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City MP praises ‘inspiring team effort’ that delivered D-Day landing craft to Portsmouth

Shadow Armed Forces Minister and city MP Stephen Morgan today spent time with those responsible for delivering the LCT 7074 to Portsmouth’s shores, thanking them for their efforts.

The city MP was given a guided tour by those responsible for the project including the Head of Collections, the Project Site Manager and the Director of the National Museum of the Royal Navy to observe first-hand the efforts required to deliver the major project

Shadow Armed Forces Minister, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“The LCT 7074 has been in service from Europe to the Pacific, taking part in major operations such as D-Day. It is a major cultural and historical asset that must be preserved to immortalise the bravery and sacrifice of our forces during World War Two.

Without the relentless work of the National Museum for the Royal Navy, city council, and countless contractors the story of the landing craft would not be being told.

The truly inspiring teamwork that was required to bring the landing craft to our city does justice to those that served on the vessel and will help keep their stories of heroism alive.”

Mr Morgan, who has been closely following the landing craft project, was one of the first to set foot on the vessel and today’s tour follows a behind the fence look at the vessel’s arrival on Monday. The city MP has stressed the importance of the landing craft to Portsmouth and issued thanks to all those who have played a role in its arrival in the community.

Mr Morgan added:

“Portsmouth boasts unrivalled historic naval assets and already it is clear that LCT 7074 will form a major part of that.

Bringing visitors to the city, inspiring young people to learn more about our naval history and promoting our armed forces, it is an asset to both our city and our nation.

I would like to convey my gratitude to all those that made this happen and for working around the clock to deliver this major project.”

The Portsmouth born Shadow Armed Forces Minister, whose grandfather was a D-Day veteran from the city, has vowed to help secure remaining funds for the project.

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City MP voices concern over local NHS services being hit hardest by new Tory staff charges

Portsmouth’s NHS services have been spending millions of pounds a year on government charges to bring in much-needed staff from abroad making it the worst-hit area in the country, damning new figures have revealed.

Figures show that Portsmouth has been the hardest hit by this new Tory Immigration Skills Charge. Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust had paid the most out of any NHS trust in the UK – £2,007,000 since 2017, while in 2019/2020 Solent NHS Trust was forced to fork out £5,000.

The stats are even more eye-watering when compared to other trusts across the country. In the Conservative MP for Ribble Valley’s local Lancashire Care Trust, the total charges amounted to £115,000 – meaning Portsmouth paid £1,892,000 more in the same time. In the Tory held constituency, the Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust also paid £2,592 – a figure incomparable with the costs faced by Portsmouth.

The full breakdown of Portsmouth NHS Trust charges is:

2017/18: £306,000         

2018/19: £655,000         

2019/20: £972,000         

2020/21: £74,000

Total: £2,007,000

Paying tribute to NHS staff, Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Our NHS staff have shown unprecedented heroism amid this pandemic, putting others before themselves and selflessly working for our community. Through regular meetings with the Portsmouth Hospital Trust, I know their ingenuity has allowed them to have one of the lowest vacancy rates in the country. It is wholly unjust that their reward for demonstrating such robust planning is disproportionately high staff charges.

While Ministers clap for health workers each evening on their doorsteps, behind closed doors they have been charging NHS trusts millions simply for employing much needed foreign staff. This is punishing our NHS for government’s failure to properly recruit.

The fact Portsmouth has been worst hit shows that time after time our community is forced to disproportionately bear the brunt of regressive, costly Tory policy.”

The city MP also stated that despite the additional charges faced by the Portsmouth Hospital Trust, he has no doubt that they will ‘continue to excel in serving the needs of patients’.

Shadow Immigration Minister, Holly Lynch MP said:

“Local NHS trusts require specialists from overseas, yet the Tories are punishing hospital budgets for their own failure to train enough skilled staff,”

“The irrationality of the immigration skills charge for NHS trusts has been underlined by the coronavirus pandemic.”

“The Conservative Government should be doing all they can to support the NHS. Instead, they are presenting trusts with an unenviable choice: either leave life-saving specialist roles unfilled, or fork out expensive fees for overseas staff.”

Analysis of data released under Freedom of Information laws to the Labour Party suggested that since 2017, 52 trusts paid £15,549,944 to the Government through the immigration skills charge.

