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Portsmouth MP welcomes in Brittany Ferries’ Salamanca

Stephen Morgan MP welcomed Brittany Ferries’ new Salamanca vessel to Portsmouth today during a reception held at Portsmouth International Portsmouth.

The new LNG-powered, more environmentally friendly ship is set for its first commercial voyage on Sunday and to serve along Portsmouth routes. The city MP took a tour round the new ship meeting staff.

Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan, said:

“It was great to finally welcome Salamanca to Portsmouth today and encouraging see a new, more environmentally friendly vessel that will serve along Portsmouth routes.

“Brittany Ferries plays an important role in our city’s economy, but as one of the first cities in the country to declare a climate emergency and local waters under threat from pollution, its pleasing to see steps it has taken to help protect our local environment now and for the years to come.

“I look forward to the Salamanca becoming a more familiar sight when looking out across the seafront, as she serves our city and supports our economic recovery from the pandemic.”

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Portsmouth MP meets city’s trial e-scooter operator, Voi

Stephen Morgan MP has met with the operator for Portsmouth’s e-scooter trial scheme, Voi, as he toured its warehouse and to meet staff to learn more about its work and feedback local views on the scheme.

Voi is the operator of the e-scooter trial currently operating in the Solent, covering both Southampton and Portsmouth.

The original government deadline for the end of the trial was 30 November 2021, but trials have since been extended to 30 November 2022.

Voi has been operating in Europe since 2018 and the UK since September 2020, as part of the Department for Transport’s fast-tracked trials to support local authorities during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are currently the largest operator in the UK, with services live in 18 cities.

The City MP last year wrote to the Home Secretary to seek assurances on the safety of e-scooters for pedestrians and vulnerable people, and has been taking a range of actions to ensure their safe use in Portsmouth.

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

“It’s been really useful to meet with Voi today and learn more about the work it’s doing to support greener forms of travel in Portsmouth, as well as share views and concerns I’ve received in my postbag about the e-scooter trial scheme in our city.

“More sustainable forms of transport are crucial to tackling the climate emergency, but it’s important too we ensure they are also as safe and reliable as possible.

“As a potential long-term partner to our city providing these services, I am grateful for the opportunity to meet with Voi and learn more about its plans for the future in Portsmouth.

“I will continue to work with others to ensure the scheme supports people get round our city in a safe and green way”.

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Rail Fare Hike: Portsmouth families will pay the price again

In recent days we’ve seen the announcement that rail fares will go up by another 3.8%, meaning average fares will rise to an eye watering 48.9% more than they were in 2010.

In Mr Johnson’s own Uxbridge constituency the cost of an annual season ticket from West Drayton to London Paddington has risen by £715 since 2010.

I’m clear that this announcement piles more misery onto our city’s commuters and families and will do nothing to stimulate demand once we come out of this pandemic.

Continuous fare rises undermine urgent action to tackle the climate emergency by pricing people off the railway.

Portsmouth’s passengers are paying more and more each year to travel on increasingly overcrowded and unreliable trains with average fares have risen twice as fast as wages.

This is just the latest example of the Government rail betrayal.

Labour recently forced a vote in the House of Commons demanding Boris Johnson reverses the North’s rail betrayal however Tory MPs including those in the red wall seats voted against plans to force the PM to stick to his promises.

The scaling back of Northern Powerhouse Rail, coupled with the scrapping of the Eastern leg of HS2 is a double blow for our regions.

A once-in-a-generation chance to transform opportunity across the whole country, rebalancing the economy and making it work for working people looks set to be lost.

The worst part is that the communities who will feel the brunt of years of broken promises, empty words and no action are at the same time being squeezed by the Conservatives’ tax hikes and rising bills, as those with the broadest shoulders remain largely untouched.

The Prime Minister was elected on a promise to level the playing field, to make things better for households across the country.  The reality is, he has pocketed that support in the knowledge he would go back on his word. There is another way.

Labour would reform our transport networks, so they work for the people and communities who rely on them and ensure they are fit-for-purpose for the economy of the future – with investment spread more evenly across the country and young people no longer having to leave the places they grew up in to find work.

Most importantly, Labour would put working people first, using the power of government and the skill of business to ensure good quality jobs are created here in Britain – in every region.

Stephen Morgan MP

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‘Rail Betrayal’ – Fares rise twice as fast as wages as local MP criticises government

Stephen Morgan MP has condemned Tory Ministers after a brutal 3.8% train fares hike was announced recently.

Labour has compared the costs on over 180 train routes between when the Conservatives came to power and the projected new prices that will be implemented this January 2020.

