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Portsmouth MP condemns broken Tory promises leaving South East working pensioners £2,300 worse off

Stephen Morgan MP has attacked the Conservatives as 1,685,151 working pensioners in the South East are set to be an average of £2,300 worse off over the next two years because of three broken Tory manifesto commitments.

In their 2019 General Election manifesto, the Tories promised to ‘keep the Triple Lock’ on State Pensions, ‘not to raise the rates of National Insurance’ and to ‘introduce new measures to lower energy bills’.

Since then, the Tories have made the biggest real-terms cut to the State Pension in fifty years, hiked taxes and allowed energy bills to soar.

New analysis from the House of Commons Library shows that working pensioners – who are uniquely hit by all three of these broken Tory manifesto commitments – are set to be an average of £2,300 worse off over the next two years.

It shows working pensioners in the South East will see real-terms reductions in their incomes over the next two years from the broken Triple Lock, soaring energy costs – captured by spiralling inflation – and a Tory tax hike:

  • A working pensioner earning £16,000 faces a real-terms reduction of £1,790.
  • A working pensioner on the average salary for someone over 60 of £24,900 faces a real-terms reduction of £2,300.
  • A working pensioner earning £40,000 faces a real-terms reduction of £3,200.

Labour is reiterating its call on the Government to bring forward an Emergency Budget to urgently tackle the Tory cost of living crisis.

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

“The Tories are totally out of touch with the challenges retirees and working pensioners are seeing in Portsmouth.

“Not only have they failed to offer real help with soaring energy bills and rising prices, but they’ve also shown a blatant disregard for the commitments they made to pensioners in the last general election.

“Pensioners and retirees in our city deserve the security of a good pension and the respect of politicians, not broken promises. That’s what Labour will continue to fight for, in Portsmouth and around the country.”

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

“Boris Johnson has abandoned his promise to help Britain’s retirees with the cost of living crisis.

“The Conservatives have broken the triple lock, just imposed the biggest real terms cut in the state pension for 50 years and clobbered working pensioners with more tax.

“Our retirees – who have contributed so much to our society – deserve better. Labour will stand up for pensioners and older people.”

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Local MP demands emergency budget as figures reveal Brits could spend £10bn extra at the fuel pump

Stephen Morgan MP has called on government to act over the spiralling cost of living crisis with an emergency budget, as figures show the impact of soaring petrol prices on families in Portsmouth.

New analysis by Labour has revealed that families in Portsmouth and across the country will fork out an extra £10bn on petrol, compared to just this time last year.

The Chancellor made a fuel duty cut the centrepiece of his plan to tackle the cost-of-living, but that cut has been swallowed up by the soaring cost over the year.

The figures come as oil and gas producers, including Shell and BP, took in billions in soaring profits, with BP hailing “more money than we know what to do with”.

And this week working people in Portsmouth were hit with a tax hike in their pay packets this week after the Chancellor chose to raise national insurance. The Chancellor has raised taxes 15 times in total, costing families £1,060 this year.

Labour today reiterated its call on the government to bring forward an emergency budget to tackle the Tory cost of living crisis. This would prioritise five measures including with a one-off windfall tax on the soaring profits of oil and gas producers to help households through the crisis with up to £600 in support.

Labour would also ramp up home insulation, scrap the unfair National Insurance hike, and provide support for struggling businesses.

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

“This is a savage extra cost for households right across our city. From Pompey pensioners, to hard working people already struggling to make ends meet.

“The Conservative government needs to set out an emergency budget to tackle its cost of living crisis – and support Labour’s call to put money back in people’s pockets.

“Labour’s plan would help households through this crisis with up to £600 cut off energy bills, funded by one-off windfall tax on the booming profits of oil and gas producers.

“We would turbocharge our transition to clean transport so never again are the British people left so exposed to unstable foreign oil.”

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Hope in Portsmouth – get involved

Stephen Morgan MP is welcoming a 32,000 LEGO brick suffragette ‘Hope’ to Portsmouth.

Hope is visiting Portsmouth in the lead up to 2028, to celebrate the 1928 Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act which gave equal voting rights to all women and men.

Stephen is asking the community to help mark Hope’s visit by visiting her at his constituency office or designing a suffragette uniform for the modern-day.

How to get involved:

Design a modern-day Suffragette uniform

Designs can be submitted by any Portsmouth South school or school-aged child in any size or medium you choose, please be as creative as you like!

