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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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Shadow Schools Minister and City MP visit Portsmouth Academy to launch digital education drive

Shadow Schools Minister Peter Kyle and City MP Stephen Morgan have visited The Portsmouth Academy as the secondary school launched an innovative digital education initiative.

The one:one device scheme will give children access to safe, affordable, state of the art laptops for use at home and school. All 250 Year 7 students at the academy now have their own devices to support and enrich their learning across the curriculum.

The MPs saw how the scheme gives teachers more flexibility in the classroom, freeing them from ‘the front’ and increasing the amount of individual support they can provide to students, particularly those who need additional support.

The scheme is part of a city-wide commitment to make Portsmouth a ‘digital city’ over the coming years, improving student attainment by shattering the digital divide and engaging parents in their child’s learning.

The Thinking Schools Academy Trust, of which Portsmouth Academy is part, is working with the City Council to produce a similar digital strategy for all 62 schools and colleges in Portsmouth.

The Portsmouth MP is keen to make sure the scheme is accessible to all local families and will be watching its development with interest.

The pair also met with local Nature Premium campaigners to hear about improving access to wildlife for young people in Portsmouth.

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

“I want every young person in Portsmouth to succeed at school wherever they are from, and whatever their background. Key to unlocking that potential is making sure all pupils have access to good quality and affordable technology.

“The pandemic shone a spotlight on the inequality and unfairness we see in today’s society, with many young people falling through the gaps and victims of the digital divide.

“It was a pleasure to visit Portsmouth Academy to hear how they are addressing this, see first-hand how young people are benefiting as a result, and showcase this to the Shadow Schools Minister in his first visit since taking up the post.

Portsmouth has the opportunity to lead a digital learning revolution. As online learning is becoming a daily reality for children across our city, I will watch with interest to make sure this scheme delivers both for the pupils who need it and struggling local families.”

Natalie Sheppard, Director of Education at the Portsmouth Hub, Thinking Schools Academy Trust, said:

“In Portsmouth, we are passionate about improving life chances for young people and know that technology is key to helping students gain the skills to thrive in a modern world. Schools across the city are working together to bring our collective vision of making Portsmouth an Edtech city to life. By collaborating and sharing our expertise and learning, we can use technology to enhance teaching and learning for all our young people across the city.

“It was fantastic to showcase to our MP and the Shadow Schools Minister how these concepts are working in practice and highlight some of the great work taking place at schools across Portsmouth. To be one of the key parties involved in leading such a ground-breaking project for the city is an honour and our team are driven to future-proof students for their careers by teaching them essential tech skills. With the programme gaining real momentum, we are greatly appreciative of the support of Mr Morgan and Mr Kyle.”

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Local Search and Rescue ‘heroes’ thanked for their service by Portsmouth MP

Stephen Morgan MP has joined Hampshire Search and Rescue ‘heroes’ for a training demonstration to see how the service has been keeping the area’s people safe.

Over the past year, the Hampshire Search and Rescue team have continued with their primary role of assisting police with missing person searches, as well as taking on a number of other tasks to help tackle the pandemic.

This includes delivering essential PPE to the front line and assisting Portsmouth International Port with the COVID swab testing of freight drivers. They have also been volunteering with Solent NHS Trust since January to deliver the Coronavirus vaccine.

The team has given 16,600 hours to the service so far in 2021, including 7,000 hours to support frontline work to tackle the pandemic.

The service was called out 96 times in 2020, their busiest ever year and 16 more than the 2019 total.

During his visit, the Portsmouth MP took part in a live training exercise and met service managers to learn about their operations.

Trevor Vidler, Vice Chair, said:

“It was a pleasure to host Stephen on the search exercise and we were pleased to be able to demonstrate our operational role.”

“Our all-volunteer charity currently has 122 members and we are on-call to the police 24 hours a day, every day of the year, whatever the weather.”

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

“Hampshire Search and Rescue Service have done a phenomenal job in keeping people safe during one of the most difficult periods our country has faced.

“It was inspirational to see the volunteers in action and learn more about how they help protect us day in, day out.

“I was delighted to thank them personally on behalf of all us for their truly heroic efforts over the last year.”

