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Portsmouth MP welcomes latest findings ‘vindicating’ local WASPI Women

Stephen Morgan MP has welcomed the latest revelations on the WASPI Women’s route to justice, after an investigation found ‘failings’ in the way the government communicated changes to women’s State Pension age.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO), which is conducting the investigation, stated that it has received a “significant number” of complaints as to the way that the 1995 Pensions Act change, which meant women could no longer claim their state pension at 60, was communicated by Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), with many experiencing “significant” financial loss and emotional distress as a result.

PHSO stated that the DWP had failed to take adequate account of the need for targeted and individually tailored information or of how likely it was doing the same thing would achieve different results.

It also found that DWP failed to make a “reasonable decision” about next steps in August 2005 and failed to use feedback to improve service design and delivery, highlighting this as “maladministration”.

There are reportedly 4,300 women living in Portsmouth South and born between 6 April 1950 and 5 April 1960 who were affected by Pensions Act 1995 (which first provided for the women’s State Pension age to increase from 60 from April 2010 onwards).

It comes after the Portsmouth representative recently hosted a meeting with the local Solent WASPI group and the Shadow Minister responsible for issues relating to WASPI Women, Matt Rodda MP.

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

“This is the first step to continue the fight for fair treatment for state pension arrangements for 1950s women and I welcome the latest findings of the PHSO’s report, but there is more to do.

“I know that many in Portsmouth will feel vindicated by this, but I will keep working on behalf of Solent WASPI campaigners and others and lobby Government until justice is secured.

“We are not going away.”

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Portsmouth MP calls for ‘discriminatory’ Voter ID policy to be ‘urgently abolished’  

Stephen Morgan MP has called for the ‘discriminatory’ Voter ID policy to be ‘urgently abolished’.

It comes following the recent Queen’s Speech when the Government formally announced its plans to introduce mandatory Voter ID at the next election.

This policy would require voters to present photo ID to vote at polling stations in future elections.

Labour have called on the Conservatives to urgently rethink the policy, raising concerns that the policy will reverse decades of democratic progress and threaten to bar millions of people from exercising their democratic right to vote.

Since this policy was first announced in December 2016, the Government has received multiple warnings from charities, civil society figures and campaign groups that mandatory voter ID – if rolled out nationally – could pull up the drawbridge for millions of voters.

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

“Voter ID is a total waste of taxpayers’ money. The policy is set to cost millions of pounds at every election. 

“Voting is safe and secure in Britain. Ministers should be promoting confidence in our elections instead of spreading baseless scare stories which threaten our democracy.

“Millions of people lack photo ID in this country – in particular the elderly, low income and Black, Asian and ethnic minority voters. The Conservatives are reversing decades of democratic progress and urgently need to rethink this pointless policy.

“I will continue to work on behalf of the people of Portsmouth to ensure this damaging piece of legislation is not implemented.”

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Carers Week: Portsmouth MP thanks local carers and pledges to fight to ensure they’re ‘visible and valued’

Stephen Morgan MP has pledged to help fix the broken care system during a visit to the local Carers Centre as Carers Week reaches a close.

Based in Southsea, the Carers Centre assists all carers in Portsmouth, offering a range of information and advice, as well as support to have a break or just to lend a listening ear.

The Portsmouth MP was visiting the centre to listen about the centre’s plan on Covid recovery, plans to improve some of the meeting space they have for carers and how they are thanking carers for all they have done during the pandemic and beyond.

Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges unpaid carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK. This year’s theme is ‘Visible and Valued’.

Carers UK estimate that carers save the UK economy £132 billion a year, roughly equivalent to the annual cost of the NHS. It is also believed there were 9.1 million unpaid carers across the UK before the COVID-19 pandemic, with 4.5 million new to caring since the start of the pandemic.

The 2011 census found that there were 17-18,000 carers in Portsmouth, but it is now believed to be much higher.

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

“This Carers Week it’s important we recognise and thank our carers for the incredible work they do. 

“It was really great to be back at the Carers Centre to learn about its latest plans to support our carers and thank them for their efforts over this past year.

