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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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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.”

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Cost of living crisis: City MP votes to save Portsmouth families £200 on their energy bills

Stephen Morgan MP voted for Labour’s plan in the House of Commons today that would save families in Portsmouth at least £200 on their energy bills.

Funded by a one-off windfall tax on North Sea Oil and Gas and higher than expected tax receipts, Labour would bring in fully costed plans now to reduce the expected price rise in April – saving most households around £200 or more, but targeted extra support to squeezed middle, pensioners and the lowest earners, receiving up to £600 off bills and preventing the increase in energy bills currently expected.

It comes following the Portsmouth MP’s campaign launch last week, calling on the government to immediately remove VAT from domestic energy bills to help protect working people, as the cost-of-living crisis deepens across Portsmouth and the country.

Labour say a VAT cut on domestic energy bills – which would change the charge from 5% to zero – could have come into place as early 1st November. The tax break would be designed to support struggling families through the winter months and would be automatically deducted from their bills.

The Official Opposition also proposed in its plan that was presented to Parliament today to increase the Warm Homes Discount budget to £4bn, an additional £3.5bn, sufficient to provide a £400 Warm Home Discount to the 9.3m households who would be eligible to receive it (around a third of all households in Great Britain), as well as covering the extra administration costs (estimated at £19 per household).

The Portsmouth MP has underlined that over 10,000 working age families in his constituency of Portsmouth South – nearly half of which with children – will be affected by the government’s cut to Universal Credit, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

According to analysis from Citizens Advice, 10 per cent of families in the UK – equivalent to 3.2 million households – could be facing a financial crisis this winter.

National polling by the charity has also shown that one in five people have already cut back on their food shop (19%), or used less heating (20%) to save money, demonstrating how recent changes have left many households in a vulnerable position.

Labour has 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 the party’s plan to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.

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

“Energy bills, the weekly shop and taxes on the lowest earners are all up, but government is failing to support for Portsmouth families and keep them secure this winter.

“That’s why Labour would give families in Portsmouth security by taking fully funded measures to save most households around £200 or more, targeting extra support on top of that for the squeezed middle, pensioners and lowest earners.

“I will continue to take action in Parliament and hold Ministers to account to provide those most at risk this winter with the help they need.”

Anyone can sign up to support Stephen’s campaign and his call on Government to scrap VAT on energy bills. To do so, visit: https://www.stephenmorgan.org.uk/sign-up-scrapping-vat-on-energy-bills/

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South East misses out on nearly 15,000 jobs for young people under Tory job scheme

Stephen Morgan MP has said the government’s flagship employment support scheme, Kickstart, is lacking ambition for young people, after its failure to support as many jobseekers in the South East as was previously promised.

The latest figures on performance of the programme show that by December 2021, only 12,030 had been started in the South East, 14,866 fewer than should had been started in the region had the scheme been successful.

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Thérèse Coffey, set a target of 250,00 jobs created through Kickstart, which would have meant around 26,896 new jobs in the South East. This would have made a big difference to young local job seekers.

However, as the scheme closes to new applicants, the Tories are set to miss their national 250,000 target by 55 per cent. Across the regions and nations of Britain, an average of over 12,500 more jobs would have been created had the Government met its target.

Meanwhile, the number of young people on Universal Credit has nearly doubled since the start of the pandemic, up from 450,000 in January 2020 to nearly 840,000.

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

“I am eager to see good local jobs created for talented young people in Portsmouth providing a boost for our local economy.

I have seen and heard first-hand some of the positive successes from the Kickstart scheme in our city, but the Government’s plan for jobs does not go far enough and young people in Portsmouth are losing out as a result.

“Labour’s jobs promise and plan to buy, make and sell more in Britain would make a difference to young people in Portsmouth who deserve the opportunities that a good job and fair pay provides.”

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

“The government’s employment policies are failing to rebalance the economy, tackle economic insecurity and their Kickstart work programme has created nowhere near the 250,000 opportunities promised even though employers are desperate to get help finding staff. The Tories are doing nothing for young people in need of urgent jobs support.

“Eleven years of Tory economic failure has led to an explosion of in-work poverty and now families face a punishing triple-whammy of rising heating bills, rising prices in the shops and higher taxes. Yet again, it’s working people being hammered under the Tories.

“Labour would help ease the burden by scrapping VAT on household heating bills over winter. And with our jobs promise and plan to buy, make and sell more in Britain, we will boost jobs and growth across all parts of our country.”

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Portsmouth families ‘left by the wayside’ as one in ten across UK now facing financial crisis

Stephen Morgan MP has accused the government of leaving Portsmouth families ‘by the wayside’ after new data reveals one in ten families across the UK are facing a financial crisis this winter.