The charge is referred to as the immigration skills charge and is imposed by the Home Office on any employer wanting to apply for a visa for someone to work in the UK for six months or more under either a tier 2 (general) visa or a tier 2 (intra-company transfer) visa.

 

 

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Shadow Armed Forces Minister demands new naval support ships are built in British shipyards

Stephen Morgan MP has slammed defence ministers for ‘selling Britain short’ during five years of delay over vital new naval support ships. The Portsmouth South representative is pressing for a new ‘Built in Britain’ test for defence and security spending.

In the lead up to a major Defence and Security Review (Integrated Review), the Government is reportedly considering tendering the contract for The Fleet Solid Support Ship programme, worth up to £1.5 billion, to foreign companies. Placing the bid with UK yards would secure the future of shipbuilding in the UK. Research by Oxford Economics has found that for every £1 million spent in UK manufacturing there is a further £1.5 million benefit for the wider economy. For every job created in manufacturing a further 1.8 jobs are created in the wider economy – an argument that Mr Morgan has been making for some time as seen in the Defence Journal.

Shadow Armed Forces Minister, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Building British not only helps us maintain our sovereign capability and strengthens national security, it sustains jobs and could be the winning ticket for safeguarding the future of our shipbuilders for years to come.

I know from speaking to British companies that they are ready and willing to build in the UK, the question is, why are Ministers selling Britain short and forcing two British bidders to pitch against foreign firms?

I will continue to work as Shadow Armed Forces Minister to put pressure on Ministers to back Britain and ensure their ill-thought out strategy does not hinder sovereign capability, national security and the future of British defence industry.”

For national security reasons, Royal Navy warships can only be built in the UK but because the supply ships will be part of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, they are not classed as warships. The fact Government has not committed to building these ships in Britain has caused concern in the Shadow Defence team, prompting the launch of the Built in Britain test – a set of criteria that seeks to develop the UK’s future capacity to build in Britain.

Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary, John Healey MP said:

“For five years, Defence ministers have dithered over this decision when it’s a no-brainer to build these vital new ships in Britain. They are selling Britain short by not putting the work into UK shipyards. No other major military nation has ordered naval support ships from foreign yards.

“What can be built in Britain now, must be built in Britain. And long-term defence and security procurement, must also involve plans to develop the UK’s future capacity to build in Britain. This is one test by which we will judge the Government’s new Integrated Review of defence and security.”

Following the announcement, Labour have launched an online petition – Tell the Prime Minister: Royal Navy ships should be built in Britain.

Sign here: https://action.labour.org.uk/page/s/royalnavyships

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Stephen Morgan MP backs crowdfund for local start-up ‘Squidmoo’ to make Portsmouth plastic free

Stephen Morgan MP has backed Squidmoo, a local start-up that is running a crowdfunding campaign to create sustainable everyday products, in its mission to help make Portsmouth plastic free.

Squidmoo’s long-term vision is to be able to provide grants to support local businesses, charities and organisations to become plastic free and be part of the ‘plastic free employer scheme’. However, this is reliant on the stretch fund being successful to be able to invest into this part of the project.

Squidmoo has also been working in close partnership with Portsmouth City Council in supporting its plans and future project ideas.

The Portsmouth business currently manufactures bamboo and stainless-steel water bottles and lunch containers, as well as yoga mats, knives and sunglasses. In addition, the sustainable business is also looking to provide local businesses and organisations with plastic free consultations and workshops.

Stephen Morgan MP, commented:

The work that both Thomas and Alex are doing is simply fantastic. What they and Squidmoo are doing is an important reminder that whilst we are facing a new global challenge, it does not mean the others have simply disappeared.

“It is why I’m more than happy to back their campaign to reduce the use of single use plastic to zero in the UK by 2030, and their crowdfund to help achieve this here in our great city of Portsmouth.”

According to a government report, in the UK it is estimated that five million tonnes of plastic is used every year, nearly half of which is packaging. The government had planned to bring in a ban on single use plastic earlier this April, including single-use plastic and plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton buds, but has now delayed the ban until October due to the pandemic.

The Portsmouth South MP added:

“Sustainability and tackling climate change are now more important than ever, and Portsmouth South is neither insulated to the effects of climate change, nor has less of a responsibility to tackle its causes than anywhere else.

“Instead of delaying, the government should be seeing this period as an opportunity to hit the reset button and quite simply: build back better.”