Closing date: Friday 6 May

Entries to be submitted to 72 Albert Road, PO5 2SL

Include the name, address, age and phone number on the back of each entry

Winning design will be to be professionally printed and displayed in constituency office

Hope in Portsmouth – Drop-in 

A free event open to everyone – Come and meet Hope and take a selfie! Artwork by University of Portsmouth students and historic political banners and books also on display. Leave your memories or thoughts for the future for women in democracy in our guest book.

Venue: Constituency Office, 72 Albert Road, PO5 2SL

Date: Saturday 23 April 12pm until 1pm

Book here. 

Hope in Portsmouth – STEM Event with ‘Hope’

A Lego themed STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) fun event for children and families hosted by a local science teacher.

Venue: Constituency Office, 72 Albert Road, PO5 2SL

Date: Saturday 23 April 1.30pm-2.30pm

Book here.

Attending an event or passing and taking a photo? Please use #hopeinportsmouth and #standwithhope hashtags.

Other events are taking place in involving Portsmouth’s vibrant voluntary and community groups.


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‘Everyone welcome’ at Portsmouth Food Cycle as City MP calls for locals to get involved

Stephen Morgan MP has called for local people to get involved in Portsmouth Food Cycle as the project opens its doors to volunteers and diners alike.

Based at the John Pounds Centre in Old Portsmouth, the local project collects food from retailers that would otherwise be thrown away, and with the help of volunteers, cooks it up into tasty, healthy three-course meals for those most in need in Portsmouth.

Meals are available to all comers on Wednesdays from 6pm.

The group aims to provide a safe, welcoming space to share food and conversation, helping to strengthen communities and enhance the health and mental wellbeing of people from all walks of life.

There are a wide range of volunteer roles, offering something for everyone to lend a hand, including:

  • Helping to collect food from local outlets
  • Cooking the meals in the kitchen
  • Welcoming guests as they arrive
  • Supporting regional marketing
  • Project leader

Following a recent visit to Portsmouth Food Cycle, the Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“I’m delighted that Portsmouth Food Cycle is back up and running again. It’s an amazing local project, offering a huge amount to people week in, week out.

“Whether you’re someone struggling to make the weekly shop stretch to the end of the week, feeling lonely or isolated, or simply looking to give something back to your community, Portsmouth Food Cycle truly offers something for everyone.

‘I warmly encourage local people to come down and get involved.”

Volunteer shifts are available from 4pm on Wednesdays. The full address of Portsmouth Food Cycle is: John Pounds Centre, 23 Queen Street, Portsmouth, PO1, 3HN.

To find out more, visit: https://www.foodcycle.org.uk/location/portsmouth-john-pounds-centre/

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Portsmouth MP will vote to ban fire & rehire and for P&O Ferries to reinstate its workforce

Stephen Morgan MP is set to vote with Labour today, demanding that P&O Ferries reinstates its workforce and for fire and rehire to be outlawed.

The mass sackings without notice last week caused outrage nationwide, amid reports suggested security firms with balaclavas and handcuffs were used to take sacked British workers off the vessels.

The Conservative Government was made aware of the sackings before it was announced, and of the plan to use fire and rehire.

Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, Louise Haigh MP, has called this moment “a line in the sand” and later today Labour will stage a vote demanding the Tories outlaw fire and rehire, strengthen workers’ rights and take tough action to force the company to think again.

Labour called on the government to:

  • Outlaw fire and rehire and bring forward an urgent bill to strengthen workers rights.
  • Suspend the contracts of DP World – the owner of P&O Ferries – until this matter is resolved
  • Remove DP World from the UK Government’s Transport Advisory Group where they were appointed by the now Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, “to provide knowledge, experience and strategic expertise” on trade negotiations.

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

“I will fight every step of the way for the jobs and livelihoods of these loyal workers.

“This scandalous action must be a line in the sand. If P&O Ferries can get away with this, it will give the green light to other exploitative employers.

“That’s why I’m voting to ban fire and rehire for good and am calling on Government to suspend licenses and contracts of P&O Ferries and DP World and reinstate these grossly mistreated workers.

“I will continue to work alongside trade unions to campaign for the outlawing of draconian fire and rehire practices.”

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Cost of living crisis: Over 1.5 million South East working pensioners at risk of being £1,400 worse off

Stephen Morgan MP has warned a ‘Tory triple whammy’ of soaring prices, a tax hike and a lower State Pension could see 1,685,151 working pensioners in the South East £1,400 worse off over the next two years, according to new analysis published today.

