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Portsmouth MP votes for full, transparent parliamentary inquiry into Greensill scandal  

Stephen Morgan MP and the Official Opposition have today forced a vote in the House of Commons to establish a full, transparent, Parliament-run inquiry into the Greensill scandal, saying that the Government cannot be allowed to simply “mark its own homework”.

Revelations around the Greensill scandal have escalated week on week since the company collapsed in March, leaving thousands of jobs at risk.

Greensill Capital was the only supply chain firm granted access to the Government’s CLBILS Covid loan scheme, putting hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayer money at risk.

Labour today tabled a ‘binding motion’ that would establish a new select committee to investigate the Greensill lobbying scandal, which would have the power to ask witnesses to give evidence and face questioning.

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

“Any Conservative who wants to stop the cronyism rampant in their party and in government should have voted with Labour to uncover once and for all the truth behind this scandal.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg in Conservative cronyism which has been endemic during the pandemic and long before.

“The Conservatives cannot be trusted to mark their own homework on this. The British public, especially those with their jobs on the line as a result of Greensill’s collapse, deserve answers.”

Last week, Shadow Ministers also called for the Government to use the upcoming Queen’s Speech to legislate for the expansion of the scope of the lobbying register to include in-house lobbyists – a move that could have detected the nature of Cameron’s lobbying activities for Greensill sooner.

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Vaccine passports: Portsmouth MP responds

In recent days, many constituents have got in touch with Stephen Morgan MP with their views on the Government considering ‘vaccine passports’.

Responding to concerns, the Portsmouth South representative said:

I do not support domestic vaccine passports. It is not clear so far what the benefits are compared to the risks and costs.

“The British public have already seen what has happened with the Government’s handing out of Covid contracts with the cronyism, as well as poor delivery and value. Ministers mustn’t make these mistakes again.

“What’s more, asking people to produce a vaccine certificate or passport to access pubs or shops is discriminatory and it will add a huge burden to businesses and come at huge cost to the taxpayer.

“Labour wants the Government to get the basics right. That means making sure the vaccine rollout includes young people and there is a focus on vaccine take-up where it is slower so we don’t risk pockets of people exposed to the virus, self-isolation, and contact tracing”.

The Official Opposition have stated that if there was a vote in the House of Commons on vaccine and test certification, based on what has been seen so far, the party would oppose domestic vaccine passports.

Labour has not ruled out testing certification (for example, for large events) but have the same questions around focus, efficacy and value.

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Portsmouth MP pays visit to local Mosque as it joins fight against COVID-19

Stephen Morgan MP visited the Jami Mosque in the heart of Portsmouth today as it opened its doors as a new COVID-19 vaccination centre.

It is expected the vaccination hub will be able to vaccinate over 200 people a day.

It is also hoped by those behind the plan of the Mosque’s involvement that this will dispel false information that is reported to be circulating in some communities, as well as to encourage vaccine take up.

The local centre of worship will be running vaccination sessions every Tuesday from 10am – 1pm and 2pm – 5pm.

The Portsmouth South MP was invited to be one of the first visitors on site to welcome residents to the new pop-up facility and thank those involved in setting up the centre.

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

“I want to thank all the volunteers behind this project. It is really pleasing to be on site as the hub opens to the public today.

“It is so important people take up the offer of the vaccine when they get it. We must not allow misinformation to get in the way of keeping people safe.”

Mr Morgan has previously volunteered with Portsmouth HIVE as part of Portsmouth’s wider vaccination programme in response to COVID-19.

The MP has been working alongside the city’s ethnic minority communities encouraging take up of the vaccine, including supporting a short film to dispel some of the myths about the jab.

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City MP hosts summit with Shadow Health Minister Liz Kendall MP on the future of social care

Stephen Morgan MP is set to host a social care public meeting with Shadow Minister for Health and Social Care Liz Kendall MP on Monday 22 March, 6.30pm-7.30pm.

The online event, which is open to all, will discuss the impact of the pandemic on social care and why social care is set to be this generation’s next challenge.

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.

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

This crisis has shone a spotlight on the already chronic issues we are experiencing as a country, no less so than the challenge of the provision of social care.

“It is clear social care is one of our generation’s next great challenges, which is why Labour’s mission is to transform care to make our city and the wider country the best place to grow up in and the best place to grow old in.

“Liz Kendall has done a phenomenal job in her role as Shadow Minister for Health and Social Care and I look forward to Portsmouth people hearing her insights on this important issue that impacts our city’s families.”

The event will take place on Zoom, is free, and open to all. You can sign up for the meeting here.

 

 

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Portsmouth MP praises ‘brilliant’ local COVID-19 testing centre during visit

Stephen Morgan MP has lauded the new COVID-19 testing centre at Portsmouth Guildhall as a ‘brilliant operation’, during a visit earlier today.

