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Portsmouth MP hosts roundtable with key local groups on curbing violence against women and girls

Stephen Morgan MP has hosted a roundtable discussion with key local groups to better understand wider concerns and challenges in tackling violence against women and girls.

Local councillors, women’s groups and key city organisations were invited to share their knowledge and experiences of violence against women and girls in Portsmouth, and what they believe needs to happen to curb the growing problem.

It comes following a spiking in one of the city’s bars and the dismissal of a Hampshire Constabulary police officer for pursuing a sexual relationship with a victim of domestic abuse.

The Portsmouth MP wrote the Home Secretary on Monday to request the case be included in her inquiry into the issues raised by the conviction of Wayne Couzens for Sarah Everard’s murder.

A disciplinary hearing ruled that the Hampshire Constabulary officer, referred to as ‘Officer A’, committed five breaches of regulations through his “inappropriate contact” with the victim. This is despite ‘Officer A’ being specially trained in domestic abuse and specifically assigned to the victim’s case.

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

“It’s vital that police services can command the confidence of the women and girls they serve, but recent events have undermined that.

“It was really useful to meet key local groups from our city to discuss practical steps to tackle the deeply concerning reports we’ve heard recently – whether that’s police conduct or the spate of nightclub spikings.

“Government needs to get to the bottom of this, and quickly. No matter where you live, or who you are, you should always feel safe to walk the streets you live on and secure in presence of a police officer.”

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COP26: City MP joins calls to make climate change part of the national curriculum

Stephen Morgan MP has backed a campaign climate change to be made part of the national curriculum.

It comes as the UK is set to host the COP26, the world’s largest climate change summit, in Glasgow on Sunday.

Teach the Future, a youth-led campaign by students from all four UK nations, has been leading a UK-wide petition asking the government to implement climate education across the curriculum. More than 25,000 people have signed the petition and other key figures have supported the call.

Earlier this year, the largest study ever conducted into the effects of the climate crisis on the mental health of young people revealed nearly half (45%) of young people globally feel climate anxiety negatively affects their daily life. It also found that almost two-thirds (64%) of young people around the world believe governments are not doing enough to protect them from climate change.

In 2018, one survey found that 42% of pupils feel that have learnt a little, hardly anything or nothing about the environment at school and 68% would like to know more[ii]. Research by Teach the Future found that 70% of teachers feel they haven’t received adequate training to educate students about climate change.

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

“If we are to tackle the greatest challenge of this generation, it’s vital we invest in the next to ensure the long-term changes that need to be implemented now, are not undone later.

“That’s why I completely support the campaign to make climate change an explicit part of the national curriculum, to ensure students understand the importance of achieving net-zero.

“The solutions to tackling climate change will require more than one generation of this planet. We must invest in young people to equip them with the tools they need to do it.”

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City MP: Levelling Up ‘postcode lottery’ won’t help our city

City MP Stephen Morgan has branded the Levelling Up Fund a ‘postcode lottery’ after the Chancellor refused to give the south of the city a single penny of government money in yesterday’s Budget.

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

Mr Morgan supported the City Council’s bid for a number of projects across the whole city, including funding a step change in leisure provision and a new cultural hub in the Portsmouth South constituency. He lobbied for all proposals for the whole of the city recognising the benefits it would bring communities across Portsmouth. However, proposals for the south of the city received a penny from the Chancellor. Gosport, which the government identified as a ‘priority 1 area’ for levelling up, also got nothing.

Worse still, many projects that would have genuinely benefited the city had to be excluded from bids altogether, because of the fund’s narrow criteria.

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

Ministers required projects to be ‘shovel ready’ and able to demonstrate that investment will begin delivery on the ground in this financial year, with all funding being spent by March 2024.

The City MP wrote to the Chancellor in July to raise concerns about the narrow scope of the fund in July, suggesting that it was ‘likely to stifle the very projects the fund should be investing in’.

He also said that the ‘mad rush’ for projects to be completed by 2024 raised concerns that the government is “administering the fund for short term political gain, as opposed to taking a long-term, constructive approach – the absence of which has arguably created the need for a levelling up agenda in the first place.”

