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Portsmouth MP votes against government ‘con’ to fix social care crisis

Stephen Morgan MP has voted against the government’s ‘backward’ proposals to fix the social care crisis.
The government is proposing a £86,000 cap in personal care costs in its Health and Care Bill.
However, in new details published last week, government said support payments from councils will not count towards the cap, with charities warning the move would unfairly hit the poorest.
Labour’s Shadow Social Care Minister, Liz Kendall MP, also said that the £86,000 cap “would still mean many people will have to sell their homes to pay for their care – against everything Boris Johnson promised.”
Torsten Bell, chief executive of the Resolution Foundation think tank, also pointed out the plan could “double your care costs” for someone who has about £90,000 in assets.
According to the Health Foundation, the government’s changes to the Bill “will no longer protect those with lower assets from catastrophic costs.”
The charity said that under “the current system people can lose all but £14,250 of their assets. For someone with £100k this represents 86% of their wealth. Under the Care Act, this would be reduced to 43%.  But under the Government’s proposals the maximum loss would be £80k – 80% of their assets”.
The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“This is a care con, not a care plan.
“We already knew most people won’t hit the cap because it doesn’t cover board and lodging in care homes, but now it has been revealed that the poorest pensioners will have to pay even more.
“Ministers have slipped out a significant change that means if you live in a £1m house, perhaps in the Home Counties, 90% of your assets will be protected.
“But if you need social care and live in an £90,000 in home in Hartlepool or even Portsmouth, your care costs could be doubled under new government proposals. That is not fair.
“That’s why I voted last night to reject these proposals and continue to press Ministers for a fairer option.”

Mr Morgan recently held roundtables with local care users and providers to better understand local issues and concerns, has asked a range of parliamentary questions on the issue and lobbied the Health Secretary on challenges the sector faces.

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Gurkha pensions: Government cannot continue to ‘sweep issue under the carpet’ – Portsmouth MP

Stephen Morgan MP has accused the government of sweeping the contentious issue of Gurkha pension equality under the carpet during a debate in Westminster this evening.

The issue of Gurkha pension equality is a longstanding and complex issue, but the Portsmouth MP and Shadow Armed Forces Minister urged the government to set out a way forward to address the problem.

In August, a group of Gurkha veterans were forced to go on hunger strike outside Downing Street following the government’s lack of engagement with their concerns.

The Shadow Minister visited campaigners during their 13-day hunger strike, having lobbied the Defence Secretary the previous day about the issue.

Leading a debate in Westminster Hall on behalf of the Official Opposition tonight, the Portsmouth representative demanded government set out its approach to the forthcoming bilateral committee meeting convened with Nepal to discuss Gurkha welfare issues.

He also called for the government to commit to publishing its response to its own consultation on the Gurkha Pension Scheme, which closed eight months ago, before the talks begin.

The MP has met with Gurkhas and campaigners on several occasions, including on Saturday with Labour councillors in Reading, which has a particularly high Gurkha population.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South and Shadow Armed Forces Minister, Stephen Morgan, said:

“This is a complex and longstanding issue, but that’s no excuse for the government’s lack of engagement in tackling the inequalities experienced by those who have fought to keep us safe.

“It cannot be right that those who have served our country have to live in such difficult circumstances, with the cost-of-living crisis set to make things only go from bad, to worse, this winter.

“At the very least Ministers must consider measures that ensure all Gurkha veterans have the opportunity to live securely in retirement. Labour will work cross-party to get this right, but Government needs to finally show long overdue leadership.

Ministers cannot continue to sweep this growing problem under the carpet.”

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Men’s Health Week: City MP praises community project to support men’s mental health

Stephen Morgan MP has praised the work of local community project ‘Breakfast OK’ for its efforts to support and protect men’s mental health.

It comes as this year’s Men’s Health Week, running from Nov 14 – 20, focuses on mental health and how important it is that men feel comfortable speaking up about their own mental health and accepting support where it is available.