“I will continue to speak up for the thousands of people providing unpaid care in Portsmouth and across Britain, and push Government to urgently fix our social care system as we emerge from the pandemic.”

Mr Morgan lobbied the Prime Minister sharing the concerns of his constituents, including Portsmouth Pensioners Association, about the level of social care provision in the city.

He has also held a public meeting with Shadow Health Minister Liz Kendall MP to discuss issues related to mental health and social care, regularly submitted a range of written parliamentary questions on the issue and backed Labour’s National Care Service plans.

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A time to say thanks: Portsmouth MP celebrates work of local volunteers

Stephen Morgan MP is joining local charities in thanking volunteers for their hard work in supporting people and communities across Portsmouth, as part of Volunteers’ Week 2021.

Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration – now in its 37th year – of the contribution and dedication of millions of volunteers who give up their time in the service of others.

The Portsmouth representative has worked with a wide range of charities supported by local volunteers throughout the lockdown, including HIVE Portsmouth, which has helped to provide food and other essentials for the most vulnerable in the local community, with some of its volunteers also helping to support the local vaccination effort.

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

“Throughout this pandemic, volunteers in Portsmouth have played a crucial role in supporting those most in need.

“They have got on with the job at hand, a lot of the time without praise and expecting nothing in return, to help the most vulnerable in our society. They really are some of the best of us.

“This week, it is important we recognise their incredible dedication this Volunteers’ Week, and say, thank you!”

Sarah Vibert, interim chief executive at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), which supports the coordination of Volunteers’ Week, said:

“Volunteers’ Week is about recognising all of those who have delivered vital work as volunteers over the past 12 months. We should acknowledge the huge number of first-time volunteers in communities around the country, and also say thank you to all those who usually volunteer but have not been able to because of the pandemic.

“Volunteers are always working at the heart of every UK community. It is hard to overstate the incredible impact they have made during an incredibly challenging year.

“The pandemic has highlighted how much we need each other as a society. Charities and volunteering enable us to put that need into action and remain at the heart of our communities through the best and worst times. As a result of the incredible impact that volunteers have had during the pandemic, and continue to have in the recovery efforts, more people than ever are aware of the immense contribution being made every single day by the amazing volunteers across the UK.

“We must ensure this recognition continues. That is why, on this 37th annual Volunteers’ Week, it’s time to say: thank you volunteers!”

Mr Morgan worked alongside HIVE volunteers earlier this year in its work to support the local vaccination effort and wrote out to 50 supermarkets and local stores across Portsmouth, asking them to allow time for Hive volunteers to access priority goods for older people before shelves can be stripped, as well as allowing access to food and essentials at priority times to ensure that foodbank shelves do not become too depleted.

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Portsmouth MP calls on the Government to ‘Cure the Care System’ during Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Action Week

This Dementia Action Week (May 17-23) Stephen Morgan MP is joining Alzheimer’s Society in asking the Government to #CuretheCareSystem.

It’s been a devastating year for people affected by dementia. Right now, in Portsmouth and across the UK, nearly a million families are struggling to take care of their loved ones with the dignity and support they deserve. Decades of under-funding have led to a system that is difficult to access, costly, inadequate and unfair. The coronavirus pandemic has exposed these problems like never before.

More than 35,000 people with dementia have died of COVID-19 – around one in four of all UK deaths – making those with the condition the worst hit by the pandemic. Meanwhile, many people living with dementia have experienced a significant deterioration in their condition due, in large part, to interrupted health and social care.

According to Portsmouth Pensioners Association, £160m has been removed from the Adult Social Care budget in Portsmouth since 2015 as part of austerity measures, which falls far short of what’s needed to meet demand in our city.

Over the last two years, 1,500 people in Portsmouth in the medium to lower needs group have had their social care removed to make budget savings.

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

“I’m proud to support Dementia Action Week and Alzheimer’s Society’s calls for the government to announce its plans and commitments for social care reform as a matter of urgency.

“NHS care is provided according to need and is free at the point of use. As a matter of fairness, dementia care must be delivered on the same principle.

“Many people in Portsmouth are affected by dementia, and they deserve to be able to access the person-centred care and support they need to live well. That’s why we need to cure the care system now.”