The lack of cash for the south of the city is particularly puzzling, given that recent research indicates that Portsmouth South was officially in need of ‘levelling up’. Consultants ranked 573 parliamentary constituencies in England and Wales based on key indicators of wealth, health and deprivations, with Portsmouth coming in at 160.

The constituency was shown to be 30% higher than the England and Wales average on both crime and deprivation and ranked in the bottom 20 constituencies on health, based on the number of GPs and the average life expectancy for the area.

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

“It’s now clear the government’s approach to Levelling Up is a postcode lottery based only on their political ambitions, not a genuine desire to support communities.

“I have long-supported improvements to the north of the city, including the new John Jenkins stadium, but to leave the south without a penny fails to address the major inequalities between our areas.

“Ministers must take a long-term approach to supporting prosperity across the whole of Portsmouth. I will continue to work with the Council on the next round of bids, and lobby government to put opportunity and prosperity on the doorsteps of everyone in our city.”

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Budget 2021: Portsmouth MP blasts government’s ‘failure to deliver for working people’

Stephen Morgan MP has blasted the government today for ‘failing to deliver for working people’ in its autumn budget, announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer earlier this afternoon.

The Portsmouth MP underlined that working people have ‘never paid so much for so little’.

It comes as the cost of living for people in Portsmouth continues to spiral, with a cut to universal credit in October, rising fuel costs, inflation expected to reach as high as 4% in 2022 and the highest sustained tax burden in peace time.

Four in ten households on Universal Credit are facing a 13 per cent rise in their energy bills in the same month as their benefit is cut by £20 a week.

The Official Opposition has said the government has ‘got its priorities wrong’ and said they would focus on easing pressure on households and businesses. Their plan includes abolishing VAT on domestic energy bills for six months to help people get through the winter months and cutting Business Rates next year.

It comes as the Portsmouth MP’s office revealed earlier this month, based on a breakdown of data from the Office for National Statistics, that up to 174 of businesses are at risk in the local representative’s constituency of Portsmouth South alone.

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

“This budget is yet another example of the government’s failure to improve the daily lives of working people in Portsmouth. Never have they paid so much, for so little.

“Families across our city will be feeling the pinch this winter as the government continues to struggle to get to grips with rising fuel prices and the cost of living.

“Today we saw nothing to reduce the burden on working people with no VAT reduction on their energy bills. Little comfort for those on NHS waiting lists. Nothing to be seen on community policing and no real action to tackle the climate emergency.

“Where the Chancellor has failed, Labour will tax fairly, spend wisely, and get our economy firing on all cylinders.

In response to today’s budget announcement, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rachel Reeves MP, said:

“Families struggling with the cost-of-living crisis, businesses hit by a supply chain crisis, those who rely on our schools and our hospitals and our police – they won’t recognise the world that the Chancellor is describing. They will think that he is living in a parallel universe.

“Time and again today, the Chancellor compared the investments that he is making to the last decade. But who was in charge in this lost decade? They were.”

Labour’s offer:

  • We’ll Buy, Make and Sell More in Britain by bringing jobs back to this country and awarding public contracts to British businesses, and create hundreds of thousands of secure jobs in low-carbon industries that tackle the challenge of climate change.
  • We’ll bring in a New Deal for Working People so people earn a proper wage, have job security, and can balance work with their lives with a right to flexible working. And we’ll always make sure work pays.
  • We’ll deliver efficient, modern public services that drive up standards in schools, hospitals, transport and the places we live and work.
  • We’ll always be on the side of British business, which is where wealth is created and where the jobs are created. We will work together with industry in a national endeavour to remake Britain and to seize the opportunities of the future.
  • And we will get real value for money for the taxpayer and stop the waste that is prolific under this government, with a new Office for Value for Money and strong fiscal rules. We will say how every commitment we make will be paid for.
  • In contrast to this Conservative government, Labour will tax fairly, spend wisely, and get our economy firing on all cylinders.
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Local MP calls for nominations for best Curry House in his constituency

Stephen Morgan MP has called for local nominations for the best South Asian restaurant in his constituency of Portsmouth South, as part of this year’s Tiffin Cup.

