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Give us our bobbies back

Stephen Morgan MP is calling on the Home Secretary to fund our police service fairly and give us back the bobbies Tory governments have taken from our city.

A decade of cuts means Hampshire has lost more than 1,000 police officers since 2010, and we remain 400 short despite recent increases.

Police workforce figures show our constabulary has just 135 officers per 100,000 people, the lowest of any force in the country.

This year’s police funding settlement confirms a £21.9m real-terms cut in funding for Hampshire Constabulary over the past decade.

Ministers are heaping the burden onto local taxpayers by raising the council tax precept, instead of funding our safety directly.

These cuts have real consequences for our city, and our safety. Crime has risen 15% since 2016, with home burglaries and weapon possessions nearly doubling.

Hampshire’s Chief Constable recently confirmed that underfunding means police responses have to be rationed.

If, like Stephen, you want safer streets and more bobbies back on the beat, sign his pledge:

Thank you for signing our pledge. Stephen Morgan MP and the Labour Party will use the personal information you provide for the purpose of the ‘Give us our bobbies back’ campaign. Where you have opted in, Stephen and the Labour Party may contact you via the communication channels you have chosen and for the purposes specified. We may also contact you by post using the electoral register, which Stephen is entitled to use as an MP and the Labour Party is entitled to use to further its objectives as a political party. You can opt out of communications from us or manage your preferences at any time. For more information about how we use personal data please visit: www.stephenmorgan.org.uk/privacy-policy

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Portsmouth MP calls out PM for failure to address social care in Portsmouth

Stephen Morgan has called on the Prime Minister Boris Johnson MP to publish further details on his reported plans for social care.

In a letter to Prime Minister today, the Portsmouth MP shared the concerns of his constituents, including Portsmouth Pensioners Association, about the level of social care provision in the city.

According to Portsmouth Pensioners Association, £160m has been removed from the Adult Social Care budget in Portsmouth since 2015 as part of austerity measures, which falls far short of what’s needed to meet demand in our city.

Over the last two years, 1,500 people in Portsmouth in the medium to lower needs group have had their social care removed to make budget savings.

It comes after Boris Johnson claimed 659 days ago outside 10 Downing Street that he had a plan to fix the social care crisis, but failed to reveal this in the Queen’s Speech earlier this week.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said,

“It has been nearly two years since the Prime Minister stood on the steps of 10 Downing Street claiming to have a plan to fix the social care crisis, but still fails to publish plans on this.

“Many pensioners and those dependent on social care in our city cannot afford to be continually overlooked by this government, which is why I have written to Boris Johnson today to urge him to publish plans now, without further delay.”

Mr Morgan recently held a public meeting with Shadow Health Minister Liz Kendall MP to discuss issues related to mental health and social care, has regularly submitted a range of written parliamentary questions on the issue and backed Labour’s National Care Service policy proposed in 2019.

The Queen’s Speech lacked the ambition and ideas to deliver for Portsmouth

This week Her Majesty delivered the Queen’s Speech, setting out the government’s priorities for the next parliamentary session.

This was an opportunity to implement the lessons we learned during the pandemic and forge a better society. But while many Bills needed to be carried over following the disruption of the pandemic, there were notable absences that demonstrate this government doesn’t have answers to the challenges facing Portsmouth and our country.

Social Care

The pandemic brutally exposed the vulnerabilities of our social care system, which the government allowed to be ravaged by the virus. Meanwhile partners, relatives, and friends continue to bear the burden of unpaid caring responsibilities. The sector is now at crisis point. Yet the issue was reduced to a footnote and we are still waiting for the Prime Minister to deliver on his promise of a fix, made more than two years ago.

Work, education and skills

We have also seen huge insecurity in the world of work, with 18,200 people in Portsmouth South furloughed during the pandemic and young people the most likely to be out of work for an extended period. But the government has no long-term plan to stimulate jobs across our country or address high levels of in-work poverty. Instead Ministers seem content to do nothing and hope that the pandemic will have no long-term impact on working life for our next generation.

Meanwhile, the Government has neglected children over the last year and throughout the last decade. Education recovery spending announced in February amounts to just 43p per child a day next year. This funding promised in the Queen’s Speech means schools will have no more money to spend on pupils than they did a decade ago, while added costs from coronavirus are putting huge pressures on school budgets. This is particularly true of nurseries in our City, and I will continue to raise concerns around the availability of places, particularly for those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Fire and rehire

There was also nothing on the long-overdue Employment Bill, which could have finally outlawed unjust fire and rehire practices. Earlier this year I met British Gas employees who are being subjected to this pernicious practice. Their stories were heart-breaking, and I will continue speak up for them until these workhouse tactics are stopped for good.

