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Portsmouth MP votes to ensure every young person is ‘ready for work’ as city faces steep skills drop

Stephen Morgan MP voted in the House of Commons today to ensure every child in Portsmouth is ‘ready for work’, as city faces a skills shortage.

Since 2015, the number of apprenticeships starts in Portsmouth has fallen by 42% – equivalent to 900 fewer apprenticeships over the last six years. According to the latest data from the Department for Education, only 1,220 people in Portsmouth started an apprenticeship in 2020/21, compared to 2,120 in 2015/16.

Nationally, there has been a drop of almost 200,000 in the number of people starting an apprenticeship over the last decade.

Ahead of its final stages in the House of Commons today, Labour said the government’s Skills Bill would ‘create new structures and bureaucracies, but will do little to tackle the major skills shortages in key sectors including, health and social care, manufacturing or engineering’.

Labour tabled changes to the government bill to:

  • require face to face careers guidance for every pupil and two weeks’ worth of compulsory work experience, highlighting Labour’s Ready for Work Ready for Life policies announced at our Annual Conference;
  • ensure Mayoral Combined Authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships and local authorities are part of drawing up Local Skills Improvement Plans alongside Employer Representative Bodies;
  • establish a 4-year moratorium on Level 3 qualifications;
  • require IFATE to perform a review of the operation of the apprenticeship levy;
  • ensure Employer Representative Bodies have a requirement to have strategies for people with special educational needs and disabilities.

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

“Our apprentices make an enormous contribution to our city’s economy and wider society, but Government is not doing enough to support local young people after a decade of decline.

“Ministers should adopt Labour’s plan to create thousands of new apprenticeships this year, securing the opportunities young people need to gain productive skills and support our economy to prosper.

“I’ve seen first-hand the power of apprenticeships to transform lives after talking with apprentices and employers. That’s why I voted to boost opportunities for local young people and help secure our economy post-pandemic.”

The City MP visited BAE Systems at HMNB Portsmouth last week, which is running an early careers and apprenticeship programme for young people as part of its ‘skills agenda’. The Portsmouth MP also met with young people who are out of work and employers attending the local Jobcentre’s recruitment event last Thursday.

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City MP reacts to Portsmouth’s Port’s new ‘ambitious’ 20-year masterplan

Stephen Morgan MP has welcomed Portsmouth International Port’s (PIP) new 20-year masterplan, launched earlier today.

The £92m 20-year Masterplan is expected to generate £739m over next ten years and secure over 11,000 jobs over the next 20.

£357m is expected to be generated for the local economy by 2042, up from roughly £187m it currently does now.

The Masterplan that will focus on:

  • Expansion of port land to cater for increase in unaccompanied freight
  • Extension of berth to cater for ships up to 300m
  • Extension to 25m for ships exiting the port
  • Creation of out-of-city pre gate and storage facilities
  • Smart technology to manage cargo and passenger flow
  • Sustainable infrastructure to manage alternative power demands
  • Achieve net zero by 2030
  • Facilitate a new electric ferry service
  • Upgrade facilities at international cargo terminal Portico
  • New Border Control Post

Mr Morgan lobbied government on behalf of PIP for £32m of funding in October 2020 from the government’s Port Infrastructure Fund, to prepare for new customs arrangements, allowing it to adapt to the government’s own new Border Operating Model.

However, the city port was only handed £17.1m of what it asked for – leaving a very large of shortfall of at least £7m and many businesses dependent on the port in the dark.

Government has also so far ignored the port’s further request for funding for all its originally planned new Border Control Points, and without it, the port will have no facility to use to check the 30,000 breeding animals that are expected to come through each year.

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

“Portsmouth Port’s success is our city’s success, so I am delighted to learn how it will continue to create thousands of jobs, supporting our local economy and our national prosperity for many more years to come.

“The port’s new masterplan offers an exciting and ambitious future for Portsmouth, supporting the next generation through good quality work at a key asset for our city, providing lifelong career opportunities for local young people to take pride in.

