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City MP works alongside support charity helping Portsmouth families ‘achieve their potential’

Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan has spent the day working alongside frontline family support charity Home-Start to see the difference they are making to parents and children.

The independent family support charity offers trained volunteer support to parents experiencing postnatal depression, isolation, illness, bereavement or family breakdown.

Established in 1992, it has supported thousands of families across the city.

The Portsmouth South representative met parents and volunteers working with the service to hear about the support being provided and the positive impact it has had on their family life.

One family from Somerstown had benefited from the group’s ‘Big Hopes Big Future’ programme, which works with children in the year before they start school. A trained volunteer is matched with  the family and visits them for 12 week, offering support to develop the child’s key skills and routines to help children settle in to their new school.

Jo Toms, Operations Manager, Home-Start Portsmouth:

“After a year like no other, we are very grateful to Stephen Morgan who shadowed our work and met with families, volunteers, and staff of Home-Start Portsmouth, highlighting how the pandemic has had an impact on parents and young children.

“It’s good for parents to feel listened to and share their experiences and stories of the last year.

“I am incredibly proud of our service, the support we offer to Portsmouth families, the staff team but most of all our volunteers who have continued to offer face to face visits, doorstep drops, telephone calls, texts and Zoom calls throughout.

“We have been there for families and it was important to showcase what our volunteers do and the difference they make.”

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

“Home-Start have been a vital frontline service for local families during a period of unprecedented challenges for our City.  

“The pandemic has unfortunately meant isolation, bereavement and loss of income and have become increasingly common, but Home-Start helps lift up children and parents so they can achieve their potential.

“It was a privilege to work alongside their dedicated volunteers today and see first-hand the positive impact their invaluable work is making to homes in our city.”

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Local Search and Rescue ‘heroes’ thanked for their service by Portsmouth MP

Stephen Morgan MP has joined Hampshire Search and Rescue ‘heroes’ for a training demonstration to see how the service has been keeping the area’s people safe.

Over the past year, the Hampshire Search and Rescue team have continued with their primary role of assisting police with missing person searches, as well as taking on a number of other tasks to help tackle the pandemic.

This includes delivering essential PPE to the front line and assisting Portsmouth International Port with the COVID swab testing of freight drivers. They have also been volunteering with Solent NHS Trust since January to deliver the Coronavirus vaccine.

The team has given 16,600 hours to the service so far in 2021, including 7,000 hours to support frontline work to tackle the pandemic.

The service was called out 96 times in 2020, their busiest ever year and 16 more than the 2019 total.

During his visit, the Portsmouth MP took part in a live training exercise and met service managers to learn about their operations.

Trevor Vidler, Vice Chair, said:

“It was a pleasure to host Stephen on the search exercise and we were pleased to be able to demonstrate our operational role.”

“Our all-volunteer charity currently has 122 members and we are on-call to the police 24 hours a day, every day of the year, whatever the weather.”

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

“Hampshire Search and Rescue Service have done a phenomenal job in keeping people safe during one of the most difficult periods our country has faced.

“It was inspirational to see the volunteers in action and learn more about how they help protect us day in, day out.

“I was delighted to thank them personally on behalf of all us for their truly heroic efforts over the last year.”

Visit: https://hantsar.org/ to donate or volunteer.

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Tory spin on police numbers exposed as 19 per cent drop in frontline police at Hampshire police force

New Labour analysis lays bare the huge gaps in the workforce at Hampshire police after ten years of Tory cuts.

Over the course of the last decade under successive Tory governments, the number of police on the streets in Hampshire has been decimated.

Research from the Labour Party reveals there are 708 fewer police officers on the frontline in Hampshire than in 2010. There are also 110 fewer community support officers (PCSOs) in Hampshire police force area.

To put pressure on the Government to properly support our police forces and put more criminals behind bars, the Labour Party, led by Keir Starmer, has launched its Safer Communities campaign, with pledges to crack down on anti-social behaviour and end violence against women and girls.

Stephen Morgan, MP for Portsmouth South, said:

“A decade of Conservative cuts has left police officers doing more with less.

“These cuts undermine the efforts of hard-working frontline officers and have real consequences for the fight against crime. Crime is on the rise and Hampshire police responses have had to be rationed.

