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Children set to miss out on over 50 million meals this summer as the Conservative’s holiday programme fails to reach families

Children could miss out on over 50 million meals this summer Labour analysis shows, as evidence shows the Conservatives holiday programme is failing to reach families eligible for support.

The Government’s holiday programme for children eligible for free school meals provides meals to children who attend associated activities, but their evaluation programme shows just 29% of eligible children attended last summer, and for just under 10 of the 30 summer weekdays.

Labour’s Shadow Schools Minister, Stephen Morgan MP said the failure to get support to children this summer was yet another example of a government on standby, while the Conservatives focus on fighting one another not tackling the challenges families are facing.

Labour is calling on the Government to trust parents and enable a system of cash payments for free school meals this summer, so families get the full value of this support and can choose the food and supplies they need in face of spiralling prices.

Stephen Morgan MP, Labour’s Shadow Schools Minister, said

“As the Conservatives focus on fighting one another, Labour is determined to see families supported throughout this cost of living crisis. 

“This summer, Labour would ensure children get the full value of free school meals support so parents can choose the food and supplies they need, helping them battle rising prices.

“After twelve years of Conservative governments, people have less money to spend and our country is less resilient. Labour will reboot our economy, get it growing again to ensure families across Britain are better off.”

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Portsmouth MP ramps up efforts to improve infrastructure links to Fratton Park

Stephen Morgan MP has ramped up efforts to bring decision-makers together to develop, agree and build a new footbridge from Fratton Station to Fratton Park.

In his latest intervention on the proposals, the Portsmouth MP met with Portsmouth Football Club (PFC) and local landowners for a walk around the site of potential routes to build a footbridge from the train station and into the Pompey Centre.

PFC has been developing the North stand and is keen to regenerate the area to the north of Fratton Park, which would include redevelopment of the Pompey Centre, recognised in Portsmouth City Council’s (PCC) draft local plan.

Prior to the announcement of these plans, there are ongoing concerns over how busy Goldsmith Avenue can be for pedestrians, particularly on matchdays, and a desire to encourage fans to park and ride to games via train to reduce congestion on our city’s roads.

Mr Morgan has long supported the club with its idea of a pedestrian walkway direct from Fratton station to the Pompey Centre to ease congestion and has been working with others to help unlock investment and improve pedestrian safety.

The MP has set up a regular forum to bring decision-makers together, chaired by Mr Morgan, with involvement from PFC, Network Rail, landowners and the city council. The forum is meeting quarterly to keep an eye on progress being made and identify problems.

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

“Our football club’s success is our city’s success, and I will always do what I can as MP to help the Club fulfil its ambitions and to bring benefits to fans and to Portsmouth.

“It was really useful to meet with landowners on site with the Club’s representatives to look at options for the pedestrian walkway, and agree next steps to ensure these plans become a reality.

“Key decision-makers must play their part in this, and I will continue to do all I can to make sure that happens.”

The onsite visit included M7 which owns some of the land at the Pompey Centre. A range of actions from the meeting have been agreed which includes following up with Network Rail.

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Stephen Morgan MP’s statement on Liz Truss’ visit to Portsmouth today

Responding to Liz Truss’ campaign visit to Portsmouth today (Friday 5 August 2022) as part of the Conservative Party leadership election, Labour’s Stephen Morgan MP said:

“As this dreary side-show rattles on, the real problems facing Portsmouth and our country are being ignored by the Conservatives.

“The two continuity candidates in Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have no answers to sky-high inflation, rocketing energy bills and the lengthy recession the Bank of England has warned is on the horizon.

“Whichever candidate wins: their low-growth, low-wage plans won’t fix the damage the Conservatives have done during their 12 years in power, nor will they address the chronic underinvestment in Portsmouth this Government has overseen.

“Only Labour can provide the fresh start our country needs.”

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City MP backs school uniform ‘ShareStore’ and offers ‘School Call’ to help parents

Stephen Morgan has praised HIVE Portsmouth’s pop-up school uniform ‘ShareStore’ and has set up a ‘School Call’ to help parents get their kids ready for the new school year.

As the cost of living crisis bites, many local parents find themselves increasingly priced out of the uniform, PE kits and other essentials needed for the new school year.

Hive Portsmouth has set-up its new pop-up school uniform ShareStore in the Central Library in Guildhall Square and is running a virtual shop online. The shop is stocked by donations from local businesses and organisations, with volunteers putting together the orders for collection.

