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Portsmouth MP reacts to PM’s national lockdown announcement

Reacting to news from the Prime Minister that the Government has decided Britain should go into another national lockdown until at least 2 December 2020, Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP said:

“The Government has been too slow to act the whole way through this crisis whether on health or on jobs, and it’s the British people that are suffering.

Now we will have a much harder lockdown again, Ministers must use this time to fix testing and tracing and set out a proper plan so Government doesn’t keep repeating the same mistakes again.
I know many in our city will feel miserable about this latest announcement by the Prime Minister and it’s consequences for their family, friends and community. Our local businesses have been struggling to keep people in work and customers served. It’s the same story up and down the country.

By working together here in Portsmouth we can, and we will, get through this, push down infections, and save lives”.

Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party said:

“Everybody is concerned about the rise in infections, hospital admissions and – tragically – the number of deaths.
That’s why three weeks ago, Labour called for a circuit breaker in England, in line with SAGE’s recommendation to bring infections down. The Government completely rejected that, only to now announce the same thing.
That delay in introducing restrictions will come at an economic cost and a human cost.
I’m glad that the Government has finally taken this decision – but it should have done so weeks ago.”
The restrictions proposed include:
  • People will be told to stay at home except for education, work (if it can’t be done from home), exercise and recreation, medical reasons, shopping for food and other essentials, or to care for others
  • All pubs and restaurants will have to close (non-alcohol takeaways and deliveries can continue)
  • All non-essential shops will have to close (supermarkets can sell non-essential goods)
  • Households will not be allowed to mix with others indoors, or in private gardens
  • Individuals can meet one person from outside their household in an outside public space
  • Support bubbles for people who live alone and households made up of single parents and children can continue
  • Children will be able to move between homes if their parents are separated
  • Schools, colleges and universities will remain open
  • Workplaces will be asked to stay open if people cannot work from home – including construction and manufacturing
  • Outdoor exercise and recreation will be allowed, but gyms will have to close
  • Clinically vulnerable advised not to go to work if they are unable to work from home

After 2 December, different regions will return to the tiers one to three, depending upon the rates of infection.

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Government must act to urgently protect jobs and livelihoods in Portsmouth

In support of the ‘People Before Profit’ day of action organised by Portsmouth unions, city MP Stephen Morgan said:

“The Chancellor’s furlough flip flop has caused real chaos as he prepares to tear up Winter Economy Plan before autumn is out.

This has created unnecessary anxiety for many and will come too late for those who have lost jobs after he initially removed support for struggling sectors.

As MP for Portsmouth South I have been calling on the Government to act urgently to protect jobs and livelihoods to ensure speed and consistency of support – so that local areas receive the same level of support when additional restrictions are introduced, rather than weeks or months afterwards, more discretion for local authorities by reopening a £1.3 billion discretionary grants scheme so that they can respond to the needs of businesses and workers in their area rather than waiting for central government to act, and reforming the government’s wage support offer – by ensuring it genuinely incentivises employers to keep staff on, even when they have been forced to close.

Despite repeated warnings by Labour to replace furlough with a targeted wage subsidy that incentivised employers to keep workers on, the Chancellor introduced a Job Support Scheme that forces employers to flip a coin to decide who stays and who goes.

If Government doesn’t take the action that is needed Britain risks an unemployment crisis greater than we have seen in decades – and Rishi Sunak’s name will be all over it.

Together as a party, with the unions and local people, we must continue to hold the Government to account and secure a plan which protects Portsmouth jobs and livelihoods”.

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Urgent action is needed to protect nurseries and childminders says Portsmouth MP

Responding to a survey by the Early Years Alliance revealing that one in six nurseries may not survive the winter due to continued impact of Covid-19, Stephen Morgan MP has said ‘government must take urgent action to protect nurseries and childminders’

The survey has revealed that now is a critical moment for the early years sector. With demand for places still significantly below what would typically be expected, and no sign of things returning to normal any time soon, many nurseries, pre-schools and childminders are reaching the point of no return.

On the findings, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Today we learn that the collapse of this important sector is imminent in many parts of the country at a time when families enter the toughest winter for a generation. As ever, this will hit the most deprived communities hardest.

Urgent action is needed by the government to save the nurseries and childminders that working parents and children rely on, including those here in Portsmouth.

It is now or never to save the childcare sector, and it has to be now for the sake of our city’s economy.”

