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City MP to vote for new Community and Victim Payback Boards as number of criminals allowed to work from home trebles

Stephen Morgan MP is set to vote for Labour’s plan to create new Community and Victim Payback Boards that restore public trust in community sentences.  

Earlier this week, Labour research revealed that the number of criminals allowed to complete “independent” unpaid work projects had trebled nationally in 2021, with significant rises in most regions in England and Wales.  

Labour’s Community and Victim Payback Boards will determine how the unpaid work components of community sentences that see offenders giving back to their communities and victims are delivered.

Commenting on the findings, the Member of Parliament for Portsmouth, Stephen Morgan, said:

“This is yet more proof that the Conservatives are letting criminals off and letting victims down.

“Voters will be outraged that nearly ten thousand offenders who should be out repairing the communities they’ve damaged are being allowed to work from home while Ministers hound civil servants back into the office.

“Conservative MPs had a chance to show that they care about being tough on crime and tough on its causes, like Labour, but they refused to vote for Labour’s Community and Victim Payback Boards to restore public trust in the criminal justice system.

“Labour will put communities and victims at the heart of how offenders repay society and make sure justice is being seen to be delivered in Portsmouth.”

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Portsmouth MP offers support to local foodbank collection scheme

Stephen Morgan MP is encouraging his constituents to support the charities Trussell Trust and FareShare via Tesco Food Collection, which is taking place at Tesco stores between June 30 and July 2.

The Portsmouth MP is encouraging local residents to get involved by donating long-life food items to help support the charities in their work of feeding people within communities across the UK. Tesco has pledged to top up customer contributions with an additional 20% cash donation to the charities to aid them in their work.

The food collection points will be run by volunteers and the city MP is asking constituents to consider joining in to help. For more information about how to get involved, visit The Trussell Trust or Fareshare.

FareShare is the UK’s national network of charitable food redistributors. They take good quality surplus food from across the food industry and get it to frontline charities and community groups. Every week they provide enough food to create almost a million meals for vulnerable people.

The Trussell Trust support a nationwide network of food banks and provide emergency food and support to people locked in poverty. Its aim is to create a UK without the need for food banks.

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

“I am encouraging all those who are able, to get involved and offer support to these two fantastic charities by donating long-life food or time as a volunteer.

“The UK is one of the richest countries in the world – but many people struggle to afford enough to eat. Sadly, both the Trussell Trust and FareShare tell me that the need for food to support those they work with is increasing.

“We are all aware that the cost of living crisis is putting enormous pressure on many people’s ability to afford a healthy diet. 7.3 million adults experienced food insecurity in April 2022.

“This year Tesco Food Collection is celebrating a decade of partnership with the Trussell Trust and FareShare. I would like to thank them for all they are doing to offer support to the 14 million people in the UK who are living below the poverty line.”

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Stephen Morgan MP set to host next ‘Pint with your MP’ session next week

Stephen Morgan MP is set to host his next ‘Pint with your MP’ session, taking place Sunday 26 June, 4-5pm at the Old Customs House.

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-338841513087?aff=erelexpmlt

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 two years 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’ this 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 on Sunday 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: The Old Customs House, Vernon Buildings, PO1 3TY.

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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City MP says “Live and let love” at Portsmouth Pride

Speaking on the main stage at Portsmouth Pride at Southsea Common today, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“It’s absolutely fantastic to back together today – and in person once again – for Portsmouth Pride.

For this city, for our country, and for the world, Pride represents so much.

It stands for courage: the courage of all those in previous generations, and today, who proudly live their truth.

It stands for justice: both the steps we’ve taken, and the steps we need to take next.

And above all, Pride stands for love: being able to love who you are, love whomever you love, and love this city and our country enough, to make it fairer, and more free, and more just.

Over the decades, by coming together, by fighting for a fairer society, we have achieved so much.

We must protect the gains we’ve made and secure the progress achieved.

There is still a long way to go. So much more to do.

Around the world our community continue to face violence and inequality – sometimes torture, even execution – because of who they love, how they look, or who they are.

Closer to home… the Tory Government has finally announced a long overdue ban on conversion therapy – but one that fails to properly protect our communities.

Under the proposed law, trans people will not be protected, and conversion practices on adults will still be legal, if the victim consents.

I believe there is no excuse for abuse, and no LGBTQ+ person should be left at risk of these cruel, and degrading, practices. A ban that does not protect trans people is no ban at all.

That’s why I will continue to stand up, and speak out, in Parliament for a full ban on conversion therapy.

