Posts

, , , , , ,

School energy bills doubled last year as cost-of-living crisis threatens learning

Children’s learning and opportunities are being put at risk, Labour has warned, as the Conservatives’ failure to get a grip on rising prices puts the squeeze on school budgets.

School energy bills doubled in the last year, according to data compiled by the House of Commons Library, with further price rises expected as fixed term contracts come to an end.

The new figures suggest that non-domestic gas and electricity prices almost doubled in 2021, mainly driven by the rise in the cost of wholesale gas prices.

Headteachers last year warned they were being forced to strip back additional support for children with special educational needs and disabilities, staff numbers and activities such as breakfast and afterschool clubs.

Labour’s Shadow Schools Minister, Stephen Morgan MP has urged Ministers to work with schools to ensure children do not lose out on further opportunities due to cost pressures.

Unlike domestic customers, schools are not subject to the energy price cap, meaning there is no limit on the price rises they could face as wholesale prices increase.

An investigation by SchoolsWeek recently found that schools in the North East could expect their bills to rise by to one and a half times their current level as prices soar.

Stephen Morgan MP, Labour’s Shadow Schools Minister and Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, said:

“Children have already faced huge disruption due to the government’s chaotic handling of the pandemic and now the cost-of-living crisis, made worse by Downing Street, is further squeezing school budgets.

“Ministers must get a grip and engage with schools to ensure children do not lose out on further opportunities.

“Labour is calling on the government to prioritise children’s learning and development post-pandemic, with breakfast and afterschool clubs, tutoring and mental health support. The Education Secretary must match this ambition with a proper plan to secure children’s futures.”

 

, , ,

Portsmouth MP calls for Health and Care Heroes for NHS Awards as deadline looms

Stephen Morgan MP is calling for nominees to enter the official NHS Parliamentary Awards in recognition of staff who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.

Nominations close midnight, Thursday 14 April.

The NHS Parliamentary Awards offer a chance to celebrate NHS staff, carers and volunteers for all the hard work they do to look after our loved ones when they are at their most vulnerable.

The City MP is now searching for outstanding nominees for the 2022 Awards who have innovated, impressed and made a real difference to how the health and care system provides care for patients.

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

“The NHS is one of the nation’s most loved institutions and hardworking NHS staff make it what it is today. 

“The stories I hear from local health services make me incredibly proud of the fact that Portsmouth contains people willing to provide such fantastic care to our most vulnerable residents. NHS staff, volunteers and carers make a true difference to the lives of their patients, and I want to recognise those individuals and teams at this year’s NHS Parliamentary Awards. 

“I want to hear from you about any outstanding care you have received in the last year so that I can nominate our local heroes for these awards. There’s still time to nominate, so please do send your suggestions to my office via email.”

For more information on how to nominate and the criteria for each category, visit: www.nhsparliamentaryawards.co.uk

Suggestions for nominations can be sent to Stephen Morgan MP’s office via: stephen.morgan.mp@parliament.uk

Professor Stephen Powis, chair of the judging panel and NHS National Medical Director, said:

“Throughout the NHS’s history there are examples of how staff and volunteers have contributed to making the health service the greatest care team in the world. 

“The NHS Parliamentary Awards are a unique opportunity for MPs to highlight the amazing work done by NHS staff in their local areas, and I look forward to working with all of the judges to review the nominations we receive.” 

This year there are 10 award categories, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Rising Star Award and, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Covid Response Award.

The Parliamentary Awards 2022 launched on 2 March 2022, and all those who make the national shortlist will be invited to an award ceremony in Westminster to celebrate their fantastic achievements.

The Portsmouth MP is calling for potential nominations in the following categories:

 

  • The Excellence in Healthcare: This award recognises individuals or teams who go above and beyond to improve outcomes and experiences for patients living with and beyond major health conditions or work to prevent them.

 

  • The Excellence in Mental Health Care Award: To the individual or team that has worked across organisational boundaries to develop new and effective services to help people living with mental health problems in their community.

 

  • The COVID Response Award: The brand new COVID Response Award is for any individual or team who have met the challenges of the pandemic with creativity and innovation to provide the best care possible for their patients.

 

  • The Excellence in Urgent and Emergency Care Award: To the individual or team that has made improvements to how the NHS treats people in life or death situations.
  • The Excellence in Primary Care and Community Care Award: As the needs of patients and the wider NHS evolves, so does the role of these professionals, and this award seeks to recognise practitioners and teams in primary or community care that are working with patients to help them stay healthy and avoid long stays in hospital or being admitted in the first place.

 

  • The Future NHS Award: This award seeks to highlight individuals, teams and organisations that are successfully embracing the opportunities that come from advances in medical technology, data, and connectivity.

 

  • The Health Equalities Award: This award is for an individual or organisation that has helped the NHS to do its bit by bringing together different groups and organisations to reduce health inequalities and prevent ill health in different communities.

 

  • The Nursing and Midwifery Award: This award is for any nurse or midwife, that has used their skills to ensure that patients experience care and compassion. This award is also open to any one of the thousands of student midwives, nurses, AHPs and medical students who started their careers early to support the NHS’ response to coronavirus.