Visit: https://hantsar.org/ to donate or volunteer.

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Portsmouth MP’s ‘Stop AQUIND’ campaign accelerates with petition now available in local shops

Stephen Morgan MP’s joint campaign with the local ‘Stop AQUIND’ group to sign his public petition is accelerating, with petitions now available to collect in local shops and hundreds of signatures already collected.

The local representative – who has long-opposed the controversial AQUIND project – launched the petition alongside the local ‘Stop AQUIND’ campaign last weekend at the organisation’s ‘Walk the Route’ event.

The MP’s petition, which can be signed by any UK resident, calls on the government to reject the project, citing the huge damage it would do to the local infrastructure and environment, as well as ongoing concerns surrounding the project company and its directors.

Now, in less than a week, Mr Morgan’s office and ‘Stop AQUIND’ campaigners have collected hundreds of signatures, from knocking doors, being out and about in the constituency and at local community venues.

The following local businesses have also made the city MP’s public petition available in their stores to be signed by local residents:

  • Broadway Coffee
  • Hounds Barbers
  • Herbies
  • Southsea Cycles
  • Pompey on a roll
  • Corner collective
  • Tango Tea
  • Dress Code
  • Albert Road Southsea
  • Budds Apothecary
  • Milton community centre
  • Fruit and Flower
  • Locksway Road post office
  • The Larder
  • Winnie’ s Bakery
  • The Brewer’ s Tap
  • Wild Thyme
  • Southsea Deli

The petition is also set to be available soon in a range of shops on Albert Road and Milton Road.

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

“I’m really encouraged by the enthusiasm of local people who are keen to sign up to my public petition to Stop AQUIND.

“In less than a week, we have already made solid progress and it’s great to see so many community businesses who will be impacted by this deeply damaging project getting involved as well, which I hope will make it easier for others to sign up to my petition.

“AQUIND would be a disaster for Portsmouth and our city’s voices must be heard. By working together, we can Stop AQUIND.”

Mr Morgan, in partnership with the ‘Stop AQUIND’ campaign, is also set to run a number of street stalls in the coming days where it will be available for people to sign up.

He will also be speaking in a Westminster Hall debate that he recently secured on Tuesday, to once again call for the Business Secretary to delay making his final decision on AQUIND.

The public petition can be downloaded for signing at www.stephenmorgan.org.uk/aquindpetition

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AQUIND: Portsmouth MP launches petition to stop ‘disastrous’ infrastructure project alongside campaign group

Stephen Morgan MP has launched a public petition to secure a debate in Parliament to stop the ‘damaging’ AQUIND interconnector project from being approved by government.

The local representative – who has long-opposed the controversial project – has set up the petition alongside the local ‘STOP AQUIND’ campaign, which will be running its ‘Walk the Route’ event today (Sunday 4 July 2021).

Those who wish to join the walk can walk part of or the full 12-mile proposed route of the cable project, starting at 10am at Fort Cumberland.

The MP’s petition, which can be signed by any UK resident, calls on the government to reject the project, citing the huge damage it would do to the local infrastructure and environment, as well as ongoing concerns surrounding the project company and its directors.

The Portsmouth MP is set to present the petition to Parliament in the coming weeks.

The project company has received heavy criticism over its opaque financial structure and previous donations with backers of the project to the Conservatives, disruption to the local environment it could cause and conflicts of interest of the recently appointed chair of the universities regulator, Lord Wharton.

Following its inquiry, during which Mr Morgan voiced the concerns of constituents, the Planning Inspectorate has now made its recommendation to Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The Conservative Minister now has just under three months to make a final decision on whether to approve the project.

Stephen Morgan MP, commented:

“AQUIND would be a disaster for Portsmouth. It would create untold disruption to our City’s roads and natural environment, while bringing no clear benefits.

“Portsmouth residents’ voices deserve to be heard. That’s why I have launched my petition today, urging it to call on the Ministers to reject these damaging proposals.

“I urge all Portsmouth people, to sign my petition to make sure Ministers hear their concerns directly. We can, and we will, stop AQUIND.”

A spokesperson for the ‘Let’s Stop Aquind’ campaign, Viola Langley, also said:

“Our city should not be ripped apart to accommodate this highly damaging project.

