Posts

, , , , , ,

“Portsmouth needs answers, not insults” City MP uses PMQs to highlight threats to local NHS under no-deal

Stephen Morgan MP has shot out of the blocks and wasted no time in grilling Mr Johnson in the first Prime Minister’s Questions post summer recess.

Mr Morgan hit out at the PM in the chamber over the projected disastrous consequences that a no-deal Brexit would have for the NHS, highlighting Mr Johnson’s own Health Secretary’s grave warnings.

The question follows hundreds of Portsmouth people writing to the MP setting out their concerns over the implications of a no-deal on the NHS.

Mr Morgan said:

“This is an issue that I get hundreds of emails about every day, and for good reason.

Crashing out of the EU without a deal will have catastrophic consequences for the most cherished of our services – The NHS.

The Health Secretary has refused to rule out the possibility of people dying from medicine shortages and warned a no-deal would “not be pretty” for the NHS.

We know that there are care staff shortages of 18,000 across the South East alone with no-deal set to exacerbate this due to a lack of clarity over working rights.

We know that the large amount of new paperwork and regulatory hurdles that a no-deal Brexit would create for imports is likely to increase shortages of medicines and medical devices.

I will do everything in my power to stop the disaster that is no-deal from destroying a service we all so greatly rely on.”

The new Prime Minister floundered following the question and failed to even address the topic of medicine and staff shortages arising from a no-deal Brexit.

Following the PM’s response, Mr Morgan said:

“Today, I gave Mr Johnson the opportunity to outline exactly how the Government proposes to prevent NHS medicine and staff shortages in the event of no-deal.

His utter refusal to answer my question is yet another example of him dodging democratic process and running scared from the people.

He has already ignored the letter I sent him the week of his premiership, heavily contravening parliamentary procedure, now he has ignored the voice of Portsmouth in Parliament.

I will be writing to the PM again requesting detailed analysis of no-deal implications for our city’s NHS, specifically how this will affect staff shortages and medicine supplies.”

Mr Morgan is not alone in his frustration at the PM’s disregard for the NHS. Independent organisations such as The Health Foundation, The King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust have all taken matters into their own hands by writing out to MPs warning them that No-Deal will be disastrous for the NHS.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“It is an insult to those pioneers who, in 1948, founded an NHS on the principles of fairness, equality and access for all.

We should be improving and increasing the use of the NHS, not hacking bits off, leaving it open to attack and gambling with its future.

I find it deeply saddening that we face times where we see a Prime Minister so recklessly willing to destroy such a cherished service in the name of his own ego-driven campaign for leaving with a no-deal.

I will not stand for this and will continue to make sure that I stand up for Portsmouth’s NHS both inside and out of Parliament.”

 

 

 

 

, , , , , ,

“Holistic, comprehensive support for our veterans is vital – We should settle for nothing less” – City MP speaks out after visit to veterans charity 

Stephen Morgan MP has put recess time to good use and spent a day with forces charity Blind Veterans UK, a Brighton based organisation that seeks to provide holistic care and support for veterans who have suffered blindness.

The visit allowed Mr Morgan meet with veterans, or members as charity sees them, to observe first-hand the ground-breaking technology being trialled and hear feedback on the research being conducted at the centre.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“The work being conducted at Blind Veterans UK is truly remarkable. It only takes a conversation with one of the many members of the charity to hear how it has touched the lives of not just them, but their families.

Organisations such as this are essential because they provide a well-rounded, comprehensive level of support. From tackling social-isolation through group-based sports activities, to providing vital skills through educational services – the centres capabilities are impressive.”

The Portsmouth South representative’s visit culminated in a demonstration of the driverless cars being tested at the facility, paving the way for potentially changing the game when it comes ensuring blind veterans remain independent.

The visit also included discussions with the centres resident doctor about the highly-advanced research being conducted at the centre, and interactive demonstrations of the way Virtual Reality is being used to support charity members.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“The level of care provided to our ex-armed forces community by the Government does not go far enough, organisations such as Blind Veterans UK are pioneers when it comes to what can be achieved.

Well-being, education, fitness, medical care and support are all provided. We should strive to replicate this when it comes to how veterans are treated across the board.

