Shadow Environment Secretary and city MP host coastal community summit

Shadow Environment Secretary Sue Hayman and City MP Stephen Morgan hold a summit in Portsmouth on the challenges faced by coastal communities.

Following an invitation from Mr Morgan, the Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment spent the day seeing first-hand some of the issues Portsmouth communities are facing.

The pair hosted a roundtable discussion with local business leaders, community groups and other stakeholders to address the challenges faced by coastal communities like Portsmouth. Issues like the link between better transport services, social isolation and the decline of the high street were raised, along with how local groups can work together to improve community cohesion.

The meeting comes a day after Mr. Morgan asked the Prime Minister what efforts her government would make to ensure that the high street is supported so that further tragic losses of much-cherished stores like Knight & Lee can be avoided. 

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Coastal communities like Portsmouth are facing tough challenges in keeping local high streets alive. 

“For many, buses are an essential life line that links them and the rest of the community. For others, they provide a means to reach medical services and shops. And with the imminent closure of the Knight & Lee store, which has been here since 1865, we need integrated travel now more than ever”

Labour has set out a 5-point plan to combat the decline of the high street in an attempt to avoid future scenarios like the closure of the much -cherished Knight & Lee store. The plan includes; free travel for under 25’s, a strategy for keeping bank branches open, free public Wi-Fi, a ban on ATM charges and significantly, a reassessment of business rates.

Mr Morgan goes on to say:

“I will ensure that the key themes that emerged from the roundtable will feed into my discussions in Parliament, including the need for sustainable investments in our city and more ambitious leadership from the council.”

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Shadow Secretary of state for coming down to Portsmouth and to all those who contributed to these discussions. Receiving feedback from those in my constituency is vital to my work in Westminster. I will be taking this information back with me to Parliament.”