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Local MP calls for nominations for best Curry House in his constituency

Stephen Morgan MP has called for local nominations for the best South Asian restaurant in his constituency of Portsmouth South, as part of this year’s Tiffin Cup.

The Tiffin Cup, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, seeks to promote the importance of South Asian restaurants throughout the UK. There are at present 9,000 restaurants and takeaways in the country and they contribute over £2 billion to the British economy. Each year the competition has attracted over 100 nominees from MPs and Peers.

The restaurant with the most nominations from constituents will be nominated by Stephen Morgan MP to the Tiffin Cup judges. Following Stephen’s local nomination there will be a Regional Final from which 12 Finalists are chosen.

At the final, each restaurant will be asked to prepare a signature dish which will be marked by a panel of expert Judges, chaired by the Celebrity Chef Ainsley Harriott MBE. The winner is crowned Tiffin Cup winner for the year.

Local residents can share their nominations to Stephen’s office via the form on his website here.

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

Local businesses have really struggled to cope with the impacts of the pandemic, particularly those in hospitality.

“It’s so important that we support our highstreets and Portsmouth businesses, so I urge residents to visit local, get in touch and nominate their favourite South Asian restaurant for this year’s Tiffin Cup awards.

“We have a fantastic set of restaurants in our community that need our support, so it’s vital that we champion them and secure the wider recognition they richly deserve.”

The deadline for local nominations is November 19.

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Portsmouth MP steps in to progress Fratton Park infrastructure plans in meeting with PFC and Network Rail

Stephen Morgan MP has stepped up his continued efforts to support development proposals at Fratton Park and improve access to the stadium by bringing together representatives of Portsmouth Football Club and Network Rail.

Portsmouth Football Club said in June this year that the club was “in dialogue with local government about much needed infrastructure improvements in the local vicinity to facilitate access to the stadium along the key transportation routes to Fratton Park.”

The city MP has been calling for some time for the city council to play an active part in supporting the club to get its development plans off the ground, at a time when government is making money available for regeneration.

In a summit set up this week, representatives of Network Rail and Portsmouth Football Club met with the Portsmouth MP at Fratton station for a meeting, which included a walk around the site to better understand access challenges from the station on match days and wider congestion issues.

The group agreed a set of ideas and took away a number of actions to improve links to the stadium, as well as wider future rail investment plans for Portsmouth and the region.

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

“For me, our club’s success is our city’s success and as we recover from this crisis it’s vital we see the investment that’s needed to improve connectivity and access to Fratton Park, which will be critical for securing the city’s future prosperity.

“I was glad to facilitate discussions between the club and Network Rail and I was encouraged to see some progress made on this issue which has been stalling for some time now.

“I will continue to do all I can to support the club’s ambitions for this project and will be urging the city council to do so too to help make these plans a reality for fans.”

Andrew Cullen, Chief Executive of Portsmouth Football Club, added,

“We are extremely grateful for both the keen interest and support that Stephen Morgan MP continues to invest in the proposals for the future development of Fratton Park and the associated impact on local transport and infrastructure.

“We look forward to further discussions with all the various stakeholders to shape and deliver an exciting and inspiring future, both for the football club and the city of Portsmouth.”

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Portsmouth MP praises ‘fantastic creativity’ of new indoor skatepark to be converted from disused supermarket

Stephen Morgan MP has praised the ‘fantastic creativity’ of a new project that will see the old Sainsbury’s supermarket on Commercial Road converted into an indoor skatepark.

The long-term future of the Undercover Skatepark Project will be decided by Portsmouth City Council, which in the meantime has granted the project a temporary licence to use the site.

Plans include an indoor half pipe, as well as facilities for community arts and other wheeled sports.

Visiting the site, Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan, said,

“It’s fantastic to see the creativity used here to breathe fresh life back into a large space which would have otherwise gone unused for some time.

“This will be a brilliant facility for our city which will help to support our local economic recovery from this crisis, by driving more people back to the high-street, whilst also tackling anti-social behaviour by providing a new safe haven for younger people.

“I want to see more local projects like this supported if we are to deliver Portsmouth’s cultural and economic recovery.”

Jacob Skinner, one of the organisers behind the project, added,

“It was great to have Stephen come visit our site.  Having the backing of our local MP is important to the project, it also reaffirms the importance of what we are doing. 

“We are building a wheeled sports, leisure and creative facility for the city so it’s nice to know we have it’s support.  I look forward to seeing him have a roll around when we open!”