“Our energy supply, our cyber security, our environment and our health are threatened.

“We say no to this cronyism, no to private profit, no to threat to our environment, no to threat to our health.”

Forms to sign the petition can be accessed here, which will then need to be printed, signed and sent to his constituency office at 72 Albert Road, Southsea PO5 2SL



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Give us our bobbies back

Stephen Morgan MP is calling on the Home Secretary to fund our police service fairly and give us back the bobbies Tory governments have taken from our city.

A decade of cuts means Hampshire has lost more than 1,000 police officers since 2010, and we remain 400 short despite recent increases.

Police workforce figures show our constabulary has just 135 officers per 100,000 people, the lowest of any force in the country.

This year’s police funding settlement confirms a £21.9m real-terms cut in funding for Hampshire Constabulary over the past decade.

Ministers are heaping the burden onto local taxpayers by raising the council tax precept, instead of funding our safety directly.

These cuts have real consequences for our city, and our safety. Crime has risen 15% since 2016, with home burglaries and weapon possessions nearly doubling.

Hampshire’s Chief Constable recently confirmed that underfunding means police responses have to be rationed.

If, like Stephen, you want safer streets and more bobbies back on the beat, sign his pledge:

Thank you for signing our pledge. Stephen Morgan MP and the Labour Party will use the personal information you provide for the purpose of the ‘Give us our bobbies back’ campaign. Where you have opted in, Stephen and the Labour Party may contact you via the communication channels you have chosen and for the purposes specified. We may also contact you by post using the electoral register, which Stephen is entitled to use as an MP and the Labour Party is entitled to use to further its objectives as a political party. You can opt out of communications from us or manage your preferences at any time. For more information about how we use personal data please visit: www.stephenmorgan.org.uk/privacy-policy

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City MP responds to Government’s roadmap for easing restrictions

Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement today of a roadmap for the easing of Coronavirus restrictions, Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

“After a long and difficult winter, our city will breathe a sigh of relief that there is now a clear route to easing current restrictions.

“Children learn best in the classroom, so the confirmation of a return on 8 March is welcome. Ministers must now make sure the testing announced works on the ground and speed up the vaccination of teachers and staff.  

“The hospitality and retail sector have been among the hardest hit by this pandemic, and many will be unable to open until mid-April at the earliest. I will continue to push Ministers to announce support for these sectors – as well as those who continue to be excluded – in the Budget next week.

“The progress we have made to date is thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of our frontline healthcare staff and service personnel, but also the many ways in which our city has pulled together.

“In the immediacy, we must remember that the virus still poses a significant risk, continue to follow guidelines and seize the opportunity to be vaccinated when it comes.”


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Portsmouth MP urges government to fix ‘broken’ pension credit scheme for over-75s TV licences

Stephen Morgan MP has outlined fresh concerns over the 3.7 million pensioners that are now required to start paying for TV licences, after the government’s delay to removing the concession for all over-75s expired on 1st August 2020.

In 2019 it was announced the universal free TV licence would be scrapped, except for over-75’s in receipt of Pension Credit from 1st June 2020.

This comes as many pensioners are reportedly either unaware or unable to access their pension credit, or fall just outside the requirements to qualify for the scheme, but are by no means living comfortably.

According to national charity Turn2us, an estimated 1,716 pensioners in the city of Portsmouth are not claiming their pension credit – which entitles them to a free TV licence.

Stephen Morgan MP commented,

“The government’s decision to force a political decision upon a BBC that is already receiving serious cuts to funding is completely unacceptable.

“But to then set up a pension credit scheme that is bureaucratic, ill-communicated and that still leaves many pensioners exempt from the scheme that are nowhere near living comfortably is just incredibly poor governance and lacking in vision.”

In addition, during lockdown and beyond, the importance of access to amenities for pensioners has been underscored.

According to Age UK, over 950,000 people aged 70+ in England (12% or one in eight) were shielding from the virus. Meanwhile, 38% of over-75s (2.1 million people) agreed that television was their main form of company, and 40% of over-75s (2.2 million people) live alone.

Mr Morgan added,

“During lockdown, now and in the months to come, TV will be incredibly important to help reduce loneliness for pensioners and to also ensure they remain updated on latest developments – particularly on Covid-19.