According to recent analysis from Citizens Advice, 10 per cent of families in the UK – equivalent to 3.2 million households – could be facing a financial crisis this Christmas and beyond.

National polling by the charity has also shown that one in five people have already cut back on their food shop (19%), or used less heating (20%) to save money, demonstrating how recent changes have left many households in a vulnerable position.

The organisation has also estimated that the energy price cap could rise by as much as £500 in April – adding an extra £40 a month to default tariffs. This will come as inflation is set to peak at around 5% and working families see a hike to their National Insurance.

It comes as the cost-of-living crisis deepens, with the Bank of England recently forecasting that salaries will fall by 1.25% this year, with inflation expected to reach to as high as 5% in 2022 and the highest sustained tax burden in peace time.

In October, four in ten households on Universal Credit faced a 13 per cent rise in their energy bills in the same month as their benefit was cut by £20 a week.

Last month, the Portsmouth MP underlined that 21% of working age families in his constituency of Portsmouth South – nearly half of which with children – will be affected by the government’s cut to Universal Credit, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

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

“This government is lurching from one crisis to the next, leaving Portsmouth families by the wayside and offering little support to help them get through this winter.

“Energy bills, inflation and taxes on the lowest earners are all up, but support for working families is far below what is required to keep them secure this winter.

“I will continue to hold ministers to account to provide those most at risk this winter with the help they need, as government continues to struggle with getting to grips with the cost-of-living crisis.”

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Gurkha pensions: Government cannot continue to ‘sweep issue under the carpet’ – Portsmouth MP

Stephen Morgan MP has accused the government of sweeping the contentious issue of Gurkha pension equality under the carpet during a debate in Westminster this evening.

The issue of Gurkha pension equality is a longstanding and complex issue, but the Portsmouth MP and Shadow Armed Forces Minister urged the government to set out a way forward to address the problem.

In August, a group of Gurkha veterans were forced to go on hunger strike outside Downing Street following the government’s lack of engagement with their concerns.

The Shadow Minister visited campaigners during their 13-day hunger strike, having lobbied the Defence Secretary the previous day about the issue.

Leading a debate in Westminster Hall on behalf of the Official Opposition tonight, the Portsmouth representative demanded government set out its approach to the forthcoming bilateral committee meeting convened with Nepal to discuss Gurkha welfare issues.

He also called for the government to commit to publishing its response to its own consultation on the Gurkha Pension Scheme, which closed eight months ago, before the talks begin.

The MP has met with Gurkhas and campaigners on several occasions, including on Saturday with Labour councillors in Reading, which has a particularly high Gurkha population.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South and Shadow Armed Forces Minister, Stephen Morgan, said:

“This is a complex and longstanding issue, but that’s no excuse for the government’s lack of engagement in tackling the inequalities experienced by those who have fought to keep us safe.

“It cannot be right that those who have served our country have to live in such difficult circumstances, with the cost-of-living crisis set to make things only go from bad, to worse, this winter.

“At the very least Ministers must consider measures that ensure all Gurkha veterans have the opportunity to live securely in retirement. Labour will work cross-party to get this right, but Government needs to finally show long overdue leadership.

Ministers cannot continue to sweep this growing problem under the carpet.”

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City MP warns ministers ARAP evacuees face a ‘cliff edge’ to remain in UK

Stephen Morgan MP warned ministers in the House of Commons today that ARAP evacuees face a ‘cliff edge’ on their UK immigration status.

ARAP evacuees were given six months leave to remain when they left Afghanistan, but many now face uncertainty on their Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Without confirmation of this promise by government, ARAP evacuees face difficulties in accessing work, housing and essential services.

Last week, Mr Morgan visited a bridging hotel, where Afghans who supported British forces are being housed temporarily, to give out ‘winter packs’ of coats, scarves, hats and gloves as the weather turns colder.
As well as basic needs like winter clothes, the Shadow Armed Forces Minister also raised concerns that the Home Office was yet to process their immigration paperwork.

The separate Afghan citizens’ resettlement scheme has still not yet been launched.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South and Shadow Armed Forces Minister, Stephen Morgan, said:

“Unfortunately, ARAP evacuees and their families – who have already suffered immense hardship – now find themselves at the mercy of a postcode lottery of support and constrained by a cliff edge on their immigration status. 

“Councils, charities and voluntary organisations are doing their best on the ground. But Ministers must deliver clear and consistent pathways for the support offered through Operation Warm Welcome, if they are to keep the promises they have made to those who bravely supported our forces.

“The Secretary of State’s response today will offer little comfort to those on the ARAP scheme worrying for their family’s safety. His department should be proactively working to end the uncertainty, not waiting for colleagues to come to him. They deserve far better.”