“Instead of funding and paying our police force fairly, the Tories offer only pay cuts and gimmicks. Its time this government took the safety of our communities seriously and gave us back our bobbies.”

Sarah Jones MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Policing and the Fire Service, said: 

“The Tories have spent a decade cutting our police workforce, leaving communities across the country exposed.   

“These figures expose the decimation the Tories have caused community policing. While cuts to police staff mean that even new police recruits will end up behind desks backfilling staff roles, instead of on the beat.  

“The Government’s new crime plan is in reality a bunch of rehashed policies designed to distract from the damage they have caused. When coupled with an insulting police pay freeze and failure to consult them on the crime plan, it’s no wonder frontline police have lost confidence in the Home Secretary.” 

 

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Support for young people ‘vital’ for city’s recovery as local MP tours new hub to boost youth employment

Stephen Morgan MP has underlined the importance of young people getting the support they need to find their route to employment as the city begins its economic recovery.

It comes following the Portsmouth MP’s visit to a new hub in the city that has been launched to directly support young people aged 16-24 on Universal Credit to find work.

My Future in Portsmouth Youth Hub is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), paying for 3 full time staff through Portsmouth City Council and allocating 2 part-time DWP Work Coaches.

The age groups are particularly vulnerable to the economic impact of the pandemic, with over 1,900 young people included, representing 19% of Universal Credit claimants. This level has been consistent since the middle of last year and compares to pre-Covid averages of around 720 young people.

The hub is a ‘one-stop service’ that helps job seekers aged between 16 and 24 to find work, by:

• Helping people into work (CV updating, job searching, writing applications and cover letters and preparing for interviews)
• Confidence building
• Health and wellbeing
• Housing
• Managing debt
• Accessing benefits
• Mental health support
• Health and wellbeing advice
• Discussing options, including: Kickstart, apprenticeships, traineeships, adult education and paid employment.

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

“Young people have been amongst the worst affected by the pandemic, so I’m really glad to see authorities working together to help provide the support they need to secure their futures and our city’s recovery.

“My Future in Portsmouth Youth Hub will provide a really important service for local young people to find the work they need, many of whom will be looking to get their first job in tough circumstances, so my thanks to those in Portsmouth who have helped to put this into action.”

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Portsmouth MP continues work with police to tackle crime in visit to contact ‘nerve centre’

Stephen Morgan MP has visited the Constabulary’s contact management centre in Southampton as he continues to support the fight against hate crime, violence and anti-social behaviour, amid rising concerns.

The contact management teams, operated by Hampshire Constabulary, works alongside Thames Valley Police, taking emergency 999 calls and handling non-emergency contact via the 101 service.

Those in the Contact Management Centre are responsible for recording detailed crime reports, filing intelligence and managing other general enquiries.

It comes following a decade of cuts to the Police, with workforce figures showing that Hampshire constabulary has just 135 officers per 100,000 people, the lowest of any force in the country.

Hampshire’s Chief Constable has also confirmed that underfunding means police responses have to be rationed.

Meanwhile, Labour has launched its national ‘Safer Communities’ campaign, pledging to crack down on anti-social behaviour and end violence against women and girls.

The visit today took place after the city MP hosted a round table discussion with community groups and campaigners earlier this year with regards to tackling violence against women and girls and efforts to end hate crime.

Mr Morgan was joined on the visit by members of local group Chat Over Chai and Portsmouth’s District Commander.

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

“Residents tell me that hate crime, violence and anti-social behaviour are growing concerns, so I’ve visited Hampshire Constabulary’s contact nerve centre to see how police are working to tackle this.

“Officers have been working tirelessly to keep us safe during the uncertainty of the pandemic and I want to thank them all for their efforts. But increasingly we see they are being let down by central government.”

“A decade of cuts has left police doing more with less. We still have fewer officers than we did a decade ago, and we know that is having an impact on the safety and security of our neighbourhoods. It’s little wonder the Police Federation now has no confidence in the Home Secretary.

“This government needs to cut the gimmicks and get serious about tackling crime in our communities.”

Earlier this month Stephen Morgan launched a city-wide survey to better understand local views and challenges for crime and safety in Portsmouth.

 

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Stephen Morgan launches ‘Pint with your MP’ as restrictions ease  

Stephen Morgan MP is set to host his popular ‘Pint with your MP’ sessions again, with the first post-lockdown event taking place this Sunday.