“The government needs to revisit this scheme urgently as weenter the winter period and I will be taking further action in Parliament to challenge them on this important issue.”

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South is set to table a range of parliamentary questions and look to arrange a cross-party Westminster Hall debate to challenge on the government’s TV licence policy, on behalf of pensioners in Portsmouth.

Mr Morgan has previously written to two Culture Secretaries lobbying for government on this issue, spoken out in favour of keeping the benefit during parliamentary debates; grilled Ministers in the House of Commons during relevant questions; submitted a string of targeted written questions to the department responsible; and written a joint letter with the Portsmouth Pensioners Association to the Prime Minister.

The government’s pension credit team can be reached on 0800 99 1234.





New job opportunity: Constituency Caseworker

Full time: Monday to Friday (occasional weekend work)

Salary:  £19,641-£27,876 plus benefits

Want to help make a difference to peoples’ lives? Interested in working at the heart of politics to help bring about change?

Then an opportunity has arisen to join Stephen Morgan MP’s Portsmouth team:

Stephen Morgan is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Portsmouth South, the first-ever Labour MP for the constituency.

A small support team works out of the constituency office on Albert Road Southsea to provide a public service to residents in Portsmouth South and assist with parliamentary duties.

What to do next…

If you have what it takes to join the team, please submit a covering letter and CV to Julie.Minal@parliament.uk by no later than Monday 17 February 2020, 12 noon.

Due to the high volume of applications expected please note we are only able to respond to those shortlisted for interview.


Legacy of last Labour Government unfolds before city’s eyes as HMS Prince of Wales comes home to Portsmouth

Stephen Morgan spent time with many hundreds of fellow Portsmouth people today watching HMS Prince of Wales dock in its new home for the first time.

The 65,000 tonne HMS Prince of Wales, commissioned by the Labour Government in 1998, will call Portsmouth home following its journey down from Roysth in Scotland.

Stephen Morgan, who visited the ship while under construction twice in welcoming the new aircraft carrier, the latest edition to the Royal Navy fleet.

Stephen said:

“Today, we had the opportunity to witness the legacy of the last time we had a Government that cared about our armed forces.
HMS Prince of Wales is not just vital to our national security and ability to respond to humanitarian crisis’, it has generated thousands of jobs and been of great economic significance to this nation.

I had the privilege of seeing her under construction as Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South twice in Rosyth, attending her naming, and seeing her dock in Portsmouth has instilled in me a massive sense of pride in the city where I grew up. Portsmouth truly is the heart and home of the Royal Navy”

Resulting from the Labour introduced carrier strike, the UK industry is set to benefit from a 15% build share of the jets—£13 billion to British companies. We also know that UK shipbuilding employs 23,000 people and contributes £1.7 billion a year to the UK economy.

Stephen Morgan said:

“We are at a critically important time for the United Kingdom, our allies, our place in the world and our nation’s defence and security yet since 2010 we have seen deep cuts with the MoD’s budget falling by nearly £10bn in real terms.

I have always been clear that the state has no higher duty than the protection of our citizens and the maintenance of national security. That is why I am proud that HMS Prince of Wales, and her sister ship HMS Queen Elizabeth, were the brainchild of a Labour Government and a legacy of the last time we had a Government serious about our Royal Navy.

Increased maritime capability, endless new job prospects, a boom for Portsmouth’s economy. This is what happens when Labour are in power.
Investment in Portsmouth’s naval future to make it as impressive as it’s history should not stop here. That is why I have been relentlessly lobbying for investment in a dry dock facility in our naval base which would bring in over 100 new jobs and be worth £1bn to our economy.

The Government now need to listen. It’s the right thing for Portsmouth and the right thing for the Royal Navy. I will keep working hard to make it happen”

Stephen has a strong record of delivery when it comes to standing up for Portsmouth and the Royal Navy. Demanding a dry dock facility during PMQs and written questions, meeting the procurement Minister to lobby for the city, meeting troops across the country, applying pressure over substandard military homes, standing up for veterans and hosting debates on armed forces welfare. These are just some of the actions he has taken, he has pledged to do more, but will need your help in doing so.