The Portsmouth MP paid a visit to ‘Breakfast OK’, held at Fratton-based social enterprise ‘MAKE’, which offers a chance for men to meet up and have a chat, rant or simply share their experiences with others in a relaxed environment over breakfast.

The local initiative runs every Saturday from 10am-12pm at MAKE, 1 Cornwall Rd, Fratton, PO1 5AA.
Nationally, male suicide continues to be the biggest cause of death for men under 35, with over three out of four suicides being men.

Over 1 in 10 males in the UK are suffering from one of the common mental health disorders, but are much less likely to access psychological therapies in comparison to women.

On Men’s Mental Health Week, the Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“Men’s mental health is in crisis and the stigma that asking for help and support when you need it is somehow weak or wrong must be stamped out.

“That’s why, during this year’s focus on mental health on Men’s Health Week, I’m proud to support and promote the value of the work local projects like ‘Breakfast OK’ provide to men who need help.

“Hubs like these provide a lifeline for those who need support and I really encourage those who feel they need help to reach out and ask for when they do. It’s ok not to be ok.”

Charities and Organisations that offer support include:

Sarah Mitas, Manager at MAKE, also said:

“44 years ago, my father lost his life to the silent illness of depression. On the outside he was a kind, hardworking, fun dad. However, the turmoil he must have felt inside to even begin to consider taking his own life must have been overwhelming.

“Breakfast OK? was sparked by wanting to give others who have felt the way he did a chance to talk it through and the chance to realise they are not alone. Suicide doesn’t just take one life. It leaves ripples of overwhelming guilt, sadness and loss throughout families, friends and associates.

“We really want Breakfast OK? to give men the chance to know its ok to talk and you are not alone. If we can help just one father, brother, grandad, uncle, friend it is one more man we will not lose to this devastating illness.”

Darren, a recent attendee of the weekly sessions, added:

“Breakfast Ok? is a great way of letting out any problems that I’m struggling to express to close family. You are not judged by what you say and you can get a huge amount of support by someone just listening.”

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Respect Shopworkers Week: Portsmouth MP calls for Christmas shoppers to ‘keep their cool’

Stephen Morgan MP has back USDAW’s Respect Shopworkers Week campaign and called for Christmas shoppers to ‘keep their cool’ over the busy festive period.

The Portsmouth MP has paid a visit to South Parade’s Co-op to speak with staff and understand the local challenges they have faced this year.

Respect Shopworkers Week is a national annual campaign that works to both curb and raise awareness of the physical and verbal abuse shopworkers receive day-to-day across the country.

USDAW’s survey results have shown a troubling increase in violence and abuse against retail workers in recent years — with another significant increase in 2020 during the Coronavirus crisis.

According to the shopworkers union, 90% of retail workers were abused whilst working on the shop floor over the last year.

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

“Shop and retail workers both here in Portsmouth and across the country have been the backbone of local communities over the last 18 months.

“During this crisis, our key workers have been there to support us when we needed it most. The very least they deserve is to be treated with the dignity and respect we would all normally expect from each other when in our place of work.

“That’s why I am proud to support this year’s Respect Shopworkers Week’ and urge local shoppers to keep their cool this Christmas.”

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Portsmouth MP urges government to tackle ‘blackhole’ of NHS waiting list as it passes 43,000 mark locally