“I am proud that the city’s port is putting environmental ambitions at the centre of its plans, working with partners who share these values, as they have a moral obligation to future generations to do so. 

“As a council-owned port, society and economy must go hand in hand, and it also means that decisions can be made based on wider benefits.

“I’ve been relentlessly lobbying ministers to get the support our port needs, but government has continued to short-change our city. I will continue to speak up for the port to secure the investment it deserves.

“The delivery of these plans is now essential to ensure Portsmouth International Port remains one of the prize assets of our city and the country that we can all be proud of. I look forward to continuing to support these efforts to ensure it happens.”

The City MP was particularly supportive of targets included within the plan to reach carbon net-zero by 2030, and become the UK’s first zero emission port by 2050.

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Keeping HMRC in Portsmouth: City MP responds

Responding to the announcement that HMRC will keep a presence in Portsmouth and the city will become of the regional hubs, Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP said:

“I welcome HMRC’s commitment to establish a regional centre in Portsmouth, and potentially retain Lynx House, although I will be seeking urgent clarification about what this means for jobs.
“I have long-argued that closing Lynx House would be a disaster for local people and our city’s economy. That’s why I have been lobbying Ministers to protect these jobs from government cuts, liaising with trade unions, meeting with staff affected and raising concerns in Westminster.
“At a time when workload was due to rise five-fold, the threat to close Lynx House showed poor foresight and planning. I am pleased our city will now be one of the government’s regional centres.”
The MP has been campaigning alongside PCS to keep the presence in Portsmouth and protect local jobs.
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New job opportunity: Office Coordinator

New job opportunity: Office Coordinator

Starting salary: £18,525 (with IPSA range up to £26,505)

Hours: Full time Monday to Friday (very occasional weekend and evening working)

Location: The constituency office at 72 Albert Road, Southsea

Want to help make a difference to peoples’ lives? 

Interested in working at the heart of British politics to help bring about positive change? 

Then an opportunity has arisen to join Stephen Morgan MP’s small constituency team based at the office in the heart of Portsmouth South.

Stephen Morgan is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Portsmouth South, the first-ever Labour MP for the constituency, and newly appointed Shadow Schools Minister.

A small constituency team works alongside the parliamentary office to assist with Stephen’s parliamentary duties and responsibilities as a member of the shadow frontbench.

This new and exciting role will help co-ordinate a range of administrative and essential tasks in a busy and effective office.

What to do next…

If you have what it takes to join the team, please submit a covering letter and CV electronically to: stephen@stephenmorgan.org.uk by no later than Monday 31 January 2022, 12noon.

Please note that due to the high volume of interest expected, applicants will only hear if they are called to interview.

During Covid-19, further assessments of shortlisted applicants will be undertaken via video conferencing.

For further information about Stephen’s work for Portsmouth and in Parliament go to @StephenMorganMP on social media or visit www.stephenmorgan.org.uk

 

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A new contract for Britain: Keir Starmer’s speech

Today, Keir Starmer set out his contract for a new Britain.

After over a decade of Conservative rule, there is a cost of living crisis. This government has lost its grip and working people are paying the price.

People’s cost of living continues to increase while wages stagnate – and the country will be hit unfair tax hikes in April.

The Leader of the Opposition said this is Labour’s moment to set out our vision for a new Britain. A country built on the guarantee of security, prosperity and respect for all.

  • Security: Labour will ensure that you feel safe in your neighbourhood and that our NHS is there for you when you need it.
  • Prosperity: We will give everyone the skills they need to prosper and opportunity to thrive.
  • Respect: We will create a country where everyone feels valued for who you are and what you do.

Leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer said:

“We need a country led by a Labour government; fit for the challenges we face – rebuilding after the pandemic, making Brexit work and tackling the climate crisis head on.

Local elections are on the horizon and we have the opportunity to demonstrate to communities across the country that where the Government turns its back, Labour provides solutions. Let’s get to work – it’s time for a new Britain, it’s time for Labour”.