New analysis from the House of Commons Library, commissioned by Labour, shows that working pensioners could be an average of £1,400 worse off over the next two years.

A working pensioner earning the average salary, who is in receipt of the State Pension and liable to pay the Health and Social Care Levy, faces a real-terms reduction in their income of £770 in 2022/23 and £622 in 2023/24, an almost £1,400 loss.

The analysis also shows the value of the State Pension is eroded in real-terms by nearly £300 next year and will still be lower in real-terms in 2023/24 even if it is uprated by 5.9%, the rate of inflation that is forecast for September 2022.

Commenting on the figures, the Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“Many retired people in Portsmouth work to contribute to our communities or to supplement their state pension, which is facing a real terms cut this April.

“It’s disgraceful that working pensioners are facing a triple whammy of soaring prices, tax rises and a real terms cut to their state pension. Under the Tories, pensioners are worse off.

“That’s why I will be voting in Parliament tonight to cut home energy bills and halt next month’s planned tax rise, to protect local pensioners. I call on local Tory MPs to do the same.”

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Jonathan Ashworth, added:

“Instead of protecting pensioner incomes as Boris Johnson promised, the Tories are cutting the state pension and clobbering pensioners in work with a tax rise; leaving them worse off by an eye-watering £1400.

“It’s daylight robbery and Boris Johnson has betrayed retired people.

“Pensioner poverty is increasing with older people facing impossible choices between eating and heating. The upcoming NICs rise should be halted this week and action should be taken to reduce energy bills by hundreds of pounds for those who need help as Labour has proposed.”

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Portsmouth MP tours CityFibre’s Full Fibre works in Portsmouth

Stephen Morgan MP has toured CityFibre’s ongoing works in the city for its ‘Full Fibre’ £32m project.

During the visit, Mr Morgan and representatives from CityFibre were introduced to full fibre digital infrastructure and provided with demonstrations of the typical build process, including excavation and reinstatement.

Work is underway across the constituency and beyond to build a citywide full fibre network that will reach almost every home and business in Portsmouth.

The project forms part of CityFibre’s up to £4 billion Gigabit City Investment Programme, which will bring full fibre networks within reach of up to 8 million homes and businesses across the UK.

Unlike the majority of the digital infrastructure accessible to households today, full fibre networks use 100% fibre optic cables to carry data at light speed all the way from the home to the point of connection. This gives users consistently faster speeds for upload and download (up to 1,000 Mbps), near limitless bandwidth and connectivity for users.

During the tour, the city MP helped ‘splice’ some fibre cable for an install in Portsea alongside an engineer.

Commenting on the progress of CityFibre’s £32m project, Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan, said:

“It was really useful to meet with CityFibre to get an update on the works it’s been doing to improve broadband connectivity in Portsmouth.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, boosting local gigabit broadband availability will be crucial to bridging the digital divide in our city to support catch-up learning and tackling loneliness. I raised this with Ministers in the House of Commons a few weeks ago.

“Full fibre connectivity will support our economic, social and smart city ambitions.”

In Portsmouth, services will be available from an increasing range of broadband providers. Across the UK, CityFibre is already working with launch partner Vodafone to supply full fibre infrastructure for customers on selected Vodafone Pro Broadband plans, while TalkTalk and other providers are expected to join the network soon.

Residents can find out more about the build and register their interest at cityfibre.com/homes

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Portsmouth MP pushes for John Pounds Medical Centre to reopen

Local residents, Labour councillors and Stephen Morgan MP have united to lobby for the John Pounds Medical Centre to reopen, following its closure in July 2020.

Lake Road Practice, which John Pounds Medical Centre merged with, said at the time, ‘“With Covid-19 affecting us all this year” the GP service site would temporarily close, with a view “to restarting clinics at John Pounds as soon as we can offer a suitable Covid secure service.”

However, despite covid cases now lowering and local vaccination rates higher, the GP service has still not reopened.

The Portsmouth MP has written to Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) raising concerns his constituents have shared with him on this issue, and on the level of access to alternative GP services in the Portsea area.

Many local residents are either vulnerable or disabled, but have said they are now faced with little choice but to walk up to 30 minutes longer to access the medical attention they need at Lake Road GP practice.

The City MP’s constituents have also said that alternative forms of local transport for this route are either unreliable or expensive.