For some time now, I have been calling on the Government to do more when it comes to tailored, bespoke services for our forces community. Spending time with the members at this organisation is a testament to how and why this should be achieved. “

Mr Morgan’s visit formed part of his long-running strategy for improving life for veterans. He has made repeated calls for veteran suicide to be recorded, written to the Government asking for further rights such as railcards to be extended to veterans, met with The British Legion, hosted Westminster Hall debates on veteran welfare and regularly meets local organisations such as all call signs.

City MP, Stephen Morgan said:

“Growing up in Portsmouth and having a grandfather who crossed the channel on D-Day makes it difficult to miss the immense efforts of our armed forces community.

My aim is simple, improve the services offered to ex-service and serving personnel so that the system is worthy of the men and women who use it.

Visits like this are integral to this process, if we can observe the challenges and successes faced by organisations such as Blind Veterans UK, we can use this a blueprint for change. I look forward to continuing to raise the issue of the wellbeing of our armed forces in Parliament and ensuring their voice is heard.”

 

 

, , , ,

City MP calls on new Veterans Minister to properly support our armed forces community 

Stephen Morgan MP has wasted no time in pressing the new Minister for Defence People and Veterans to extend the HM Forces Railcard to ex-service personnel. 

Currently, members of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces enjoy the benefits of reduced rate rail travel with the HM Forces Railcard, a benefit recently extended to Reservists. Now the local MP has made fresh calls for this to go further.

Mr Morgan said: 

“This is a simple issue. The current HM Forces Railcard, offering discount rates to service people on UK trains, does not include veterans. I believe this is wrong.

I do not believe that we should differentiate between those who currently serve and those who have served when it comes to paying tribute or supporting our armed forces community.

It is not like the physical and mental scars subside after these individuals leave the military, why then should their support network?

I have written the Defence Minister in the hope that he shares this perception and, in the hope, that he will act decisively and rectify this current injustice.”

The HM Forces Railcard costs £21 and saves individuals 1/3 on most rail fares throughout Great Britain for a whole year. This works out at under £2 a month and if used regularly, has large-scale money saving qualities. 

Stephen Morgan MP said: 

“Across this nation, we are not properly supporting our veterans. Whether that is failing to offer bespoke, tailored mental health services or not properly implementing or improving the Armed Forces Covenant – the Government can do a lot more.

Making changes like extending the Forces Railcard to veterans is a step in the right direction and I will require serious explanation if the Government chooses to defy my recommendation.

I will continue to lobby all colleagues at the MoD until we see a system worthy of the brave men and women who have given so much to this nation.”

Stephen Morgan MP has long been a champion of causes close to the hearts of the force’s community. He has hosted a Westminster hall debate on Veteran Suicide, regularly meets with organisations such as All Call Signs in his constituency and has expressed a commitment to ensuring the forces community have a voice in Parliament.

, , ,

Bringing our high streets back from the brink: announcement welcomed

Welcoming news that Portsmouth has now been shortlisted for the Government’s ‘Future High Streets’ funding, city MP Stephen Morgan, who has long been campaigning for investment in the city’s shopping areas, said:
“I have long argued that the Government needs to do better, and the council do more, to bring our city’s high streets back from the brink. It’s a big issue affecting Portsmouth’s economy and our city’s communities which hundreds of people and local businesses have raised with me.
Last month we saw Knight & Lee say good bye to Portsmouth. With Debenhams closing, smaller stores in our city are also set to go. The area has already seen 1,600 shop closures in recent years affecting hundreds of local jobs.
I raised Portsmouth concerns in Parliament, lobbied senior Ministers and supported the submission of this bid for essential funding. I’m pleased these actions may be starting to pay off.
Today’s news is a step in the right direction, but investment is long overdue. With our city too often forgotten by Government what we need next is reform of the outdated and broken business rates system, and a government-led strategy to bring all our high streets back to the brink”.
A bid developed by council officers for Fratton and Commercial Road shopping areas has been shortlisted with detailed business cases now required by Government.
, , , ,

Library services stay open despite Tory cuts – Shadow Minister books in visit to Bristol Council

Newly appointed Shadow Communities Minister, Stephen Morgan MP has visited Labour-run Bristol Council to hear about the ground-breaking work they have been conducting to safeguard their libraries.