The average commuter nationwide faces paying a staggering £3,263 for their season ticket – £1069, or 49% more, than in 2010.

New figures released today by Labour show:

  • Average fares will rise to 48.9% more than they were in 2010.
  • That some commuters will be paying over £3,900 more to travel to work than in 2010.
  • Average fares have risen twice as fast as wages.

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

“Many families in Portsmouth are already struggling to make ends meet this Christmas, and rather than give them a helping hand the Tories have piled on more misery.

“With train times to London not dissimilar to what they were in the Victorian era, this is hardly value for money.

“The worst part is that the communities who will feel the brunt of years of broken promises, empty words and no action are at the same time being squeezed by the Conservatives’ tax hikes and rising bills, as those with the broadest shoulders remain largely untouched”.

Louise Haigh MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, also said:

“This brutal Tory fare hike will be a nightmare before Christmas for millions of passengers.

“Families already facing soaring taxes and bills will now be clobbered with an eyewatering rise in the cost of the commute.

“Many will wonder what planet Ministers are on if they think people can afford this?

“People up and down this country are paying the price for a cost-of-living crisis made in Downing Street.”

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City MP says Government must set out a credible plan to reassure the country that essential supplies will be safeguarded

Responding to the closure of borders affecting freight leaving the UK, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“After a weekend of Government chaos, news that routes from across Europe are being closed is deeply worrying.

This morning I visited Portsmouth International Port to understand the potential impact in our own city, and this afternoon attended a briefing by the Department for Transport. Unaccompanied freight remains unaffected leaving our city’s port, whilst passenger sailings have been halted.

My priority is making sure any disruption and traffic congestion is avoided in Portsmouth and Government sets out a credible plan to reassure the country that essential supplies will be safeguarded. More than ever it is vital during this pandemic that Ministers ensure supplies to our NHS, supermarkets and manufacturers with crucial supply chains secure.

I will continue to liaise with the Port on this important matter to mitigate serious consequences for Portsmouth”.

 

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Minister probed in Parliament over securing Gosport Ferry’s future by Stephen Morgan MP

In his latest action to support the continuation of Gosport Ferry post Covid-19, the Portsmouth South MP has raised the ferry services continuation with Ministers’ today at Transport Questions.

Mr Morgan has already liaised with Gosport Ferry’s top team, taken part in meetings with the city council along with other stakeholders, written to the Transport Secretary directly and submitted written parliamentary questions to keep pressure on Government to act.

Today, the city MP followed up on this action by asking Transport Ministers to flesh out the support they could offer to the vital ferry service.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“I know how important the Gosport Ferry is for my constituents and commuters along the south coast which is why I have been working with others to secure its future.

It’s a lifeline service for many who rely on it for work, business and leisure. The coronavirus crisis has shone a spotlight on how crucial the crossing service is for the people of Gosport, and Portsmouth”.

Local stakeholders have submitted proposals to the Government to help secure the ferry’s future following discussions with the Secretary of State for Transport last week.

Mr Morgan added:

Government has already given positive signals and has engaged on the issue so far. However, we cannot afford to lose steam.

Portsmouth jobs, businesses and livelihoods are what is at risk. I will continue to take action on behalf of residents to ensure a suitable solution is reached to secure the ferry’s future.”

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Portsmouth MP backs ‘Pompey Street Space’ campaign and wastes no time promoting the plan in Parliament

Backing efforts by local groups and community representatives, Stephen Morgan MP today took action in support of the new Pompey Street Space campaign as part of his ongoing work to tackle the city’s climate emergency

Launching this morning, the Pompey Street Space is a newly formed campaign calling for the council to make our city safe for residents to walk, wheel, shop and cycle whilst keeping 2m apart. Since the lockdown the number of residents walking and cycling has risen hugely. The cleaner air, more audible bird song and peaceful streets have been a revelation for many of how our city could be.

The city MP is encouraging Government through the hybrid-Parliament to ‘lock-in’ the emission reducing practices that the city has adopted amid Covid-19. 

While Mr Morgan has been taking action to promote active travel in the city for some time. Today he threw his weight behind the Pompey Street Space campaign in signing a collective letter to the local authority and raising the community campaign in the House of Commons.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Active travel uptake amid this crisis has increased by up to 125% on some days. This shows that our city is capable of making decisive efforts to change behaviours and in turn, tackle climate change.

Now it is up to government to seize the opportunity and ensure Portsmouth people can continue to use green travel free from fear and with confidence. That means putting an end to the piecemeal approach to transport infrastructure and allowing councils rapid access to new vital funds.

