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Last-minute payment for pubs will still leave many worse off says Portsmouth MP

Labour has revealed that the Prime Minister’s last-minute one-off payment announced today for pubs that are forced to close because they don’t serve food will leave the vast majority seriously struggling and well short of the emergency cash offered during the first national lockdown.

The average pub received a grant worth £6,666 a month during the lockdown in March. Even after today’s announcement of an additional one-off payment, pubs forced to close will receive just £3,000 a month – £3,666 less than they did during the first lockdown.

The payment is a one-off and there was no mention of what will happen after January.

Restaurants and cafes, also hit hard by public health restrictions, received no additional support today from Government – with the vast majority still receiving just a third or half of what they received in the March lockdown.

Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP who has been taking a range of actions to speak up for our city’s hospitality businesses during this challenging time for the industry, responded to this analysis, and said:

“The government’s approach to supporting areas under local restrictions is fundamentally unfair and risks a gulf in support opening up across the country. 

We all know that hospitality businesses have been hit hard by this pandemic. By engaging with a number of small businesses owners I understand the challenges a number of pubs and bars across our city are facing. Businesses are also in the dark about the future of the furlough scheme, which is up for review in January.

That’s why we must have a business support package that reflects business need and length of time under each tier and why I will continue to lobby Government for targeted support for sectors and industries in Portsmouth hit hardest by this crisis”.

Lucy Powell MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Business and Consumers, added:

“Pubs across the country are facing tough restrictions to help tackle the virus, with many forced to close completely during the most crucial time of year for their trade.

This last-minute emergency payment for pubs could have been a lifeline. Instead it’s small beer that won’t even reach the sides of the income gap they’re facing.

Boris Johnson’s failure to properly support them is fundamentally unfair and makes a mockery of his promise to these communities.”

Stephen Morgan MP has put pressure on Government to help the city’s hospitality sector with parliamentary questions, writing to relevant departments and lobbying Ministers directly. He has hosted a number of online meetings and visits to hear local concerns and to take them to Westminster.

 

 

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City MP calls for the government to ‘get a grip’ with a long-term health and economic plan

Stephen Morgan MP said it would not be in Portsmouth’s or the nation’s interest to oppose the government’s continuing public health restrictions – but Ministers must now set out a long-term health and economic plan.

As the government proposes its public health restrictions for the winter period to be voted on in parliament, the weekly Covid-19 case rate per 100,000 in Portsmouth still sits at 240, according to the latest government data.

Further afield, between 12 November and 18 November 347,575 people were identified as coming into close contact with someone who had tested positive, only 60.3 per cent of which were reached and asked to self-isolate. This is still well below the 80 per cent needed for test and trace to be effective.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, said,

“Covid-19 still poses a serious threat to our city and our country, so it would not be in Portsmouth’s or the nation’s interest to oppose the government’s proposals for continued public health restrictions.

However, the government has failed to use this lockdown to fix test and trace and now the Prime Minister seems to have stopped mentioning it altogether.

Test turnaround times are still far too slow, a fraction of those who are asked to self-isolate actually do, and the centralised Serco model is failing to reach nearly enough close contacts to be effective. The government has got to get a grip of this.”

In recent days it was also announced Portsmouth would be placed inside the tier 2 category after the country exits its second period of national lockdown.

Meanwhile the government continues to suggest a vaccine could be rolled out in a matter of days but is still yet to publish its plan on this.

Mr Morgan, added,

“The Prime Minister must publish a comprehensive national action plan which can meet the Easter target for vaccine roll out and have a communications plan to tackle vaccine hesitancy.

It is incredibly important that both as a local community and wider country we do not undo all the hard work we have put in to bring infection levels down, so government must implement an effective communications plan to ensure that continues to happen post-lockdown.”

Following the announcement of the Portsmouth falling into the second Covid-19 risk category, Stephen Morgan MP underlined the importance of Portsmouth residents to continue to follow government guidelines.

 

 

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Get in involved with PITC’s ‘Blue Kitchen’

Blue Kitchen is a fantastic local initiative by Pompey in the Community (PITC) that has brought brilliant innovative thinking to help bring our community together this year – despite the restrictions.

Even with the challenges faced by many organisations across our city, PITC stuck at it and continued to find new ways to help engage with our young people stuck at home, whilst supporting the development of an essential life skill.

In partnership with others, they were able to get 60 meals a day to be delivered to those who needed it most during lockdown in the summer.

Young people in Portsmouth are encouraged to get involved and have a go themselves using the recipe below. You can see Stephen having a go at the recipe here.

Chicken Curry   

Ingredients 

2 chicken breasts

1 pepper

1 onion

2 garlic cloves  – crushed or finely chopped

1 tomato

Salt and pepper

Oil

Akash curry powder (or curry powder of your choice)

Rice or flatbreads as required

Instructions 

  1. Cut the onion, peppers and tomato into large chunks, all of a similar size
  2. Cut the chicken into strips
  3. Add 2 tsps of oil to your pan and put it on a high heat. When the oil is nice and hot add your chicken and cook until it is golden brown and cooked all the way through
  4. Take the chicken out of the pan and place to one side
  5. Add 4 tsps of oil to a pan and when hot, add your garlic, onions and peppers and cook until soft.
  6. Add your tomato and 2 tsps of curry powder and turn the heat down to low.
  7. Add your chicken back to the pan and mix so everything is completely coated.
  8. Serve with rice or a naan bread of your choice
  9. Enjoy!