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Portsmouth MP holds government to account for failure to ‘level-up’ constituency

Stephen Morgan MP said the government is ‘short-changing’ Portsmouth in order to help its struggling highstreets and support the city’s cultural attractions tackle of the cost of living crisis, during departmental questions in the House of Commons today.

The City MP accused Ministers of prioritising areas that suit them politically, rather than those which urgently need support and attention, including his own constituency of Portsmouth South.

The north of the city, represented by a Conservative Minister, received £20m for several projects, including an urban park, upgrades to Hilsea Lido and a new cruise terminal.

However, proposals for the south of the city have missed out on the funding needed, the Portsmouth MP has said. Gosport, which the government identified as a ‘priority 1 area’ for levelling up, also got nothing.

This includes the long-overdue regeneration of the city centre, the rejuvenation of Portsmouth Harbour’s transport hub to improve access to the Historic Dockyard and Gunwharf Quay, and improving pedestrian access between Fratton station and the football stadium. Mr Morgan has previously lobbied the Chancellor separately about these matters.

According to the latest official figures, Portsmouth has lost at least 2,000 retail sector related jobs, sitting below the regional and national levels, as it was seven years ago back in 2015.

Later this week the MP is meeting the Arts Council to ensure his constituency is prioritised for future funding.

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

Portsmouth’s highstreets and cultural assets have been left behind by this Tory government, failing to offer the support they need to kickstart our economy and begin our recovery.

“Instead of using taxpayers’ money to serve its own political ambitions, government should be ‘levelling-up’ communities like our own to revive our struggling highstreets and boost our cultural attractions. They don’t need more pantomime answers from the Secretary of State that we heard today.

“I will continue to speak up for constituents to secure the investment our city needs and deserves.”

As well as working alongside the city council, backing its Levelling Up Fund bids, questioning Ministers, and lobbying the Chancellor directly over investment in the constituency, the Portsmouth representative has vowed to continue to fight in Parliament for what the area deserves.

He is meeting with officials again over submission of further proposals to Government.

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Portsmouth MP tours New Forest farm with NFU on work to support local people

Stephen Morgan MP has met National Farmers’ Union (NFU) representatives and the region’s farmers at a New Forest farm to learn more about how the agricultural sector is supporting our city’s communities.

During the visit, the Portsmouth representative discussed concerns over food security, ensuring a workforce to pick crops and land management in a roundtable with the NFU and local farmers.

In Portsmouth South alone, this year residents will eat an estimated:

  • 12.3 million eggs
  • 10.7 million litres of milk
  • 3,063 tonnes of bread

It comes as recent workforce shortages highlighted sensitivities around food supply chains, including ongoing workforce shortages in the food and farming sectors in picking, packing, processing and distributing food.

Agricultural workers played a critical role in keeping supply-chains running during the pandemic and restrictions, and Mr Morgan took the opportunity to thank them for their efforts.

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

“It’s been useful to meet with National Farming Union representatives and our region’s farmers, to learn more about the work they are doing to support our communities and keep us fed.

“Farmers went above and beyond to support us and keep food on the shelves during the height of the pandemic, so it’s only right they get the support that’s needed from Westminster as we recover.

“I look forward to working with the NFU to ensure our area’s farming community get the help they need to keep providing for Portsmouth families.”

According to the NFU, the UK’s current food self-sufficiency rate is hovering at about 60%. Labour has accused the government of being “far too complacent” on food security, saying it would look to increase the UK’s self-sufficiency.

Labour has said it would support farms to make, sell and buy more in Britain. This includes using public procurement to ensure that schools and hospitals buy local produce, encouraging more food to be grown in the region, and across the rest of the country.

The city MP added:

“The conflict in Ukraine has triggered a humanitarian tragedy and our nation’s attention is rightly focused on attempting to resolve the crisis.

“It has also reminded us of the need to tackle challenges with the global food market, from rising fuel prices pushing fertilizer costs up by as much as 400%, to both Russia and Ukraine accounting for nearly a third of global wheat exports.

“Like many other countries, the UK faces economy-wide disruption that could last for many years, including to our food output, our food supply chains and the availability and affordability of food to consumers.

“As an island nation, being able to grow enough food to feed a substantial proportion of our population is a key measure of food security and national resilience.