Undercover Skatepark’s team of about 20 volunteers hope to have the indoor park operational by the end of the year.

You can donate to the project via its fundraising page here: https://uk.gofundme.com/f/undercover-skatepark-project

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‘Portsmouth’s GCSE students deserve huge credit, but they’ve been let down’ – local MP during results day visit

Stephen Morgan MP congratulated local GCSE students during a visit to ARK Charter Academy on Thursday for ‘overcoming huge obstacles’, despite disruption to their learning, after multiple lockdowns over the past 18 months.

The Portsmouth MP was speaking to students, parents and staff at the city school, as results were collected, to learn more about the challenges they have faced over the last year and a half and what more can be done to improve education in Portsmouth.

Children across the South East have missed an estimated 101 days of in-person school – over half a normal school year – but the Conservatives’ meagre education ‘catch-up’ plan provides just £0.93 per child for every day of in-person school missed.

Meanwhile, Labour’s £15 billion Child Recovery plan would invest £982 million into the South East to ensure all schools can deliver a new range of activities and support – from sports to drama or music – to fuel post lockdown recovery, whilst starting to address entrenched learning gap which sees children on free school meals falling behind their peers.

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

“GCSE students across Portsmouth deserve enormous credit for their achievements and hard work over the last year and a half, despite the challenges they faced only made worse by this government’s actions.

“From delaying a circuit breaker that led to more hours of lost learning, to a ‘catch-up plan’ that doesn’t even touch the sides, Portsmouth’s students, parents and teachers have been left by the wayside by this government.

“I’m incredibly proud of the determination and achievements of Portsmouth’s students this year, as I have heard first-hand today, but to recover from this pandemic and challenging period, this generation needs far more support from Government.”

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Pride in Portsmouth: Portsmouth MP launches local recovery campaign at Historic Dockyard

Stephen Morgan MP launches his ‘Pride in Portsmouth’ campaign following a visit to the city’s Historic Dockyard, aiming to shine a spotlight on our city’s fantastic cultural assets, ahead of restrictions set to ease on Monday.

The Portsmouth MP met the team behind the Mary Rose and the National Museum for the Royal Navy, two key cultural assets for the city, as they make their final preparations for their reopening next week.

Parts of the visit included a preview of the new £1million exhibition at the National Museum for the Royal Navy and improved visitor centre, where Mr Morgan was able to thank and pay tribute to the staff behind the scenes that have helped to put it together, after a particularly tough year for the cultural and arts sectors.

Tourism is crucial to the city, providing around £600 million in income each year and supporting around 13,000 jobs.

It comes as much of the city also prepares to reopen its doors to visitors and residents, marking the beginning of the recovery of Portsmouth’s economy, following an unprecedented year of challenges.

A survey of tourism businesses in South East England recently showed:

  • 36% estimated losing more than £100,000 revenue this year
  • 57% had furloughed staff and 5% made staff redundant
  • 15% under threat of closure and 44% unsure if they could continue.

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

“It’s great be back at two of our top cultural gems of our city in the Mary Rose and Royal Navy Museums, seeing first-hand their brilliant exhibitions, as they prepare to fully reopen on Monday.

“Our city has an incredible amount to offer, with the tourism industry being a vital contributor to our local economy.

“That’s why today I am launching my ‘Pride in Portsmouth’ campaign, a call to action for our community to show its pride in our city by visiting local businesses and supporting our key cultural and sporting assets and shining a light on the access to those hidden gems.

I hope this will help to keep the pound in Portsmouth and secure our city’s local economic recovery.”

Part of the campaign’s focus will also be to widen participation and access in Portsmouth’s cultural offer, ensuring all residents have a stake in their city’s history and its future.

Mr Morgan is set to meet and visit a range of local groups, businesses, and cultural centres in the weeks ahead, to offer his support for the local economic recovery.

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Portsmouth MP says lobbying for city’s arts and cultural sector ‘is paying off’ but Government must support those excluded

Stephen Morgan MP has today welcomed the latest round of grants to help the city’s arts and cultural sector recover from the pandemic but has called on Ministers to finally end the uncertainty for those in the creative sector who have missed out on financial support

In the Portsmouth South constituency, the Cultural Recovery Fund has today awarded grants totalling £1,066,493 to over six organisations from Concrete Music to The Mary Rose. Moreover, across Portsmouth, a total of £1,143,047 has been awarded to eight organisations.

Arts Council England has awarded over £261 million to more than 2,700 organisations as part of this round of the national programme.