The pop-in ‘Pint with your MP’ sessions are designed as informal opportunities for constituents to say hello to their local Member of Parliament and share issues and concerns about topics of interest both locally and nationally.

The Portsmouth representative is determined to take up every opportunity to have more face-to-face conversations with constituents safely after more than a year of restrictions, whilst also helping to support local businesses, as the city recovers from the pandemic.

It comes as the national ‘Long Live Local’ campaign was recently launched, which is asking the Government for greater support to relieve some of the ‘burdens’ that pubs and breweries face.

The campaign claims the brewing and pub sector contributes over £20bn to the UK economy and supports 900,000 jobs.

However, the sector operates under a wide range of different taxes, with one in three pounds spent in the pub going to the treasury, amounting to an average of £140,000 per pub every year.

For every pint of beer sold in a pub (based on an average price and strength) £1.30 goes to the Treasury – 64p in VAT, 46p in beer duty, 12p in business rates and 8p in other taxes.

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

“I’m pleased to finally be able to set up the popular ‘Pint with your MP’ events after an incredibly difficult year.

“This is a great way for local people to share views and issues with me to take back to Westminster whilst supporting a local business.

“As Portsmouth’s voice in Parliament, it’s really important to be out and about and speaking with people to ensure that everyone’s views are heard, not just the loudest ones or those who have better access to technology.

“I hope these sessions will be a chance for others to come and speak to me in way that is more accessible to them”.

The full address of the pub the first ‘Pint with your MP’ will be held is: The Mermaid, George Street, Fratton PO2 7QY. The event will start at 4pm on Sunday 1 August.

Subject to the weather, this event will take place outdoors in the pub’s garden.

Whilst national restrictions have eased, attendees are encouraged to take reasonable precautions to feel safe to attend.

The event is open to all constituents. To confirm attendance, visit www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pint-with-your-mp-tickets-164726688961

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Statement from Stephen Morgan MP: Vaccine Passports

In recent days, many of you have been in touch regarding my position on the implementation of ‘Vaccine Passports’.

It is important that we look at the detail of what the Government puts forward regarding vaccine passports, but Labour has been clear that the use of Covid vaccination status alone will exclude those who can’t be vaccinated or haven’t had the jab because of delays.

Being double jabbed doesn’t prove you aren’t carrying the virus and I believe testing for access to venues would be more efficient.

Throughout the pandemic, the Government has chopped and changed its advice, making it impossible for people, sports clubs and businesses to plan.

Take Portsmouth FC for example. To insist on the use of vaccine passports less than a month before the start of the season would cause major disruption to clubs like ours across the country.

We all want to open our city and the wider economy as quickly as possible and Labour will study the government’s proposals carefully, but they must follow the science, be pragmatic and ensure no one is excluded where it is reasonably avoidable.

Stephen Morgan MP

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Making Portsmouth safer a ‘top priority’ for local MP as he launches city-wide survey

Stephen Morgan MP has launched a city-wide survey to better understand local views and challenges for public safety in Portsmouth in his latest push to help make the city safer.

Following a decade of cuts, Police workforce figures show that Hampshire constabulary has just 135 officers per 100,000 people, the lowest of any force in the country.

Hampshire’s Chief Constable has also confirmed that underfunding means police responses have to be rationed.

It comes following the launch of Labour’s national ‘Safer Communities’ campaign, pledging to crack down on anti-social behaviour and end violence against women and girls.

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

“I know from my postbag, and from being out and about in our city talking with other local people, that antisocial behaviour, drug dealing, and crime in our communities, are real concerns locally.

That’s why it is one of my top priorities to help keep you, your family and your neighbourhood safe, and why I have been busy liaising with the local police, going out on patrol across our city, taking our concerns to the Constabulary’s leadership, and lobbying Government for fairer funding for our area and getting more bobbies back on the beat in Portsmouth.

“Labour will put more police on the streets; stand up for youth clubs and local services; and give communities the resources and powers to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour.

“Help me continue to lobby Government to keep you, your family and your neighbourhood safe by completing my short survey.”

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Stephen Morgan visits Fratton Park to urge Portsmouth people to ‘play their part’ in getting jab

Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan has today urged anyone in the city aged 18 years and over to ‘play their part’ and take up the vaccine following a visit to pop up vaccination clinic at Fratton Park this weekend.

