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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.”

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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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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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Fire and rehire: Portsmouth MP votes to end ‘cruel and unacceptable’ practice

Stephen Morgan MP has backed legislation to stop employers being able to sack staff and rehire them on worse pay and conditions.

Despite it not being possible in UK law to outright ban fire and rehire, the Bill will enshrine good practice into law and will penalise bad practice.

The new legislation will require employers to provide all relevant information to workforce representatives or a recognised union and consult with them at the very earliest stage, with the intention of reaching agreement on the least disagreeable way forward.

The Bill also gives a right to claim automatic unfair dismissal if the steps are not taken or if a worker is dismissed for refusing a reduction in terms and conditions.

Fire and rehire is not a new phenomenon. However, it has gained prominence because of the high-profile controversy generated by its use by major employers such as British Airways, Heathrow Airport and British Gas in circumstances they claim to be justified by the COVID pandemic to force their staff onto lower wages and longer hours and cut benefits such as pensions.

A poll published by the TUC revealed that nearly one in 10 (9%) workers have been told to re-apply for their jobs on worse terms and conditions since the first lockdown in March.

In the same poll nearly a fifth of 18-24 year-olds say their employer has tried to rehire them on inferior terms during the pandemic. And twice as many black and minority ethnic (BME) workers (15%) have been faced with fire and rehire as white workers (8%).

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

Fire and rehire is a backward and unacceptable practice that must end. No one in Portsmouth should be subjected to this cowardly negotiation tactic.

“It is not just bad for working people, it’s bad for our economy too, with the loss of productivity meaning less public money to support our vital local services.

“We have an opportunity to emerge from this crisis and move on to something better, not go back to the broken measures we had before. Government must do the right thing and vote with Labour to end fire and rehire.”

Earlier this year, the Portsmouth MP met with local British Gas engineers, and members of the GMB union, whose members were striking, due to a dispute with Centrica on pay and conditions.

Mr Morgan also wrote a letter to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng MP back in March, calling for Government action and demanded that ‘real negotiations’ be conducted. He disclosed in the letter that he had met with engineers in Portsmouth who have been affected by the renegotiation tactics.

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Portsmouth MP will vote to cut business rates, as new figures show over 300,000 businesses at risk across the country

Stephen Morgan MP will today urge the government to cut business rates, and support struggling high street businesses in Portsmouth.

 

It comes as the Portsmouth MP’s office revealed new figures, based on a breakdown of data from the Office for National Statistics, that up to 174 of businesses are at risk in the local representative’s constituency of Portsmouth South alone.

 

With business organisations including the CBI, FSB, British Chamber of Commerce and over 40 trade associations calling for an urgent reform of the tax, the cost to businesses from rising inflation and increasing shortages is making the change more urgent.

 

Labour committed at their party conference to cutting and eventually entirely scrapping business rates and replace them with a new form of business taxation fit for the 21st Century. 

 

Labour has proposed freezing Business Rates until the next revaluation, and then increasing the threshold for small business rates relief (from the current threshold of £15,000 to £25,000), to give SMEs a discount on their business rates bill for 2022/23, ahead of more fundamental reform, where the party say they will scrap business rates entirely and replace them with a new form of business taxation.

 

Labour would pay for easing this burden on businesses by raising the UK Digital Services Tax to 12 per cent for 2022/23, raising £2.1bn which would be spent on cutting business rates for small businesses and the high street. In the long term, Labour would fund the replacement for business rates by shifting the burden of business taxation away from the high street towards large online tech giants.

 

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

“Our high street businesses do so much to enrich our lives and our communities, facing huge adversity in the past year.

 

“But I know that many local businesses, particularly those in the city centre, are struggling right now, with a cliff-edge in rates relief coming up in March, and increasing shortages and supply chain issues increasing pressure and costs.

 

“I want Portsmouth’s high streets to thrive, and that’s why Labour will scrap business rates. We will carry out the biggest overhaul of business taxation in a generation, so our businesses can lead the pack, not watch opportunities go elsewhere.”

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Pubs ‘vital’ to local economy, but being chronically let down by government – City MP

Stephen Morgan MP has underlined that the pub and brewing sector has been chronically let down by government, despite its considerable contribution to the economy and the challenges it’s faced this year.

According to the latest research by the British Beer and Pub Association, in the Portsmouth MP’s constituency alone, brewing companies and pubs contribute 2,478 jobs and £60m to the local economy.

Nationally, before the pandemic, the sector was supporting 900,000 jobs, generating £23 billion in economic value and providing £13 billion in tax revenues.

However, even before Covid-19 took hold, pubs were under severe threat, with a 15% fall in their number from 2010 to 2020.

A review of business rates has been delayed by the government until the autumn, leaving many businesses working in the hospitality and related sectors feeling uncertain.

Meanwhile, the city MP has backed a call to scrap business rates and reforming business taxation, so it is fairer, more efficient and shifts the burden of business tax.

