, , , ,

Stephen Morgan MP calls for the Government to reverse lifting ban on bee-killing pesticides

Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP has today called for the Government to reverse its decision to lift the ban on bee-killing pesticides, known as neonicotinoids. This pesticide is seriously harmful to Britain’s dwindling bee populations and will further damage biodiversity.

Stephen Morgan MP also accuses the Government of rolling back on commitments made to uphold the ban by previous Environment Secretary, Michael Gove. He pledged to uphold the ban on neonicotinoids in 2017.

At the time Michael Gove, said: “The weight of evidence now shows the risks neonicotinoids pose to our environment, particularly to the bees and other pollinators which play such a key part in our £100bn food industry, is greater than previously understood … We cannot afford to put our pollinator populations at risk.”

He also said: “Unless the evidence base changes again, the Government will keep these restrictions in place after we have left the EU.”

The city MP is concerned that this is a worrying indication of the Government rolling back other hard-won environmental gains after Britain has left the EU, which would be a breaking their manifesto commitment on environmental protections which states that during trade negotiations they will “not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards.”

Furthermore, just only yesterday there were reports that Britain will continue to allow plastic waste to be exported to developing countries. This would be breaking another Conservative manifesto commitment on banning the practice.

Luke Pollard, the Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has written to the government to urge him to reverse lifting the ban and for this to be scrutinised by MPs with a vote in Parliament.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“I’m concerned about bee populations in our community. I know from constituents that protecting biodiversity is a top priority for people in Portsmouth.

“We have lost too many bees and if bee-killing chemicals are allowed to be used again I worry that we will lose even more.

“I was elected on a manifesto to protect bees that is why I am calling for a vote on the Government’s plans to permit bee-killing chemicals to be used.

“I will be strongly opposing this plan to protect our local bee population.”

Luke Pollard MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary added:

“Bee health is non-negotiable. The ban on bee-killing pesticides must remain in place to protect our natural environment. Labour is demanding a vote in Parliament on the Government’s plan to allow bee-killing pesticides.

“Labour supports our farmers but ending this ban is not the solution to tackle crop blight.”

 

, , , , ,

‘Back local councils with proper funding to prevent the planned council tax rise’ urges Portsmouth MP  

Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP has called out the Government’s hike to council tax – a £1.9bn planned bombshell costing the average family £90 each.

Today in a major speech by the Leader of the Opposition, Keir Starmer, Labour pointed out that Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak are hitting workers in their pockets by “permitting” councils and Mayors to increase council tax by up to 5% next year.

The government’s finance settlement assumes that councils will do this in how it calculates spending power will change. The settlement indicates that core spending on local services has the potential to increase by £2.2 billion in 2021/22, an increase of 4.5 per cent.

However, more than 85 per cent of the potential core funding increase next year is dependent on councils increasing council tax by up to 5 per cent next year.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Councils up and down our country, including our own here in Portsmouth, are facing the tough choice about whether to increase bills to bring in desperately needed funding to protect services.

“This comes at a time when we are acutely aware of the significant burden that could place on some households and many across our communities are struggling to make ends meet”.

Government proposals mean this would be a £2bn bombshell to households in England. For the average Band D property in England, where the average council tax for 2020-21 was £1,818, a 5% increase would be £91. 

Labour is calling on the Government to put families first during this latest lockdown by backing local councils with funding to prevent the planned council tax rise; stopping the planned cut to universal credit; extending the ban on evictions and repossessions; and giving key workers the pay rise they deserve.

On this, the city MP added:

“The Prime Minister and Chancellor should stand by their pledge to do whatever is necessary to help councils get their communities through the crisis by funding the shortfall that they are trying to pass onto families, rather than force councils to raise taxes. Otherwise we risk Portsmouth people paying more and getting less, yet again.

“This crisis has exposed the insecurity felt by many families over the last ten years. Insecurity of work, insecurity at home and insecurity of health.

“Government must now put families first during this lockdown, supporting parents and protecting household incomes and properly fund councils”.

 

, , , , ,

Stephen Morgan MP volunteers with PiTC to deliver meals to local residents

Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP used parliamentary recess to volunteer to deliver food to local residents as part of his wider work with local charity Pompey in the Community (PiTC).

Time was also spent by the city MP reading poems online for use by local schools, and helping the Blue Kitchen project which aims to encourage Portsmouth families cook fresh food affordably.

The charity has provided a range of support and services for local residents throughout the pandemic. In partnership with others, PiTC were able to get 60 meals a day to be delivered to those who needed it most during the summer lockdown of 2020.

This comes as the country entered a third period of lockdown this week as Covid-19 infections levels continue to rise throughout the UK.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“It is critically important that those who are unable to access basic essentials such as food are continued to be supported by our local community, just in the way they have in previous lockdowns.

