, , , , , , ,

‘More powers are needed to intervene in foreign acquisitions that could damage UK economy’ says Portsmouth MP

  • Labour calls on Ministers to strengthen powers to intervene in foreign acquisitions that would damage the UK’s economy, such as the takeover of ARM
  • Ministers are supposedly ripping up and publishing a new industrial strategy this autumn but transparency data reveals Ministers have only spoken about the industrial strategy at three in 1,375 meetings – and never with tech companies
  • Shadow Business Secretary warns foreign takeovers are hollowing out the UK’s tech sector as it’s revealed Ministers have not met with ARM, Softbank or Nvidia in 2019 or 2020

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan is today calling on Ministers to keep high-growth and strategically important companies in the UK, as it reveals the Government has not spoken to key companies about a tech-focused industrial strategy.

Labour is supporting the National Security and Investment Bill, which strengthens powers for the Government to intervene when foreign acquisitions threaten national security. But the Official Opposition is calling for the Government to strengthen its powers to intervene when acquisitions could see vital companies stripped for parts or moved overseas, damaging the UK economy.

The Shadow Business Secretary has argued Ministers should have intervened in the takeover of the UK tech company ARM by the US company Nvidia on public interest grounds. 

During the debate on the Bill, Labour called on Ministers to come clean about whether they have obtained legal assurances about the company’s future in the UK.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“The Government’s proposal brings the UK in line with other countries on national security but leaves us with significantly weaker powers on takeovers.

France has powers to block takeovers of companies deemed strategic, and the US Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States is able to block acquisitions that might have major implications for national interests. Britain should have the same.

Every month that goes by when ministers don’t legislate on these issues leaves us more vulnerable to losing vital economic interests. That just isn’t good enough for constituents in Portsmouth”.

The call comes as it is revealed that, despite Ministers’ plans to rip up the existing industrial strategy white paper and publish a new one this autumn, they have only held three meetings out of 1,375 to discuss industrial strategy with stakeholders in 2020 so far, including only once before the Covid-19 crisis took hold.

Crucially, none of these meetings were with tech companies, despite a BEIS spokesperson saying the new industrial strategy aims to put the UK “at the forefront of global technological opportunities”.

Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband MP added:  

“It’s right that the Government is bringing the UK into line with other countries to give itself powers to protect national security, but this Bill is a missed opportunity to do so on wider industrial strategy.  

Time and again in recent years, the existing powers have proved inadequate to protect vital economic interests – from Pfizer’s attempted takeover of Astrazeneca to the recent takeover of ARM.  

If the Government is serious about industrial strategy, we need an ability to intervene in takeovers to protect our vital interests, particularly in our tech sector.” 

 

, , , , , ,

Covid-19: Business support

It has been announced that further support for businesses and workers is available for the second national lockdown and beyond.

This includes increasing the contribution to wage costs under the Job Support Scheme, announcing expansion of business grants to cover businesses in particularly affected sectors in high-alert level areas, helping them stay afloat and protecting jobs and grants for the self-employed doubled to 40% of previous earnings.

Stephen continues to lobby Government to close gaps in support and to protect jobs and businesses in Portsmouth, liaising with Ministers, government departments and submitting parliamentary questions to address concerns.

Below are a list of organisations and resources to help our city’s businesses at this difficult time:

The city council’s business support including grants and advice:

https://www.portsmouth.gov.uk/services/coronavirus-covid-19/business-advice-and-grants-coronavirus-information/

The government’s advice and guidance:

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support?priority-taxon=774cee22-d896-44c1-a611-e3109cce8eae

National lockdown information:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november#businesses-and-venues

The LEP’s coronavirus support hub:

https://solentlep.org.uk/coronavirus-support-hub/

Information from the Federation of Small Businesses:

https://www.fsb.org.uk/campaign/covid19.html

Information from the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce:

https://www.hampshirechamber.co.uk/your-local-chamber/portsmouth-chamber/

British Chamber of Commerce:

https://www.britishchambers.org.uk/page/coronavirus?k=30cdfbcf8e205792be8adadf43630166035c27d5

 

 

 

 

, , , , , ,

City MP continues to stand up for Portsmouth’s hospitality sector ahead of second lockdown 

Ahead of the second lockdown, many hospitality venues and businesses face an uncertain future, particularly for those which relied on serving takeaway during parts of the first national lockdown earlier this year.