Guided by Mayor Marvin Rees, the Portsmouth South MP was shown exactly how under Labour leadership the council has been relying on fresh, innovate ideas to overcome national Tory austerity

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Since 2010, under the Tories, nationally some 100 libraries have closed each year. Here in Bristol, Mayor Marvin Rees’ Labour administration have kept every single library open and are investing in the service.

“Labour councils are facing budget cuts from the Government which are three-times worse than those faced by Tory authorities.

As I saw first-hand in Bristol, despite the continuing ideological austerity, Labour-run councils are protecting people’s services.”

Since the Tories came to power, 817 Libraries have been shut or handed to volunteers, leaving 3,660 struggling on as councils try to balance the books.

The latest figures show that more than 100 libraries a year are closing because of government cuts and a quarter of the budget for them has been axed in the past eight years, going from £1billion in 2010 to £741million last year.

Mr Morgan said:

“For some, libraries are a quiet haven to escape to. For others, they are a learning environment that could be the key to unlocking their potential.

From refugees trying to learn English upon arrival to this country to school children reading their first book on their own, the untold value that libraries hold in our communities and plethora of ways they enrich our society are unprecedented.

The vital work being conducted by Labour-led Bristol Council, that I have been fortunate to visit, is an example of local authorities standing in the face of Tory austerity and winning.

The fact that every library has remained open despite these savage cuts means that we must learn best-practice from the dedicated individuals responsible.”

Labour Mayor, Marvin Rees who accompanied the Shadow Minister said:

“I was delighted to welcome Stephen back to our city today, sharing how our Labour council is delivering for Bristol.

Working with local communities, we are proud to have protected each and every one of Bristol’s local libraries – extending opening hours and safeguarding them from central Government cuts.

“This is testament to our hard work to turn around the dire council finances which we inherited, and to our commitment to protecting frontline council services while cutting a million pounds a year out of council senior management.”

The Portsmouth South MP, who returned to his university stomping ground to observe these progressive strides, has expressed a commitment and preference for getting out and meeting people on the front line of service delivery.

In his first month on the frontbenches Mr Morgan has already visited two pioneering Labour councils, setting the precedent for an active time in office.

Commenting further on his visit, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“It’s great to be in Bristol – a city that is thinking big about the challenges it faces. In Marvin and his team the city has strong local leadership and an ambitious plan for the future.

After nearly ten years of Tory austerity, £5.9 billion being stripped from local government by 2020, it’s good to see how despite challenging circumstances and inheriting a huge budget deficit, the Labour Mayor and Labour Council are delivering for Bristol’s communities and proactively working with others to create a fair, healthy and sustainable city.

Bristol is a special place for me, the city where I was the first in my family to go to university. It’s been really inspiring to see how through the One City Plan, Bristol is encouraging young people from often forgotten communities to aim high and give them the helping hand to achieve”.

, , , , , ,

Hundreds flock to City MP’s bus bolstering local roadshow

Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan, has held a public consultation alongside First Bus for Portsmouth residents so that community members share their views. The event comes at a time when across the country people voice concerns over dwindling routes, soaring fares and reduced access.

The roadshow, which took place on Commercial Road, involved a static bus where residents could meet with the Portsmouth South representative and senior members of the First Bus team and saw people attend in their hundreds.

Mr Morgan said:

“Bus services are a vital lifeline for many within our community here in Portsmouth. Whether it is helping elderly people visit friends and family or providing those who live with a disability with independence – buses play a crucial role in connecting communities and fending off social isolation and loneliness.

This roadshow gave the people who use the services a platform to speak on the matters that concern them and ensured their voice is heard. As someone who does not drive and uses either buses or bicycle to get around our city, I know how important this is.”

Mr Morgan’s action on bus access comes at a time when the sector is under strain. Across the country over 3,000 bus routes have been cut or withdrawn while fares have risen at over twice the rate of wages, hitting the poorest hardest and particularly affecting the young, the elderly and people with disabilities.