Social, economic and environmental returns to active travel investment will be seen almost immediately. I will continue to take action with others to promote greener travel and look forward to supporting the work of Pompey Street Space to make this vision a reality.”

Active travel – such as walking and cycling – has soared amid the pandemic while traffic has seen around a 60% decline, slashing harmful emissions.

Portsmouth is the fourth most congested city in the UK and one of the worst outside London. Organisations such as the World Health Organisation have deemed current city pollution levels as ‘illegal’, while Friends of the Earth have described them as ‘Dangerous’. This means an increased risk to 11,000 people living the city who have heart and respiratory conditions.

Local climate activist Nick Sebley said:

“Stephen has been a solid ambassador on climate issues since his election and we welcome his support for the Pompey Street Space campaign.

We are presented with a unique opportunity to make our community fitter, healthier and greener. Portsmouth people have shown they have what it takes to be pioneers in addressing the climate emergency, it now falls on government’s shoulders to ensure the continuation of these practices.”

The community-led campaign is calling for the council to take three important steps immediately:

  1. Widen narrow pavements in busy streets so that people can keep two metres apart whilst walking, queuing for shops etc.
  2. Create a comprehensive city-wide network of roads that give priority to cyclists and pedestrians
  3. Create more commuter cycle routes to allow people who usually travel by public transport to get quickly and safely to work by bike.

Mr Morgan added: 

“As we emerge from this crisis, we cannot go head first into another. Climate change poses a real and severe threat to life that disproportionately effects people in our community.

Government has a duty to listen to the calls of trailblazing campaigns, like Pompey Street Space, to create the right conditions in communities that will allow green and active travel to continue to thrive. For that reason I wanted to flag this new initiative from our city to Ministers today.

According to the Government’s own research, at least £6bn of extra funding is required to meet their own targets of doubling cycling by 2025.

If Ministers are serious about active travel, then they need to get serious about investing in communities like Portsmouth”.

Stephen Morgan MP has a long running history of climate change action. He has hosted Brompton along with Keir Starmer in Portsmouth to promote active travel, hosted major public events with expert speakers to share best practice, regularly speaks out at local events, has worked in conjunction with XR and Friends of the Earth and continues to raise issues in Parliament.

 

 

 

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“Job security does not need to be at odds with climate security” says city MP lobbying over plans for Britain’s recovery

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan is urging Government to ensure that Covid-19 does not hinder progress towards tackling the climate emergency.

Writing to the Transport Secretary and submitting a string or parliamentary questions, Stephen Morgan MP has been listening to the views of constituents and local green groups by stressing to Government that support to the transport industry should also help secure targets focusing on reducing emissions.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“As a gateway to the UK from continental Europe, our city has a proud and long association with the maritime sector and wider transport infrastructure for our country. I want to see this tradition continue for the future prosperity of the UK but also for the sake of local jobs and our city’s economy.

Government is currently being lobbied over deals for the aviation and maritime sectors so that these services can weather the Covid-19 storm, there is no reason why any packages of support should be at odds with continued efforts to tackle climate change. The Transport Secretary must ensure that his department’s assistance sits alongside important commitments to cut emissions”.

Stephen Morgan MP is not alone in his calls. The Government’s top climate advisers have also urged a focus on low-carbon work programmes as the economy restarts and people get back to work.

This mirrors the findings of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, who have outlined that fulfilling the UK’s need for low-carbon infrastructure, from electricity networks to cycle lanes, would create jobs in the short term, while government money could also be used to encourage advances in science and innovation that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the future.

Writing to the Transport Secretary based on these important findings, the Portsmouth South representative added:

“In 2018, the transport sector became the biggest contributor to climate change. Government must be the driving force behind enabling a culture and practice change, and in planning Britain’s recovery from Covid-19, it has that opportunity.

I therefore urge you to seize this opportunity that Government has to ensure that climate change is at the heart of your departmental decision-making. There is no reason that sector and job security need to be at odds with tackling climate change.

Many of my constituents expect any government financial assistance to the transport sector to recognise the climate emergency. There is no merit in dealing with a crisis today, by creating one for tomorrow.”

Other major organisations joining the city MP, the Select Committee and the top government advisers calling on Government to take equity stakes include Greenpeace, Flight Free, the IPPR and New Economics Foundation thinktanks, and Tax Justice. The Portsmouth South MP has also vowed to push for investment in active travel solutions as part of thinking on recovery plans for the region.

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Covid-19: City MP takes action to save Gosport Ferry

Stephen Morgan MP has today written to the Transport Secretary urging immediate government measures to support Gosport Ferry. The action follows reports that the business runs the risk of ruin due to the financial implications of Covid-19.