Examples of what this contract for Britain will mean in practice

Policing and crime prevention

Labour will provide crime prevention teams in every neighbourhood. New Police Hubs will be visible in every community. We will introduce a tough new approach to closing down drug dens with new powers for local police and local authorities.

Police hubs

In every community blighted by anti-social behaviour there will be a Police Hub where you can speak to officers dedicated to dealing with it. Police Hubs will be located in visible and accessible places in communities, providing a place the public can go to talk to the police and other agencies in person about their concerns in an area, as well as providing a visible reassurance to residents who live there.

Neighbourhood Prevention Teams

New Neighbourhood Prevention Teams will bring together police, community support officers, youth workers and local authority staff to tackle anti-social behaviour at source. NPTs will be made up of neighbourhood police officers, PCSOs, youth workers and local authority enforcement officers. These teams would prioritise being visible on patrols and would pursue serial perpetrators of ASB or low-level crime, as well as dealing with visible signs of disorder such as broken windows, graffiti, fly-tipping, or drug dealing. These teams will also support victims of anti-social behaviour.

Next generation neighbourhood watch

  • A next generation neighbourhood watch, harnessing the potential of modern technologies – such as video doorbells, dashcams and WhatsApp – and encourage a virtual approach to sharing advice and gathering intelligence in local communities.

More Special Constables

  • A major recruitment drive to increase the number of Special Constables, whose numbers have fallen sharply since 2010, focusing on community safety up and down the country.

Police funding and staffing numbers

  • Tackle the Tory rise in violent crime and address the huge cuts in police officers, PCSOs and police staff which have made communities less safe.
  • More police focusing on safer streets and tackling violence, through a neighbourhood policing fund which also allows the recruitment of police staff and PCSOs
  • New neighbourhood policing fund (£150m) and violence reduction fund (£22m)

Tackling drug dens

Stronger powers for police and local authorities to shut down premises being used for drug dealing or consumption, as well as action to remove the barriers which prevent existing powers being used. In the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act:

  • Increase the length of time a closure notice could be issued for from an initial 48 hours to 72 hours.
  • Increase the length of time a closure order can be granted from an initial minimum three months to a minimum of six months.
  • We would then extend the ability of an extension for six months up to 12 months

Buy, Make and Sell More in Britain

Britain needs an industrial strategy to improve our productivity to ensure we Buy, Make and Sell more in Britain. And to revive the places that made Britain wealthy.

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.

Climate investment pledge

At our conference we pledged an extra £28 billion a year in capital investment to combat climate change to create green jobs, to inspire innovation for a clean future. And this promises a future to places that were once defined by what they made but which fell on harder times.

An additional £28bn of capital investment in our country’s green transition for each and every year of this decade. Examples of what it could be spent on: giga-factories to build batteries for electric vehicles, thriving hydrogen industry, offshore wind with turbines made in Britain, more green places and safe cycle paths, planting trees and building flood defences, keeping homes warm and getting energy bills down.

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South East misses out on nearly 15,000 jobs for young people under Tory job scheme

Stephen Morgan MP has said the government’s flagship employment support scheme, Kickstart, is lacking ambition for young people, after its failure to support as many jobseekers in the South East as was previously promised.

The latest figures on performance of the programme show that by December 2021, only 12,030 had been started in the South East, 14,866 fewer than should had been started in the region had the scheme been successful.

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Thérèse Coffey, set a target of 250,00 jobs created through Kickstart, which would have meant around 26,896 new jobs in the South East. This would have made a big difference to young local job seekers.

However, as the scheme closes to new applicants, the Tories are set to miss their national 250,000 target by 55 per cent. Across the regions and nations of Britain, an average of over 12,500 more jobs would have been created had the Government met its target.

Meanwhile, the number of young people on Universal Credit has nearly doubled since the start of the pandemic, up from 450,000 in January 2020 to nearly 840,000.