“That’s why I will be calling on Government to set out a clear plan to maintain confidence and stability across the UK’s food producing businesses, to protect working families and pensioners, and keep Britain fed.”

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Portsmouth MP will vote to ban fire & rehire and for P&O Ferries to reinstate its workforce

Stephen Morgan MP is set to vote with Labour today, demanding that P&O Ferries reinstates its workforce and for fire and rehire to be outlawed.

The mass sackings without notice last week caused outrage nationwide, amid reports suggested security firms with balaclavas and handcuffs were used to take sacked British workers off the vessels.

The Conservative Government was made aware of the sackings before it was announced, and of the plan to use fire and rehire.

Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, Louise Haigh MP, has called this moment “a line in the sand” and later today Labour will stage a vote demanding the Tories outlaw fire and rehire, strengthen workers’ rights and take tough action to force the company to think again.

Labour called on the government to:

  • Outlaw fire and rehire and bring forward an urgent bill to strengthen workers rights.
  • Suspend the contracts of DP World – the owner of P&O Ferries – until this matter is resolved
  • Remove DP World from the UK Government’s Transport Advisory Group where they were appointed by the now Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, “to provide knowledge, experience and strategic expertise” on trade negotiations.

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

“I will fight every step of the way for the jobs and livelihoods of these loyal workers.

“This scandalous action must be a line in the sand. If P&O Ferries can get away with this, it will give the green light to other exploitative employers.

“That’s why I’m voting to ban fire and rehire for good and am calling on Government to suspend licenses and contracts of P&O Ferries and DP World and reinstate these grossly mistreated workers.

“I will continue to work alongside trade unions to campaign for the outlawing of draconian fire and rehire practices.”

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City MP helps launch new campaign to promote ‘World-class’ Portsmouth attractions

Stephen Morgan MP spoke at the launch of a new city campaign at Spinnaker Tower on Thursday evening to boost visitors to the city and mark the start of English Tourism Week.

The new campaign includes an events guide highlighting everything happening this year from international spectacles like Victorious Festival and the Great South Run to smaller community events such as the Live at the Bandstand, King George V fireworks display and Heritage Open Days.

The council is also partnering with South Western Railways to showcase Portsmouth on landmark digital billboards at London Waterloo Station and will be attending a number of trade events in the capital during English Tourism Week, 18-27 March.

Attractions across the city are getting behind the push with a range of special offers during the week including £30 off an ultimate explorer ticket at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard; 20% discount at Exploria; special offers on a range of performances at Portsmouth Guildhall and 20% off Hover travel tickets.

Portsmouth residents can also get 25% discount on a visit to the Spinnaker Tower or 40% off entry to D-Day Story. More information on all the special offers can be found by searching “English Tourism Week” at www.visitportsmouth.co.uk

Stephen Morgan, MP for Portsmouth South, said:

“Portsmouth has world class attractions like the historic dockyard and D-Day Story and I’m delighted to see local efforts made to promote our city to a wider audience.

“Our tourist, cultural and historic attractions are increasingly the envy of the world and a source of national pride.

“So as we mark this English Tourism Week, I’m calling on local people to redouble our efforts to shout about what our city has to offer, and to use our assets as a symbol of the kind of city and country we are now and aspire to be in the future.”

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Energy Crisis: 11,885 jobs in Portsmouth at risk as energy cost rises hit businesses

Stephen Morgan MP has attacked the government after new analysis revealed that without urgent measures to address skyrocketing energy costs for manufacturing and industry, 11,885 jobs in Portsmouth may be at risk.

This rises to 334,565 jobs across the whole of the South East.

Industries that use a lot of energy in production are facing massive increases in energy bills, as the wholesale forward contract cost of gas rose by 80 per cent between May and November 2021, according to Ofgem.

Industries including metal, glass and ceramic manufacturing and mining are bearing the brunt of price rises.

In 2018, British industry paid on average 33% more for electricity than their European counterparts, but UK Steel has said that figure is as high as 61% today.

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

“Households are facing soaring energy bills and so are businesses, especially those in energy intensive sectors, but Government has offered little to address the eye-watering costs they are facing.

“Energy prices for businesses have gone up as much as four times and if the Government don’t do something soon, 11,885 jobs in Portsmouth could be lost as more and more businesses close their doors.

“That’s why Labour has a plan ready to go to cut VAT on home and business energy bills, as well as a contingency fund for energy intensive industries including steel, glass, ceramics, chemicals and paper, who face massive increases in costs.