 

  • The NHS Rising Star Award: This award looks to celebrate younger members of staff, volunteers or members of the public who give up their time, lend their experiences and deliver better services for themselves and others in their area.

 

  • The Lifetime Achievement Award: This award is for an individual who has worked within a health or care setting for 40 years or more who has left a legacy.
, , , , , ,

Soaring childcare costs are limiting parents’ ability to work, as Labour demands Sunak secure families’ finances

Labour is warning the cost of childcare is so high that that parents are having to cut down the hours they work. New Labour analysis shows the average family now spends nearly £1,500 more on a nursery place than five years ago.

Forty per cent of parents responding to a recent survey by Pregnant then Screwed said that they have to work fewer hours due to childcare costs, which rises to more than half of parents in households with incomes of below £50,000.

For primary school children, the cost of afterschool clubs having risen nearly 20 per cent over five years. With average parents spending more on after school clubs than on their weekly food shop.

A decade of Conservative governments has forced the closure of 1,300 children’s centres cutting off support for families, while the government has admitted to knowingly underfunding childcare providers which is pushing up costs for parents.

Labour’s Children’s Recovery Plan would mean children could go to breakfast clubs and after school activities for free, boosting children’s social development and wellbeing post-pandemic, and support working parents.

The Chancellor’s spring statement failed to give families the security they need as prices spiral and the Conservatives’ cost of living crisis is hitting household budgets.

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

“I know from talking with Portsmouth parents how concerned they are at the cost of childcare, especially at a time of prices and bills going through the roof and the highest tax burden in 70 years.

“In the recent Spring Statement the Chancellor failed to give our city’s families the security they need. That’s why I want Government to halt the national insurance rise and use a one off windfall tax on oil and gas companies to cut household’s bills by up to £600 and put families first.”

“Labour would also deliver a children’s recovery plan which would more than triple pupil premium investment in children on free school meals in early years settings and deliver free breakfast and afterschool clubs”.

Bridget Phillipson MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said:

“The Conservatives are making high quality childcare increasingly unavailable and unaffordable. Parents are having to work fewer hours or leave jobs because they cannot find or afford it, once again failing children and families.

“Labour’s Children’s Recovery Plan would invest in early years places for children on free school meals and boost access to before and after school clubs, as families fight rising prices”.

, , , , ,

Labour tax cut would save pubs over £2,000 from next week 

Labour have today outlined their ‘emergency support’ to help small businesses with rising costs. The measures include a tax cut which would take effect this week if the Government adopted Labour’s plans.  

Under the plans a typical small factory or workshop would save £2,700, a pub would be £2,600 better off and the average café or restaurant would save £2,700.

New analysis from Labour shows the current system of business rates is acting as a tax on growth, with smaller firms facing big tax cliff edges if they expand. A typical hairdresser who expands from one to two sites would see their tax bill go from £0 to £5,000, while an average shop goes from paying £0 to £10,000. 

Labour’s long-term plan would see Business Rates scrapped and replaced with a system that supported growth, and would be fairer between the small high street businesses based on bricks and the global tech giants based on clicks.

The party have also pledged support to British industry with an energy support fund to help with rising prices. The Government promised to support energy intensive firms six months ago but have failed to come forward with a package of support. Labour’s plans include direct help for industry to deal with rising prices now as well as support for the steel industry to decarbonise.

Labour’s plan includes:   

A tax cut for small business  

Labour would cut taxes for businesses by raising the threshold for small business rates relief for a year (from the current threshold of £15,000 to £25,000), to give SMEs a discount on their business rates bill from 1 April 2022/23.

Energy support fund  

Labour’s energy support fund would prioritise energy intensive industries such as steel, glass and ceramics to bring down their energy bills. At least 388,000 jobs are at risk if these factories are forced to close or reduce operations as the price of gas has nearly tripled since last October.

Green steel fund  

Labour would support the steel industry to decarbonise, with £3bn worth of investment in collaboration with business, over the coming decade.

No rise in National Insurance   

Labour would not be increasing national insurance contributions which will mean employers will pay an additional rate of 1.25% on employees’ earnings over £175 per week (£9,100 per year) from the 1 April.

Commenting on the emergency measures, Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP, said:

Small businesses are the bedrock of our economy in Portsmouth. Helping to protect them during this cost-of-living crisis protects livelihoods, protects jobs and protects our city’s communities.

“Labour’s plan would see business rates scrapped and replaced with a system that supported growth, and would be fairer between the small high street businesses based on bricks and the global tech giants based on clicks. 

“These emergency measures, if adopted by Government, would benefit so many of our city’s small businesses. Proposals would ensure a saving for a local pub of £2,600 and the average café or restaurant saving £2,700, all helping to keep our economy going”.

Jonathan Reynolds MP, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, added:   

“Businesses are facing a tidal wave of extra costs and being held back under the Conservatives through tax rises, inflation and the energy crisis. Action is needed now to ensure firms remain viable and extra costs aren’t passed onto consumers worsening the cost-of-living crisis.  

“Under Labour small firms would be around £2,000 better off from this week through our plans to cut taxes and we wouldn’t penalise small firms for expanding. Labour would back industry with our energy support fund and long-term plans to green the steel industry.   

