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City MP to back binding vote on Emergency Budget for struggling families

Stephen Morgan MP is set to back a binding vote, forced by Labour, calling for the government to bring forward an Emergency Budget to address the cost-of-living crisis, and to urgently start tackling the low growth leaving the UK economy exposed.

The Official Opposition has repeatedly highlighted how low growth and now stagflation are leaving Britain more exposed to the cost-of-living crisis rippling across the country.

With figures released this morning showing the highest levels of inflation for 40 years, the party is urgently calling on the government to create a more pro-growth, pro-business environment post-Brexit, where higher productivity and more private investment is leveraged in to help Britain lead the pack globally.

Labour has said its plan to buy, make and sell more in Britain; to fix the holes in the government’s patchwork Brexit deal; and its Climate Investment Pledge to decarbonise the economy and create good jobs across the country is vital for creating more certainty, boosting businesses and stimulating growth.

It comes after recent news that the Chancellor’s most expensive business tax break of all time – the super deduction – costs more than the investment it brings in.

Labour’s amendment will be voted on during the Queen’s Speech debate on Wednesday. Unlike how the government treats opposition day debates, MPs are required to vote on the amendment.

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

“Our city and the country face a cost-of-living crisis, and a growth crisis.

“Wages are being squeezed, our tax system is unfair and there is no plan for the future of our economy. None of this is inevitable but a consequence of government policies and Conservative choices.

“Labour has a new vision for a fairer and more prosperous economy. That’s why the Conservatives must back our motion today, not just for them to come forward with an Emergency Budget to tackle the cost-of-living crisis in Portsmouth, but to set out the plan Britain deserves to get our economy firing on all cylinders.”

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Cost of living: Portsmouth MP to vote for windfall tax on oil and gas producers’ excess profits

Stephen Morgan MP is set to vote with Labour on its motion for a one-off windfall tax on oil and gas producers’ excess profits, as the cost-of-living crisis continues to grow.

Labour’s amendment will be voted on during the Queen’s Speech debate on Tuesday. Unlike how the Government treats opposition day debates, MPs are required to vote on the amendment.

Labour first called for the windfall tax on 9 January, to fund a VAT cut on home energy bills and expand and increase the Warm Homes Discount, saving families struggling with soaring costs up to £600 off their bills.

Since then, the party has called on the Conservative Government to bring forward this change almost 250 times.

It comes as BP and Shell alone have made £12.37bn of profit in the first three months of 2022 – despite Cabinet ministers describing these companies as “struggling” when defending the Conservatives’ refusal to implement a windfall tax.

Analysis by the Labour Party on Sunday showed the expected profits of North Sea oil and gas firms in 2022/23 are higher than the combined rise in energy bills for every household in the UK.

As well as growing support from the Conservative backbenches, there is also widespread public support for a windfall tax, including senior business figures such as the chairs of Tesco and John Lewis.

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

“As energy bills rise by record amounts for families across Portsmouth, it is shameful that Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak still refuse to back a windfall tax that could help tackle the cost-of-living crisis.

“Today, Labour will give MPs another chance to support our one-off windfall tax on oil and gas producer profits to bring down bills.

“Local Conservative MPs must now back this measure to bring down the energy costs of their constituents, or explain why they continue to oppose measures that would ease their cost-of-living.”

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Portsmouth MP holds government to account for failure to ‘level-up’ constituency

Stephen Morgan MP said the government is ‘short-changing’ Portsmouth in order to help its struggling highstreets and support the city’s cultural attractions tackle of the cost of living crisis, during departmental questions in the House of Commons today.

The City MP accused Ministers of prioritising areas that suit them politically, rather than those which urgently need support and attention, including his own constituency of Portsmouth South.

The north of the city, represented by a Conservative Minister, received £20m for several projects, including an urban park, upgrades to Hilsea Lido and a new cruise terminal.

However, proposals for the south of the city have missed out on the funding needed, the Portsmouth MP has said. Gosport, which the government identified as a ‘priority 1 area’ for levelling up, also got nothing.

This includes the long-overdue regeneration of the city centre, the rejuvenation of Portsmouth Harbour’s transport hub to improve access to the Historic Dockyard and Gunwharf Quay, and improving pedestrian access between Fratton station and the football stadium. Mr Morgan has previously lobbied the Chancellor separately about these matters.

According to the latest official figures, Portsmouth has lost at least 2,000 retail sector related jobs, sitting below the regional and national levels, as it was seven years ago back in 2015.

Later this week the MP is meeting the Arts Council to ensure his constituency is prioritised for future funding.

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

Portsmouth’s highstreets and cultural assets have been left behind by this Tory government, failing to offer the support they need to kickstart our economy and begin our recovery.