“PiTC have done an incredible job over the last twelve months in providing support to our local community and we are incredibly grateful for their efforts.

“It was a pleasure to use parliamentary recess to find out more about their invaluable work for our city and offer a helping hand”.

For more information about the work of Pompey in the Community visit https://pompeyitc.co.uk

, , , , ,

Portsmouth MP urges local people volunteer with city’s vaccination programme

Stephen Morgan MP is calling for members of the city’s community to come forward to take part in supporting the city’s Covid-19 vaccination programme, via charity, HIVE Portsmouth.

From 18 January, HIVE Portsmouth is aiming to provide volunteers to support Solent NHS Trust and the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme.

Volunteers will be needed 7 days a week, working in shifts, to help guide patients arriving and departing from the vaccination centre in a timely and safe manner.

Members of the public can register via HIVE Portsmouth’s website.

Stephen Morgan MP, commented:

“This is a fantastic opportunity, for those that feel safe to do so, to support our city’s and the country’s historic effort in the fight against coronavirus.

“The vaccine is our way out of this and it is now so important that we all do our bit, where we can, to roll it out and vaccinate Britain.

“HIVE Portsmouth has been a central pillar to our city’s efforts throughout this pandemic and I want to thank them for this and their wider efforts over the past year.”

The Portsmouth South MP has previously underlined the importance of the government scaling up its Covid-19 Vaccination Programme as fast as possible.

 

, , , , , ,

Portsmouth MP demands “clear and comprehensive” economic plan as Chancellor announces “last-minute” support for businesses

Responding the Chancellor’s announcement of new lockdown grants for leisure and hospitality businesses, Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

“Businesses in Portsmouth and across the country continue to struggle against lost revenue and a constantly shifting raft of restrictions.

“While extra financial support will be welcomed by some, this is yet another last-minute, one-off cash bung from a Chancellor with no long term plan.

“We’ve seen time and time again how this government’s economic response to the pandemic has lagged behind what businesses are experiencing on the ground. Portsmouth needs a clear and comprehensive plan from the Chancellor that addresses coming cliff-edges for businesses on evictions and protects jobs, not another video on Twitter.”

Throughout the pandemic, Stephen Morgan MP has consistently taken action to support the struggling hospitality sector and those excluded from government support. 

, , , ,

City MP connects with local veteran on Christmas Day as part of ‘Christmas Calls’ campaign

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has connected with a Portsmouth veteran as part of The News and Age UK Portsmouth’s ‘Christmas Calls’ campaign, designed to combat loneliness for elderly people in the city this festive season.

The campaign pairs up each participant with someone from the Portsmouth area who may be facing Christmas Day and the festive season alone.

Stephen spoke to Linda, a 75-year-old Women’s Royal Air Force veteran, who has lived in Portsmouth for 21 years.

They discussed her RAF service, and how she subsequently moved to the city to be closer to family.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Loneliness and isolation will sadly be much more common for many of us this Christmas as we endure renewed coronavirus restrictions. But this fantastic campaign has allowed me to connect with Linda and rekindle the spirit of kindness and friendship that characterises the season.

“As a former trustee of Age UK Portsmouth I know just how valuable their work is to communities, particularly in the wake of the pandemic.

“I am proud to have taken part in The News and Age UK Portsmouth’s fantastic campaign to combat loneliness within our community.

I hope many will continue to stay part of the scheme beyond this period too.”

 

, , , , , , , , ,

Help and support this Christmas

If you or your family is struggling and in need of support over Christmas, there is help at hand. You are not alone.

Help with food

Local food banks can provide emergency food parcels over Christmas and New Year. Foodbanks provide around three days food for your household if you can’t afford to buy food.

The Salvation Army on Albert Road is providing emergency food parcels from 24 Dec – 3rd Jan (including Christmas Day and New Year’s Day) via phone request. Call: 023 9282 1164

You can find all Portsmouth food bank and community meal opening times over Christmas at: www.portsmouth.gov.uk/helpwithfood

Help with mental wellbeing

If you’re struggling to cope, feeling anxious, lonely or depressed, you’re not alone.

You can call the Samaritans free anytime, from any phone, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 116 123. You can also email jo@samaritans.org

Young people or parents and carers worried about a child’s wellbeing can also contact Childline via the website childline.org.uk or by calling 0800 1111. There is more advice, information and support at: portsmouth.gov.uk/mentalhealth

Help for vulnerable adults and children

You can contact the adult social care team on 023 9268 0810 or email ASCoppdAdmin@portsmouthcc.gov.uk. The out of hours contact number is 023 9268 0810.

You can contact the children’s social care and safeguarding team on 023 9283 9111 or 023 9268 8793 or email MASH@secure.portsmouthcc.gov.uk. The out of hours contact number is 0300 555 1373.