The Tiffin Cup, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, seeks to promote the importance of South Asian restaurants throughout the UK. There are at present 9,000 restaurants and takeaways in the country and they contribute over £2 billion to the British economy. Each year the competition has attracted over 100 nominees from MPs and Peers.

The restaurant with the most nominations from constituents will be nominated by Stephen Morgan MP to the Tiffin Cup judges. Following Stephen’s local nomination there will be a Regional Final from which 12 Finalists are chosen.

At the final, each restaurant will be asked to prepare a signature dish which will be marked by a panel of expert Judges, chaired by the Celebrity Chef Ainsley Harriott MBE. The winner is crowned Tiffin Cup winner for the year.

Local residents can share their nominations to Stephen’s office via the form on his website here.

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

Local businesses have really struggled to cope with the impacts of the pandemic, particularly those in hospitality.

“It’s so important that we support our highstreets and Portsmouth businesses, so I urge residents to visit local, get in touch and nominate their favourite South Asian restaurant for this year’s Tiffin Cup awards.

“We have a fantastic set of restaurants in our community that need our support, so it’s vital that we champion them and secure the wider recognition they richly deserve.”

The deadline for local nominations is November 19.

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Tiffin Cup Nomination

Please vote for your favourite South Asian restaurant in Portsmouth South. The restaurant with the most nominations from constituents will be nominated by Stephen Morgan MP to the Tiffin Cup judges.

Following Stephen’s local nomination there will be a Regional Final from which 12 Finalists are chosen. At the final each restaurant will be asked to prepare a signature dish which will be marked by a panel of expert Judges which is chaired by the Celebratory Chef Ainsley Harriott MBE. The winner is crowned Tiffin Cup winner for the year. The Tiffin Cup celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.

Established in 2007 it seeks to promote the importance of South Asian restaurants throughout the UK. Nominations need to be made by Monday 22 November. The Regional Final stage will be completed by 27th January 2022. The Grand Final with the live judging will take place in March 2022

Thank you for nominating. Stephen Morgan MP will use the personal information you provided for the purpose of the Tiffin Cup awards. Where you have opted in, Stephen and the Labour Party may contact you via the communication channels you have chosen and for the purposes specified. We may also contact you by post using the electoral register, which Stephen is entitled to use as an MP and the Labour Party is entitled to use to further its objectives as a political party. You can opt out of communications from us or manage your preferences at any time. For more information about how we use personal data please visit here

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COP26: Portsmouth MP urges transformative climate action ahead of landmark summit

Stephen Morgan MP has lobbied the government to deliver ‘transformative climate action’ as the UK prepares to host the largest climate summit in the world, COP26, in Glasgow on Sunday.

In a letter to the COP26 President, Alok Sharma MP, the Portsmouth representative underlined, amongst wider global issues, the importance of expanding woodlands and carbon-capturing peatlands, where Portsmouth and the wider Hampshire area is home to some of the largest swathes of these potential carbon stores in the country.

It comes as the government last week refused to back cross-party supported amendments to the Environment Bill, including those on air quality and sewage pollution.

Ministers rejected placing a legal duty on water companies to clean up local waterways and have previously voted against recognising WHO air quality limits.

This is despite ongoing concerns about recent pollution reports in Eastney and Langstone Harbour, as well as local frustrations of the city council’s failure to take meaningful steps to tackle Portsmouth’s dirty air crisis.

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

“Britain is set to host the largest climate summit in the world later this week, but government is failing to provide the leadership that’s required to secure the transformative climate action the world so desperately needs.

“From raging forest fires in California, to water companies allowed to pump eye-watering amounts of raw sewage into our local waters, it is clear urgent, global action is needed.

 “That’s why I’m demanding government steps up to the plate to secure a greener future for our city, the country and the world at COP26.”

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Statement from Stephen Morgan MP – Government denies pay rise for 8,200 service personnel

Reacting to reports of a government decision not to award service personnel a £250 boost to their annual pay, the Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South and Shadow Armed Forces Minister, said:

“The government has short-changed our service personnel once again. As if a decade of real terms pay cuts wasn’t bad enough, this report reveals Ministers have deliberately conned 8,200 of the lowest earning service personnel out of their insultingly low £250 bonus.