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Cost of living crisis: Portsmouth MP grills ministers on plans to protect local families this winter

Stephen Morgan MP raised concerns in the House of Commons today on how government will protect vulnerable local families this winter.
The Portsmouth MP underlined that 21% of working age families in his constituency of Portsmouth South – nearly half of which with children – will be affected by the government’s cut to Universal Credit, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
It comes as the cost-of-living crisis deepens, with the Bank of England recently forecasting that salaries will fall by 1.25% this year, with inflation expected to reach to as high as 4% in 2022 and the highest sustained tax burden in peace time.
In October, four in ten households on Universal Credit faced a 13 per cent rise in their energy bills in the same month as their benefit was cut by £20 a week.
The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, commented:

“The government had a clear opportunity in last month’s Budget to protect vulnerable families in Portsmouth this winter, but instead it’s pulled the rug out from underneath them.
“Energy bills, inflation and taxes on the lowest earners are all up, but support for working families is far below what is required to keep them secure this winter.
“I will continue to hold ministers to account to provide those most at risk this winter with the help they need, as government continues to struggle with getting to grips with the cost-of-living crisis.”

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Portsmouth MP blasts government for cost-of-living crisis as £1,000 Universal Credit cut kicks in for over 10,000 local families

Stephen Morgan MP has blasted the government for the scale of the cost-of-living crisis impacting local families as the planned £1,000 cut to Universal Credit and working tax credits kicks in today.

In the Portsmouth representative’s constituency alone, 5,550 families will be affected, including 6,907 children. Across the city, there are over 10,000 families with children in receipt of Universal Credit or Working Tax Credits who could be impacted as result of the cut.

Meanwhile, working families across the country are dealing with a ‘triple whammy’ to their cost of living,

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.

But according to Citizens Advice, the £20 a week uplift would cover near a whole week of energy costs for a below average income household.

In another hit to working families and businesses across the country, the government is also continuing to push through a Bill that would raise National Insurance by 1.25%.

The Portsmouth MP has paid tribute to local campaigning efforts against the cut, including a petition to ‘Cancel the Cut’ organised by local Unite Community campaigner David Gorham, who has also staged a number of events in our city’s communities with the backing of Mr Morgan in opposition to the Government’s decision.

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

“The government is pulling out the rug for working families across Portsmouth just at the moment when Tory failure has led to their cost of living going up.

“Cutting £1,000 a year for six million families across Britain, and 10,000 in Portsmouth will have real consequences for daily lives.

“As the Prime Minister stands up to deliver his speech at the champagne bubble of Tory party conference, millions of working families across the country will be weighing up the choice between eating or heating this week.

“I will always stand up for the most vulnerable in our city. I will continue to push the government to provide answers on how they will support struggling families in Portsmouth this winter.”

Unite South East Community Coordinator, Kelly Tomlinson, added,

“Families in the South East are now facing a triple whammy. The £20 cut to Universal Credit; the increase in energy bills and the steep rise in the cost of food will force Families to make the terrible choice of feeding their children or keeping the heating on. This Christmas is going to be bleak as people go without life’s essentials.

 “Unite will continue to work with the Labour Party to make the Tory Government put families first and reverse the damaging cut to Universal Credit.”

Mr Morgan has tirelessly campaigned against the cut to universal credit. He has written to the Work and Pensions Secretary, lobbied the Chancellor ahead of the Budget, helped secure a motion against the cut at the city council and asked a number of questions to Ministers to keep up the pressure.

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Universal Credit cut: Portsmouth MP lobbies Government again as he pledges to stand up for over 5,500 local families

Stephen Morgan MP has written to the Work and Pensions Secretary on behalf of local families to urge the government to reconsider its planned cut to Universal Credit in October.

At the start of the pandemic, the Government increased the standard allowance of Universal Credit by £20 per week which is set to be removed in five weeks’ time. This cut of over £1,000 a year to millions of families is the biggest overnight cut to the social security system since World War II.

In the Portsmouth representative’s constituency alone, 5,550 families will be affected, including 6,907 children.

The Government had originally planned to implement the cut in April 2021 but were forced to change course after the Official Opposition successfully won a vote in House of Commons in January.

Labour had planned to force a vote on the issue in the Commons yesterday (Wednesday 8 September) but this was cancelled by the government. The Portsmouth South representative has instead written to Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey urging her to cancel the cut.

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

“It is shameful that the very workers who got us through this crisis are now set to lose £1,000 from their income ever year.

The £20 that is due to be cut is currently enabling some local families to put food on the table at the end of the week. The government cannot pull the rug from under them during this precarious moment for families and the economy.

The government have cancelled Labour’s vote on this in Parliament, but I’ve written to the Work and Pensions Secretary today to press the government to cancel the cut.”