The clinic which was ran by Solent NHS Trust, in partnership with Portsmouth FC and Portsmouth City Council, is part of a wider effort to ensure everyone who is eligible has access to the vaccination.

Individuals were able to get their first or second dose (if it has been eight weeks since their first dose) of the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine. Second doses of the Moderna vaccine are also being offered at St James’ Hospital.

Following the visit to Fratton Park today (Sunday 25 July), to encourage take up, Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South said:

“In the UK only 58% of people aged 18-25 have had their first dose according to new Public Health England data, despite all adults having been offered the jab.

I welcome the efforts of Solent NHS Trust, the city council and others working together to make it as easy as possible for local people to take the vaccination. It has been great to see this first hand at Fratton Park today, and I thank the football club for helping our community in this way.

It is clear that the vaccination programme is our best route out of the challenges we face today, so my message to those who are yet to take up the vaccine offer is simple: To protect you, your loved ones and your friends, please play your part and get the jab”.

Stephanie Clark, Portsmouth vaccination lead at Solent NHS Trust, said:

“We are delighted to be offering Covid-19 vaccinations at pop-up clinics around the city.

“It’s important that we offer as many people the opportunity to receive their life-saving jabs and we hope that by hosting these clinics in iconic locations across Portsmouth, including Fratton Park, that even more people will come forward for their vaccine.”

Anna Mitchell, chief commercial officer at Portsmouth FC, said:

“We are delighted to be able to host and support the national vaccination programme in partnership with the Solent NHS Trust.

“It is so important that fans and members of our local community take up the opportunity to be vaccinated to protect each other and welcome fans back to Fratton Park safely.”

As of July 18, 141,985 adults in Portsmouth have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination and 105,933 have received their second. This equates to 74.8 per cent and 55.8 per cent of the adult population respectively.

More walk-in clinics are being offered throughout Portsmouth to make it easier for people to get their vaccination. This week, walk-in clinics are available at St James’ Hospital, Locksway Road: 8am-7.30pm – daily (first and second dose AstraZeneca and Moderna)

See a full list of walk-in clinics available throughout the region on the Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight CCG website.

If you are unable to attend any of the walk-in clinics but would still like your vaccination, you can use the national booking system to book an appointment. Please visit the NHS website or call 119.

 

 

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City MP ‘slams’ Home Secretary for awarding zero percent pay rise to Police

Stephen Morgan MP has today written to the Home Secretary saying that her position is “untenable” following a vote of no confidence from the Police Federation, and demanded action on police pay while setting out key areas in which Priti Patel has failed the police. 

The letter follows the Police Federation of England and Wales declaring yesterday it had ‘no confidence’ in the Home Secretary due to her failure to allow the Police Remuneration Review Body to consider awarding a pay increase to Police Officers. 

This is not the first time that the police have been let down by the Home Secretary. During the early stages of the vaccine rollout, the Home Secretary publicly stated that police officers should be prioritised for receiving the vaccine.

When it was revealed that age and vulnerability, and not profession, would be prioritised for vaccine roll-out, the Police Federation stated that they felt a “deep sense of betrayal”. 

In recent weeks, the Home Secretary has been accused of misleading the House of Commons when she said that she had consulted the Police Federation in the work of developing the Clauses relating to Public Order in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

Yet the Police Federation have confirmed that they had never provided either a written submission or been consulted upon the issues of protest. 

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill also legislates for the creation of a Police Covenant. Labour has long argued that it is inappropriate for a Government Minister to Chair the Police Covenant.

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

“It is the height of hypocrisy for the Home Secretary to praise the police in public with warm words, but let them down so badly when it comes to meaningful action. So it is no surprise that the Police Federation have taken the extraordinary step of confirming that they have lost confidence in Priti Patel.

“Our local Police service is one of the most poorly supported by central government, but the Home Secretary’s recent actions makes her position now clearly untenable. Police deserve nothing less than urgent action from the Prime Minister, which must include opening negotiations on a fair police pay rise and work to reconstitute the Police Covenant.

“That is why I have written to the Home Secretary today to ensure this happens and will continue to lobby Government to secure the fair deal our police deserve.”