This is not the first time Mr Morgan has been an advocate of tackling climate change initiatives, including previously hosting online climate change event Time is Now, and backed the local Pompey Street Space campaign.

You can find out more about Squidmoo’s work and their crowdfunder here.

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City MP continues to fight for renters as government’s last minute U-turn on eviction ban causes confusion for tenants

Stephen Morgan MP has made renewed calls on government to protect renters from eviction as Ministers extend the ban on evictions by just one month

The Portsmouth South representative had originally called on Government back in March to ban evictions during the coronavirus crisis. Whilst Ministers caved following pressure, they are now threatening to take away this safety net in just one month.

In a cutting letter directly to the Housing Secretary, the city MP demanded an extension to the eviction ban along with a package of support for struggling tenants. This came as a survey by Generation Rent is released revealing that 45% of renters have lost income since March, and two thirds of renters who have lost income (68%) are struggling to pay their rent.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“The Housing Secretary promised that no one would be forced to leave their homes amid this pandemic. Now, five months later, we see no package of support offered to tenants yet plans remain to reinstall evictions in one month.

We know that many hardworking Portsmouth families have been hit hard by the pandemic and, through no fault of their own, have found themselves in arrears. While I welcome government’s U-turn on the evictions ban extension today, the fact they have only extended it by a month just gives tenants longer to pack their bags.

The solution to this problem is more comprehensive support offered to struggling families at risk of homelessness and scrapping Section 21 Evictions.”

Mr Morgan’s demands, backed by frontbench colleagues, urge government to remove the benefits cap, administer Universal Credit more promptly and make more Local Housing Allowance available. The city MP has also raised with Ministers the impact on landlords after listening to concerns from the National Residential Landlords Association.

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Portsmouth MP fights for local jobs and businesses

Across Portsmouth our communities face a jobs crisis, with as many as 27,000 jobs at risk in the region. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of thousands of people have lost their job and many more are now at risk.

The government’s one-size-fits-all approach isn’t targeted at the businesses and the people most in need. The government were too slow into lockdown, too slow on testing, and too slow to protect jobs.

Portsmouth residents cannot afford Boris Johnson to continue making the same mistakes with the economy. That’s why Stephen Morgan MP and your local Labour action team are working hard and calling on the Government to:

  • Fight for jobs: by reforming the furlough scheme so that it supports jobs in the worst-hit sectors and targets funding to struggling industries
  • Back businesses: by setting up a fightback fund to prevent firms going under and to save our high streets
  • Leave no-one behind: by providing additional support to areas forced into local lockdowns, supporting the self-employed and helping those left out of existing schemes
  • Keep workers safe: by protecting workers’ rights, boosting sick pay, making workplaces safe and giving our NHS and care services the resources to avoid a second wave
  • Drive job creation: by investing in infrastructure, accelerating progress towards a zero carbon economy and increasing access to skills and training opportunities

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Local residents are right to be worried about the Tory jobs crisis. The local Labour team are doing everything we can save jobs, protect incomes and fight for our high street. The government needs to step in now before it’s too late.”

If you are worried about jobs in your community share your thoughts at www.labour.org.uk/jobssurvey

 

 

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City MP responds to government exams U-turn

Responding to breaking news that students in England will be given their estimated grades by teachers, not the Ofqual algorithm, Stephen Morgan MP welcomed the U-turn but said it exposed Government’s “incompetence”.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“This has been a distressing and uncertain time for students, and after hearing from many young people and their families across Portsmouth, I have been pushing for government to change course and move to teacher assessed grades.

By getting this so wrong, Government risked the life chances for a generation. This U-turn on scrapping the controversial algorithm is a victory for thousands and is the right decision for young people, and for Portsmouth. I commend students affected for powerfully making their voices heard.

As fiasco follows fiasco, it is becoming increasingly obvious that government is incompetent. I will continue to hold them to account on this issue of concern for our city.”

Last week the city MP wrote directly to the Education Secretary urging the Government to change tac by awarding teacher predicted grades and demanding a technical review of the system ahead of GCSE results later this week.

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“The world must not forget their untold sacrifice” says Shadow Armed Forces Minister on 75th anniversary of VJ Day

Stephen Morgan MP calls for participation in commemorative events marking Victory over Japan Day (VJ Day), a national moment of remembrance that pays tribute to those that fought in the pacific conflict and brought WW2 to a close.