It comes as the local Labour team, led by Cllr Kirsty Mellor, helped to collect signatures for a petition residents have produced, calling for the John Pounds Medical Centre to reopen.

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

“The John Pounds Medical Centre is vital for people in Portsea to get easy access to the healthcare they need. While it remains closed with no clear explanation for it being so, residents who depend on it face unneeded uncertainty and anxiety.

“That’s why I have written to decision-makers to clarify reasons why John Pounds Medical Centre remains closed and when we can expect it to reopen.

“Local Labour councillors have been doing important work alongside the community on this, and I am grateful for the petition local residents have produced. Our NHS has been left creaking at the seams by Ministers in Whitehall and urgent intervention is needed to bring down local waiting times across our city.

“I will continue to make the case in Parliament for the action and support that’s required to secure the health and social care services our city deserves.”

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Government must bridge the digital divide in Portsmouth – City MP

Stephen Morgan MP called on government to tackle the affordability of internet access in the House of Commons today and for Ministers to take action to bridge the digital divide in Portsmouth.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has warned digital exclusion is more likely to be faced by those on low incomes, people over 65 and disabled people.

The organisation has also said that when the pandemic hit in March 2020, only 51 per cent of households earning between £6,000 to £10,000 had home internet access.

Meanwhile, according to the House of Commons Library, Portsmouth South only has 38.4% gigabit broadband availability, 7.3% lower than the UK average of 45.7%.

It comes as the Portsmouth MP continues to tackle loneliness in the city, after many vulnerable people with no affordable digital tools or skills were cut-off from the outside world over the last two years.

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

Portsmouth has been left behind by this government when it comes to bridging the digital divide and providing affordable access to the digital tools and skills people need.

“Our city is well behind the rest of the country in getting decent internet access, and a far cry from the government’s ‘levelling-up’ agenda.

“I will continue to push Ministers to secure the affordable digital access and skills vulnerable people in our city need to help tackle loneliness, and a route to the opportunities they deserve.”

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Revealed: 28,000 pensioners in Portsmouth who could see energy bill savings wiped out a ‘disgrace’ says City MP

Stephen Morgan MP has labelled new revelations that 28,650 Portsmouth pensioners’ state pensions could be worth hundreds of pounds less in real terms over the next year ‘a disgrace’, as the government continues to struggle to get to grips with the cost-of-living crisis.

New Labour analysis has shown that, as a result of rising inflation and the Conservatives’ decision to only increase the state pension by 3.1 per cent, a basic state pension for an individual will be worth around £222 less in real terms over a year than in 2021/22.

For a couple it will be worth around £355 less. This is a real-terms cut to the state pension that is more than the amount Ministers are providing households to reduce their energy bills over the next year.

In the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, the Government’s decision to break the triple lock and give pensioners a real-terms cut to their pensions will leave older people in Britain paying hundreds of pounds more as a result of the rise in energy prices.

Labour’s plan to reduce energy bills would raise money to keep bills low through a one-off windfall tax on oil and gas profits to support all households, with households typically getting £200 off their bills. Labour’s plan will get £600 to the lowest income households while the Conservatives will only give them £350.

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

“At a time of rising energy bills and prices going up in the shops, Tory MPs are pushing through a real-terms cut to pensions and the support families rely on.

“With working people, families and pensioners in Portsmouth struggling to make ends meet, along with rising child and pensioner poverty, it is clear proof that the Conservatives are simply not on the side of working people or pensioners.

“The fact that over 28,000 Portsmouth pensioners’ state pensions could face a significant hit this year is a disgrace and yet another example of Tory Ministers’ incompetence.

“I will always stand up for Portsmouth pensioners guaranteeing older people in our city the respect, security and prosperity they deserve.”

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, also said:

“The Tory cost of living crisis is set to hammer pensioners hard.

“Not only have Tory MPs broken their manifesto commitment to the pension triple lock, Tory MPs have endorsed Boris Johnson’s plan to cut the value of the basic state pension by hundreds of pounds, wiping out any gain from the energy loan scheme.

“This real terms cut on top of rocketing heating bills, price rises and cuts to other support such as the free TV licence means thousands of pensioners face a tough, bleak year faced with impossible choices between heating or eating.

“With pensioner poverty on the increase this is a shameful way to treat those who have contributed so much to our country. Labour will always stand up for pensioners guaranteeing older people the security, prosperity and respect they deserve.”