Help for victims of domestic abuse

Call Aurora New Dawn on 023 9421 6816. Get advice and information at stopdomesticabuse.uk or by calling 0330 016 5221 between 9.30am and 8pm, Monday to Friday.

Help for rough sleepers

The Homeless Day Service is open every day, including Christmas Day, 8am-4pm.

Anyone who is sleeping rough or at risk of sleeping rough can access the service for breakfast, snacks, hot drinks and other services like laundry facilities. Call: 023 9288 2689 Visit: Yew House Ground Floor, Milton Road, PO3 6BA (next to Hope House)

Help if you’re unwell

If you need medical help, call the NHS on 111 or use NHS 111 online. Don’t just show up at the Emergency Department (Accident and Emergency) – use 111 first, and they’ll give you all the support you need. If it is a medical emergency, call 999.

Coronavirus testing

Local Test Centres in Portsmouth and the Regional Test Centre in Southampton will be open every day over the festive season. Find out the opening times at: portsmouth.gov.uk/christmas

To request a test call 119 or visit: gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

Additional support – HIVE Portsmouth

If you are in need of additional support please visit the HIVE Portsmouth directory of services at: www.hiveportsmouth.org.uk/hive-directory

The HIVE Portsmouth helpline (023 9261 6709) will be closed between 4pm on 23 December and 9am on 28 December and between 4pm on 31 December and 9am on 4 January.

When the helpline is closed HIVE Portsmouth will continue to check social media messages and may refer you to other organisations that can offer you support.

Find HIVE Portsmouth via @HIVEPortsmouth on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and send them a direct message.

This list has been provided with thanks by Portsmouth City Council’s communications team and is correct as at 22 December 2020

,

Inspiring Fratton Awards shines a spotlight on unsung heroes in our city says Portsmouth MP

Stephen Morgan MP has paid tribute to the efforts of all of this year’s winners of the Inspiring Fratton Awards, a scheme set up by the parliamentarian and local organisation Fratton Big Local.

This week local school girl Lacie, accepted her award for their contribution to education, who spent a weekend running in fancy dress in order to raise money for the school’s garden. The £350 raised allowed the school to purchase a range of products for it, including a water feature.

Under Covid restrictions, this year’s awards ceremony took place safely in much fewer numbers at St Mary’s Church earlier this month and was livestreamed online, with some winners like Lacie unable to collect their award.

All awards have now this week been issued to all winners.

Stephen Morgan MP, said,

“I want to thank Lacie and all our award winners for their tremendous contribution to our local community in Fratton.

“I’m really pleased to be able to deliver this award to someone who richly deserves it and its really important all of this year’s award winners’ achievements are recognised.”

The community award scheme also recognised  – a number of other community winners in a range of categories. All winners for 2020 are:

 1. Contribution to Creativity in Fratton Over 18:

Anita Godson

“Inspiring young adults to build their own creative social enterprise in the community. Amazing work with vulnerable adults, including them in their community and working in partnership within the community.”

 2. Contribution to Creativity in Fratton Under 18

Hannah Clark

“Singer and songwriter, at the age of 16 she has regularly performed for charity events.”

 

3. Contribution to Education in Fratton Over 18

Sarah Mitas

“Inspiring and dedicated to others.”

 

4. Contribution to Sport in Fratton Over 18

Jen Stoneham

“Jen has volunteered for GoodGym and the HIVE during the pandemic and has been out doing something with these organisations most weeks. She has also been on the front line working as a midwife and has still found time to keep up her running.”

 

5. Contribution to Sport in Fratton Under 18

Bruno Hoxha

“Bruno is in year 6 and is very good at sports and always tries hard, helping and supporting others whilst playing. He is very enthusiastic during school PE lessons and shows good sportsmanship.”

 

6. Contribution to Volunteering in Fratton Over 18

Billy Shannon

“For unstinting selfless dedication to care, comfort and providing meals to the homeless living on the streets in Portsmouth.”

 

7. Contrition to Volunteering in Fratton Under 18

Kayla Thornton

“We held an appeal at Manor Infant School for support with a new Nurture garden we were setting up. Lacie and Kayla went above and beyond and spent a weekend running in fancy dress in order to raise money for our garden. They raised over £350 which allowed us to buy many things for the garden, including a water feature. We were very grateful for their support.”

 

8.  Best Café/ Take away in Fratton Road

Chit Chat

“I would like to nominate Chit Chats Café based in Fratton Community Centre for always making us feel welcome. They have created a beautiful, and much valued, little space in the heart of the Fratton community. Plus their cakes are delicious!”

 

9. Best Trader/Business in Fratton Road

Make

 “Fantastic community enterprise.”