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

“I am eager to see good local jobs created for talented young people in Portsmouth providing a boost for our local economy.

I have seen and heard first-hand some of the positive successes from the Kickstart scheme in our city, but the Government’s plan for jobs does not go far enough and young people in Portsmouth are losing out as a result.

“Labour’s jobs promise and plan to buy, make and sell more in Britain would make a difference to young people in Portsmouth who deserve the opportunities that a good job and fair pay provides.”

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

“The government’s employment policies are failing to rebalance the economy, tackle economic insecurity and their Kickstart work programme has created nowhere near the 250,000 opportunities promised even though employers are desperate to get help finding staff. The Tories are doing nothing for young people in need of urgent jobs support.

“Eleven years of Tory economic failure has led to an explosion of in-work poverty and now families face a punishing triple-whammy of rising heating bills, rising prices in the shops and higher taxes. Yet again, it’s working people being hammered under the Tories.

“Labour would help ease the burden by scrapping VAT on household heating bills over winter. And with our jobs promise and plan to buy, make and sell more in Britain, we will boost jobs and growth across all parts of our country.”

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City MP calls for immediate support package as local businesses face perfect storm

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has called for the immediate introduction of a business support package as local firms face a perfect storm as the Omicron variant spreads.

With the public having been told to ‘de-prioritise social contact’, many businesses in Portsmouth and across the country face a perfect storm of cancelled bookings, rising costs and staff shortages.

Mr Morgan called on Government to “properly engage” with business leaders and major trade bodies, as many businesses feel left in the dark by Ministers on how additional restrictions and advice resulting from Omicron would affect them.

Many workers are also worried that their livelihoods have been put at risk by the government’s inaction at a challenging time of the year.

The intervention from the City MP came as it was revealed that the Chancellor is on a trip to California.

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

“More and more businesses in our city tell me they need certainty and a clear plan for what comes next.

“We have a serious health emergency, businesses are worried and employees are anxious. That is why I have always called for economic support to remain in step with public health measures.

“Business leaders and trade bodies weren’t consulted on Plan B and it’s essential that Ministers engage with the sector to protect our economy and secure jobs.

“Yet we find the Chancellor is hanging out in Hollywood. The government’s failure to plan has once again left businesses owners and employees in limbo.

“The government must announce an immediate package of support the culture, hospitality and leisure sectors that matches the situation Portsmouth’s businesses are now facing”.

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Small Business Saturday: City MP announces winners of his ‘Support local’ awards

Stephen Morgan MP has announced the winners of his ‘Support Local’ Portsmouth small business awards, as the country marked Small Business Saturday.

Last month, the city MP called for local people to nominate their favourite local shops and traders in his constituency in three different categories. With dozens and dozens of nominations across Milton, Southsea, Old Portsmouth, Eastney, Fratton, Landport, Buckland and Portsea, this year’s winners are:

  • Greenest Local Business: Package Free Larder, Elm Grove, Southsea
  • Friendliest Local Business: MAKE, Cornwall Road, Fratton
  • Overall Best Business: Andre’s Food Bar, Osborne Road, Southsea

The Portsmouth MP delivered the award winners with certificates on Saturday, and thanked them for their service to our communities.

Small Business Saturday UK is a grassroots, non-commercial campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities.

On Small Business Saturday, customers across the U.K. go out and support all types of small businesses, online, in offices and in stores. Many small businesses take part in the day by hosting events and offering discounts.

£1.1 billion was spent with small businesses across the UK during last year’s Small Business Saturday, with 15.4 million people turning out to support small businesses.

The city awards build on last year’s successful initiative by the Portsmouth South representative that saw hundreds of people nominating local shops and traders across constituency.

The City MP has been a long-time supporter of Portsmouth’s local businesses.

In May, the Portsmouth representative launched his ‘Pride in Portsmouth’ campaign that encouraged local people to support small businesses as the economy unlocked. Since being elected, he has been lobbying government through a range of parliamentary questions, raising concerns in Parliament and calling on Government to better support Portsmouth’s businesses.

