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Cost of living: Portsmouth MP to vote for windfall tax on oil and gas producers’ excess profits

Stephen Morgan MP is set to vote with Labour on its motion for a one-off windfall tax on oil and gas producers’ excess profits, as the cost-of-living crisis continues to grow.

Labour’s amendment will be voted on during the Queen’s Speech debate on Tuesday. Unlike how the Government treats opposition day debates, MPs are required to vote on the amendment.

Labour first called for the windfall tax on 9 January, to fund a VAT cut on home energy bills and expand and increase the Warm Homes Discount, saving families struggling with soaring costs up to £600 off their bills.

Since then, the party has called on the Conservative Government to bring forward this change almost 250 times.

It comes as BP and Shell alone have made £12.37bn of profit in the first three months of 2022 – despite Cabinet ministers describing these companies as “struggling” when defending the Conservatives’ refusal to implement a windfall tax.

Analysis by the Labour Party on Sunday showed the expected profits of North Sea oil and gas firms in 2022/23 are higher than the combined rise in energy bills for every household in the UK.

As well as growing support from the Conservative backbenches, there is also widespread public support for a windfall tax, including senior business figures such as the chairs of Tesco and John Lewis.

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

“As energy bills rise by record amounts for families across Portsmouth, it is shameful that Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak still refuse to back a windfall tax that could help tackle the cost-of-living crisis.

“Today, Labour will give MPs another chance to support our one-off windfall tax on oil and gas producer profits to bring down bills.

“Local Conservative MPs must now back this measure to bring down the energy costs of their constituents, or explain why they continue to oppose measures that would ease their cost-of-living.”

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Portsmouth MP holds government to account for failure to ‘level-up’ constituency

Stephen Morgan MP said the government is ‘short-changing’ Portsmouth in order to help its struggling highstreets and support the city’s cultural attractions tackle of the cost of living crisis, during departmental questions in the House of Commons today.

The City MP accused Ministers of prioritising areas that suit them politically, rather than those which urgently need support and attention, including his own constituency of Portsmouth South.

The north of the city, represented by a Conservative Minister, received £20m for several projects, including an urban park, upgrades to Hilsea Lido and a new cruise terminal.

However, proposals for the south of the city have missed out on the funding needed, the Portsmouth MP has said. Gosport, which the government identified as a ‘priority 1 area’ for levelling up, also got nothing.

This includes the long-overdue regeneration of the city centre, the rejuvenation of Portsmouth Harbour’s transport hub to improve access to the Historic Dockyard and Gunwharf Quay, and improving pedestrian access between Fratton station and the football stadium. Mr Morgan has previously lobbied the Chancellor separately about these matters.

According to the latest official figures, Portsmouth has lost at least 2,000 retail sector related jobs, sitting below the regional and national levels, as it was seven years ago back in 2015.

Later this week the MP is meeting the Arts Council to ensure his constituency is prioritised for future funding.

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

Portsmouth’s highstreets and cultural assets have been left behind by this Tory government, failing to offer the support they need to kickstart our economy and begin our recovery.

“Instead of using taxpayers’ money to serve its own political ambitions, government should be ‘levelling-up’ communities like our own to revive our struggling highstreets and boost our cultural attractions. They don’t need more pantomime answers from the Secretary of State that we heard today.

“I will continue to speak up for constituents to secure the investment our city needs and deserves.”

As well as working alongside the city council, backing its Levelling Up Fund bids, questioning Ministers, and lobbying the Chancellor directly over investment in the constituency, the Portsmouth representative has vowed to continue to fight in Parliament for what the area deserves.

He is meeting with officials again over submission of further proposals to Government.

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Guildhall Trust receives £499,000 in Arts Council funding – City MP responds

Responding to news that the Guildhall Trust has been awarded £499,000 from the Arts Council England’s Capital Investment Programme, Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan, said:

“It’s fantastic to learn the Guildhall Trust has been given the support it needs to grow the vital, creative opportunities it offers to so many young people across our city.

