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City MP backs USDAW’s ‘Respect for Shopworkers Week’

Stephen Morgan MP has backed USDAW’s campaign ‘Respect for Shopworkers Week’ and called for greater protections for shop and retail workers following a visit to a Portsmouth Co-op today.

This comes as violence, threats and abuse against retail workers doubled during the height of the Covid-19 crisis earlier this year.

The shop and retail workers union will not be running the campaign in its usual way this year, but has called for shop and retail workers to share their real-life experiences during this period via a survey.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, said:

“Shop and retail workers both here in Portsmouth and across the country have been the backbone of local communities during this pandemic.

During this crisis our key workers have been there to support us when we needed it most and it is only right we now do the same for them.

That’s why I am proud to support USDAW’s ‘Respect for Shopworkers Week’ to give shop and retail workers the protections they need during this crisis and beyond”.

During his visit, Co-op employees demonstrated the new body-cameras that the supermarket’s shop workers are now wearing to protect both its customers and employees.

In recent months, some supermarkets and have faced challenges, both in shoplifting and some customers not following government Covid-19 guidelines.

Mr Morgan, added:

“Any further support for our key workers that have helped to feed the nation through this difficult period I of course welcome.

This new measure will no doubt help to protect Co-op shops, its customers and crucially its workers from future challenges and I am glad to see its introduction here in Portsmouth.”

USDAW has also set up a petition that has called on the government to legislate to make it specific offence of abusing, threatening or assaulting a retail worker.

 

 

 

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City MP’s Christmas card competition celebrates local heroes

Stephen Morgan MP is calling on all school aged children in his constituency to enter his 2020 Christmas card competition.

Writing to all schools in Portsmouth South, and with a plug for all children to get involved on BBC Radio Solent recently, the theme of the popular competition is ‘Our Local Heroes at Christmas’.

Mr Morgan hopes, after such a tough year, the competition will help spread some much-needed cheer across the local community as well as help young people understand the contribution made to Portsmouth of those working on the frontline in 2020.

Stephen Morgan MP commented:

“This year has been a particularly difficult one for so many people both in our city and across the country.

I hope by acknowledging some of our local heroes we can continue to share our gratitude to those people who have gone above and beyond to make Portsmouth a better place to be.”

The winning entry is to feature as the design for Stephen’s official Christmas card. The card will be sent to hundreds of individuals and organisations across the constituency and country in December.

The city MP added:

“The winning design will be professionally printed and sent to people I work closely with to make Portsmouth a better place for everyone.

The competition is always very popular and I can’t wait to see the designs from so many local young people”.

How can young people take part? 

The competition is open to all school aged pupils living or attending school in Portsmouth South. The theme is ‘Our Local Heroes at Christmas’ and designs can either be landscape or portrait.

Entries should be delivered to Stephen’s constituency office at 72 Albert Road, Southsea, PO5 2SL. The closing date for entries is Monday 23 November 2020 (deadline extended). Entries should include the child’s full name, age and year group, and school. 

If you have any questions about the competition, please get in touch with Stephen by emailing stephen.morgan.mp@parliament.uk

 

 

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Lets Stop AQUIND poster

Portsmouth’s green and open spaces are precious. The AQUIND plans do nothing to benefit our city, only cause disruption to our environment and to our daily lives.

Show your opposition alongside Stephen by displaying a poster in your window.

To download Jane’s brilliant graphic, and print your own click the link below:

Poster

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Government must work with faith groups to support communities says City MP

Responding to concerns about restrictions on all places of worship during the national lockdown in England, Stephen Morgan MP has been taking a range of actions to take forward concerns by constituents including putting pressure on Government on these decisions.

The Government’s second national lockdown in England until 2 December 2020 means that under the new restrictions, places of worship of all faiths can open for individual prayer, funerals and formal childcare, but sadly not for services. Weddings are also no longer permitted expect under the most exceptional circumstances.

The city MP has been liaising with a number of local faith leaders as well as submitting parliamentary questions to ensure our city’s voice is heard.

Commenting on this, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“I value enormously the contribution faith communities make to our society, especially here in Portsmouth, through their spiritual leadership and the way they serve the most vulnerable members of our community.

Throughout the pandemic, religious groups across our city have run foodbanks, provided thousands of hot meals, delivered essential supplies, given childcare support and provided many other essential services.

Leaders of faith communities across England have rightly expressed disappointment that they were not consulted ahead of the Government’s announcement.

I am concerned that the way in which the most recent restrictions were announced shows a disconnect with faith groups and a lack of appreciation for the importance of places of worship in our communities”.

The Portsmouth South representative is calling on the Government to adequately consult faith communities on future plans. On this he added:

“I believe the Government must now set out what steps it will take to ensure vital places of worship are not lost from our communities as a result of Covid-19.

Ministers should hold regular meetings with the Places of Worship Taskforce to ensure faith leaders are consulted and provided with support, particularly ahead of important religious festivals”.

The city MP has vowed to continue to take action to represent the views of Portsmouth’s diverse faith groups and organisations.

 

 

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Second national lockdown: Where to find help

Where to find help

During this second national lockdown, there are a number of support services available for constituents and for those in need. This is a summary of key contacts to help you and your family get through this challenging time for our city.

National Government

It’s important to get official advice, and not rely on what people might be saying, especially on social media.

Government advice can be found at:

www.gov.uk/coronavirus

NHS advice:

www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

Portsmouth City Council

Most services continue to operate. Following government instructions, the council has taken steps to help ensure the wellbeing of customers, staff and the wider community.