“Over the last year Her Majesty’s Armed Forces have shown just how indispensable they are to the nation’s security, from airlifting British Nationals out of Afghanistan to driving NHS ambulances in Wales.

“Yet Ministers still don’t think it’s worth giving the lowest earners taking the highest risks to protect our country a pay rise that’s worth just £200 after tax. To add insult to injury, they will also be paying more for food and service accommodation.

“This continues a decade of Tory decline for our armed forces who’ve seen forces pay, numbers and morale all down since 2010.”

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Budget 2021: City MP calls for immediate VAT cut on energy bills in Portsmouth

Stephen Morgan MP has today called on the government to immediately remove VAT from domestic energy bills, as the cost of living crisis hits working people across the country.

The call comes ahead of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget on Wednesday, and as rising inflation and energy bills leave many feeling the pinch.

Labour say a VAT cut on domestic energy bills – which would change the charge from 5% to zero – could come into place from 1st November. It should last for six months, seeing people through the winter months and would be automatically deducted from their bills.

This tax cut would be funded for by the higher-than-expected VAT receipts accrued since the start of the financial year.

To further tackle higher energy bills and the climate emergency, Labour recently announced how they would ramp up the ambition on retrofitting homes for sustainable, long-term reductions in energy bills – a major policy announced in Labour Leader Keir Starmer’s party conference speech – as well as building a more secure energy supply chain including new nuclear and improved gas storage, all pointed towards achieving Net Zero.

The Labour party have said the VAT cut would offer a helping hand when people need it most, and alongside not cancelling the Universal Credit uplift, and not hitting working people and businesses with a new jobs tax, this VAT reduction is part of Labour’s plan to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.

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

“Right now in people across Portsmouth are being hit by a cost-of-living crisis which has seen energy bills soar, food costs increase and the weekly budget stretched.

“That’s why Labour is calling on government to immediately remove VAT on domestic energy bills for six months.

“With the Budget this Wednesday, the Chancellor has choices to make. He can choose to let online giants dodge tax, and ignore the cost of living crisis – or he can give working people in Portsmouth a helping hand by providing an immediate cut to their energy bills.” 

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Budget 2021: City MP pledges support for local pubs in Portsmouth

Stephen Morgan MP has today pledged his support for the ‘Long Live the Local’ campaign to help pubs and breweries in Portsmouth South recover and thrive.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on brewers and pubs throughout the UK and continues to do so as the sector tries to kickstart its recovery.

The sector needs an immediate boost and the fact that a local pub adds £100,000 to its local economy, creates jobs and acts as a social hub, underlines how directly investment in the form of lower VAT, Business Rates and an overall cut to beer duty can help pubs and their communities to recover.

It will also boost Britain’s world class brewing sector, a homegrown manufacturing success story that brews over 80% of the beer we drink.

Brewing and pubs in Portsmouth South supports 2478 jobs and contributes £60m to the local economy. With £1 in every £3 pounds spent in UK pubs going to the taxman, British drinkers and pub goers are overtaxed and this is hampering the recovery of our cherished locals and Britain’s brewers.

The city MP has spoken up for our city’s pubs since being elected as part of his ‘Support Local’ initiative.

Lobbying Government again over the challenges the sector faces ahead of this year’s Budget from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“Pubs are at the heart of communities across Portsmouth, but with pubs bearing a disproportionate burden as a result of the pandemic the Government should consider cutting unfair taxes on pubs that are hampering their recovery.

“I’m supporting the Long Live the Local campaign and calling on the Chancellor to support the recovery of our pubs.”

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, also said:

“85% of pubs are based in community and rural areas, bringing jobs to the parts of the UK that need them most. They employ over 600,000 people, of which 43% are under 25. Cutting Business Rates, VAT and an overall reduction in Beer Duty would go a long way to helping pubs and brewers across Portsmouth South that are desperately trying to recover.

“We are very grateful to Stephen Morgan MP for his support for the Long Live the Local campaign, and hope that the Government listens to MPs across Parliament and the thousands of people across the country who are calling on the Chancellor to lower VAT and Business Rates for pubs and reduce Beer Duty overall.”