Stephen Morgan MP has urged the government to tackle the ‘blackhole’ of local NHS waiting lists, as latest NHS figures revealed that at the end of September 2021, there were 43,797 people on the waiting list at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust.
The figures also showed 1,462 people had been waiting for more than a year for an appointment.
In March 2020, at the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, there were 4,235,970 people on the NHS waiting list in England. Nationally, the standard of 92% of people seen within 18 weeks of a referral has not been met since 2016.
However, the pandemic had a devastating effect on an already-fragile NHS, with the national waiting list is now 37.7 per cent higher than it was before Covid-19 hit the UK (an increase of 1,598,451 people). The current figure means that just over 1 in 10 people in England are on the NHS waiting list (10.3 per cent).
The Government is yet to publish its plan to address the vast NHS waiting list, with hospitals around the country already reporting unsustainable pressure and an inability to provide high quality care.
Nationally, the NHS is short of 100,000 staff, including 7,000 doctors and 40,000 nurses. In the Budget last month, the Chancellor did not set out a plan to recruit, train, and retain the staff needed to solve this waiting list crisis.
The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan MP, said: 

“If people in Portsmouth can’t get the timely care they deserve, there will be devastating consequences. 43,000 people on our local NHS waiting list is simply unsustainable.
“The doctors, nurses, and other health care staff at our local hospitals are doing amazing work, as I saw first-hand last week at QA hospital, but there’s only so much they can do after a decade of underfunding and without the staff numbers they need.
“Government has got to take action and come up with a plan to properly staff and support the NHS in order to tackle this blackhole of local waiting lists.”

Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said:

“We’ve heard serious warnings from hospital chiefs about the unsustainable pressure the NHS is under. These figures are confirmation of the dangerously lengthy waiting times patients are forced to endure and the scale of pressure on overwhelmed A&Es.
“The coming winter weeks are set to be the most challenging in history for the NHS. It’s now urgent Ministers fix the stalling vaccination programme, resolve the immediate crisis in social care and bring forward a long-term plan to recruit the health care staff our NHS desperately needs, which Rishi Sunak has failed to provide despite imposing a punishing tax rise on working people.”

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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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City MP challenges Tories on Russian-linked AQUIND donations

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has backed Labour’s calls to investigate whether donations to the Conservative party from Russian-linked individuals like Alexander Temerko are connected to Putin’s Kremlin.
Questions from Labour follow revelations on a series of wealthy donors who have given money to the Conservatives and have business links to Russia or other wealthy Russians.
Donors who have made money from Russia or Russians have given £1.93m to either the Conservative party or individual constituency associations since Boris Johnson took power in July 2019, according to calculations made by Labour based on disclosures to the Electoral Commission.
This includes Alexander Temerko and Aquind, the energy company he part-owns. Temerko has handed more than £1.6m in donations to Conservative political figures over recent years.Its majority investor, the Russian-born oil tycoon Viktor Fedotov, secretly co-owned a company once accused of participating in a massive corruption scheme relating to a Russian pipeline.
Labour’s Security Minister Conor McGinn said it was “deeply worrying to see revealed potential financial links between senior donors and Putin’s Russia” and asked about “the adequacy of the processes” by which donors are vetted.
In a letter addressed to his opposite number in government, Damian Hinds, he asked “What checks have been completed on the financial origins of the donations themselves and were any links to hostile state actors discovered?” He also asked whether MI5 had raised any concerns about the cash and its influence.
Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

“I have long raised concerns about AQUIND’s opaque financial structures and the possible threat the project poses to our national security.
“The fact is, we don’t know where AQUIND’s money comes from or who is providing it. Until recently, even its true owners were able to remain anonymous. This, plus their sizeable donations to senior Conservative politicians, paints an increasingly sinister picture of their motives.
“Serious questions remain about whether we should trust them to build nationally significant infrastructure. We don’t know what Tory MPs promised them before lining their pockets and accepting their cash.
“One thing is clear: Ministers must immediately stop AQUIND, once and for all. Any pretence that this Tory Government is able to make an impartial decision on the project is laughable”.

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Small Business Saturday: City MP calls for nominations of best local businesses

Stephen Morgan MP has called for nominations for the best local shops and traders as Britain prepares to mark Small Business Saturday on December 4th, 2021.

The Portsmouth MP is calling for nominations in his constituency in three different categories:

  • Greenest Local Business
  • Friendliest Local Business
  • Overall Best Business

Small Business Saturday UK is a grassroots, non-commercial campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities.