“Instead of using taxpayers’ money to serve its own political ambitions, government should be ‘levelling-up’ communities like our own to revive our struggling highstreets and boost our cultural attractions. They don’t need more pantomime answers from the Secretary of State that we heard today.

“I will continue to speak up for constituents to secure the investment our city needs and deserves.”

As well as working alongside the city council, backing its Levelling Up Fund bids, questioning Ministers, and lobbying the Chancellor directly over investment in the constituency, the Portsmouth representative has vowed to continue to fight in Parliament for what the area deserves.

He is meeting with officials again over submission of further proposals to Government.

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Queen’s Speech – City MP responds

Reacting to the Queen’s Speech today, Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan, said:

“This was a wasted opportunity. The first line of the Queen’s Speech should have included the introduction of an emergency budget to tackle the cost of living crisis Portsmouth and the rest of the country are facing. Instead, it was scarcely mentioned at all.

“Nothing to tackle the cost of the weekly shop, energy bills or the price at the pump. Ministers even decided it was better to chuck its Employment Bill in the bin, rather than help to secure good jobs.

“Today’s Queen’s Speech smacks of a government and Prime Minister that is out of ideas, and out of touch. Labour is ambitious for our country. After 12 years of low growth, high inflation and spiralling taxes, Labour’s plan would once again prioritise world-class public services, bring down NHS waiting times, tackle crime and ensure the best education for our children.”

Commenting on schools, the Shadow Schools Minister, added:

“After two years of unprecedented chaos and disruption to children’s education, we saw nothing to support children’s catch-up learning in the classroom, and nothing to tackle the day-to-day challenges pupils and teachers are facing. This government is failing our next generation.

“Labour in government would recruit 6,500 new teachers, back them with improved professional development and ensure every young person leaves education ready for work and ready for life, with professional careers advice and work experience for all.”

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Portsmouth MP praises ‘resilient’ new local business for giving back to the community

Stephen Morgan MP has praised a new business launched during the middle of the pandemic for its resilience and for providing targeted services to community members.

Launched in May 2020, Danielle Hollinshead and her husband Ian started IDeal Fitness & Nutrition LTD, which has continued to grow from strength to strength.

During lockdown, the new business offered online nutrition coaching and socially distanced 121 kickboxing coaching, but now has ambitions to grow the start-up even further with restrictions now lifted.

The business recently launched its health and wellness group at Milton Village Hall, to teach the local community about the importance of healthy living and the benefits of exercise whether their goal is to lose, gain or maintain their current weight. Classes are every Friday afternoon, 12-1pm.

During school holidays, the group will be extended to accommodate more children who can come along for some family fun and learn about family nutrition. Classes are free to all under 16’s who attend with a parent or guardian.

The local enterprise also launched last week a nutrition and wellness cooking course, designed for adults with learning difficulties.

Following a visit to see one of the classes first-hand at Milton Village Hall, the Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“The resilience Danielle and Ian have shown to start a business in the middle of the pandemic is nothing short of remarkable. It’s fantastic to see the entrepreneurial spirit of our city is still alive and kicking after the challenges of the last two years.

“I’m also really pleased to hear how the team plan to provide specific classes to those with learning difficulties and are already helping young people to learn about healthy living, so it was really useful to see that first-hand this afternoon.

“I look forward to seeing how the local business continues to grow from strength to strength and provide such important services to our community.”

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Portsmouth MP condemns broken Tory promises leaving South East working pensioners £2,300 worse off

Stephen Morgan MP has attacked the Conservatives as 1,685,151 working pensioners in the South East are set to be an average of £2,300 worse off over the next two years because of three broken Tory manifesto commitments.

In their 2019 General Election manifesto, the Tories promised to ‘keep the Triple Lock’ on State Pensions, ‘not to raise the rates of National Insurance’ and to ‘introduce new measures to lower energy bills’.

Since then, the Tories have made the biggest real-terms cut to the State Pension in fifty years, hiked taxes and allowed energy bills to soar.

New analysis from the House of Commons Library shows that working pensioners – who are uniquely hit by all three of these broken Tory manifesto commitments – are set to be an average of £2,300 worse off over the next two years.

It shows working pensioners in the South East will see real-terms reductions in their incomes over the next two years from the broken Triple Lock, soaring energy costs – captured by spiralling inflation – and a Tory tax hike:

  • A working pensioner earning £16,000 faces a real-terms reduction of £1,790.
  • A working pensioner on the average salary for someone over 60 of £24,900 faces a real-terms reduction of £2,300.
  • A working pensioner earning £40,000 faces a real-terms reduction of £3,200.

Labour is reiterating its call on the Government to bring forward an Emergency Budget to urgently tackle the Tory cost of living crisis.

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

“The Tories are totally out of touch with the challenges retirees and working pensioners are seeing in Portsmouth.