As part of ongoing efforts to make uniform more affordable, Mr Morgan is holding a ‘School Call’ online meeting for parents on 30 August, with expert advice and support from teachers, HIVE Portsmouth, The Parenting Network and Child Poverty Action Group.

The event on zoom will be the opportunity for constituents to get practical support as well as share concerns and views over the cost of living crisis with the city MP.

The call is designed to help Portsmouth parents like Christopher. His daughter recently moved schools and he is facing a £150 bill for new, branded uniform from a single supplier.

Christopher said:

“Like any parent, I’m doing my best to make sure my kids have got the kit they need but the cost of living crisis means it’s getting harder and harder.

“Costs are spiralling, and the support parents need doesn’t always exist and can be really difficult to find.

“That’s why the HIVE’s ShareStore is so helpful and it’s really good to see local politicians like Stephen taking action on issues that matter to people like me.”

Following a visit to ShareStore, Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan, said:

“Getting pupils the uniform they need for school is always a worrying financial pressure for many families in Portsmouth, but the cost of living crisis is pushing the cost far above what many can afford.

“HIVE Portsmouth is doing invaluable work to help families get uniform for their kids and my School Call will help direct parents with the advice and support they need.

“If you’re looking for support or you are able to donate items, please do not hesitate to contact HIVE Portsmouth and come to my School Call so we can make sure every child in Portsmouth has what they need to head back to school.”

Constituents can sign up to attend Stephen’s School Call here.

Anyone who wants to make a donation can drop off school uniform at the Central Library, Guildhall Square during opening hours, or by contacting the HIVE Helpline on 023 9261 6709. The pop-up shop is looking for school uniform, shoes, coats, PE kit and school equipment. All items need to be in good condition. For more information visit https://hiveportsmouth.org.uk/news/pop-uniform-sharestore



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Portsmouth MP backed bid to ‘put the heart back’ into city centre submitted to Government

A bid to breathe new life into the heart of our city centre, backed by Stephen Morgan MP, has been submitted to Government.

The Portsmouth South MP has been working alongside city council staff to prepare a new plan to Ministers as part of the Levelling Up agenda, with a detailed bid now with Government for decision.

If successful, the £40m proposals agreed by the MP would revitalise key sites across the city centre, often ignored or forgotten for investment over the last decade.

Mr Morgan has been reviewing a range of proposals for sites and projects across the Portsmouth South constituency, with the bid-writing team sadly needing to rule out an application to improve access at Fratton Station due to strict Government criteria and the need to have ‘shovel ready’ schemes.

The MP is continuing to work alongside Portsmouth Football Club to unlock funding to secure improvements in this part of the constituency.

The Portsmouth South proposals include:

  • The creation of a truly world class city centre, transforming the cultural quarter in the heart of the city, to connect communities across Portsmouth and the wider sub-region to a vibrant, cultural economy.
  • A transformed Portsmouth Guildhall and New Theatre Royal, which will offer a greater range of facilities and enable new activities and performances for people to enjoy.
  • A new Cultural Spine project that will link the main cultural assets in a safe, car free space for people to gather and celebrate their city, connecting the major transport links such as bus routes, park and ride routes and a mainline railway station to ensure visitors can come without the use of a private car, supporting the city’s commitment to net zero.
  • Projects within walking distance of some of the poorest communities that offer opportunities to access events in a safe and car free environment, helping to tackle deprivation, health inequalities and job density issues in the region.

Despite well-prepared submissions in the past, to date the south of the city has not received a penny from the Chancellor for the so-called levelling up the Government are encouraging.

Commenting on progress with the bid as the submission heads to Ministers for decision, the Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“Our city centre has been forgotten and ignored for too long and over time this has taken its toll. There is a desperate need to revitalise this important part of our city to help breathe new life into Portsmouth and our local economy.

“I know from our own postbag how much residents and local businesses want to see greater care and attention given by the council and government to our city centre. That is why I will continue to do all I can to secure the investment our community deserves.

“By working on this bid and backing the submission for much-needed funds, I hope we can put the heart back into our city centre and create a place Portsmouth people can be proud of once again”.

On the importance of the area securing Levelling Up Funding from Government, the city MP added:

“Coastal communities like our own have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and the spiralling cost of living in the south east makes it even harder for those on the lowest incomes to get by, compared to those living in other areas.