The local MP said:

“This event was as useful to me as it was for my fellow community members. Not only did it provide them with the means to relay feedback, it has produced vital information on the key themes affecting local residents with regard to buses.

I am committed to ensuring that this feedback is utilised by First Bus and is taken back to Westminster where it will feed into correspondence with the Department for Transport and help influence my work as Shadow Communities Minister.

Portsmouth has seen 17% less bus journeys in the space of just one year making it the second worst affected city in the UK. I am a firm believer in getting out and speaking to people, that is the best way to address a community issue.”

At a time when the Conservatives have seen 3,000 routes cut, Labour has expressed a will to subsidise non-profitable but socially important bus routes, simplify ticketing options and make all bus travel free for under 25s.

Mr Morgan said:

“Our city has an issue with air quality, congestion and environmental degradation. Sustainable travel offers a viable solution to these problems.

I am committed to ensuring that access to buses for Portsmouth peoples remains high on the Labour agenda both in our city and in Parliament.”

, , ,

City MP hosts event in bid to boost bus usage

Stephen Morgan MP, alongside one of Britain’s largest bus operators First Bus, are hosting a roadshow to take place on the 20 August on Commercial Road, Portsmouth.

The event, which will take place on board a static bus, will provide constituents with the opportunity to share their thoughts and concerns on the current state of bus access and reliability in the city.

The Shadow Communities Minister and city MP will be joined by senior members of staff from First Bus to take on board feedback and to share ideas on improvements.

Stephen Morgan MP said:
“Greater use of public transport reduces congestion, air pollution and carbon emissions. Buses are crucial to the economic prosperity and social wellbeing of cities like Portsmouth and are a lifeline for our city’s communities.
I know from my discussions with people on the doorstep and through chatting to my family and friends in the area, there is room for improvement in our great city. This event is an opportunity for Portsmouth people to have their say on what works, what needs to be improved and what changes would make a difference to their everyday life. I want to hear from you.”
The consultation will take place on board a static First Bus on Tuesday 20 August, by the fountain in Commercial Road from 10:00 until 12:00.

The company often talks to the public about its services, but this event brings a new dimension with the Portsmouth South representative hosting.

The event follows the city MP writing out to hundreds of local people who may use buses to get round Portsmouth to hear their views on current services and to help identify areas of improvement.

He added:
“The sheer numbers of people who contact me about bus related issues indicate that this will be a well-attended event. I look forward to seeing many familiar and new faces on 20 August and to hearing ideas on how their can be better, easier and more widespread bus usage”.
, ,

Power to revive Portsmouth’s high streets welcomed

Today Labour has set out new plans to give councils the power to reopen abandoned shops to “revive Britain’s struggling high streets.” The plan has been backed by Shadow Communities Minister and Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan.

The policy comes as latest figures show that over 10% of town centre shops are empty.

Under Labour’s proposals, Local Authorities will be able to turn “the blight of empty shops into the heart of the high street” by giving them over to start-ups, co-operative businesses and community projects.

Labour’s plans, which would apply to property left vacant for 12 months, would rejuvenate Britain’s high streets by bringing back into use some of the estimated 29,000 physical retail units which have been abandoned for more than 12 months.

Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Andrew Gwynne MP, said:

“Under this Government, our high streets have suffered a retail apocalypse. High street closures are at a historic high, leaving too many of our once thriving towns abandoned and awash with boarded up shop fronts.

Labour’s radical plan will turn around the mess that the Tories have created and will give local authorities the power to make our high streets the pride of our communities that they once were.”

New Shadow Communities Minister, city MP Stephen Morgan, added:

“I have long argued that the Government needs to do better to bring our high streets back from the brink, but sadly, their record is one of failure. Thankfully Labour is showing leadership and taking action.

This is a positive step in the right direction – and welcome news for communities across the nation that are too often forgotten”.

Commenting on the impact of inaction by Government on Portsmouth, the city MP added:

“Hampshire alone has lost over 1,600 shops in recent years, and with that, hundreds of local jobs.

I have been raising the issue of our city’s declining high streets in the House of Commons, hosting a roundtable with businesses to find solutions, calling for business rate reform, submitting parliamentary questions and writing to the City Council Leader.