 

Stephen Morgan MP has raised the concerns of a number of his constituents on this issue, submitting written parliamentary questions to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Rt. Hon Oliver Dowden MP, as part of ongoing efforts to ensure the sector’s views are heard in Government plans.

 

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, said,

 

“The second national lockdown is going to prove to be a difficult period for many businesses, no less so than the hospitality sector and its supply-chain businesses.

 

“I know for many businesses the ability to serve takeaway alcohol during parts of the initial national lockdown was a lifeline for many of them, and I have requested further clarity from the government if this could be allowed during the coming lockdown.

 

“I recognise it is not just pubs and restaurants that could be affected without this provision, but also other businesses such as some of the fantastic local breweries I was able to visit in Portsmouth earlier this year.

 

“Pubs and brewing alone contribute £23 billion to UK economy, generate £13 billion in tax revenues and support 900,000 jobs. They are an incredibly important part of local and wider national economy, and its of critical importance these businesses survive through this period.

 

“It is why I will be seeking further clarity from the government on the sale of takeaway alcohol during the second national lockdown”.

 

Mr Morgan has been taking a range of actions to help Portsmouth’s hospitality sector, most recently calling for greater support for pubs, restaurants and other local businesses following a significant number of closures over the last decade.

, , , , , ,

Government must act to urgently protect jobs and livelihoods in Portsmouth

In support of the ‘People Before Profit’ day of action organised by Portsmouth unions, city MP Stephen Morgan said:

“The Chancellor’s furlough flip flop has caused real chaos as he prepares to tear up Winter Economy Plan before autumn is out.

This has created unnecessary anxiety for many and will come too late for those who have lost jobs after he initially removed support for struggling sectors.

As MP for Portsmouth South I have been calling on the Government to act urgently to protect jobs and livelihoods to ensure speed and consistency of support – so that local areas receive the same level of support when additional restrictions are introduced, rather than weeks or months afterwards, more discretion for local authorities by reopening a £1.3 billion discretionary grants scheme so that they can respond to the needs of businesses and workers in their area rather than waiting for central government to act, and reforming the government’s wage support offer – by ensuring it genuinely incentivises employers to keep staff on, even when they have been forced to close.

Despite repeated warnings by Labour to replace furlough with a targeted wage subsidy that incentivised employers to keep workers on, the Chancellor introduced a Job Support Scheme that forces employers to flip a coin to decide who stays and who goes.

If Government doesn’t take the action that is needed Britain risks an unemployment crisis greater than we have seen in decades – and Rishi Sunak’s name will be all over it.

Together as a party, with the unions and local people, we must continue to hold the Government to account and secure a plan which protects Portsmouth jobs and livelihoods”.

, , , ,

New job: Parliamentary Researcher to Stephen Morgan MP

New job: Parliamentary Researcher to Stephen Morgan MP

  •  Have a skill for writing and undertaking research? 
  •  Interested in working at the heart of British politics? 
  •  Want to help make a difference to peoples’ lives? 

Then an exciting opportunity has arisen to work with a Shadow Minister and the first-ever Labour Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan and his busy and dedicated team.

Stephen Morgan MP is looking for a Parliamentary Researcher to support him with his work in the new shadow defence ministerial team and as an active parliamentarian speaking up for Portsmouth in the House of Commons.

Key tasks include preparing questions, speeches and briefings; undertaking research on complex subjects; monitoring bills, motions, legislation, Hansard, petitions, and debates; and proactively engaging the media on Stephen’s work as an active local campaigner and strong national voice for Portsmouth.

The role is full-time with a salary range of up to £35,308 and is based in Westminster at the House of Commons.