The Portsmouth South MP has been tirelessly lobbying Government to support the city’s arts and cultural organisations and those who work in the sector in what has been an extremely challenging time for the industry.

This has included meeting with local representatives, submitting parliamentary questions, visiting organisations to hear concerns, supporting funding bids and lobbying Ministers directly.

Welcoming today’s latest grants round, Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“I have long argued that when our country recovers from this pandemic culture must be front and centre. Yet so many of our city’s fantastic arts and cultural organisations have been under huge strain in the past year, with venues closed and ticket and secondary sales lost.

I am pleased that the lobbying of Government is finally paying off and these grants will go a long well to help many organisations get back on their feet and recover from a difficult year.

It was a pleasure to work alongside so many in the sector to secure much needed funding for Portsmouth, but we have more to do to get Ministers to listen, and ensure the strong foundations we need for the future”.

The Cultural Recovery Fund has been designed to support venues rather than individuals in the creative sector.  On this the city MP added:

“Our city’s recovery will not just be about making sure organisations have the resources they need to thrive, but also support is given to those amazing creatives who work within the sector.

Last month’s Budget made only a small adjustment to the support for the self-employed but there are still millions without support – many of whom work within the creative and events sector here in Portsmouth.

That’s why I will continue to lobby Government to make sure those excluded from financial support are not forgotten. They need certainty too and they need it now”.

Local beneficiaries of the Cultural Recovery Fund also include:

  • The Cathedral Church of St. Thomas of Canterbury in Portsmouth (£121,000 )
  • Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust (£222,300)
  • PRCDTC Portsmouth St Johns Cathedral (£102,200)
  • The Wedgewood Rooms (£73,686)
  • Groundlings Theatre (£32,582)
  • SSD Music limited (£299,002)
  • Portsmouth City Council – Museums (£160,640)
  • The Kings Theatre Trust (£172,931)

 

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Portsmouth MP calls for government-backed insurance scheme for festivals

Stephen Morgan MP has called for the government to introduce an insurance scheme for festivals across the country to ensure they can go ahead this year.

It comes as the Portsmouth MP has written to the Chancellor on behalf of local festival ‘Victorious’, a well-known and popular annual event for the city.

The letter outlines that whilst the festival can in theory go ahead in August according to the recently announced government roadmap, existing providers are unwilling to offer insurance due to current uncertainty, putting the festival at risk.

According to the letter, the music event creates at least 154 full-time equivalent jobs each year and generates more than £12m Gross Value Added to the local economy.

Meanwhile, the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has previously reported that more than 90% of its members face costs that could ruin their businesses as a result of cancelled events and almost none were covered by insurance for cancellation related to Covid-19.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, commented,

“The government has the perfect opportunity to introduce a government-backed insurance scheme for festivals, allowing them to bounce back this summer.

“It would secure jobs, promote local economic growth and provide entertainment after a long and difficult winter.”

James Ralls, Managing Director, Victorious Festivals, also said,

“Insurance is a key part of our preparations for Victorious Festival this year and the last piece in the puzzle to enable an amazing summer of live events to go ahead.

“I urge the government to help enable the UK creative industries to thrive once again by introducing a government backed insurance scheme.”

Mr Morgan has previously called for the government to protect creative workers and the wider related sectors.

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‘Government must deliver on its promise to creative workers’

I know from my postbag that many constituents are concerned by the issue of work permits for creative workers now that the Brexit transition period has ended.

The work musicians, performers, technicians and writers do in bringing creativity to our lives is important in and of itself, but it is also a hugely important part of our city’s economy and has to be part of the recovery plan for Portsmouth as we emerge from the pandemic.

The industry was one of the fastest growing sectors before the pandemic and a real example of Britain shining on the world stage as we are a net exporter of music worldwide.

I believe it is not acceptable that UK-based creative workers miss out. These opportunities are even more essential in the context of how hard-hit creatives have been in the pandemic. Incomes have been lost and so many people have fallen through the gaps in government support.

The current situation will prevent many younger, newer artists from touring and progressing their careers. It will also prevent European acts from touring here – hitting our music venues when they need it most.

Labour wants the Government to deliver on its promise to creative workers that they won’t be subject to unnecessary bureaucracy in the post-Brexit world. UK-based creative workers should not be disadvantaged by the Government’s failures to stand up for their jobs and nor should our venues miss out on EU-based talent.

Ministers need to put this situation right. I will continue to push the Government on this important issue of concern for Portsmouth people.

Stephen Morgan MP