The city MP and defence frontbencher is urging Portsmouth people to get involved with the programme of activities being pioneered by The Royal British Legion and the social media campaign run by Labour Friends of Forces. A Two Minute Silence, an interactive story sharing map, and a special tribute for commonwealth troops are some ways people can get involved.

Shadow Armed Forces Minister, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“The significance of VJ Day must not be underestimated and the sacrifice of those who fought in the pacific theatre must not forgotten. In a city like ours, with such a close connection to our forces community, it is important we lead by example when it comes to commemorations.

The conflict led to the ultimate end of World War Two, can be traced as the source of much of the multiculturalism we are fortunate to have in this country and is a shining example of our tri-services immense bravery.

In years by-gone, VJ Day has not received the recognition it deserves. I urge people to get involved safely with the campaigns run by The Legion and Labour Friends of the Forces so we can all ensure this momentous event receives due remembrance.”

Activity on the day will begin with a national Two Minute Silence at 11am on 15th August which will be the focal point of the commemorative service at the National Memorial Arboretum and will be led by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. Public involvement has been stripped back due to the Covid-19 crisis which has driven up creative opportunities to get involved.

People can join in VJ Day commemorations by:

        Tweeting out their personal or family stories by using the hashtag: #VJDay75tributes set up by Labour Friends of the Forces

        Share their stories via The Royal British Legion website’s interactive story telling map

        Taking part in a two-minute silence

Mr Morgan has also joined calls for particular recognition to be given to Commonwealth veterans . Troops came from Europe, Africa, Asia, North America and Australasia to form one of the most multicultural forces in history, many of whom faced some of the harshest conditions of the Second World War.

On Commonwealth forces, Mr Morgan added:

“Those serving in the British Forces, and who helped secure Victory over Japan, came from a range of backgrounds and cultures.

This is nationally significant because we must celebrate this story of coming together but also because it helps us understand our nation’s current multi-cultural make up and complex past.

With division and hate crime a significant issue in our modern society, it is important we recognise and reflect on our nation’s proud and diverse history.”

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New job opportunity: Casework Intern

Want to help make a difference to peoples’ lives? 

Interested in working at the heart of politics to help bring about change? 

Then a new intern opportunity has arisen to join Stephen Morgan MP’s constituency team.

Stephen Morgan is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Portsmouth South, the first ever Labour MP for the constituency.

A small support team works out of the constituency office on Albert Road in Southsea to provide a public service to residents in Portsmouth South and assist with Stephen’s parliamentary duties.

This is a new post in response to the public health pandemic to help respond to an increase in casework from constituents on a range of issues impacted by coronavirus.

The role is full time working alongside other caseworkers and is fixed term with the length of contract until 31 March 2021. The salary is £18,135 pro rata for the length of the contract.

What to do next…

If you have what it takes to join the team in this role, please submit a covering letter and CV to the Head of Office at Julie.Minal@parliament.uk by no later than 12 noon on Monday 24 August 2020.

Please note due to the volume of applicants expected we are only able to notify candidates called to interview.

 

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Portsmouth MP backs children’s road safety campaign

Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, has backed the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers’ (APIL) ‘Injury Prevention Week’ campaign, encouraging parents to discuss the importance of road safety with their children.

APIL, the not-for-profit campaign group, has underlined the importance of road safety for children as they prepare to head back to school next month.

According to a YouGov survey, two-thirds of parents do not think their children have a good understanding of the dangers on our roads, while one in eight are very concerned about their children’s safety when navigating our roads.

Stephen Morgan MP, commented:

“As many young students and families in Portsmouth prepare to head back to school next month, it’s vital we ensure children are fully aware of the dangers of the roads and have a good understanding of the highway code.

“Neither parent nor child should be concerned about a young student’s journey to school, and any initiative to help make it that much safer I fully endorse. It is why I am proud to support APIL’s campaign on this important issue.”

Children aged fifteen and under account for around a quarter of pedestrian injuries and deaths in the UK (according to APIL), whilst similar pedestrian traffic collisions for the same age group amount to a fifth in Portsmouth South.

The Portsmouth South representative added:

“In the past few years, there have been too many avoidable pedestrian traffic collisions in our city involving young people, and I am committed to doing all I can to ensure this does not continue to happen.

It’s been a particularly difficult period for both students and parents over the last few months, and I’m keen that the last thing children and parents alike are worrying about is a young student’s ability to travel to and from school safely.”