The new facility is now offering asymptomatic community testing to anyone who is over the age of 16 who regularly leaves home to go to work, or those not covered by an existing workplace testing programme.

Appointments are available 7 days a week, between 8am and 8pm, and can be booked at short notice.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, said:

“Asymptomatic testing across our community is going to play a critical role in supporting the fight against COVID-19, right now and in the weeks and months ahead, particularly for those who are unable to work from home.

“The Portsmouth Guildhall testing facility is a brilliant operation and my thanks to all the dedicated staff for getting this up and running.”

According to the latest government figures, the current rate per 100k of positive COVID-19 cases in Portsmouth is 57.7, but the local parliamentary representative has warned that everyone must continue to stick to the COVID-19 rules and restrictions to not undo the progress of the last few months.

Meanwhile from today, many students will be returning to school for the first time in weeks.

The parliamentary representative, added:

 We are making great progress in tackling the spread of this dreadful virus, but as we begin open up society again, it is vital we continue to listen to advice and follow the rules.

“We are so close to overcoming this collective challenge we all share and we must do all we can ensure we do not undo any of the hard work our city has put in over the last few months.”

You can find out more about the testing centre and book an appointment via Portsmouth City Council’s website.

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City MP responds to Government’s roadmap for easing restrictions

Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement today of a roadmap for the easing of Coronavirus restrictions, Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

“After a long and difficult winter, our city will breathe a sigh of relief that there is now a clear route to easing current restrictions.

“Children learn best in the classroom, so the confirmation of a return on 8 March is welcome. Ministers must now make sure the testing announced works on the ground and speed up the vaccination of teachers and staff.  

“The hospitality and retail sector have been among the hardest hit by this pandemic, and many will be unable to open until mid-April at the earliest. I will continue to push Ministers to announce support for these sectors – as well as those who continue to be excluded – in the Budget next week.

“The progress we have made to date is thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of our frontline healthcare staff and service personnel, but also the many ways in which our city has pulled together.

“In the immediacy, we must remember that the virus still poses a significant risk, continue to follow guidelines and seize the opportunity to be vaccinated when it comes.”

 

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City MP hosts event with Shadow Minister to tackle ‘mental health crisis’ triggered by the pandemic

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan will host a mental health discussion event with Labour’s Shadow Minister for mental health Rosena Allin-Khan MP this week.

The online event, which is open to all, will discuss the impact of the pandemic on mental health and the ongoing need for mental health conditions to be treated on a par with physical health.

The Centre for Mental Health in England has predicted that 10 million people – almost a fifth of the population – will need mental health support as a direct consequence of Covid-19, with 1.5 million of those expected to be under-18s.

Portsmouth City Council estimates that almost 53,000 people experience a mental problem each year, with half of all adult mental health problems present by the time the person is 14 years old.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“With millions of us staying at home, isolated from friends and family, Coronavirus has been a mental health crisis too.

“We know that patients, carers and staff have been heavily affected, with the impact being particularly acute among young people.

“As an A&E Doctor herself, Rosena knows only too well the challenges we face on the frontline. She will be setting out Labour’s vision on mental health and how we can improve care following the pandemic.”

The online event with Shadow Minister for Mental Health Rosena Allin-Khan will take place on Thursday 25 February 2021, 7-8pm. Full details and registration can be found at: https://events.labour.org.uk/event/326967

 

 

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Portsmouth MP gets behind new COVID debt plan to boost business recovery

Stephen Morgan MP has backed the Official Opposition’s new plans to back British businesses, as it calls on the Government to help ease the Covid-debt burden faced by firms across the country.

Calling for the establishment of a British Business Recovery Agency, Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds says Labour’s priority is to “help businesses get back on their feet, secure our economy and get Britain on the road to recovery.”

British business is currently weighed down by £71 billion of Covid debt through Government-backed loans during the crisis – with the Chancellor encouraging banks to begin asking for repayments in March.

New analysis by Labour reveals that 850,000 business are at risk of closure in the next three months, putting 2.4 million jobs at risk.

Labour’s plan would ease the debt burden on business, secure the economy and help British business to rebuild by:

  • Converting the Bounce Back Loans (BBLs) scheme into a ‘student-loan style’ arrangement, so that businesses only have to start repayments when they are making money.
  • Creating a new British Business Recovery Agency that would manage the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme (CBILs) and Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILs) in order to create terms that secure the future of businesses, including employee ownership, preference shares and subordinated debt

It comes following the Portsmouth representative’s warning last week that 15,000 jobs could be at risk in Portsmouth unless the Chancellor acts.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

Businesses across our city have worked incredibly hard to keep going during this crisis and I know how much many have sacrificed to just adapt.