Climate Emergency

While the Environment Bill has been carried over from the previous session, I remain deeply concerned that the government is not doing enough to tackle the climate emergency. Ministers have refused to support Labour’s proposed amendments on protecting biodiversity and setting more ambitious air quality targets. I want the UK to take tangible steps towards a greener future now and will continue to push for bold, rapid and meaningful action at every opportunity, both locally and nationally.

Housing, planning and Building Safety

The government’s proposed reforms of the planning system are a Developer’s Charter that will remove powers from elected local representatives and hand them to Whitehall-appointed boards of developers. Taking decisions away from local councils and communities who know their area best will be bad for social housing and could exacerbate the challenges our city faces in delivering the government’s inflated housing targets.

Our city recognises the need to build more homes, but any delivery must be sustainable, integrated with the right infrastructure, and acknowledge the unique circumstances Portsmouth faces. I have recently written to Secretary of State Robert Jenrick urging him to consider our unique circumstances and will continue to make the case for a more measured approach to development in our densely populated city.

Voter ID

Proposals on voter ID have rightly prompted deep concerns about voter suppression. At the last General Election, of the 47,587,254 people voting, there was 1 conviction of voter fraud. That represents 0.0000021014% of votes. More than 2 million voters may lack the ID required under the proposed Bill. This is not about making sure people don’t vote twice, it is about making sure some people don’t vote at all. Ministers must urgently rethink their discriminatory plans.

Armed Forces Bill

Finally, with the Armed Forces Bill due to return before the end of this year, I will continue to lead Labour’s efforts to ensure that the Armed Forces Covenant is made a reality for every member of the armed forces. We aim to make central government responsible for delivering the Covenant and all its promises, improve access to justice for our forces and end the Commonwealth visa fees scandal.

The people of Portsmouth need and deserve a legislative agenda that delivers on their priorities. I remain steadfastly committed to speaking up on the issues that matter to our city as your strong voice in Parliament.

See a full list of the Bills in the Queen’s Speech at this link.

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Queen’s Speech: Portsmouth MP slams government’s ‘hollow promises’ on social care

Stephen Morgan MP has attacked the government today after it failed to offer clear detail on its plans revealed in the Queen’s Speech today to address the social care crisis Portsmouth and the wider country is facing.

Announcing her government’s legislative priorities, Her Majesty the Queen revealed in her speech to Parliament today that social care proposals ‘will be brought forward’.

However, Labour responded to the announcement arguing his was yet ‘further delay’ to tackle the perennial problem that has gripped the country for years and was a ‘wasted opportunity’ to finally deal with it.

According to The Kings Fund, only around a quarter of people who have requested some of form of social care are actually assessed as eligible for formal short-term or long-term care.

Meanwhile according to Portsmouth CCG, there is a 69.5% estimated dementia prevalence rate in persons aged 65 and over of the Portsmouth population, underlining the importance of the local provision of social care with the continued trend of an aging general population.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, reacted,

“The message from last week is that people are demanding and are owed real change. Today, the Government gave us yet more rhetoric and buzzwords, not a proper plan to get Britain working for working people.

“This Queen’s Speech doesn’t put proper detail behind the rhetoric on jobs, social care, reducing violent crime and narrowing the gap between different parts of the country will be yet another wasted opportunity.

“Social care is in dire need of improvement across our country and in Portsmouth, but many will now feel forgotten by this government which has once again opted for further dither and delay with hollow promises on this important issue.”

Keir Starmer MP, Leader of the Labour Party, also said,

“Labour’s priority is jobs. That means good jobs, good pay and good prospects, bringing an end to insecurity at work and spreading opportunity across Britain. We must seize this moment to create a brighter future for the whole country.”

Mr Morgan recently held a public meeting with Shadow Health Minister Liz Kendall MP to discuss issues related to mental health and social care.

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City MP presents Portsmouth’s NHS Parliamentary Award nominees with their certificates

Stephen Morgan MP has met with Portsmouth’s three nominees for the NHS Parliamentary Awards to offer his congratulations and thank them for their hard work and dedication during the pandemic.

Last year Members of Parliament were invited to nominate individuals or an organisation for an NHS Parliamentary Award. The Portsmouth South MP nominated three individuals who went above and beyond to support the community during the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the online event, there was an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the staff, who are based at Queen Alexandra Hospital, as well as allowing an opportunity for the nominees to talk to the city MP about their experiences on the frontline.

All three nominees were from the Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust with The Excellence in Urgent and Emergency Care Award nomination going to Clinical Director of Respiratory Medicine Dr Ben Green; The Wellbeing at Work Award nomination going to Respiratory High Care Ward Manager Katrina James; and the Excellence in Healthcare Award nomination going to Consultant Respiratory Physician, Tom Brown.