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, said:

“Our survey shows that it is those early years settings providing vital care and education to families in the most deprived areas – who are already bearing the brunt of the impact of the pandemic – that are most at risk.

There is absolutely no excuse for the government’s continued indifference towards the early years sector. It claims that children’s access to education during the pandemic is a top priority, and yet it is apparently perfectly happy to see thousands of early education providers fall by the wayside.

It argues that safeguarding the economy is critical to the country’s recovery, but chooses to ignore the fact that there can be no recovery without a functioning early years sector providing the quality care that parents and families need”. 

Quality early years provision is a central part of our social infrastructure. Labour agrees that it is not too late for the government to show that it recognises the value of the sector – both to the young children who benefit from quality early education, and the parents, and particularly mothers, who benefit from accessible care.

The Portsmouth South MP has vowed to continue to lobby for investment in the sector to safeguard the many thousands of providers in desperate need of support.

 

 

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EHRC report on anti-Semitism in the Labour Party

On Thursday 29 October 2020, the EHRC published its report relating to their investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party.

Responding to the report, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Portsmouth has a strong and historic Jewish community. In my regular dialogue with Jewish constituents I know the pain and upset many have felt about anti-semitism in the Labour Party.
The EHRC report is damning and I fully support the statement by Keir Starmer today. The party must now change its culture to rebuild trust, and we will.”

A copy of the report can be found here: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/publication-download/investigation-antisemitism-labour-party

The response by the Leader of the Labour Party is available at: https://labour.org.uk/press/keir-starmers-statement-in-response-to-ehrcs-report-into-anti-semitism/

For the Labour Party’s public response, including a Q&A, visit: https://labour.org.uk/ehrc-report/

 

 

 

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UK Parliament Week 2020 to be celebrated across Portsmouth South

Stephen Morgan MP is inviting everyone in Portsmouth to get involved in UK Parliament Week and join a UK-wide conversation about our democracy, people power and making change happen.  

UK Parliament Week is an annual festival taking place from 1-7 November, that engages people from across the UK with their UK Parliament, explores what it means to them and empowers them to get involved.

This year marks ten years of UK Parliament Week. It is a great opportunity to be part of a thriving democracy and look ahead to the next 10 years, thinking about what issues are important to you and how you can work with UK Parliament to bring about change.

Community groups, local organisations and schools representing every constituency across the United Kingdom have already signed up to be part of the conversation.

The Portsmouth South MP has written to all schools in the constituency and is hosting a ‘Q&A with your MP’ for young people on Friday 6 November to round off the week of activities.

Promoting the week, Stephen Morgan MP said:   

As MP for my home city, I welcome the involvement of people in Portsmouth during UK Parliament Week 2020.  

I am especially determined to ensure that our voters and citizens of tomorrow understand how vital their participation is in our democracy, and I’m excited to see so many organisations and local groups taking part.” 

Last year, over 1.2 million people took part in UK Parliament week in every nation and region of the UK, alongside countries all over the world.

David Clark, Head of Education and Engagement at UK Parliament, said:

There are many exciting activities taking place for this year’s UK Parliament Week, including those happening inPortsmouth South

Organisations, local community groupsand schoolsacross Portsmouth havea chance to get empowered and have their say on issues they care about the most. Change starts with you and UK ParliamentWeekis a great way tolearn how you can make a difference.” 

 

 

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Portsmouth support to feed children over the school holiday

In the UK today, 4.2 million children live in poverty. 2.5 million children live in “food insecure” households – without access to the food they need to learn, play and grow.

On Wednesday, Conservative MPs blocked a Labour plan to provide Free School Meals over the school holidays, that would have ensured the poorest children in our society have at least one healthy and nutritious meal a day.

Stephen voted for this plan for the most vulnerable in Portsmouth, sadly the Government did not.

Since then, there has been an outpouring of people in our city looking for ways they can help children who don’t have enough food, and from parents struggling to make sure that their children have enough.

Stephen Morgan MP said: 

“I want to thank all those who are helping Portsmouth families at this challenging time for our city.

With the number of free school meals rising again, sharply to over 7,000 in Portsmouth alone, this has been a growing issue for some time. The steep rise will only get worse.

With Government failing, we will work together here in Portsmouth to ensure everyone has the support they need”.

Below are just some initiatives and charities based in Portsmouth, that help provide the basics to those who need it, and are always looking for volunteers or donations to keep their vital work going.