For the latest news on council services, up-to-date coronavirus safety advice and other information to help in the current situation, go to:

www.portsmouth.gov.uk/coronavirus

023 9268 8004 (9am – 5pm Monday to Friday)

HIVE Portsmouth

Help for vulnerable people If you’re in need of food or medicine deliveries, or other help, please call:

www.hiveportsmouth.org.uk

023 9261 6709 (9am – 5pm Monday to Friday)

Medical help

If you need medical help, call the NHS on 111. If it’s an emergency, call 999.

Domestic abuse

For domestic abuse advice and support call 023 9206 5494 (9am – 9pm Monday to Friday) or go to www.stopdomesticabuse.uk If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 999.

For more sources of help click on vulnerable people at www.portsmouth.gov.uk/coronavirus

Other support

Advice on money and work Advice Portsmouth offers free advice on benefits, debt, employment and consumer issues:

023 9279 4340

Text 07789 550593

portsmouth@theyoutrust.org.uk

Citizens Advice can help with new Universal Credit claims:

0800 144 8444

www.citizensadvice.org.uk

Council tenants can call their housing office for advice.

For more advice and information on sick pay, benefits, food banks, scams and money concerns, click on work and money at www.portsmouth.gov.uk/coronavirus

Trade unions have been taking a range of actions to protect employment, wages and keep people safe at work. The TUC has a simple guide for those who are looking to join a union and they have guidance and advice available on their website:

www.tuc.org.uk/joinunion

www.tuc.org.uk/CoronavirusProtectingWorkers

Stephen’s constituency office

To protect vulnerable people and help stop the spread of Covid-19 the constituency office at 72 Albert Road has currently stopped face-to-face enquiries but is still helping hundreds of Stephen’s constituents each week.

If you have casework or need help:

stephen.morgan.mp@parliament.uk

www.stephenmorgan.org.uk/covid-19/

023 9229 1088

Please note since the crisis the amount of correspondence Stephen has increased significantly, with the volume more than trebling. His office is therefore currently prioritising urgent cases and we thank you for your patience.

This information was up-to-date on 6 November 2020

 

 

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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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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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Black History Month: Portsmouth South MP calls for Black History to be added to the curriculum all year round

Following action taken earlier this year by the Portsmouth South representative, Stephen Morgan MP has today urged the government again to include Black History in the school curriculum all year round.

As part of efforts to mark Black History Month in the House of Commons, Members from across the House highlighted issues of racism and discrimination and called on the government to do more during a backbench debate.

A debate in recognition of Black History Month has not taken place in the House of Commons for five years. Over the past few months issues of race and discrimination have been at the forefront of public opinion following multiple Black Lives Matter demonstrations which took place in every region in England throughout June and July.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Much more needs to be done to tackle racism and discrimination in society, and I am committed to actively working with others to end injustice and inequality affecting communities in Portsmouth.

This year we have seen Black, Asian and minority ethnic people disproportionately affected by Covid-19 death rates and the economic crisis.

Teaching Black British history in schools would be an important step towards ending the structural racism that holds people back and creating a society where everyone’s contributions are recognised and celebrated. I made that point to the Minister earlier this year and regrettably Government has not taken this issue seriously.

Whilst I welcome the backbench debate today on tackling racism and discrimination, it is high time Ministers hear our concerns and take action”.

Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, Marsha De Cordova MP added:

“In the context of a growing Black Lives Matter movement that is highlighting racial injustices across the globe, Black history must be taught all year round, as part of a truly diverse school curriculum that includes and inspires all young people from all backgrounds.

Black history is British history and it’s a disgrace that the Government won’t even review the curriculum to get this right.”

 

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Together we can, and we will, stop AQUIND

Attending the against AQUIND human chain today in Milton, a Covid-safe protest organised by local people, city MP Stephen Morgan said:

In the week of clean air day, when the council withdrew crucial roads from a scheme to reduce dirty air and rowed back on its climate emergency commitment, it’s humbling to see so many Portsmouth people coming together to stop the AQUIND development. 

Portsmouth’s green and open spaces are precious. The developer’s plans do nothing to benefit our city, only cause disruption to our environment and to our daily lives. 

Thank you to the grassroots group that organised today’s event. Together we can, and we will, stop this”.

To find out more about the Portsmouth South MP’s long-running work helping residents oppose the AQUIND interconnector proposals click here.

 

 

 

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City MP backs ‘Walk to School Week’ campaign

Stephen Morgan MP has backed national campaign ‘Walk to School Week’, organised by UK charity Living Streets. 

The campaign aims to encourage families to try healthier and greener ways to travel to school. Starting today, school children across the UK will be taking part in a safe and socially distanced walk to school with other students and parents.

According to the charity, 70 per cent of children walked to school a generation ago, now it is less than half.

The government has set a target in its Cycling to Walking Investment Strategy to get 55% of primary school pupils walking to school by 2025, to tackle this issue.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, commented,

“I’m delighted to support this fantastic initiative to encourage children and parents to take part in a safe and socially distanced walk to school, and I urge our local schools to take part in this too.”

Many of us have spent more time indoors recently, so I’m really proud to support this campaign that offers both a greener option, and a way for both students and parents to get the fresh air and exercise they need to support their mental wellbeing through this difficult period.”

The Chief Executive of Living Streets, Mary Creagh, added,

“Walking to school is a fun and easy way for to get active. We need safer streets so more families have confidence to walk to school.”