Mr Morgan has called on government to address the fact that their transport funding package, announced earlier this week, does not offer any tangible support to Gosport Ferry, which has lost 90% of its normal passenger volumes.

This is just the latest of the city MP’s actions, as he has already submitted a string of parliamentary written questions and raised the issue with the local authority following discussions with the ferry company’s senior management.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Gosport Ferry is vital to not just Portsmouth, but the region. Some rely on it for business and commuting, others for their employment or leisure.

Government has a responsibility to ensure it continues to serve our community. The £17 million package, announced earlier this week, offers no guidance as to what this will mean for businesses like Gosport Ferry.

I am minded to support government in this time of crisis where suitable, but it is unclear what, if anything, they have done to help this service to date. I will continue to lobby the relevant Ministers to make announcements to help this vital regional transport infrastructure.”

Gosport Ferry has been connecting Portsmouth and Gosport since 1875, it carries over 3 million passengers each year and is a vital link for commuters, businesses and leisure travel. Covid-19 social distancing measures have heavily affected their revenue which has left the future of the company hanging in the balance.

Mr Morgan added:

“What have they done to support this service so far? What steps are they taking to ensure the continuation of the service post Covid-19? Can they guarantee the security of the business?

These are the questions that Government’s funding package failed to answer so far which is why I have today put them to the Transport Secretary. Uncertainty at this time could cost jobs and livelihoods for Portsmouth people. I will continue to push for government support for all transport infrastructure struggling under the strain of Covid-19.”

The Portsmouth South MP is committed to working with the city council and neighbouring Members of Parliament which protects this vital transport link for Portsmouth and Gosport and will be taking further action next week following concerns raised by constituents.

 

 

 

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Portsmouth MP welcomes new offer of transport funding but says more must come

Stephen Morgan MP has welcomed news that Portsmouth and the surrounding area could receive a share of the Transforming Cities Fund.  This will help to improve the city’s transport infrastructure and opens doors to greener travel. But the Mr Morgan has said if Government wants to be serious about tackling climate change, more must come  the city’s way.

In September 2018, Portsmouth City Council working alongside neighbouring local authorities, were shortlisted alongside 12 other regions to bid for a share of the Department for Transport’s £1.28 billion Transforming Cities Fund. This money was allocated by Government in March’s budget public transport improvements across the country, but the Chancellor’s announcements lacked detail on the proposals worked on for south east Hampshire.

Mr Morgan has long supported Portsmouth’s bid for the Transforming Cities Fund, writing letters to Ministers to back up proposals. He has also batted for Portsmouth’s application by raising the issue in parliamentary questions, lobbied the Department for Transport, and last month wrote again to the Transport Secretary following the Budget, making the case for the city again.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“I welcome the latest development that Government recognises the need for transport investment across our region.

The unique travel challenges faced by our city mean that comparatively, our area does not perform as well as it could in terms of productivity and competitiveness.

The Transport Secretary’s letter to me offering to invest in connectivity will help to redress this issue, working to tackle poverty, poor health, and reduced productivity in the area. But if we are to make our plans a reality, more support from Government Ministers must come”.

Government opened up two waves of funding. The first for ‘quick win’ financial assistance, and the second where regions have the opportunity to bid for funding to support longer term programmes. Portsmouth was successful in securing £4m of the first wave. March’s Budget announced further funding to local authorities with some outstanding decisions still remaining.

Expressing particular support for the way in which the funding can be used to improve cycling and walking infrastructure, in turn taking forward the city’s declaration of a climate emergency, Mr Morgan added:

“Whilst this funding offer will help bring economic benefits, more must be done to tackle the city’s air pollution crisis and climate emergency. That means the Government stepping up and setting out a plan to guarantee more investment to come in our city’s infrastructure.

Our environment must be at the heart of everything we do. So when Britain starts on the road to recovery after this current coronavirus crisis, we must ensure proper funding in Portsmouth to tackle the climate emergency. More people using sustainable travel will mean improved air quality and reduced carbon emissions.

I welcome the hard work of the local authority on this important agenda and will continue to liaise with the city council and all interested partners. Together we must lobby for further investment in public transport and active travel along with commitments to industry-leading low-emission vehicles, and call on the Government to do much more”.

In a letter sent this week by the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps MP to the Stephen Morgan MP, the Government has confirmed that a request has been made for a revised plan from bidders around a ‘nominal per capita award of around £56m’. It is expected this would support the delivery of a package of public transport and active travel enhancements for the area.