“As one of the few net contributors to the Treasury and yet some of the most deprived areas in the UK, levelling up the south east is a vital part of levelling up the country as a whole.

“At a time when growth and investment is more critical than ever, it’s vital that Portsmouth and our region gets the support it needs from government.”

The Portsmouth South MP has praised the work of council officials in preparing the detail of the proposals and has vowed to take further actions to secure the regeneration money the city deserves from Ministers.

Mr Morgan will be taking a range of further actions to lobby Government for more support for Portsmouth.

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Labour urges government not to miss ‘open goal’ on women’s’ and girl’s football, as nation celebrates Lionesses stunning success

Following the Lionesses stunning success against Germany in the Euro 2022 Final, Labour is urging the government to seize the moment, put the ball in the back of the net for women’s and girl’s sport and be ambitious about its future. 

Labour argues that this is a key moment to capitalise on the momentum behind women’s football and ensure young girls who are inspired to pick up a ball today can be the next generation of England players.

But the party is warning the government that they must learn from their record of failure, when it comes to sports participation, and sporting legacy, given their record after the London 2012 Olympics and strengthen the women’s game.

Currently, even if women make it to the professional level, many women find the elite sport insecure and sometimes unsustainable. The chaos at Coventry FC, which was pushed to the brink of liquidation just months after becoming professional, and now has now been forced to go part-time, is a stark illustration of the risks women take on when choosing football as a career.

Labour is calling on Ministers to:

  • Celebrate the women’s European success with a one-off Bank Holiday where football clubs can open and promote the game to women and girls
  • Ensure all the Lionesses receive the recognition they deserve in the New Years’ Honours List
  • Announce the Chair and press ahead with the Review of Women’s Football, promised in the Crouch review, but undelivered by this zombie government
  • Ensure that the review learns the lessons of the recent failures in the men’s game, and capitalises on the different opportunities this presents making sure there is proper support for talent pathways, and respect for the game across the leagues is front and centre
  • Build on programmes such as the FA’s Girls Football School Partnerships so all girls can play football at school
  • Back Labour’s recovery plan commitment to afterschool activities for all children expanding access to sports clubs
  • The Party is also calling on UEFA to make prize money fairer in future Euro tournaments with men’s teams currently receiving 23 times more winnings than the women’s teams.

Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan, said:

“Our Lionesses have done England proud and inspired a generation of women and girls across Portsmouth and the nation.

“This must be the sliding doors moment for the women’s game and we cannot let this opportunity slip through our fingers. We must ensure now that last night’s historic victory creates a lasting legacy to finally give women’s football the support and recognition it so clearly deserves. That starts by boosting inclusion, changing outdated attitudes and ending the neglect women’s football has faced for far too long.

“Government has committed to delivering a review of the women’s game, but Ministers must not delay in delivering the change our country now expects.”

Lucy Powell, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: 

“The country is rightly proud of our winning Lionesses, who have shown the best of British. The Conservatives have a terrible record of building on our sports stars success with a real and lasting legacy. Ministers must ensure we do not miss the open goal opportunity their success provides in cementing the women’s game.

“This is a potential game changing moment to capitalise on the momentum behind women’s football and ensure young girls who are inspired to pick up a ball today can be the next Lionesses.”

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Portsmouth MP backs new community project ‘Library of Things’ in call for donations

Stephen Morgan MP has thrown his weight behind new community project ‘Library of Things’, which loans tools and appliances to those who may be unable to buy them, and urged local people to get involved and make donations to the scheme.

Supported by Repair Café Portsmouth, Library of Things is a community project where you can borrow DIY tools, kitchen appliances, camping gear, party supplies, sports equipment and more.

With the initiative in its early stages, the team is still growing and currently searching for local premises to establish itself in the city. If you are interested in getting involved, contact: repaircafeportsmouth@gmail.com

Portsmouth residents have also been encouraged by the City MP to make donations of items included on the project’s wishlist, which can be found via Repair Café Portsmouth’s website: www.repaircafeportsmouth.org.uk/library-of-things

After meeting its organisers, the Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“The cost-of-living crisis is impacting vulnerable people across our communities, so that’s why I’m calling on those who are able to get behind Repair Café Portsmouth’s new Library of Things project, and donate what they can.

“This is an excellent initiative which will make a real difference to families, allowing them to borrow useful household items, without worrying about the cost of purchasing or maintaining them.