If you agree, visit my stall here today, show your support, and sign my pledge to lobby Government for change.

Today, across this Southsea Common, and across our city, Pride flags are flying proudly.

This is a powerful symbol of our community’s commitment to safety, dignity, and opportunity for all – no matter who you are, or who you love.

Pride says to Portsmouth people, Britain and the world – Live and let love.

This afternoon, we should celebrate. But tomorrow, lets get back to campaigning for a fairer, more free, and more just society.

Progress won’t come easily; it never has. But when Portsmouth stands strong, and stands together, we succeed.

Thank you to all the sponsors and the brilliant team that have made today possible.

Thank you all for being here, and for being you.

Happy Portsmouth Pride!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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City MP and Shadow Minister call for urgent action to tackle looming crisis in foster care

Labour has called for urgent action act to tackle a looming crisis in the number of foster carers, and ensure all children can have a stable, loving home.

Data shows the number of current foster carers deregistering is increasing faster than the number of new families, prompting calls for urgent action to improve recruitment and retention. Last year, the South-East saw a decline of 310 foster carers registered with local authorities.

This comes as the number of looked after children continues to grow, increasing 26 per cent in Portsmouth since 2012, with a 21 per cent increase nationwide. This is rapidly outpacing the number of new foster homes which has increased just 6 per cent since 2012.

More than a decade of Conservative government has stripped away vital early-help services which worked to prevent children unnecessarily entering care. At the same time, almost half of children’s services in England are now rated by Ofsted as inadequate or needing improvement, holding back the wraparound support available for foster families.

Labour’s Shadow Minister for Children and Early Years, Helen Hayes MP, visited Portsmouth with Portsmouth South MP and Shadow Schools Minister Stephen Morgan to meet with foster carers and see the Fostering Network’s Mockingbird service, which brings foster families together to support each other. The service was highlighted as an example of good practice in the recently published Independent Review of Children’s Social Care.

Helen Hayes MP, Labour’s Shadow Children and Early Years Minister, said:

“Foster families are crucial to ensuring every child has a stable, loving home, but across the country services are at breaking point after a decade of Conservative neglect.”

“Too often bureaucracy puts off potential foster carers whilst a lack of support means many families are choosing to deregister.  Today, I’ve seen the brilliant Mockingbird service which a really effective example of ways in which additional support can be provided to foster families to help them sustain their vital work.

“Labour in government transformed support for children and families, ensuring all young people were supported to thrive. Labour will put children first once again.”

Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth South MP and Shadow Schools Minister, said:

“Twelve years of Conservative government has created a crisis in foster care. The number of looked after children in our City has grown faster than in the rest of the country, yet the number of foster families in the region is shrinking.

“The Mockingbird service in Portsmouth offers outstanding support to both children and foster families, facilitating stable and loving homes across our City.

“The next Labour government will put children at the heart of our vision for a successful and prosperous Britain.”

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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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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.”

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Portsmouth South MP thanks National Lottery players for helping to support local communities

Stephen Morgan MP has thanked National Lottery players for their role in raising much-needed funding for local charities and community groups.

The heartfelt thank you came as local groups in his constituency of Portsmouth South received £472,851of National Lottery funding since November, supporting their communities as they seek to overcome social and economic challenges caused by the pandemic and build back stronger.

The City MP welcomes the grants and wants more local good causes to apply for National Lottery funding, saying it could be a lifeline as local people and communities rebuild from the impact of the pandemic.

Groups to have benefitted so far include Pompey in the Community, The Good Mental Health CIC and Citizens Advice Portsmouth.

The funding is being distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, which distributes money raised by National Lottery players. National Lottery players raise over £30 million each week for good causes throughout the UK.

Information about how to apply for funding can be found at The National Lottery Community Fund’s website: www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk

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

“It’s heartening to see how the community has benefited from £472,851 of National Lottery funding in Portsmouth South. These groups are inspirational in the great work and support they provide to local people through what have been some extremely difficult times.

“This year is an opportunity for community spirit to continue to shine as the UK hosts the Commonwealth Games and commemorates Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. In 2022, communities will on build on this celebratory spirit by coming together to grow stronger relationships.”

John Mothersole, Chair of England Funding Committee at The National Lottery Community Fund, said:

“It’s fantastic to see that National Lottery Community funding is being used nationally by more than 13,000 charities and community groups, to address issues at the heart of communities, including employability, mental health, supporting young people and building connections to tackle loneliness. Our funding is continuing to have a significant impact on people’s lives across the country, helping to address priorities for both local communities and the UK as a whole and supporting them to build back stronger from COVID-19.”