“With working people and families in our city already struggling to make ends meet, ordinary people cannot afford to lose their jobs as well. Labour will always guarantee workers and their employers the security, prosperity and respect they deserve.”

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City MP reacts to Portsmouth’s Port’s new ‘ambitious’ 20-year masterplan

Stephen Morgan MP has welcomed Portsmouth International Port’s (PIP) new 20-year masterplan, launched earlier today.

The £92m 20-year Masterplan is expected to generate £739m over next ten years and secure over 11,000 jobs over the next 20.

£357m is expected to be generated for the local economy by 2042, up from roughly £187m it currently does now.

The Masterplan that will focus on:

  • Expansion of port land to cater for increase in unaccompanied freight
  • Extension of berth to cater for ships up to 300m
  • Extension to 25m for ships exiting the port
  • Creation of out-of-city pre gate and storage facilities
  • Smart technology to manage cargo and passenger flow
  • Sustainable infrastructure to manage alternative power demands
  • Achieve net zero by 2030
  • Facilitate a new electric ferry service
  • Upgrade facilities at international cargo terminal Portico
  • New Border Control Post

Mr Morgan lobbied government on behalf of PIP for £32m of funding in October 2020 from the government’s Port Infrastructure Fund, to prepare for new customs arrangements, allowing it to adapt to the government’s own new Border Operating Model.

However, the city port was only handed £17.1m of what it asked for – leaving a very large of shortfall of at least £7m and many businesses dependent on the port in the dark.

Government has also so far ignored the port’s further request for funding for all its originally planned new Border Control Points, and without it, the port will have no facility to use to check the 30,000 breeding animals that are expected to come through each year.

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

“Portsmouth Port’s success is our city’s success, so I am delighted to learn how it will continue to create thousands of jobs, supporting our local economy and our national prosperity for many more years to come.

“The port’s new masterplan offers an exciting and ambitious future for Portsmouth, supporting the next generation through good quality work at a key asset for our city, providing lifelong career opportunities for local young people to take pride in.

“I am proud that the city’s port is putting environmental ambitions at the centre of its plans, working with partners who share these values, as they have a moral obligation to future generations to do so. 

“As a council-owned port, society and economy must go hand in hand, and it also means that decisions can be made based on wider benefits.

“I’ve been relentlessly lobbying ministers to get the support our port needs, but government has continued to short-change our city. I will continue to speak up for the port to secure the investment it deserves.

“The delivery of these plans is now essential to ensure Portsmouth International Port remains one of the prize assets of our city and the country that we can all be proud of. I look forward to continuing to support these efforts to ensure it happens.”

The City MP was particularly supportive of targets included within the plan to reach carbon net-zero by 2030, and become the UK’s first zero emission port by 2050.

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Keeping HMRC in Portsmouth: City MP responds

Responding to the announcement that HMRC will keep a presence in Portsmouth and the city will become of the regional hubs, Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP said:

“I welcome HMRC’s commitment to establish a regional centre in Portsmouth, and potentially retain Lynx House, although I will be seeking urgent clarification about what this means for jobs.
“I have long-argued that closing Lynx House would be a disaster for local people and our city’s economy. That’s why I have been lobbying Ministers to protect these jobs from government cuts, liaising with trade unions, meeting with staff affected and raising concerns in Westminster.
“At a time when workload was due to rise five-fold, the threat to close Lynx House showed poor foresight and planning. I am pleased our city will now be one of the government’s regional centres.”
The MP has been campaigning alongside PCS to keep the presence in Portsmouth and protect local jobs.
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Portsmouth MP slams government as new figures reveal gender pay gap in South East won’t close until 2046

Stephen Morgan MP has slammed the government as new analysis reveals the gender pay gap in the South East won’t close until 2046.
The analysis to mark Equal Pay Day shows progress on the gender pay gap has stalled significantly under the Conservative government, with ten million women across the UK now projected to work until retirement without seeing equal pay – up from 8.5 million a year ago.
A regional breakdown of the figures shows that the gender pay gap in the South East won’t close for another 25 years. It means an 18-year-old woman entering employment in the region today will have to wait until she turns 43 before the gender pay gap closes.
Reacting to the figures, Labour’s Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary Anneliese Dodds MP has accused the Conservatives of “failing an entire generation of women in the South East.”
While progress to close the gender pay gap has gone into reverse under the Conservatives, Labour has pledged urgent action to close it by:

  • Modernising equal pay legislation to allow for equal pay comparisons across employers where men and women are carrying out comparable work.
  • Enforcing the requirement to report and eliminate pay gaps, with employers required to devise and implement plans to eradicate these inequalities.
  • Ensuring outsourced workers are included in employers’ gender pay gap reporting and pay ratio reporting.
  • Introducing mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting for firms with more than 250 staff, to mirror gender pay gap reporting rules.

