammed the Government after this week’s budget made no mention of frontline policing. Hampshire Constabulary and lost almost 1,000 police officers and over £80 million from its budget under the Tories, with an additional £28 million cut over the next few years.

This week, there is further as the Government plans to enforce a extra £4 million budget squeeze on Hampshire Constabulary by requiring an increase in their pension contribution.

The Chancellor announced a small amount of money for specialist counter-terror policing but made no funding available to local police hit hardest by cuts. This is despite finding half a billion for no-deal Brexit preparations.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

 “I’m shocked that this budget saw nothing for our cash-strapped police. In fact, rather than a reverse in the devastating cuts to local policing in Portsmouth, we got news of a further £4 million slash to our budget.

The Tories continued assault on frontline policing is driving down pay and morale, and making our city less safe. I won’t let up in standing up for our hardworking officers and the Portsmouth communities who depend on them. 

“The Government needs to recognise that you can’t protect the public on the cheap.”

John Apter, chair of the Police Federation added: 

This is just another example of the contempt in which the Government holds police officers. What does it say when a Government prioritises pot holes over policing?

“This budget was the perfect opportunity to address the overwhelming issues facing the police service in England and Wales – but hard-working officers on the street have been ignored once again.

“The Federation welcomes the investment in counter terrorism capability but given the threat level this country is facing it is a necessity dressed up a gift. And the very minimum which is required with more than 700 live counter terrorism investigations.

“What about my colleagues who work on neighbourhood policing teams, the response officers who answer the public’s 999 calls and the CID investigators securing convictions of those who terrorise our societies. There was nothing for them.

“I am angry and disappointed, but I can’t say I am shocked. This level of disdain is what has come to symbolise this Government”.

The city MP has vowed to continue his fight to ensure Portsmouth police get the resources they need to tackle the rising crime in the city.