“Not only have they failed to offer real help with soaring energy bills and rising prices, but they’ve also shown a blatant disregard for the commitments they made to pensioners in the last general election.

“Pensioners and retirees in our city deserve the security of a good pension and the respect of politicians, not broken promises. That’s what Labour will continue to fight for, in Portsmouth and around the country.”

Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said:

“Boris Johnson has abandoned his promise to help Britain’s retirees with the cost of living crisis.

“The Conservatives have broken the triple lock, just imposed the biggest real terms cut in the state pension for 50 years and clobbered working pensioners with more tax.

“Our retirees – who have contributed so much to our society – deserve better. Labour will stand up for pensioners and older people.”

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Local MP demands emergency budget as figures reveal Brits could spend £10bn extra at the fuel pump

Stephen Morgan MP has called on government to act over the spiralling cost of living crisis with an emergency budget, as figures show the impact of soaring petrol prices on families in Portsmouth.

New analysis by Labour has revealed that families in Portsmouth and across the country will fork out an extra £10bn on petrol, compared to just this time last year.

The Chancellor made a fuel duty cut the centrepiece of his plan to tackle the cost-of-living, but that cut has been swallowed up by the soaring cost over the year.

The figures come as oil and gas producers, including Shell and BP, took in billions in soaring profits, with BP hailing “more money than we know what to do with”.

And this week working people in Portsmouth were hit with a tax hike in their pay packets this week after the Chancellor chose to raise national insurance. The Chancellor has raised taxes 15 times in total, costing families £1,060 this year.

Labour today reiterated its call on the government to bring forward an emergency budget to tackle the Tory cost of living crisis. This would prioritise five measures including with a one-off windfall tax on the soaring profits of oil and gas producers to help households through the crisis with up to £600 in support.

Labour would also ramp up home insulation, scrap the unfair National Insurance hike, and provide support for struggling businesses.

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

“This is a savage extra cost for households right across our city. From Pompey pensioners, to hard working people already struggling to make ends meet.

“The Conservative government needs to set out an emergency budget to tackle its cost of living crisis – and support Labour’s call to put money back in people’s pockets.

“Labour’s plan would help households through this crisis with up to £600 cut off energy bills, funded by one-off windfall tax on the booming profits of oil and gas producers.

“We would turbocharge our transition to clean transport so never again are the British people left so exposed to unstable foreign oil.”

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Portsmouth MP tours New Forest farm with NFU on work to support local people

Stephen Morgan MP has met National Farmers’ Union (NFU) representatives and the region’s farmers at a New Forest farm to learn more about how the agricultural sector is supporting our city’s communities.

During the visit, the Portsmouth representative discussed concerns over food security, ensuring a workforce to pick crops and land management in a roundtable with the NFU and local farmers.

In Portsmouth South alone, this year residents will eat an estimated:

  • 12.3 million eggs
  • 10.7 million litres of milk
  • 3,063 tonnes of bread

It comes as recent workforce shortages highlighted sensitivities around food supply chains, including ongoing workforce shortages in the food and farming sectors in picking, packing, processing and distributing food.

Agricultural workers played a critical role in keeping supply-chains running during the pandemic and restrictions, and Mr Morgan took the opportunity to thank them for their efforts.

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

“It’s been useful to meet with National Farming Union representatives and our region’s farmers, to learn more about the work they are doing to support our communities and keep us fed.

“Farmers went above and beyond to support us and keep food on the shelves during the height of the pandemic, so it’s only right they get the support that’s needed from Westminster as we recover.

“I look forward to working with the NFU to ensure our area’s farming community get the help they need to keep providing for Portsmouth families.”

According to the NFU, the UK’s current food self-sufficiency rate is hovering at about 60%. Labour has accused the government of being “far too complacent” on food security, saying it would look to increase the UK’s self-sufficiency.

Labour has said it would support farms to make, sell and buy more in Britain. This includes using public procurement to ensure that schools and hospitals buy local produce, encouraging more food to be grown in the region, and across the rest of the country.

The city MP added:

“The conflict in Ukraine has triggered a humanitarian tragedy and our nation’s attention is rightly focused on attempting to resolve the crisis.

“It has also reminded us of the need to tackle challenges with the global food market, from rising fuel prices pushing fertilizer costs up by as much as 400%, to both Russia and Ukraine accounting for nearly a third of global wheat exports.

“Like many other countries, the UK faces economy-wide disruption that could last for many years, including to our food output, our food supply chains and the availability and affordability of food to consumers.

“As an island nation, being able to grow enough food to feed a substantial proportion of our population is a key measure of food security and national resilience.

“That’s why I will be calling on Government to set out a clear plan to maintain confidence and stability across the UK’s food producing businesses, to protect working families and pensioners, and keep Britain fed.”

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Labour tax cut would save pubs over £2,000 from next week 

Labour have today outlined their ‘emergency support’ to help small businesses with rising costs. The measures include a tax cut which would take effect this week if the Government adopted Labour’s plans.  