An Alzheimer’s Society spokesperson added:

“Dementia does not just impact on the person diagnosed. It claims more than one life as families battle for the right care for themselves and their loved ones.

“Our findings paint a bleak picture. Family carers are exhausted, with more than 40% putting in more than 100 caring hours per week.

“People with dementia and their loved ones have told us they simply aren’t getting the care and support they need. Sadly, too many family carers reach a point of crisis before receiving help.”

It comes after last week Mr Morgan wrote to the Prime Minister last week sharing the concerns of his constituents, including Portsmouth Pensioners Association, about the level of social care provision in the city.

He has also held a public meeting with Shadow Health Minister Liz Kendall MP to discuss issues related to mental health and social care, regularly submitted a range of written parliamentary questions on the issue and backed Labour’s National Care Service policy proposed in 2019.

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Portsmouth MP calls out PM for failure to address social care in Portsmouth

Stephen Morgan has called on the Prime Minister Boris Johnson MP to publish further details on his reported plans for social care.

In a letter to Prime Minister today, the Portsmouth MP shared the concerns of his constituents, including Portsmouth Pensioners Association, about the level of social care provision in the city.

According to Portsmouth Pensioners Association, £160m has been removed from the Adult Social Care budget in Portsmouth since 2015 as part of austerity measures, which falls far short of what’s needed to meet demand in our city.

Over the last two years, 1,500 people in Portsmouth in the medium to lower needs group have had their social care removed to make budget savings.

It comes after Boris Johnson claimed 659 days ago outside 10 Downing Street that he had a plan to fix the social care crisis, but failed to reveal this in the Queen’s Speech earlier this week.

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

“It has been nearly two years since the Prime Minister stood on the steps of 10 Downing Street claiming to have a plan to fix the social care crisis, but still fails to publish plans on this.

“Many pensioners and those dependent on social care in our city cannot afford to be continually overlooked by this government, which is why I have written to Boris Johnson today to urge him to publish plans now, without further delay.”

Mr Morgan recently held a public meeting with Shadow Health Minister Liz Kendall MP to discuss issues related to mental health and social care, has regularly submitted a range of written parliamentary questions on the issue and backed Labour’s National Care Service policy proposed in 2019.

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Queen’s Speech: Portsmouth MP slams government’s ‘hollow promises’ on social care

Stephen Morgan MP has attacked the government today after it failed to offer clear detail on its plans revealed in the Queen’s Speech today to address the social care crisis Portsmouth and the wider country is facing.

Announcing her government’s legislative priorities, Her Majesty the Queen revealed in her speech to Parliament today that social care proposals ‘will be brought forward’.

However, Labour responded to the announcement arguing his was yet ‘further delay’ to tackle the perennial problem that has gripped the country for years and was a ‘wasted opportunity’ to finally deal with it.

According to The Kings Fund, only around a quarter of people who have requested some of form of social care are actually assessed as eligible for formal short-term or long-term care.

Meanwhile according to Portsmouth CCG, there is a 69.5% estimated dementia prevalence rate in persons aged 65 and over of the Portsmouth population, underlining the importance of the local provision of social care with the continued trend of an aging general population.

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

“The message from last week is that people are demanding and are owed real change. Today, the Government gave us yet more rhetoric and buzzwords, not a proper plan to get Britain working for working people.

“This Queen’s Speech doesn’t put proper detail behind the rhetoric on jobs, social care, reducing violent crime and narrowing the gap between different parts of the country will be yet another wasted opportunity.

“Social care is in dire need of improvement across our country and in Portsmouth, but many will now feel forgotten by this government which has once again opted for further dither and delay with hollow promises on this important issue.”

Keir Starmer MP, Leader of the Labour Party, also said,

“Labour’s priority is jobs. That means good jobs, good pay and good prospects, bringing an end to insecurity at work and spreading opportunity across Britain. We must seize this moment to create a brighter future for the whole country.”

Mr Morgan recently held a public meeting with Shadow Health Minister Liz Kendall MP to discuss issues related to mental health and social care.