Job description – Parliamentary Researcher

Got what it takes to take on this busy and exciting role? 

Application details

Applicants should send a copy of their CV (no more than two pages) and a one-page covering letter to Julie Minal, Head of Office at julie.minal@parliament.uk

Closing date: 9 October 2020, 12noon.

Interviews will take place via Zoom and involve a work-based task. It is hoped the successful candidate would be able to start as soon as possible

Please note that due to the expected high volume of responses, unsuccessful applicants will not be contacted.

 

 

 

 

, , , , , ,

City MP reacts to ‘disappointing’ new court ruling stating pension age changes are not discriminatory

News has broken that the three senior judge’s ruling on the Court of Appeal challenge have found that despite feeling sympathy for WASPI campaigners, the state pension age did not amount to unlawful discrimination under EU or human rights law.

Committed WASPI supporter, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“It is highly disappointing that millions of women born in the 1950s have lost the Court of Appeal Challenge today, ruling that raising the state pension age did not amount to unlawful discrimination.

This is yet another kick in the teeth for a grassroots movement of inspiring women who have been fighting tooth and nail for justice.

The ruling is deeply disheartening, but we must not lose sight of who is responsible for the origins of this severe injustice. The way in which the Conservative Government has implemented the 1995 State Pension Act has caused turmoil for hundreds of thousands of people, hitting the most vulnerable hardest.

I have had the privilege of working with Portsmouth’s campaigners on this important issue for some time and will continue to support them in their fight for justice.”

Stephen Morgan MP has been a long-time supporter of the WASPI campaign. He has hosted local rallies, held meetings up in parliament, raised the issue through parliamentary questions, and regularly meets with local Solent WASPI organisers.

 

 

, , , , ,

Stephen Morgan MP demands Ministers extend Job Retention Scheme in House of Commons

During questions to the Department for Work and Pensions, city MP Stephen Morgan put pressure on the Government to extend the financial support available to those struggling during the pandemic.

Mr Morgan’s action in the House of Commons come as statistics reveal employment has decreased by 220,000 on the quarter. The largest quarterly decrease since 2009. While in July, there were 730,000 fewer people in paid employment compared with March 2020 and 114,000 fewer when compared with June 2020.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Unemployment is soaring, uptake in benefits has skyrocketed and experts say marginalised communities are bearing the brunt.

When employment is down to the lowest point in over a decade, the government must be ramping up support not removing the safety net.

The Government has been repeatedly warned that their one-size-fits-all approach to the job’s crisis will cost many their livelihoods, especially in communities like ours in Portsmouth.”

Concerns have been raised by Trade Unions, organisations such as Hospitality UK, and charities that the Job Retention Scheme is ending far too early.

Mr Morgan added:

“The latest Job Retention Scheme figures show that nearly 80% of workers in the accommodation and food services sector have been furloughed, a sector that employs many people in our community.

The furlough scheme is ending next month, yet we are still far from back to normal. Government must provide targeted support to those who are being hit hardest by this pandemic.”

The Portsmouth South MP has vowed to continue to put pressure on the government to end their blanket cessation to end to the furlough scheme.

, , , , ,

Portsmouth MP fights for local jobs and businesses

Across Portsmouth our communities face a jobs crisis, with as many as 27,000 jobs at risk in the region. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of thousands of people have lost their job and many more are now at risk.

The government’s one-size-fits-all approach isn’t targeted at the businesses and the people most in need. The government were too slow into lockdown, too slow on testing, and too slow to protect jobs.