 

10. Contribution to community life in Fratton in extraordinary times Over 18:

Rosie Francis

“Rosie has worked tirelessly throughout lockdown, giving up her own time while furloughed to make sure those who were isolating didn’t go without, making food deliveries and doing shopping. Walking all over Portsmouth to deliver. Also cleaning St Mary’s Church from top to bottom to make sure we can safely come back to Church and providing daily cleaning and always a cheery smile. Thank you Rosie.”

 

11. Contribution to community life in Fratton in extraordinary times Under 18

Alex Moles

“Alex has been working hard with his mum to help share awareness of the Portsmouth Harvest appeal. He has made posters and even got his School, Beaver section and junior church involved with his idea- how much food can you buy for £3? The same price as a coffee. He wants to help those who are less fortunate than him and have no or little money to buy food.  Over lock down Alex has been cheering everyone up with making different displays for the front room windows, he has painted stones to give away, made everyone laugh with his amazing scarecrow he made for Make Urban Scarecrow Festival. He also made a 99yr old veteran’s day by going to their house on VE day and singing “we’ll meet again” to her outside her front door. He doesn’t always get it right but he has been working extremely hard to help others. Well done Alex, I’m proud of you.”

, , , , , ,

Covid-19: Portsmouth to move to Tier 3

Responding to news Portsmouth will be moving into tier three as announced by the Health Secretary in the House of Commons today, Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP said:

“With cases up 46% in the south east, infections levels on the rise again here in our city, and the significant pressures on QA Hospital, Portsmouth will be moving to tier three at the weekend, meaning that our communities will regrettably be sitting under the toughest of conditions.

Just two weeks ago the Government mistakenly claimed they had the pandemic under control. The city council leader also wildly said Portsmouth could go into tier one.

Throughout this crisis, I have urged the government to act responsibly and with speed to take the hard decisions to control the virus. If political leaders fail to take swift and decisive action, they can no longer claim to be ‘protecting the NHS’.

Portsmouth people continue to make huge sacrifices to protect the vulnerable and save lives. Ministers must now get a grip of this virus, so that our NHS can be protected and our city’s economy recovers faster.”

Tier Three restrictions can be found here: www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-3-very-high-alert

, , , ,

City MP praises local heroes at this year’s Inspiring Fratton Awards

Stephen Morgan MP praised this year’s winners of the Inspiring Fratton Awards, a scheme set up by the locally born parliamentary representative and Fratton Big Local.

The local awards aim to recognise members of the Fratton community that have a long-running connection with the ward that have gone above and beyond to enrich the local area.

The awards feature a variety of categories ranging from Sport and Art to Best Café and Educational Achievement and seek to showcase a cross-section of skill sets on offer in the area.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, commented:

“I want to thank all of this year’s winners for their incredible work during what has been an immensely challenging year.

Despite the difficulties we have faced in 2020, these local heroes have still looked to find ways to support and inspire others within our community.

As someone who is Fratton born and raised, I am particularly pleased to see their contribution to the wider city being recognised.”

With Portsmouth currently under Tier 2 restrictions, the awards ceremony took place safely in much fewer numbers this year at St Mary’s Church last night and was livestreamed online, where Father Bob and the Portsmouth South representative announced the winners.

Stephen Morgan MP, added:

“Even with public health restrictions in place, I’m really pleased local residents were able to join Father Bob and I once again to celebrate the achievements of the people of Fratton.

Even if it was via video link, I’m glad and very grateful to organisers and St Mary’s Church who found ways for us to be together and connect with the Fratton community.

Congratulations to all the winners. Everyone in Fratton is so proud of you.”

This is the second year the awards ceremony has taken place, with last year’s Inspiring Fratton Awards thought to have been a great success.

Congratulations to the 2020 winners who are:

  • Contribution to creativity in Fratton (over 18s) – Anita Godson
  • Contribution to creativity in Fratton (under 18s) – Hannah Clark
  • Contribution to Education in Fratton ( over 18s) – Sarah Mitas
  • Contribution to Education in Fratton (under 18s) – Lacie Thornton
  • Contribution to Sport in Fratton (over 18s) – Jen Stoneham
  • Contribution to Sport in Fratton (under 18s) – Bruno Hoxha
  • Contribution to volunteering in Fratton (over 18s) – Billy Shannon
  • Contribution to Volunteering in Fratton (under 18s) – Kayla Thornton
  • Best Cafe/Take Away – Chit Chat collected by Dave Harding
  • Best Trader/Business – MAKE collected by Emma Lennox
  • Contribution to community life in Fratton in extraordinary times (over 18s) – Rosie Francis
  • Contribution to community life in Fratton in extraordinary times (under 18s) – Alex Moles

Awards were designed and produced by Etch in Fratton and certificates designed by UK Flyers based at Victory Business Centre also in the local area. Nominations came from local people, community groups and schools in the ward.