No food bank voucher needed:

The Life House
Address: 153 Albert Road, Southsea, Portsmouth, PO4 0JW
Services: Serves Breakfast / Brunch each Wednesday from 9am / Serves Hot Dinner each Thursday from 6pm
Food parcel if available
Opening times: Every Thursday 8pm-6pm Wednesday morning 9am-11am

Free My Meal – Portsmouth
Address: Private Facebook group set up by residents https://www.face book.com/groups /freemymealports mouth/
Services: Group intends to connect free meals with recipients. Recipients looking for a meal to feed their family during this time of hardship.
Opening times: Ongoing

The Lord John Russell – Food Bank
Address: 12 Albert Road, Southsea, PO5 2SH
Service: Food bank drive on Monday (26/10/20) to support the Life House and those who haven’t got enough on their plates
Opening times: Monday (26/10/20)

St Margaret’s Community Church
Address: Highland Road, PO4 9DD
Service: 2 day food parcel
Food needed: Cereals, tinned & packet soup, pasta and pasta sauce, tinned meat, tinned vegetables, tinned fruit, crisps, biscuits, UHT milk, long life juice
Opening times: Monday, Wednesday, Friday (8am-11am for donations, 10am-11am for people needing food

Haven Community Centre
Address: Lake Road, PO1 4HA
Service: No voucher needed for first 3 visits 3-day food parcel
Opening times: Tuesday 1-3pm and Friday 10am-12pm

Food bank voucher needed:

From PCC website (https://www.portsmouth.gov.uk/services/coronavirus-covid-19/advice-for-residents-coronavirus-infor mation/work-and-money-coronavirus-information/):

Advice Portsmouth – the drop-in centre is closed. For advice, ring 023 92794 340, text 07789 550593, email ​advice.portsmouth@theyoutrust.org.uk​ or contact via ​Facebook
Citizens Advice Help To Claim (for advice on new Universal Credit claims) – there is currently no face to face advice, so for advice ring 0800 144 8 444 or use the ​online webchat
City council tenants – ​ring your housing office​ for money advice
Housing association tenants – contact your customer service team for money advice

Harbour Church

Address: St. George’s Square, PO1 3AT
Service: Food bank voucher or email referral required, 3-day food parcel
Opening times: Monday 11am-12pm, Tuesday 11am-12pm, Wednesday 11am-12pm and Thursday 11am-12pm and 4-6pm

King’s Church Hall
Address: Fraser Road Southsea PO5 1EE
Service: Food bank voucher or email referral required 3-day food parcel
Opening times: Monday 12-2pm Wednesday 12-2pm Friday 12-2pm

North End Baptist Church
Address: Powerscourt Road Portsmouth, PO2 7JH
Service: Food bank voucher or email referral required, 3-day food parcel
Opening times: Tuesday 5-6pm and Thursday 1-3pm

Paulsgrove Baptist Church
Address: 1 Woofferton Road Portsmouth, PO6 4DW
Service: Food bank voucher required, 3-day food parcel
Opening times: Thursday 12-2pm

Family Church Caring Hands
Address: Empower Centre, 83-87 Kingston Road, PO2 7DX
Service: Caring Hands food bank voucher or email referral required, 3-day food parcel, Home delivery preferred
Opening times: Thursday 10.30am-12.30pm

If you can please make a donation to Portsmouth Foodbanks at the following supermarkets: 

  • Tesco Extra (Pompey Centre Fratton) – Front of store near exit
  • Tesco Extra (North Harbour) – Front of store near exit
  • Waitrose, Southsea – End of tills

 

 

 

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Stephen Morgan votes to end holiday hunger whilst neighbouring MPs vote against

Responding to the Government voting down Labour’s motion in the House of Commons to extend free school meals during holidays for children in need, Stephen Morgan MP has called for Tory MPs to ‘reflect again’ after they voted against the measure to support the most vulnerable in society, unlike the city MP who voted in support of the plan.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“For me, politics is about making sure people have a roof over their head, families have food on the table and that they know support for their children is there when they need it.
Yesterday, those who voted with the government, denied families and their children of that. Here in Portsmouth, that’s over seven thousand children, and rising.
I will continue to hold the government to account on this, but I really urge other MPs in our region who voted otherwise to seriously reflect again on what the most vulnerable in our communities need”.
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Stephen Morgan MP backs national campaign ‘Love our Colleges’ week

Stephen Morgan MP has backed national campaign ‘Love our Colleges’ and has urged the people of Portsmouth to recognise and celebrate the value that they bring to education and the wider community.