Portsmouth residents cannot afford Boris Johnson to continue making the same mistakes with the economy. That’s why Stephen Morgan MP and your local Labour action team are working hard and calling on the Government to:

  • Fight for jobs: by reforming the furlough scheme so that it supports jobs in the worst-hit sectors and targets funding to struggling industries
  • Back businesses: by setting up a fightback fund to prevent firms going under and to save our high streets
  • Leave no-one behind: by providing additional support to areas forced into local lockdowns, supporting the self-employed and helping those left out of existing schemes
  • Keep workers safe: by protecting workers’ rights, boosting sick pay, making workplaces safe and giving our NHS and care services the resources to avoid a second wave
  • Drive job creation: by investing in infrastructure, accelerating progress towards a zero carbon economy and increasing access to skills and training opportunities

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Local residents are right to be worried about the Tory jobs crisis. The local Labour team are doing everything we can save jobs, protect incomes and fight for our high street. The government needs to step in now before it’s too late.”

If you are worried about jobs in your community share your thoughts at www.labour.org.uk/jobssurvey

 

 

, , , , ,

City MP reacts to biggest employment drop since 2009: ‘Government must do more for young and self-employed people’

Stephen Morgan MP has called for the government to provide better, targeted support for young and self-employed people in Portsmouth, in reaction to the latest UK employment figures showing its biggest fall in over a decade. The fall in employment was largely driven by young and self-employed people.

Official figures released this morning also showed the UK has now entered a technical recession, with the UK economy (April to June 2020) reaching a record fall of 20.4% – worse than any other country in Europe.

On today’s news Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, said:

“The government’s one size fits all approach is continuing to lead to job losses that simply should not be happening. The figures today outlining the biggest economic fall for any country in Europe confirms this.

“We are already experiencing the worst excess death rate in Europe. We’re now on track for the worst recession too. The government has got to do better, and I will be calling on the government for what its plans are to support the people of Portsmouth through this economic crisis.

“It must now realise the scale of this crisis and switch to a more flexible and focused approach to provide support to the people and sectors that need it most.”

The number of young people (aged 20-29) in the southern part of the City of Portsmouth is over 13% higher than the UK average, raising concerns about the local impact the coronavirus has had on younger people being able to keep their jobs.

The city MP added:

Over a quarter of the people in the south of our great city are aged 20-29, which gives me serious concerns that the government’s current approach to this job crisis is going to impact younger people in Portsmouth deeply unfairly, if it continues its single-minded approach.”

The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in southern Portsmouth is also above the UK average, and the latest UK-wide figures have shown a 116.8% rise since March of this year.

“We also have an above UK average claimant count in the south of the city, which is why I am calling on the Government to adapt is financial support measures and ensure the coronavirus does not impact our fantastic city in any way that is unneeded.”

Stephen Morgan MP is continuing to lobby the Government on behalf of local residents who have fallen through the gaps of support, including calling on the Chancellor to take further action to support the self-employed and small businesses in the city.

, , , , , ,

Stephen Morgan MP warns that childcare sector is at “risk of collapse without targeted Government support”

Stephen Morgan MP is calling on the Government to target its financial support at nurseries, childminders and other childcare providers at risk of closure.

This follows action undertaken by the city MP in April that saw him write to the Chancellor outlining the pressures on the sector and demanding better coverage for the childcare sector in terms of the Job Retention Scheme.

The city MP has warned about the devastating impact that mass childcare closures would have on working parents, disadvantaged children and our economic recovery. In Portsmouth the number of childcare providers has reduced by 11 in the last five years, and research by the Early Years Alliance suggests that a quarter may not survive nationally. 

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Childcare providers were struggling before this crisis, with thousands closing every year, but without targeted government support the sector is at risk of collapse. The UK Government has consistently ignored the needs of nurseries, childminders and other early years providers in this crisis, and now a quarter fear they may be forced to close nationally with 11 in our community.

This would be devastating for Portsmouth families that rely on childcare, and it would be a huge setback for our economic recovery from Covid-19 which relies on parents being able to go back to work. It’s time the Government recognised the importance of childcare and early education for our economic recovery and brought forward a proper plan to save the early years sector.”

There are concerns that mass childcare closures and a reduction in the availability of vital early years education would hit hardest the poorest families and most disadvantaged children in our society. This in turn would be a huge setback for our economic recovery, which will be reliant on parents being able to get back to work rather than being forced to stay at home because there isn’t sufficient childcare available.