Under the plans a typical small factory or workshop would save £2,700, a pub would be £2,600 better off and the average café or restaurant would save £2,700.

New analysis from Labour shows the current system of business rates is acting as a tax on growth, with smaller firms facing big tax cliff edges if they expand. A typical hairdresser who expands from one to two sites would see their tax bill go from £0 to £5,000, while an average shop goes from paying £0 to £10,000. 

Labour’s long-term plan would see Business Rates scrapped and replaced with a system that supported growth, and would be fairer between the small high street businesses based on bricks and the global tech giants based on clicks.

The party have also pledged support to British industry with an energy support fund to help with rising prices. The Government promised to support energy intensive firms six months ago but have failed to come forward with a package of support. Labour’s plans include direct help for industry to deal with rising prices now as well as support for the steel industry to decarbonise.

Labour’s plan includes:   

A tax cut for small business  

Labour would cut taxes for businesses by raising the threshold for small business rates relief for a year (from the current threshold of £15,000 to £25,000), to give SMEs a discount on their business rates bill from 1 April 2022/23.

Energy support fund  

Labour’s energy support fund would prioritise energy intensive industries such as steel, glass and ceramics to bring down their energy bills. At least 388,000 jobs are at risk if these factories are forced to close or reduce operations as the price of gas has nearly tripled since last October.

Green steel fund  

Labour would support the steel industry to decarbonise, with £3bn worth of investment in collaboration with business, over the coming decade.

No rise in National Insurance   

Labour would not be increasing national insurance contributions which will mean employers will pay an additional rate of 1.25% on employees’ earnings over £175 per week (£9,100 per year) from the 1 April.

Commenting on the emergency measures, Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP, said:

Small businesses are the bedrock of our economy in Portsmouth. Helping to protect them during this cost-of-living crisis protects livelihoods, protects jobs and protects our city’s communities.

“Labour’s plan would see business rates scrapped and replaced with a system that supported growth, and would be fairer between the small high street businesses based on bricks and the global tech giants based on clicks. 

“These emergency measures, if adopted by Government, would benefit so many of our city’s small businesses. Proposals would ensure a saving for a local pub of £2,600 and the average café or restaurant saving £2,700, all helping to keep our economy going”.

Jonathan Reynolds MP, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, added:   

“Businesses are facing a tidal wave of extra costs and being held back under the Conservatives through tax rises, inflation and the energy crisis. Action is needed now to ensure firms remain viable and extra costs aren’t passed onto consumers worsening the cost-of-living crisis.  

“Under Labour small firms would be around £2,000 better off from this week through our plans to cut taxes and we wouldn’t penalise small firms for expanding. Labour would back industry with our energy support fund and long-term plans to green the steel industry.   

“It’s clear great British businesses can’t afford this Government.”

 

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Portsmouth MP says Chancellor has ‘lost control’ as South East earners face £1,460 squeeze on their wages in 2023

Stephen Morgan MP has claimed the Chancellor has lost control as new figures show the average earner in the South East will see their earnings fall by £1,460 in the next year alone, relative to inflation, under the new plans announced by the Chancellor in his Spring Statement this week.

The party heavily criticised the Chancellor after it emerged that not only would working people still be hit with the biggest tax burden since the 1940s – but that living standards look to plummet at the fastest rate seen since records began.

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor called on the government to scrap the damaging, unfair National Insurance rise, and to choose a one-off windfall tax on oil and gas producer profits instead – to take up to £600 off the energy bills of households struggling with the rising cost of living crisis.

And she also slammed the Chancellor for his lack of a long-term plan for growing the economy or wages – saying that his current plans set out no plan for tackling waste or fraud that has run riot under his watch, nor any vision for creating prosperity and security across the UK.

Labour’s figures also show that:

  • Workers in the North East will see their real earnings fall by £1,107 a year by 2023 under the Chancellor’s plans
  • Workers in the North West will see their real earnings fall by £1,194 a year by 2023 under the Chancellor’s plans
  • Workers in the West Midlands will see their real earnings fall by £1,234 a year by 2023 under the Chancellor’s plans

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

“All we got from the Chancellor in his Spring Statement last week was a promise of jam tomorrow rather than the support that is needed now – and now we learn that workers in the South East are facing a sharp squeeze on their wages, losing £1,460 from their pay packet in the next year alone.

“It also totally lacked a long-term plan for productivity, skills and growth, which business across Portsmouth play a vital role in. He’s simply lost control.

“It was the day for him to bring in a one-off windfall tax on oil and gas producers, to take up to £600 off people’s energy bills.

“It was the day to set out a plan for British businesses.

“In failing to do any of these, the Chancellor made the wrong choices for Portsmouth and our country.”