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

“Local businesses are the lifeblood of our city, but the past 18 months has been an incredibly difficult time for many of them.

“That’s why I have been calling on people to ‘Support Local’ this Christmas, and am delighted to finally announce this year’s winners of my small business awards. They truly deserve recognition for the way they have gone above and beyond in serving our city’s communities this year.

“Like many Portsmouth people, on this weekend’s Small Business Saturday, I’ll be out and about supporting local traders and shops. So many small businesses and shopworkers helped keep our city going during the pandemic. Now it’s our turn to support them not just this Saturday, but all year round.”

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Portsmouth MP welcomes ‘exciting’ new partnership between Subsea Craft and UoP to develop cutting-edge maritime technology

Stephen Morgan MP has welcomed a new partnership between Portsmouth-based Subsea Craft and the University of Portsmouth to develop cutting-edge maritime technology.

The partnership, funded by Subsea and by £220,000 made available by Innovate UK through the ‘Knowledge Transfer Partnership’ programme, will run for two years and see two new researchers (KTP Associates) join Subsea, with the company also gaining access to knowledge from the School of Energy and Electronic Engineering in the Faculty of Technology at the university.

The resultant technology will form part of the wider digital offer Subsea Craft are preparing alongside their flagship product, VICTA – the world’s most advanced diver-delivery unit that is capable of travelling at up to 40kts above surface, before rapidly moving sub-surface. The partnership will deliver vital digital capabilities that will further enhance those already embedded in VICTA.

The team at the University of Portsmouth, led by Professor Victor Becerra – who will be supported by Dr Edward Smart, Dr Hongjie Ma, and two researchers – has extensive experience in the industry.

The new agreement is expected to improve the university’s already expert knowledge in the sector, and provide them with another strategic business link in their region. For the associates being hired, it will provide the opportunity to work in a high-skilled advanced role, bringing more high-quality jobs to Portsmouth.

Visiting Subsea Craft’s facility in Portsmouth Harbour today, Portsmouth South MP and Shadow Armed Forces Minister Stephen Morgan, said:

“I am delighted to see an innovative local SME partnering with the University to develop world-leading new technology here in our city.

“This partnership will not only deliver the next generation of marine technology for commercial and navy ships, it also drives the creation of the high skilled jobs that are crucial for our city’s economic success.

“I can think of no better place to begin this ground-breaking work than in the home and heart of the Royal Navy and I wish the project team every success.”

Scott Verney, CEO at Subsea, added:

“This partnership is not only a great one for Subsea as we continue to develop cutting edge maritime technology, but a good one for Portsmouth as a whole.

“Our ambition is to create a centre of maritime technology excellence at our HQ in the Camber, and this work with the University is a huge part of that.”

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Cost of living crisis: Portsmouth MP grills ministers on plans to protect local families this winter

Stephen Morgan MP raised concerns in the House of Commons today on how government will protect vulnerable local families this winter.
The Portsmouth MP underlined that 21% of working age families in his constituency of Portsmouth South – nearly half of which with children – will be affected by the government’s cut to Universal Credit, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
It comes as the cost-of-living crisis deepens, with the Bank of England recently forecasting that salaries will fall by 1.25% this year, with inflation expected to reach to as high as 4% in 2022 and the highest sustained tax burden in peace time.
In October, four in ten households on Universal Credit faced a 13 per cent rise in their energy bills in the same month as their benefit was cut by £20 a week.
The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, commented:

“The government had a clear opportunity in last month’s Budget to protect vulnerable families in Portsmouth this winter, but instead it’s pulled the rug out from underneath them.
“Energy bills, inflation and taxes on the lowest earners are all up, but support for working families is far below what is required to keep them secure this winter.
“I will continue to hold ministers to account to provide those most at risk this winter with the help they need, as government continues to struggle with getting to grips with the cost-of-living crisis.”