Colleges Week 2020 is the third colleges week celebration since the launch of the #LoveOurColleges campaign in 2018.

Association of Colleges (AoC) represents nearly 93% of the 2381 further education and sixth form colleges in England, and according to Ofsted, 82% of colleges across the country have been graded as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ (August 2019).

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, commented,

“I’m delighted to be backing this campaign and I urge all of the people of Portsmouth to both recognise and celebrate the tremendous value our colleges bring.

In the fallout of the coronavirus crisis, people equipped with the skills acquired from attending our colleges will be of critical importance to our economic recovery.

I want to thank all the teachers and additional support staff for their work in supporting our local students.”

Mr Morgan has been a vocal supporter of the work and value that colleges bring to the City of Portsmouth, and this month met with UTC Portsmouth (specialising in engineering) and Portsmouth College last month, to find out more about their recent work and the challenges they are facing.

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City MP calls for new MoD duty to support forces personnel

This week Stephen Morgan MP argued for a new MoD duty to support forces personnel who are subject to investigations or litigation after overseas operations.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South and Shadow Armed Forces Minister argued for the change in parliament this week, who wants to secure this change in the Overseas Operations Bill, to make the legislation better following widespread criticism.

Mr Morgan, commented,

“I’m proud to have led the opposition’s Bill committee team through this stage of the Overseas Operations Bill, and I am glad we have been able to raise this important issue at this stage.

“I believe it is vital that the MoD face up to its proper duty of care to our Armed Forces personnel and their families, and provide the support and guidance that they require when it is needed.

“Labour is working to build a constructive consensus on the changes needed so this Bill does more to protect British service personnel and less to protect the MoD.”

The Shadow Defence Secretary, John Healey MP, also added,

“Personnel tied up in long-running investigations or legal action have told me they felt cast adrift by the MoD. I want to make the MoD face up to its proper duty of care to our Armed Forces personnel and their families”.

Expert witnesses giving evidence to the Commons committee on the Bill last week confirmed that troops and veterans who are accused of misconduct are given next to no legal or welfare support from the MoD throughout the investigations, which in some cases have taken years.

Hilary Meredith [Director of Hilary Meredith Solicitors, a legal firm that represents the forces] told MPs:

Parliament had an inquiry into what support they were given. Basically, there was none.”

Others also criticised the Bill for doing more to protect the MoD than service personnel, by placing a hard six-year block on civil claims from troops against the Ministry if they are injured overseas.

Royal British Legion Director General Charles Byrne confirmed his view of the Bill to MPs:

“I think it is protecting the MOD, rather than the service personnel”

Labour proposed today at committee a new ‘duty of care’ clause in the Bill which forces the MoD to set a new standard for legal and wellbeing support given to personnel and veterans under investigation or litigation. The clause requires the Defence Secretary to publish, every year, any failures to meet this standard and the action required to improve shortcomings.

Stephen Morgan MP has consistently committed to protecting and improving the welfare of service personnel, and has pledged to continue to do so through the final stages of the Bill and beyond.

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Remembrance Sunday: City MP backs call for doorstep two-minute silence

Stephen Morgan MP has joined calls including by the Royal British Legion for a doorstep two-minute silence, giving people a new way to honour our fallen heroes on Remembrance Sunday 2020.

Remembrance Sunday will look very different this year, as social distancing means many parades and memorials have been called off.

At 11am on Remembrance Sunday (which is 8 November this year), people around the country will be encouraged to stand on their doorstep for a two-minute silence.

The aim of the initiative will allow people to honour those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, while ensuring that everybody stays safe.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South and Shadow Armed Forces Minister, said:

“This year we will not be able to come together on Remembrance Sunday in the same way we would usually, to stand together to remember the millions of people from across the United Kingdom, and from across the world, who sacrificed so much to keep us safe.

I’m delighted to support this campaign, backed by the Royal British Legion, that will ensure that we can together honour those who have paid the price for our security, whilst also ensuring we can do so safely.

I urge all the people of Portsmouth to step forward and remember those who have served or made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Mr Morgan has continued to encourage the city council to do all it can to allow people to safely mark Remembrance in the city. He has been pushing the government to issue guidance to local bodies for Remembrance Sunday 2020.

The leader of the opposition, Sir Keir Starmer MP, has also joined the Royal British Legion and others in backing the initiative.