“It’s clear great British businesses can’t afford this Government.”

 

, , , ,

Stephen Morgan MP responds to Met Police partygate fines

Responding to reports the Metropolitan Police has issued fines to Downing Street over parties, the Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“These fines are the final confirmation that illegal parties did take place and that Mr Johnson’s Downing Street broke the law.

“It is disgraceful that while many in Portsmouth and the rest of the country followed their rules, Mr Johnson’s government acted like they didn’t apply to them.

“This has been a slap in the face of the millions of people who made huge sacrifices. The public needs full accountability and transparency. The full Sue Gray report and all accompanying evidence must be published immediately.”

Commenting on whether Boris Johnson should resign, Mr Morgan added,

“My view on Mr Johnson hasn’t changed. But he has made it clear he isn’t going to resign and Tory MPs don’t look like they’re going to act.

“Any other Prime Minister found guilty of a criminal offence would have the decency to resign. But we know this Prime Minister is shameless.

“The culture is set from the very top. The buck stops with the Prime Minister, who spent months lying to the British public, which is why he has got to go.”

 

, , , , ,

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.”

, ,

Stephen Morgan MP set to host his next ‘Pint with your MP’ session next week

Stephen Morgan MP is set to host his next ‘Pint with your MP’ session, taking place next Sunday 3 April from 4 – 5pm at The Eldon Arms.

The event is open to all constituents and booking is essential. To confirm attendance, constituents should visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pint-with-your-mp-tickets-294453427127?aff=erelexpmlt

The pop-up ‘Pint with your MP’ sessions are designed as informal opportunities for constituents to say hello to their local Member of Parliament and share issues and concerns about topics of interest both locally and nationally.

The Portsmouth representative is determined to take up every opportunity to have more face-to-face conversations with constituents safely after more than a year of restrictions, whilst also helping to support local businesses, as the city recovers from the pandemic.

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

“There are a range of issues impacting people right now, from access to local healthcare to the cost-of-living crisis, so I’m pleased to be hosting my next ‘Pint with your MP’ next week to listen to concerns and take them back up to Westminster.

“It’s really important that people from all walks of life are able to speak to me about the issues that matter to them. I hope these sessions have been a useful and more accessible way for some people to contact me, who might otherwise be unable.

“I look to forward to chatting with constituents next week over a pint of whatever their choosing and warmly encourage others to tell a friend, who may have trouble reaching my office through the usual routes.”

 The full address for the ‘Pint with your MP’ session is: The Eldon Arms, 11-17 Eldon St, Southsea, PO5 4BS.

While most restrictions have now been relaxed, attendees are encouraged to take reasonable precautions to feel safe to attend.

, , , , , ,

Spring Statement: Chancellor fails to address cost-of-living crisis, says Portsmouth MP

Stephen Morgan MP attacked the Chancellor Rishi Sunak MP today for failing to address in his Spring Statement the cost-of-living crisis working families and businesses in Portsmouth are facing.

The Chancellor has imposed the biggest tax burden in 70 years and is on course to be one of the biggest tax-raising chancellors in post-war UK history, with the burden of taxation predicted to rise to 36.2 per cent of GDP by 2026-27.

The UK is the only country in the G7 raising taxes on working people in the midst of spiralling inflation, with the latest figures showing it at 6.2%, up from 5.5%.

Meanwhile, France, Germany and Italy are cutting taxes and social contributions on income, with other G7 countries including Canada, Japan and the USA also not raising taxes on working people.

The UK is expected to experience biggest growth downgrade of any G7 economy, with Bank of England forecasts showing growth of just 1.25% in 2023.

Responding to changes announced in the Mr Sunak’s statement, the CEO of the Resolution Foundation, Torsten Bell, underlined it was not focused on ‘prioritising help for low and middle income households.’

Labour’s plan to reduce energy bills would raise money to keep bills low through a one-off windfall tax on oil and gas profits to support all households, with households typically getting £200 off their bills. Labour has said its plan will get £600 to the lowest income households.

On the cost-of-living crisis, the Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“The Chancellor had the perfect opportunity today to protect working families and businesses in Portsmouth facing the cost-of-living crisis. Instead, he blew it.

“The Tories continue to push ahead with imposing one of the biggest tax burdens in post-war history, offering next to nothing for those struggling to make ends meet, week after week, month after month.

“Labour said his national insurance hike was the wrong tax. Wrong time. Wrong choice. Today, the Chancellor all but admitted he got that one wrong. He simply doesn’t understand the scale of the challenges families and communities are facing.

“Labour has a plan on the table ready to go to support working people now, but the Conservatives have consistently failed to back it.

“I will continue to lobby government and do all I can to secure the support families and businesses in Portsmouth need and deserve.”

On defence and public services, he said:

Long before the Ukraine crisis, Labour warned of a decade of decline for defence. But despite Russian threats, the Chancellor has once again failed to commit to proper investment in our national security, as well as nothing on schools, support to alleviate pressures on councils, or for our neglected police services.”

, , , , ,

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.”

, , , , , ,

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.”