Chief Nurse Liz Rix also joined the online call to share the impact of the three nominees’ work at QA with Mr Morgan, including Dr Green’s work in driving preparedness plans in the respiratory department in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; Katrina James, who identified the need for a formal end of life process for patients coming off non-invasive ventilation and was praised for her incredible compassion for her patients, their loved ones and her colleagues; and Tom Brown, who became the Trust lead on research trials, reshaped the research team and embedded it as part of routine clinical care.

Stephen Morgan MP, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, commented,

“All our NHS staff, volunteers and society’s carers deserve recognition, but Ben, Katrina and Tom have gone above and beyond the call of duty and their work has had an enormous impact on so many people here in Portsmouth as well as further afield.

“Hearing the tributes they made to their teams and their accounts of the dedication of the staff at QA hospital was inspirational.

“We owe these members of our community a debt of gratitude and I cannot thank them enough for all they have done.”

The city MP separately wrote a formal letter of thanks to each of the nominees. The hope is that next year’s awards will be able to be presented in person.

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East Jerusalem and Sheikh Jarrah: your views

A high number of constituents have been in touch with me deeply concerned about the situation in East Jerusalem. Thank you to all those who have written to me about this matter.

The forced evictions in Sheikh Jarrah must stop. I condemn attempts by Israeli settlers to take control of Palestinian homes.

Labour are clear that East Jerusalem has been illegally annexed. Israel is the occupying power which creates obligations that the Israeli government is not meeting. Israel must comply with international law.

It is totally unacceptable to see violence used against worshippers gathering during Ramadan at the al-Aqsa mosque. It is essential that holy sites are respected. The Israeli authorities must take steps to defuse the situation in the city. Labour is therefore calling on the UK government to make the strongest representations to the government of Israel to reduce tensions.

The Shadow Foreign Office team have also rightly strongly condemned the rocket attacks by Hamas, which threaten Israeli civilians.

The decision by the government of Israel to advance with the construction of settlement buildings in Givat HaMatos and the Har Homa E area of the occupied West Bank is deeply regrettable and should be challenged by the international community. These settlements are a violation of international law, entrench divisions, and seriously undermine the prospects for a viable Palestinian state.

I believe that the UK government should make urgent representations to the Israeli Government to halt all evictions in East Jerusalem, change planning laws which discriminate against Palestinians and suspend the construction of all other settlements in East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the West Bank immediately.

Labour believes that there must be a negotiated two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which ensures a safe and secure Israel, alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state.

This is something I will continue to work with others to help make a reality.

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“We can, and we will, build a better future for Portsmouth”

The last year, so hard for so many, has changed us all. It’s changed Portsmouth. By staying apart, we have come together like never before.

So many of you have told me we can’t come through the collective trauma of Covid-19 and go back to the same arguments and the old ways of doing things.

Tories and Lib Dems continue to fight each other, while our NHS loses out on funding. Our children miss out on a world-class education, and our city watches on as jobs go and our community is neglected by Government.

We’ve got to create a better future for the country we love, and we need to do that now.

As I continue to represent you and our city in Parliament, I am determined to ensure Portsmouth recovers from the pandemic faster and fairer. I will work day and night to bring that change, so we can build the city we all need.

But the work of Labour councillors is vital to delivering local services we all rely on and standing up for the causes you care about. By working electing a bigger Labour team on the city council today we can achieve so much more.

Working together, you local Labour councillors have been pushing to tackle the climate emergency that the Labour Group pushed for the city to declare. Labour councillors have strongly argued to stop AQUIND and the untold disruption it would cause to our city, and are calling for a proper green  recovery for Portsmouth through local initiatives like ‘Living Streets’.

In the last few weeks you will have heard from your local Labour team, and your candidate for the important elections to the city council today.

Instead of focusing on the divisions and disagreements of the past, Portsmouth Labour is making the case for a Covid recovery council, with a restart plan for every community, in every corner of our city, at its heart. Never again should we see services stripped back to their bones and communities suffering as a result.

It’s really important you vote for your local Labour candidate, so that they can deliver a catch up plan for our children, because we won’t let a generation of young people go forgotten. And we will set out our vision for jobs for now and for the future, supporting good local businesses to create good jobs.

The task ahead is tough, but together with a bigger Labour team on the city council there is nothing we cannot achieve.

We can, and we will, build a better future for Portsmouth. Please help us all to achieve that by voting for your Labour candidate today.

Stay safe and well.