It comes as a number of industry bodies have got behind this year’s ‘Long Live Local’ campaign, calling on the Government to invest in pubs and breweries through the reform of the unfair tax burden – specifically lower VAT & Business Rates for pubs and lower Beer Duty.

After listening to concerns of constituents and the local hospitality sector, the city MP will be meeting industry in Parliament later this month to continue his efforts in lobbying Government for support to the sector.

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

“Pubs are at the heart of the UK’s communities and play an important role not only in our in our local and national economy but also in our social lives and neighbourhoods.

“But with inflation on the rise, gas prices up and an acute HGV driver shortage, many pub and brewing businesses will be worrying how long they can keep on going and need to be given assurances by government.

“That’s why I believe the business rate review must not be delayed any longer and must lead to wholesale reform. An overhaul of business rates is long overdue, and Labour’s alternative will offer a real plan to help our hospitality industry to thrive.”

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City MP pays visit to ‘vital business for Portsmouth’s economy’, Brittany Ferries

Stephen Morgan MP has met with one of the key businesses of Portsmouth’s economy, Brittany Ferries, to understand its current challenges, including preparations for when restrictions ease and the uncertainty around green, amber and red list countries.

The company, which serves destinations in France and northern Spain, says international holidays by sea could be set for a big come-back.

In the UK, Brittany Ferries sails from Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth. It carries around 2.5 million passengers a year (pre-Covid average), 85 percent of whom are British.

The Portsmouth representative met with the travel firm’s UK Managing Director, John Napton, as well as other senior colleagues.

The visit is one of the many businesses and organisations the city MP has met with over the last month, as part of his ‘Pride in Portsmouth’ to support the city’s recovery from the pandemic, encourage visitors to the city’s attractions and keep the pound in Portsmouth.

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

“Brittany Ferries is a vital part of our city’s economy, employing many people across Portsmouth and generating income to our city’s port which sustains local public services.

“For businesses like these, the uncertainty around both the easing of restrictions and the confusing red, amber and green list countries, makes it incredibly difficult for them to plan ahead and ultimately ensure their business recovery.

“I will continue to speak up for businesses based in our city, encourage residents to show their ‘Pride in Portsmouth’ to support them, as well as push to get the certainty they need from government.”

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Portsmouth MP backs Labour’s bold post-covid education proposals for children to ‘play, learn and develop’

Stephen Morgan MP has thrown his support behind Labour’s extensive new education plan for the immediate post-Covid period, fuelled by the widely held understanding that children make academic progress when they are happy and well-supported.

At the heart of the new plans is a focus on ensuring children’s education results in happy, confident, ambitious young people, well prepared for the world of work, no matter where they come from or what type of school they go to.

It comes following recent reports that pupils in Portsmouth missed more than 100,000 days of face-to-face teaching during the autumn term, with many students having to either self-isolate or shield.

Labour’s plan would deliver:

  • Breakfast clubs and new activities for every child: from breakfast clubs to sport, drama, book clubs and debating societies, a fully funded expanded range of extracurricular clubs and activities to boost time for children to play and socialise after months away from their friends;
  • Quality mental health support in every school: give every child the support they need to transition back to school and manage personal challenges, with access to qualified in-school counselling staff alongside boosting wellbeing through extra activities;
  • Small group tutoring for all who need it, not just 1%: make small group teaching available to all children who need it not just 1%, by reforming the Government’s failing tutoring programme to make sure no child falls behind because of pandemic disruption;
  • Continued development for teachers: Teachers have had one of the toughest years of their careers – it is only by supporting them with training to stay on top of the latest knowledge and techniques that we can give every child a brilliant classroom experience;
  • An Education Recovery Premium: support every child to reach their potential by investing in children who have faced the greatest disruption during the pandemic from early years to further education, and double the Pupil Premium for children in key transition years, delivering additional support for children who need it most;
  • Ensure no child goes hungry: no child will go hungry with Labour, by extending free school meals over the holidays, including the summer break.

Labour’s announcement comes with a warning from Shadow Education Secretary, Kate Green MP, that the Conservatives are “showing no ambition for our children’s futures”, after reports that Chancellor Rishi Sunak will only spend £1.5bn on children’s recovery, 10 times less their ‘Catch-up Czar’ Kevan Collins has told Ministers is needed.

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

“If we are to truly build back better from this crisis, we cannot afford for our future generation to not be equipped with the skills and learning they need, to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

“Students have faced serious disruption to their learning during this crisis, so it is only right they are backed with a truly bold and ambitious plan that is needed to get them back on track.

“Labour’s plan would do just that and it has my full support.”

Kate Green MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, also said:

“Labour’s innovative plans, informed by parents, teachers and children, will deliver not just a world-class education for all based on play and social development, but fulfilled and confident young people.”

“We must match the ambition children have for their own futures and put them at the heart of our national recovery. This is an investment that our children’s futures and the future of our country depends on.”