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City MP responds to 3% pay rise for some NHS staff

Responding to the government’s announcement that nurses and other NHS workers will receive a 3% pay rise, Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

“Ministers have been dragged kicking and screaming to a 3% rise, which will still be bitterly disappointing for the NHS staff who cared for our City during the pandemic.

“Millions of other public sector staff including police, teachers, junior doctors, care workers and our armed forces will still face a real-terms pay cut this year.

“This was a moment to recognise and reward the service of our key workers, yet this government continues to squander taxpayers’ money on crony contracts and vanity projects.

“Ministers must get their priorities right. This is not just about money, it is a test of who we are as a nation.”

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Portsmouth MP demands assurances of human rights commitments in future trade deals

Stephen Morgan MP has demanded the government provides assurances it will not deviate from its human rights commitments in future trade deals, as it did this week on its promise of spending 0.7% of Gross National Income on Official Development Assistance (ODA).

The Portsmouth representative was speaking in the House of Commons today during departmental international trade questions.

Since 1995, successive UK governments have believed in principle that all new trade treaties should contain “essential elements human rights clauses” making any treaty conditional on the commitments relating to human rights.

Despite this, the UK has recently begun trade negotiations for accession to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The CPTPP is a trade agreement between 11 countries (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam), covering 500 million people.

Meanwhile, the trade deal contains no clear, strong human rights protections, doing nothing to prevent Malaysia deporting more than 1,000 Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar in February.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, commented:

“The government’s promises simply aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.

“First its reneges on its minimum commitment for overseas aid, now its pushing ahead with striking trade deals with countries that have shocking human rights records.

“Trade with countries around the world will be crucial to our recovery from this crisis, but it cannot come at the cost of our core values. Government must ensure any future trade deals contain strong human rights protections and profit never comes before principle.”

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Portsmouth MP backs plan to ‘make, buy and sell more in Britain’

Stephen Morgan MP has backed a pledge to make, buy and sell more in Britain and in Portsmouth under a Labour government, as they unveil a plan to raise standards, award more public contracts to British businesses and bring the jobs of the future to the UK.

The Official Opposition has set out in Government it would use the social and environmental stretch clauses in public contracts to raise standards, mirroring the approach taken in other countries including France and the US. As well as raising standards nationally and globally, this move will help boost British business and create new jobs.

New proposals from the Shadow Chancellor would seize the opportunities for the long term of the post-pandemic, post-Brexit economy and help to shape a more secure and resilient future for Britain, especially in the green and tech ideas of the future.

Labour will make more in Britain by giving more public contracts to British companies, big and small, by:

  • Asking every public body to give more contracts to British firms big and small, using stretching social, environmental and labour clauses in contract design to raise standards and spend and make more in Britain.
  • Passing a law requiring public bodies to report on how much they are buying from British businesses including SMEs.
  • Leading a culture change in government, putting the growth of local industries first, and reviewing the pipeline of all major infrastructure projects to explore how to increase the materials made in Britain, upskill workers to get the jobs of the future.

Labour will help bring jobs of the future to Britain, by:

  • Investing in reshoring jobs in the same way we invest in Foreign Direct Investment, by helping every business considering reshoring access the expertise and support they need.
  • Working with colleges and universities to make sure we’re honing the skills and apprenticeships for the jobs of the future.

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

“As we recover from the pandemic, we have a chance to seize new opportunities and shape a new future for Britain and for Portsmouth.

“Labour will get those sectors and our economy firing on all cylinders by giving people new skills for the jobs of the future here in the UK, bringing security and resilience back to our economy and public services, and helping our city’s high streets thrive again.

“This plan announced by the Shadow Chancellor is the right thing to do for Portsmouth, and the right thing to do for Britain”.

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City MP labels PM as ‘far too slow’ and ‘letting business down’ as Covid restrictions extended

Stephen Morgan MP has criticised the government for giving one week’s warning to the country that national Covid-19 restrictions will be extended by four weeks.

Since the emergence of the Delta or ‘Indian variant’, cases of Covid-19 have been on the rise, with concerns if infections levels are not brought under control, too much pressure could be put on NHS capacity.

Since 11 May, the rate of cases per 100,000 over a 7-day period in the UK has risen from 22.4 to 67.5, according to the latest available data published by the government.

Meanwhile in Portsmouth, over the same period, the rate of cases per 100,000 has risen from 7.9 to 28.4.

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

“The Prime Minister promised us a way out of this. With the delta variant now dominant in the UK, and 73 per cent of delta cases in unvaccinated people, ministerial incompetence has sadly led us to this decision.

“The government has acted far too late, leaving businesses and others in Portsmouth incredibly anxious while they wait on the government that for too long dithered and delayed to make this decision.

“We must be driven by the data on decisions like these, but it has come far too late.”

The Portsmouth MP has also been contacted by a number of constituents on the impact of the government’s decision on the wedding industry.

The local representative added:

“The hospitality industry is likely to be one of the worst affected industries by today’s announcement, with a quarter of the industry still closed.