In the last 12 months, The National Lottery Community Fund has given out nearly £600 million to 12,500 organisations reaching every local authority and constituency in the UK.

To find out more visit www.TNLCommunityFund.org.uk

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City MP meets refugees with Portsmouth charity City of Sanctuary

Stephen Morgan MP has met with local refugees during a meeting with charity Portsmouth City of Sanctuary.

During his visit, the City MP also toured some of the facilities used by the charity to support refugees with their cases, as well as meeting Trustee and Founder, Shamila Dhana, to discuss ongoing issues and challenges.

Portsmouth City of Sanctuary runs a number of projects in Portsmouth for asylum seekers and refugees, including projects to promote integration, reduce social isolation for migrants in the city, build skills, empower, and promote friendship, volunteering and well-being amongst migrants.

The organisation is currently running gardening projects, bicycle projects, walks, dance sessions, and football sessions in the city.

It comes following the government’s announcement of its intention to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing, despite the Refugee Minister Richard Harrington MP saying only the week before that there was ‘no possibility’ of it happening.

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

“The work Portsmouth City of Sanctuary is doing is vital, helping to ensure the city plays its part to support those fleeing persecution.

“It was useful to meet with refugees here in Portsmouth, and speaking to them it is clear government needs to do more to support them and their families, who have been forced into such desperate circumstances.

“I was also really grateful for the opportunity to speak with Shamila and her team to learn more about the current issues and challenges they face.”

The city MP is backing the charity in encouraging local people to donate any women’s bicycles to support asylum seekers and an ask for more volunteers to help with English classes. If any constituent can help in this way they should get in touch with Mr Morgan or the City of Sanctuary team directly.

Following a number of local groups and constituents getting in touch with Mr Morgan about the government’s proposed Rwanda Asylum Processing Plan and announced changes to the Border Force,  the city MP commented:

“The proposal to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda is a desperate and shameful attempt by Mr Johnson to distract from his own law breaking.

“It is an unworkable, unethical and extortionate policy that would cost the UK taxpayer billions of pounds during a cost-of-living crisis, and would make it harder not easier to get fast and fair asylum decisions.

“The Royal Navy are critical to our defence and national security, and should be left to concentrate on the growing threat from Russia, not forced to fix the failures of Conservative ministers.”

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City MP launches ‘Hope in Portsmouth’ project marking women’s suffrage

Stephen Morgan MP is set to welcome a life-sized Lego suffragette named ‘Hope’ to Portsmouth as part of a programme of community events and projects marking women’s suffrage.

A 32,327 LEGO brick piece figure is visiting the city in the lead up to 2028 to celebrate 100 years since the Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act, which gave equal voting rights to all women and men.

From next week until 4 May the statue will be proudly displayed at the Portsmouth MP’s constituency office on Albert Road, with the overall goal of telling the story of inequalities and women’s suffrage and raising awareness of the history of the suffragettes.

The city MP is organising a series of events and projects to mark Hope’s visit to Portsmouth, which includes inviting schools, community groups and veterans to visit Hope to share their ambitions for the future of women’s suffrage.

Alongside the life-sized statue made of Lego, Mr Morgan’s office is also hosting artwork from University of Portsmouth design students on the theme of women in democracy as well as historic political banners and books.

A number of events are taking place for members of the public to book in to attend, as well as viewings with specific community groups in the city.

Any resident is able to attend any of the free events, but booking is essential:

  • Drop-in event on Saturday 23 April between 12pm – 1pm at 72 Albert Road, PO5 2SL – constituents should book for this event at here
  • STEM Event with Hope’ on Saturday 23 April from 1.30pm – 2:30pm at 72 Albert Road, PO5 2SL – constituents should book for this event at here

Alongside this, the city MP is running a competition for city schools to design a modern-day suffragette uniform. Portsmouth South schools have until Friday 6 May to submit their entries with all schools in the constituency encouraged to participate following a letter to local headteachers.

For full details, visit the Hope Visit events page here.

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

“It is an absolute pleasure welcome Hope to Portsmouth. The work that has gone into piecing Hope together – all 32,327 LEGO brick pieces – is an incredible effort.

“I am looking forward to introducing Hope to our community and watching her inspire stories and conversations about women’s suffrage, gender inequalities and democracy.

“I warmly encourage residents and community groups to get involved and for local schools to take part in the design competition”.

Join the conversation on social media from 14 April using the hashtag #StandwithHope.

In 2018 to mark a centenary of voting rights for women, Mr Morgan led a project to plant 100 trees across the city with community and youth groups.