“That’s why many businesses in Portsmouth will need the breathing room when we exit lockdown to be allowed to be able to grow again before they are asked to repay their debts.

“It is economically illiterate to demand Covid loan repayments next month when it would risk crushing businesses and our recovery, which is why I fully support these plans to allow businesses to start repayments when they are able to.”

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) warned in December that the debt overhang could lead to tens if not hundreds of thousands of corporate failures in the first quarter of this year, with 40 per cent of businesses reporting their debt as unmanageable.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has also said that as much as £30 billion of public money will have to be written off if the Chancellor presses ahead with his current plans.

Anneliese Dodds MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, said:

“Labour would rebuild Britain by backing businesses and supporting families through the crisis and then putting Britain on the path to growth.

“Instead of pushing business to the brink, Labour’s plans would protect small firms and give larger ones flexible options to manage debt. We would help businesses get back on their feet, secure our economy and get Britain on the road to recovery.”

 

 

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City MP: 15,000 local jobs at risk unless “smart” furlough scheme and business tax relief introduced

Stephen Morgan MP has warned 15,000 jobs could be at risk in Portsmouth unless the Chancellor delivers a “smart” furlough scheme to tackle Britain’s jobs crisis and for the temporary 5% reduced rate of VAT for the hospitality, tourism and culture sectors to continue by as much as another six months.

It comes following new analysis by the Official Opposition estimates that over 15,000 people were still furloughed by their employer in late January in Portsmouth.

According to the new analysis revealed today, seven months after Sunak launched his ‘Plan for Jobs’ last July, nearly 10,000 people are also currently claiming out of work benefits in Portsmouth.

However, Labour is now calling for Sunak to immediately announce an extension to the furlough scheme that is set to expire at the end of April, to remove uncertainty for local businesses and workers.

Meanwhile, the Shadow Chancellor is also calling for the temporary 5% reduced rate of VAT for the hospitality, tourism and culture sectors to continue for another six months or until three months after the lifting of health restrictions – whichever comes later. The reduced rate is set to expire on 31st March, when it will return to 20%.

Labour is also calling on the Chancellor to set the fourth grant of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) at 80% of pre-crisis profits before the forthcoming Budget announcement.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, said,

“The Chancellor’s Plan for Jobs is clearly not working. We need urgent action to secure, recover and create jobs to help those on furlough to get back into work, as well as to help those claiming out of work benefits to find new employment.

“Extending the furlough scheme and providing tax relief to the hardest hit businesses will give workers and SMEs in Portsmouth the certainty they need to support their recovery.

“People need emergency action today, not more dither and delay until the Budget.”

Mr Morgan previously called for greater support for the hardest hit businesses and self-employed after last year’s Spending Review.

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City MP joins calls for “smart” furlough scheme as part of emergency action to tackle Britain’s jobs crisis

Stephen Morgan MP has joined the Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds today on calling on the Chancellor to introduce a “smart” extension of the furlough scheme to protect jobs as long as health restrictions remain in place, as part of an immediate, emergency Jobs Recovery Package to tackle Britain’s ballooning unemployment crisis.

The Chancellor initially triggered a one-size-fits-all wind down of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) in his Plan for Jobs last July. After several last-minute changes over the autumn and winter, the scheme is now set to expire at the end of April.

With 4.6 million people still on furlough, the Official Opposition is calling for the Chancellor not to repeat the mistakes of last year by winding down the scheme while public health restrictions are in place and demand is still severely impacted.

In addition, the Shadow Frontbench is calling for Sunak to immediately announce an extension to the furlough scheme alongside urgent reform to make it smarter, with new training to help furloughed workers improve their skills and tough conditions on employers to stop abuse.

Dodds is also demanding immediate action to recover jobs by overhauling the failing Kickstart scheme and to help create clean new jobs by reforming the shambolic Green Homes Grant.

Seven months after Sunak launched his Plan for Jobs last July, redundancies are at record highs, 1.7 million people are out of work and 4.6 million people are still on furlough.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, commented,

“The government’s plan for jobs just is not working. Seven months after its launch, we’ve got record redundancies, rising unemployment and the worst economic crisis of any major economy.

“We need urgent action to secure, recover and create jobs. This must include a smarter furlough scheme, an overhaul of the failing Kickstart youth programme, and reform of the shambolic Green Homes Grant as part of wider action to ‘Build it in Britain’ and support the creation of 400,000 clean, new jobs.

“I know many people in Portsmouth have been left behind by this government in terms of financial support, particularly the self-employed and creative industries, so I will continue to do all I can to push the government to deliver the support they deserve.”

Mr Morgan has consistently demanded further support for the ‘excluded’ and recently wrote to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to set out a ‘roadmap to recovery’ for creative industries.