“I know from my postbag many are also concerned by the impact this decision could have on their businesses involved in the wedding industry, and I will continue to do all I can to secure the support and greater certainty they need.”

Mr Morgan has vowed to continue to engage a range of local businesses on the impact of the government roadmap and lifting of restrictions.

 

 

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City MP pays visit to ‘vital business for Portsmouth’s economy’, Brittany Ferries

Stephen Morgan MP has met with one of the key businesses of Portsmouth’s economy, Brittany Ferries, to understand its current challenges, including preparations for when restrictions ease and the uncertainty around green, amber and red list countries.

The company, which serves destinations in France and northern Spain, says international holidays by sea could be set for a big come-back.

In the UK, Brittany Ferries sails from Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth. It carries around 2.5 million passengers a year (pre-Covid average), 85 percent of whom are British.

The Portsmouth representative met with the travel firm’s UK Managing Director, John Napton, as well as other senior colleagues.

The visit is one of the many businesses and organisations the city MP has met with over the last month, as part of his ‘Pride in Portsmouth’ to support the city’s recovery from the pandemic, encourage visitors to the city’s attractions and keep the pound in Portsmouth.

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

“Brittany Ferries is a vital part of our city’s economy, employing many people across Portsmouth and generating income to our city’s port which sustains local public services.

“For businesses like these, the uncertainty around both the easing of restrictions and the confusing red, amber and green list countries, makes it incredibly difficult for them to plan ahead and ultimately ensure their business recovery.

“I will continue to speak up for businesses based in our city, encourage residents to show their ‘Pride in Portsmouth’ to support them, as well as push to get the certainty they need from government.”

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Pride in Portsmouth: Portsmouth MP launches local recovery campaign at Historic Dockyard

Stephen Morgan MP launches his ‘Pride in Portsmouth’ campaign following a visit to the city’s Historic Dockyard, aiming to shine a spotlight on our city’s fantastic cultural assets, ahead of restrictions set to ease on Monday.

The Portsmouth MP met the team behind the Mary Rose and the National Museum for the Royal Navy, two key cultural assets for the city, as they make their final preparations for their reopening next week.

Parts of the visit included a preview of the new £1million exhibition at the National Museum for the Royal Navy and improved visitor centre, where Mr Morgan was able to thank and pay tribute to the staff behind the scenes that have helped to put it together, after a particularly tough year for the cultural and arts sectors.

Tourism is crucial to the city, providing around £600 million in income each year and supporting around 13,000 jobs.

It comes as much of the city also prepares to reopen its doors to visitors and residents, marking the beginning of the recovery of Portsmouth’s economy, following an unprecedented year of challenges.

A survey of tourism businesses in South East England recently showed:

  • 36% estimated losing more than £100,000 revenue this year
  • 57% had furloughed staff and 5% made staff redundant
  • 15% under threat of closure and 44% unsure if they could continue.

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

“It’s great be back at two of our top cultural gems of our city in the Mary Rose and Royal Navy Museums, seeing first-hand their brilliant exhibitions, as they prepare to fully reopen on Monday.

“Our city has an incredible amount to offer, with the tourism industry being a vital contributor to our local economy.

“That’s why today I am launching my ‘Pride in Portsmouth’ campaign, a call to action for our community to show its pride in our city by visiting local businesses and supporting our key cultural and sporting assets and shining a light on the access to those hidden gems.

I hope this will help to keep the pound in Portsmouth and secure our city’s local economic recovery.”

Part of the campaign’s focus will also be to widen participation and access in Portsmouth’s cultural offer, ensuring all residents have a stake in their city’s history and its future.

Mr Morgan is set to meet and visit a range of local groups, businesses, and cultural centres in the weeks ahead, to offer his support for the local economic recovery.

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Portsmouth MP welcomes new commission to rebuild Britain’s high streets and revitalise town centres

Stephen Morgan MP has thrown his support behind Labour’s new independent Commission ‘Rebuilding Our High Streets’, launched by the Shadow Chancellor today. The commission will seek to bring together experts from businesses in retail, leisure and hospitality, as well as representatives of the trade union, local government cooperative and social enterprise sectors.

The announcement comes as new figures reveal that over the last decade high streets across the UK have lost:

  • 9,775 shops
  • 5,785 pubs
  • 7,400 bank branches
  • 1,195 libraries

Meanwhile, the South East has lost 1080 shops, 945 pubs and 120 libraries over the same period.

The Commission will meet regularly over the course of the next six months to offer independent advice to the Party on issues such as:

  • How the high streets of the 2020s and beyond can be supported to thrive, as great places where people can shop, socialise, meet, work and live.
  • Bringing empty commercial properties back into use for existing and new businesses.
  • Levelling the playing field between bricks and mortar businesses and online firms.
  • Promoting entrepreneurship and innovation in our high streets, reflecting the needs of local communities.