The figures come as women continue to struggle with the hugely unequal impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The gender pay gap increased by 13% between April 2020 and April 2021, when women were more likely to be furloughed, more likely to lose income to home-school, and more likely to work in sectors that are expected to see the slowest economic recovery from the crisis.
In the eight years of Labour Government between 2002 and 2010, the gender pay gap narrowed by just over 7%.
The member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“Women in Portsmouth and across the region will find it absurd that the gender pay gap isn’t projected to close in their area until 2046.
“The Conservative Government should be taking action to close the gender pay gap. Instead, it’s standing by while progress has gone into reverse, with women in Portsmouth facing a 25 year-wait just to be paid what a man does for the same work.
“It’s clear that the Conservatives are failing an entire generation of women in Portsmouth. Labour would take urgent action to close the gender pay gap by giving women the ability to compare their salaries with men doing the same job in a different firm, and forcing employers to bring forward plans to eradicate pay gaps.”

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Stephen’s ‘Support Local’ Business awards

In the lead up to this year’s Small Business Saturday on 4 December, Stephen is calling on constituents to nominate their best local shop or trader in the Portsmouth South constituency.

Winners of each category will be recognised by the city MP with a certificate of appreciation from Portsmouth people.

The initiative is part of Stephen’s efforts to stand up for our city’s small businesses and aims to highlight independent shops and traders and encourage constituents to keep the pound in Portsmouth by supporting local businesses in our communities.

The deadline for nominations is 1 December. So be quick!

Please enter your nominations below

Thank you for nominating. Stephen Morgan MP will use the personal information you provided for the purpose of the Small Business Saturday. 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 here

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Portsmouth MP welcomes ‘exciting’ new partnership between Subsea Craft and UoP to develop cutting-edge maritime technology

Stephen Morgan MP has welcomed a new partnership between Portsmouth-based Subsea Craft and the University of Portsmouth to develop cutting-edge maritime technology.

The partnership, funded by Subsea and by £220,000 made available by Innovate UK through the ‘Knowledge Transfer Partnership’ programme, will run for two years and see two new researchers (KTP Associates) join Subsea, with the company also gaining access to knowledge from the School of Energy and Electronic Engineering in the Faculty of Technology at the university.

The resultant technology will form part of the wider digital offer Subsea Craft are preparing alongside their flagship product, VICTA – the world’s most advanced diver-delivery unit that is capable of travelling at up to 40kts above surface, before rapidly moving sub-surface. The partnership will deliver vital digital capabilities that will further enhance those already embedded in VICTA.

The team at the University of Portsmouth, led by Professor Victor Becerra – who will be supported by Dr Edward Smart, Dr Hongjie Ma, and two researchers – has extensive experience in the industry.

The new agreement is expected to improve the university’s already expert knowledge in the sector, and provide them with another strategic business link in their region. For the associates being hired, it will provide the opportunity to work in a high-skilled advanced role, bringing more high-quality jobs to Portsmouth.

Visiting Subsea Craft’s facility in Portsmouth Harbour today, Portsmouth South MP and Shadow Armed Forces Minister Stephen Morgan, said:

“I am delighted to see an innovative local SME partnering with the University to develop world-leading new technology here in our city.

“This partnership will not only deliver the next generation of marine technology for commercial and navy ships, it also drives the creation of the high skilled jobs that are crucial for our city’s economic success.

“I can think of no better place to begin this ground-breaking work than in the home and heart of the Royal Navy and I wish the project team every success.”

Scott Verney, CEO at Subsea, added:

“This partnership is not only a great one for Subsea as we continue to develop cutting edge maritime technology, but a good one for Portsmouth as a whole.

“Our ambition is to create a centre of maritime technology excellence at our HQ in the Camber, and this work with the University is a huge part of that.”