“From my recent conversations with Guildhall Trust, I know how important this funding will be to increase access to creative spaces and help to inspire our communities.

“As Portsmouth begins its recovery, it’s critical the next generation has access to creative spaces like this to give them the platform to truly thrive. I look forward to seeing the benefits of this investment locally and will be feeding back its importance to the Arts Council in the coming weeks.”

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City MP set to open Southsea Community Cinema and Arts Centre

Stephen Morgan MP is set to open Portsmouth Film Society’s new home at the Southsea Community Cinema and Arts Centre later this month.

Opening in the heart of Southsea on 19 May with Open House from 12 – 5 pm, the new centre will be featuring local performers, films soundtracks, drums and short films.

Now based at 1-3 Palmerston Road, Portsmouth Film Society will also be hosting a reception on the day for community leaders, local artists and business leaders.

The group will be showcasing its new configurable cinema space, meeting rooms with kitchen facilities, photography and film capability, to engage with the community and gain input on how to evolve its film and educational programmes, as well as develop the space to best suit the needs of local artists and customers.

Its diverse Cinema program features a variety of genres to appeal to people of all ages with matinees and daily evening screenings funded by the British Film Institute (BFI).

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

“I’m delighted that Portsmouth Film Society has finally found a home in Southsea, after years of challenges. It has done fantastic work for local creativity and arts, from its educational programmes, to promoting and supporting local artists.

“This new centre will provide a much-needed dedicated hub where communities can come together to develop and learn more about the world of cinema.

“I look forward to seeing how the organisation’s work continues to grow in its new home, and I wish all those involved every success in providing such important services for our communities.”

Southsea Community Cinema and Arts Centre will be open from 10 am – 9pm. For more details, visit: https://southseacinema.co.uk/opening/

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Queen’s Speech – City MP responds

Reacting to the Queen’s Speech today, Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan, said:

“This was a wasted opportunity. The first line of the Queen’s Speech should have included the introduction of an emergency budget to tackle the cost of living crisis Portsmouth and the rest of the country are facing. Instead, it was scarcely mentioned at all.

“Nothing to tackle the cost of the weekly shop, energy bills or the price at the pump. Ministers even decided it was better to chuck its Employment Bill in the bin, rather than help to secure good jobs.

“Today’s Queen’s Speech smacks of a government and Prime Minister that is out of ideas, and out of touch. Labour is ambitious for our country. After 12 years of low growth, high inflation and spiralling taxes, Labour’s plan would once again prioritise world-class public services, bring down NHS waiting times, tackle crime and ensure the best education for our children.”

Commenting on schools, the Shadow Schools Minister, added:

“After two years of unprecedented chaos and disruption to children’s education, we saw nothing to support children’s catch-up learning in the classroom, and nothing to tackle the day-to-day challenges pupils and teachers are facing. This government is failing our next generation.

“Labour in government would recruit 6,500 new teachers, back them with improved professional development and ensure every young person leaves education ready for work and ready for life, with professional careers advice and work experience for all.”

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Portsmouth MP praises ‘resilient’ new local business for giving back to the community

Stephen Morgan MP has praised a new business launched during the middle of the pandemic for its resilience and for providing targeted services to community members.

Launched in May 2020, Danielle Hollinshead and her husband Ian started IDeal Fitness & Nutrition LTD, which has continued to grow from strength to strength.

During lockdown, the new business offered online nutrition coaching and socially distanced 121 kickboxing coaching, but now has ambitions to grow the start-up even further with restrictions now lifted.

The business recently launched its health and wellness group at Milton Village Hall, to teach the local community about the importance of healthy living and the benefits of exercise whether their goal is to lose, gain or maintain their current weight. Classes are every Friday afternoon, 12-1pm.

During school holidays, the group will be extended to accommodate more children who can come along for some family fun and learn about family nutrition. Classes are free to all under 16’s who attend with a parent or guardian.