Stephen Morgan MP

PS to find out about your local candidate visit www.portsmouthlabourparty.org.uk/labour-team/

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COVID impact: Portsmouth MP visits local organisation MAKE that supports adults with learning disabilities

Stephen Morgan MP visited local support group MAKE today following the acute impact the pandemic has had on vulnerable people living in Portsmouth.

Based in Fratton, MAKE is a social enterprise supported by Aldingbourne Trust, providing innovative projects to support adults with learning disabilities to develop skills to enable them to lead independent lives and gain employment within the community.

However, many of those who rely on the local services MAKE provides felt ‘isolated’ during the third lockdown, a feeling shared by many during a discussion included in the Portsmouth MP’s visit, focusing on the impact the pandemic has had on MAKE and those who use its services.

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the inequalities disabled people face in England, with national data showing disabled people and those with health conditions accounting for 59% of all deaths relating to coronavirus.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, commented,

MAKE is a fantastic organisation that is doing brilliant work to support some of the most vulnerable in our community who have also been hit particularly hard by COVID-19 over this past year.

“It’s brilliant to see that these facilities have now reopened for service users, but it’s vital services like these stay open and remain supported as we slowly unlock from this third lockdown.”

Mr Morgan previously visited MAKE last August after the first lockdown and has put questions to the Health Secretary on when government will set out a clear plan on how and when vulnerable groups will be vaccinated, along with others who are currently left out of the priority groups.

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City MP launches NHS dentistry survey amid crisis in care

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has launched an online survey for local residents to provide their views on the crisis facing NHS dentistry.

Results from the short questionnaire will inform a dossier of evidence the City MP is preparing to lobby the Health Secretary for change.

Figures from NHS Digital suggest only 39% of adults in Portsmouth had seen an NHS dentist in the 2 years up to 31 December 2020, compared to 45% across England.

Just 26% of Portsmouth children have seen an NHS dentist in the last 12 months, compared to a national figure of 30%, despite those appointments being free on the NHS.

In October 2020, Portsmouth resident Chris Savage numbered among the 7.6% of English households that have attempted a DIY tooth extraction, after struggling to access NHS treatment.

The survey is the latest in a string of actions the City MP has taken locally and in Parliament.

In January this year, Stephen warned Health Ministers of a crisis in NHS dentistry in a speech in the House of Commons and called on the government to drop damaging activity targets.

The same month saw him host a summit with local dentists, the Chair of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Dental Committee and Portsmouth Healthwatch, to hear directly from practitioners and patients.

In 2019, Stephen backed Labour’s pledge to offer free dental check-ups for all as part of a plan to focus on preventative healthcare.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“I remain deeply concerned that Portsmouth has been disproportionately affected by the ongoing crisis in NHS dentistry.

“The pandemic created an inevitable backlog of care, but it also exposed the underlying weaknesses of the current system which risk causing generational damage to patient care.

“This survey is a chance for people to have their say, and I will take their concerns directly to the Health Secretary to lobby for the change we need.”

Click here to fill out the survey.

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City MP raises concerns over ‘totally unsustainable’ government housing targets

Portsmouth South MP has blasted the government’s “inflated” housing targets for the city, and raised concerns about the impact of unsustainable development on the local infrastructure and “our treasured natural environment.”

The government’s 2020 Standard Methodology housing targets commit Portsmouth to building 17,357 dwellings between 2020 and 2038, or 855 per annum.

But the city is already one of the most densely populated in the UK, with approximately 220,000 people in 15 square miles. The Council’s 2019 Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA) suggests there is capacity for up to 134 fewer dwellings per year than will be needed in the period to 2036.

According to property developer Lichfields, the new target is 602 dwellings per year more than the average delivery over the past three years.

Mr Morgan writes: “Our city recognises the need to build more homes, but any delivery must be sustainable, integrated with the right infrastructure, and acknowledge the unique circumstances Portsmouth faces.”

Natural England suggested halted housing applications in the Solent area in 2019 because of Nitrate contamination in harbours killing marine life. Portsmouth Council’s own data suggests continued development will worsen the existing greenspace deficit in the City.

The letter goes on: “As it stands, our housing targets are so high that we have no hope of meeting them and our City is being set up to fail.”

Stephen Morgan MP is urging Mr Jenrick to attend a summit meeting with local planning representatives to discuss the issue and support a more sustainable housing delivery plan.

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan added:

“We all recognise the need to build more homes, but it must be delivered sustainably, with the right local infrastructure and must not put our environment at risk.

“Algorithms and formulas can never be a substitute for local knowledge and decision-making by councils and communities who know their area best.

“I am urging the Secretary of State to think again, and meet with myself and local planning representatives to see the impact these inflated targets would have on our area first hand.”