The UK’s high streets have been hit by unprecedented challenges throughout the pandemic and face more threats in the coming year. These include government changes to planning rules in August, which will allow shops to be converted into low quality flats over the heads of local communities, and the staged return of business rates, with firms liable to pay full rates again in April next year.

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

“This year has brought unprecedented challenges to businesses and organisations across the country that depend on the local high street, none more so than here in Portsmouth.

“Labour is determined to deliver a brighter future for our high streets as part of our mission to make Britain the best place to grow up and grow old in, which is why I’m proud to support the Rebuilding Our High Streets Commission.

“Our vision is not one harking back to one of the past, but finding ways to make our town centres places we can be proud of and where communities can come together. This Commission will offer independent advice to Labour on how we achieve that.”

Mr Morgan has had regular meetings with local businesses and organisations linked to Portsmouth’s high streets throughout the pandemic, working on their behalf to get the support they need.

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Labour calls on the government to invest in and secure British jobs ​for the defence sector

The Official Opposition is demanding greater protection of jobs in the defence sector by calling on the government to adopt a ‘British-built by default’ approach, intended to boost manufacturing within the UK supply chain, a move welcomed by Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP.

Labour says a new threshold is needed for equipment to be sourced outside of the UK, requiring proof that defence projects cannot be built under similar terms in Britain.

In addition, the Party is calling on ministers to report annually on the proportion of defence spending going through British companies, and to improve procurement rules to promote prosperity in supply chain businesses throughout the UK’s towns, regions, and industries such as steel.

The Party accuse the Conservative government of br​eaking promises ​made to the Armed Forces and wasting taxpayer money through its decade-long policy of ‘open competition by default’ that has seen the UK buying off-the–shelf defence equipment from overseas.

New analysis by Labour shows:  

  • Over £6 billion of allocated spending in government’s Integrated Review and Defence Command Paper is going on off-the-shelf purchases of surveillance aircraft from overseas.
  • A naval contract worth £1.5 billion for Fleet Support Ships has been unfulfilled since 2018, due to Ministerial indecision ​about making the contract British-led.
  • 30,000 defence industry jobs lost since 2010 under the Conservatives

Keir Starmer MP, Leader of the Labour Party said:

“Prioritising British businesses through defence spending is not only investment in jobs, but in our communities, and a more secure economy.  

“Under this Prime Minister, we have seen broken promises and dither and delay, at the expense of UK supply chain businesses and taxpayer’s money.  

“We cannot go back to business as usual. Labour will protect jobs in the defence sector, harness the skills and talents of our workers, and will deliver value for money for British people, to ensure a prosperous recovery out of the pandemic.” 

John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary, added:

“The Prime Minister has already broken promises made to military personnel by cutting 10,000 posts in the Army.

“On the Tories’ watch, we have also lost tens of thousands of jobs across the industry and wasted time on key contracts.  

“Of course, there will be essential equipment or systems which makes strategic sense for Britain to develop with allies or to buy direct from overseas, but we want to see a much higher bar for this”.

Stephen Morgan, Shadow Armed Forces Minister and Portsmouth South MP, added:

“We know only too well here in Portsmouth that when done well, defence spending has a multiplier effect, strengthening our UK economy. That’s why I have been calling on the Government for some time to build more Naval ships in Britain.

“Covid has exposed the risks of relying on foreign supply chains.

“I welcome Keir Starmer’s contribution to this debate. Labour’s ‘British by default’ policy would help secure vital jobs in Portsmouth as our city recovers from the pandemic as well as strengthen the UK’s sovereignty and security.” 

 

 

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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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City MP backs Community Energy plan

Today campaign group, Power for People, thanked local Portsmouth MP, Stephen Morgan, for supporting a new Bill in Parliament that would help rebuild local economies whilst increasing clean energy generation.

The proposed new law, known as the Local Electricity Bill, is supported by a cross-party group of 259 MPs. If made law, it would create a new ‘Right to Local Supply’ of energy that would empower communities to sell locally generated electricity directly to local households and businesses.

Currently customers can only purchase electricity from nationally licensed utilities. The Bill’s supporters say this means money people use to pay their energy bills is not helping to rebuild local economies and local clean energy infrastructure.

Campaigning group, Power for People, are calling for MPs and the government to make the Bill law and are leading a supportive coalition of organisations including Community Energy England, Community Energy Wales, Community Energy Scotland, Good Energy, WWF, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the RSPB. 67 local authorities have also pledged their support.

Stephen Morgan, MP for Portsmouth South said,

“I am pleased to support the Local Electricity Bill which will empower and enable new community energy companies to sell energy that they generate directly to local people, helping to strengthen local economies.

“This is urgently needed given the economic shock of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Bill will also help accelerate our transition to clean energy, which is critical in avoiding the potential economic and ecological devastation of climate change. I will do all I can to ensure it becomes law.”

Power for People’s Director, Steve Shaw, said,

“We thank Stephen Morgan for supporting the Local Electricity Bill. If made law, the Bill would unleash the huge potential for new community-owned clean energy infrastructure and for this to boost local economies, jobs, services, and facilities in communities across the country.”