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Stephen Morgan MP opens new community pop-up shop open in Landport

Stephen Morgan MP opened the Landport Larder today, where residents can now purchase food for a fraction of the cost of supermarkets thanks to a new community pop-up shop.

For just £3.50 a week, people can select 10 items from a selection of tins, chilled items, and fresh fruit and veg. This would cost an average of £15 from the supermarket.

The larder has been set up by Enable Ability at Landport Community Centre, with support from Abri, one of the south of England’s largest housing providers.

The Landport Larder will be open Tuesdays, from 10am – 1pm at Landport Community Centre.

Customers will need to bring a bag to take items home in and will need to wear a mask while in the centre.

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

“It’s great to see initiatives like the Landport Larder offer much needed support to our communities.

While we know that the pandemic has hit us all hard, it has also brought communities together, supporting each other and coming up with new, creative ways to help others.

I hope we see more initiatives like this to create a positive legacy for what has been a hard time for us all.”

Paula Windebank, Community Development Officer at Abri, added:

“We’re proud to support the Landport Larder and help our community access fresh, healthy, affordable food.

It’s part of our five-year £15m investment to create thriving communities and empower lives, making sure we’re delivering change where it’s needed most.”

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Budget 2021: City MP accuses government of ‘failing to deliver levelling up agenda’

Stephen Morgan MP has criticised the government for failing to deliver for Portsmouth in the government’s annual budget announced earlier today.

The Portsmouth MP has accused the government of failing to deliver for the city over a number of years, as well as do enough to support and protect it during the COVID-19 crisis.

The budget includes:

  • An extension to the furlough scheme until the end of September, despite the Official Opposition’s and Mr Morgan’s calls to do this months ago, when in February it was estimated that over 15,000 people in Portsmouth were still furloughed by their employer in late January.
  • A demand for local families to pay for gaps in council budgets, rather than fulfilling the Chancellor’s prior pledge to back them, which could amount to as much as £89 extra on annual household council tax bills for the average Band D home in Portsmouth.
  • A freeze to some key workers’ pay, including at least 13,900 key workers in Portsmouth – the teachers, police officers and Armed Forces personnel on the front line of the battle against Covid-19.

It comes as earlier this week Mr Morgan called for a ‘Jobs Promise’ for young people in Portsmouth, with the number of people under 25 needing to claim out-of-work support more than doubling in the last year, rising from 780 at the start of 2020 to now 1830 (an increase of 135%), according to the latest figures.

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

“This budget fails to deliver for Portsmouth and the government’s own ‘levelling-up agenda. It barely mentioned inequality, let alone tried to address it. This is not levelling up, but giving up.

“It fails our families, young people, key workers and those left ignored by the government both during this and successive Tory governments.

From the local cabbie on our high street, to the NHS nurse at our own QA Hospital, they did not get what they needed today.

“I promise to do all I can to ensure Portsmouth gets the support it needs to recover from this crisis, and what it deserves, to become the future city we all know it can be.”

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City MP hosts event with Shadow Minister to tackle ‘mental health crisis’ triggered by the pandemic

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan will host a mental health discussion event with Labour’s Shadow Minister for mental health Rosena Allin-Khan MP this week.

The online event, which is open to all, will discuss the impact of the pandemic on mental health and the ongoing need for mental health conditions to be treated on a par with physical health.

The Centre for Mental Health in England has predicted that 10 million people – almost a fifth of the population – will need mental health support as a direct consequence of Covid-19, with 1.5 million of those expected to be under-18s.

Portsmouth City Council estimates that almost 53,000 people experience a mental problem each year, with half of all adult mental health problems present by the time the person is 14 years old.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“With millions of us staying at home, isolated from friends and family, Coronavirus has been a mental health crisis too.

“We know that patients, carers and staff have been heavily affected, with the impact being particularly acute among young people.

“As an A&E Doctor herself, Rosena knows only too well the challenges we face on the frontline. She will be setting out Labour’s vision on mental health and how we can improve care following the pandemic.”

The online event with Shadow Minister for Mental Health Rosena Allin-Khan will take place on Thursday 25 February 2021, 7-8pm. Full details and registration can be found at: https://events.labour.org.uk/event/326967