The Government must  invest time, effort and resources to finally sort this pressing issue in Portsmouth once and for all”.

Locally Portsmouth Labour proposed a £2.5m rescue package to rebuild the city’s communities and help bring back our high streets from the brink in February’s council budget meeting.

The positive plan for the city would help rescue the city’s shopping areas with dedicated support and resources, alongside a better integrated transport network. Sadly the Tories and Lib Dems voted down the plans.

Today’s announcement builds on Labour’s five point plan for Britain’s high streets, which includes a register of landlords of empty properties.

, , ,

City MP asks are you Portsmouth’s Best Small Shop?

Stephen Morgan MP, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, is calling on Portsmouth’s small shopkeepers to enter the Best Small Shops competition, celebrating the creativity of small shops and the central role they play in their local community.

The Best Small Shops Competition is open to any small shop operating in the UK. The competition is free to enter and all shops who enter will also be promoted to consumers through an online Indie Retail Directory.

Shopkeepers can nominate their businesses until Monday 9 September via www.bestsmallshops.co.uk. A shortlist of 25 of the most impressive applications will be shortlisted by a panel made up of established representatives from the independent retail industry.

The judges will be looking for evidence of a small shops’ entrepreneurial spirit, ways that they have been innovative in their business and what they have done to have a lasting positive impact on their community.

The shortlisted small shops will be invited to a Parliamentary Reception in November to meet their Member of Parliament and find out who will be crowned the Best Small Shop for 2019.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Small and independent shops are such an important part of our communities, both in Portsmouth and across the country.

That’s why, shortly after being elected as MP, I set up the ‘Support Local’ campaign to raise the profile of the value of small business to Portsmouth’s economy. For every £1 spent in a local shop or business, 63p goes back into the city’s economy.

I’m assured that at a time when our high streets are on the brink and anchor stores are pulling out of our city, that the British Independent Retailers Association reports a growing number of independent shop openings across the country. But we cannot be complacent and must continue to support small business to flourish.

I look forward to seeing numerous familiar Portsmouth businesses on the shortlist for Best Small Shop. Lets put our city’s shops on a national map!”

Submit your entry

The entries for 2019’s Best Small Shop competition are now open. Submit your entry at www.bestsmallshops.co.uk

Entries close on Monday 9 September 2019.

Photo of Stephen Morgan MP and the Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer MP visiting Southsea Deli

 

,

City MP calls on ASDA to think again over threatening thousands with the sack

Stephen Morgan MP, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South calls on ASDA to think again over forced contract changes that will see staff in the Fratton Asda store lose out.

The issue over these controversial new contracts has been rumbling on for some months but it is due to come to a head in the coming weeks as staff across the country are forced by Asda bosses to sign changes to their contracts.  These changes will see them lose out on flexibility and holidays.

Many thousands of ASDA workers simply won’t be flexible in the way that ASDA bosses demand and imposing a new contract won’t change workers’ childcare, caring, studying, family and other outside work commitments.

One member of staff told their union that I haven’t signed up to Contract Six because I look after my disabled mum when I’m off work.”  This member is not alone, in response to a recent consultative ballot, 93% of respondents told GMB Union that they did not agree with the contract changes which were being forced on them.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“I have met with employees affected, liaised with trade unions and visited the store at Fratton to speak with staff and managers.

It is deeply concerning that such a large employer in our city is leaving their staff with no choice other than to accept these new contracts or risk losing their job.  

Many Asda workers with caring commitments are going to be severely hit by any loss in flexibility – this is an awful position for the company to put dedicated staff in. Shoppers would be horrified to know Asda are leaving staff with no real choice. Asda should think again.

I understand some improvements to the original contract proposed have been won by GMB members in Asda but I’ll be calling on Asda to work constructively with the union, its members and workers in Asda to seek a better deal and secure a decent future for Asda workers in Portsmouth”.

The city MP has vowed to write to senior national bosses at Asda to continue his support to local employees.

For more details on support and advice, Asda workers should contact their local rep and visit https://www.gmb.org.uk/asda-update