On Small Business Saturday, customers across the U.K. go out and support all types of small businesses, online, in offices and in stores. Many small businesses take part in the day by hosting events and offering discounts.

£1.1 billion was spent with small businesses across the UK during last year’s Small Business Saturday, with 15.4 million people turning out to support small businesses.

The awards build on last year’s largely successful initiative by the Portsmouth South representative that saw hundreds of constituents nominating local shops and traders across Southsea, Milton, Fratton and Eastney.

The City MP has been a long-time supporter of Portsmouth’s local businesses.

In May, the Portsmouth representative launched his ‘Pride in Portsmouth’ campaign that encouraged local people to support small businesses as the economy unlocked. Since being elected, he has been lobbying government through a range of parliamentary questions, raising concerns in Parliament and calling on Government to better support Portsmouth’s businesses.

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

“Local businesses are the lifeblood of our city, but the past 18 months has been an incredibly difficult period for many of them.

“That’s why I’m calling on local people to help me showcase the best of our city and highlight independent businesses that go above and beyond in serving communities across our constituency.

“I look forward to receiving nominations from our community and encourage everyone to show support to local traders and shops as we approach this year’s Small Business Saturday and beyond.”

Nominations for Stephen’s Support Local awards can be made here. The deadline for nominations is December 1.
All nominations will then be considered and winners from each category will be selected and awarded with a certificate for Small Business Saturday.

Greenest Local Business nominations could be for those that have a ‘zero-waste’ policy, while nominations for Friendliest Local Business could be those that have gone the extra mile or offered that personal touch. For Overall Best Business, nominations should be for businesses that have gone above and beyond in serving the constituency this year.

All entries must be based in Portsmouth South (Fratton, Milton, Southsea, Old Portsmouth, Eastney, Landport, Buckland or Portsea).

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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 blasts government for £3.85m drop in local public health funding

Stephen Morgan MP has blasted the government after recent analysis which has revealed a £3.85m drop in local public health funding over the last five years.
The Labour analysis, verified by the House of Commons Library, has found that the £3.85m drop in public health funding for Portsmouth over the last five years equates to a real-terms cut of 17.5 per cent, or minus £20 per person in real-terms.
Cuts public health budgets have meant difficult decisions about where they spend money, alongside carrying out vital work to control the spread of Covid-19, including local outbreak planning, and crucially, promotional work to support the vaccine rollout.
In 2021/22, the public health team (like all other public health teams in England) also took on responsibility for costs associated with the provision of the anti-HIV drug pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and services related to it.
Local public health teams are also responsible for stop smoking services, sexual health services, health checks, public mental health, drug and alcohol services, children’s public health services, programmes to tackle obesity, amongst other key public health programmes. Their work is crucial because it supports people in Portsmouth to stay well and helps prevent health problems.
The £3.85m real terms cut to the team’s funding fails to prioritise this vital work, despite public health staff having spent almost two years working flat out to tackle the worst public health crisis in living memory.
In last month’s Autumn Budget and Spending Review, the Government announced no real terms change to the total public health grant, which means no more funding for local public health teams in 2022/23.
The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan MP, said:  

“I know the public health team in Portsmouth have worked so hard to keep us all safe during the pandemic.
“It is difficult to believe that, despite their hard work, the services they run have experienced such devastating cuts.
“The words ‘Levelling Up’ will mean nothing unless the Government invests in public health and prevention, which is key to improving local people’s lives and keeping them healthy for longer.”
Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said:
“Our NHS is in crisis and patients are waiting longer for treatment thanks to years of Tory cuts and a failure to recruit the doctors and nurses needed.
“In communities across the country the Tories have cut the vital public health services that prevent people becoming seriously ill, ultimately putting more pressure on local hospitals.
“To save lives we need to keep people well, but instead public health services are set to be stretched again thanks to this Conservative government.”