“If you are able, please do what you can to support this important new scheme by donating or getting involved however you can!”

Clare Seek, founder of Café Repair Portsmouth, also said:

“With the average drill estimated to only be used for 13 minutes of its life, sharing and borrowing things that we only use occasionally makes sense. Once we’re up and running, we hope that we’ll not only be saving people money in these tough times, but also space and carbon. 

“We’ve already got some great quality donations such as a tile cutter, sewing machine, travel cot, extendable paint roller poles and hedge trimmer. This is really turning into a great project by the city, for the city.”

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Stephen Morgan MP set to host next ‘Pint with your MP’ session on Sunday

Stephen Morgan MP is set to host his next ‘Pint with your MP’ session, taking place this Sunday 31 July, 4-5pm at The Druid’s Arms in Fratton.

The event is open to all constituents and booking is essential. To confirm attendance, constituents should visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pint-with-your-mp-tickets-376256391997

The pop-up ‘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 two years of restrictions, whilst also helping to support local businesses, as the city recovers from the pandemic.

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

“There are a range of issues impacting people right now, from access to local healthcare to the cost-of-living crisis, so I’m pleased to be hosting my next ‘Pint with your MP’ this week to listen to concerns and take them back up to Westminster.

“It’s really important that people from all walks of life are able to speak to me about the issues that matter to them. I hope these sessions have been a useful and more accessible way for some people to contact me, who might otherwise be unable.

“I look to forward to chatting with constituents on Sunday over a pint of whatever their choosing and warmly encourage others to tell a friend, who may have trouble reaching my office through the usual routes.”

The full address for the ‘Pint with your MP’ session is: 13 Binsteed Rd, Fratton, Portsmouth PO2 7PH.

While restrictions have now been relaxed, attendees are encouraged to take reasonable precautions to feel safe to attend.

If constituents are not able to attend but wish to keep up-to-date on Mr Morgan’s work locally and in Parliament, sign up to the newsletter at www.stephenmorgan.org.uk/sign-up or follow @StephenMorganMP on social media.

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Tory leadership election: Portsmouth MP responds

Responding to the latest round of voting in the Conservative Party leadership election, with the two remaining candidates Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“The choice to be next Tory leader is now down to two continuity candidates; two key members of Mr Johnson’s administration and two people whose fingerprints are all over the state the country finds itself in today.

Despite their attempts to trash their party’s record in government over the last 12 years, both Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have backed every decision along the way. Both of them voted for every one of Mr Johnson’s 15 tax rises and both reliably parroted his lies when the whole country could see the truth.

Rather than plans to tackle the Tory cost of living crisis or grow Britain’s economy they are simply offering the fantasy economics of unfunded giveaways. They have nothing to offer working people in Portsmouth or across the country except more of the same.

Whichever one of the continuity candidates wins in September, one thing is clear: the more time we give the Tories, the more damage they will do.

Only Labour can provide the fresh start our great city and the country needs and deserves”.

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Revealed: Over 6,000 children in Portsmouth South now living in poverty as local MP criticises government record

Stephen Morgan MP has called out Conservative political choices after new analysis has shown 6,091 children are living in poverty in Portsmouth South.

The figures in a new report from the End Child Poverty Coalition show child poverty levels in the City MP’s constituency of Portsmouth South have remained above what they were since 2014/15, with over a third (33.2%) of children still currently living in poverty.

Penny Mordaunt’s Portsmouth North has seen the sharpest increase in child poverty levels over the last 5 years, up 6.5% from 2014/15, and with 31.7% of children living in poverty in the constituency.

The report also says nearly 1 in 4 (24%) of children in the South East are living in poverty.

It comes as the cost of living crisis continues grow, with the price of the weekly shop and bills skyrocketing, and government overseeing the highest level of taxes for 70 years.

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

“These figures expose the disgraceful record of Tory Ministers and the Conservative’s political choices leaving Portsmouth’s next generation behind.

“Every child in our city and the country should be able to have the best start in life, no matter where they are born and no matter their background, but Tory mismanagement of our economy has pushed Portsmouth families to the brink.

Labour would take immediate action to reduce pressure on families by cutting VAT on home energy bills and secure the fairer, stronger economy we need.”

The MP has vowed to continue to take action to address poverty and disadvantage facing Portsmouth families.