The local enterprise also launched last week a nutrition and wellness cooking course, designed for adults with learning difficulties.

Following a visit to see one of the classes first-hand at Milton Village Hall, the Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“The resilience Danielle and Ian have shown to start a business in the middle of the pandemic is nothing short of remarkable. It’s fantastic to see the entrepreneurial spirit of our city is still alive and kicking after the challenges of the last two years.

“I’m also really pleased to hear how the team plan to provide specific classes to those with learning difficulties and are already helping young people to learn about healthy living, so it was really useful to see that first-hand this afternoon.

“I look forward to seeing how the local business continues to grow from strength to strength and provide such important services to our community.”

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Stephen Morgan MP will host his next ‘Pint with your MP’ session next week

Stephen Morgan MP is set to host his next ‘Pint with your MP’ session, taking place next Sunday 15 May, 4-5pm at the Sir Loin of Beef pub.

The event is open to all constituents and booking is essential. To confirm attendance, constituents should visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pint-with-your-mp-tickets-313298643677

The pop-up ‘Pint with your MP’ sessions are designed as informal opportunities for constituents to say hello to their local Member of Parliament and share issues and concerns about topics of interest both locally and nationally.

The Portsmouth representative is determined to take up every opportunity to have more face-to-face conversations with constituents safely after more than a year of restrictions, whilst also helping to support local businesses, as the city recovers from the pandemic.

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

“There are a range of issues impacting people right now, from access to local healthcare to the cost-of-living crisis, so I’m pleased to be hosting my next ‘Pint with your MP’ next week to listen to concerns and take them back up to Westminster.

“It’s really important that people from all walks of life are able to speak to me about the issues that matter to them. I hope these sessions have been a useful and more accessible way for some people to contact me, who might otherwise be unable.

“I look to forward to chatting with constituents next week over a pint of whatever their choosing and warmly encourage others to tell a friend, who may have trouble reaching my office through the usual routes.”

The full address for the ‘Pint with your MP’ session is: Sir Loin of Beef, 152 Highland Rd, Eastney, PO4 9NH

While restrictions have now been relaxed, attendees are encouraged to take reasonable precautions to feel safe to attend.

If constituents are not able to attend but wish to keep up-to-date on Mr Morgan’s work locally and in Parliament, sign up to the newsletter at www.stephenmorgan.org.uk/sign-up or follow @StephenMorganMP on social media.

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Heating costs soar as City MP calls for ‘urgent action’ to boost affordable swimming pool access

Stephen Morgan MP has called for ‘urgent action’ to be taken to boost affordable local access to swimming pools, after accusing decision-makers of ‘sitting on their hands’ as the cost of heating pools continues to rise.

Swim England last week warned that heating bill increases of up to 150% will lead to the widespread closures of UK swimming pools unless something is done.

It comes after the repurposing and closure of the Pyramids Centre and closure of Eastney swimming pool in Portsmouth alone.

The city has now only has just a few options that are available to the public, as Swim England has also forecasted a wider 40% reduction in the number of available swimming facilities in the country by the end of the decade.

It has also said this would leave 73% of local authorities short of the equivalent of at least one swimming pool.

In addition to questioning Ministers in parliament on this issue, the Portsmouth MP has met with Swim England to discuss the provision level of local swimming facilities, wider national challenges and how the cost of living crisis is impacting affordable access to swimming facilities in Portsmouth and across the country.

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

“Decisions to reduce access to affordable swimming across the country and in Portsmouth have real consequences for our city’s communities.

“Instead of sitting on its hands, Government should be doing more to encourage swimming for pupils and people of all ages, and the council should be getting on with delivering this locally.

“Warnings from Swim England should be focusing minds, not continuing to leave our community as an afterthought.

“It was useful to meet with the organisation in Westminster last week to discuss what needs be done here in Portsmouth and across the country, and how I can continue to lobby others for investment in local facilities.

“I will continue to push the council and Government to get serious about this growing problem.”